Episode 192 Dylan Sessler Creating Connection To Discuss Difficult Topics Transcript

This transcript is from episode 192 with guest Dylan Sessler.

Scott DeLuzio    00:00:00    Thanks for tuning into the Drive On Podcast, where we’re focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran, active duty, guard, reserve, or family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio. Now let’s get on with the show. Hey, everyone, welcome back to the Drive On Podcast. Today, my guest is Dylan Sesler. Dylan is a mental health coach, a professional speaker podcast, host of the Dylan experience, an entrepreneur combat veteran, and author of the book defy the darkness. A story is suicide, mental health, and overcoming your hardest battles. Welcome to the show, Dylan. I’m really glad to have you on appreciate  

Dylan Sessler    00:00:48    Always glad to be here.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:00:50     For the listeners who may not be familiar with who you are and your background, would you be able to tell us a little bit about yourself?  

Dylan Sessler      00:00:59    I think I’m a normal person. I don’t see myself as being extravagant or ridiculous or anything like that. I just, I’ve been through a lot in my life.  I lost my dad a suicide at six years old. I was abused by the, the next man, next man in my life physically. Then bullied in high school. I joined the military, went to Afghanistan in 2012, and also in 2019.  I also went through my own battle with suicide and I find myself now in a place where I’m just working on my own weaknesses and the weaknesses that I’ve had throughout my life has always been remaining silent. I’ve never been able to or I shouldn’t say I’d never been able to, I didn’t have the capacity to express myself and share what, what I was struggling with through most of my adulthood, even into 25 years old.  

Dylan Sessler     00:01:55    I’ve set myself to work on my weaknesses, develop them in strength. I’m here with you talking about myself and talking about what I’ve been through, which is in complete contrast to what I’ve been through my whole life. I would say I’m a normal person that just is trying to grow and adapt and overcome the battles that I’ve faced.  I think what I’ve done with all of my content, with my podcast, with my book is trying to help other people do the same. That’s me in a nutshell.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:02:33    I think the struggle that you were talking about about basically remaining silent and not opening up and talking about the things that you have had going on in your life is somewhat common.  especially back a few years ago, 10, 15 years ago, even longer. Where mental health was looked at, kind of as a taboo subject, you didn’t talk about all these types of things, or if you were going through something and you did tell someone about it. You’d likely get we’ll just suck it up and deal with it kind of response. We’re realizing now that’s not the best way to handle these types of situations. We need to be able to open up and communicate some of these things that we’re going through in order to be able to heal from what we’re going through. 

Dylan Sessler     00:03:32    Absolutely. I look at it very simply of like my battles suicide specifically was I always looked at suicide as the problem. It was always the thing that I needed to set myself against to not do.  It was always the thing I looked at with my dad, if that was the problem, but I’d never realized that that perspective was very shortsighted.  I realize that suicide isn’t the problem. Neither are other things that you deal with, but suicide specifically for me, wasn’t the problem. It was the result. It was the end game of all of the problems that existed throughout my life. It caught me by surprise, when I started asking questions about what led to that point.

Dylan Sessler      00:04:19    Why am I doing this thing that I’ve set myself against for so long, how did I find myself in this place?  I started asking those questions, I started realizing, looking further back and recognizing how each kind of element of my story and my narrative kind of led me to this point simply because I didn’t know how to ex express myself because I didn’t know how to ask for help because I didn’t know that suffering and silence was a futile effort. It was ultimately going to end in self destruction because it’s a lot easier for me to struggle with my own issues than bring ’em to someone else. But ultimately an easy year doesn’t mean it’s the best way. It just means it’s easier for you. I look at all of those things and I practice the hard truths and the hard realities. I step into people and I ask people the hard questions. 

Dylan Sessler      00:05:19   There’s no point in creating more disconnection in the world when we can be sitting here and having these hard conversations, talking about hard topics like suicide. When I was growing up, suicide was one of those things like you didn’t talk about because you might will it into existence. Well, not that’s just a fallacy. The more you talk about it, the more connection you create, the more you open up about it. I’ve been thinking about suicide, I know I’ve been there. I relate to that. I want you to know that I’ve gotten through that myself  and I can help you. That creates connection. But if I say, I’ve been thinking about suicide and you say, well, stop right now. Now what I’ve learned from you is very simply that you are not a safe place to come and talk about that. Or if you are my only safe place now I have no safe places to talk about it. Now I, now I keep it within. That does no one any good in the long run.  

