Episode 91: Alarm in the Body & Anxiety in the Mind with The Anxiety MD, Russ Kennedy

In this episode, I’m chatting with The Anxiety MD, Russ Kennedy. Dr. Russ and I…

  • talk about his upbringing and the toll it took on Russ’ nervous system to be the child of a father with severe mental illness (bipolar and schizophrenia)
  • discuss what anxiety is and what it isn’t
  • discuss being in a victim state and how those of us with anxiety unknowingly victimize ourselves
  • share what A.L.A.R.M. really is
  • expand on our shared experiences with awareness and the importance of awareness in anyone’s healing journey
  • talk about the difference between alarm in the body and anxiety in the mind
  • share about where we somatically feel anxiety in our own bodies
  • talk about Complex PTSD and some of our shared experiences in our nervous systems related to “the voice in the head” and the alarm sensations in our bodies
  • share about Lindsey’s core wound of feeling abandoned by her mother when her mom gave her the silent treatment

This Episode’s Guest

Dr. Russell Kennedy, aka “The Anxiety MD”, is a best-selling author and anxiety specialist with degrees and advanced training in medicine, neuroscience, and developmental psychology — but it’s not all science, as he is also a certified yoga and meditation teacher and was a professional stand-up comedian for over a decade. In his award-winning book, Anxiety Rx, he combines the science of the brain with a more artistic, body-based approach he learned through living at a temple in India, taking psychedelics, and being a natural and gifted intuitive. Dr. Kennedy gives a unique and never before seen understanding of what anxiety truly is, and further, exactly how it can be treated. Dr. Russ suffered with crippling anxiety himself for decades and his life’s work is devoted to seeing that nobody has to suffer with anxiety as he did.



Hello, and welcome back to the holistic trauma healing podcast. Thank you so much for being here. I do not take it lightly that you are here spending your time. With me and with my guests here on the show, when I know you could be doing anything else with your time and you choose to be here. So I’m honored to be a part of your day.

And I am going to keep this intro really short because I have a longer episode in store for you today. I am so stoked to bring you one of my, uh, I would like to say mentors, but like we aren’t in an official mentor, mentee relationship, more that I’ve learned so much from Dr. Russ Kennedy from, um, his Instagram account and also from his book, anxiety RX. Which we will be talking about today in this episode um so i feel like he’s a mentor but we don’t have an established relationship like that um but anyway

Dr. Russell Kennedy, AKA the anxiety MD is a best-selling author and anxiety specialist with degrees and advanced training in medicine, neuroscience, and developmental psychology, but it’s not all science as he is also a certified yoga and meditation teacher and was a professional standup comedian for over a decade in his award-winning book, anxiety RX.

He combines the science of the brain with a more artistic body-based approach. He learned through living at a temple in India. Taking psychedelics and being a natural and gifted intuitive, Dr. Kennedy gives us a unique and never before seen understanding of what anxiety truly is. And further exactly how it can be successfully treated Dr. Russ suffered with crippling anxiety himself for decades, and it’s his life’s work to be devoted to seeing that nobody has to suffer with anxiety as he did. Please sit back relax and enjoy this longer episode with dr russ Kennedy.

Hey, Russ, welcome to the podcast. Thanks for being here. Thank you, Lindsay. All right. I’m a big fan, not gonna lie. Fangirl in a little bit to be able to talk to you. fans. Now look at that. I got fans now. Yeah, you’re, I finally made it. I got fans. That’s right. Somebody said to me the other day, it’s like, uh, when you, when you start getting popular, you’ll get fans and you’ll get haters.

And I’ve started to experience the haters, so it’s, uh, it’s good to have on the fan side. Yeah, same. I I also have the haters. They’re special people. , um, well, the one did children basically, you know, I mean, we a whole hour on that, but still. Totally, totally. And something we’re gonna talk about in this episode, I’m super pumped to talk about with you because it’s something I personally talk about all the time, is awareness.

And like the role of awareness and how you engage with other people. Right. Um, so let’s backtrack a little bit. I know you get this all the time on every podcast you’ve been on, cuz I’ve listened to a few of them. Okay. Please don’t feel like you have to spend 20 minutes doing it, but if you could give us your story in the Cliff Notes version of your story Sure.

