Transcript

Dr. Nina:
Hey, there. Welcome to The Dr. Nina Show, here on LA Talk Radio. I am your host, Dr. Nina Savelle-Rocklin. I am here to help you stop counting calories, carbs and fat grams so you can easily get to a healthier weight and get on with your life. That is the goal. I want you to wake up and think about your day, not your diet.

I wanted to share something from Amy, who says, “When binge eating has been a way of life for so longs, how do you feel your feelings without defaulting to that mode?”

Feeling a lot of anger, she says she’s been running to release some of it but it’s still at a slow boil. She said, “It’s a slow boil, just not at a white heat anymore.”

She says, “I don’t want to take that out on the people in my life, even if they deserve it at times. How do I effectively deal with it? I’ve tried the body tension exercise described in the book,” she’s referring to the progressive muscle relaxation that I recommend in my book, The Binge Cure.

She says, “It does help, but I don’t feel like I’m going to be able to stop myself from binging or Hulk smashing in the long run. I hope this makes sense. I call it a crage, crazy plus rage. How do I manage it?”

 

Well, the first thing that came to mind was that she was associating anger with being destructive. The body tension exercise and other types of those things, even where she said she was running, things like that, those help with the physical manifestation of anger, the physical sensation of anger. But you still need to put words to that anger. It’s not enough to just deal with the physiological result of anger. You’ve really got to give anger a voice. I mentioned that to her. This was a conversation we had in my Food for Thought community. If you’re not a member of it, please join the Food for Thought community because I answer questions like these: https://www.facebook.com/groups/drninainc/

Amy said she now recognizes why she’s angry, but she says, “I cannot change the circumstances that cause me to feel the anger. I wish I could change my response to the circumstance, but I guess if I stop binging, that’s stopping my self destructive response and trying to channel into something not destructive, like running and walking the dog. I don’t know what else to do. I journal my feelings.”

Okay. Again, she’s talking about the physical experience of anger, and she’s trying to get rid of it by running or walking the dog. Journaling is good, but you have to do more than just recognize why you’re upset. You have to express that you’re upset. She also mentioned she cannot change the circumstances. This is a question I get a lot. Why feel a feeling if it doesn’t change the circumstance? Well, we don’t experience feelings to change the circumstance of what’s going on, the circumstance that’s making us feel something. We feel our feelings to change the way we feel about that circumstance.

Again, my grim analogy, but it’s the best one I have is, when someone passes away, we don’t feel our feelings so that we can bring that person back to life. There is nothing we can do to change the circumstances. But we feel our feelings to change the way we feel about our loss. Not that we completely feel fine about it, but we can feel better. Then we can hold the person’s memory, hold our positive feelings and our love for that person, rather than be in pain. That’s why we feel our feelings. That’s why we mourn, that’s why we grieve, that’s why we express anger. That’s why we feel. We feel to heal. I told her that running and walking the dog is good, but it is not a way of expressing emotions. It’s not enough to speak the words or even write the words, you have to write them with feeling.

A lot of times, people confuse identifying their emotions with expressing them. It’s one thing to say, again, “Well, I realize I’m very angry. I’m angry about this, this, this and this.” But actually saying, “And I’m just so pissed.” One way is in your head, it’s like thinking your anger. You can’t think away your feelings.

Christina:
Hi, Dr. Nina. This Christina. I called last week.

Dr. Nina:
Hi, Christina. Of course I remember you. Welcome back.

Christina:
Thank you so much. I loved your preamble and the feel to heal. I’m calling not about what I ate or food, but I have … There’s a lot of things I’m dealing with in my life right now. But there’s a biggie where I would love either encouragement or support or advice, and just to tell you where I’m at with that, if I could do that.

Dr. Nina:
Of course.

Christina:
Thank you. It goes back to the mother. I’ll try to be in a nutshell. I did read the book a while back, Mothers Who Can’t Love. I just wanted to say, I was one of those people when I started therapy years ago where, if you asked me about my family, I would say and I truly believed I came from a perfect, normal, functional, great, supportive loving family. That is quite an extreme to say that. Then throughout the process, again, because I developed bulimia and had issues with body image and all that for many years. Bulimia’s so strange of a behavior, it’s so obvious. I’m like, this is really bad and abnormal and unhealthy, and I need to do something about it. So I started uncovering a lot of things, a lot of which I suppressed.

