Transcript

Speaker 2:
You’re listening to the Dr Nina show, with Dr. Nina Savelle-Rocklin, only on LA Talk Radio.

Dr. Nina:
Hi there, welcome to the Dr. Nina Show here on LA Talk Radio, I’m your host, Dr. Nina Savelle-Rocklin. And 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 what it’s all about. I want you to wake up and think about your day, not your diet.

If you’d like to call in and talk with me today, that number is 323-203-0815. I would love to hear what is on your mind, what is eating at you. Because the real problem with binge eating, stress eating, any kind of dysfunctional or compulsive eating, the real problem is not food. The real problem is what is eating at you.

I want to share an article I read, and it is from the New York Times this past Sunday. And it’s called Are you depressed or bored? It’s by Dr. Richard Friedman, he is a professor of clinical psychiatry at the Cornell Medical College and this is what he said. There has been a lot of talk recently of how the coronavirus epidemic has unleashed a mental health epidemic of depression and anxiety. That the pandemic has amped up our stress levels is certainly true, he says. Indeed, there have been a few highly publicized surveys showing that levels of general psychological distress are on the rise. Well of course they are, it is a pandemic. But he says he worries that calling this a wave of clinically sick… oop, I have a caller. I will get back to this as soon as I talk to my caller. Hello. Hello caller? Ronen, I don’t hear anything. Just a second, he says. Okay, bear with us.

Karlygash:
Hello.

Dr. Nina:
Oh, hi Karlygash.

Karlygash:
Good morning Dr. Nina, it’s so good to hear you. How are you?

Dr. Nina:
I’m well, thank you. What’s going on?

Karlygash:
Yo, like 7:30AM I got a call from my doctor and I actually have Lyme disease confirmed, so I’m in a very interesting mood today.

Dr. Nina:
Oh, I’m very sorry to hear that.

Karlygash:
Thank you. So there’s brain shock, and maybe whatever is going on with emotions and stuff might be part of it. And I would say that it’s also the things we were talking about earlier. So, no wonder I was overeating yesterday… binging or the like, because I was expecting this call, and when doctors tell you, “Can we schedule a short follow-up so we can tell you… the doctor wants to talk about the test results.” You kind of know that it’s there.

Dr. Nina:
Well, you’re laughing. Wait Karlygash, you’re laughing. But that’s scary. That is scary to get that call.

Karlygash:
Well I was all nervous because I googled a few things, for me it looks like I can get rid of it. But whoever I tell about it, people are oh my God, oh my God, that’s scary. I don’t know, maybe people in America will be scared, but I’m… I just googled it. I don’t know the severity of it, I don’t know… in case when you say I have cancer I understand what’s going on, but this disease is so unknown for me, so I don’t even know how to react. I know I have something to take care of…

Dr. Nina:
Karlygash, so I want to just suggest a couple of things. One is that the binge eating that you were describing, as you were waiting for these results… sometimes binge eating is a way of actually trying to relax our bodies, it’s not always emotionally based. Sometimes it’s just our way of managing anxiety, because if you eat a lot, what happens… and especially carbs, I don’t know what it was you were binging on. But when you eat a lot of certain kinds of foods you tend to get into a more relaxed state. And, by the way Karlygash, our caller Jenny is on Instagram right now, and she says Lyme disease can be very debilitating. She needs to take really good care of herself.

Karlygash:
Yeah, that’s what people are saying.

Dr. Nina:
So I want you to take this seriously, it’s a serious diagnosis and it’s scary. And you’re, of course, treatable, but this is a time for you to really take good care of all parts of yourself.

Karlygash:
Thank you so much, thank you Jenny for mentioning that. That’s what all people are telling me around, that you need to… but yeah, I’m very serious. You can tell, just because I’m still running behind the tail of binge eating, and I’m very determined. It’s either I get it done and liberate myself from it, or I die with it. Whatever I’m after, I either get it or I die.