Scott DeLuzio  00:06:30    Oh, it doesn’t. What you were talking about before, when you were started talking about this as suicide, being the result of all these other issues that you were going through it, to me, it makes sense to think about it, like any other deadly disease that you might have a cancer or some other heart disease or something like that, where if left untreated, you’re going to expect that the end result is probably going to be death, unless somehow some miraculous, recovery takes place. It’s very similar, I think with the mental health issues, where if they are left untreated over time as a natural result of, the buildup of all the stuff that has been going on in someone’s life, you can almost expect that something like that would take place. some of that self-destructive behavior,  

Dylan Sessler      00:07:37    It’s compounding interest.When one thing happens to you, it’s not that bad. You can usually get through that. When that one thing extends its life beyond what it really needs to be. You add another thing. Then because you, it’s that idea that when you compound this, these ideas, right? I lost my dad to suicide at six years old, I became silent. I increased my understanding of guilt and shame and regret almost instantly, but I didn’t have a place to talk about. That life of grieving that I was supposed to kind of work through in those first few years extended itself for 20 year. You add on top of that, the compounding idea of child abuse. Inability to talk about it, that extended itself for 15 years. 

Dylan Sessler      00:08:33    Bullying that extended itself for 10 years. Then I ultimately went to Afghanistan, I saw rough things. I saw terrible things. I saw what people could do to people and that extended itself for another five years. These things that could have been discussed could have been exposed to me, explained to me, taught to me how to, how to process these things were not. Now not only am I dealing with one thing, I’m now dealing with four other major life traumas that are now sitting on top of me. Because they’re in my box, I have to deal with them. I have to figure out how to compartmentalize them and figure out how to process them. If I’m not given the maturity, the knowledge, the space, the safety, the connection, I’m not gonna do it. 

Dylan Sessler      00:09:25    I’m gonna sit with them. I’m gonna deny myself the capacity to process them, cuz I just don’t know any better. What happens to people is that oftentimes our environment compromises our ability to express ourselves. When that happens, you lose the opportunity to cut out your debt right away, pay back that debt, get it over with. But then it’s just like student loans, right. You just build up and build up and here’s this interest rate. Now you’ve gotta put a mortgage on top of it.  Now you’ve gotta get a car loan. Now you have three loans, when you should have had none. You should have had, you should have one or two. A long term loan or something like that. not necessarily to compare it to finances, but the ideas are pretty similar. It’s like you, when you add too much, people are gonna struggle. It’s pretty natural.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:10:20    That’s a good analogy. I think it does make sense when you think about it in a financial term where if you’re borrowing more than you’re able to repay, you’re gonna struggle. You’re just basic math. You’re not going to be able to, to give it back now, you, you can’t put a number like a dollar amount on right. A particular trauma that you’ve experienced or your ability to quote unquote, pay that back over time.  But the idea is similar. If you were to assign a value, whatever that number is, and assign another value to your ability to repay that or to work, work through it, you would see the same kind of math where it doesn’t balance out, or it takes an extraordinarily long time for that to balance out. Then meanwhile, you’re adding new things on top of that over and over again, and which just makes it harder and harder to get down.  

Scott DeLuzio  00:11:25    Eventually you’re gonna get to a point where that bucket of debt is just overflowing and you can’t do anything with it. I was looking up information about this episode, I stuff about your background and I found all these things that you’ve gone through. You mentioned a lot of this earlier in this episode the child abuse, parental suicide, the PTSD, all that kind of stuff. We can talk about how all of those things came into your life. But what I’m really interested in is how you’re able to overcome the PTSD, the depression, the anxiety, and all that stuff that you were living with. Basically going back to that financial analogy, how are you able to pay down that debt and get to a point where now you’re living closer to debt free?  