That would be amazing. Okay. Uh, grew up with a father with schizophrenia and bipolar. He was frequently in the hospital. Eventually trigger warning, committed suicide when I was 26. Started to decline really when I was about 10. before 10. He was actually a really great dad. Even after 10, he was a great dad, but he, you know, his illness really started to kind of affect how he would be able to connect with me because, you know, like all mental illnesses, there’s an element of dissociation with it.

And children are very, very sensitive to dissociation in their parent, you know? So if their parent’s not there for them, they know it, they may not express it or whatever, but they know. So that’s what basically happened with me is that I felt really, um, detached from my dad. My mom was great, uh, but she grew up in this sort of Scottish reserved family.

It’s like, you know, buckle up, you’ll do, you know, don’t, don’t worry about it. It’s not, it’s not nothing to worry about. Pat in the back. There you go. Keep going. You know? Oh, you have a great Scottish accent. Yeah. I’m going there, I guess in May or something like that. Congrats. See my, well the last time I was there, uh, uh, was in 2003 for the Edinburgh Festival, and it rained on me for 21 at a 23 days in August.

Dang. In August. Dang. So Billy Connolly has this great joke. I, I love Billy Connolly, the comedian. And he says, Scotland has two seasons. June and winter. Yeah. . So it’s like, there you go. So basically I grew up with a mentally ill dad. Uh, it caused me to really, um, be suspicious of love in general. And, and I think when you’re, when you block love on any level, you’re gonna get mentally ill of some kind.

Yeah. Like, it just, that’s the way it happens. Can be depression, can be, uh, anxiety, can be eating disorders, can be personality issues. Like there’s, it, it’s gonna affect you somehow. Hmm. Beautifully said. So, uh, I am still reading your book. My husband and I are reading it together. I am reading it out loud to him and we frequently pause and have discussions.

Um, so we’ve got our own little book club going. Nice. And it’s been wonderful, but something that I cannot get over is the similarity in. our stories. And I did not grow up with a parent who had severe mental illness like you did. But if, is it okay if I tell you a little bit of my story and where I see the, of course, similarities?

Of course. Okay. Of course. Um, so, uh, my mom was, uh, She, she had her own trauma for sure. Like I have so much compassion for my mom, and I had an abusive, uh, stepfather. So he was a recovering alcoholic. Uh, quit working a program and decided that the Baptist church was the better recovery program for him.

Okay. And so he and my mom got married when he had only been sober for like six months from life. Lifelong alcoholism. Okay. Um, and he was very angry. He had a temper, um, extremely narcissistic. Our family basically like tiptoed on eggshells to keep him, you know, happy. I see that in your post quite a bit.

Yeah. So that he didn’t like explode on us. Um, he would hit us with a belt, he would yell at us, cuss at us, all kinds of stuff. But people think, oh, well, no wonder you have trauma. I’m like, no, no, no, no. That is not actually the source. . Like I was able to see even at that young age, like. , this is fucked up.

Like how old were you? Um, when he, when they got married I was seven. Okay. Alright. So they’re, they’re no longer married. They’ve been divorced now for like 17 years, but Okay. Uh, and he’s not in my life anymore at all for a lot of reasons, but Okay. He was not the actual source of my trauma. What is the most triggering thing for me and where my own like subconscious stories developed were with my mom.

And my mom would be passive aggressive and give me the silent treatment. And so like, I, for example, might come home from school, get off the bus, walk into the kitchen, she’d be standing in the kitchen with her back to me and I’d be like, Hey mom, I’m home . And some days, not all days, but some days she like would not even turn around and acknowledge that I exist.

and I, I would immediately, cuz I’m very energetically sensitive as I believe all children are. But I would immediately, like, there would be this sense inside of me, something’s wrong, something’s not okay here. And so I would start, I would ask, is everything okay? And she would just give these very cold one word answers, like, it’s fine.

Still wouldn’t look at me, still wouldn’t, you know, like engage with me, wouldn’t hug me and be like, how was your day? I’m so happy to see you tell me everything you did. You know, it was just this very like cold, uh, silent, um, I mean, I would guess that her nervous system was in like some state of immobilization is what I would guess.

And so it really sounds like that. But so then I would start, I would be fishing cuz I’m so paranoid. So I’m like, is everything okay? Did I do something wrong? Yeah. Um, what do I need to do to make this better? And then, because she wouldn’t tell me, I would then start cleaning the house and making dinner and doing my homework and being perfect at everything that I did.

