From Survivor to Thriver
From Survivor to Thriver

From Survivor to Thriver

Erik DaRosa & Marc Fernandes

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Episodes

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Recent Episodes

From the Floor to the Door with Michelle
JAN 16, 2024
From the Floor to the Door with Michelle

Domestic abuse can look many different ways, and it's crucial to recognize the different ways it manifests. It goes beyond just physical violence and can include emotional, verbal, sexual, and even financial abuse.

In this episode of From Survivor to Thriver, we sat down with Michelle, who went through many types of domestic abuse with her husband of 20 years. She’s sharing her experience and when she finally realized what was happening and was brave enough to take her kids and get out. 

Michelle’s story is one of courage and determination. She took her experience and is using it to help other women in her situation find the help they need to get out of abusive relationships and get a fresh start. 

Michelle was married for many years and was a stay-at-home Mom for 2 children. In 2015, Michelle realized that her husband was addicted to drugs. During this time, she experienced financial, emotional and sexual abuse from him, which turned into his sex trafficking her. 

She spent many nights crying on the floor, until one night, with fear running through her body and hope in her heart, she ran for the door and got out.  Since then, she has been healing herself with therapy and other techniques. She has become a strong Mom for her children, in addition to being an advocate and mentor for other women and teens who have suffered any form of trauma and abuse. 

Her story is compelling, heartbreaking, and yet full of hope and reconciliation. She survived for a reason and has now dedicated her life to those needing help in finding their smile again.  

In today’s episode, we cover: 

  • The warning signs for Michelle at what her husband truly was
  • The differences between grooming and brainwashing
  • The backdoor of a life that her husband hid from her for years
  • How Michelle was exploited and traffic by people she trusted
  • The moment Michelle realized she was being trafficked and it was time to leave
  • The organization that helped her get out
  • Different types of abuse and why they are all about control
  • How Michelle plans to help other women in her position
  • How Michelle found the strength to move on after leaving her husband
  • Why we shouldn’t ignore our instincts
  • The stigma around abuse in our society

We hope you enjoyed our conversation with Michelle! If you want to learn more from her, make sure to visit https://fromthefloortothedoor.com

Thanks again for tuning in. We are so grateful to each and every one of you. Please remember to leave a rating and review of our show. It helps us grow and reach those who need it. Also, make sure to subscribe so you never miss an episode! 

Links: 

Visit Michelle’s website: ​​https://fromthefloortothedoor.com 

Visit our website: https://fromsurvivortothriver.com/

Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brushcreekthrivers

Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brushcreekthrivers/

Get in touch: [email protected]

Quotes: 

“I knew that I needed to get a roof over my head so that I could create a safe space for my children.” -Michelle 

“We are all at some point just surviving. And at some point, we have to take charge.” Erik 

“Your boundaries will adjust for certain people in your life. If a person has never had your best interests at heart, your boundaries should never move for that kind of person.” -Marc

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64 MIN
Self-Empowerment, Presence, and a Growth Mindset with John Brewer Jr.
JAN 9, 2024
Self-Empowerment, Presence, and a Growth Mindset with John Brewer Jr.

Fear of the unknown can cause a lot of anxiety, but taking steps to prepare yourself can do wonders for your confidence and mental health.

In this episode of From Survivor to Thriver, we sat down with John Brewer Jr. to talk about the importance of preparedness and self-defense, not just in terms of physical protection, but also as a philosophy for life. 

John highlights how readiness, mindfulness, self-reliance, and a sense of preparedness can be applied to various aspects of life, from managing stress to developing confidence.

John Brewer, Jr. is an Army Special Forces veteran with more than 10 years of experience enabling those who act to defend life, family, and country. He is the Founder of Mind, Shield & Spear Consulting Group and Author of Fight for Your Best Life, a book on safety and self-defense. 

He uses his experiences from training and working alongside indigenous forces in war-torn countries fighting against terrorism and oppression, to enable and empower individuals who wish to protect themselves and others from becoming victims of violent crime. 

Using a multidisciplinary approach, John acts as a facilitator in guiding others to meet their safety and security needs from building a sturdy foundation, based on their core values and goals, to gaining knowledge, developing skills, and reaching not only their safety goals but also their life's aspirations. 

Knowing firsthand the importance of self-reliance, John has made it his mission to enable and empower others so they may live healthy, thriving lives.  