Long story short, I thought this book was very eye opening because I started reading it and thinking, oh my gosh, this is my family or this is my mother, and then uncovering a lot of things. And even recently, some sexual abuse that was even known by my parents and nothing was done, physical and verbal, and a lot of things that I really just set aside or I really blamed myself for, to this day. I’m still starting the process of working through it. Some things are newer than others.

Dr. Nina:
It is very common for people to turn against themselves, rather than allow themselves … You’re a child. For a child to say, “Wow, I’m in this circumstance with these parents who are not taking care of me, they’re not protecting me. In fact, they may even be abusing me.” It’s emotional death for a child to come to terms with that. However, the strategy that kids use is then to say, “Wait a minute, hope. There’s hope. It must be me. If I can just change myself, then I’m going to change how they are to me.” On some level, kids do this to some extent for another. When you say you started hating yourself, that’s what’s going on. It was a strategy to try to bring hope into your life that ended up causing you to just have this awful relationship with yourself, which then leads to eating disorders, and attack on the body and attack on the self and all of that.

Christina:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). You nailed it 100% and I need to keep hearing these things. The repetition is so helpful because I’ve had these certain thoughts and values in my head for almost 50 years. Hopefully it won’t take 50 years to undo it. I know it won’t take that long, but sometimes it feels that way. But in the book, the bottom line is … my husband is with me, there was a lot of gaslighting in my family, meaning they’ll say, “What? That didn’t happen.” But my husband was actually a witness to certain things that have happened that were pretty big things. I had no idea that I was the black sheep of the family until almost … I didn’t know. It’s true, I think back and I’m like, oh, my brother was the golden boy, and just a lot of really negative things. Every time I would contact them, it would be just backlash and negative things … just really gnarly, nasty little remarks kind of thing, in addition to all the big things, which were ignored and just suppressed by them.

Dr. Nina:
I just want to interject something else, which is you said you were the black sheep of the family. Often, the black sheep of the family is the holder of the uncomfortable truth. The person who knows the truth is the person that no one wants to hear from.

Christina:
Yeah, and I haven’t thought of it that way. I think very differently from the rest of the family, very differently. I’m not talking just politically, I’m talking about in terms of family dynamics. The more I would come out and talk about it, the more they would resist. You know, that whole kind of pull and tug. So what happened was, I tried really hard and my husband worked with me to, after my dad passed, to help my mom. We would literally fly out there to help her and he would take off work. She lived on the east coast, so it wasn’t an easy kind of thing. Nothing was ever going to help, kind of thing. I tried to cultivate the relationship. I really tried hard on that. I tried a tea party relationship, which is just formalities, except the problem is that the verbal abuse and such still kept coming in. Bottom line is, I don’t have a relationship with her now. I initiated and cut off the communication.

I will say, a lot of it is huge relief. I have never taken care of myself more in the past year and a half and spoken better to myself because I’m not on the phone hearing all kinds of slams about myself all the time. But it’s that societal pressure of, oh shit, you’re the kid, you need to do whatever your parents tell you, especially after the loss of my dad. I’m still beating myself up something, there’s a lot of relief. I’m just in this-

Dr. Nina:
Another thing. You may have cut off your relationship with your mother, but there are two mothers. You started out by saying it goes back to-

Christina:
There are?

Dr. Nina:
It goes back to the mother. It reminds me of the oldest psychoanalytic joke in the world, which is if it’s not one thing, it’s your mother. Which is really not fair to mothers because it’s also about the father. However, there are two mothers. There is the mother who attacks you and verbally attacked you and got you to take care of her, it sounds like, without taking care of you. There’s that actual mother who lives on the east coast. Then there’s the part of you that took in that mother into your own mind, the part of you that might have been attacking yourself with the words of your mother. So it’s really important to recognize when you start having those, what you called negative thoughts about you, whose voice is that? Is that you or is that a learned voice? Is that something that was said to you?

Christina:
It’s 100% learned because I use those phrases, and they were learned and they were said in the home for years and years. I don’t feel that that’s my true self whatsoever because I don’t even use some of those words, like idiot, moron, stupid, fat, you know what I’m saying? But I’m involved with them-

Dr. Nina:
All the words in my word diet … In my book, I challenge people to go on a word diet. Like, yes, I’m anti diet, but this is a diet you could go on.

