The Real, The Honest and Being Human- Kristina Kuzmic

Eli Weinstein: Hello, and welcome to this week's episode of the dude therapist. I'm so excited to have this guest. When my mom found out that this person would come on the show, she screamed, but let's introduce Kristina without further ado. She is a cheerleader for her fellow humans. It's not something she ever anticipated doing after immigrating to America, from Croatia, during the war in her Homeland, and later facing more challenges, divorce, single parenting, poverty, and depression.

Eli Weinstein: Kristina wants it to be for others where she wished someone had been for her during her darkest hours. With well over 1 billion video views, Kristina provides her audience with encouragement, hope, and humor in a role. She never expected that. In 2011, when Oprah crowned Kristina, the winner of Mark Burnett's reality TV competition, Oprah searched for the next TV star; Oprah said, what is that thing?

Eli Weinstein: That's so charming and charismatic and connected to the audience that makes you feel like I know her. I want to be her, unlike her. Kristina has all of that. She is. And it, plus girl, I want to watch her since working with Oprah. Kristina has branched out on her own creating parent-centric videos about raising children and juggling all of life's challenges.

Eli Weinstein: Her messages resonate with moms, dads, and even those who don't have children. She has quickly become a viral sensation with over 2.8 million Facebook followers. And over 1 billion video views. Kristina has a voice of PR and personality. It has proven to be a hit with a massive audience. Kristina and her husband live in southern California and her most important rewarding and exhausting roles include being a sanitation engineer, chef chauffer, conflict resolution guru, and cheerleader for three O satisfied clients.

Eli Weinstein: Her children. And don't forget that she's touring the country with our hope and humor tour. And her first book is held on, but don't hold still, which was released through penguin random house in February 2020. And if you listen fully, we're going to have a giveaway for this amazing book without further ado, let's get right into it.

Eli Weinstein: Welcome to this week's episode of the dude therapist. We have a celebrity on and the most awesome person, right? That's the title that I made up. She didn't do that. Kristina Kuzmic is here and we're going to talk about a lot of things, but before we get into it, can you kind of introduce yourself to the listeners if they don't know you?

Eli Weinstein: I don't know why they wouldn't, but if they don't know you, can you kind of introduce yourself.

Kristina K: Sure. So I think most people would probably know me from the videos that I create. Thank you. Whether it's about parenting or mental health or life in general. Um, a lot of times while drinking coffee straight out of a coffee pot, or pouring wine on ice cream, um, I also wrote a book hold on, but don't hold still.

Kristina K: And I have a national tour, but basically everything I create, my goal is always to be for others, what I needed when I hit rock bottom. And so. That's what I get to wake up every morning and do fun. Did you ever

Eli Weinstein: imagine when you were at rock bottom now, if you look back that you would ever be where you were today?

Eli Weinstein: Never because your story is so.

Kristina K: I mean, seriously, I get emotional every time I see a comment on one of my videos or somebody reaches out and they're at that point where they're like, I need to end it. There's no hope it'll never get better. I, I cry every time as if I'm hearing somebody say it for the first time to me because I remember that.

Kristina K: I remember so clearly being convinced that my life will be horrible forever, that I will hate myself. And I just, I have such passion for those people. Cause I want to grab every single one of them by the shoulder and go, you have to stick around, you don't know what's around the corner and it could blow your mind.

Kristina K: I mean, I never would have thought, you know, my life would be as good and still messy and still flawed because that's real. Right. Yeah. But. I don't ever contemplate suicide anymore. And I used to daily.

Eli Weinstein: That's beautiful to hear. And it is just amazing to watch your passion. I think that's, what's so drawing to you because there are plenty of people who are in your position who have that platform that do amazing things for people, but they're not grounded in there's the power and the story that they had that brought them there sometimes, which makes you so relatable.

Eli Weinstein: The fact that you get emotional when someone tells you something that you were at, and you're brought back to that. That's what I think draws some people to you and other than your humor and your hilariousness about real topics that people don't talk about recently, I kept watching the guilt of the things, the filing cabinet one that you did.

Eli Weinstein: And I was like, oh my gosh, this is what I do. And it put just a fun twist on something that we all do. How do you come up with that stuff in a creative way? How was that process for you to take a real thing that we all deal with as parents, as human beings, and make it kind of humorous yet? Really?

Kristina K: I mean, I'm a very visual person.

Kristina K: So like, for example, with the filing cabinet, it's a video where I basically show how I learned to file my guilt. Cause I used to put all my guilt in one folder, which was called you suck, and you should stay up all night feeling like a horrible human being. And then I started, you know, filing it properly like, Hey, this is human, you're human.

Kristina K: That's why you did this. Or, Hey, this requires work, but still doesn't require yourself hating herself. Anyway. Um, and so for me, Whenever I sort of figure out something that helps me. I immediately am. Like, if it ha if it's helping me with this visual, it's probably going to help at least one other person. And if I can reach that one person.

Kristina K: Awesome. And so it, it all just comes down to, if I feel like it's helpful, I'm going to assume it's helpful to someone else and put it in a video. And if I add humor, I think it's always used. Swallow any message with a little bit of humor.

Eli Weinstein: And I think that mentality is so, so helpful that it just, it's not this I'm going to change.

