Episode 65: The Physiological Effects of Chronic Stress & Healing Your Nervous System with Dr. Jennifer Love

Chronic stress has real effects on our physiology. From elevating stress hormones like cortisol to creating inflammation in our bodies that leads to autoimmune disease, “mental illness”, reproductive issues, and more, chronic stress dysregulates our nervous systems just as much as “Big T” trauma.

I discovered this truth in 2019 when I began learning about my nervous system, how it’s impaired by trauma, and then took action steps to heal my nervous system. I believe that understanding my nervous system and working with it expedited my healing in a way that diet, supplements, and practitioners never did and never would.

The action steps were conscious choices; no more could I keep living in my unconscious choices because they were making me sick. The unconscious had to become conscious, and THEN I chose everyday to put my nervous system first.

If you’ve been trying to heal the signs of a dysregulated nervous system with restrictive diets, medication, expensive supplement protocols, energy healing, and practitioner-hopping, let me save you some time and money by inviting you to my foundational workshop, Nervous System 101.

This is a one-stop workshop to teach you how your nervous system works, how it’s impaired by trauma, what trauma does to your brain, and what to do about it within my framework of Holistic Trauma Healing.

I guarantee you will be validated, gain new understanding, and have clarity for what to do next. Click here to learn more about Nervous System 101 and save your spot!

This Week’s Guest

Dr. Jennifer Love is board-certified in psychiatry, addiction psychiatry and addiction medicine, and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and the American Board of Addiction Medicine.

She attended medical school at Loma Linda University School of Medicine, and completed her internship, residency and subspecialty fellowship training at the University of Hawaii. She served as chief resident and as clinical faculty at the University of Hawaii Department of Psychiatry before returning to California where she is currently in group practice. Dr. Love is an award-winning researcher and international speaker, has appeared as a medical expert on The Dr. Phil Show and The Doctors, and has been interviewed for documentaries (including the Broken Brain series by Dr. Mark Hyman), podcasts and vlogs. She is currently developing her own documentary series on women, as well as an educational documentary on suicide prevention.

Dr. Love’s work focuses on restoring life balance, brain and body health, and helping her patients improve their functionality and satisfaction in life. She utilizes a wide range of interventions beyond medication, including nutraceuticals, exercise, yoga, various types of psychotherapy, and sleep/relaxation training. Her specialties include: mood disorders, substance-use disorders, anxiety disorders, anger and irritability, behavioral addictions, co-occurring pain and opioid dependence.

Links

Show Notes

This is the second part of my conversation with Dr. Jennifer Love. Part 1 is Episode 64. In this episode, we…

  • discuss how health paradigm shifts when we look at health through the lens of the nervous system
  • discuss the physiological cascade of symptoms, such as hormone imbalances, autoimmune issues, “mental illness”, menstrual irregularities, and other chronic and mysterious health issues that arise as a result of chronic stress and a dysregulated nervous system
  • discuss the potential effects of chronic stress on the brain
  • share briefly about a healing protocol, called the Nemechek Protocol, that has been immensely helpful for Lindsey
  • talk about the dumpster fire of 2020-2021, the anger, division, and politicization of medical choice and the effects that’s having on the collective
  • discuss the role of conscious choice to disengage from behaviors, like watching the news, that create more stress and choosing community, family, and joy instead
  • discuss sources of overstimulation that are part of everyday life and how we can choose to disengage from them
  • share some of our own self-motivating tools for de-stressing and getting through hard times
  • talk about self-sovereign choices for developing resiliency

Transcript

Hello? Hello. Welcome back.

So I want to just dive right into this episode today, but before I do, I want to

To take care of. A little piece of housekeeping. And it’s very exciting because after receiving a lot of popular demand, I am bringing my nervous system 1 0 1 workshop. Back I’m teaching it again on Tuesday, February 1st, 2022 at 6:00 PM. Central on zoom. And if you aren’t familiar with my nervous system work, this is like the foundation of my work, right? The nervous system, before we can get into healing trauma, before we can start unpacking inner child stuff. And all of that, we’ve got to establish a baseline of where your nervous system is at. And in order to establish a baseline of where your nervous system is at, you have to know about your nervous system.

Right. Like, I didn’t know anything about my nervous system. And so for 10 years I was trying restricted diets, supplement protocols. Tinctures homeopathy, various practitioners, shocker, balancing probiotics, essential oils, coffee, enemas, talk therapy, all the things. Trying to heal. What was actually a nervous system issue.

My nervous system was off. It was chronically dysregulated and activated because of my traumatic experiences, both, uh, big T trauma and little T trauma. From basically before I was born. Um, and so I created this workshop nervous system 1 0 1 as a one-stop workshop for all things nervous system. This workshop is going to teach you how your nervous system works, how it’s impaired by trauma.

And what to do about it. Like. It’s going to help you feel so validated. I just remember the first time I started learning about my nervous system going like reading material and being like, yup. Yup. Yup. I mean, it was like, it described me perfectly and I had this big light bulb moment and I was like, this is what it is. All the restrictive diets, all the gluten-free sugar-free, dairy-free all the probiotics, all the practitioners, all the visits to the chiropractor and the nutritionist and the natural path.

All of it. Was rooted in my nervous system. And I was trying to out supplement an out diet, a dysregulated nervous system. And obviously it didn’t. It never worked. Um, So here’s what you’re going to learn in nervous system 1 0 1. This is a two hour workshop taught live on zoom. If you can’t make the live recording, it’s totally okay. If you live in a different time zone or if you’re working during that time, or if you have kids at home, it’s totally okay. Because if you purchase a ticket to nervous system, 1 0 1, you will receive the replay.