Christina:
Yay. No, no-

Dr. Nina:
Those are some of the words. People have said, “Wow, I didn’t even realize how much I said those things to myself until I was aware of what I was saying.” So yes, those are her words that were said to you that you now say to you. When I say there are two mothers, yes, there’s a mother you’ve cut off from who lives in the east coast. Now you have to recognize when she shows up in your own mind in the way that you relate to yourself. The more that you can think of those types of things as not you, it’s like, “No, no, that’s not me, that’s my mother. When I call myself an idiot, nope, that’s not me. That’s her.” The more that you can challenge that, the nicer you’re going to be to yourself, and the more and more muted her voice in your mind will be.

Christina:
Yes. That’s where I feel I have been making … I remember that is such an important thing that you teach to people. That was so revealing when I first heard about that. It’s definitely taking time. I see improvement for sure. I think, like I said, what I’m just dealing with now is still some guilt over … It was the most extreme measure to take. I don’t know if I should be looking at it like, I don’t know if this will be forever, or it’s just a day at a time kind of thing. My husband is super supportive. He’s like, “I can understand.” He sat in on the conversations where my mom was going off on certain things, or on myself or whatever the case may be. Because I would always turn it on myself and say, “Wait, I have to be interpreting this incorrectly, but I am an intelligent woman. I don’t misinterpret everything.” It was good to have-

Dr. Nina:
Well, I’m glad you recognize that. Is your question how to deal with the guilt you feel over cutting off your mother?

Christina:
Yes, absolutely. A part of me wants to ask, and I don’t want to ask, is like, oh my gosh, was this the right thing to do? I just feel I tried, I exhausted the other few options. But I’m looking for reassurance, but I don’t even expect you to … I mean, I know you understand. But I’m just like, you’re a mom. I just feel like I’m between a rock and a hard place and I’m still anxious over how this all went down and is going down. Does that make sense?

Dr. Nina:
Yes. First of all, I think it is helpful to think, and you even alluded to this, about what is right for you right now? You don’t have to make a decision forever. Some people have such egregious situations where their parents, or brothers or sisters or other members of their family, that they do choose to cut off from them forever because that is the only way that they can protect themselves. But you don’t have to make that decision. You can just say what is right for you right now? And let what is right for you be the thing that guides your decision, rather than what your mom wants or-

Christina:
Or society, I know.

Dr. Nina:
Well, society doesn’t understand what it’s like to have a parent who is abusive to you, emotionally and, it sounds like, verbally abusive. Society thinks that mothers are all sweet, loving parents who bake cookies and … I don’t know what society thinks, some kind of nonsense. They’re home when you get home from school, and they’re sweet to you and they’re loving. They’re just some kind of 1950s sitcom mom that probably never existed. But society is not living your life. It sounds as if you’re feeling guilty for protecting yourself right now. We feel guilty when we’re not doing something we think we should do, or when we’re doing something we think we should do. I would ask you, what is your crime? What is the bad thing that you’re doing or not doing that’s causing this guilt? What are the shoulds?

Christina:
Well, I’ve always been trained and ingrained that, to be the dutiful, perfect, attractive, successful, financially … I mean, the laundry list expected of me was extensive. I feel my entire life has been geared towards meeting the expectations of the family, period. I feel I’m falling short of that. Actually, I feel I’ve excelled in freaking every area, and then it’s like I have this monkey on my back.

Dr. Nina:
Okay. What you’re saying is, the expectation was make your parents proud by being successful, attractive, doing your best, reaching great heights-

Christina:
Thin.

Dr. Nina:
Oh, thin. Thin, successful, right school, right job, right this, right that. What you’re saying is, that’s conditional love that you felt.

Christina:
Oh yeah.

Dr. Nina:
That to be accepted, you had to meet the conditions in which they would bestow acceptance upon you, which is that you would reflect them well.

Christina:
Exactly.

Dr. Nina:
Okay.

Christina:
It’s always been a conditional love, which is what’s to interesting with my husband where it’s the opposite. It’s 100% unconditional. It’s like night and day.

Dr. Nina:
If you have a conditional relationship with a parent who also verbally abuses you and calls you names, did I understand that correctly?

Christina:
Yeah. I don’t think we need to get into it, but there were some … One thing that sticks out, this is the side, this isn’t one of the worst. But me and my husband were together and she’s like, “You know, Christina, if you die, your husband will have no trouble finding another woman.” I’m like, that is such a random … I know that that’s not, but it’s messed up. I don’t say that to my friends. I would never say that to [Warren 00:20:48], my husband. It’s just like, what the heck? I guess, should I be laughing or cry? I don’t even know anymore. I’m so confused.

