009: Flashbacks and Fear – Gail OKeeffe

009 Flashbacks and Fears - Gail OKeeffe - The Fearless Females Podcast

In this episode:

In this episode of The Fearless Females Podcast your host Tegan Mathews interviews Gail OKeeffe who shares:

  • How she dealt with repressed sexual abuse memories when they surfaced later in life
  • Overcoming the feeling of shame to ask for help
  • Finding the courage to confront her perpetrators
  • How breaking down lead to her breakthrough
  • The power of EFT tapping in dealing with trauma, stress and many other physical and mental challenges in life

Tegan's Take Aways:

  1. Your breakdowns lead to your breakthroughs so there’s no need to be afraid of them
  2. The benefits of journaling to create clarity
  3. Ask for help – you don’t have to do it all on your won
  4. There is no shame in your past, that’s just all in your head – don’t let that stop you from asking for help
  5. Setting boundaries is important – to practice learning how to say no to someone, start with little daily goals.

About Gail OKeeffe

Gail O’Keeffe is a mentor and EFT practitioner whose life journey has given her intimate insight into what it means to become fearless.

Her healing journey began at age 37 when repressed memories of her childhood sexual abuse started to surface. Through Emotional Freedom Technique (also known as EFT or Tapping) and Thought Field Therapy, she learned to heal her own trauma. Today, she’s passionate about sharing these scientifically researched techniques with other women.

Gail loves to support entrepreneurial women who have a world-changing message, but find themselves stuck and “spinning their wheels”. Using EFT, she helps them to conquer their procrastination and self-doubt; release their unacknowledged fears and comparison-itis; and rediscover their confidence, inner peace and focus.

Contact Gail OKeeffe

A Gift for Listeners From Gail O'Keeffe:

A short video on where to tap, how EFT Tapping works and doing the tapping sequence when you are stressed so that you can reduce that emotional response and be able to better handle the situation.

Show Notes: Episode 009: Flashbacks and Fear - Gail OKeeffe

Gail OKeeffe’s Fearless Story

  • I had a life changing moment in 2001 when I was 37yo
  • I thought I had it all together. I was happily married with two children
  • I had a few issues but I didn’t know where they were coming from
  • I was attending a workshop and being led through a meditation as a group
  • All of a sudden I started to get flashbacks of childhood trauma and sexual abuse memories that started to surface and basically shattered my world
  • My body went into shock and started shaking and I thought I was going mad
  • I wasn’t expecting that!
  • I knew my younger life hadn’t been ideal, coming from an alcoholic father and leading a very nomadic lifestyle and living off the land
  • As the years went on we would live off rubbish tips and always be hungry and those sort of things
  • But I didn’t expect those repressed memories of sexual abuse to surface so I went on quite a healing journey after that
  • And it wasn’t just sexual abuse either, I had horrific memories of physical trauma and neglect that surfaced
  • Horrendous things no human being should have to go through and I am even surprised that I survived through some of it
  • The flashbacks were relentless and kept coming for a good couple of years
  • My life was full of fear as I re-lived the fear and terror each time one of those memories surfaced
  • So I know fear really well

 

How did you get through it?

  • One of the things I did was write in my journal every day
  • Because I was trying to make sense of these movies that would play in my mind
  • That’s what a flashback is, you relive those feelings and you see it happening to yourself
  • I didn’t even know what a flashback was back then
  • But each day I would write about what I was feeling and what memories had surfaced for that day
  • As time went on I went and saw my GP and said that I needed to see somebody
  • It took me a while to do that because of the shame associated with all of that
  • As well as not knowing if I was actually going insane
  • I suffered depression, panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety
  • So I was on medication for a while for depression but I turned more towards alternative therapies as the years went on
  • My saving grace back then was Thought Field Therapy which is a form of tapping which is great for trauma
  • I attended a workshop which helped to alleviate the post-traumatic stress, anxiety and panic attacks
  • That was my saving grace
  • I had tried some other things and I knew there was something out there for me
  • I had heard about tapping as people call it, when I was in the mental health ward
  • I was in there after having a complete break down after confronting some of the perpetrators

How did you find the courage to face your perpetrators?

  • I don’t know where I found the courage to do that but I just knew somewhere deep inside of me that I had to do that for me
  • Not for anyone else other than for me
  • It was an amazing journey

 

How did you learn to trust yourself again?