Trying to figure out what the hell do I need to do to get my mother to treat me like I am her child and that she loves me. And to this day, man, it’s ingrained so deeply that. . If somebody doesn’t respond to a text message in like two hours, I’m immediately like, shit, what was our last conversation? Like, it just, you know, and I’m aware of it now for sure.

And so that helps a lot. But the part of your story that I really resonated with was like how you didn’t know if your dad was going to be like your dad or if he was gonna be the mentally ill version of your dad. Yeah. And so like anytime his emotions started to seem. To your little body and Yep.

Neuroreceptors like, oh my gosh, things are going into like psycho territory. Like he’s getting even as a teenager, even as a teenager, I didn’t know. So, so what would happen is if he started getting a little melancholy, I’d be, oh my God, he’s getting a depression. Or if he got a little happy and like that, it’s like, oh my God, here we go in mania.

And you know, 99 times out of a hundred I was wrong. But that, that hyper vigilance. Yeah. You describe about, and, and in you, you put it into house cleaning and that kind of stuff. And me, it sort of went into anxiety, withdrawal, dissociation, that kind of stuff. So yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s a, it’s a common story for people and it’s for sure.

I’m sorry you had to do that. Get into that. Yeah. I mean, I’m sorry that you had to do what you had to do too. It’s just incredible how sensitive we, how sensitive, like that. Trauma made us to the body language, verbal and non-verbal communication. People’s tone, their inflection, like, you know, if they have the furrow in their brow or something.

Like, it just makes you so hypersensitive and hyper aware of like all of these communication cues because you’re constantly, like, th this could be it . Like this could be the moment when I have to really be prepared to like, defend myself or be a good girl or, you know, whatever. So, um, well, whatever you told yourself as a child, that would, would assuage that problem temporarily.

Yeah. Which it probably did. You probably, if she, if you cleaned the house, she probably maybe threw you, uh, you know, like Dr. Eva, Jeremy a fricking burn here. Yeah. You know, she probably said, oh, thank you so much for that. Or whatever. Maybe she did, maybe she didn’t. So did that turn you into a people pleaser?

Oh, do you think that’s what I read outta you anyway? For sure. , yes. Yes, it did turn me into a people pleaser. I have a hardcore, um, I call her my good girl. She’s like that part of my inner child that is terrified, disappointing people, wants to make everyone happy. Um, walks around on eggshells to not say or do anything that could be potentially offensive to someone.

Yep. I’ve had to do a lot of work with that part of myself. Um, and I’ve had to develop the language of like, when I feel that paranoia and that hypersensitivity coming up, especially in my close relationships, like my husband, my best friends, I’ve gotten into the habit of being, like, being able to have the awareness of what’s happening, what I’m feeling in my body, and then say to them, , the voice in my head is telling me, right, you don’t want to talk to me right now?

Is that really what’s happening? And like they can clarify like, nope, that’s just the voice in your head. I’m totally here. And so just being able to have that language and communication with those relationships has been really, really helpful. Yeah. I wanna jump in there cuz that’s so important. Cuz the thing is too, it, and it depends on how we say it too.

Because often when we get triggered back into our old wounds, whether they occurred when we’re a year old or 20 years old, we go into this kind of reactionary place and then we trigger the other person. Yeah. So if you say to them, look, this is what’s happening. This is what, this is what the voice is telling me in this sort of, you know, compassionate tone.

Whereas it’s like, why are you yelling at me like, yeah, you know, my, my child is, you’re, you’re upsetting my child. Look, you, you know, you’re gonna get what you, what you give out. But it’s so hard to give out that love and connection because, and I’m doing a little, um, , uh, one of my podcasts on this. When you’re dissociated Yeah.

Cuz you start to dissociate when you go into your old triggers and your prefrontal cortex gets shot off, you know, it gets all this, this dopamine and norepinephrine in our system and it’s been shown scientifically that, that when we get all this, this dopamine and, and, and norepinephrine in our prefrontal cortex, it, it activates it on somewhat, but it takes away a lot of our rational thinking ability.

And then we were more, and they did a study that showed that, you know, people were in this state would see neutral faces as threatening. So it’s our, our perception completely changes. So what I’m saying is that you, you gave out this sort of like warm, connected sort of thing to say this is what’s happening with me.

