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Finding Hope When Things Feel Hard & Knowing Who You Are – with Barby Ingle, Author & Cheerleader of Hope

Guest: Barby Ingle, Author & Cheerleader of Hope
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Barby Ingle is a best-selling author, reality personality, and lives with multiple rare and chronic diseases. She is a chronic pain educator, patient advocate, and president of the International Pain Foundation. Barby started out as a Cheerleader & Dance trainer, since no longer being able to physically cheer, she now uses all the skills and spirit of her cheerleading past to inspire hope in peoples lives, when they most need it.

 

In this episode Stacie and Barby, discuss how to find hope when things feel bad, and the importance of getting to know who we are. Through Barby’s inspiring story of life-changing events, we’ll explore how to help cultivate and hold on to hope even in our darkest moments.

Barby also shares with us a practical exercise that has been a crucial tool within her journey, that will help you to appreciate all that you are – which we hope you will try.

If you’ve ever felt hopeless, then this beautifully light hearted and uplifting chatepisode is for you…

 

Transcript

Stacie Clark
What can we learn about hope from a cheerleader living with multiple rare & chronic illnesses? A lot it would seem!

I’m Stacie, and thanks for tuning in to the Quiet Connections Podcast. In this episode I speak with best selling author, and Cheerleader of Hope, Barby Ingle. We discuss how to find hope when things feel bad, and the importance of getting to know who we are.

I know first hand, the hopelessness that can arise when experiencing social anxiety. When feeling not good enough. And wondering if things would ever be different. I know the pain of not being sure about who I am, and feeling purposeless and lost, and as though I have no where that I belong.

Whether you’re experiencing physical, or emotional pain in your life – if you’ve ever felt hopeless, then this episode is for you…

Through Barby’s inspiring story of life-changing events, we’ll explore how to help cultivate and hold on to hope even in our darkest moments.

Barby also shares with us a practical exercise that has been a crucial tool within her journey, that will help you to appreciate all that you are – which I do hope you’ll try.

This is a beautifully light hearted and uplifting chat, so let’s hear from Barby…

Stacie Clark
Hi, Barby, it’s a pleasure to have you join us on the show today. How are you doing?

Barby Ingle
I’m good. Thank you, Stacie. I am doing very well. And I’ve gone through some tough times over the last about 18 months with the pandemic, but also with other things that I had just before that and 20 years of living with chronic pain. So today’s a good day for me, and I’m excited to be here.

Stacie Clark
Oh, that’s great. So from what I understand already, you do have quite the story to share with us today. Would you like to start by telling our listeners a little bit about who you are, what it is that you do, and what’s actually brought you to or led you up to this point now?

Barby Ingle
Sure. So I’m Barbie Ingle, and I’m from, or I’m living in Arizona, I’m from Bangkok, Thailand, which is, which is pretty interesting story as well. But the reason why I’m here today is because I’m a chronic pain patient. And I’m also an advocate and author and presenter on topics that have to do with living your best life despite having a chronic condition.

And for me, I have multiple rare diseases, but the one that’s the worst is called reflex sympathetic dystrophy RSD. And reflex is anything in your body that’s automatic, goes haywire. Your sympathetic is your nervous system, that’s like burning fire pain all over your body as if somebody put lighter fluid in your veins and put you on fire. And dystrophy is loss of muscle and bone. I’m currently in remission, I go in and out of remission. And it took seven years to get a proper diagnosis. Because of that, sorry, three years later for a proper diagnosis, seven years to get a proper treatment. And that’s why I share my story, and really think it’s important to talk about health and things that you can do to prevent getting in such bad shape as I was. And if you’re in such bad shape, and you’re listening, maybe some hope to get past that and get out of it and live a more full life.

Stacie Clark
So I know you refer to yourself as being a cheerleader of hope, which I absolutely love. Can you share a little bit about where that came from? And what that means?