Dr. Nina:
Karlygash, in between either you beat binge eating or die is something else, which is being interested in why you are binging. Because if you are turning to food, you are turning away from something else. It is a way of managing something. Binge eating is a frenemy, it helps you in some way, even though it also hurts you. And it might be easier-

Karlygash:
I know.

Dr. Nina:
Wait, wait. It might be easier for you to focus on binge eating, which you ostensibly can control… it may not feel like it, but it’s between you and food. It’s really between you and you, versus a disease like Lyme disease, which is out of your control, it’s something that happened to you, which can be very painful and intolerable to consider.

Karlygash:
Well, thank you Dr. Nina. The reason I was going to say I know that you’re right, I’m just going to continue. No, I was going to say I know what I was escaping by binging yesterday, so I already understood that it’s there. Doctors only give you this call when you have it, and they want to talk to you so you don’t get crazy. In my psyche and my mind I was already like, “Get away.” Because I’m a survivor, I’m from another country where you have to survive so my mind does this. It already plans ahead how to get out of it. So I was binging and I know what I was binging, it was a great deal of sadness, actually. And my whole life I have felt I have something debilitating me, because I feel that I can do a lot but somehow, something’s stopping me in my own. But I could feel that, and whatever I do, I do it with overcoming, getting over the mountain to get there thing. And simple things which other people do not have problem, for me it’s harder, and people don’t get it.

Karlygash:
I don’t know how long I have it, but I felt. So the fact that it was confirmed was… I had mixed feelings. I was very liberated and relieved at one point. Still, I am, I feel this way because I finally found the reason why I feel this all the time. But on the other hand I was really sad and mourning all the years I’ve spent… I don’t know, I don’t want to say underachieving. But really, with the package I was [inaudible 00:09:03] internal accounts and everything, I used to do a lot. And when you do stuff like that, it’s hard.

Dr. Nina:
So I want to point out to you a couple of things. One is that you just went from the sadness of getting this diagnosis of Lyme disease, to berating yourself for all the years where you could have… The experience of passivity, which is… there’s nothing you can do, you have this disease. I mean, you can take care of yourself and all of that, but the passivity of having this happen to you, to the accusation of what you could have, should have, and would have done. And I’m going to challenge you to just stay with, rather than go to look at all the years I’ve wasted, and I should have done this, and I could have done that which is what you were saying when I cut you off. Rather than that, I challenge you to stay with the sadness of having a diagnosis like Lyme disease.

Karlygash:
You’re absolutely right, but I was not beating myself up for not achieving during these years, I was sad. Sad because it’s not… unfair. Unfair of what happened to me, I feel sad because it’s unfair. I was just saying that with all I had in hand, I could really do all that. And this is what I love to do, I love doing things, I love learning, studying, achieving, creating. But also when I’m constrained like that, and I cannot express myself fully, it really makes me sad. Because I have a lot of energy, and I have a lot of ideas, and now I’m like, “I have this shit in my way.” It’s just unfair and it makes me really sad, and I don’t want to be the one to go on for months in her thirties that oh, I have this miserable life because my Mom did that to me. I know, but it’s so hard.

Dr. Nina:
Wait a minute. There’s a big difference between blaming. Being oh, my Mom did that to me, boo-hoo, which is being a victim, and saying well, my mother was this way, and treated me this way. Or my family did this or that, and as a result of that I learned to relate to myself and the world in a certain way. `And now, I’m learning to recognize how I learned to be is affecting me, and affecting my relationship with myself, the world, and how that interplays with food. That needs your attention. But saying, “I don’t want to be a victim.” No, you’re not being a victim if you’re explaining how you came to organize yourself the way you do in the world. But you’re still not expressing sadness about something that happened to you, whether that’s Lyme disease, or being born into a family, whatever. It’s okay to have feelings about something you had nothing to do with. It’s okay to have feelings about whatever.