And you gave the other person a chance to come in and go, okay, what can we do about that? As opposed to a lot of people who will just expect the other person to just know, you should know that I’m upset. You should know how to, how to meet my needs and that kind of thing. And then the whole cycle starts.

So that, that’s amazing. That awareness is amazing. Well, thank you for seeing me so much. Um, so let’s just, let’s talk about awareness, like we’re already talking about it. I have it weighed down here on my list of questions, but it’s come up already so much that it, it feels like that’s where the universe wants us to go, so, okay.

Um, so I, the, the framework for my work, um, has like four pillars. And the four pillars of my work are that we need to increase awareness. Mm-hmm. and then everything else is a subtractive process. So I believe healing is a mostly subtractive process, so we increase awareness. and then we reduce like brain inflammation, lifestyle inflammation is what I call it, which is all the shit in your life that you know you need to change, but don’t.

Good , thanks . Good turn. Um, and then reduce nervous system dysregulation. And so that of course happens through like somatically processing stuff out of the body and like being able to regulate one’s nervous system and all of that. Um, but the only thing in my process that we increase is like the awareness piece.

Mm-hmm. . Um, so I’m curious, um, and if you wanna draw from the book or whatever, that’s fine, but like, what does awareness look like in your life on a sort of like day-to-day basis? Because once you start living in awareness, it’s something that, right, you don’t stop, do, like, you do have moments of, not of unawareness, but it kind of becomes like a state where you’re constantly like observing and questioning everything.

And I’m just curious what that looks like for you. Yeah, I mean, the first thing that comes to mind is, uh, it’s the opposite of dissociation. So when you’re dissociated, it’s a protective state. So I believe that we’re either in protection or we’re in growth. And if you had trauma in your childhood, you’re more likely to be in protection.

Mm-hmm. rather than growth. And that will reflect in your DNA n that will reflect in how you make proteins and all that. So you either def you develop a protective view of the world or a growth view of the world, and they’re really kind of mutually exclusive. So the awareness is really about, you know, I get people to focus on one part of their body that feels good.

Now some people don’t have that. Um, or at least neutral. You know, some people I’ve, I’ve worked with say, you know, my right elbow feels neutral. It’s like, okay, well let’s work with that cuz it’s. Painful and is sort of titrating and drawing a sense of awareness, bringing you back, essentially out of dissociation because dissociation feels safer, at least initially in your healing journey.

It feels safer to be dissociated because when you, when you love and openly love and then gets removed from you just as you did, you got, when you came home from school off that bus and your mother had her back to you, when you offer up love and it’s refused after a while, the child just goes, well, I’m not even going to freaking try this.

You know, I’m, I’m not even gonna, so really it’s about bringing yourself into your body. You know, I think like a lot of awareness of being aware, a lot of metacognition is helped by, by focusing on your body. Mm-hmm. . And if you look at the, the brain structures too, like the Premo pre-motor area, the sensory, somatic sensory stroke, it’s all about bringing yourself into a present moment.

Sensation, which is a lot of what mindfulness is about. . And I think mindfulness is great in a lot of ways, but it just, you have to bring yourself into that level of present awareness even of the pain. And this is the, mm-hmm. , this is the part that I find that, that, that people balk at the most is like, we have to find that source of pain and of alarm in our body, which is what I, I focus on a lot.

And we have to learn how to be able to stay with it now, not stay with it. So it feels like it’s overwhelming, right. So it’s learning how to come into the pain. For me, it’s in my solar plexus and then moving into my right elbow, maybe where it feels neutral and then moving back into the pain. Cuz a lot of people say, well, you have to sit with the pain, you have to sit with it and it will transmute.

It’s like, well, no. A lot of times that doesn’t happen. Yeah. A lot of people get locked in their pain. And the way out of that is to become aware. Breath is a great place to start too. It’s just being aware of your physical sensation in your body. , and that’s, that’s where I start with awareness is getting some sort of thing in my body.

For me, I use my breath, my sinuses, I talk about a lot. And it’s, it’s, it’s an area that you can bring yourself into, present moment awareness, and then, you know, you’ll go dissociate again, and then you’ll get back into present moment again. And it’s, it’s this back and forth awareness isn’t this, you know, one and done kind of thing.