Whether you can attend live or not. And then after the two hours of teaching, I open it up for questions and answers. And we, it takes as long as it takes, we answer questions until everyone feels like their questions are answered. So here’s what you’re going to learn in my nervous system. 1 0 1 workshop, what your autonomic nervous system is and how it works.

Polyvagal theory, but not science-y boring polyvagal theory. I’m distilling it down in a way that even a fifth grader can understand. And yes, if you have a fifth grade or older child in your house, they can absolutely attend nervous system 1 0 1 with you. If you want to start teaching your kids about their nervous systems.

You’re also going to learn how the autonomic nervous system is heavily involved in the development of many chronic and mysterious health and mental quote unquote illnesses. I use air quotes there because it’s not an illness. It’s a dysregulated nervous system. You’re going to learn how the different branches of your nervous system behave when under threat, for example, what’s going on when you’re in flight mode versus what’s going on in freeze mode.

And having that information is crucial to knowing how to shift out. Out of whatever state you’re in. You’re going to learn how your nervous system’s responses to life situations has formed. What you believe is your personality. You’re going to learn what trauma really is and how it affects and impairs your nervous system and your brain. You’re going to learn why healing, um, is actually a subtractive process.

You’re going to learn the importance of nervous system hygiene. I’m going to be sharing some of the same information, ideas and practices that I give my one-on-one coaching clients when I’m working with their nervous systems. And I’m also sharing the four pillars of holistic trauma healing in this workshop. And this is information that I only share with one-on-one clients, and I guide them through the four pillars during our work together.

But I’m giving you all four pillars in nervous system. 1 0 1. So again, the details of nervous system, 1 0 1 it’s Tuesday, February 1st at 6:00 PM. Central. It’s going to be on zoom if you can’t attend live. No worries. The replay will be emailed to you within 48 hours of the workshop. And even if you can’t attend live, the replay will still be emailed to you within 48 hours.

And I just, if it feels like a yes, if you feel like you’re done chasing, sometimes if you’re done being on the hamster wheel of wellness, if you’re done throwing your money down the toilet, buying expensive diet foods and expensive supplements and hopping from practitioner to practitioner. And really just like throwing cash against the wall.

To pay for modalities or therapies. And it’s not sticking. Then this is the course or I’m sorry, not the course. This is the workshop for you. Um, I guarantee you, you will not find a more comprehensive educational or understandable crash course on your nervous system anywhere. Including, but not limited to your therapist’s couch.

Um, I just remember, you know, as I was describing earlier, something clicked when I learned about my nervous system. I finally realized I didn’t need to cut more foods out. I didn’t need more acupuncture. I didn’t need more kale. I didn’t need to spend any more money on fancy health gadgets. I just needed nervous system education. I needed someone to explain how trauma causes actual brain injury, which impairs the function of the nervous system.

I needed trauma, healing tools and psychiatry and therapy while they are definitely tools, they are not focused on the nervous system. Um, I remember being told that it was all in my head at one point and no one should ever feel like they’re never going to be healthy. Because whatever is like actually physically going on is told to them that it’s all in their head.

No one should ever feel like they’re never going to be healthy because they can’t afford. Organic gluten-free food and expensive supplements. And definitely no one should be manipulated or gasoline by practitioners who are constantly pushing. Exhausting and cost prohibitive, quote, healing protocols.

So after I figured this out and started applying it to myself, the healing that I had been seeking for over a decade. I actually came relatively quickly. Like it was an exponentially faster process than all the years of bone broth, fasting and taking different strains of probiotics, trying to figure out which one was the right one that was going to get rid of my anxiety because gut health, right.

Um, yeah, that’s what this nervous system workshop is going to teach you is that you’re never going to out supplement your brain or your nervous system. You’re never going to out eat your sup uh, your brain or your nervous system. And so that’s what I’m teaching you and nervous system 1 0 1. And the questions that I get the most often about this workshop is is this workshop more educational? Or am I actually going to get practical hands-on tools so that I can learn how to regulate my own nervous system? The answer is both. This workshop is very educational. I believe that education is the foundation for healing.

Knowledge is power. We have to have the knowledge. We have to know the why before we start the, how. So you’re going to get the why in nervous system 1 0 1. You’re also going to get the how, but it’s a two hour workshop. Like nobody. On earth is going to learn everything they need to know to heal themselves in a two hour workshop. I wish I could promise you something unbelievable like that, but it really would be too good to be true.

So this is a crash course. This is an introduction. It is full of educational stuff. It’s also full of tools that you can use to shift your nervous system out of the fight flight freeze states. I talk about fawning in this workshop. Um, and so yeah, you do get practical stuff, but honestly, It’s a $55 workshop.

If I could figure out some way to market a $55 workshop, and that would be the, be all end, all of the nervous system, health and education and healing that everyone needs. I would be a gazillionaire. But alas, it’s a two hour $55 workshop. Please don’t show up to the workshop, expecting that it’s going to have every single answer you need to just start healing your nervous system on your own. There’s a reason why sometimes we don’t need to DIY our healing journeys, but this is a $55 workshop. And it is an amazing doorway into learning about your nervous system, how it works, and some practical things that you can do.

But I don’t want you to. Stop there. I want you to take this nervous system workshop, and then I want you to go even further. And start finding other materials, books, courses, coaches, um, maybe even talk to your therapist about doing some nervous system work. If they are trained in that. Um, so that’s the, the real reality of what this workshop is. It’s, I’m not promising to heal you, but I am promising that you’re going to learn a lot and you’re going to feel very validated.

And you’re going to have some clarity about taking the next step and what you should do going forward. So nervous system 1 0 1, 1 more time. It’s on Tuesday, February 1st at 6:00 PM. Central on zoom. The ticket cost is $55. If $55 is too much for you to swing and you genuinely need help, then please send me an email. Hey, at Lindsey locket.com or you can send me a DM on Instagram and let me know that you need a little bit of financial help to be able to afford this workshop. And I will send you a link where you can get $20 off the cost of the ticket.