Karlygash:
Honestly Dr. Nina, I’m not very sad about what happened to me, honestly it sucks and now I’m dealing with the trauma and professing my emotions. But I’m kind of person who… I like being happy, so whatever life throws in my way. Whatever family, poverty, Lyme disease, schmime disease, I don’t care. I will deal with it, I’m not the one who gives up and says oh well, I cannot do it. No, I will turn every stone, I will go to people and I will create a vaccine if necessary, if it didn’t exist in the world. I’m this type of person. It’s just I’m more angry and sad about all these obstacles. Like oh, you’re born. Let me give you a riddle, here’s your family, here’s this, and when I feel that I somehow managed something it’s oh, it’s not luck, here’s a Lyme disease, be busy with this one now.

Karlygash:
So I just am angry and sad about spending time of my life on this stuff. You know how, when the sprinters run they all stay on the same mark. And when you hear the sound all of them start running, and actually the fastest wins. I feel like, before getting to the zero point with other runners, I have to go back all the way to the end of the stadium and they put a concrete cement slab on me, and they say, “Run with them.” This is how I feel, it’s just so unfair. And I still am pulling results, I’m not giving up. But it’s like how much left do you want to put on me, do you know what I mean? It’s already proved, I will get rid of everything, I’m just tired of… I don’t know, it’s hard, and I’m angry.

Dr. Nina:
Of course you are. It’s too much, it’s been born into the family that you were born to in Kazakhstan, and dealing with everything that that in itself entails. It’s the circumstances that you’ve shared of your birth. It’s coming to this country and showing a lot of courage and tenacity and doing your best, and maybe not feeling like you’re getting ahead, and then getting Lyme disease. Of course you feel bad, how could you not? Of course you do, absolutely.

Karlygash:
Thank you Dr. Nina, and honestly I have a plan. I don’t know, this Lyme disease. When I got it I was not frustrated, I was like, “Okay, that’s sad, it’s going to take my time, but I’ll figure it out.” Because it’s studied, so there is information out. If I came to a place where I found the reason, like God did to my Momster in psychoanalysis, well Lyme disease is like biological disease, I will figure that out too. It’s easier than doing psychoanalysis, I guess, and changing your behavior.

Dr. Nina:
You will, but before you go to… yes I’m going to beat this and I’m a fighter, allow yourself to say, “Ouch.” Allow yourself to say-

Karlygash:
So sorry, to do what?

Dr. Nina:
To say, “Ouch.” To say, “Oh the world has just bitten me.” And rather than stuff that down, figuratively, with food, or comfort yourself with food, allow yourself to acknowledge and validate your truth, what this feels like. Own it, feel it, and then give yourself the pep talk. So often, when we give ourselves the pep talk, we do it as a way of almost denying or dismissing our pain. We’ve got to do both. First acknowledge and recognize, that hurts. This diagnosis hurts, this situation hurts, this is upsetting, this is enraging, this is painful. This is whatever it is, and then you make the best of it. When you go straight to making the best of it, it’s like dismissing your pain, dismissing your anger, dismissing your truth.

Karlygash:
Thank you Dr. Nina, I love how you always keep me in this place, and keep my attention to be there. Because yeah, I jump to solutions because I feel people around me doing this, in my country and this country here. We need to learn to acknowledge, and I’m very grateful that you always make me acknowledge the step, as honesty’s muscle isn’t trained in me. So I will do it more and more, and you are right, I need to acknowledge and I guess I just really need to go there instead of the anger, which is an active emotion. Accept the passive emotion of sadness and really hardness of it. I feel better now, it’s just really so… I know I’ll figure it out, but in the moment it’s like damn, I didn’t want that in the first place, not that [inaudible 00:17:56] of the disease, it’s even not my choice, honestly.

Karlygash:
But like CBT therapist said, things might happen to us and we might be not responsible for what we have, but it’s our responsibility to deal with that. So I kind of understand that, but at the same time, honestly, it’s just… I don’t know, it’s just so…

Dr. Nina:
It sucks.

Karlygash:
I don’t feel like it sucks, part of me is actually happy. It’s going to be fun to figure out the stuff and I like that, honestly. Also, I’m just a very curious person.

Dr. Nina:
Karlygash. Karlygash. Karlygash, stop.