Barby Ingle
Yeah, I came up with that after I got sick. But since I was four years old, one of my first conscious thoughts after I saw a cheerleader, a group of cheerleaders down on a field cheering at a at a football game, soccer, not American football.

Stacie Clark
Big difference!

Barby Ingle
Yeah! I said, I want to do that. And I told my dad, that’s my purpose in life. And he was like, “No, it’s not”. And I’m like, “yep, God told me that’s my purpose”. And still, to this day, I believe that even though I can’t do the physical cheerleading, I morphed when I got sick into a different type of cheerleader with the skills that I learned in cheerleading, took me a long way. But I, besides the physical aspects of cheerleading, with the flipping and stunts and all the all the fun parts, I learned so many other things like motivation and organisation and responsibility and time management, and I took those skills that I learned. I wasn’t doing cheerleading because of those things, but hose are things that I got to learn and hone in on in practice. And I became a mental cheerleader, which is a cheerleader of hope.

And I am able to by sharing my story and share other people’s stories. I can help newly diagnosed people or people that are looking for a diagnosis or people that don’t understand their crazy aunt who complains about pain all the time. Hopefully hearing my story can help plant a seed and help them understand what their own family members are going through. Because one in five people around the world is living with something that is involving chronic pain, which is pain that lasts more than three to six months. And it’s persistent.

Yeah, so that’s kind of how I took on that cheerleader of hope. Before I was just the cheerleader. I’ve upgraded to a cheerleader of mental mindfulness, hope, positivity, all the good things in this world.

Stacie Clark
Yeah, I really do love that. That’s such a nice way to take something that was a physical passion of yours and turn that into something that’s more emotional and more mental based, and it’s still clearly like a big part of who you are. So I think you were correct when you say it was your purpose in life!

Barby Ingle
I did. And the funny thing is my dad told me, he said “no” when I was starting to go to college, I was like, “why I just want to do cheerleading. So I’m just going to go to college to cheer” and he was like, “No, you’re not you have to do something that can last you passed that”. And so I looked around at all the different things I could choose to major in, in college. And I chose social psychology, which did help. Social psychology is, to me another form of cheerleading. And so I got my degree in social psychology, which is the study of how you get individuals to respond and react in a group. Right? So how do you get the best out of your group, and when you’re working with teams, that’s what you know, you’re working with groups, so I get to use my degree in coaching. Although it wasn’t like a direct counselling type of situation, I did feel I had 56 student athletes at Washington State University, I was the head cheer and dance coach before I got sick. And I use what I learned in my degree, to motivate not only my team, and the members of the teams, but also the crowd. Like we got to use some of those skills that you learn in psychology on the crowd to get them to yell at appropriate times and create patterns. So when they come to the games, they can participate more fully, and feel like we gave them an experience. And so I definitely didn’t want the degree. But I got the degree and it did help out.

Stacie Clark
That’s great. Again, it always fascinates me how certain things that we do, even if we’re not sure like, where they’re going, how they can all combine together somehow.

Barby Ingle
You can’t always see what or why you’re going through something. So I just stopped asking, why is this happening? And found, looked to use that energy to find a way through whatever’s happening. And in that journey, cheer myself on. So if it’s hard, or if it’s not fair, I still have to get through it. I still want to wake up tomorrow and live tomorrow as well. So I do my best in each situation and try to cheer myself to and through anything that comes up and not go “Why me?” But some people have that Why me? feature and I think it’s something I’ve practised out of me. But when you look back, you can see, “oh”, that’s why you can’t always see it when when you’re in the midst of it. And you’re having that challenge that you’re facing and working on. When you look back, you go, “Oh, I wouldn’t be here. If I didn’t take on that challenge. If they had I given up. I wouldn’t be where I am today”.

Stacie Clark
Absolutely. Yeah. I totally agree with that. I mean, was there any moments in your  experiences of those those challenges with the chronic pain where you did have those feelings of “why me?” and trying to figure it out? And how did you particularly take those steps and get through that and utilise that cheerleader within?