Dr. Nina:
There’s no should. It sounds like because you grew up with these expectations, and putting a mask on, and being picture perfect and acting picture perfect, you might have lost touch with you. What is it that you want? What is it that you think? What is it that you feel? This is a time, however long it lasts, where you’re not having the influence of a mom who just really is upsetting to you. This is a time where you get to figure out what you think, what you like and don’t like, what you want, instead of these shoulds. I had this professor in grad school who used to say, “Don’t should on yourself.” I thought he was the cleverest person on earth, and then I found out it was another really old joke. But don’t should on yourself.

Dr. Nina:
Instead of how should I feel, you ask yourself, well, how do I feel? Not from, well, what should I feel because what about her, how might she feel about it? But what do I feel, what do I want? That might be, I do want to talk to her and have a tea party relationship. It might be, you know what, no, I don’t want that. At least I don’t want that today. That might change, but right now, no, I don’t want to pretend. Let that be your guide.

Christina:
It’s no coincidence you mentioned to try to figure out my own thing as opposed to just going through a checklist of life, which it started when my husband and I moved out here to California, away from all of that. That’s really when the process started of my, wait a minute … that’s when she was like, “You went out to LA and got all these fancy new ideas in your head.” I’m like, oh crap. Again, I don’t know, we talked about laughing and … I’m confused on that. That goes to show I have a long way to go in terms of acknowledge feelings and feeling them. I see what you’re saying. Was that appropriate to laugh? I guess not. This is a really heavy painful topic.

Dr. Nina:
Yes. I’m glad you just caught yourself because you said something painful, and then you laughed, and then you remembered what I said to you about laughing, that when you-

Christina:
What you’re teaching me, yeah.

Dr. Nina:
When you laugh, when you say something, as you put it, heavy … interesting way to put it. When you say something that’s painful and upsetting, and then you laugh, it’s a way of not letting yourself feel the true impact of what you are thinking. It’s a way of cutting yourself off from something that is painful or upsetting, or both.

Christina:
I mimic how it’s brought up because I was always told, “Don’t feel sad. Don’t be mad. That’s unattractive.” Evidently, emotions were equated with unattractiveness. Since attractiveness and thinness was a big value of my parents … I am learning where this is all stemming from. Like you said, that wasn’t me, that was them. Who am I? I don’t know. Maybe I can figure it out in the next 20 years.

Dr. Nina:
Well, it will not take you 20 years to figure out who you are.

Christina:
All right, good.

Dr. Nina:
The important thing is to stay curious and not critical. Because when you’re critical of yourself, you just make yourself feel bad. When you’re curious, what do I feel, what do I want? Why am I reacting to that, what’s this all about? Then you are more likely to find answers. Christina, I am so glad you called back. Please let me know how you’re doing. You’re already, even in a week, you just caught yourself laughing. That’s big. Now catch when you hear your mother’s voice in your mind.

Christina:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Challenge accepted.

Dr. Nina:
Okay, challenge accepted.

Christina:
Thank you so much. Thank you, Dr. Nina. Have a wonderful rest of your week and I will continue listening to your show. Thanks.

Dr. Nina:
Thank you, Christina. Bye for now.

Christina:
Bye.

Dr. Nina:
[Modern Wordzen] has sent something on Instagram, “The quarantine has made me feel and look fat.” Well, fat is not a feeling. Sometimes when we have big feelings, big thoughts, as Christina alluded to, heavy thoughts, upsetting, unbearable, awful thoughts and feelings, instead of allowing ourselves to express them, or to even know them or to even think about them, it gets converted into, oh, big me. Instead of, oh, I’m filled with these big feelings, I feel fat. I feel fat is a code expression for something. If you weren’t feeling fat, what would you be feeling? What would be on your mind? That is my challenge, Modern Wordzen. If you want to write in your answer to that, I’m happy to share. Anyone else who would like to call, the number is 818-602-4929, 818-602-4929. Love to hear what’s on your mind.

I also want to share something that someone wrote in one of my groups on Facebook. She said that she was really struggling. She said she was an emotional wreck. She told her husband she’d rather be dead than alive because of all the emotional pain she was in, that’s how bad it was. She feels so alone. She said, “I just want the roller coaster that has been going constantly my whole life to break down and stop. I would love to just feel happiness and be at peace, but instead I’m full of anger, sadness and ideas of ending my life just to make me feel better. Am I alone feeling like this? Because it sure feels like it,” she said. Well, turns out she was not alone, not at all. She also apologized for offloading, is what she called it. I call it sharing.