Karlygash:
Okay.

Dr. Nina:
Do not go to a place where you say, “Hey, I welcome this disease, what a wonderful opportunity it is.” No. That is a defense mechanism, you’re reversing it. You’re reversing the bad thing and you’re making it a good thing. It’s a bad thing, let it be the bad thing. You can get through the bad thing, you don’t have to turn it into an opportunity. You get to say, “This is bad, and this hurts me.” Otherwise, I am here to tell you, you will turn that into some kind of… I’m bad for eating such and such. Look at the bad thing I did, rather than look at the bad thing that happened to me. Look, I binged, or I feel so bad about myself, rather than look at the bad thing that happened to me, and I’ve got to mourn it.

Dr. Nina:
Please don’t turn lemons into lemonade quite so fast. First you’ve got to say, “It’s a lemon.” Maybe later you’ll come to the place where you learn something from this, but not now.

Karlygash:
Thank you so much, Dr. Nina, for pointing this defense mechanism out, as I didn’t even know that it’s a defense mechanism because this how I went for shit in my life, and it worked. But I want to be aware, and in touch with my everyday feelings and everything else, so from this perspective, if you took away all my defense mechanisms, and me wiggling around, I would say it’s dark, it’s shit.

Dr. Nina:
Yes it is.

Karlygash:
[I mean it’s so bad that I’m again, running into my defense mechanism of laughing. How bad can that be? How worse can that be? By having all the shit from one side, having the psychological stuff I’m bringing out, and liberating myself from. And, on top of that, having a biological disease, it’s just double-whammy. That’s what it is, and just frustrating.

Dr. Nina:
Yes, now you’re in touch with your truth, and when you’re in touch with your truth…

Karlygash:
Everything sucks.

Dr. Nina:
Yes, it does, it does.

Karlygash:
I’m the one that… honestly I just don’t want to deal with all this shit. I will, but I don’t want to. Why would I be wanting to, it’s just not fair. It’s just like my whole life I was really fighting so hard, and working so hard… to get this shit on top of that. I just don’t have this loving family people have, but I don’t know.

Dr. Nina:
Some people have a loving family, that is true. Some people have a hateful family, that is true. And it’s not like the whole world has a loving family, and then there’s Karlygash. Believe me. But you get to deal with your circumstances that you have, and not compare them to others. But just say, “Yes, this is my circumstances, and I’m going to deal with it. And I have a range of whatever feelings I have about it, and I’m going to own them, and I’m going to respond to them, and I’m not going to pretend that the shit actually sugar.” For some reason I have… anyway. I won’t even finish my sentence.

Dr. Nina:
Okay, I’ll explain that. Sometimes people turn shit into sugar, and sometimes people turn sugar into shit. So you don’t want to pretend that the pile of steaming you-know-what is actually sugar. See it for what it is and deal with it, you can do that. And you have me here every Wednesday, and also at other times… because you’ve been open about how you’re in my Inner Circle Program. You are not alone, you may have felt alone, you might have been alone as a child. But you are not alone, there are people here for you, and with you. And you have the Binge-Free-Babes as well, use them. Lean on them. You have a community, you are not alone. Okay.

Karlygash:
Thank you so much Dr. Nina, honestly you know everything. Can you become our president please? Our first woman president.

Dr. Nina:
I don’t know everything, but I know a few things. And I, again, really want to commend you for… you don’t have to compliment me, I want you to really take in that you are not alone, and that there are people there who are for you, unlike as you were growing up. Maybe, right now, you can go on the Facebook page for the Binge-Free-Babes and maybe share some of what’s going on. Allow yourself to do that.

Karlygash:
Thank you so much, I will.

Dr. Nina:
Okay. Well I’m very sorry, again, about this diagnosis. Lyme disease is pretty awful. Yes, you’re going to get through it, but I’m still really sorry you’re having to deal with it.

Karlygash:
Thank you so much, and honestly your metaphor comparing a pile of shit for sugar helped me a lot. Because most of the time I take shit and I’m saying, “Oh, it’s not bad, it doesn’t smell like that, just let’s breathe out.” But now I’m like, “Oh no, it’s shit and I’m going to clean it out.”

