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October 5

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Ep 85 | Breaking the Silence and Opening Up About Mental Illness


Vaughn Rush is a liberated, black, gay man who served as a behavioral specialist in the Army serving in Iraq. He’s also an entertainer and go-go dancer who travels the world performing. I met Vaughn in Stowe, Vermont, while he was vacationing, and I was on a sabbatical writing my book. We instantly connected over having real conversations and sharing our most authentic truths. 

In this episode, Vaughn opens up about his bipolar disorder and what it means to navigate life by loving all parts of himself. He gets very vulnerable about what it means to be a gay, black man, endure mental health struggles, and advocate for himself and countless others.


What’s in the episode: 

  • Vaughn's time in the military as a gay, black man
  • What it means to feel supported in WHO you are
  • Why being open about mental health is so important
  • His mental illness challenges
  • Strategies he uses to navigate dark times

“In a way, I feel very blessed for my mental health struggle because I've had a lot of things along the way that safeguarded me and kept me alive. ” 

- Vaughn Rush

If you enjoy this episode and it inspired you in some way, I’d love to hear about it and know your biggest takeaway. Take a screenshot of you listening on your device, post it to your Instagram Stories and tag me, @kimstrobeljoy.

I would also love if you subscribed to the podcast and left a review at https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/she-finds-joy/id1487739752

About Vaughn Rush

Vaughn Rush, professionally known as Sean Vaughn Carter is an Army Veteran, entrepreneur, Male Lead & Entertainer, go-go dancer and international traveler. He currently lives in New York City and San Diego California, although frequently traveling the states and abroad. Vaughn graduated from Frank Sinatra School of the Arts High School in New York City and is currently pursuing his Master of Social Work at Fordham University.

Vaughn served in the United States Army for 7 years, deploying to Iraq in 2011 as a Behavioral Health Specialist and medic. For 6 year prior to the Covid pandemic, Vaughn owned ad operated a backpackers hostel in San Diego California. Currently you can catch Vaughn, or Sean Vaughn Carter, go-go dancing in New York City, San Francisco, Long Beach, and abroad, as well as a Male Lead in pageants, night clubs and Brunch drag shows. Vaughn’s passions include travel, mental health, physical fitness, gay pride and authenticity

 

About Kim

Kim Strobel is Chief Happiness Officer at Kim Strobel Live Events and Retreats. She is a teacher, consultant, motivational speaker, happiness coach, and mission-minded person whose passion is helping others overcome their fears and discover their joy!

You can follow Kim’s journey on Instagram at @KimStrobelJoy and in the free private She Finds Joy Facebook community.

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Transcript

Kim Strobel 00:28 

Vaughn rush, professionally known as Sean bond, Carter, is an Army veteran, entrepreneur, male lead an entertainer, an international traveler. He currently lives in New York City and San Diego, California. Although he frequently travels across the states, he graduated from the Frank Sinatra School of Arts High School in New York City, and is pursuing his Master of Social Work at Fordham University. Vaughn served in the United States Army for seven years deploying to Iraq in 2011. As a behavioral health specialist and Medic, for six years prior to the COVID pandemic. Vaughn owned and operated a backpackers hostel in San Diego, California. Currently, you can catch our guest gogo dancing in New York City, San Francisco, and abroad, as well as a male lead in pageants nightclubs and drag shows his passions include travel, mental health, physical fitness, gay pride, and author Ninh TriCity. Vaughn, I am so excited to have you on today's show. Thank you for being here. 