Dylan Sessler    00:12:31    I think the first thing that I really needed to understand was I needed to learn what the difference was between my reality and the reality of what I wanted to become, if that makes sense. I think reality is a really interesting word because we craft it and yet it doesn’t fit what we see in the real world. Like we look at people and we’re like, how do you not understand that this is what reality is like, but the funny thing about reality is reality is whatever you make it, your perception is your reality. My perception of reality was very skewed. It was very wrong, in the direction of trying to survive. I was willing to, not take care of myself at the expense of other people at the expense of my life

Dylan Sessler    00:13:27     I really needed to understand was one, I needed to know who I was first. I really dug into how I live my life so far? How did all of the things that affected me, teach me to be me.  I think this is you kinda look at this as psychology, 1 0 1 looking at yourself, looking at your narrative, looking at your life, and how did it teach you to be this person that you wanna be now? When I looked at that, I was mortified. I was remarkably uncomfortable with all of the, the, the ridiculous and dumb choices that I made throughout my life to get to where I was. Um, because I just, it wasn’t logical. And I could have sat there. I could have sat with that idea of like, this wasn’t logical Dylan, you are the worst human being, how terrible of you, but that wouldn’t have been fair to me because all of the decisions I made were actually quite rational at the time.  

Dylan Sessler      00:14:27     I look at the difference between rationality and logic as being rationality. All of the feelings you’ve ever felt in your life are valid. You made  decisions because of them. But logic is different. That ability to look beyond the emotions, look beyond the feelings and recognize this feeling isn’t necessary for the long term. For the extent of my life, I need to be able to work through this. I recognize that there was a difference between those two ideas and to then apply. That requires me to be remarkably self empathetic. Which is something I was not good at for 25 years of my life, because I was regretful over my dad’s death. I was shamed over my dad’s death. I was guilty.  

Dylan Sessler      00:15:19    I felt my dad’s death. Many things taught me that I need to be the problem.  I had to be remarkably self empathetic to say, you’re not right. You’re a part and a piece of the puzzle, but you are not the whole picture. To be able to kind of step, take a step back from your life and say that, I think requires a level of courage. It’s difficult to step into,and that’s why people are still struggling. That’s why people are still dealing with this stuff because the real step isn’t in the direction of telling other people, it’s really stepping into the darkness of your life and saying a lot of this, isn’t your fault. A lot of this isn’t your problem.  

Dylan Sessler     00:16:11   A lot of this is just a part of life that found you, and now you have to find a way to respect yourself enough to continue to live. It required a lot of contemplation of what my values were, and being very realistic there’s that word again, about how to apply them to myself. I look at my three main values are empathy, integrity, and learning and learning was this whole kind of culmination of how do I understand trauma? How do I understand suicide? How do I understand life and death? How do I understand sociology, psychology, all of these things? What brought me to understand myself was really this idea of empathy.  I define my idea of empathy as listening to understand. Well, that’s a really interesting concept because it requires you to listen to people that are gonna tell you the truth to understand it.  

Dylan Sessler      00:17:14    It’s not to defend yourself and it’s not to attack their character, put their problems or my problems on them. It’s to tell me what you think about me, so that I can listen to understand what you mean? Because everybody has a different picture of who I am I forced myself essentially to listen to what other people had to say. I listened to what I had to say. Most importantly, to listen, to understand yourself is a remarkable skill. And I think that’s one that’s just not taught enough. That really came from, I think, solidifying my own integrity. What is right and wrong for me? I had to say in 2015, when I almost killed myself, I had to say, you cannot degrade yourself. You cannot self-destruct anymore. You cannot look at yourself and say, all of these problems are your fault.  

Dylan Sessler    00:18:10    That required me to make it a rule, to stop being negative to myself  and if I can’t be negative, I just don’t say anything. I can’t be positive, don’t say anything. I didn’t put this effort into trying to be this positive person. I just created habits that said, just don’t be negative. I think that’s a Trevor Maad technique. It takes what it takes. Unfortunately he passed, I think last year or the year before, but I think that’s an incredible book to kind of help understand that you don’t put the car first to drive. You have to go to neutral, then go to first gear, second year, third gear, and to operate in a capacity where you can respect yourself, requires you to not disrespect yourself first.  