Eli Weinstein: The world is I'm going to change one person's life, one person's viewpoint, or one person's perspective. And who knows where it goes from there. You know, your story is really a lot, right? It's something that unfortunately happens more often than we realize this idea of despair and homelessness. And at the lowest point, still trying to balance being a.

Eli Weinstein: Can you kind of maybe if you would like, or if you can walk through where your head was at at that point. So for people who might be there, who might be listening, what might be similar, they don't feel alone. And how you kind of pull yourself out from that kind of hole in your mind, in your life that you were in to make it just a little bit better for yourself.

Kristina K: Sure. So I got divorced. I left my marriage, um, when my kids were one and a half and three and I. There's a lot of drama that I actually don't talk about because I, I'm very careful to, I'm very open about my own story, but I'm very careful to protect other people's stories, even if I disagree with the way they handle things.

Kristina K: And I, I don't ever want to, you know, bash anyone or whatever. So, um, so there were a lot of, a lot of things that happened that basically caused me to make a decision that wasn't a smart decision to just basically tiptoe out, not ask for anything and because of. I ended up, I was broke. I didn't have any child support, nothing like that.

Kristina K: I didn't have any family support. My whole family I'm from Croatia. My whole family was in Croatia and, um, I ended up sleeping on the floor. I couldn't afford a bed-sharing a tiny room with my kids. I had a roommate in the other room, um, that I found on Craigslist do not recommend that. Don't do I seriously look back and I go, how stupid was that?

Kristina K: You had two little kids and you're a woman you found. You could have been murdered. Um, but thankfully she turned out to be an angel, but, um, I saw I was broke. I was on food stamps. Um, I write in my book, even that sort of just applying for food stamps and how I was treated like I wasn't even human and, um, and more than all the financial difficulties, I just.

Kristina K: Became really depressed. And I lost my self-worth completely. I thought here I am. I have two little kids. I don't have a great support system. Eventually, I built a support system, but, um, and I, I don't even know how to feed my kids. Like I'm struggling to feed my kids. My friend is literally asking his manager, Hey, can we?

Kristina K: The food that we throw away, it's a little stale, but it's not moldy. Can I give it to my friend instead of throwing it away? And every Friday my friend would bring me stale bagels and muffins. And that's what I fed my kids. So, you know, as a mother, you go, wow, this is, this is great by a mother of the year.

Kristina K: And I just hated myself. I basically became convinced that my children deserve better than me and I started a list that still gives me chills. What I think about, I had a list that nobody knew about. In fact, I never talked about it until just a few years ago and I had a hiding space place for it. And the list was pros and cons of how my suicide would affect my children and the list of pros, meaning they will be better off if I just kill myself was longer than the, you know, cotton.

Kristina K: I long story short, and it's a very long story because nothing happens overnight. People want a quick fix. There's no quick fix. Right. Um, I ended up. Decided one day, I'm either going to kill myself or I'm going to fight for my life. And the only thing I could think of that would help me fight is can I think of one little thing that I'm still confident about?

Kristina K: Is there anything you don't want to hate me this much? Is there anything I'm still confident about? And the only thing I could come up with is that I can cook. I can cook a great meal and of course, all the normal negative things entered my head because we humans do this to ourselves. Like, so what Kristina.

Kristina K: Special. Most people know how to cook, who cares? And I decided to finally for the first time, ignore that voice and go, no, I'm just going to do something with this. It's the only thing I still feel good about. And so I sent this email to all my contacts in the area, and I said, I've no idea how I'm going to do this.

Kristina K: I have no plan right now, but every Wednesday I'm going to feed you. So if you know someone who needs a meal, maybe it's someone who is rich and has way more money than me, but they're just new to town and lonely. Maybe it's an elderly man who just lost his wife. I don't care what the need is. Wednesday.

Kristina K: I'm going to keep people went to the 99-cent store and bought literally cans of tomato sauce. I mean, I spent maybe $3 and made pasta, nothing special, just a plain old pasta I could make on a couple of bucks. And that first Wednesday. I fed over 30 people. I get choked up and my apartment was so small that people are literally having to stand outside with their food.

Kristina K: But something happened to me that night. I remember the last person left and I had to, by the way, I had to make a second batch of pasta because there wasn't enough, the last person left and I shut that door. And it was like now when I think back was like a movie scene, I literally sunk to the ground and I sobbed like a baby because, for the first time, I realized, even when I feel like I have nothing, I have something to offer.

Kristina K: I have some value. Um, and the next morning I started getting emails from people who came to the dinner going, oh my gosh, I needed that. I'm new to town. I met some cool people. Like these people were thanking me like the girl who pitied herself, who felt like she was, everybody looked down on and a lot of people did look down on these people were getting something from.

Kristina K: And that's when I ripped up the list and never looked back on that list, life did not go all great and butterflies and unicorns from then on, it was a long road, but I think that's what we, as humans forget to do. We focus on all the things we don't have and can't do. And that list honestly, will always be longer than the list of things we can do and do half.

Kristina K: And by me, focusing on that one little thing, Not that special. Most people know how to cook, but for me to decide to focus on that was a turning point. And that's what I always tell people, like stop thinking, you have to do something huge. What can you do with what you have step-stop, allowing all the things that are completely out of your control to control you completely?