So it will cost you $35 instead of $55. Um, you can sign up for this workshop. Now it’s at Lindsey lockett.com forward slash N S Y S 1 0 1. I’ll have that linked below in the description. And I can’t wait to see you there. The first time I ran this workshop in November, 2021, it was incredible. So many people attended. So many people said it was life-changing for them. I even had therapists in the.

Audience. I was teaching therapists and I’m not a licensed therapist and their feedback was, I didn’t learn any of this in school. So it’s that good? I don’t know what else to tell you. It’s that good. So I’m Lindsay lockett.com forward slash and says 1 0 1 linked below. Get your ticket today. And I can’t wait to see you.

I learn some transformational nervous system information. And. Expedite your healing process. And now let’s jump right into this episode. And first I want to reintroduce you to this week’s guest. She was my guest last week on episode 64. So this is part two of that interview if you miss the first part with dr jennifer love just hit pause on this episode and go back and listen to episode 64 and then come back and you’ll be all caught up all right

Dr. Jennifer Love. Is the coauthor of when crisis strikes, which is a book that she released in December of 2020. She’s also a board certified psychiatrist in addiction, psychiatry and addiction medicine. And as a diplomat of the American board of psychiatry and neurology.

And the American board of addiction medicine. Dr. Love attended medical school at Loma Linda university school of medicine and completed her internship, residency and sub-specialty fellowship training. At the university of Hawaii, she has served as a chief resident and as clinical faculty at the university of Hawaii department of psychiatry before returning to California, where she is currently in group practice.

She is an award-winning researcher and international speaker, and has appeared as a medical expert on the Dr. Phil show and the doctors and has been interviewed for documentaries, including Dr. Mark Hyman’s broken brain series, as well as various podcasts and blogs. She is currently developing her own documentary series on women, as well as an educational documentary on suicide prevention.

Dr. Love’s work focuses on restoring life through balancing the brain and body. While helping her patients improve their functionality and satisfaction in life. She utilizes a wide range of interventions beyond medication, including nutraceuticals, exercise, yoga, various types of psychotherapy. And sleep and relaxation training.

Her specialties include mood disorders, substance use disorders, anxiety disorders, anger and irritability, behavioral addictions, co-occurring pain and opioid dependence. So she’s probably the most qualified person that we’ve ever had on this show so please sit back relax and enjoy the remainder of this interview with dr jennifer love

I would like to switch over and start just talking about chronic stress in general. That’s just not something that I have talked too much about on the podcast. And I feel as we mentioned earlier, you were probably the most qualified person I’ve had on to talk about that.

 

I would like to first talk about and validate people who are experiencing physical symptoms and oftentimes the physical symptoms of trauma or of chronic stress can feel very. Mysterious. And you don’t know what the heck is happening. Why the heck is this like this, I’m doing all the right things and I’m still having this going on.

My personal background is as a health coach in the like really strict health and wellness industry, the one that promotes tons of supplements and natural practitioners and restricted diets and all of that. And thankfully I’ve deconstructed from that, but Yeah, I was part of a very active culture.

It’s still active today of people who promote the idea that when you have these mysterious and chronic physical symptoms, that it’s probably the result of, cliche, leaky gut. And so you need to heal your gut. And so you need to take a bunch of probiotics and you need to drink a bunch of bone broth and you need to cut out gluten and dairy and grains and sugar and nuts and eggs and all these different things.

And if you still have. The issue after that, then your guts not healing or you haven’t found the right practitioner or the right supplement protocol, or you’re not taking the right brand of supplements or I can’t even believe that I used to that used to be such a huge part of my belief system.

And then I started learning about trauma and the autonomic nervous system and the brain and my entire perspective on all of that shifted. And I realized like no amount of kale in the world is going to make my autonomic nervous system stop dysfunctioning and the way that it is, and I cannot out supplement my brain.

And I’m just saying that to validate people who are like on the hamster wheel of diets and supplements and restricting foods and jumping from the acupuncturist to the chiropractor, to the functional medicine doctor, to the shaman, to the whatever else that the hamster wheel, the way off the hamster wheel is to learn about how trauma creates physical symptoms and our bodies and how chronic stress creates physical symptoms in our bodies.

So can you expand on that and just share maybe some of the physical symptoms of chronic stress that might blow people’s minds because they never connected the two before? Yes. And the people you’re just describing by the way, like those are mine. Those are the people in my practices of the people who come to me, they’ve seen all these different doctors because they have the gastrointestinal problems.

So they see the GI doctor. They have shoulder pain. So they’re seeing, in and out with the orthopedic surgeon may go in and explore. They’ve got back in neck, so they have the chiropractor. They have, dizziness. So they’re in and out with their GP and trying to figure out the blood pressure.

And they see, they’re assuming their GYN because their cycles are irregular and they’re just collecting specialists and nothing is integrated. Yeah. So when we think of stress, we’re thinking of a few main hormones. One of those we talked about earlier is cortisol and cortisol has a lot to do with our sleep.

Cycle and has a lot to do with muscle tension and aches and pains. So when I see someone with a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, we know that joint pain and muscle musculoskeletal pain is a lot worse with stress and depression. And cortisol is the main culprit of that. We also though have aldosterone and that helps balance the ratio of potassium and sodium in the body and whether or not our kidneys release fluids or hold onto fluids.

And so depending upon the aldosterone if we lose too much fluid, if we start dumping fluids or blood, pressure’s going to go down. We’re going to feel dizzy when we stand up. Or we can have the opposite and we hold on to too much water and we start having salt cravings. And so those things that come from a different part of the adrenal gland and then for women, the adrenal gland is the only form of testosterone.