Dylan Sessler      00:19:03    Then from that point on, it was really about just continuing to hone that skill, practice the values that I put in place and say, okay, if you want to be self empathetic. You have to have a willingness to listen to yourself. Not just the pieces of you that say, you’re the worst. You have to listen to the pieces of you that say you’re also the best but cuz they’re there, they’re just really quiet. and it was really, those first two years were a lot of learning. It was a lot of, developing the values that I now put in practice. How to then craft the connection between those values to make everything that I do. Very easy, very simple, very focused on progression of, of my, my meaning of life in, in many, many regards because I look at the meaning of my life is, I enjoy the passage of time.  

Dylan Sessler     00:20:14    I there’s a comedian that said that once and I really, I really like it, and so now I look at my life and I say, I wanna enjoy this. I wanna enjoy life. All of my values are built to help me do that. I’m gonna make all the money in the world? I don’t want to. I just want to be able to enjoy my time with my wife, my son, and my soon to be daughter. I want to be able to come on podcasts and enjoy conversations like this. Listen to people, learn from people, books and share content with people that helps them so that I can look at them and say, I enjoy that. You get to enjoy life. That’s what makes me happy. It requires work. 

Dylan Sessler     00:21:02    It requires effort. It has required me to approach the problems of my life before the result. and that is always a challenge, but it’s, EV every day, even now, I still I practice the very same principles that I’ve, I kind of started in 2015, and it’s brought me to this place of, I, I mean, I can’t tell you the last time I thought about ending my life.  I used to live for 19 years thinking about it every single day. I can’t even remember the last time I thought about it.That’s a remarkable truth about my life that  I’m surprised every day sometimes of how I do it? Sometimes, I give this eloquent answer, I think, but sometimes I don’t know, sometimes there’s a piece of me that I don’t know how I did it.  I think that’s also important to remember that as much as we think we know, we also don’t,that’s a very important piece of ourselves to recognize.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:22:18    I think when the listeners are hearing this message, I think it’s important for them to recognize a few things that you were just talking about. What you just said is that it does take work. It does take effort to get through some of them, it’s not like you’re gonna find a magic potion or something that’s gonna just pop you right through it. But part of the healing process is that struggle so that you can appreciate the other end anytime you do anything. That’s difficult, you, at least this is true in my life. You tend to appreciate the end result a whole lot more. If you just had that magic snap of a finger and boom everything’s rainbows and unicorns, it’s not gonna be as much as appreciated.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:23:20    You’ll probably be more likely to slip back into that place that you were before, because you don’t appreciate all the work that it took to get you to that place, but the other thing that you mentioned, a little bit earlier, was about perspectives and how your perspective is different from somebody else’s perspective. Two people may have experienced the same exact situation they may have, witnessed the same event. They may have been in the same situation and they may have two wildly different perspectives about what happened. I know this is true. Because when I was right, in my book, I went through the sworn statements that the soldiers wrote, regarding the events surrounding the death of my brother and how he was killed. There were about 20 or so sworn statements, all from soldiers who were there on the ground, and they all had slightly different accounts.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:24:27    They were all talking about the same event. You could tell that they were all talking about the same event, the timeline and the sequence of things, but they all witnessed different things, not to say that one was right and one was wrong or anything like that. They were all right, but they were all different at the same time. That was really eye opening to me. And it made me realize that just because I’ve experienced something one way doesn’t mean that that’s the only way that that particular experience was experienced.  It was very interesting for me to read through all of those oaths and statements and try to piece together things through all the redactions that were in there. Just trying to piece it all together, but it all told a bigger picture of the story. I think each one of them was equally valid and important to have.  

Dylan Sessler      00:25:26    That the idea idea and the concept of narrative,  I think  is far more powerful than, than I think people really recognize,  

Scott DeLuzio   00:25:38    Yes.  