Vaughn Rush 01:57 

V

Thanks for having me. I've been waiting for this for like 20 years at this point. So I 

Kim Strobel 02:01 

know it feels like that. So let's tell our audience how we met. And by the way, I think I saw a quote that I thought you purposely posted in were thinking of me the other day, but I was actually in Vermont, staying at a friend's cabin for two and a half weeks, and I was on a sabbatical. And I was writing my book. And I was there for two weeks by myself and then my husband joined me. And let me just say, while I was there, I wrote 28,000 words and 12 chapters. What you also need to know is this would have been 2019. I have not written a single word sense, Vaughn. Because I am a destination only writer. You know. So anyway, I tell my husband, I want to go to in just Stowe, Vermont, which is about 20 minutes away, because I'm this massive snow skier. I love the mountains. It's October, November, I think. And so I just want to go to the area. And so we see this like restaurant slash bar, and we stop and decide, hey, we're gonna have some drinks. Now, I as you know, as a speaker, Vaughn, I read people 

really, really, really well, like I can pick up on all the energy in the room. And over to the side is this guy and this woman, and they're just kind of keeping to themselves and having all this conversation. And I find myself wanting to find out more about you. But then I'm like, Okay, I have introverted Scott next to me. And he gets all jiggy when I get up in somebody else's business. And so I don't know if you remember this, but I literally waited for him to go to the bathroom. And then I just attacked you. 

Vaughn Rush 03:52 

Sounds about right. 

Kim Strobel 03:55 

I just like I scooted my chair up next to you, I started asking questions. What did you think about that? I want to know, what's your honest answer at first? 

Vaughn Rush 04:05 

Um, to be honest, I am. I am a very interesting person. And I know that and everywhere I go, people have questions for me and want to know stuff and, you know, everything. So I'm very used to it. And I always have a lot to say. So whenever people haven't asked me questions or 

interviewed me, I was like, I could go for hours, just, you know, whatever you need to know. And I'm, I'm an open book, as you know. So 

Kim Strobel 04:27 

yeah, we found out a lot about each other right away. Didn't really, yeah, I think Scott came back from the bathroom and I had already volunteered to be your surrogate mother, we were going to plan our next vacation together. That's kind of how I roll on. All right, so I just read your bio, and you're a male entertainer and Iraq War veteran and a very liberated person. Now, what I found interesting about you is you Were in the army and a gay man. And I think back in 20 Oh, was it 2011? 

Vaughn Rush 05:09 

For Iraq? Yeah, yeah. Yeah. 

Kim Strobel 05:13 

So tell me this. When did you come out? As a gay black man? 

Vaughn Rush 05:21 

V

Um, I've always been a little gay black man, I guess. You know, I went to performing arts high school and stuff like that. So I've kind of always been that for a while, like, junior high high, you know, came into my own. I didn't really hide it in the military. I kind of came in people didn't really care. You just had to not say certain things. And you'd be you'd be fine. And there's a lot of gay people that were serving in the military, which is why the pressure came to get rid of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, because there's so many people serving. 

Kim Strobel 05:54 

Absolutely. And for those of people who don't know what Don't Ask, Don't Tell is that's when President Obama, right? Didn't he sign that law in December 2010. And tell the nation that homosexuals would no longer fear discharge by the military by admitting their sexual preference? 

Vaughn Rush 06:14 

Yeah, I believe he was the one that repealed it. 

Kim Strobel 06:17 

I believe that he repealed it, he repealed it. 

Vaughn Rush 06:20 

The Clinton had put it in place, maybe 93, or something. And he was the one that repealed it. Yeah. 

Kim Strobel 06:25 

Gotcha, gotcha. So then. Okay, I want to go back a minute, though. So people that you went to school with knew you were gay? Yeah. And you had a very supportive mother the entire time. I remember you telling me that? 

Vaughn Rush 06:42 

V

Yes. Yes, my mother, she, she, I always credited her for being one of the reasons that I didn't really go a ride in life, because I was a really erratic child, you know. And I've become more mature and stable now through life experiences and entrepreneurialship. But it she did a lot to kind of keep me on tracks, because like I said, I could have been anywhere everywhere. And I would not have been as successful as I am today. She did not try as hard as 

Kim Strobel 07:09 

did you. And I'm asking because I have, you know, people that I know, that are gay, and they have struggled and still struggle with a lot of shame over how they were made. And I think a lot of it comes from not feeling that they have that support from others, or they can't even maybe come out as who they are. And it has affected them their entire life. Did you ever feel any of that shame or wonder why you were different growing up? 