So men have it from their testings and women get it from the adrenal gland. But both genders can have, decreased sex drive because your brain isn’t interested in reproduction when you’re reading from a bear. So we lose the desire to do one of the things that actually is great at stress reduction.

And it can wreak havoc on women whose hormones, especially are already maybe. Off from chronic stress, a bet, the follicle stimulating hormone, the luteinizing hormone. And so it can make PMs a lot worse. Premenstrual, dysphoria and cycles can become irregular. Cortisol also plays a role in our body’s immune system.

So at you first get a cortisol rush. It’s anti-inflammatory. If you’ve ever injured your knee or your shoulder, your doctor gives you a cortisol injection. That’s to bring down the inflammation in that area locally and to take away the pain. So when you have chronic stress and your cortisol is just up and down, or just poops out, then you don’t have that anti-inflammatory.

And so your immune system can start doing strange. So I’ve seen people start developing allergies when they haven’t had them before, or if they eat like the same food over and over again, suddenly like every time they eat it, like they’re getting congestion and post-nasal drip and coughing. So they’re not like going into anaphylaxis type allergy, but they’re bodies are fighting it.

We know that there’s a correlation between post-traumatic stress disorder and autoimmune disorders, particularly thyroid disorders because the body’s immune system starts attacking itself. It’s so OnGuard it detects itself. People can be more likely to get sick with chronic stress. When I was in med school, I averaged about six sinus infections every week.

And I thought it was just like this is what happens when you work in the hospital. I wash my hands constantly and but it was really, the stress had lowered my immunity so much. So those are just a few of the things that, sometimes we can tell it’s stress. Like we all know, I think my shoulders really tense.

I must be stressed. But we don’t think about those things. Like I’m dizzy all the time or craving salt or some of those things don’t necessarily come to mind. Once you make that connection, then it’s oh, okay. So what am I going to do about this stress? When you go to a doctor with these symptoms and they tell you, you just have stress.

It’s a real turnoff. If you see the doctor and the doctor goes, oh my gosh, your body is flipping out because of the stress. And this is why here’s what you do. You’re going to have a lot more compliance with it. Than you are with just saying, ah, you’re stressed, get more sleep. It’s okay, thanks doctor.

Like I couldn’t like, I didn’t know that. Yeah. If I wasn’t so stressed, maybe I could sleep genius. People need the tools. They need the breathing techniques that can pull people like the big neuro breathing techniques that can pull people out of fight or flight in a panic attack into that rest and digest.

They need to get on the right kind of dietary habits for their body’s needs at the time. If you’re spiking cortisol during the night and waking up and panic and hypoglycemia, you need to have a snack before bed that isn’t sugary. You need to help maintain a stable blood glucose level and stop running from.

Soda to soda all day long. Cause you’re so tired. You’re looking for the caffeine and the sugar rush, so you need to be taught how all these things relate to the way that you’re feeling. So it makes sense again, motivation to actually make the changes, because when you’re in the crisis, you don’t want to change a thing.

It’s shut up. I’m in survival mode, leave me be where’s my diet Coke, without realizing all the chemicals you’re just pouring in your body to catch up. I feel like the more educated people are about why things are the way they are and what they need to do to change. The more motivated they are to like make those changes and to work as a member of their team.

Instead of just being someone who is in a place of powerlessness because their doctor’s the one in charge and he’s the one calling the shots, but not really educating. The patient as to what’s going on and why, and giving them actual, like hands-on practical tools that they can implement on their own outside of filling a prescription or, taking whatever.

So I’m really curious about chronic stress and we have talked about the effect that it has on the brain, but I want to talk about does chronic stress cause brain injury. Interesting. I’ve been asked that question before you get, it’s very difficult to study chronic stress because there are so many different experiences there’s different ways to have chronic stress.

So when you’re trying to study it in a laboratory with like mice, it’s okay, how do we stress out the mice? And then what happens over time? So it’s hard to take that and apply that to every human, because again, you and I can both go through the same chronic issue. We’d have very different physiologic responses.

So it is a little challenging. There are some brain changes that take place over time. Some fear building that we tend to see in mice they can become conditioned to fear. Similar to someone who’s had a lot of trauma, let’s say they’ve, had a big car accident. Now they’re free to drive.

Those kinds of avoidance techniques, the brain, mice can be trained into that. Rats can be trained into that when the same traumas introduced over time. So it’s like. Training Pavlov’s dog. If you remember, from undergrad, he rang the bell and fed the dog every time.

And then finally he rang the bell and the dog would just start salivating expecting the food, even if there wasn’t any food and our brains do that with high stress. So it’s like once the brain identifies something as dangerous and that thing is always dangerous. So if someone is mugged at the mall, walking to her car at night, then her brain will always associate the mall at night with danger.

It’s self preservation, but we know how crippling that will be because all winter long when it’s dark outside, the person will be like, I can’t go to the mall. It’s not safe. So we are wired for this survival. Treating the trauma oftentimes feels really unsettling for people because our brains believe that this, the beliefs we set up in the little rules for control, we set up are necessary for survival, even though logically they are not.

So the brand gets trained into that and we have to actually train the brain out of that. Are you familiar with Dr. Patrick Nemetschek? No. Okay. I have been doing his protocol for over a year and he focuses on autonomic nervous system dysfunction and the inflammation that is in the brain as a result of trauma.

And how that primes microglia in the brain. And then there’s this cascade of inflammation in the brain that leads to, anything from like migraines and headaches to hormone imbalances, to insomnia, to. Postural orthostatic tachycardia too. There’s all kinds of, cause our autonomic nervous system literally controls all of it, our breathing, our digestion, our heart rate, our temperature, our hormones, like all of it.