So it’s really, really important to be able to stay present and then be able to kind of, in a way. Dissociate in awareness. Like know that you’re, you’re out of it. I was, I was. This is part of what I’m writing about this dissociation is like when you’re dissociated, you’re not connected to your spouse, you’re not connected to your kids, you’re not connected to your parents.

So know that. And I think you do that already when you say, Hey look, you know what? This is what the voice is telling me. It’s like I’m a little dissociated right now. And then the other person gets a chance to come in and go, okay, here is an offer of connection. Now whether or not you take that connection is kind of up to you in a way.

But it’s really that sense of connection that sort of supercharges that, hey, the last time I became aware of how I felt, I expressed it to the people that are around me and I got this back. And then that sort of teaches you in an unconscious fashion, like this is actually safe to be aware and to be able to stay in that process.

But initially, you know, with people that have a lot of trauma, it’s very difficult to stay in awareness because you’re also opening up. to your feeling. I’m gonna say one more thing. I know I’m talking a lot. Don’t please go think what trauma does. I think what trauma does is it separates us from our body.

Mm-hmm. , like it separates you from your body. So we live in our heads and, and there’s no, there’s no grounding there, there’s no safety in our heads as much as the, you know, the current dogma about cognitive behavioral therapy, which I’m not down on. People say that I am. I am, I am in a way, actually. Yeah. I kind of am too

It’ll, it’ll, it’ll help you cope, but it won’t help you heal. Yeah. Right. So, so that’s what I mean about, about coming into this, being able to sit with the pain and then find a way of moving out of the pain. because a lot of people don’t even realize that you can actually move out of it. It may still hurt, but you can change your focus from the pain to moving out of it.

And then after a while, your unconscious realizes, Hey, you know what? I don’t have to actually live in this pain. I can move to another place. And the thing about emotional healing that makes it so hard is it isn’t an automatic sense of relief. There isn’t this automatic, oh my God, I’m moving out of the anxiety.

I’m moving into this much better place. I’m gonna do this all the time. It takes a while. And that’s what awareness like and, and that’s what I love about your work, is that awareness is the first step. Because without awareness you can, you can’t come into the present moment. And the present moment is the only place that we can make changes.

Yeah. We can’t make changes from our past. We can’t make changes about worrying when we’re set in the future. We can only make changes when we’re actually in it at the time, but there’s a limit to how long I recommend people staying in it. Okay. So let’s talk about that. , like you did touch on it. I know, but like when, if a person is like, okay, Russ, I’m gonna try, I’m gonna try sitting with this feeling in my solar plexus, and they go into the solar plexus and they’re sitting with it and then like, what could somebody be watching out for if they’re new to this to know, okay, I’m getting a little bit in over my head and I’m about to drown in this, in this feeling or whatever.

Yeah. Yeah. Watch your thoughts cuz your thoughts is what, you know, the pain is painful and Bessel VanDerKolk talks about that and the body keeps the scores. Like, we’re not getting people to get rid of their anxiety. Right. What we’re doing is we’re getting them to acclimatize to that uncomfortable sensation and not compulsively, relentlessly, automatically start adding thoughts to it.

Cuz the brain is, is a, a meaning making make sense machine. So if you have trauma in your body, which you do and I do, when that trauma flares up, , it makes us kind of go unconscious. And then as children, the only thing we had at that point was to separate from our body and go into our heads and go into cognition, which helps temporarily.

So when we get this sort of thing like, Hey, this works unconsciously, we automatically will go into our thoughts and unfortunately our thoughts just mind wind up making it worse. So we get into this thing I call the alarm anxiety cycle. So we get the alarm, it comes up, you know, Christmas time, um, you hear someone yelling, you know, I had, uh, uh, a woman I was working with, uh, a couple of weeks ago who, you know, heard some yelling in her neighborhood, and it completely triggered her because her parents used to yell at each other all the time.

So we don’t know, and often we don’t even know, like our nervous system picks up these old tr these old, uh, triggers and it automatically starts that cas cascade. So it’s really like, what can I do in this present moment to stay with this? and then find another place that you can go to. So sometimes all I’ll get people to do is go into their breath.

Sometimes I’ll go, what was the best time in your life? You know, people say, oh, when I met my husband, or I met my wife, you know, we went on this, um, you know, this weekend after we were dating for about three months and everything was perfect, you know, it was sunny, it was warm. We went out for dinners. It’s like, okay, can you get that sensation in your body right now?