Dylan Sessler     00:25:38    The story that you tell yourself about yourself or others, it really determines your perception. It determines how you think, for example, how I looked at my dad. When my dad died, I felt like I knew he was never coming back at that moment.   I genuinely believe that I remember that feeling so vividly and what that did for me in that moment of when I crafted that story, I blame myself. I looked at him. I remember telling him not to leave, but what I, what I found at six years old.  I looked at myself and I said, is it your fault? I told myself that story for 20 years, until finally one day I nearly ended my life. That is the reason that I started to look at myself and say, wait a second, you just put yourself in a situation where it was nobody else’s fault, but your own.  

Dylan Sessler     00:26:41    You’ve been sitting there for 20 years looking at your father’s death as your own fault. This was your choice to be here. It was his choice to be there.  At that moment, I looked at that story. That story that I had built up and so I had built this foundation of everything on that, on that moment.  Everything that happened beyond that was, was literally because my father made a choice, but I never gave him the choice. I gave myself the choice. It was my choice to stop him or not stop him, even though it was completely illogical. It didn’t make any sense. It was just a story that I created within myself. When you, when you start to recount your stories or the stories you have of others or other people’s stories, you have to very much be cognizant at how you rationally put that story together, or how someone else rationally put that story together.  

Dylan Sessler     00:27:39    Doesn’t always mean that’s the reality of the picture. You have to be very, very mindful of the fact that that story can change. It can adapt, it can grow.  20 years later, like I did, it can be completely rewritten to a place where I look at my dad’s death. I’m honored to be in this position right now, because a hundred percent of who I am right now is very much in reaction to what happened that day. That’s not to say my whole value is built on what my father did. It’s just that I wouldn’t have chosen to do this work more than likely if that hadn’t happened, what would’ve happened otherwise, but I do know that there are, there were certainly other possibilities in my life, had he not?  

Dylan Sessler      00:28:32    And so now I’m here, standing against and standing for giving people the very thing that my father never had and giving people the very thing that I never had. And that’s an honor to me, like, I look at that moment that my dad made that choice, not as a bad thing. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a good thing, but it’s certainly not a bad thing. And I find that now that I look at that, I have the willingness to say that this is an important structure of my life. This is an important story. The way I tell it, defines how I move forward with it. I’ve found myself in a situation where I, I have nearly 600,000 people on TikTok that follow me, that value the content that I share, because I talk about real stuff like suicide and trauma and, sexual assault and violence. I talk about these things in ways that help people in a way that I needed and my dad needed. Now what he did has given me the opportunity to speak to people and to share my story and to share what happened. That’s a very good thing in my mind.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:29:42    It is unfortunate that it took such a tragic event for that to kind of materialize in your life. But as I was saying before, sometimes you have to go through certain struggles to be able to appreciate  

Scott DeLuzio    00:30:02    What those struggles have taught you and what they’ve provided you in your life. In your case, the struggle of losing your father and for all those years, tormenting yourself and telling yourself that it was your fault in that, as if you had a choice in the matter, You’re beating yourself up over all of this,just to come to the realization that first off, no, it wasn’t your fault. Now you can look at the work that you’re doing and think to yourself, this is helping prevent another or six year old kid from going through the same sort of life that you have gone through and blaming themselves. Maybe their parents are going to have that, that struggle to, to get through whatever it is and get over that hurdle that they’re, they’re trying to get over, but, they’ll still be there, they won’t have quite the same traumatic experience that you had growing up I think that that is something that you can look back on, and be proud of and be happy about. and that’s, that’s the perspective that, that I think that shift that people have is just changing that perspective in the way they think about things.  

Dylan Sessler     00:31:29    It requires good timing. You can’t just walk up to someone that’s struggling and say, change your story and you’ll change your life. It’s not that simple. That’s why I kind of, I didn’t start with that. When you asked me the question of how did you do it? Did you overcome this and start with that?  I started with understanding, I started with learning. Then as you go forward, you have to respect the idea that you can move forward, that you can live beyond where you, where you might believe you can. Certainly seven years ago, I didn’t think I’d lived to see 20, 26 let alone 30. Now I’m 32. I didn’t think I’d see myself get married.  