So when we start having these like weird issues popping up that have to do with the Ottawa automatic functions of our bodies, then that’s a pretty good sign that something’s happening in your autonomic nervous system. So I’ll link to his book in the show notes of this episode. But his protocol is actually so simple, but he outlines in his book and on his website, what the different symptoms of autonomic nervous system dysfunction are from like minor all the way to major, like major would be like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s and he has this protocol to reduce inflammation in the brain.

And you do that through high doses of fish oil and olive oil. And then Because of the way that the brain controls the gut and the gut responds to stress. And his research he’s found that every person with autonomic nervous system dysfunction has small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, whether they test positive for it or not.

And so part of his protocol is every once in a while you do a round of an antibiotic called Rifaximin to balance the gut bacteria back out. And then the final part of the protocol is I have this thing that clips onto my ear and it clips into my phone and it stimulates my vagus nerve with an electric pulse.

And anyway, that for me has been. Profound. Because when I went off of all my medication, I got rebound insomnia really bad. And I was so committed to staying off of medication and to, I knew that something was happening in my brain and with my nervous system and all of this. And I was like, but I’m not going to be able to heal my brain without sleep.

That’s when I started taking this massive Pam again with the help of my psychiatrist, but he’s also, do you ever prescribe antibiotics for your patients? I don’t. I refer to we have a natural path integrative medicine physician in our office and I refer to him for a lot of those things.

Cause my wheelhouse is just a little more narrow than that. It’s really interesting with the studies. I do think that. One day, we may be treating things like depression or schizophrenia with probiotics because we know there’s a difference in the gut biome. We just don’t know whether it’s caused or results from the illness.

But I have a sense that at some point fecal transplant might be an option to look at trying to cure some of these. So the brain got connection. It’s very interesting. It’s not entirely understood. Why do we have serotonin receptors all throughout the gut? When you get on an SSRI, you have all these, you can have gastrointestinal side effects or improvement of gastrointestinal symptoms, irritable bowel, and other things.

So there’s a big mystery there. That is fascinating to me to think that one day I may be using majority of probiotics or, fecal transplants to treat. Psychosis or depression. It’s just wild to think about. Yeah. Yeah, it totally is. My psychiatrist prescribed this antibiotic for me cause I took all the research to them.

This is why I love him so much. He trusts my ability to research and to advocate for myself. And so I took all this to him and I was like, I really want to try this. And he said, yes. And so I’ve been on the Nemetschek protocol for over a year now. And it was about about six or seven months into it before I really started to feel different.

But yeah, now I’m off of all medications and I can sleep seven to nine hours a night with no help and no problem. And it’s been amazing, but it’s, it really reaffirmed to me and validated to me that I wasn’t making some of this stuff up that because I’ve had a trauma story. And as you said, two people can go through the exact same event and come out totally different on the other side.

And it’s interesting how like. A brother who doesn’t struggle with anxiety or insomnia at all. And we grew up in the same house and have the same parents and did all the same things. And it’s just for whatever reason, my nervous system wasn’t as resilient or, wasn’t as able to come back to baseline after chronic stress.

And that environment that I was raised in was very much chronically stressful. So anyway, I was just curious if you’d heard of the Nemetschek protocol and I’ll put the link to the book and the website in the show notes of this. So let’s talk about like other like stresses in general. Obviously the pandemic has been very stressful.

2020 was just a shit show. Do you know completely, like there’s no question that 2020 was like the greatest dumpster fire, if it’s ever happened writings and whatever could go wrong did go wrong. What other sources of stresses, like of course we had the pandemic, we had the election in 2020.

You mentioned divorce earlier as a source of stress, obviously the racial tension that happened and is still happening is very much a source of stress. What are other sources of stress that you’re seeing with people? Are they related to the pandemic or not? And have you been able to use your book to help people go through the five steps and identify these things and heal and move past these stressors?

So I think the main thing I saw, and this is my interpretation of 2020, based on just working overtime as a psychiatrist during a pandemic, but it wasn’t just a pandemic. It was an election year. And what happened was the pandemic became politicized. And people. So I would say there’s a difference between a thought and a belief.

If I think I’m bad at math and I get an a, on a math test, I can say, Hey, maybe I’m not so bad at math after all cool. But if I believe in bad at math, that I’m flawed at Nass, that I can never get math. And I get an a, I’m more likely to say, oh, it must’ve been an easy test. Everyone must have done well. Oh, it’s totally a fluke.

The data doesn’t change my belief. And so when we saw the pandemic, which on its own, a pandemic is horrible, right? None of us has ever been in one, but when that got tied in with politics, it became entrenched in people’s belief systems. And so many people were unable to take in politically neutral medical data and processes.

They only start through the lens of the very empowered belief system. And so when I saw the most in 2020 was anger because people were feeling their personal rights were being attacked by medical recommendations. And then we saw this in several places in the world. But this was particularly true for our country.

So that I think is one of the biggest shifts I’ve seen in our society is things that are topics to think about people make belief statements about. And so new stories won’t change their mind. New legal is. Science can’t change your mind. We don’t believe in science. We literally just came through a political time in our country’s history where we suddenly decided we don’t believe in science.

It’s where did that come from? It has nothing to do with being a Democrat or Republican or a libertarian or whatever. It’s just as a former chemist, I can say like science is science and you’ll get the same results. Doesn’t matter who you vote for. And so to me, as a former scientist and as a physician, that was my interpretation of what I was seeing and what was behind all the anger.

Because I think that it’s not just a pandemic that made people angry. If people were telling me, they felt personally attacked. They felt their religion was being attacked. And I said, really who’s attacking religion. Like what if he knows what’s going on trying to understand how people were feeling, taking things.