Vaughn Rush 07:56 

I mean, I've always, you know, been through that I the story of the gay child discovering themselves, I kind of had, I've had that. Not as bad, though, as a lot of other people, but I definitely had mine. I'm on the other spectrum of that now, where I feel extremely liberated, I feel extremely proud. One reason is because I know who I am. I also know that it's better to be gay than it is to be straight. It's more seasoning. As I say, a lot here. There's a lot of stuff that straight people don't have to deal with. And I'm like, not my problem. And just being able to be myself and defend myself as well helps because a lot of people feel physical, not physically safe, sometimes with getting bullied and things of that nature. 

Kim Strobel 08:40 

Oh, yes, yes. Now, what would you say to someone, an adult, who has maybe known this about themselves the whole time, but they have immense fear and feel like they will never be able to show who they truly are. And, you know, I live in the Midwest. And it can be even harder, I think. But do you have in this, these would have to be just baby steps. But what can someone who feels that much fear to be who they truly are? 

Vaughn Rush 09:25 

V

Okay, yeah, I can understand the fear, especially when it comes to religious places and other, you know, places that make people feel unsafe if they wouldn't be open. There's this there's consequences that occur but also the joy of being liberated, is so much greater. And I think about all that I had to go through on a regular basis until big to get liberated. And how freeing that is, but looking back and I'm like, okay, yeah, that was hard. Never thought I'd get through that, Oh, I thought it was over for me here and then a bunch of different circumstances. But in the end, there's nothing greater than being free. You know, there's nothing greater than being liberated. And it's not going to be an easy road, depending on where you live. You know, some places still have unpaved roads, if you'd like a little metaphor. 

Kim Strobel 10:20 

Absolutely, yes. Yes. You know, you are I follow you, of course on Instagram, and we're gonna give all the links for that at the end of this show. But I don't know if you know, I'm like clicking on your stories all the time. Now, Vaughn, I have to admit, I think I told you this when we were 

having some drinks, Moscow Mules for me. I'm like, Okay, I'm just gonna go there, even though I sometimes get nervous, because I know a lot of people who listen to my podcast are like, educators, you know, even though this is not a podcast just for educators, but it's like, oh, gosh, how, how much can I let my freak flag freak flag? Fly? You know, but like, I remember you 

being like, I was like, Oh my gosh, you know, like, you. I mean, I can dance, but only if it's like a group of people or by myself when my husband goes to the gym, and I feel like I'm really going to just have some fun. And I was like, oh my god, I could never like you. You are doing like, all the sexy dancing and, and I watch your stories just because like, I am amazed. And I'm just gonna say this. I'm a straight white woman. You are a gay black man. And it's like some of the stuff you do. It's like, that turns me on VOD. 

Vaughn Rush 11:39 

I will say, especially recently, I've traveled to a couple countries. And when I was in Brazil, in particular, I'm walking around and I was like, the girls are giving me more attention than the guys. 

Kim Strobel 11:50 

Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Yes, yes. Yes, yes. Yes. Yes. I mean, you have the body, you have the moves. Yeah, it's, it cracks me up. I love it. I love it. I love it so much, because you are like, I think I'm really comfortable in my skin a lot of the time. But I also think there's a nother layer to me that at times I kind of keep repressed not in direct relation to like dancing, but just I know that 

there's still part of Kim Strobel, who's like, kind of keep it in line now girl, you know. And so I really, really, really love that about you. It is so energizing. And I do think like, next time we get to maybe be around each other. I'm thinking I need a private dance class from you. 

Vaughn Rush 12:42 

But we'll go dancing, we're little dancing. 