Kristina K: And that's when your life will begin to change. Sorry. That was a very long answer.

Eli Weinstein: Like at the verge of tears, because that was such a that, that passion, because it's so beautiful to hear something I'm not trying to diminish it, but something so simple as a meal with random strangers can impact a viewpoint to realize that you can give something to this world without it being big.

Eli Weinstein: So often I work with. Every well, every day I work with people, but so often I tell clients of mine that it's not about the big failures of the big successes is the small successes, and steps that we take towards something bigger because we are so focused on that big picture. Like I have to change the world or I have to be an, a student or I have to, or I'm a.

Eli Weinstein: Yeah. And it's these little things that we can do to someone or to, for someone, are you in touch with any of them like that first round of people? Do you have any contact? Is there like a WhatsApp group that you guys are like, thank you so much, you know, like, is it something that you guys like, you know them or say, friends?

Eli Weinstein: Yeah. I

Kristina K: wish there was a whole group. I am still in touch with a few of them, but I, you know, at the time I was like so depressed and not even thinking straight. I wish I had had the clarity. I'm going to have everybody sign a guest book, but I didn't, but here's the thing. Is anybody listening to this right now and they're feeling like I was right.

Kristina K: You feel worthless. You feel like you got nothing to offer. And then you think of that one little thing and you're going to immediately think of all the reasons, right? Cause that's what we do. All the reasons it's not going to work. It's not. Can you imagine if I had done that? If I had not told that stupid negative voice in my head to shut up and sit down, I might be dead right now.

Kristina K: I literally could be dead right now. And so listen. The voice that's telling you what you can do, focus on that because if you start making excuses and it's so easy, I mean, I could have said who's going to bring people to my crummy little apartment. Everyone's going to judge my criminal breath. My friends know I'm depressed.

Kristina K: They're not, they're going to be too embarrassed to, but I mean, I could've come up with every reason not to do that. One little thing. Yeah. You just gotta do it anyway. You just don't do it anyway.

Eli Weinstein: I think the doubt, the doubts and the spare and that negative voice that is so easy to find so easy to, it's just waiting.

Eli Weinstein: It's this little, little gremlin that's just waiting to be fed with more negativity to create this monster. And we, one of the things that I work with, a lot of people who have anxieties specifically that that fear or critical voice it's like, they become the backseat driver that takes over the wheel.

Eli Weinstein: They're not, you literally have control over that car and it's so easy to let the backseat driver nag you to the. Where they are telling you and dictating how you're driving. And it's so hard because there are left and right ways that people are telling you and society is forcing or making you feel. But in reality, it could be the smallest thing that makes the biggest difference.

Eli Weinstein: So when you drop to the ground, right, and I heard this story before I knew the story, I love the story. It's. That brought me into your awesomeness, as I said in the beginning. And just the realness of your story, because that dropping of how much they liked you and thanked you when in reality you needed them more than they needed you sometimes.

Kristina K: I mean, this is the thing, and I've heard people go like, you know, sometimes when I do things for others when I volunteer stuff, I'm, I 'm embarrassed to admit it, but it's really, it makes me feel good. So I'm not doing it for the right. And I go, listen, if that's your version of being selfish, helping others while prioritizing, please be selfish.

Kristina K: Go for it. In fact, I wish more people talked about it. I think sometimes I did this thing. I'm 42 now, but when I was turning 40, I did this thing 40 for 40. And for 40 days before my 40th, each day I did an activity. And came up with 40 and I posted all of them in hopes to inspire other people because a lot of them were free.

Kristina K: It was like, call your neighbor who has dogs and pick up their dog poop. That's one of the things I did. It's, it's stuff that doesn't even require money. Right. And, um, and then some of them did require some money. So I do these and the number of comments I got from people saying, if it was a real act of kindness, you would need to post it.

Kristina K: You're just showing up and I'm thinking, Hmm. We constantly post, like we see so much negativity, right? There's so much negativity on social media and now people are going to spit on somebody posting something good. I love seeing what other people are doing, how they're, you know if I didn't have social media back when I did Wednesday dinners, but man, if I'd share that I would have been accused of you're showing off that you did something kind.

Kristina K: I don't know what life could have been saved. Just that idea. So I think. Any chance you get to post this good stuff you're putting into the world, but good stuff you're doing. If people see it showing off, that's their own stuff, they got to work through, they got to heal some parts of themselves. Do you know what I

Eli Weinstein: mean?

Eli Weinstein: I love that. I love it's so true. You know, like ha and then the real, then I want to jump into like the idea of your kids, how. Navigating your stuff. Because as parents, we all have our own stuff, we're all mental health, our own struggles. How was it navigating and balancing that low time that you had and through the process of healing and continuously growing always and forever?

Eli Weinstein: How do you balance that when you're trying to take care of your kids and as well, letting them into the fact that you're not.

Kristina K: Yeah. I mean, for a long time, I did not prioritize my sanity. And I think a lot of parents, even if they haven't dealt with deep, deep depression, we all, let's be honest. Every human has some sort of mental health issue.

Kristina K: We just do just like every human has some physical issue. That's normal. Um, I wish it was talked about more, but, um, so I think a lot of parents can relate to it, especially when you have tool kits. And then on top of that, if you're a single parent, sometimes you find yourself just. Feeling numb and going through the motions, you are Jew.