Dylan Sessler    00:32:21    I didn’t think I would find myself having a child. I didn’t see all these things in my future.I didn’t see myself writing a book or being an influencer on a podcast. Like 15, 20 years ago I was silent. Like I was the kid that did not talk to people. Now here I am actively finding podcasts and content to make and speaking my mind on my own podcast and sharing deep and intrinsically intimate thoughts about myself. If you were to tell me that 15 years ago, I would’ve laughed at you.  I would’ve been rolling on the floor.  It just wouldn’t have made sense to me that I would’ve been doing this, this job and this work and this support that I’m giving people. It just didn’t make sense back then, but the things that can change so quick is all dependent on how you start that process of learning and how you develop those values that you see to be true and how you then tell your story it’s all about how you time, all of those things and how you appreciate yourself.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:33:37    That you have fought your battles alone so that others don’t have to and in your mental health coaching, program that you have, how is it that you help other people fighting their battles,  

Dylan Sessler    00:34:01    Oftentimes, which this isn’t a good or really good question.  I find myself offering up the very thing that I, I wish I would’ve given myself. I had a mother that was so incredible, but I did give her a chance. That was my own fault. In many regards, I didn’t have the words back then. I didn’t have the understanding back then. I didn’t have the perspective back then. I didn’t have all of the things that I needed to really feel comfortable sharing things with my mom. What I do now is I give words to be, I give understanding to people I give, what I think is the reality of what trauma is or what sexual assault is, what suicide is, what violence is, all of the things that I’ve struggled with, or have watched other people struggle with.  

Dylan Sessler     00:34:57    I try to help people learn either the vocabulary, the scientific understanding of how the body works. I try to give people the words to start the conversation. Then when I’m sitting with them, I give them a safe place to say what they need to say.  Because what, what people have to say about their traumas is really dark. It’s really hard. It’s really hard to find someone that’s safe to say what I’ve been thinking about, killing myself for 10 years,  because nobody really knows how to deal with that in just your average, average, everyday life. People have other things going on, they have other things to do. The stigmas that exist, exist for a reason, unfortunately. I think, I think we haven’t really given that a realistic understanding, like those stick to them are real.  

Dylan Sessler     00:35:57    They very much stand in place because people don’t have safe people to go to. You go to the wrong person and you say I’ve been thinking about suicide for the last 10 years. That person doesn’t respect the privacy of what that really means, or whatever, and goes to police, goes to authorities. Those authorities pick that person up and take them to an emergency medical facility. Then they’re traumatized there. Because that’s not what they wanted to do. They just needed to have a conversation. It becomes a really complicated situation really quickly. What I offer is risky to me. It can be risky to other people, but I think it’s important to understand that I don’t have any power in this situation.  

Dylan Sessler     00:36:48    You come to me and you tell me, you’re thinking about suicide. I’m gonna have a conversation with you. I’m gonna talk about it. I’m not gonna promise you success. I’m not gonna promise a long life. What I am gonna promise you is I’m gonna listen to you and hear you and respect your privacy and offer you a place to share these things openly. That has been remarkably successful. Now that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. It’s a hard conversation regardless, but what I think most people need is connection. And I think that it’s very simple. When you take the authority and the power out of my end, it gives people the empowerment and the willingness to share in a moment where they need to be able to express themselves and share. It’s been remarkably successful for me, and it’s been, and, remarkably successful for other people that come to me but it’s a hard job. It’s a difficult job because you have to be very, very careful approaching these conversations. If you’re not good at it, you can hurt some people.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:37:57    Yep. That’s true. If there are people who maybe aren’t quite ready for having those conversations They feel like they’re being pushed into it too soon for them. That could not be the best situation either. But you do have other resources available for people like you, who may not be quite as far along on their own personal journey where they want to open up and talk about things, but they may still want to get a better understanding of what’s going on with them. Through your podcast, through your social media and your website and everything, you have a lot of content there that people can check out and maybe help themselves along that journey. But I think the important part is they’re able to help move in that, that right direction. 

Dylan Sessler     00:38:58    It’s funny cuz I had a client recently come to me. She had been following me for about a year and a half before she ever decided to schedule an appointment with me and now like it’s, it’s becoming something that she’s really comfortable with and we’re moving forward and continuing to kind of help her find very, find better ways to really dig into herself and respect herself and appreciate herself. That’s really the key that you find, the depth of any conversation is really dependent on the level of safety within that conversation. Some people will look at a book and be like, that’s the only conversation I can have right now. One where I read these pages when I feel it’s safe.Some people will get really invested in books or podcasts or audiobooks or something like that or content. 