Barby Ingle
Yeah, in the very beginning, I would say it wasn’t really a “Why me?”, but I was trying to figure it out. And I felt like I was a crab in a bucket of boiling water. And I was trying to get up. And when I would get my head up over the pan, I would get sucked back down. And so I didn’t have “Why me?” But I did fight as hard as I could to crawl out of that boiling water so I could keep living. And sometimes it was harder than other times. And yeah, I didn’t really have that “Why me?” because I accepted it I think sooner than a lot of people accept living with a chronic condition.

I also had all of the doctors I was seeing, they were like, “Look, we don’t know what’s wrong with you exactly. But you’re never going to go back to cheerleading. The rest of your life is not cheerleading. So you need to like refocus your life and do something else”. And I would say “no, but I’m a cheerleader. That’s what I am. You can’t take that from me”. And they would say “no, you really need to move on”. What they were saying was like physically, you’re never going to do backflips and get tossed to the top of the pyramid again, you need to move on. But for me being a cheerleader was more than just all the fun stuff.

Stacie Clark
Absolutely. It sounds like it was a mindset more than anything.

Barby Ingle
Yes, absolutely. And I remember as a kid, my dad would say, “how do you keep smiling and cheering when your team’s losing 50 to zero”. And I say “because that’s our job. That’s what we’re supposed to do”. And I kind of do that now except it’s with health and life. And for me, the game isn’t over. You know, the football game ends and you win or lose in life. Everyday you wake up is the day to win, if that’s a win, celebrate that win and so I took that same philosophy in cheerleading. Where there’s still chance, there’s still a time, there’s still time on the clock. As long as I’m here, I can get through this the most positive, hopeful, blissful way.

Even if it’s a bad situation, and we’re losing 50 to zero today, it doesn’t mean that the game is over. It means keep trying, keep going, keep fighting for what you need.

Stacie Clark
Yeah, I really do love that.

So if there are some listeners who are struggling, and perhaps feeling like things are too hard, that things are too challenging.What strategies would you recommend for them to be able to perhaps adopt that more cheerleader mindset and move into a state of hope?

Barby Ingle
Great question.

I think there’s a few things that you could do to develop a state of hope. And it does take practice.

So, first is learn about the condition that you have, so that when new challenges come up, or if you have a progressive disease, you can be better prepared, setting the expectation in your life, and the people around us in life can really go a long way in the beginning. Like I said, I was fighting and clawing and “help me, help me, somebody help me”. And when I stopped and said, “Okay, let me get the education that I need. Let me get the knowledge about what I’m facing”. And at that time, I didn’t have a diagnosis. So “okay, I’m having these string of symptoms, these things are happening. What could this mean?”

And then take that information and go and talk to your team, your medical providers about what you’re going through. And create an oasis in your life, you know, like you’re trapped on a desert island, what would you need to survive? For me, my nightstand was my oasis, I spent seven years bed bound and wheelchair bound. And I had a little basket on the front of my wheelchair, and I had my nightstand when I was in bed. And I would put the tools and things that I needed right there on the nightstand so that I could just reach over and have something that was comforting.

I also really like a tether. So throughout all my journey, people would give me stuffed animals or trinkets, or something like that. So when I’m having a bad time, I can hold on to my tether. My trinket. And I have a whole collection to choose from. When I’m going for infusion therapy, I look at my stuffed animals and I bring one with me that I can think about and concentrate on, it’s positive and brings back good memories of times when I was having a good time, and use those tethers to create positive moments, even in the worst of times.

So you know, it does suck to be sick, it does suck to go through a health challenge. I’m not trying to say be positive, no matter what’s in front of you. I’m saying find the positive in the situation, even if it’s something like bringing a tether with you to get you through. Because thinking positively can help lower your blood pressure and help you take a ainsi towny point off of that pain level that you’re experiencing. It can help remind you of why you’re living, what you’re supposed to be doing and what your purpose is. And all of us on Earth are here for a different purpose. So whether you know your purpose or not try to live each moment to the best that you can so that you have more moments down the line.