Like, where do you feel that? It’s like, I feel like kind of in my chest. It’s like, okay, well let’s take this, you know, this horrendous pain that’s in your solar plexus or your belly or your throat, and let’s just go back and forth between these two things. So it’s like when you’re in it, just realize, like, maybe pick up, you know, what the best time in your life was.

And then from that point on kind of go, okay, I have a choice of staying in that and it’s not this Pollyanna. Just think positive, whatever. Yeah. It’s like getting into the real felt sense of what it felt like to feel good. And then bringing that into the pain and then bringing back into feeling good. And people say how long I, it varies, you know, some people can only take 10 seconds and 10 seconds and go back and forth.

But what you’re doing is you’re teaching your unconscious that this deep groove of pain that I’ve had since I was a child isn’t all of me. It isn’t. Yeah. I can actually show it that there is another way to be and another way to feel, but again, it takes time. Like it’s not, there’s no sort of one and done thing with anxiety.

You start retraining those subcortical structures in your brain, the structures below the thinking brain that mediate a lot of mental dysregulation in the first place. So we can change the thought. . But unless we change the subcortical structures that are actually creating the feeling behind those thoughts, we’re always gonna be on a treadmill.

We’re always gonna be trying to think positive. And as you probably know, and uh, as I definitely know, trying to think positive is a more than a full-time fricking job. Yeah. Like in virtually impossible to, to think in a different way that your body’s feeling for any length of time. You can do it in a short period of time, but it will always, your body will always kind of drag you back into that kind of negativity.

So, so that’s kind of the, the awareness piece is really Okay. So for people with health anxiety, I was literally just about to ask you about health anxiety. So that’s it basically. Yeah, that’s, that’s good. Gonna be my first podcast when I come back because I’ve had a bit of a hiatus. But health anxiety is basically just a form of anxiety that we have this alarm that comes up on our system and then we need a reason.

like we need, the thing about the thing about people with anxiety is they hate uncertainty. Oh my gosh. Because, because of what uncertainty meant for us in, in childhood. So if we felt horribly uncertain, which you did, which I did, we don’t wanna go back there. So we’ll do anything to avoid that uncertainty.

So one of the things we do is we worry because worry kind of makes the uncertain a little more certain. So if you have a headache and you think, oh, I have a brain tumor. Now that may sound like it, it, it’s more anxiety provoking, which it is if once you believe it. But initially, if you look at the meas limbic dopamine system, the way that we, the way that we reward ourselves in our own brain, when you make sense of something or there’s a sense that I’m on the right.

Then, then you get this sort of dopamine release. So we train ourselves to worry because worry gives us this really temporary relief from this pain. And then we keep going back to that same well trying to get the same level of relief. And of course, that’s how it starts. The alarm in your body creates all these anxious thoughts in your mind, which of course creates more alarm in your body and you can’t get outta that cycle.

So the premise of my work and what I write about an anxiety RX is that there anxiety is actually two different things. It’s the alarm in your body, typically from childhood programming and PR and childhood experience, but it can be from inherited family trauma. It can be from parental separation.

There’s a bunch of other things that create this alarm in our system. And then our mind, which is a compulsive meaning making make sense. Machine reads that alarm and says, okay, what’s going on badly in my life? And then you get into this cycle. So the alarm, this is Bessel Vanco stuff. The alarm is one thing and that’s the root cause of the problem.

But the anxiety, the, the thoughts, the things that we used to try and make sense and make ourself feel better from that alarm actually makes us worse and ca catches in the cycle. So the bottom line is how can we separate the alarm in our body? For me, it’s in my solar plexus from the compulsive thinking in my mind.

And once you realize you can do that, it creates a tremendous amount of power in healing your own anxiety because you, you start seeing where the real trigger is and what you can do about it, which leads back to what you were talking about, about awareness. So health anxiety is really trying to make sense of the alarm.

And it does in a way, you know, you have this horrible feeling of impending doom. Well, uh, I’ve got cancer, I’ve got heart disease, I’ve got this, you know, of course. And that’s gonna make sense. But just because it makes sense doesn’t mean it’s gonna make you happy. Right? So, so that’s kind of, and that’s what happens.

And I, and I think as you know, um, I can’t remember where I read this, but um, I think it was Seneca and he said something like, , and I don’t wanna sound all pretentious here, but it was something like, anxiety is the price that we pay for our imagination. Hmm. Right. So like, animals don’t worry. It’s like, I’m gonna get cancer.