Kristina K: I mean, it was literally like, okay, kids are up, feed them, change the diaper, do this. I mean, it was just. And then faking that smile and faking the joy because you want to make them think that everything is okay, even though inside you're dying. I mean, it's so exhausting. It is. So emotionally, first of all, being a parent to young kids is physically exhausting.

Kristina K: And then on top of that, you have the emotional burden of you're taking care of these kids. And all you can think about is they deserve better than me. I always say tough days are a lot less tough if you're not so tough on yourself. So here I am with really tough days. And what am I doing? I'm beating myself up during that, which is the worst thing you can do.

Kristina K: The worst thing you can do. And. So that was really, really tough. Then once I had my turning point with w with those Wednesday night dinners, I started seeing a therapist and I do, I wish more people knew this. I always, whenever I say this, a lot of people are like, I didn't know that if you can't afford therapy, I could not.

Kristina K: You can call a local university and you can get hooked up with a student who has finished all of their classwork. They just need the hours and they will have a supervisor who they will answer to and run your case by. So there is. So if you don't have insurance, if you don't just, you can get the help also.

Kristina K: Sorry, this was not the question you asked, but just throwing this out there in case anybody needs it. Now with social media, especially, or just the internet in general, you just Google support groups for mental health in whatever city you live in, you will find free support groups, join every support group you need to hear from somebody else that somebody else is struggling too.

Kristina K: And they've made it through. You need to hear that so that you have that hope and so that you feel like somebody else gets it. Cause when I was in it, I felt like nobody understands. And if anybody actually knew that. Of how low I am. They'd probably think I was a horrible mother. They'd probably threatened to have my kids taken away.

Kristina K: I lived in this fear of if anybody knew what was going on in my head, my kids will be removed from me and I will be locked up. I mean, I just, I had the, you know, I lived in this fear of being found out instead of just joining a group and going I'm struggling and hearing that other people are struggling too.

Kristina K: So anyway, it was really, really tough until I find it. Reached out for help. I think a lot of times when we're struggling, we clench our fists. We close ourselves off. I don't wanna let anybody in this mess because they can handle my mess. It's so ugly. They can't handle it. And instead, those are the exact moments where you got to open up as uncomfortable as it is, and say, I need help.

Kristina K: I'm I'm open. I'm reaching out for help. You got to do that.

Eli Weinstein: A thousand percent. Yes. As a therapist, I very much agree with getting therapy. It'd be bad if I didn't. you're right. People don't know the truth, that if you go to a university and ask, for mental health treatment, there are students dying for hours.

Eli Weinstein: They need their hours. To check off a box to be able to get licensed, but just so you are aware like you said, it's very important. They have a supervisor that makes sure that everything is safe and good, and they're doing the right thing and checking in with them. You're not going to be given some Joe Schmo.

Eli Weinstein: Who's going to ruin yours. Hopefully, they have someone above them who make sure that everything's okay. It's accessible today, nays and age. It's so accessible, especially if it's now, with better help and things that are free and texting and things of that nature that might be cheaper. You got to just Google it and find it we're in a day and age where there's, there's not an excuse.

Eli Weinstein: We're guarding, not finding help because help is everywhere. Even on Facebook, there are support groups where you can meet clubhouse. Now there are so many different avenues to get support, you know,

Kristina K: so sorry to interrupt, but on that same topic, um, I've heard a lot of people. This is just my followers. Tell me, well, I tried therapy and it just didn't work.

Kristina K: And I said, okay. And then when you didn't feel like it was helpful, did you reach out to another therapist? I went through three student therapists before I come here. And that's the thing. It's a match. It's gotta, it's gotta work. It's a relationship. You're when you are in therapy, it is a relationship. To that just, I felt like it was a waste of time.

Kristina K: We weren't getting anywhere. Part of it also is you got to do the work. You gotta be really open. You got to do the work. And then the third one, I remember from the first session, she said something to me that literally made me stay up all night, that night thinking and changing my perspective. Oh, she challenged me in a way I needed to be challenged.

Kristina K: Like I found my match. So don't give up just because you have one bad session. Yeah. And sometimes it might be the right therapist, but you might have two sessions that don't feel right. And you don't even realize you have a wall that you gotta tear down. Like there's so much that goes into it. So when people say I tried therapy once and it didn't work, I'm like, then you didn't officially try.

Kristina K: Yeah.

Eli Weinstein: You're like speaking my language here. I should just have you speak to all my clients when they're running away. Um, no, but it really is a relationship. It's a match. So it, and there are so many therapists out there with so many different styles. And let's say, for example, if you work with me, my style might not be your vibe.

Eli Weinstein: You might not like how maybe I'm upfront about certain things or honest about other things. How I Diebold certain things about mine. Versus another therapist. You might want a different style, a different gender, a different race, a different religion. That's okay. But get someone who you hit it off with, and it has to be a relationship.

Eli Weinstein: I recently had a client who I suggested a specialist and she's like, no, I don't work with women. I had one bad experience with a woman therapist when I was 15. I'm like, you're 30. I'm like, you're 30. That's not that you got to try again, you're 30, it's 15 years difference. You're not the same person. So, and even if you work with someone and for 10 years, you work with someone and it works out and it changes and you're done, it doesn't mean it's over and it doesn't have to be that their therapy is a problem or wrong.