They are even something bigger to celebrate, but also celebrate the little things in life. I mean, I can I have so many different things, tools that I use to celebrate the little moments in life, like oh, today I got out of bed and got to the toilet on my own or today I brush my hair or I brush my teeth, celebrate that. Lot of people go, “Oh, I suck. All I can do is go to the bathroom”. No, like that’s a win. If, you struggle going to take a shower, it’s a win if you get a shower, you brush your teeth, like whatever it is, that’s a win. Take it as a win.

Stacie Clark
Absolutely, absolutely. I love so much of what you shared there. And I feel like a lot of what you said applies to people who are struggling with emotional challenges as well. So I know there are people within our community who do have illnesses, like physical illnesses, but obviously a lot of the people who we’re working with and that we’re supporting are experiencing social anxiety. So there’s a lot of those emotional challenges too.

Barby Ingle
Absolutely. And when I say chronic pain, chronic pain can be physical, but it also can be emotional. It also could be spiritual. There’s a lot of different types of pain that you could be experiencing. So please know exactly what Stacie said, because be it physical, emotional, spiritual, mental health is very important and is something when you do experience of imbalance in your life in any of those areas, it can actually cause an effect on other areas of your life.

So if you’re really depressed, you might not have the the wherewithal to get up and do something physical that that you wanted to do. And it’s okay. But it’s also something that you need to concentrate on and fix and work on how to live your best life, no matter what type of pain it is.

It should be worked on and you should be treated as a whole being instead of just “oh, well, physically, you can do this. So you must be fine”. No, you have to pay attention to those mental health, emotional aspects of living as well.

Stacie Clark
Yeah, I love what you said there about treating ourselves as a whole being. Because that’s so true. You know, mind and body are so connected, isn’t it, that they they impact and influence each other. So, yes, thank you for bringing attention to that.

In terms of like, any type of feelings of, ‘not good enough’, is that, anything that you’ve experienced in your life?

Barby Ingle
Yeah, absolutely. When I got rse, we didn’t know what it was. But I went to counselling. And the counsellor was like, “wow, your whole life was invested in cheerleading”. And that was going away for me very rapidly. And he said, “I have an exercise for you to do”. And everybody can do this. And I advise you, please give this a try if you’re listening today. It’s called the I Am. And this exercise got me rethinking what I am means, who I am. What is that? And so he sent me home and he said, “Do this exercise and bring your list to our next session. I said, “Okay”.

I wrote down, I am spiritual. And then after we got off the phone, I started writing my list, and I got it to 50. And by the time I got to his office, I had about 75 things on my list. And even today, 20 years later, I have over 150 items on my list. When I’m having a bad time I go check out my list and reread it and say, “Yes, I am this and I am that and sometimes I am funny”. Well, really, I’m not always funny. Are you always funny? No, I’m not always funny, but I am funny. I can laugh. I can laugh at jokes. I like comedies that I am for me. And then then you see something on my list. I am serious. Well, yeah, but I’m not always serious. Because sometimes I’m funny, but I still am both things. And it helped me reframe and see that I wasn’t just one thing. I was a multitude of things. And that’s what made me who I am.

And in doing that exercise, it really changed my perspective of losing everything. I mean, I went from top of the world, owning my own cheer and dance trading company, teaching in the United States and Canada, being a head coach at university, being married for 10 years, riding around in limos and private jets to having nothing down to food stamps.