So personally there are things that are meant to be taken personally, but Hey, people are dying around the world are getting really sick from this virus. Let’s try to contain it. I don’t see where that should be taken personally. So there’s that whole process is something that I think we are still dealing with because it’s almost like a change in how people view the world.

And if we don’t pay attention to that, we are headed to further division, further anger, and it does not feel good. To be angry when I’m angry, I’m not happy. I’m not at peace. I’m not feeling joy and angry. And we lose a quality of life when we live under the roots of anger. And that’s where a lot of people have been.

Yeah. Anger is like the fight flight response. It’s yes, it has a place. Yes. It’s a valid emotion. Like absolutely. If you feel angry, be angry, but again, when you meet a bear in the woods, of course your fight flight response has a purpose, but you’re not meant to live in that state all the time because living in chronic stress or chronic anger is going to create more stress on your body.

Just like grief for, whatever else. Yeah, we seek it out. So the brain doesn’t like there to be a discrepancy between what we feel on the inside and what’s on the outside. Okay. So for example, suicide rates are highest in the cities where there’s the most days of sunshine. In other words, someone who’s depressed once to see that the world is also gray and gloomy.

When there’s too much of this discrepancy between how I feel inside in the world, around me, I feel uncomfortable. So my patients who were angry, I’d asked them, how many hours a day do you watch the news? And then I asked them, and it’s a lot when you are at home during a pandemic, is, did you feel better or worse after watching the news?

No one has ever told me they feel better, but they’re doing it because they have these feelings and they watch a news station that agrees with them and riles. So they feel that feelings justified. So the brain can continue it rather than making the choice, a deliberate choice to disengage with the anger and to focus in on activities that have to do with community, family, joy, and focusing on other things, because that’s a lot harder for the brain because those things initially are very discordant with that internal anger.

So it’s the internal angry. We need to change to match more positive environment, but the natural tendency is to do the opposite. I’m curious if any of your patients have come to you and social media as a source of chronic stress in their lives? A lot don’t come in for that reason. One of my colleagues who treats teenagers makes them pull up their phones in session and turn on the screen time tracker.

So when they come in next time, she can see and they can see how many hours a day they spend on various parts of their phone or just on their phone in general. I think, we’re all getting these glasses that have the protection on it now. But the hours behind the computer television phone I contributes a lot to poor sleep to not being out and getting a lot of movement which is really important for getting cortisol, flushed out of the system.

So there’s a lot that we’re doing. That’s overstimulating. That’s usually not why they come to see me when I ask about it. It’s there, but no one comes in saying, oh, I didn’t use my phone because we are all addicted to our phones. They were designed to be addictive, the iPhone. Designed to be addictive, it was designed to have everything.

So you would never want to put it down. Facebook is designed to hold you in. Clubhouse is designed to hold you in Instagram. Like they want to keep you there so they can do advertisements. And all of that is not for your wellbeing, that they’ve created all these platforms, your phone was not created for your wellbeing.

So it definitely is something that might, that patients deal with, but it’s rarely something, they walk through the door wanting to change. Interesting. So I would love to know from a personal perspective, if you don’t mind sharing how have you used the five steps from the book when crisis strikes that you talked about in the lab.

Part of our conversation. How have you used those five steps in your own personal life to navigate through a stressful time? I can just even really talk about last year a little bit because it was a crazy year. Someone got ahold of my tax information. There was a think a data breach and filed my taxes and stole my returns.

And then, the IRS is closed. So there’s all this drama with that. And I was stuck in isolation alone. I was working more hours than I ever had on video. So I’m not connecting with my patients. Then everyone’s in emergency the people who needed to be in the hospital wouldn’t go because they were afraid of COVID and their family members were like, please we’ll see you every day if we have to.

So I’m managing hospital level patients at home. And I was working up to 12 hour days and working on the book. And I was looking through old photos one day, cause I was writing a blog, so then I also had to be like doing webinars and helping the public with stress and all these things.

And I ran across this old photo that I love. Like I absolutely love this photo. And every time I look at it, it’s of this tunnel that I found in the middle of Tuscany I think it was built like the 14 hundreds and I was there at night and it just led down. It was really dark. And I remember being in there.

At the same time, wanting to run excitedly to the end to see what was around the corner. But I also wanted to stop and touch every stone on the wall. And it was thinking about who used to use this tunnel and how many levers submitted here and how many kids have hidden from their angry parents in here.

And, just thinking about all the history of events that have happened in this tunnel. But when I saw this picture last year and this, I don’t know, maybe some kind of mid pandemic last year, I felt a sense of doom. I looked at this picture and I saw a path leading toward darkness. Yeah. And for me it was like, holy crap.

What’s happening to me? Am I like, am I getting depressed? Wow. Like it was a big shock to see how subconsciously my outlook had shifted. From a place of always having had so much joy in this memory to literally see doom. And that started me on the need of figuring out when I’m the caregiver, how do I take care of myself?

And so I did use the five steps all last year and looking at well, what is the meaning of every, all these different things that are happening to me? What is the significance? And I did do some digging. Some of it was easy, I have financial triggers from my childhood. And so when someone steals my identity and my tax returns and all that, I was grateful.

Logically, I’m grateful that I have a job and I’m not dependent on this tax return to live emotionally. I feel like I’m going to lose everything like I did when I was a kid. So I had to make these connections with all these little things that were happening, just challenging to do when you’re working 12 hours a day.

And at the end of the day, you just want to escape, and I was training my squirrels in the garden. I came up with everything, Boyd dealing with the IRS. If you name it, I have my escape mechanisms. But I eventually had to get into that. Okay, what can I control? What can I control?