Dylan Sessler     00:39:55   I put a lot of content out on TikTok and it’s all free. Some people relish in that stuff and that’s the only thing they’ll ever consume with me. But then there’s some people that look at me and realize this guy gets it. This guy understands. When they meet me for the first time, they’re like, wow, he not only gets it, but he wants to get me. He wants to understand who I am and he wants to help me understand who I am.  I found myself like one of the, one of the craziest things about this whole journey that I’ve, that I’ve been on of helping people stepping out outside of just my helping myself, was the idea that not a only did I become a person, a mental health coach of success, of any type.  

Dylan Sessler      00:40:46    But the successful that I found was helping women specifically and helping women who have gone through things like sexual assault. I’ve never gone through sexual assault, but I find myself being the one that’s supporting people who have through something I’ve never gone through. I’ve really learned how to approach those conversations. Because when we talk about sex, when we talk about, rape, when we talk about sexual assault, when we talk about these things that are really intimate and taboo and almost scary to talk about, sometimes the people they have talk to about this stuff. The therapists, the psychologists, the psychiatrists, the friends, the family have made them feel either remarkably unsafe, shamed or a number of other factors. When I approach these conversations, I’m not here to push boundaries. I’m here to allow you to open up about these difficult moments, these intimate moments, which I need to respect.

Dylan Sessler      00:41:49    I need to have a care and a level of competence in having the conversation without being immature. Which is one of the biggest problems. It sounds like from, from what these women have dealt with. It’s not just women, but I deal with a lot of women and it’s a remarkably difficult conversation for them to have because they can’t trust people to, to just have the willingness to not tell them what’s right or wrong. My job as a mental health coach is not to tell you what’s right or wrong, it’s to help you learn what’s right or wrong. That doesn’t require me to tell you what’s right or wrong. It just requires me to reveal to you very simple ideas. Ask the right questions because more often than not, people don’t need me to tell them what’s right or wrong.  

Dylan Sessler     00:42:43    They need me to reveal a confirmation of sorts. I ask the questions of what do you think about this? Then they tell me all, all what they think. I just say, well, what are you asking me for? What’s right or wrong. It seems like, what’s right or wrong, but you’re, you’re unwilling to accept it because someone else told you it’s not right. It becomes this, this negotiation of sorts within themselves. Of a  very similar thing to what I did for myself. Everyone has that within themselves I think. We have it all in different ways. That’s always the challenge of trying to find what it is. You’re trying to negotiate with yourself and essentially get it out of the way.  

Dylan Sessler      00:43:33    How do we build the values that support making the right decision for you? I think it’s so important for people who are helping others to take their own sense of integrity out of it, unless it’s needed.  Where I had a client, come to me a couple months ago regarding itll rape, right. She had been in a relationship for quite some time. Her husband didn’t didn’t respect the idea. Yhey had grown up in the church and what ended up happening or what’s happening right now is that  we’re working through this understanding of how to craft a relationship, especially a sexual relationship that’s healthy. To address the issues that are apparent. It becomes a really difficult conversation on both sides of the coin. Because how do you tell someone they’re wrong, but then also help this person on the other side say, you’re absolutely right. This is wrong. Like helping her understand that this is not fair to you, this is not comfortable for you. Then also telling this person on the other side, you’re hurting someone you’re causing problems. This needs to be a trust. These conversations are remarkably hard, remarkably difficult.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:44:59    I think not only are the conversations hard, that internal narrative that we have make things even harder because the things that we’re facing, the, the depression, the anxiety, the PTSD, the assaults, the things like those things are not indications that we are broken or that there’s something wrong with us, whoever the person is who’s dealing with this stuff. Those things are pretty normal human reactions to abnormal, stressful, traumatic situations. The thing is that we have that mindset and we need to break free of that mindset. That something is wrong with us. That we’re broken because that’s not true. We’re experiencing a normal human reaction to abnormal situations. It’s kind of the way I like to put it. 