You know? You don’t, you don’t get a beaver out there going, Jesus, I gotta get this dam built because, uh, I might get cancer. You know? Yeah. We don’t think about that, but because we have these, these big prefrontal cortices, um, and we have these amazing imaginations and anxiety, people are very smart physically.

Yeah. . So, so that’s the thing. Our intelligence kind of goes against us because we have these, you know, fantastic imaginations. And the last thing I’ll say about that, about health anxieties, you’re constantly reassuring yourself. You’re looking on Google, it’s like, okay, I’ve got this headache. What could it be?

Okay. It can be, you know, uh, an infection. It can be a, a stroke, it can be this and it. and then you go, well, it’s not a stroke. It’s like, because, well, because I can feel my hands, well it could still be a stroke. Like it could still like, so you get into this internal dialogue that never ends. That never ends.

But the reason why we do that is because when we make the unc, because anxious people hate uncertainty more than almost anything else with worry, we kind of make that uncertainty a little more certain, which is the hook, which keeps us sucked into worry, which is why we keep worrying all the time. So I don’t wanna monopolize the conversation

That’s why I away, you know, that’s why you’re here. Jump in. So jump in . Okay. Just say, Hey, slow down a little bit. No, you’re great. This is why you’re here. Um, so I’m glad that you brought up the alarm anxiety cycle because that’s definitely on my list. Um, so first of all, I love the acronym that you use for the word alarm.

If you don’t mind sharing. No, go ahead with our listeners what that acronym is. Can you, can you share it? Yeah, absolutely. So I, I mean, I’ve written it thousands of times. Yeah, right. . So it’s the word alarm, basically. And so it starts for abuse, physical, emotional, sexual abuse. That’s the a. Then l loss, major loss, like usually like a parental loss, uh, family member loss, a div, a divorce of your parents, major loss, uh, abandonment if you were abandoned as a child, you know, uh, the RS for rejection, which can become from, from bullying.

That’s one of the ways we get rejected. Or from, you know, with you, with your mom, you know, like just I’m rejected. And then, and then the am is kind of this catchall thing because I had to figure out something for the m but it was like, um, anything that made you mature too early. Mm-hmm. So if you had to become the woman of the house too soon, or the man of the house too soon, or you had to started looking after a parent, um, which is something that, that kind of came in and I wanted to say earlier on, I’m gonna throw it in really quickly now, is that when we have a parent.

Who’s narcissistic or, or requires a lot of our attention, or we perceive that as a child, we get extremely good at reading that parent, right? Yes. So what we do is we get in this very, um, insidious habit of being very good at reading other people, but in that we actually lose the ability to read our own bodies.

Mm-hmm. . So people are very hungry and they don’t know it until they’re starving. They don’t know when to pee. A lot of bedwetting is from childhood trauma because we can’t, we don’t read our bodies anymore. We haven’t, we’ve been sort of ely conditioned by this, this, this selfish parent that we need to give to, to fill other people’s needs rather than our, because that’s every once in a while, the other person would throw us a little crumb of something, right?

Mm-hmm. . So a little crumb of something is better than nothing. So alarm is those things, and that’s what creates alarm is that sense of separation specifically from a parent. So I hope I kind of wrap that up a little bit. Yeah, you did. And the alarm lives in the body. It does. I mean, here’s the thing that’s, that’s a huge question because a lot of people say, well, how can you, how can you say that alarm lives in the bo?

How can you say that emotions live in the body? It’s like, okay, well, I mean maybe, maybe they don’t. But there is a structure in our brain called the insular cortex. And the insular cortex is kind of like the translator, uh, this part of your brain. It kind of like translates the mind to the body and the body to the mind.

And I think what happens when we are younger and we experience a trauma, like you’re standing in front of your mom, kind of asking her to pay attention to you. There is a particular body state that I think gets frozen into your nervous system at that point. And I think the insular cortex mediates that body sensation of alarm.

And any time that. , um, adopt that, that that same kind of state of standing there, waiting for your mom, because my guess would be like standing for you in a I immobilized would probably trigger you, you know, because it, it will bring back that sort of body state that you went into. So I believe what happens to us is that we, we get transferred back into that same body state that we had at the time of the trauma.