And I went home, and I am a doer. And I really want to try my hardest, despite what I’m facing. And I just had, ‘I am’ on my paper, for a few days in and I only got a few days until I get back to the doctor’s office. And he called me to check on me. “So I’m just calling to check on you, how’s your list coming?” And I said, “I, I’m nothing, I’m not a cheerleader anymore. I lost everything I’ve worked for my whole life. Like, I have nothing on my list”. And he said, “Well, then let’s help you”. And he said, “the first thing is, you believe in God. So you can write down I am spiritual”. And I said, “well, but I can’t even make it to church on Sundays”. He said, “being spiritual isn’t about going to a building. It’s who you are, and how you act”. And I said, “Okay”, and so that was my first thing.

And what do you do? How do you rebuild your life? Where do you go from here? Is life over? I had to bounce back from having everything to having nothing. And now I’m not afraid to have nothing. I could start over today and know that I will be okay. I can rebuild a life because I’ve done it. And I’ve seen other people do it. And that changed a lot, and that ‘I am’ was what got me on that path to finding the new things about me which I was already before this happened. I just never thought about it or concentrated on it or prepared for it.

Stacie Clark
That’s really inspirational. I absolutely love the sound of that. And that is a really good exercise to try. I really would recommend anyone who’s listening to give that a go. The thing I loved most about what that brought up for you, was the recognition that you are more than just one thing. That you are a variety and like you said, a multitude of things. That you can be this in one moment, and that in another moment, and there’s all these different qualities and aspects and facets to you. Because that’s true, isn’t it? We all have that within us. We’re not just defined by one small little thing. So yeah, that’s amazing.

And again, you’re, I want to say your faith in the fact that you know that if everything goes wrong, or like, externally, if things go wrong, you know, you will be okay. That’s such a huge thing for us to learn and experience life, is to have that trust that everything will be okay. And that we can we can get through it.

Barby Ingle
Yeah, I hear some people, “thank you so much”. I hear some people say like, “Oh, I’m just losing in life”. And I’m like, “No, you woke up, that’s a win”. You know, I would call my dad like, “I can’t dance anymore” and crying and he would be like, “you can dance in your heart. Just because you can’t physically dance doesn’t mean you’re not a dancer anymore. You can dance in your heart every day”. So, you know, some days, I’m able to have a spontaneous dance party at my house. And some days I can lay in bed and dance in my heart and know that that’s enough, and not feel the guilt of society, or the guilt that other people around us try to put on us because they want us to get out of bed and do something.

And you know, just knowing that I don’t have to accept that guilt from anyone or anything that even if it’s not someone putting that guilt on you, but maybe it’s a societal stigma, you got to produce, you got to do something in society. No, today you don’t, this moment, right now you don’t. You need to take care of yourself, mentally and physically. And do what that takes so that you can have a future moment where you’re able to help society.

Stacie Clark
Absolutely, absolutely. And again, love what you said there about not taking on that guilt from society as well. And all those expectations and all those ‘shoulds’. I know that for a lot of our listeners, part of that social anxiety is feeling that pressure to always have to be talking or be loud in situations. And again, that’s just another societal expectation. Actually, you do you.

Barby Ingle
Exactly. Yes, I’m gonna be me, I want you to be you. And just be you to the best that you can. And whatever that is, that’s all we can ask. Try your best. If your best today is not being able to get a bed. You open your eyes. Celebrate. Win.

You know, whatever it is for you in that moment. And that’s another thing that I’ve noticed, in this experience was that time changed for me. Prior to becoming ill, time was like a whole day, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It just moves on. For me now life is moment to moment, and some moments are good and some moments are not so good. But I make the most out of any moment that’s presented to me. And I know that every moment will come to an end. So some moments are longer. Some moments are shorter, some are more happy, some are more sad. But they all are moments that make our life into a story, into a journey, into the who and the what of our ‘I am’.

And so it’s a moment. It doesn’t define you. It doesn’t define your past. It doesn’t define your future. It’s this moment right now. Let me handle it the best way that I can. And whatever way that turns out to be, as long as you’ve tried your best. That’s good enough.