  • I imagine you would have doubted yourself with this new information and who you were any more
  • Well I thought I knew who I was
  • When you go through trauma your brain gets into a freeze state and I was so disassociated
  • I remember thinking “Oh my god, where have I been?”
  • It took quite a lot of inner work, as I’m sure you can appreciate, to rebuild my life
  • For me, it felt like someone had picked me up from earth and put me on mars
  • It was like my life was a jigsaw puzzle with all the pieces strewn everywhere
  • So, nothing much made sense to me for a lot of time but as the years went on and I did a lot of deep personal work
  • One of the things I learnt was speaking my truth was what set me free
  • Once I was able to step away from under the cloak of shame I was feeling
  • I was able to rebuild my life which started from the inside out
  • where as before I was living from the outside in
  • I was drinking a lot, I was a people pleaser, I had no boundaries
  • And I had to actually learn, how to care for myself
  • And learn how to say no!
  • I remember the first time I had to say no and I didn’t think I could do it so it was huge for me
  • I had no self-worth – I felt so damaged and broken
  • But what I discovered as the years went on was through the brokenness was where the light entered
  • When I started to really get in tune with myself and set myself daily goals of learning how to say no to somebody without actually saying no
  • It started to build my confidence muscle and my life started to come alive again but it took a lot of work and a lot of courage and a lot of tears
  • But I made a promise to myself that I wasn’t going to give up
  • Because I had two beautiful children and an amazing husband
  • There were days where I wished I could have but I just kept putting one shaky foot in front of the other and I just kept moving forward
  • If I fell down then I’d pick myself up again
  • I think that breaking that silence was the start of rebuilding my life

Most Memorable Moments for Gail O’Keeffe

  • I made a promise to myself that if I ever got through the trauma of going through the healing process for me
  • That I would write my story, in the hope that if it served one person in this world then my job was done
  • So I took the journals I had been writing in and turned them into a book and filled in the blanks and in 2009 I published my story
  • It's called “The Remembering – a legacy of sexual abuse”
  • I called it that because it was about the remembering after it being repressed for so many years
  • That’s what the flashbacks were, was the remembering
  • And I am sure it has helped many more than one person
  • Yes, I still get emails from people around the world that it has helped because it is written about how I went through that journey of healing
  • Other memorable moments – I went on to work with survivors of abuse and to get to walk beside these amazing women who have been through trauma
  • I got to work with them one on one and globally
  • Sharing simple down to earth strategies that enable them to reclaim their power
  • Healing is an inside job and learning how to do that so you can release the fear and learn how to nurture yourself and have those boundaries

What are you passionate about today?

  • I have such a different life today – such an amazing life
  • My husband and children bring me joy and I am a grandmother now which is just beautiful
  • What I am passionate about today is helping women to speak their truth
  • Nourishing themselves and learning how to tap into their authentic selves
  • And break through and release their internal blocks
  • Whether it’s fear or self-sabotaging behaviour or negative beliefs, procrastination or just not feeling good enough
  • That’s what lights me up and my passion and it’s what I do every day

What is something in your future plan that scares you?

  • There’s not a lot that still scares me after what I have been through
  • I still am not a big fan of spiders LoL
  • But I just have such an appreciation for feeling so well
  • I’m emotionally intact most of the days
  • So I don’t have a lot of things that would scare me
  • I am just so grateful to be alive and to wake up every day and draw a breath
  • I just appreciate life

Five Fast Fun Fearless Facts about Gail O’Keeffe

  1. Who inspires you? Brene Brown and her work inspires me. Her work around shame and resilience.
  2. Favourite thing to do each day? I still love tapping every day to ensure I stay well on all levels and my other favourite thing is to read each day, I am a book worm
  3. What is EFT (Tapping)? Is either Emotional Freedom Technique or Thought Field Therapy – by tapping on certain points of the body that are the end points of our meridians it sends a calming response to the part of the brain (Amygdala) that is responsible for the fight, flight or freeze and calms it down so that you can make clearer decisions and actions, It’s also exceptionally good at treating trauma, depression, anxiety and lots of other ailments. I also love it because it’s empowering because you get to treat yourself. I’m trained in clinical and evidence-based EFT and I’ve been doing that for over fifteen years.
  4. What's something that still scares you? Spiders
  5. Favourite technique or app or book? Technique = Tapping, Favourite Book = Anything by Brene Brown
  6. If you could wave a magic wand and fix one thing in the world right now, what would it be and why? The abuse of children.

 

Gift for listeners from Gail O’Keeffe

A short video on where to tap, how it works and doing the tapping sequence when you are stressed so that you can reduce that emotional response and be able to better handle the situation.

 

Final Question

If you could turn back time what's the one piece of advice you wish you could give your fourteen-year-old self?

  • You are worthy!

 

Where can people reach out to you? www.gailokeeffe.com

A Gift for Listeners From Gail O'Keeffe:

A short video on where to tap, how EFT Tapping works and doing the tapping sequence when you are stressed so that you can reduce that emotional response and be able to better handle the situation.

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