Dr. Nina:
Okay, you do that, and I look forward to hearing from you next week and seeing how you’re doing.

Karlygash:
Thank you so much Dr. Nina, a big hug for you.

Dr. Nina:
A hug right back at you, I can’t wait for the day that we can actually give hugs, but in the meantime, a virtual one will do.

Karlygash:
Yeah, thank you so much.

Dr. Nina:
Okay, bye for now.

Karlygash:
Bye-bye.

Dr. Nina:
So often, we’re taught to look on the bright side but we often end up discounting our truth. And if you don’t see and honor and process… work through your truth, it’s going to come out some other way. All right, so this article, again, are you depressed or bored by Dr. Richard Friedman. He says, “We don’t know yet whether what we’re seeing in these surveys… he’s talking about the surveys that show people feel very bored and frustrated. Oh, wait. I think I got ahead of myself. He says many of his patients who’ve struggled with depression and anxiety have surprisingly not experienced flareups of their psychiatric illnesses over the course of the past few months. They do, however, say that they feel bored and frustrated.

Lots of friends and colleagues too, say life is taking on a stultifying quality of sameness. We don’t know yet whether what we’re seeing in those surveys will bloom into a full-fledged mental health epidemic, the surveys are, after all, quick snapshots of how we feel during a relatively brief period of time. He says, to be sure, little of what we’re experiencing now is pleasant, but it’s worth remembering that boredom is a normal emotional state that we shouldn’t conflate with a serious illness like depression. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t address it.

And here goes, he’s going to address it. Clinical depression is characterized by an inability to experience pleasure. Insomnia, loss of self-esteem, and suicidal thinking and behavior, among other symptoms. In boredom the capacity for pleasure is totally intact, but it is thwarted by an internal or external obstacle like being quarantined. Boredom also produces none of the other symptoms of depression. While boredom isn’t depression, the mass experience of boredom isn’t something frivolous, in fact boredom is an aversive and nearly universal psychological experience that can lead to trouble, which makes it worthy of our exploration.

If you want to design an experiment to bring about boredom, you couldn’t do better than the pandemic. Cooped up in our homes and apartments, we’ve been stripped of our everyday routines and structure. And without distractions, we’re left feeling under-stimulated. It is this state of restless desire to do something, anything, without a way of achieving our goal even if we don’t yet know what it is, that is the essence of boredom.

He goes on to say people will go to remarkable lengths to escape these feelings. Consider the following experiment, researches asked a group of people to spend just 15 minutes in a room, and instructed them to entertain themselves with their own thoughts. They were also given the opportunity to self-administer a negative stimulus in the form of a small electric shock. Strikingly 67% of men and 25% of women found being alone with their thoughts as so unpleasant that they chose negative stimulation over no stimulation. They would rather give themselves electric shocks than just be with themselves. Pretty interesting, isn’t it?

This suggests that self-reflection can be intrinsically aversive, and that we have a near hysterical dread of boredom. Is it any surprise that we structure our lives to avoid it. Apparently this wasn’t always so, the very concept of boredom seems to be a modern invention. Boredom did not enter the lexicon until the mid 19th century. Before that, tedium was an expected part of life. It was only with the rise of consumer culture in the 20th century that people were promised nearly continuous excitement. Boredom was the inevitable consequence of such unrealistic expectations.

Our modern intolerance of boredom might even be fueling the spread of coronavirus as novelty-seekers who have had enough of the lock-down head to bars, beaches, and amusement parks. The fact is that humans crave, to a varying degree, stimulation. And a quarantine prevents us from getting very much of it. Those who are more novelty and sensation-seeking, like teenagers or college students, are particularly prone to boredom. Some people who use lots of recreational drugs, because at baseline they’re walking around in an under-stimulated state in which the everyday world feels uninteresting, or also vulnerable to boredom.

I have another caller. Jenny? Hi Jenny.