Kim Strobel 12:44 

Yeah. Okay, I want to talk about mental health, because that's the other thing that you have been incredibly transparent about. And so tell our audience a little bit about your, your experiences with your own mental health struggles, and what that looked like in the past. And then I want to talk about what it looks like now to 

Vaughn Rush 13:05 

V

Well, I, I feel, I feel in a way very blessed for my mental health struggle, because I've had a lot of things on the on the way that have safeguarded me and kept me alive. And taking helps me with my mental health and something a lot of times, it makes me sadder to know that there are people who didn't have those, you know, bear those things to help them such as I was a behavioral health specialist in the military. And I served as a behavioral specialist in Iraq, you know, seeing patients that I have, you know, caseload and things of that such and I'm getting my master's in social work with the hopes of becoming a social worker and getting a job working overseas with the military. But when I'm going to the VA, and I'm trying to get care, I try to extend grace because I understand the system having worked in it, I know they don't 

have enough people, and that they're overwhelmed with the amount of veterans and I can only give them a little bit of grace for that because of the other side. I'm like, well, I need help. And I've been in a very, like heavy argue or I don't I literally don't mind throwing things if I need to. And I look and say it's unacceptable that I would have to do this to get care. So I'm always up for people you know, trying to get help before it gets to that point, because I run a lot to the VA before I feel like you know I'm erratic because then when I get there, no one wants to listen to crazy black man. Even though no one was when you don't no one wants to listen to calm black man either. And then I have to bring out angry black man just a little bit and they go oh, okay, let's, 

Kim Strobel 14:43 

yeah, we're paying attention now. And I want to interrupt you a minute because I have a really dear friend and her husband was in the military and served and he ended up dying three years ago. She found me in the bedroom he had Odede and And he had tried multiple times to get the the mental health support that he needed from the PTSD. And he just couldn't get in again, I know that they're understaffed and everything in, there's probably a multitude of things we don't understand. But he could not get the behavioral mental health that he needed. And so my friend, like wrote a very intense letter to the government on behalf of her dead husband explaining what she had endured with him how he had changed when he came back. And the downward struggle, how many times he had reached out for help and not been able to get it. So I hear you very clearly, when you are saying that the supports we know are not in place to help veterans with that extremely important piece. 

Vaughn Rush 15:52 

And, and the letters are funny enough, I'm, you know, I love writing letters at this point, because I know how effective they can be, I had to write a letter to get out of the military. Because at one point when they medically evacuated me from my rack, because my unit was, you know, piece of crap. When I got home, I was in this medical holds unit for two years doing odd jobs, just they couldn't figure out if they want to kick me out or keep me and for two years, I was just in this loop of just holding, and I had to write a letter to everybody. Let's say I wrote to every generals, all the generals, all the sergeant majors, and the first line said, I knew I should have killed myself and I racked and was like, why am I sitting in this unit? And I'm not and I was like, what makes me even angrier is that I can still be providing mental health care. While you're figuring out where I need to go, yeah, since you're not even doing that, and you have me driving around the sergeant major or working in the mailroom? Yeah, absolutely not, 

Kim Strobel 16:52 

why? Why did they have an issue with you? For me, or unstable or what? 

Vaughn Rush 16:59 

V

Well, in my unit, once I had some mental health concerns come up, and I was trying to talk, I had to talk to another not my psychologists and other psychologists. And then there was other friction that happened, there's a whole bunch of people sleeping with other people. So all of 

friction that happened, there's a whole bunch of people sleeping with other people. So all of that stuff, 

Kim Strobel 17:17 

yes. And so all that and they didn't wanna have to deal with that. So they evacuate you bring you back, give you kind of these jobs, just to keep you busy. And so you begin to advocate for yourself and every other person who needs that support. And so what are your mental health struggles? Is it depression, I know that at times, you do have this suicidal thoughts. And I think 

it's so important that we talk about that. And I'm very transparent. With my struggles to Vaughn. I mean, I currently meet with a psychiatrist, because for 28 years, I was on Zoloft for my panic disorder. And it has not been working well, for the last several years. And so, you know, I wanted to really make sure that I had someone who could understand my panic disorder and transition me to another medicine. And so I'm in the throes and have been of that for about six months. And I have like, no qualms about saying, I mean, I have a counselor in my life, he's been in my life for 20 years, the version of Kim Strobel in front of you, and what I can achieve and do is he's he's one really big component of that, because you know, sometimes people think you go to a counselor, and who needs a counselor, and I'm like, every single person in the world needs. Yeah, a counselor or a coach, somebody who it's too hard to even know sometimes what our baggage is that we're carrying. But anyway, tell me what kind of your mental struggles are as far as diagnoses. 