What can I do about this? And I started making lists and at the top, instead of having a, to do list, I had, I wrote, feel better. It was a big heart around it. So I was reminding myself that every time I checked something off, I was actually feeling better. So I really took all the micro traumas of 2020.

I was working on getting on a really huge podcast to start talking about my book. They wanted to do a series with me. I was really excited about it. This is someone I’d worked with in the past on a documentary series and George Floyd’s murder happened in, and it’s like, the wind was taken out of me and I had to stop everything other than work.

It couldn’t do it all anymore because they had to go through this period of reflection. And like, why is it taking this to get me involved? And it was just this very, I still go through that now, but everything stopped other than patient care. And I lost my connection. I contacted them after they just didn’t want to work with me.

Like I lost this big opportunity, but I had to stop and really focus on that issue for me, because it was so disturbing. I couldn’t just let life keep going on for me at that same pace. So I had to use the steps for each of those things that was happening to understand the significance of each of those, what I wanted to do with each of those.

What were the easy things to do the tough things to do? And for me, motivation is I find just one thing that I love more than I hate the crisis that becomes my motivation. So I can hate this crisis all day long, but if I get stuck in that and I can’t get out of it, I look for the one thing that I love more and focus on that.

And that for me is the greatest motivator that, and I played the one hour. So one hour from now. So if I’m resting, it’s the end of the day, I’m in my favorite chair one hour from now I can be here. And my favorite chair will I feel better if I’ve sat here for an hour and relaxed, or if I’ve gotten up, gotten on the elliptical or done yoga for half an hour, hopped in the shower and come back to the chair, what makes me feel better one hour from now?

And so that was a really good motivating tool for me as well. When I was really exhausted to do some of the things I didn’t want to do, but I knew were really helpful for my body, but I didn’t care cause I was tired. So for me, one hour, that game works well. So what was your one motivator? The one thing that was like better for you that made you happier than the crisis or the chronic stress?

It varied for different things. I focused on gratitude. I focused on my love of having calm and peace. So for me, like using the five senses to relax. Became a game. And I use, I had to very, every couple of months, it was a weather change, what my coping strategies would be, but I’m really big on using the five senses.

So what are the things that make my eyeballs. And so I would go foraging for flowers when I couldn’t go buy them at the floor. I said, literally behind my trash bins, there’s all these flowers grown, I’m making these big bouquets. And I love candle light. In the summer I’m sitting outside and watching the baby raccoons play while listening to classical music.

And midnight or whatever, but it was just calming. And then when it got cooler, it’s okay, then I’m going to start using this room in my house more or in the winter, I’m going to sit in front of the fireplace and watch the flames while listening to music, or I’m going to pay attention to, as I’m cooking this meal, that mindfulness, what spices am I using?

And being in the moment and enjoying the process of doing what I’m doing. So the five senses was a really great way for me. To tap into that thing. That’s really important to me, which is being calm. I did a lot of yoga. I still do a lot of yoga. So there were a lot of tools that I used reaching out to my community.

And even when that was doing FaceTimes the doctors in my office got together. We just had a plan, right? Where like Kate 15 minutes on Sunday night, we’re going to figure out like what the heck doctors are supposed to do when we can’t go into the office. And it turned into a three hour zoom. I literally fell asleep in the end.

Someone’s Jennifer, what do you think? And I’m like what, like out, cause it was after 11 o’clock at night, we needed each other. We needed that connection. So I decided I need to connect more. I started a support group for therapists. And for months we got together on Saturdays and then every other Saturday to just connect and talk about how hard it was for us right now with the tsunami of mental health needs coming in.

So those are, I think some of the things that I did last year that were really helpful. Yeah. I think what I’m hearing you say is that you recognized what was out of your control and then what was in your control. You took steps to have more of that in your life, or do more of that, or when you weren’t able to see people in person, you figured out a way to see them over your phone or over your computer and like you, I think what I’m hearing is you decided that you weren’t going to become a victim of the pandemic.

In a, not in a non COVID kind of way, like a victim to the psychological challenges of the pandemic. Do you feel like you did that the trick some days are better than that. I tended to go through these waves of feeling great. And then all of a sudden one night I’d be like, Ugh, I feel so bummed out.

And I may have a couple of days. And then I wake up one morning and I’m like, great again. And I think a lot of us just had these cycles of feeling like ourselves, excuse me, feeling like ourselves and feeling great and then crashing. So I had to be at peace with that process and allow that because I hadn’t been at a pandemic before, but I started thinking a lot about resilience and how I personally build resilience because there’s a lot of articles on resilience and people it’s like the buzzword in 2020 or 2021 is, now that we’re, we’ve gotten through a lot of the pandemic, how do we have this resilience that for me.

It was figuring out personally, what are the things that I can do that actually make me feel better that make me able to be flexible to the point where it doesn’t matter when it ends, that I can still have joy and happiness. And if we don’t work on developing that resilience, we run the risk of being stuck in anger for a really long time. Yeah. I just, yeah, the global stressors, I feel like we are more global, fully stressed than we’ve ever been before. Does that make sense? We’ve always had the stress of like jobs and finances and divorce and kids and, illness and all of that.

We’ve always had that, but with the media and social media and. It’s just there is so much global stress, the stress with the environment and the stress with the economy and travel and various things happening, like yeah,

it just feels like it, at least it’s worth it to mention that we can see and feel the effects of global stress. And it’s not crazy if people are also feeling the effects of global stress. But your book will help us deal with that. Yeah. We give examples, we didn’t have an example on global stress.

We talked certainly better oncoming stories but there are examples of having a midlife crisis or spiritual crisis. Really the steps. We haven’t found anything that it hasn’t really worked well on yet, once you really identify what the issue is. I would say for some people, like some of my patients ask me about it and I’ll say, you know what?