Jenny:
Hi Dr. Nina.

Dr. Nina:
Hi Jenny.

Jenny:
I loved what you were just talking about, that was so interesting.

Dr. Nina:
Well, I think so too. And after your call I’m going to finish this because he has some additional thoughts about boredom. And, of course, boredom really aligns with eating, lots of people say they eat when they’re bored. No, they just really can’t be with themselves. Or maybe they drink rosé when they’re bored because they have a hard time being with themselves.

Jenny:
Well, what’s interesting, and I’m wondering if some other of your callers feel the same way I do. It’s interesting because I have found that a lot of my clients and friends do have FOMO, fear of missing out, and they need constant stimulation. And I have been busy my entire life, and I crave boredom. I’ll joke about it to people, I can’t wait to be bored. And so the pandemic situation… I love being with myself, I’m kind of a loner in that way.

However, I do like socialization. Not so much stimulation, but I love to see my girlfriends and my family and the people I love, to have a meal, or a drink, or to catch up, or whatever. But, in general, I have not been bored-bored. I really enjoy catching up on TV and hanging out with my dog, and sitting and looking at the birds. I’m like an old lady, I’m ready for the retirement home, hence the rosé. I just want to drink rosé, and play bingo, and not have a schedule. So, I’m not interested-

Dr. Nina:
You sound like a pretty young “old lady.”

Jenny:
I’m going to be 42, so I’m middle-aged, I guess you would say. But I’m really getting nervous, actually. And I do want to go back to work because I miss making people… I do makeup, so I miss making people pretty and being on set with people, but I’m scared of actually going back to work with what’s going on with COVID and whatever. And I want to make money, but if someone just, I don’t know, paid me to sit at home and hang out with my dog, or to do my animal rescue stuff which I love, fostering, I would just do that. Because I find it enjoyable to look out the window for 20 minutes and watch squirrels, it’s been wonderful, so I don’t want to go back out. I have no urge to go to restaurants and bars and shit like that at all, excuse my language.

Dr. Nina:
That’s okay, I talked about turning sugar to shit and back. You can use the s-word. One thing that strikes me is that you’re actually entertaining yourself. You are watching TV, you’re playing with your dog, you’re doing things. But you’ve called before and you’ve talked about the intolerable experience of anxiety. And sometimes when people are not doing something, when they’re not actively able to do something, or distract themselves, they distract themselves in other ways, or they try to cope in other ways. Using food is one way that people do it or, in your case, as you’ve said many times, rosé, which both calms you down and can distract you and can turn off the fear voice. So you are lucky in that you are enjoying your own company and that you can watch squirrels for 20 minutes. But I wonder how you would feel if you were more in an anxious state, then it might be more intolerable.

Jenny:
Yes, and I so have those moments when I know I have to leave the house, when I know I have to go to the grocery store. When I know I have things to do, I do get in that anxious, manic state, which is when I lean toward something to help me, for sure. Because I think I’ve said this before, I have fear of going out, not fear of missing out.

Dr. Nina:
Oh, it’s FOGO.

Jenny:
I really do, and now that traffic has started up again it’s added a new level of anxiety to my anxiety about going out. I think I’m really getting used to just waking up and watching squirrels and playing with my dog and stuff. And now the thought of… like I said, I do want to go back to work for many reasons, but I also don’t, for other reasons like safety, and stress, and anxiety, and such. So that is where my anxiety lies, when I know I have to leave the house. And then when I’m at home, I’m like, “Oh, everything’s good.”

Dr. Nina:
Yeah, you feel safe, you’re in your cocoon.

Jenny:
But that’s not good, that’s not good because I have to leave the house eventually, right?

Dr. Nina:
There’s a reality to your anxiety about leaving the house, especially if it’s work. You’re a makeup artist which means… yeah, you can’t socially distance being a make-up artist unless you have really long arms, which I don’t think you have six feet arms. So that means getting up into someones face and all of those things in the time of a pandemic. That is scary, being out in the world while there’s no treatment, while there’s no vaccine, while the numbers are what they are. I know you’re in the LA area and we’re still not doing well. So there’s a legitimacy to being worried about being outside of the house, inside the house is safety.

