#006 – Erika Bogan broke her back in a very serious car accident 18 years ago. She was in a coma for 2.5 months and lost the use of her legs. Since becoming a paraplegic, Erika didn’t fully deal with the emotional trauma (which she later found out was a diagnosis of PTSD) that came from the accident.
In January of this year, Erika experienced some mental health obstacles – depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. She has been on the path to emotional healing.
In this episode, Erika and I talk about how she’s derived a ton of “emotional ROI” from sharing her story, being transparent about her struggles, and asking for help.
TEDx Talk by Meredith Peeble’s about Imposter Syndrome: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Io65fyW1Xy0
I met Erika at an event called Family Board Meetings: https://www.amazon.com/Family-Board-Meeting-Connection-Children-ebook/dp/B07GJ6SQYX
This transcript was done by a machine. We apologize for any errors.
Erika Bogan: Yeah,
Erika Bogan: and we’re in the car and he was driving out of anger. He was doing 75 and a 35 lost control and flipped the car six times. I went out the passenger side window, my body hit a tree and broke my vertebraes and my back. Um, caused me to be a paraplegic. I was in a coma for two and a half months and um, when I came out of a coma, I,
Erika Bogan: I had a, I had a lot to deal with.
Joey Randazzo: Uh,
Joey Randazzo: in today’s episode you’ll hear from Erika Bogan. Erika Bogan is an athlete, an entrepreneur with a powerful story. I met her about three years ago and very recently reconnected with her. During our conversation she shared about her her very recent struggles with anxiety and depression. I had no clue that she was recently experiencing these obstacles and she shares how those challenges have impacted her life and business and how she’s been able to promote healing through one of the simplest yet most challenging things. Someone with a mental health obstacle can do. In today’s episode, we’ll tell you what that thing is and how you can go about doing it.
Joey Randazzo: [inaudible]
Joey Randazzo: hello and welcome to overcoming the mind. My name is Joey Randazzo.
Joey Randazzo: [inaudible]
Joey Randazzo: this episode is brought to you by American dream. U American dream U helps military members in their families that transition back to civilian life and find their dream job or start a business. You can learn more about American dream U or donate at a Merican dream U, the letter U. Dot org. Again, that’s American dream, the letter U. Dot. Org.
Erika Bogan: One thing that you don’t know because we haven’t spoken a while, it was in January of this year, I actually had almost a total nervous breakdown and everything really, really hit me mental health wise. And it was as if, you know, my life was just spiraling out of control. I had let my career kind of fall to the ground. Um, you know, I didn’t realize it but I was slowly kind of giving up on everything and now I can look back and I know what it was. I was just overwhelmed and had never really dealt with, um, the accident.
Joey Randazzo: And as you heard in the intro of this podcast episode, Erica was in a very serious car accident after an argument with her boyfriend. He was driving out of anger and he was speeding and driving pretty recklessly. The car flipped six times, Eric and nearly died. She was in a coma for two and a half months and that was 18 years ago. And as Erica says, she hasn’t fully dealt with the trauma from that experience.
Erika Bogan: I actually just this year, um, finally was diagnosed. I have complex PTSD, which is something that I kind of figured that I had. Um, but again, never really sought any kind of outside help and wasn’t really offered any kind of counseling.
Joey Randazzo: This was a very traumatic experience and Eric had dealt with it on her own. The thing is, most people, including myself, we know Eric has a strong, powerful and intelligent person. That’s who she is. And as an entrepreneur, she’s respected. She has this personal brand of strength and resilience. And with that, Erica has put a lot of pressure on herself. She always needed to be this strong person.
Erika Bogan: I felt as if I had to as a public figure and as a motivator, I felt like, you know, people had to look at me, um, for help and to, for empowerment and that was my job. That was my purpose was to empower other people. And in doing that I really, really lost touch with myself. And remembering that I also need self care.
Joey Randazzo: And this really resonates with me and I’m sure it resonates with other entrepreneurs out there. There’s this idea that we always have to have it together. We always need to have the, the highest quality work, no mistakes, the best relationships, the best business, no errors. And if like Erica, you have a public public presence, then you especially feel this pressure. But why? Why do we feel this pressure? Here’s what Meredith peoples says in a recent Ted talk from 2018
Erika Bogan: according to the international journal of behavioral science, almost 70% of adults admit to the crisis of confidence that defines imposter syndrome. They attribute their successes and achievements to luck, happenstance, charm, other people, basically anyone or anything other than their own talents and abilities.
Joey Randazzo: I think for me, and I believe that I can speak for Erica as well, we’re trying to avoid being an impostor. She has this public image of strength, resilience and motivation. And therefore if she ever feels anything other than strength, resilience or motivation, then she feels like an impostor. And to Erica, it felt like who she was, this, this idea of, of strength, resilience and motivation. Let me play what she says again.
Erika Bogan: That was my job. That was my purpose was to empower other people.