Dr. Nina:
Sharing is … Oh, I have a caller. Hello? Ronan? I think I had a caller who’s not there anymore. Hello, can you hear me, caller? Ronan, I don’t hear the caller. All right. I’m going to keep going. Ronan is going to tell me something. Okay. I’ll let you know. Okay, I guess we lost her and we’re going to try to get her back. She was not alone. A lot of people … Hello?
Hi, Dr. Nina. How are you? Good to see you, good to hear from you.

Dr. Nina:
Good to hear from you. How are you doing?

Carly:
I am doing just okay, more or less. I wanted to share today with you … I just talked to my friend who has a kid with cancer, diagnosed with cancer. It has nothing to do with eating right now because these two days, I was not eating because I blew off my budget a day ago, so it was like … I noticed that I think better when I don’t eat much. But I was talking to my friend and she called right as I fell into things, she called right at 10:00 AM right now when I was about to listen to your show. It’s very important for me to listen to your show, it just keeps me up and helps with so much in the middle of the week until I get to my sessions later in the week, like therapy sessions. I picked it up and I was, shit, at 10:00 AM I need to be listening to my radio show. But then she called and she was crying because it’s hard when kids have cancer, and they moved from Russia to Israel and paid a lot of money to treat the kid.

Something happened. She had a very bad day and she was crying and telling me this stuff emotionally. It was such a dilemma. I was like, I need to support her right now because she supported me in my bad days. But at the same time, I need to take care of myself. I need to listen to The Dr. Nina show. Here I was, not knowing what to do because I wanted to call you as well. I was like, what’s going on? I couldn’t say, “You know what, I need to go now.” I’m at work now and I wanted to invent something like, “I need to go because of my work,” and didn’t tell her I need to take care of myself. I was ashamed to say that. Then I was like, oh, it’s going to take one hour. Usually we talk for two, three hours. Then oh my God, I’m missing the show. I was like, okay, I can listen to podcast. Podcast is not the same, I want to call and share.

Then halfway through, after 28 minutes of talking and 28 minutes of your show, she says, “Oh, darling, I’m so sorry, the doctor,” … and I was sharing my part. I was telling her at the same time, I was sharing my hard part. When I was sharing my hard part, she said, “Oh, I’m so sorry. The doctor came. I’m so sorry to interrupt you at this vulnerable part. I have to go because the doctor came.” I said, “Of course. Go, go, go.” She hung up. I’m like, here we go, when I’m supporting a friend … I understand the doctor is important, but she has this mechanism of putting herself and her kid first. I don’t. I don’t have very high emotions about it, but I want to acknowledge the situation and-

Dr. Nina:
But you have the thought. Well, first of all, I think it’s significant that you had the thought of, oh, I’m in conflict. A part of me wants to listen to Dr. Nina’s show, and a part of me feels obligated to talk to my friend. That you noticed your conflict is good because then you can start saying, well, why did I automatically think that I had to talk to her instead of saying, hey, let me call you back in an hour? It’s good that you recognized how you were caught in this moment and that you automatically chose your friend rather than choosing you. It wasn’t even a matter of choosing. It’s a matter of saying, “Hey, I want to talk to you but how about we talk in an hour?” What comes up when you think about saying something like that? In your mind, what are you doing to the other person?

Carly:
Thank you so much. I’ve thought about it while talking to her. Usually I get angry when I’m in this conflict, and like, oh fuck, here she goes. It’s my best friend, I love her to pieces, but here she goes, she’s going to complain. I understand the cancer, but fuck, she’s married to a rich man and she’s living a good life, all this stuff. I’m struggling by myself here in America. All these thoughts came. Then instead of being angry and just being there so I can fill my friend duty and say, “Oh darling, here’s the soothing part of me for you,” and lie. Instead of boiling in the anger, I was like, no … I was not even saying no. I was present. An option to be there artificially was not an option for me. I wanted to be there for her, mindful and fully present and really supporting. Instead of my old mechanism of support which I took from my family or, I don’t know, whatever in my past life, which isn’t effective, is like, you know what? Do this, do that. Do this, do that. You need to fix the problem. Do this treatment, do this article, do this exercise.