Stacie Clark
Yeah, absolutely agree. Yeah, that’s such a good message to share as well, and I think that’s something that we all need to absorb and take in and remind ourselves that it is just moment to moment. All we have is now and you know, everything is an experience. It might not always be a good experience, but there’s always something within that experience that we take with us then, whether that’s a lesson, whether that’s just…

Barby Ingle
Hope

Stacie Clark
Yeah!

Barby Ingle
Hope, health, a lesson, knowledge, data. It could be a seed for a tree that you need in the future. It’s going to give you the fruit of knowledge that you need in your future. That seed was planted right now. And you don’t need it right now. But down the line, your dad, your uncle, your aunt, your nephew, your cousin, your sister, your brother, somebody needs that seed, and you’re going to have it, it’s in your garden, in your brain. And you will be able to grow that information into a fruit tree when you need that knowledge.

Stacie Clark
I love that. That’s amazing. So, in your own words, what do you feel is the definition of hope?

Barby Ingle
The definition of hope?

Stacie Clark
Big question!

Barby Ingle
Amazing question. The definition of Hope is a feeling that gets you through. Sometimes it’s as tiny as a spark, sometimes it’s as large as a wildfire in a forest, it doesn’t matter what size hope is. It’s something that carries you through. You cannot see it. Your glass is never half full or half empty. Unless you say it’s half full or half empty. For me, my glass is always full, the part you can’t see is hope. And sometimes my glass is filled with all the goodness of the most amazing drink, my favourite drink, and there’s just a little bit hope needed. That’s the little tiny spark that I need to get me going through a situation. And sometimes my glass has less other stuff in it. And the rest is filled with hope, because that’s what I need at the moment. So for me, hope is that invisible, something, that’s always there. Even if in that moment, is the tiniest bit. It’s still there, and it’s something that will comfort me, be with me always. And get me through.

Stacie Clark
Yeah, that’s really beautiful. It’s a really nice way of looking at it as well. So I know from my personal experience, as well, like I went through quite a few bad things in my life too. And it was always just that little sense of like, “I know that there’s something at the end of this”, that there was just that tiny little light at the end of the tunnel or that invisible little thing that you just explained, that was always the thing that just kept me going. So I completely agree with you, when you say that hope is one of the most important things that we can cultivate within ourselves, just to keep us moving. And to keep us going.

Barby Ingle
Absolutely. And you can give hope to other people without diminishing your own hope. You know, if you smile at somebody, or you hold the door for them, or you suggest a tool for their life, or you provide a podcast that has all these different guests with different worldviews on

Stacie Clark
And people sharing their stories like you!

Barby Ingle
Thank you. Yeah, those are all ways to share hope. And to help fill other people’s cups when they need a little bit extra in their cup.

Stacie Clark
I mean, in terms of that then, sharing some hope with others, what words of kindness do you have for our listeners and our community?

Barby Ingle
That there is great reason for hope, because there is help, all you have to do is reach out and seek out and it will come to you. You just have to be a human doer, not just a human fear, a human being. So yeah, it takes action to keep action going. I think that’s like Einstein, you know, “every action has a reaction”. So if you you want to keep it positive and hopeful. Even in the negatives, you can do that by spreading and sharing your hope, your resources, your tools, your education, whatever it is that you have to share. And all of us have talents. I know some listeners are thinking right now ” I don’t have anything to share”. Yes, you do. You have you, your story, your hope, your knowledge. And those are tools that can help other people.

Even a smile, even a joke, you know, something simple. “Hey, this works for me, this might be helpful for you”. If they don’t need it or checked it, it wasn’t meant to be in their bag of tricks and tools and tips that they needed. But you shared it and that is spreading hope, because there’s a little bit of hope in there. It’s just invisible when you spread those things.

Stacie Clark
Yeah, beautiful, absolutely beautiful. And so a question that came up for me then when you were saying that was, if someone was to start, having a go at the ‘I am’ exercise and were maybe getting a bit blocked, and like you said initially that you were struggling to get anything actually down on paper, and perhaps they don’t have that other person to check in on them. What tips do you have for them to help start exploring their ‘I am’?