In today’s episode, we cover: 

  • The juxtaposition between self-reliance and built community
  • The power of delegating tasks and focusing on what you’re skilled in
  • How John took his war experiences and turned it into a program that empowers others
  • Being prepared for unexpected circumstances in life
  • How being prepared for the unexpected can impact your mental health
  • What happens when you have SOPs ready to go for any situation
  • How to build a mental health toolkit
  • How to use stress to your advantage
  • Staying in purpose and alignment when handling stress
  • Embracing self-reflection 
  • Tips for prioritizing what’s really important in your life 
  • The balance of confidence and having a growth mindset 

We hope you enjoyed our conversation with John! If you want to learn more from him, make sure to visit his website and find him on LinkedIn. 

Thanks again for tuning in. We are so grateful to each and every one of you. Please remember to leave a rating and review of our show. It helps us grow and reach those who need it. Also, make sure to subscribe so you never miss an episode! 

Links: 

Visit John’s website

Connect with John on LinkedIn

Visit our website

Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Instagram

Get in touch: [email protected]


“The building blocks to confidence is having SOPs for life ready to go.” -John 

“As you go through these experiences you become better equipped at understanding things that work and things that don't work, you start to fill your mental health toolbox up more and more and you become much better at anticipating different scenarios.” -Erik 

“Just thinking your talent is going to be enough sets you up for failure.” -Marc

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66 MIN
From Banking to Breathing: A Journey Into Mindfulness with Colin Kingsmill
JAN 2, 2024
From Banking to Breathing: A Journey Into Mindfulness with Colin Kingsmill

What does it take to discover your true purpose for being here? 

In this episode of From Survivor to Thriver, we sat down with Colin Kingsmill who found a tremendous amount of success and wealth only to give it all away and leave that lifestyle behind to honor his mental health. 

Colin shares his story and how he went on a spiritual journey and, through several modalities including meditation and mindfulness practices,  found his crystal clear purpose for being here. 

He also shares the evolution of his relationships and his view of the world since making this profound shift and rediscovering his own humanity. 

In 2001, with an MBA and a successful decade in Swiss banking behind him, Colin Kingsmill decided to make a radical reset, give up most of his possessions and perceived status, and step into the unknown. He had everything he wanted, but it was not fulfilling. 

He really has seen it all, from flying in private jets, sailing on superyachts, mingling with industry titans, meeting Hillary Clinton and Elton John, and hanging out in George Clooney's villa on Lake Como when the Heinz family owned it. However, on the flip side of all the shiny stuff, he has also suffered the hardships of divorce and personal bankruptcy, depression, and crippling anxiety. 

Today, with all this life and work experience behind him, Colin now coaches, advises, and mentors extraordinary individuals making important changes in their personal and professional lives and provides a space for business owners to talk strategically through their pivot plans and fears as they grapple with the challenges of today’s world.  

In today’s episode, we cover: 

  • The masks we wear to hide our mental health struggles from the world
  • Releasing the trappings of status for your own health
  • Why material things don’t prove our self-worth
  • What rebirthing is and how it can lead to a past life regression
  • The experience that inspired Colin to get rid of all of his material things 
  • How Colin got crystal clear on his purpose for being here
  • The process of going from shelf-development to self-development
  • The evolution of our relationships
  • How meditation and mindfulness can help you embody your true self
  • The lenses and traumas that we live our lives through
  • Reality is only as good as we make it at any given moment

We hope you enjoyed our conversation with Colin! If you want to learn more from him, make sure to visit his website and follow him on Instagram and LinkedIn. 

Thanks again for tuning in. We are so grateful to each and every one of you. Please remember to leave a rating and review of our show. It helps us grow and reach those who need it. Also, make sure to subscribe so you never miss an episode! 

Links:

Visit Colin’s website

Connect with Colin on LinkedIn

Follow Collin on Instagram

Visit our website

Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Instagram

Get in touch: [email protected]

“In my previous chapters, I was a gladiator for myself. Now I feel like I’m a gladiator for humanity.” -Colin 

“When I finally started to recognize what it was that I needed for the first time, I started looking around and my true friendships deepened.” -Erik&n

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74 MIN
Bulldozing Your Fear with Susan Snow
DEC 26, 2023
Bulldozing Your Fear with Susan Snow

Suffering from any type of trauma can change your life in an instant. 

In this episode of From Survivor to Thriver, we sat down with Susan Snow, whose life was forever changed on a fateful Halloween night in 1985 when her father, a dedicated LAPD detective, was tragically killed. This led to PTSD, depression, and anxiety for Susan as she struggled to navigate what happened.

She shares the raw and emotional process of how she learned to bulldoze her fear and turned her profound personal trauma into a path of healing and empowerment. 

Susan is passionate about changing the system and getting more support for the kids of fallen officers so they get the mental health support they need.

Susan Snow is the daughter of slain LAPD Detective Thomas C. Williams, who was ambushed and killed on October 31, 1985, when she was seventeen years old. She is a published author, speaker, and coach. 