I really think you need to do some EMDR therapy or something like you can get to this, let’s start here. This will meet your needs better. There’s times in our healing journey that we can utilize these steps. And then there’s times where you just need to get unplugged from the light side. And maybe just see a healthcare professional for medication or kind of an intensive therapy to just get you feeling like a human again, so you can even read a book.

So yeah. Yeah. We’ve come full circle from what we very first started talking about where I, that was the place that I was at in, in 2019. It was like I had done all of the diet changes, the supplements, the Reiki, the massage, the chiropractic, the energy healing, the Shakur balancing the crystals, the essential oils that like I had done all of it.

And I just needed some freaking medication to get me back to a baseline of okay, Now that I’m settled, I can start to work on this stuff. I can start to figure out this health issue. I can start to excavate trauma. I can start to learn how to meditate. Because I tried meditating when I was in that state and sorry, but it doesn’t work.

So in fact, I think it makes you even more dysregulated because then you get stuck in your head and you’re like, why isn’t this working? Why can’t I stop thinking why? And it just it’s very I don’t know, manic. So yeah, we’ve come full circle now. So it feels like this is a good place to to hop off.

But are there any other last words that you want to give our listeners about your book or yourself or your practice or stress or anything? I think a couple things I’ll say is one. When we are perfectionists, oftentimes we feel guilty. For thinking about ourselves or for how, the way we, for feeling the way we feel my patients are guilty because they’re depressed or they’re anxious.

And there’s no reason for that. And so I encourage people to pay attention to those feelings that they’re having and try to replace that guilt with a spirit of curiosity, not, I feel so awful. I’m like the worst mom ever. It’s huh, why am I feeling this way today? And, and just to be like, I think about Dyson who did this vacuums and he literally had a thousand prototypes.

So he found the first vacuum that he was like, Putting my name on less than doing this. When you are curious about things that aren’t working, that’s when you make progress, when you judge yourself, that’s when you stop and go into the shame corner and don’t get better. So I encourage everyone to try to think like a scientist about ourselves, with a curiosity and to not feel guilty about cutting back a good friend of mine at the beginning of the pandemic, she’s a psychiatrist with four children who were ranging from kindergarten through high school.

And she just said, outright list, the five essential things you have to get done today and just cross three of them off the list. You’re still a good mom. You’re a great person. Like just do it. There are days that you have to do that without guilt. Absolutely. Beautifully said such a good reminder. I’ll make that into a square and put it on Instagram.

It’s really good. Really good. Really shareable. All so you already told us we can find you on Instagram at author, Dr. Jennifer Love with underscores in between the yes. Doctor author, underscore author underscore Jennifer underscore lab. I’m also on clubhouse tequila, so people can find me there.

They’re on that app. That’s a lot of fun. We have some good conversations on there. So those are the main ways. And do you work with people online in any capacity or are you an in-person provider only locally? I work with people in states in California. I’m pretty full right now. But yeah.

I’m starting to work on book two. So I’m not sure when, I have pretty heavy flow of patients coming in. But they can call the office. And I, my first appointment is 90 minutes. You’re not going to get a 10 minute appointment with me so they can contact me in Instagram if they want to be given a number or anything to call and connect with me that way.

Amazing. Any hints you can give us about your second book? The second book, the topic is trauma, but I’m not really making the book about trauma. VA. The book is more on hope and resilience and So that’s all I’ll say right now. I’m not under contract with that and just working on a proposal and working through the outline and reworking it and everything.

But I feel very strongly in my heart about this. This is the thing that I need to be saying right now, but I need to be learning myself right now. So will amazing. Let me know when it comes out and I’ll have you back on, I guess that’ll be a couple of years, but, okay. Congratulations on when crisis strikes and thank you so much for joining me on the podcast today.

Thank you. Oh, and when crisis strikes is available, Barnes and noble target, wherever books are sold, it’s on Amazon. So perfectly easy to find. Awesome. I will link to it in the show notes. Thanks Dr. Jennifer.

 

Hi. Okay. Wasn’t that? So good. So good. And I just feel like it goes perfectly with the nervous system 1 0 1 workshop that I’m offering. So, if that resonated with you, if you heard. Some of your own story when Dr. Jennifer was talking about chronic stress and auto-immune disease and menstrual irregularities and high cortisol and all the things, um, that’s exactly why I created nervous system 1 0 1. Like you deserve to understand.

What the root of those issues is, and it’s not in your gut. I’m sorry, but it’s not in your gut. It’s in your autonomic nervous system and sure your vagus nerve goes through your gut. And there is certainly a gut brain connection. You have serotonin receptors in your gut, so I’m not denying the gut brain connection. I’m simply saying, I believe we’ve placed far too much emphasis on healing. The gut.

And not enough emphasis on healing, the brain. And the nervous system and that’s what I’m offering and nervous system 1 0 1. So I will have links to Dr. Jennifer’s book to how you can buy your ticket to nervous system 1 0 1 and all of it in the show notes below, or you can find show notes@lindsaylockett.com forward slash podcast. And this is episode 65.

And I just hope you have a fantastic day. And yes, this episode is being published on a Thursday, not on a Sunday because I needed to get this one out because Sunday’s episode is an interview with my good friend and someone I really look up to and semi famous kind of person. Uh, Caroline Dooner, the author of the fuck it diet and the upcoming book. Tired as fuck.

Where she’s talking all about burnout. So that is what is coming up on Sunday, January 23rd, that interview with Caroline Dooner. I’m super excited about it. But I had to get this one out before I could publish that one. Since this is the continuation of the last episode, episode 64. So. That’s all i have for you today and i’ll talk to you again on sunday for episode 66, with caroline have a lovely day

📍 did you enjoy the show? I’d really appreciate it. If you took a few moments to rate the podcast,

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