Q&A With Tracey Yokas

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Q&A With Tracey Yokas 

After connecting on LinkedIn, I am so happy to be doing this Q&A with the author of the memoir Bloodlines: A Memoir of Harm and Healing by Tracey Yokas! In a past life Tracey was a former entertainment industry professional. Tracey also has her Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology. 

Q: Tracey, would you please give a brief description of Bloodlines: A Memoir of Harm and Healing? 

A: Bloodlines is the story of my family’s journey back in 2012, after my mother’s sudden death, with my daughter’s diagnosis of disordered eating and severe depression. I also coupled that storyline with intermittent scenes from my childhood to illuminate ways in which our bloodlines can hinder us from being most helpful to the people in our lives. It’s both harrowing and heartfelt. I couldn’t have shared this story without my daughter’s and my husband’s agreement and support. I’m so grateful that they are as passionate as I am about destigmatizing conversation around mental health, mental illness, recovery, and healing. 

People have asked why I was so honest and vulnerable in telling our story. The answer is, there are thousands and thousands of families going through what we did then. They’re afraid, confused, and overwhelmed. I was committed to letting them know they are not alone. Finding help and navigating the system can be extremely complicated, but there are many talented, big-hearted professionals who want to help. Hope is real. 

Q: How long did it take you to write Bloodlines: A Memoir of Harm and Healing?  What made now the right time to write & publish it?

A: It took about 10 years. I stopped writing and restarted untold numbers several times during the process! What I realize now about the length of time it took was that I needed to learn craft, yes. Anyone who wants to write a book should study fundamentals like scene, dialogue, and “aboutness.” But that wasn’t enough. Before I could write about it I also needed to make progress on my own healing journey to understand the effects the generational transmission of trauma had on my ability to be the type of parent and person I longed to be. 

Turned out that writing and healing were a feedback loop wherein they helped each other.

The book went through many iterations to become the one it is, published by She Writes Press. And now was the right time because my daughter is an adult. We’ve both changed. We were able to have some wonderful, constructive conversations around our shared experiences at the time of her diagnoses. I’ve continued to heal and understand in much greater detail the effects my childhood conditioning had on me (and my parents’ had on them.) Patterns in the way we live and learn can be hard to identify and harder to disrupt. My ability to share the story of that time in life in the way I wanted to, that would be most helpful, was first dependent on my ability to discern and understand nuances of our shared human experience. 

Q: What lessons do you hope readers learn after reading Bloodlines: A Memoir of Harm and Healing? 

A: First and foremost, I hope readers feel the love and hope in our story. It’s never too late to heal, to bridge divides. The challenges of a loved one’s diagnosis can be fraught and full of fear, doubt, and frustration. I want people to know they aren’t alone and that recovery and healing are real. We are living proof. 

Also, I knew rationally that I couldn’t control the trajectory of my daughter’s illness. But knowing and accepting that reality were altogether different. So, another important takeaway is that the only person I could control was me. The way I learned to be most helpful to my child turned out to be by doing my own healing work. 

Ultimately, I had to take responsibility for myself, engage in serious and regular self-care practices (self-care is one of the most misunderstood and important requirements of our day), and unlearn patterns of thought, word, and deed that no longer served me or my family. Patterns like codependency, people-pleasing, and enmeshment. Fancy words for how we participate in relationships.

I’m thrilled to report that my daughter and I share a closeness that I never dreamt possible, that I certainly never had with my mother. I have so much more compassion now for my family of origin, my daughter, the other people in my life, and most important of all, myself! because of this journey. I know my daughter and husband do, too. It was not easy, but the hard work, dedication, and healing has paid off in ways I couldn’t have foreseen. 

Q: If you are currently writing another book, is it another memoir similar to Bloodlines: A Memoir of Harm and Healing or would you try your hand at writing fiction the next time around?

A: At this time I am not in the process of writing another book. I am creating classes and workshops around lessons I learned on my journey. Soon, I’ll be teaching my first ever workshop designed to heal the dastardly inner critic. I’m very excited about this. 

I do hope to write another book, though. This next one will be more self-help oriented, to shed light on how I went about my healing journey and what tools, people, actions, and lessons impacted me and my family the most.

Q: You used to be an entertainment industry professional from what I read in your bio! That sounds exciting! What is an entertainment industry professional? 


A: Lol…good question! A thousand years ago I moved from the east coast to California to work in television. I started out on the bottom rung as a go-fer and eventually worked my way up to a production manager on big shows like The Academy Awards and The Primetime Emmy Awards. The easiest way to explain production management is to say that we take care of the business side of the business, like paying bills, organizing people and equipment, and generally making sure everyone has everything they need. Lots and lots of organization!