Eli Weinstein: It just might not be the right fit and be patient. And I love that. You talked about that. You're just, you're just hitting everything out of the park.

Kristina K: So teenagers are both in therapy. I have. Hey team in five days. I can't

Eli Weinstein: even believe it too. And I'm crying about it.

Kristina K: I just I'm like, how do I have an 18 year old?

Kristina K: So I have an 18 year old who has been in therapy since, 14. And we're actually going to do a video together soon. He's finally willing. And like, without me even asking him, wanting to talk about the last four years he has gone through. Our family has gone through hell his, his mental health struggles.

Kristina K: And, and now, you know, I went through it and I'm having to navigate as a mother, which is even more painful because in your kids suffer. So he's been in therapy and then my daughter, um, she's 16 and she's been in therapy and both of them did not click with the first therapist and there now for over a year, each with different therapists.

Kristina K: But again, My son was willing to like try another one. Cause he was really struggling. My daughter was like, Nope, tried therapy. Don't like it. And so I was like, okay, let's make a deal. I know you're struggling with some stuff I personally, and I know some parents think this is nuts. I personally think every teenager should have a therapist because they just needs an, another adult about their parent.

Kristina K: Yes. Yes. And I told him, I tell ya, my daughter, I said, what if you're frustrated with me? What if, what if you feel like, you know, there's something about me that you're not ready to speak to me about. I want you to be willing to speak to me, but I'd rather you speak to someone than no one. If you're not willing to.

Kristina K: Complained to me about me or whatever. So anyway, so she was like, okay, I'll give it another try. And now she will literally cancel plans with friends, not to miss her therapy session because she gets so much out

Eli Weinstein: of it. Wow. I wish all my teenage clients were like

Kristina K: that. Parents please like being a teenager is so hard.

Kristina K: It is. So, I mean, it is so hard. Why not? Talk to somebody, it doesn't hurt. It

Eli Weinstein: doesn't mean they're broken and it doesn't mean something's wrong with them. They just need someone to talk to. That's all it is. And

Kristina K: if you, if you take your kids to get a physical once a year, why wouldn't you have them also just have somebody to sh it doesn't have to be every week.

Kristina K: You could have him go twice a month, once a month, but just to have someone to check-in and make sure they're in a good place mentally in a moment. It doesn't hurt.

Eli Weinstein: I love that. Uh, yes. A thousand percent, yes. Everything you're saying. Yes. It's so important because I think there's a stigma. And you talked about it before.

Eli Weinstein: I wish we talked about it more. I hope that people are talking about it more and your platform does it so well, you know, when I, when I first had my daughter, um, I had crazy panic attacks. I thought I was dying and there was this automatic guilt that I had one as a therapist, like, get it together, Ellie, you're a therapist, you know, this, and the second thing was, I'm terrible.

Eli Weinstein: I'm anxious about my child. So I had postpartum anxiety as a father. My wife was, she's a warrior. She's amazing. And she's like, I was like, as a therapist, I'm watching her, I'm looking like, are you okay? Are you okay? And I was the one who was totally suffering, but I didn't realize it because I was so focused on her.

Eli Weinstein: And. People talking about this, like your struggles as a parent, as a human, and bringing it out more, makes people feel comfortable that they know that it's okay. How, when you put out your first like public thing, I know Oprah, you know, found you and said you're amazing and all that stuff. And you had a gold check from Oprah, which is amazing.

Eli Weinstein: And so cool. And. And if you're listening Oprah, I'm a big fan, but in the end, you're not listening. It's okay. But, um, how was it like putting that out there? Cause I know when I shared my anxiety attack, my panic attack and that I take medication, I went to therapy as a therapist and still do and all that kind of stuff.

Eli Weinstein: I was. And I don't have a big platform. I'm nobody yet I have my own life. You know, I'm not out there in the public. When you put yourself out there in the public, you write a book, all that kind of world, what are the fears that go into it? How do you kind of say no, no, no, remind yourself? I'm doing the right thing.

Eli Weinstein: I'm sharing my story. Hopefully, someone will like it.

Kristina K: Well, so when I first started making my videos, um, they were all funny. If you look at the first few videos, I created all just humor. I started hearing from parents who were like, oh, you make me laugh. And I needed it because just between you and me, I'm struggling with depression just between you and me.

Kristina K: I'm, you know, like you said, I'm having panic attacks and having Zack. And so then I thought, man, I need, they don't even know like none of these people know what I went through. And so I went in my car and shot this one, video it, look it up after you hear this and every, but it's called good enough. And, um, I'm sitting in my car and I basically open up that I was depressed and that I was in therapy.

Kristina K: And I share this perspective that my therapist shared with me that really, really helped. And before I posted it, I sent it to a friend of mine and he said, no, you cannot post this Kristina. You're known as the funny moms stick with it. And this guy is a production. In Hollywood. So I'm like, I'm going to ask for his opinion, he goes, second of all, the minute you start talking about therapy and Mensa, and you say, you're depressed.

Kristina K: People are going to judge, blah, blah, blah. And so I read his whole thing and I thought every reason he's not telling me to talk about it is the reason I should talk about it. Um, and even that makes me emotional because of the first thing that crossed my mind. I could have used this when I was struggling, man.