Instead of that, I was remembering you, how you support me in groups and everything. I remembered your supportive tone and I was copying myself, pausing, listening to her. Listening to other people is very hard for me. I have ADHD, my thoughts run further than my thinking. I was listening and supporting, at the same time, acknowledging this process that’s going on with me. That yes, I am conflicted, yes, I want to be there, and at the same time I want to support her. In the middle, I was okay with it. Then when I picked up the phone, I thought in the middle of the conversation why I picked up the phone, although I was waiting for your show. I had set up reminders for your show, and then I was like, I feel so lonely. I feel so abandoned. She is my only person who loves me for who I am and who knows me. I feel obligated if I … First of all, I was even happy that someone called me because she just started calling me-

Dr. Nina:
Carly Gash, wait. I just have to challenge you on something. You just said this is the only person who knows you and accepts you, and therefore that’s why you felt so obligated to talk to her on her terms. Right? You said that like it’s the absolute total truth. But is it? Is she really the only person who knows you? Maybe she’s the only person you have a lot of history with, but is she the only person who knows you and accepts you?

Carly:
No. But she’s the one who knows me to … we’ve known each other since 13, we’re from the same town. I guess she understands me deeply because she’s pretty much been through the same shit of my town.

Dr. Nina:
If you just said, “Hey, let me talk to you in an hour,” what do you think would’ve happened? What stopped you from that?

Carly:
In my country, the culture is you never abandon anyone in that situation. You always come and help. It’s just so untold-

Dr. Nina:
Would you have been abandoning her, though? I can understand abandoning her if you said, “I can’t talk right now, I’ll catch you later.” But if you said, “Look, I’m right in the middle of something or about to do something. Let me call you in an hour,” is that abandoning her?

Carly:
You know what, I’m just thinking right now, the whole dynamic of our relationship, I would always help her there in her very bad situations. I was the one who encouraged her through it and really fixes her. Now I’m thinking it goes back to fixing my mom. Like, mega emotional, and my mom is a handicap, so I was always there fixing everything from the day I was born, fixing my life, fixing everyone else’s life. I notice it at my work as well where I try to fix a lot for this family, but you know what? They were fine. I think it goes back to the mechanism where I’m eagerly fixing others, prioritizing them. Oh my God, they’re feeling so bad, I need to help them. But wait a second, who’s going to help me, Carly Gash? Where the barn is burning, it’s really burning when it’s so hard to move through the day for me.

Dr. Nina:
I want to just acknowledge you for recognizing that connection between feeling this obligation to help your mother and feeling this obligation to help your friend. If you didn’t help your mother, things would probably not have gone well. So that gets transferred onto your expectation with the friend.

Carly:
I also have this connection which just came to my mind. Before, maybe I could do it, before her kid was diagnosed with cancer. For me, my mom had condition where she’s handicapped. When I was 11 she was diagnosed, so she’s pretty much handicap her whole life. She’s a person with special needs, that’s what people say in America. But in my country, people treat such people like real handicap. They have no future, no full life, everything. So I feel like I was … for mom, also, she’s a person who had her ineffective behavioral patterns with me. I guess I give a discount for people when they have something serious with their health going on, like handicap mom. Or now, my friend who has … I realize now she has a kid diagnosed with cancer, and that’s for me so scary honestly, even though she has money to treat her. I think I give them a … not discount. But the fact that they have this hard situation gives them permission. I give them permission just to forget about me and put them-

Dr. Nina:
Yes. You give them the right to have the right to have greater rights … Yes, you prioritize their needs over yours.

Carly:
I found the solution.

Dr. Nina:
What’s the solution?

Carly:
I will keep prioritizing myself, keep acknowledging and noticing the moments like this. I will keep putting myself first. Although, putting myself first for me is not an inborn mechanism. I need to work hard for it. I like it in America. People here are so independent and mind their own business in majority. Of course, people are different here. But in general, taking care of yourself here is a normal thing. When you say, “Hey, I need to take care of myself,” people understand. When in my country, you say, “Hey, I need to take care of myself,” they called me selfish. I was called selfish my whole life in my family for just taking care of myself, going through the day and trying to educate myself. You know?