Dylan Sessler     00:46:03    It’s rational. It’s quite simple. It’s a rational response. It’s a rational reaction. Now that doesn’t mean it remains logical.That’s the, that’s the hard part of this of like, and that’s often what people see is that they see the response, but they see the response 10 years later. Then they look at you and say, you’re doing this wrong. Then you look at yourself and you’re like, you become defensive because this person doesn’t understand the narrative. That’s when it becomes complicated as cuz how are you supposed to deal with this interaction where they don’t realize that you’ve been through all of this stuff that you’ve been through, but now they’re telling you what’s right and wrong. That’s why, like I look at, one of the things I wrote in my book was you’re the only person that knows 100% of the context of your life.  

Dylan Sessler      00:46:55    You can’t look at how other people look at you and say, I agree wholeheartedly all the time because they don’t know. Even your mother will never live with you 100% of your lifetime, guess what? You gotta go to the bathroom every once in a while and she’s not gonna be there. Nobody’s ever going  to see everything that happens to you and nor do they need to, but you need to be able to, as a person, look at yourself and respect that you have a story that they don’t need to know or have the right to know. When they say to you, this is what’s right and wrong, you don’t have to agree with it. You don’t have to explain yourself all the time. There are certain people you might want to explain to.

Dylan Sessler      00:47:43    Having a wife requires you to really be quite intimate with that conversation versus maybe your mother-in-law right. Maybe your mother-in-law can fuck off. We can have a real deep conversation with your wife. That’s a remarkably important kind of interaction, kind of an interactional rule that I think is so important,  you need to be able to be okay with people not understanding everything. Or you can be like me and learn how to express all of it in the ways that I do. People understand who I am, but guess what? Not everybody’s gonna understand it. You gotta be okay with that.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:48:25    Some people may try to understand it. They may not even like it. And you kind of just have to be okay with that. You don’t have to like me. You don’t have to like the way I handle things, the way I deal with things. But this is me. This is who I am, almost take it or leave it. 

Dylan Sessler     00:48:46    Yeah, absolutely. I love that phrase. You can’t waste years of your life looking at someone else and hoping they’ll take you. Right. Because ultimately you’re not necessarily, you’re not wasting your life. What you’re wasting is your ability to perceive that your value is acquired elsewhere.and that’s, that’s a really profound thought. When you think about it, you are looking at one singular person and saying,  I really want you to love me is taking away from the opportunity for you to find that one person that really will love you. That’s the human condition right there is that we hope for things that we can’t have. We dismiss things that we can.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:49:40    I think that sums it up pretty well. Before we wrap up here first off, it’s been a pleasure speaking with you.  I really appreciate your perspectives and your openness and willingness to share your background, and the things that you’ve experienced.  I wanna give you the opportunity to let the listeners know where they can go to get in touch with you. If they want more information,find out more about your coaching, your podcast, and even get a copy of your book.  

Dylan Sessler     00:50:13    Well, first of all, thank you, Scott. I appreciate this.  I can’t wait to have you on my podcast fairly soon, to reciprocate this conversation and learn a little bit more about you, but it’s quite simple. You can find me on any social media through my name, Dylan Suler. My book’s on Amazon. It’s audible. I would recommend the audible because I shared it, I did the voiceover and I also added a bunch of off-script stuff.  I think the Audible’s a little bit more complete. Target.com, Barnes and Noble, it’s all over the place. Feel free to hit me up on any social media. You can schedule a meeting through my website.  

Scott DeLuzio  00:51:02    I will have links to all of that in the show notes. Anyone who’s looking to get in touch with Dylan or get a copy of his book, check out his podcast, all that stuff. Check out the show notes. You can click right through and we’ll get you guys linked up in touch. So thank you again, Dylan. I really appreciate your time coming on the show sharing your story.  

Dylan Sessler      00:51:24    Likewise, thank you  

Scott DeLuzio    00:51:27    Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to check out more episodes or learn more about the show, you can visit our website DriveOnPodcast.com. We’re also on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube at Drive On Podcast.

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