Kristina K: I like, I wish I, I can't even tell you how much it would've helped. If somebody has sent me a video with a mom that looks like she's got it all together, opening up about this stuff. And so I just clicked post and it went crazy. Like the views went crazy. The comments, the message. And of course, there was judgment too.

Kristina K: And of course, there was hate to, I mean, somebody literally responded to that video and said, well, you should've killed yourself because your kids will be better off. I mean, every range of hate somebody said like, oh, you know, stick with comedy or, oh, well now we know all the comedians are crazy. You know, obviously, this comes from you being crazy.

Kristina K: I mean, every judgment about, you know, I mentioned in the video that I didn't have a lot of money judging my bike that. But here's the thing, that those aren't, that's not the reason to not talk about it. There will all hit. And here's the other thing you can't win. You can't win. When I taught just the other day, I posted how I was in a cover of a magazine in Croatia, where I'm from.

Kristina K: And there was a guy that commented on it. I was like, what happened to humbleness? You know? And it's like, you can't talk about the fact that you were depressed and broke. You will get judged. If you talk about the fact that you are accomplished, you will get judged. So instead of worrying, what about what anybody thinks?

Kristina K: Just this is what I do. I use my pain for a purpose. I don't believe that everything happens for a reason personally, just because I can't tell a mother whose three-year-old is dying of cancer. Well, this is happening for a reason. I, I. That's my personal belief, but I do believe that we can take the pain, the story we have, that we've gone through, and turn it into a purpose.

Kristina K: And if you turn it into a purpose, you can literally save lives. You don't need to have my platform. You don't need to be making viral videos. You don't need to write a book, you can do it in your own neighborhood. You can do it with your kids. You can do with your kids' friends, just sharing your story will literally save lives because when I was suicide, None of my friends knew then you, I was depressed, but none of them knew I had that list of pros and cons.

Kristina K: And in fact, I posted a tic doc a while back where I show pictures of me during that time. And I'm smiling and I'm laughing and I'm snuggling with my kids. I had that list in my pocket during those pictures, nobody would have known. So you sharing your story. You don't even know if the person listening, seems to have it all.

Kristina K: Is going to hear that. And that will be the reason they decide to stick around or rip up that list they made. So share your story and do not worry about the judge, by the way, the judgment is coming from people who probably need your story. The more. They just can't even admit it because of much pain. You

Eli Weinstein: know, I recently spoke to a, an amazing person.

Eli Weinstein: Her name is Dr. Courtney Tracy. Her account is called the truth doctor and she's, um, been through, drug and alcohol addiction and mental health and anxiety. And I had her on the show and we're talking about being honest as a therapist and the scary truth of showing up as a therapist on social media to say, Hey, I struggle when therapists sometimes are put on a pedestal of perfection.

Eli Weinstein: I think the same thing goes for me. For some reason, not dad so much. And that bothers me as a father because I value, like I really love being a dad. No, it'd be like, I feel like moms have this pedestal that they have to have their stuff together. Even a slightly off. Sorry, you're not a good mom. And it's such a ridiculous concept that we look at people in that way.

Eli Weinstein: Even the celebrities, even all these people who make mistakes. And I think we lose touch with the idea of what it means to be human and your videos and your ideas and your content are all about what it means to be human. Is there a point where you like, look at your life and you're like, ah, or all the haters and you, and it just like gets overwhelming at points when you're just, you feel like you're trying to do too much to, to bring that point across, or is this like, there, there's a common clarity because you have found that purpose?

Kristina K: There's a common clarity. Now when I first started. Putting myself out there. And I was receiving Kate. I did the, I had the normal human reaction of laying in bed late at night, going, oh, should I say that differently? And man, I should have communicated that. And oh, maybe I shouldn't post that video. Maybe I should stop doing this.

Kristina K: These videos are dumb, all those normal feelings. And then, um, what helped me and actually write about this in my book is I started again like I said before, I'm a very visual person and I started going, oh my gosh, this is not my suitcase. They're here. They're handing me their suitcase, all the haters, all the judgment, right?

Kristina K: They have a suitcase full of their own crap. The stuff they've been through, the stuff they're unhappy about. And they think that pain is like Dodge ball. You're going to take that bottle of pain. You're going to throw it at somebody and it's out of your hand, right? They're going to hand me that suitcase and it's out of their hand, but that's not what happens because being a crappy human will never make you a happy human.

Kristina K: Right. And so what I realized is I was being like a bellhop. I was just picking up everybody's suitcases. And sometimes that suitcase can come from your own day. Right. It can come from people closest to, I was just carrying everybody's suitcases. And then I started this little exercise in my head where I would, the minute I would read a hateful comment or, or even receive judgment in person, I would just stop for a second.

Kristina K: I go, is this my suitcase? Am I really a horrible person? Am I really all these things they're saying, you know, or is this their suitcase? Handed to me. And the minute I started doing that, I was like, no, thank you. Like literally I became my mom. No, thank you. I love ya. You gotta, you gotta hand that suitcase to a therapist and, and unpack it there.