Jenny:
Yeah, and then I talked about this last time, I mean there’s still so many people not wearing masks that I’m just… I get, not just anxiety, but I get angry when I leave the house. I get all of these emotions flood me when I leave the house, when I see people are not wearing masks, when people are honking their horns. It’s just like everything has gone back to the way it was before the pandemic, is everyone in denial?

Dr. Nina:
A lot of people are in denial, so let me ask you something. If we dig a little bit deeper, when we think about these people who are not wearing masks or minimizing or denying the risk, what comes to mind in your past. So they’re not protecting themselves, but they’re not protecting you. Because we wear masks to protect ourselves and others. So what comes to mind, for you, about not being protected?

Jenny:
Oh, it’s interesting, I was talking to my therapist about this, this week. It brought back all of these feelings of safety which is the key thing in my life. I just need to [inaudible 00:38:25], it’s just hierarchy, right? Because as a child I grew up with an alcoholic parent and it was never safe, I just never felt safe. I never felt taken care of, or protected. In fact, I was put into a parental role at a very young age helping my Mother because my Dad was like another child. And so I really… and even with the politics. When I look at the [inaudible 00:38:57]… it’s hard to even watch the news. But, when I read the news, I really think about what’s going to happen, how I’m going to feel if Trump gets elected again. Because I have felt so unsafe since he has been our president, this person that is supposed to be protecting our country and our livelihoods and our peace of mind. And I feel very vulnerable just in general lately, which is something that… it scares me.

Dr. Nina:
Yes, so the current situation is bringing up the past, which is feeling vulnerable, feeling unprotected. You can only rely on yourself, and now you can’t actually only rely on yourself. When you’re a kid, to an extent you can rely on yourself, you can take care of Dad, you can help Mom, you could do whatever you could do. But now you can’t protect yourself from COVID anymore than you… there’s only so much you can do. All you can do is stay at home and wear a mask. But when you’re out in the world and there are people, it’s like being surrounded by your parents. The parents of your childhood. And you’re getting triggered and then the feelings in the present, about the mass deniers, and plus the feelings of the past, about the people who were not protecting you as they were supposed to. And then it becomes very overwhelming.

So the key is… I’m glad that you’re seeing a therapist, the key is to work through those past wounds, because when they are healed, then you only have the situation in the present affecting you. Right now, that’s pretty horrible, but you don’t have both the present and the past when you heal the wounds of the past. It’s finally in the past.

Jenny:
Yes. And it’s funny, I thought, because I went to therapy for many years, years ago, and I thought I had healed those wounds, and then they all came suddenly flooding back. And it was like oh God, why again? Why does this always happen to me? And then I have a pity party for myself, and then I feel guilt, and then that causes my anxiety. Hi [inaudible 00:41:31], I’m so tired.

Dr. Nina:
Why does this always happen to me indicates that there’s some idea in there that you’ve brought this upon yourself, or… not in reality, but that somehow it’s directed at you. Instead of why is this happening to me? You want to say, this is happening to me, and how do I need to deal with it? How do I need to take care of myself right now? And not call your feelings a pity party, that does nobody any good.

Jenny:
Very true, very true. I don’t know why I feel so much guilt for having feelings, and wanting to take care of myself, but I do.

Dr. Nina:
I find that people who have that kind of guilt, and I don’t know if you will relate to this. But, when you want something so much… you’re a kid and you want so much to feel safe and be taken care of, and have a different kind of Dad who’s not an alcoholic and a Mom who’s not an enabler, and you just want to feel safe and you want feel taken care of, and it doesn’t happen, it feels humiliating. It’s humiliating to want something you don’t get.

Jenny:
That’s interesting, yeah.

Dr. Nina:
And then wanting something can bring back that humiliation, which can get confused with guilt. Because we feel guilty when we’re doing something we shouldn’t do, or when we’re not doing something we want to do. And feeling guilty about your feelings, well, where did you learn you’re not allowed to have feelings. Maybe it’s humiliation morphed into guilt.

