In the wake of a rocky introduction to adulthood, Ally Petitti decided to create a space to use her past to guide and encourage others. “I have always been open about my experiences and my stories. I never hold back when talking to friends or family and have been in therapy for years. After going through one of the hardest years of my life, I ended up leaving my job at the time and spending a few months trying to decide what would be next for me. In that time, I realized how much I wanted to do something with my experiences and share them. I reached out to my mentor, and she said that I should start a podcast and create a space to open up about everything I want to open up about and that was really when the idea came to fruition. Once I decided I was going to do it, there was no stopping me and within 6 months Trying To Figure It Out went live!” Her podcast, Trying To Figure It Out (TTFIO), runs the gamut of social and personal issues. “I started TTFIO with the goal of sharing my stories and creating a space for others who might relate to me. The podcast focuses on everything from mental health, to growing up in a split household, to friendships, relationships, sexuality, body positivity and other topics that we are all just ‘trying to figure out.’ With solo episodes and guests, we dive into so many topics and aim to aid anyone who might be going through something similar or who has gone through something similar.” Ally has resolved to be unwaveringly authentic and vulnerable. “It’s kind of strange because when it’s just me recording, I feel so good about sharing all my personal stories and I feel so safe to share them. Once I receive a cut of the episode is probably when I feel the most apprehensive or nervous because it feels really real. Once it is out, it is out for anyone to hear and that can be scary when talking about such personal experiences. That being said, I have always been an open book, so once I decided I was creating this space, I committed to it and trusted and believed in myself and what I have to say.”
She has never shied away from frank discussions of her ongoing struggles with mental (and now physical) health “I have struggled with anxiety and panic disorder since I can remember. My anxiety was heavily focused on fears of my health and the health of those around me and also a lot of separation anxiety. More recently, I have gone through a lot of physical health experiences, including PCOS and having a pituitary tumor which I had removed. These experiences exacerbated my anxiety, and it was crippling for a long time after. I don’t think I left my house for 4 months after my surgery. I have been medicated for my anxiety for over two years now and can confidently say that the medication along with therapy has changed and saved my life. In the last year, I feel as though my anxiety has been so managed that I have been more in tune with my internal emotions and unfortunately have been struggling with depression. The last 6 months I have been in recovery from being in a depressive state and I am so grateful to be finding my happiness again every single day. It is not a linear journey, and mine most certainly hasn’t been but I try every day to listen to my body and do what I need to find my groove and my happiness.”
A combination of love and space has been the winning formula for continued recovery. ”Implementing routine into my life, being open about how I’m feeling and what I have gone through, my medication, therapy and my close network of friends and family have saved me through the darkest of times. There are times when I simply need to be alone and process how I am feeling as well. But I am so grateful to have all the support in the world.” Ally herself is in awe of her progress. “The last year of me really struggling has left me feeling unbelievably disappointed in myself. I can confidently, honestly, and passionately say at this point in time after all the work and recovery I have made that I could not be more proud of myself and where I am now. I have been through it, but I am grateful for my amazing life, my family, my friends, and all the things I have been blessed to have. I am proud that I am sharing my stories, I am proud that I am feeling happy, and on a journey to happiness again, and I am proud that I set my mind to making this podcast and actually did it.” Staying connected to your body and emotions is crucial. “My advice to anyone who is struggling to see a way out is to not be too hard on yourself. Sometimes looking for the light at the end of the tunnel is thinking too big and too far. It is not a linear journey, and you aren’t going to just feel better immediately. Instead, listen to your body – if you’re having a bad day and need to stay in bed and order comfort food…do it! If you are feeling bad and want to do something to make you feel good…get out there and do it! If you strive for this huge goal of complete happiness and some sort of a cure it can be really discouraging when you have a bad day. So, listen to your body, depend on those close to you, seek help if you are comfortable, and most importantly don’t be too hard on yourself.”
TTFIO will be an inclusive platform and Ally welcomes everyone with open arms. “I aim to bring guests on the podcast who can be relatable to others, who are comfortable opening up and getting deep with me, and who have stories to share from a perspective that I can’t necessarily speak on from my own experiences. I have a lot of people I would love to have on, but I wouldn’t say there is any dream guest, I am grateful for any person who steps into my studio and opens up and anyone who wants to do that is a dream guest for me.” The podcast already boasts popular TikTok stars Jordyn Jones and Brooklynne Webb in its opening episodes. As long as it remains a source of comfort and inspiration, she will be happy. “I hope that my audience can find TTFIO as a space to heal, grow, laugh, cry, and most importantly be reminded that they are not alone. I hope that this podcast continues to grow as wide of an audience as possible and that I can make an impact on people for many years to come!”
Aside from launching her podcast, Ally is using her newfound self-confidence to finally pursue her dreams of modeling! It’s a big step in terms of accepting her true self. “I have always wanted to get into modeling but never felt like I fit the ‘mold.’ I wasn’t tall enough, I wasn’t skinny enough, I didn’t fit the standards that modeling has always had. Since being on this journey of being proud of myself, loving myself, and wanting to embrace every part of me, I have wanted to get into modeling and do it with the belief that I don’t have to be ’perfect.’ I can be me and still do this.” Still, she knows navigating this thing called life is a perennial work in progress. “I cannot stress enough that I am not an expert. I am not a therapist. I am simply sharing my stories and the stories of those I bring onto the pod. It is called Trying To Figure It Out because all of the things I am talking about I am STILL trying to figure out. I haven’t mastered being a child of divorce, I still have toxic friendships, I still struggle every day with my mental health and what I want to do with my life. I am TRYING to figure it out just like everyone else is and this space is all about growing, learning, and healing. I don’t think any of us will ever have life all figured out!” Maybe not, but at least Ally reminds us we will have company while doing so.
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Trying To Figure It Out with Ally Pettiti. Photo Credit: Lindsey Ruth.