Kristina K: I'm not going to be your bellhop anymore. So now I have this calmness about when I see hatred, I'm like this person is in pain and they're trying to hand me their suitcases, the

Eli Weinstein: perspective. That's unbelievable. Visual. I'm like seeing it in my mind. Do your kids ever get embarrassed by you. Like mom

Kristina K: really well.

Kristina K: I have an agreement with my older two, and my younger one. I'm going to probably have to start the agreement soon. Cause he's seven. And when he was a baby, didn't have a say, but my older had an agreement where I'm not allowed to say anything on social media, about them without their permission, I'm not allowed to even post a picture.

Kristina K: There was one Christmas. They wouldn't even let me post the family picture. And that was fine. I respect that. So, because I'm so public, I feel like I felt like I owed it to them. And so anytime you hear me speak about my kids, it has been approved as a, you know if it's a specific story or whatever. Um, so I think because of that, Like they, they definitely don't think my videos are interesting or funny, but at least there's not like this resentment or anger, which I guarantee you there would have been some of that.

Kristina K: If I was just like, I don't post whatever I want and not respect them. So that's helped to have a boundary.

Eli Weinstein: Amazing. The last couple of questions, you know, when did you realize the impact you had? I know you had that. At that, you know, Wednesday night dinner where you sat on the floor, but when did it finally hit you now, when your platform was at a point where you're reaching more people and helping people, how was that moment for you to realize, oh, wow.

Eli Weinstein: I really am making a difference on a bigger scale than just 30 people at a party.

Kristina K: I mean, to be honest, I try so hard not to focus on that because I have this fear. I have a. Let's just say close family members without naming names, who my whole life made it about them and like what they, the influence they have, and the right.

Kristina K: And, and I feel like I've something I've discussed in therapy by the way. And I feel like I've almost spent my life fighting, not to be that. That it's distracting me from just fighting to be me. Right. I was always trying to avoid being something, instead of saying, who am I? And so, um, so I still struggle with like, I, I don't, I don't want to put too much focus on that because I worry I'm going to, or I'm going to think I'm more special than somebody else.

Kristina K: And I don't ever want to feel that way, but I do have these moments where yeah. Especially when I'm touring and I meet someone face to face because there's something different that someone saying something to you face-to-face and reading a comment, right? Yeah. And somebody will say to me, you know, you helped me walk through this part of my life or, or there was this one.

Kristina K: Can I tell you a quick story? I don't know if we're running out of time.

Eli Weinstein: You have all my time.

Kristina K: There was this one store. That literally like I had to take, so I do these meet and greets, and usually it's like a person after person. I had to tell my tour manager, like, I need a break. I'm sorry to tell these people.

Kristina K: I need a break. And I went into a different room and cried. What happened is this woman came up to me. It was at a Florida show and she was like two years ago. And she said, I took my kids to school, went back home, and left them each a goodbye. On their back. I'm going to cry on their beds because I was going to kill myself.

Kristina K: And I went to the bridge where I was going to jump. And had in my phone, in the notes section of my phone, I had written a text that I was going to send to all my loved ones. And I opened my phone to copy paste and send that text before I jumped. And I don't know why, but, when I opened my phone, it was on Facebook and it was one of your videos and I stopped and watched it.

Kristina K: And I walked off the bus. And I've lived it. I felt like I couldn't breathe when she told me the story. And that's when I was like, okay, timeout, I cannot continue this meet and greet right now. Like when I hear stories like that. And again, The most important part of this is there's nothing more special with my story than anybody else who has struggled.

Kristina K: People just need to talk about it. Right. And so if I hadn't shared that video, if she hadn't watched it right, maybe she wouldn't be here. So that's the point where I'm like, oh, Kristina, who cares about the judgment, share it all. Talk about suicide. Let's talk about being depressed. Talk about, you know, the mistakes you make in parenting every day.

Kristina K: I still make mistakes all the time. Talk about all of them. 'cause you don't know who's going to hear it. And it might literally change the course, not just their life, but her girls, her girls have a mom now. So who everybody just shares your, share yours. Share your mess.

Eli Weinstein: I'm about to lose it. That was such an impactful story that's so beautiful to hear the power that some, a person to person has just two human beings connecting, whether it's through a video, whether it's through the podcast, whether it's through in person to find something that speaks to you.

Eli Weinstein: Um, and lastly, because we, we can talk about our, you know, you're such a great person to talk to you and I, I could ask you a billion questions about your story and your book is so amazing and everyone needs to buy it. Um, and if you're listening here, I would love, we're going to do a giveaway about buying her, buying someone, a book, um, because it just it's so important.

Eli Weinstein: We have to I'll buy anyone, multiple copies of the book. It's just a, it's just a powerful story. And so it's a mix of funny and knowledge and just really. But every pair, every parent and person needs to read, but for the person who is struggling, who might be at that low right now, who needs that video, who needs that, that, that, that picked me up.

Eli Weinstein: What are one or two things you can say to someone that can be helpful to be supportive in their time of need?

Kristina K: Um, I think, well, number one, I'm sort of going back to the Wednesday night dinner story. You have to stop focusing on all the things you don't have and can't do, because I guarantee you, if you're.

Kristina K: One of the reasons you're struggling is because that's, that's the, that's the message you've been saying to yourself and just find, find the one little thing that brings you joy. Find the one little thing that you're confident and then do something with that. Even if it seems insignificant. Um, one of the things I, I always think about is, you know, when you're, for example, I was planning on buying this one kind of car.