Jenny:
That could very well be, I never thought about it that way. I never even… that’s very interesting way of looking at it. Okay, I’m going to look up the word humiliation in the dictionary and really focus on that word and see if that’s what I’m feeling.

Dr. Nina:
Yeah, and it’s a passive, awful feeling. Guilt is about something you’re doing or not doing, humiliation is just a state of feeling… it’s almost akin to shame, feeling bad about yourself. Feeling, but not shame. So the humiliation/shame can get misplaced into guilt, which is I shouldn’t be doing this, or I should be doing this, rather than this feels terrible.

Jenny:
Interesting, okay. I’m going to look into that humiliation feeling.

Dr. Nina:
Okay, well do so with a sense of grace and curiosity.

Jenny:
I will. I will do that, because that’s sad. I don’t want myself to feel that way.

Dr. Nina:
Great, nobody want’s you to feel this way and that’s a great stance to take of hey, I want to take care of myself rather than accuse myself of having a pity party. How about oh, I don’t want to feel this way, what can I do to make myself feel better, or differently. How do I heal?

Jenny:
I think that’s one thing everyone can do is try to find some compassion and empathy, so like you. We try to find it for everyone else, our animals, our babies, and we don’t really turn that inward sometimes.

Dr. Nina:
I just want to add that Karlygash is writing on Instagram. Jenny, I’m sorry you’re suffering from such a terrible childhood. And, to your point, Jenny, to Karlygash and everyone who’s listening, have that same stance that you have for others. Kind, understanding, have that for yourself, and the world will change, I promise.

Jenny:
I believe you. Dr Nina, thank you again for a wonderful call.

Dr. Nina:
You’re welcome, thanks for calling in.

Jenny:
Thanks, talk to you soon. Bye-bye.

Dr. Nina:
Bye-bye. Okay, just have a couple more minutes and I’m going to finish this article. Being bored might feel intolerable, but unlike clinical depression, it will never seriously impair your function or kill you. While depression calls for treatment, boredom is a normal state. It doesn’t need treatment any more than every day unhappiness requires an antidepressant. But we can still do something about it, we can, perhaps, even take advantage of it. Sure, boredom is a sign that we’re under-aroused. But if we sit long enough with or uncomfortable thoughts and feelings, boredom could provide us with an opportunity to rethink, whether we are spending our lives the way that is worthy and worthwhile

What things we might change to make life, and ourselves, more interesting. What things might you change to make life more interesting? He says he does not mean to suggest that the pandemic might not cause an increase in serious mental illness, that’s certainly possible. He’s simply saying that it’s premature to make that judgment.

In the meantime, let’s not medicalize everyday stress. Let’s not dread boredom but try to use it to our good. And I really like that article because so often we can’t be with ourselves. With the experiment, a large percentage of men, and a significant percentage of women gave themselves negative shocks rather than just be alone with themselves for 15 minutes. That shows how hard it is to be with ourselves, and it’s hard to be with yourself when you’re with a self-critic. When you don’t have a kind, nurturing, loving part of yourself there for you, when you have a critic, or when you have nothing at all, boredom is unbearable.

And that’s why so many people use food when they’re bored, escape boredom by eating, or doing other things. But when you are alone with a kind, good part of yourself, the part of yourself that maybe shows up for other people, but not for yourself, it is a lot easier to be. To be. So practice, take a minute to be with yourself. See what comes up, be curious. What am I going to think about in this silence? What am I going to feel in this silence? Maybe boredom is a doorway to understanding yourself more. At least, I hope it is.

Thank you so much, all of you, for joining me here today on the Dr. Nina show on LA Talk Radio. I am here every Wednesday at 11:00 AM Pacific here on LA Talk Radio, or you can listen later on Apple Podcast or anywhere where you listen to podcasts. Take good care of yourself this week, be safe, be healthy. Be a little bored, see what happens. And I’ll see you next week. Bye for now.

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