Joey Randazzo: That was her purpose, but just like any other human being, Eric was going through a hard time earlier this year. She shares some details about that experience. Here’s what happened
Erika Bogan: in January of this year. Um, when I had my, my breakdown, um, I can remember vividly still, I was driving, I was going through so many different things. I had another failed relationship. Um, I had, I was losing my home to foreclosure, which I have to say I’m still in my home. I didn’t lose it. Um, there was all of these things. It was, it was as if my life was falling apart around me. And there was nothing I could do. I had no control whatsoever of anything that was happening. And I, I can remember driving down the road in my car and I have all these things going through my head, right. And I’m, I’m in the middle of this, this depression and um, this basically basically a panic attack in my own mind of what was happening and not being able to control all the different, um, factors that were spending in my life. And I was driving down the road and my brain was actually telling me to drive in front of a tractor trailer to drive off a bridge. And um, I just immediately, you know, it was just bawling and I pulled over the car and I called one of my safe people
Joey Randazzo: and Erica in that moment, she did something that she normally doesn’t do. She asked for help and that was the start of a long process and healing for her. And in that process she started to do something else. She started to share her story. She started to tell people what she was going through. That’s the idea that we’re going to discuss in this episode is simply sharing your story. And I mean really sharing your story, including the struggles, the depression, the anxiety. It can be very powerful, but it’s really hard to be vulnerable. Here’s what Erica says.
Erika Bogan: So in the beginning, asking for help was one of the scariest things. Um, and for me the reason why it was scary was again, I had built this social media presence of being the strong survivor and people look to me for that strength and that courage. And here I was totally lacking it myself. So it’s very, very scary.
Joey Randazzo: Personally, I didn’t tell anybody about my depression or anxiety until actually my last year in college. It was, it was going on since middle school. I didn’t until my best friends, my family really, nobody knew. I’m sure people might’ve been, been able to tell at times. I just didn’t want to look weak. I didn’t want people to think that I was just looking attention. I thought that I could deal with everything on my own. And over the last couple of years I’ve started to share my story more and more. At first I would just say things like, yeah, I was in a dark place or you know, I was going through a hard time. Even though I started to share my story, I would still beat around the Bush. I was still hesitant to really share what I was going through a, but the more and more I started to share my story and be open with people, the better I felt.
Joey Randazzo: I actually felt better as a person. So saying, yeah, I have depression. Or at one time I was suicidal. Um, I was able to say those things straight forward. Uh, and knowing that that doesn’t define me, those things are just a part of my story. And I’ve only started to feel comfortable doing that and saying those things just over the last couple of months relief since the, the idea of this podcast. Um, but it’s taken a long time to get to that point. And what’s interesting is that I felt more connected with the people around me once I started to really share who I am. And what my story is. And oftentimes those people around me, especially other entrepreneurs, they’re, they’re going through similar experiences. Um, and Erica had a similar breakthrough that I’ve had when she told her mom what she was going through.
Erika Bogan: I can just remember the relief that I felt when my mom, when I was finally with her and in her arms and I can remember she slept next to me in my bed for like a week straight because she was afraid to leave me. And, um, I just remember the sense of calm and peace that I had been lacking for so long because I had finally let all of that out and said, okay, there’s a problem.
Joey Randazzo: And when Eric and I started talking about this idea of sharing your story, I started thinking, has there ever been a time where I’ve shared my story, where it’s left me feeling worse about myself or that I’ve regretted sharing my story? And I can’t think of a single time in my experience where that’s been the case. Being transparent about my depression in recent times has only benefited my life. And so I asked Erica if her continuing transparency and opening up about her struggles has been positive or negative in her life. And here’s what she had to say about that.
Erika Bogan: It’s empowered me to be even more transparent. It’s empowered me to learn even more about the different things that I live with. It’s empowered me to continue to improve myself. And it’s also helped me in my career in, again, going back to that transparency, being more transparent and reaching out and reaching so many more thousands of [inaudible].
Joey Randazzo: And so here is what I would recommend. Share your story, tell people about your mental health obstacles, be open, be transparent, be vulnerable. I can’t promise you how people will respond to what you say. You know, there’s always a chance that, that people will respond negatively. That’s always something that could happen in, in oftentimes if it does happen, it’s likely the people closest to you, family and friends. And so there’s a chance that it can be painful. Uh, but I can tell you that in my own life that it has been a really positive and transport formative thing for me. And I’ve often been thinking bigger picture here as well. I think that the cool thing is that it not only will likely help you in your own life, but I also think that it has the chance to change the narrative about mental health. I think the more people that talk openly about their struggles and about their mental health obstacles, the more it’ll be seen as a normal part of the human experience and the less stigmatized that it will become. And so let’s, let’s finish this episode with some, some great advice from Erica about sharing your story, reaching out and telling people what you’re going through.
Erika Bogan: Don’t allow yourself to get into a dark space and unpack and camp out there. Um, it is totally normal and okay to get into dark spaces. But again, don’t unpack there. Don’t stay there. Reach out and cause there’s so many people again that are just waiting for, for you with open arms to help.
Joey Randazzo: Thank you so much for listening to this episode of overcoming the mind. The big thank you to Erica Bogan for coming on the podcast. It was lovely having her join me in, be transparent, be open. We had an amazing conversation and as a human being, she is just an amazing person. To learn more about Erica, and you can go to her website, which is Erika bogan.com and that’s Erika with a K or you can go to her Instagram. Her Instagram handle is at Erika Bogan. Again, Erika with a K to get access to the show notes and to listen to the full unedited version of this episode. You can go to overcoming the mind.com backslash six and again, thank you for listening to overcoming the mind.