Barby Ingle
If you’re all alone, maybe pull out a dictionary and start reading the words, it might spark something or open your eyes to something that you are or help you think it through. Don’t have imposter syndrome. When you’re doing something and you’d say, “Oh, that’s not me, I’m going to pretend my way through”, that ‘I am’ exercise is not about pretending your way through, it’s about really seeing who you are. And knowing that that’s good enough. And getting to a place where you can’t, and again, I have over 150 things on my list, but it’s also been 20 years in the making. So it’s definitely something that I’ve held on to and has been a great resource for me. And it really, if you’re all if you’re really alone, you can pull a dictionary, if you have some people that you can ask, maybe if you are on Twitter, or social media of any kind, you can say, “hey, what are some adjectives that you guys would use to describe me?” and see if other people’s ideas match what yours are? And you can go “Oh, no, that’s not, I’m not that”. “Oh, yes, I agree with that”. Or I would say it in my way. So you’re ‘you are’, is different than your ‘I Am’.

But it can give you a starting point. And you can take what other people give you, just like when you give somebody a piece of knowledge, they can take it or leave it. You can do the same thing. You can say, “hey, what are some adjectives you would use to describe me in three words?”, “What three words would you use?”. “Oh, you’re thriving”, “Okay? I don’t necessarily feel like I’m thriving because I’m having these challenges right now. But look, I’m 29 years old, and I am thriving. I’ve made it to 29 years old, that’s an accomplishment”.

You know, so whatever. I’m older than 29. But I’m just throwing it out for whoever’s listening. It literally can be anything that you are. It could be an emotion. I am happy, I am sad. I am comforted. I am positive, I am doing my best. I am quiet. I am loud. Whatever it is that is your, is you. Use your environment to bounce words off of yourself to help you get started in making that list.

Stacie Clark
Yeah, really great tips there. Thank you. And I agree, like sometimes other people see things in us that we might not always see in ourselves yet. And having that reflected back to you can be really helpful. I know that’s an exercise that me and my colleagues do a lot. It’s like, “yeah, let’s gather feedback. Because we know that sometimes we miss a whole lot of things about ourselves that other people are like, but you’re really good at this” and it’s like “am I?”.

Barby Ingle
Right? And it makes you question, Am I really that? Or is that how they see me? So I ended up getting a divorce after 10 years of being married. And God had a better plan for me. And he brought me a husband, and my name is Barby, as you know. But my husband’s name is Ken.
And Ken came to me at a time when I was missing all of the signs that were being dropped in front of me. And how do you miss that? You’re Ken and Barbie. And you can’t miss that sign. So here we are. Here we are. Married, we got married in 2007. And, and he’s the most amazing man. And at the time, I wasn’t looking for him. But he saw me, I felt like I was the worst. I lost everything. My marriage failed, I lost my company, my job, my life, my ability to drive, had trouble getting out of bed each day. And he, at the same time, that I thought all this loss, he was looking at me going “you’re everything that I look for in a wife and I did not get married for the first 35 years of my life or make a solid commitment because I was looking for something and you were what I was looking for. And I’m not going to let a disability of physical disability stop me from having the wife that I’ve looked for my whole life”.

Stacie Clark
I love that. I mean, we’re all here for someone aren’t we, whether that’s relationships, friendships work. And again, like, I strongly believe that if the people you are currently around, are not lifting you up or not recognising you for who you truly are, then they’re not your people.

Barby Ingle
And it’s time to walk away.

Stacie Clark
Yeah

Barby Ingle
People. Same thing with health care. People don’t realise you can fire a doctor, you can get a different opinion, a second opinion, a third opinion, you can find ways if your provider doesn’t offer you the treatments you think could help you through whatever you’re facing. There’s other providers out there that can do that. There’s always a way to figure it out. Whether you take a bus somewhere, or you take a jet plane somewhere, you can still get there. And it’s just about finding the ways to and through whatever it is that you’re facing and having the right people around you making that team, and using that approach.