Vaughn Rush 18:54 

V

I was diagnosed a while ago with bipolar two. So I really don't have manic it's more depressive episodes that I have. The best way to describe it for me is I have really high moments where everything feels amazing. Or you know, it could be like, I'm talking to you. And then I'm going to see my friend later on today. And then maybe I'll see a show. And I'm like, That was a great day that I have to prepare myself and I kind of allude to this sometime in my story. I have to prepare myself for the crash after that when I wake up and I don't feel as well. I started seeing a lot of that when I did my Semester at Sea. And every time I would come back into port, my mood would shift it would it was really interesting. We're in port. So I've been going to VA for that. But I also have a sense that really affects my life really weirdly and uniquely. I've always called the dysthymia which is just a sense of boredom. So I don't get to you know, say so many people and if you watch my stories, you would understand how crazy would sound for me to say I'm bored. But I can say that I'm bored. And it's a weird thing, especially when I talked to therapists and everyone, they're like, Oh, my God, you're like, what do you do? I'm like, Yeah, that's cool. Whatever. 

Kim Strobel 20:10 

Like, you know, I think it's like I was thinking about it with stress recently, because one of the things I've noticed about myself is that when I'm not like every now and then I have these periods where I'm not quite as busy in my work. And I mean, Vaughn, what goes on in my head, like, I start to get a little bit of depression, when I'm not like, super busy. And like, I kind of feed off that adrenaline of feeling stressed, and like, Oh, my God, I gotta get this done. I gotta get this done. Oh, my God, I don't have enough time. And like, I might be super stressed. But I also know that like, my brain is kind of hungry all the time for that like adrenaline rush. It's the same 

reason that I barely get anywhere by the hair of my chinny chin chin. I will have a hair appointment and be driving like a mad woman trying to get there just on the dot. And I'm like, Oh, my God, Kim white, you know, but I know like, I'm addicted to it. So do you feel like, it's like, you're you you're addicted to needing stimulation all the time, is that 

Vaughn Rush 21:17 

I don't really feel that way. Especially after COVID. After quarantining, I really learned because I traveled myself, you know, for a while anyway, so I was okay with me and myself. But I would always stay busy. And COVID really taught me to sit with myself, and do nothing sometimes, you know. So I didn't become obsessed with it. I like staying busy. It feels good. It keeps me active. It keeps me moving, which I love. But I will say I do. I've gotten much better at it because I work on myself a lot. So I have exercise sitting down. I have exercise, sitting in front of the TV and not moving like literally three hours before this. I was like, I could go do XY and Z or I could just be in the house. And I was like sit. I've learned to do that. And it's helped. But the big thing with mental health, I always bring up it's work. You know, sometimes you need to I have a person in my head that will read me and be like, What are you talking about? What are you and I'm like, I literally have that app, like, you know, like, catch myself. And that's part of the work that a lot of people don't realize that that you really need to invest in. Yes, 

Kim Strobel 22:29 

I know for me, and again, this is gonna sound crazy, but I'm so self reflective. And it's even the weekends even though like I'm excited by like Sunday, I start slipping into, oh my god, you know, I just need to start my work week. And I'm like, Kim, so I'm actually going to learn I'm scheduled to go to Louisville and take a four day Curt course on Transcendental Meditation, so that I can learn to be more comfortable going within myself. And then my goal is I'm 48 is to do the 500 mile walk across Spain by myself. It's the El Camino de Santiago. Um, it should take me five to six weeks. And that is like really important because I've got to learn to sit with myself more. Now I want to go back to your bipolar two, how is it like a cycle where you have so many high days and then you kind of know, okay, here comes the low, it should be coming anytime or is it very sporadic? 