Dr. Nina:
Carly Gash, here’s the difference between self care, selfishness and selflessness. Selfless is, it’s all about you, I don’t matter. I’m selfless, I’ll take care of you but not myself. Selfish is, it’s all about me and not about you. That’s selfish. Self care is in the middle, which is sometimes I’m going to take care of you and sometimes I’m going to take care of me, depending on the situation. I really applaud your wish to do that. Modern Wordzen on Instagram is saying, “I think it’s always fair to take care of one’s self.” You have to take care of yourself. That doesn’t make you selfish. Sometimes you do give up, depending on the situation, you give up you to take care of someone else, but not always. Sometimes you do what’s best for you and the other person can wait an hour or so. I love your commitment to self care. Please call me back next week and let me know how it goes because you deserve to take care of you-

Carly:
Oh, I will. Thank you so much. There are not enough words to thank you. I’m so grateful to you, Dr. Nina. You’ve really changed my life. Change is hard to bring. It’s very hard, it’s a very hard job. All of us think that it comes somehow when they see it in other people. No, it’s legit hard work. Just the way we’re going to offices or whatever to work, it’s just … The way you do it, it’s really working way, it’s a real … it’s the way which works. I won’t sell you some online program for 300 bucks and you will be miraculously happy and helpful. Oh, hell, no, it’s a lot of work. Your way is a working way. I’m so grateful to you and that you’re doing this for people. You are so generous with sharing it and really pricing it really reasonably. Really helping, it’s pure help. Thank you so much.

Dr. Nina:
Well, thank you for that Carly Gash. You made me feel really good. I appreciate that.

Carly:
Aw, thank you for telling me that.

Dr. Nina:
Take good care of you. Thank you, Carly Gash. Have a beautiful day.

Carly:
Thank you so much. Have a wonderful day for everyone.

Dr. Nina:
Bye. All right. I think we have one more caller. We only have about six more minutes, but caller, are you there? Hello?

Jenny:
This is Jenny. Hi, Dr. Nina.

Dr. Nina:
Hi, Jenny.

Jenny:
Hi. There’s been a little issue. I couldn’t hear anything Carly was saying. I’m sure you helped her very well, but I couldn’t hear her issue. I love to hear her. That was a bummer, I couldn’t hear-

Dr. Nina:
You couldn’t hear her listening on the-

Jenny:
It’s was just breaking up on the radio on my computer.

Dr. Nina:
Oh okay.

Jenny:
I know it’s almost time to end the show, so I don’t want to take up too much of your time. I just wanted to call and-

Dr. Nina:
Ronan says I can go over time if I want to. So what’s on your mind, Jenny? Thanks, Ronan.

Jenny:
Thank you, Ronan. Appreciate it. I just wanted … I don’t know. I’m so disheartened this week because everything is opening up again. Not because everything’s opening up again, but because it’s opening up again so rapidly. I feel like everyone around me, and I’m in Los Angeles, so everyone around me is just back to normal. On the streets and shopping, and I get in my car and everyone’s honking their horns and speeding around. It just seems like nobody … Everything’s back to normal like nothing ever happened, like we didn’t just have a pandemic and a stay-at-home order and all these people died. It’s like nothing’s changed-

Dr. Nina:
And are dying.

Jenny:
And are dying, yeah. It’s like nothing’s changed. It’s just like, oh, the malls are back open now so I can go back to being the asshole I was before this all happened. There was no major shift in the energy of the people that are surrounding me in this city and it makes me very sad because I feel like I have gone through such a huge change that I can’t believe that other people are not changed by this situation. They’re just all back to normal now. By normal, I mean the bad side of normal, you know?

Dr. Nina:
The bad normal.

Jenny:
Rushing around to work and getting irritated at each other and being entitled.

Dr. Nina:
It sounds like it went from, at least what was being proposed, which is we’re all in this together and this sense of unity that we’re all in this together, we all are feeling the feeling of being at home, disconnected with other people, all of what we went through during quarantine during the stay-at-home order. For you, you really went through something. And as we were going through it, the idea was, well, everyone is going through this. Everyone is going through this in this sense of unity and togetherness. It seemed to be bringing out the good in a lot of people. Now that things are opened up, it’s like it never happened and everyone … it’s no longer this sense of unity and we’re all in it together. It’s this sense of, honk, honk, you didn’t go fast enough or whatever. It’s just back to life as normal. It sounds like you’re very disenchanted and disappointed in humanity, I guess.

Jenny:
Yeah, completely. It makes me want to quarantine myself again just so I don’t have to be around these people. It makes me want to cry sometimes too, actually. I’m so disheartened by the whole situation. I never thought I’d feel worse than I did when this all first began, and I feel worse now with humanity in general.