Stacie Clark
Your squad.

Barby Ingle
Yes! they can get you far. It really could get you far.

Stacie Clark
Yeah. I love that, it’s come back around to you’re cheerleading!

Barby Ingle
Yes.

Stacie Clark
It’s finding your cheer squad isn’t it!

Barby Ingle
Yes.

Stacie Clark
Lovely. So just to start wrapping things up Barby. If you had a message that you could send back to your younger self, what would you like to say?

Barby Ingle
Everything will be okay. Just keep going.

Stacie Clark
Yeah, I think your life is a pure example of how that statement is true.

Barby Ingle
It is. And you don’t, again, you’re not going to see it at this moment. But just know when you look back from the future, it all makes sense.

Stacie Clark
Well, it has been an absolute pleasure speaking to you and hearing your story. I think there’s so many good insights in there that other people can take away. And thank you for that exercise that people can go and try as well. Thank you for sharing your hope. And yeah, it’s just been a pleasure speaking with you.

Barby Ingle
Thank you, it’s been my pleasure. And for all of your listeners, do me a favour and go give Stacie’s podcast, and her whole platform, a rating of five stars. Let everybody know that it’s awesome and amazing. And this is your way of paying her back for what she’s providing to us here on earth, and go do that right now.

Stacie Clark
Thank you very much.

If anyone wants to reach out to you, Barby, where can they find you?

Barby Ingle
You can find me personally at BarbyIngle.com. And you can find me on, anything about chronic pain, at internationalpain.org. It’s an International Pain Foundation, we help people from all over the world. So if you’re facing something, and you don’t know what to do next, you can reach out and we have a lot of different programmes that can help you there as well.

Stacie Clark
Wonderful. And just one last thing because I know you have a book. Do you want to share a little bit about that quickly, just before we go?

Barby Ingle
Sure. Thank you. I actually have published nine books but my two favourites are From Wheels to Heals. And then my other favourite book is one that I did with my brother. And it’s called Aunt Barby’s Invisible, Endless Owie, and that one got the conversation going in our family, so that I can have a better relationship with my seven nephews and my niece.

Stacie Clark
Amazing. Lovely. Thank you so much. And yeah, thank you for coming on and I hope that we’ll be able to connect again soon.

Barby Ingle
Thank you. Take care.

Stacie Clark
Thanks for listening. I’d like to end this episode by highlighting some key takeaways that Barby shared, to help you cultivate more hope in your life:

  1. Understand what you’re going through. Collect knowledge, stories, and educate yourself on what you’re experiencing, so that you can manage the challenges when they come up, and feel better prepared for the next steps. You can learn more about social anxiety, by visiting our website, QuietConnections.co.uk
  2. Create an oasis for yourself that helps to soothe and comfort you when you are feeling challenged, anxious or low. This could be finding a calming space in nature, having a go-to mindful activity like art and gardening, or self-soothing box which helps you relax through the senses.
  3. Have anchors that helps to reinforce positive memories and feelings. This could be visualising a moment that brought you joy, listening to music, looking at photographs, or holding objects that remind you of people that care, and who you care about too.
  4. Have a go at the exercise Barby used herself, and create an on-going “I am” list – recognising that you are a multifaceted human being, who is fluid, and ever changing, growing & evolving.
  5. And finally, remember that Hope requires action. Even small action. And spreading hope to others through your story, your knowledge, and your resources with them, helps nurture more hope for yourself.

Following the lead from Barby…If this episode has been helpful for you, then please do give the Quiet Connections Podcast from stars and a review. This helps us to reach more and more people, to let them know, they too are never alone.

Tune in again next week. And in the meantime… stay connected.

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