Vaughn Rush 23:29 

V

It's, um, it's sporadic. With me, I've worked so I can see it kind of come in, I like to say like the cloud moving, you know, I can feel it, or sense that I'm going to have an episode. So at this point, I'm able to kind of prep myself. So certain things that will usually help me sink lower, I have to, you know, avoid or move around or stop doing them, or put things in place, such as calling a bunch of friends and making sure that I'm staying connected, even if it means calling every single one of my close friends, you know, so I can see that much. And it's really sporadic. I had one when I landed in Brazil on New Year's Day. I was like, You're in Sao Paulo, in Brazil, and I was just like, I don't care. I could die right now. Just like, and that's how you 

Kim Strobel 24:16 

really feel right? Like you. Like you have had suicidal thoughts in the last year even right? 

really feel right? Like you. Like you have had suicidal thoughts in the last year even right? 

Vaughn Rush 24:25 

Yeah. And it's important because I haven't had too many of the technically suicidal thoughts. They have been ideations or ruminating thoughts of wanting to die, because I like to explain, like, I do love myself, I know that I'm amazing. I don't really have that self confidence problem, or, you know, their esteem or feeling helpless in that sense. It's just a matter of feeling over being in the world and having to go through the stuff that I go through. I'd rather just not and for me, a lot of it is feeling like I've reached kind of a ceiling with life, it really doesn't feel like there's more than this. And it's like, if this is all that there is, it doesn't motivate me to want to go that much further in life. And I, you know, take me out any moment. Yes. And, 

Kim Strobel 25:13 

and it's reminding me, I always tell the story. I mean, I really had that bathroom moment when I was 22 years old. And I was having panic attacks, you know, every, every hour of every day and didn't have a diagnosis and just thought I was, you know, just, I didn't know what the hell was wrong with me, I thought I had psychological problems, or I couldn't understand why I was 22 years old. And I was nervous if my husband left the house, or to walk around the block, or whatever. And I always say that I really did have that moment where I curled up in the fetal position of my bathroom, and I laid on the rug. And I was like, you know, I'm not going to go get a gun, I'm not going to slit my wrists. Like, I just don't have that in me. But I pleaded with God, to please just somehow take my life from me just just do it. Because it's really too hard to be where I am right now. And for me, I do remember, I don't know, I always say, I don't know if it was a voice or like an inner. I don't know what it was. But like, I did hear something that like spoke to me and basically said, like, you can't stop now you you are made for more like you have to get up off that bath mat rug in, you know, you have to figure this out. And I don't know if it was divine intervention or what but in course, I still have some struggles today with the the panic and stuff. But I do understand what you're saying. I think in that it's not like we're, we're going to do it. But we feel like we just kind of wish it would happen on its own. And that's how I felt at that time. 

Vaughn Rush 26:54 

And I am a little bit on the point where, you know, I have gotten to the point where I have started to consider suicide, as like, I'm not just going to wait. But I, I've worked so hard to not get there that I have to work to not really make it an option, which is what I'm working towards. But I always feel like I'm like that's an option. Yes. Even if I try not to say it is 

Kim Strobel 27:17 

so yes. And when you're in that those kind of down episodes, will they last days, weeks hours? 

Vaughn Rush 27:27 

V

It depends. It depends the one that happened in Brazil, and it could have been because I hadn't like you know, a vape pen. I was seven o'clock, I was like, Okay, I'm listening to music. And I'm fine. You know, since music helps so much. So usually, it's not a long period of time at this point, because I've worked to shorten them. And I also think it's important part of the work is having your soldiers in place to fight that war, when you know, you're going to go through it. So I know and make sure that they actually work, you know, not like those police officers who stood outside the school and did nothing, you know, make sure they are, you know, if this happens for me, I'm going to call certain amount of friends, I'm going to make sure that I you know, don't isolate myself too much, or I'm going to make sure I'm eating because he's not eating as a trigger. And I won't even think about it and it just gets worse. So I have to put those things in place. So and they become shorter and shorter. And then after a while, it's just like a little rainstorm and annoying rainstorm, thunderstorms, sometimes hail, but you know, it's like, Oh, yes. And it's over. 