Dr. Nina:
Well, this has definitely brought out the worst in humanity, as well as the best. I think that initially, being quarantined gave us, as I said, that sense of unity. People were doing things like organizing Zoom calls or doing neighborhood stuff. I get the Sunday New York Times, so I was always reading about these cool neighborhood things that were going on, or people in Italy were singing to the medical workers when they left at 7:00. There was this sense of collective support. Now, instead of the sense of being we’re in a collective, it’s every person for themselves. That’s what it sounds like you’re experiencing.

Jenny:
That’s what it seems like is happening. It makes me want to hide. With my anxiety and panic, my therapist tells me not to self isolate, to make sure I’m really keeping in contact with family and friends and I don’t feel alone. But I want to be alone because I hate everybody. I mean, not my family and friends. Just humans around me.

Dr. Nina:
Right. I think this is a time where you have to think about, we tend to find the evidence that we look for. I am not suggesting in any way that you disregard the jerks out there that are just acting every man for himself and getting upset about wearing masks. Some woman had an utter meltdown in Trader Joe’s earlier this week and threw her shopping cart and stormed out screaming just because she was asked to wear a mask. Yes, those people are there and it is frustrating. It is bewildering, it is upsetting, yes. There are also out there people who are still having a sene of being in a collective, still thinking about other people. People who took to the streets to protest police brutality, people who are thinking about other people other than themselves. Both are out there.

Dr. Nina:
Yes, I’m not saying don’t look at the ones who are nasty and only look at the ones who are nice. Say yeah, those people are nasty and I have feelings about it. And thankfully, there are also those nice people out there, so that you have a sense of balance in your experience of the world, which can be hard at times.

Jenny:
Yeah, very hard. It’s very emotional walking and driving around now that everything’s open compared to the last three or so months of the stay-at-home order. It’s so different. It’s just like it went from two extremes.

Dr. Nina:
Yeah. It’s like some people did not learn a lesson from the quarantine, or did not learn to slow down or think about what’s important or rediscover new values, as many of us have. That those people are not visible right now.

Jenny:
Yeah. Definitely. I have issues with control in general and that I can’t control any of these things or these people. So I do tend to have mini anxiety attacks, and then decide I just want to be alone because I get so frustrated.

Dr. Nina:
Yeah. For you, being isolated, which may create anxiety, is your way of protecting yourself from being out there and seeing these people and just having a teeth-gnashingly awful reaction to them, which I understand, by the way.

Jenny:
Completely.

Dr. Nina:
The thing that you’re doing to protect yourself, which is to isolate, is also the thing that causes anxiety as well.

Jenny:
Yes, correct.

Dr. Nina:
Well, perhaps if the world is not such an utter disaster to you and you could see the good as well as the bad, again, I can’t stress enough, I am not suggesting that you just look at the bright side or look at what’s good. No, that doesn’t work. To be able to say, “Ugh, this is horrible.” These people are nasty. These people are back to … everything’s in a hurry, not thinking about other people, acting as if everything is normal again. They’re annoying. They’re frustrating. It’s upsetting. And also other things, like all the homeless people. There’s a lot in our society right now that is quite upsetting. Then, oh look, there are people who are doing things for other people, who are thinking about other people, who are just changed by the experience, as you are. So it’s to be able to balance both. Balance is always the key.

Jenny:
Balance, I know. I really enjoy finding balance, but it’s very hard sometimes.

Dr. Nina:
It is hard, but practice makes progress.

Jenny:
Practice makes progress, that’s good. Yeah. Very true. All right, well, thank you-

Dr. Nina:
You’re very welcome. I’m sorry that you’ve been having such a negative experience of the world. Again, I’m with you, I can understand it. It’s very disappointing. And, not but, and there are other people who are making a difference, and a little bit gentler and a little bit nicer because of what they’ve just been through. Find them.

Jenny:
Well, thank you. I feel better getting it off my chest anyway, so I thank you so much-

Dr. Nina:
I’m very glad that you did.Call back anytime.

Jenny:
I will, I promise.

Dr. Nina:
Bye for now. That is our show for today. Thank you so much for joining me here on LA Talk Radio. I’m here every Wednesday at 10:00 AM pacific. You can listen live at 10:00 AM pacific. You can listen later on Apple Podcasts, or the LA Talk Radio website or app or anywhere you listen to podcasts. Again, I’m so happy to spend this hour with you. Stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll see you next week. Bye for now.

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