Susan's book The Other Side of the Gun was born out of her journey through the trauma she experienced with the death of her father. She wrote it specifically to heal herself and help others heal through her words and experiences. 

These days, Susan works as a Realtor in the Denver Metro area.  

In today’s episode, we cover: 

  • What happened after Susan lost her father and the grief and mental health issues she went through
  • How Susan found her passion in making sure that children of fallen officers get the support they need
  • Balancing fear when your loved ones work dangerous jobs
  • The importance of taking away the stigma of needing help 
  • Susans struggle with PTSD, suicidal ideation, depression, and anxiety
  • The impact Columbine had on Susan’s mental health
  • The conversation that helped Susan finally get the health she needed
  • Managing PTSD and the power of journaling
  • How Susan bulldozed her fear and found healing 
  • The ripple effect trauma can have on those around us

We hope you enjoyed our conversation with Susan! We highly recommend you check out her book! You can find it here. If you want to learn more about her, you can visit her website.

Thanks again for tuning in. We are so grateful to each and every one of you. Please remember to leave a rating and review of our show. It helps us grow and reach those who need it. Also, make sure to subscribe so you never miss an episode! 

Links: 

Visit Susan’s website

Get a copy of Susan’s book

Visit our website

Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Instagram

Get in touch: [email protected]

Quotes: 

“My therapist told me that anyone who has gone through a traumatic experience in their life can experience PTSD.  And it was like the sky opened up and rainbows shot out because I finally had answers to what the heck was going on with me.” - Susan 

“We don’t cure mental health issues. What we do is we work with them.” -Erik 

“We think it's just part and parcel that you don't find healing as part of the suffering of the human condition without a community and it all starts with our partners.” -Marc



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78 MIN
Behind the Badge: A Story of Hope with Ashley Ferris
DEC 19, 2023
Behind the Badge: A Story of Hope with Ashley Ferris

While for many the holidays are a time filled with joy and family, for some, it can be the darkest, hardest, or loneliest time of the year. 

In this special episode of From Survivor to Thriver, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Ashley Ferris who is a beacon in the dark to anyone struggling with their mental health, especially this time of year.

In 2021, Ashley reached her lowest point and was planning to take her own life after her shift as a police officer. During that shift, Ashley experienced a life-changing incident. 

Ashley nearly died that day, but thanks to the quick action of her fellow officers and the kindness and compassion she experienced following it, she found a new purpose in her life and a will to live. She is now passionate about helping others understand that no matter how dark it is, something amazing could be around the corner. You always have something to live for and you are worthy of any help you might need. 

Ashley Ferris was a law enforcement officer with the Lakewood Police Department in Lakewood, Colorado from January of 2018 to June of 2023. Prior to that, Ashley was an All-Source Intelligence Analyst with the United States Army and a project manager for a Denver area developer. 

During her tenure as an officer, Ashley was appointed to several leadership, mentoring, and instructing positions. Some of those positions included Field Training Officer, Crisis Intervention Coach, Public Information Officer, CPR and Tactical Medical Care Instructor, amongst others.  

In addition to her role at UT as a Training Specialist and her current graduate program studies, Ashley travels around the country to share her experience and lessons learned following her critical incident. Ashley lives and loves to serve the community, her organization, and her friends and peers.   

In today’s episode, we cover: 

  • The mental health crisis Ashley was in and the incident at work that changed everything
  • How you can always get help, no matter how bleak your options seem
  • How Ashley found a purpose to live for
  • Why the holidays are so challenging for so many people
  • Ashley’s passion for crisis intervention
  • The signs that someone might be struggling with suicidal ideations
  • The unique mental health challenges that first responders face
  • Why cops continue to put everyone else first even when they need help 
  • The life-saving power of being vulnerable
  • Why first responders have to feel safe to get help in order for anything to change

We hope you enjoyed our conversation with Ashley! If you want to learn more, make sure to visit the A Fighting Chance website! 

Thanks again for tuning in. We are so grateful to each and every one of you. Please remember to leave a rating and review of our show. It helps us grow and reach those who need it. Also, make sure to subscribe so you never miss an episode! 

Links: 

Visit the A Fighting Chance website

Visit our website

Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Instagram

Get in touch: [email protected]

Quotes: 

“I served a purpose that day I got shot, and now I know that my survival is a guide to someone else. My struggle can help someone else.“ -Ashley 

“Don’t wait for permission. Get right in there and help someone if you think it’s needed.” -Marc

“When it comes to having conversations around mental health,  what often holds so many people back is the fear of being vuln

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82 MIN