Kim Strobel 28:30 

You know, I think that's what I've had to have. It's hard and my counselor has been working I don't even like to call him a counselor because he's like so much more than that. He's He's like a spiritual mentor. He's just this biggest gift in my life. Well, not the biggest he's pretty big. I always think oh, I can't that's a lie. My son is the biggest gift of my life and then I better throw my husband Scott in there because he's a pretty good guy. But he tries so hard on to get me to accept that this could be a lifelong struggle for me and that just like you said, you know the the train will come again but maybe there's seven you know, cargoes on it and not 10 The next time and I really resist that Vaughn. I am like No, dammit, I'm going to heal this like I'm going to get over this I'm going to be and I and I don't I you know I don't want to accept that my life might always be like this and I think it causes distress because I don't know there's two sides of me one says Kim you know you you do a lot of thought work you know there are ways to overcome these things and you just keep at it girl you you you could you could actually heal yourself from this. And then the other part of me says if I quit resisting what would happen? 

Vaughn Rush 29:50 

V

I think it's important to adjust have just like they say SMART goals. If you know you have to think healing, healing is kind of out the window. And in a way in my head, you can heal. But say the scar will be there or you know, in the star, sometimes it's susceptible to whatever. But I do it is a lifelong journey could come back, certain things can change for me. I've been through times where I was like, I'm healed. And then I but I also was smart enough to go, I have no stressors in my life right now. Yeah, I was smart. If somebody, somebody else literally would have stopped their meds at that point, and said that I'm healed. Yes. And then the stressor comes boom, and you still have the I always think of it as a war, do you still have to fight that war? So it is a it's a constant journey, that you go through life, it's just a matter of the effect on you, I think is important. Especially for me, because so much of it has helped me mature and make me older and stronger that it's like, almost like, bring it. But it does feel to me in a way that I was given this burden, because I could carry it. 

Kim Strobel 31:06 

Oh, yes. Yeah. When so one of the things he always says to me is Kim, everybody has a 

Oh, yes. Yeah. When so one of the things he always says to me is Kim, everybody has a vulnerability. Everybody does, maybe somebody else's vulnerability is this. Everybody has a vulnerability, your vulnerability is this anxiety disorder. But, and I, okay, I see the gifts of it. And I know that I would not be doing any of the work that I'm doing now. Had I not had that. But then when I had a relapse of it in 2018, and it kind of knocked me all the way back. I was kind of like, pissed off big time. I was like, you know, like, I'm out here doing good work because of this damn struggle that I had. And I'm using this shit for goodness in the world. And now you want to give me this again, damn it, you know, and I got like, I mean, I was scared, I was angry. All of those feelings. And so I, I hear what you're you're saying in that. We, we do acknowledge the goodness that has come from the struggles that we have. Which I think is so important to is, you know, I always tell people like kids, especially students, they get given all these labels right there, add their ADHD, they're this and that and that and many times that label is actually their special gift. Right? It's their special sauce. And I think like as we as people can start to see what I consider an I do, I've considered a weakness, Vaughn. I have I think that I overachieved to such a level because I still feel like I have this so called weakness inside of me. And Dammit, I'm going to stomp it out. Like I'm going to show that weak little Kim dammit, who I really am and I'm going to just in and I recognize that I'm not there yet with being like, kind to it. I mean, I try to be but I'm just be honest. It's just I'm not there yet. You know, but I know I'm supposed to be like this. Kim, you know, it's okay. You have this struggle, you're still worth loving. It doesn't mean you're any less. You know, I do all that talk. But it is something that I still struggle with today. Yeah. 

Vaughn Rush 33:26 

I wanted to Kanye West songs that he has. that I love. It's called I thought about killing you today. 