Kristina K: This is going somewhere, by the way, I was planning on buying this one kind of car a few years. And all of a sudden, because I was looking at this one type of car, I start seeing the car everywhere. Do you know how that happens? Or you plan on buying a certain breed of dog

Eli Weinstein: and then on the CRV everywhere.

Eli Weinstein: Cause I drive one, I'm like, oh, well they're

Kristina K: everywhere. Right? And so that's all we, that's how powerful our minds are. It's not that there were fewer, less of that car before. It's just that, now that it's in your head, you're noticing it. Right. Okay. Same thing. We, how we treat ours. If you are telling yourself constantly that you are not capable, that you have nothing to offer your mind will literally point out every time you feel.

Kristina K: Every time you're missing something. That's the way our brain works. It's going to point out just like it's pointing out that car. It's going to point a seat. You didn't handle that well with your kids. See, you have nothing to offer. See, you slept in again instead of getting up and now you didn't get stuff done.

Kristina K: Literally it will point out. So you have to retrain your brain. Stop every moment you get something done, right? And by the way, getting out of bed when you're depressed, is something to acknowledge and praise taking a shower. I mean, I know from my struggles and my son's struggles, the days he got up and brushed his teeth, it wasn't like, so what it was wow, amazing.

Kristina K: Celebrate that. Celebrate every little one because you are dwelling on every little negative and start dwelling on every little one. Start to fall on every little positive and then just be so good to yourself. I have this rule and I mentioned it in a post the other day. I have a rule. Where the tougher, the day, the kinder I have to be to myself.

Eli Weinstein: I was just going to read it,

Kristina K: but it's literally like, and it sounds so stupid or simple or whatever. I don't care. It helps me. So if I wake up and it is a bad day, I'm feeling down, and my kids are struggling. I got bad news. Maybe things are within or out of my control. It doesn't matter. It's just a bad day. I literally stopped when I go, oh, well, you know what?

Kristina K: That means, Kristina, you know, Now you've gotta be so freaking good to yourself. Like, treat yourself the way you would treat your most loved ones. I mean, be so forgiving, extra grace, extra kindness, extra light, like treat yourself so gently today. And I'm telling you just that reminder to be good to yourself on those tough days makes the tough day easier.

Kristina K: We are our own worst bullies. I made a video, another video. I want you guys to watch all the things we tell them. And I basically invited all these people over and said, tell me all the bad things you say to yourself in your head. And they started listing I'm fat. I'm incapable, I'm a bad mother. And then to their surprise, I pulled out a childhood picture of each of them and I showed it to them.

Kristina K: And I said, now say it to this girl. And it was like this cute little four or five-year-old Facebook campaign. And not one person could do it because they realized it's so easy to tell yourself I'm lazy. I'm this I'm that the minute you have to say. To a five-year-old face you go, whoa, I am so cruel. So if that helps you, I wish I'd thought of that.

Kristina K: When I was, you know, down in the press, I would have had a picture of myself in every room. And every time that thought crossed my mind, I would have looked at that picture and try to say it to that person. Kind and forgiving of yourself and accepting that you will make mistakes. Not because you're inadequate, but because you are human is going to make the tough things in life easier.

Kristina K: And also anything else just stick around because of bad year two or five does not equal a bad life. It equals a bad year, two or five sticks. Sorry. I like the longest answers.

Eli Weinstein: You do not have to apologize

Kristina K: if you ask me easy things, I

Eli Weinstein: can tell you, I'm not here to ask easy questions. I love, I love everything you said and, you know, to quote, my, my daughter's favorite movie frozen too.

Eli Weinstein: Um, and, and, Kristen Bell's idea that she heard from her therapist that then she'd put into the movie of do the next right thing, right. That was her therapist. Not to be in the movie, but in a therapy session that Kristen bell opens up about. And one of the reasons why I admire her work and your work in the honesty of therapy and mental health, she says, do the next right thing.

Eli Weinstein: That could be like you said, getting out of your bed and then what was the next right thing, taking care of your kid, what's the next right thing. What's the next right thing. And then you build a day of right things and you can look back on the day and go, oh, I did great. Yeah. And so I really just wanna thank you so much from the bottom of.

Eli Weinstein: My mom wants me to thank you for being she's just a huge fan. Um, and really all the honesty that you bring to the world of parenting, of mental health, and the realness of what it means to be human. I hope it continues forever and doesn't stop. Um, and I hope you inspire. You've inspired, even inspire other people too.

Eli Weinstein: Talk and be there for them, their loved ones, and for their fellow humans in the best way that we can to make this world a better place. So I know it's pretty obvious, but where can people find you? Where can they see your stuff? Where can they book a tour to see you in person?

Kristina K: Sure. So on I'm on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter.

Kristina K: Sort of ticked off. I hate to talk, um, Kristina with a K last name. K U Z M I C. And then, um, if you go to my social media pages, you'll also see the 13 cities I'm going to be on tour of this fall. So come see me. If I'm coming near you, I would love for you to see my

Eli Weinstein: show. Thank you so much for coming on and taking the time today.

Eli Weinstein: I really appreciate it. Thank you.

Kristina K: Bye-bye.


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