Kim Strobel 33:37 

theme song for Scott yesterday, but keep talking. And even 

Vaughn Rush 33:41 

in even in a song he says like, I love myself, like I don't want to kill myself, I kill you. But I'm good. And then he and he even says you know, bipolar? That's my superpower. That's my super strength. And I and I thought of that as a good example, because as much as Kanye is controversial, and things pop up, his music is genius. And you see that struggle makes his music that genius and it's it's, it's that's a perfect example of it being people superpower. Unfortunately, you do need to learn to hone it just like any other superhero. 

Kim Strobel 34:18 

Right? That's right. You gotta learn better, man. Right, 

Vaughn Rush 34:21 

V

point it in whatever direction so it's not hitting other people and stuff like that, but it can for 

point it in whatever direction so it's not hitting other people and stuff like that, but it can for everybody. I believe that. 

Kim Strobel 34:29 

You know, Vaughn, I so appreciate your willingness to go there. I mean, I of course, I knew this about you. And that's why I wanted to have you on as a guest. But I think that part of my reason for wanting to have this episode, and we hear a lot about this, but I'm not so sure that people really fill it in to anybody listening. I think that's what I would want them to hear from this is, you know, truly all of us have some type of mental health. For the most part issue. Maybe it's not a coded diagnosis. Just in the manual of whatever, but understanding that we don't have to feel less than because we have it. And I feel like you know, when I travel and I get on these big stages, and I'm, you know, dressed to the nines and got my heels on and looks and you know, people are like, Oh my gosh, she, she flies across the country, she steps on these stages, she empowers these people, like, she just has this great life. And then within the first 10 minutes, I let them know about my struggles, because it is so easy for us to think that, you know, people don't have these struggles. But in fact, we all have some type of struggle. And when I say this, I feel like I'm saying it to myself too, but continuing to work on understanding that I'm not a lesser person, because of it. And I do recognize that a lot of the time, but every a little bit, I slipped back into feeling bad about it or frustrated as well, which I think is normal. But I really appreciate you. And I'll tell you men are even worse at acknowledging this. You know, I've dealt with a lot 

Vaughn Rush 36:09 

in the military, you know, which is why I want to be able to work with the military, but it's been therapeutic. It's been therapeutic for me to you know, to be transparent. I know that people are going through things, people love talking to me. So people tell me all sorts of stuff. And I'm like, I'm not the only person feeling like that, like, okay, like, so why are we whispering about this? 

Kim Strobel 36:26 

Yes. And I honestly think there's nobody better to do that work than the person who has had the genuine experience of that, which is why you will be an incredible gift to people in that regard. And so oh my gosh, fine. Well, I know there's like 72 more topics that I want to get into with you, but tell people where they can find you. And then I will place all of this in the show notes for them as well. 

Vaughn Rush 36:55 

V

So the best place is my Instagram. The name is deadlift, dance deadlift and then dance. And then I have a Facebook fan page called Shawn Vaughn Carter, where you can see my performances coming up. And where I'll be and hopefully come to your city if you want to book me. 

Kim Strobel 37:12 

Yeah. Oh my gosh. I mean, here's the thing. I know some of the people listening like I just know when they go to your seat because they're people we're not used to seeing such liberation. So like, they're gonna just Okay, now I'm peeking them because you know, when you tell somebody that they're going to be shocked. They're like, I'm freaking go into that Instagram page. Like, it is amazing to watch you sometimes it's like, you are so yourself and, and oh my god. And so like, I'm addicted to it, and people are gonna just be like, what's this crazy side of Kim and who is this Fred? 

Vaughn Rush 37:51 

V

If it makes anybody feel better, both my grandmother's have looked at my Instagram and my grandmother watches she skips over a couple pictures, but she will 

Kim Strobel 38:02 

say, and yes, my grandma or my mom has viewed this like so good. All right. Thank you. Thank you, Vaughn, for your transparency for agreeing to do this. You are an absolute gift to so many people in this world. Thank you for being you. Thank you

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