Mm-hmm. . And that’s why I think work on the insular, changing the insular patterns or, or working on different things in these sort of subcortical structures to change our body. And I think that’s why, you know, movement and that kind of stuff changes us because anxiety alarm immobilizes us mm-hmm. . So it’s really learning how to, to move in a way that is contrary to how we were frozen as children.

Because that’s really what it comes down to is our body is really the key to healing that place in our mind. So do we hold trauma in our body? I don’t know. Maybe the insular holds it. Maybe it is actually in our brain. I don’t know. But it certainly seems to refer into the body. Yeah, for sure. And the body has been said to be a representation of the unconscious mind, which I believe.

So the trauma gets offloaded into the unconscious. And I believe because the body is a representation of the unconscious mind, we can find that trauma in your body and then I can use that place in your body to reverse engineer back into the same place of unconscious trauma and start to change it. Now, that was a big sentence, but , basically that’s, that’s a lot of what somatic experiencing Hak, that’s a lot of what those type of therapies do.

Yeah. So that sensation for me, I mean, when I have. The general feeling of anxiety slash alarm Yeah. For me is, uh, it radiates from throat, heart, solar plexus. Okay. And it kind of like very tight in the throat. Heart palpitating. Solar plexus is like a nauseous hot, and sometimes when it’s really bad it’ll just kind of crawl up and down and it moves a lot.

Um, that’s what Mel, Mel Robbins talks about that too. Oh yeah. Yeah. Mel talks about starting in her feet and then sort of gum up and then just sort of washing through her. And like I find it fascinating how people, how people’s alarm shows up in their body. Yeah. It’s, it is fascinating. And so that’s the general feeling of alarm for me.

But when I am specifically in an instance that reminds me of not being met by my mother. Okay. Um, I have those sensations, but what is more noticeable is the tingling I get in my armpits. I get this tingling in my armpits and I had a woman on my podcast. A few episodes ago on the mother wound, and I shared more of my story about my mother, and she immediately said, well, doesn’t that make so much sense?

Because your arms would’ve been reaching up and you would’ve had her to meet you in that place right under your arms. And that wasn’t met. Mm-hmm. . So, yeah. Do you have deeper things to say about that? I’m so curious. Well, yeah. You know, a lot of times in your situation, and I see a lot of of daughters who were disconnected from, um, whether or not it was parental mismatch or whether or not mom’s really suffered from their own mental illness.

And often what I’ll see is their alarm is in their throat because they wanted to say, you know, they wanted to say, Hey, you know, I need some attention. Yeah, I need some love. I need, but it was blocked because they knew if they said it, they weren’t gonna get it. So after a while, as children would kind of go, well, I’m not gonna put myself into that bees nest, you know?

Yeah. I’m just gonna stop talking. I’m just gonna stop expressing what I need. Right. Yes. And that’s why I was so heartened earlier on when you said, look, , this is what happens. This is what’s happening with me. This is the story that’s going on in my head right now. It’s just so you know, it’s just so heartening for me to see that you’re actually going through your alarm in a very productive kind of way, in a very healing kind of way too.

Trying . So yeah, so I see the other thing I see a lot is, um, shoulders. You know, if you had to, if you had to start looking after the needs of the house, . Um, a lot of women will get their alarm across their shoulders if they, you know, especially the oldest female in the family. Right. Which was me, I was the oldest girl.

Okay. So it’s like they’ll get it across the shoulders. They get it in the throat, specifically the armpits sometimes too. Like, it, it really is this kind of, uh, is it more one-sided than the other? Those, no, it’s very, it’s very symmetrical and it’s like a, it’s like a tingling sort of, not quite itching, but like, it’s like a, uh, something’s like crawling in their sort of sensation.

It’s like, like static in my armpits. Like that’s the only way I know to describe it. Right. , have you, have you ever done any, like somatic experiencing or Comey or any kind of work specifically on that sensation? Um, not, well, whenever I did somatic experiencing, I didn’t have that particular sensation Okay.

Come up. Okay. It was mostly the stuff in my throat, uh, and solar plexus where mm-hmm. where I mainly, and then also I did some somatic experiencing and one session, um, . I had this, like, it was in my body that I had the feeling, but what I was feeling wasn’t in my body, but it was like this feeling of somebody standing over me, watching me.

Mm-hmm. . So there was this sort of like, hunch, you know, like hunched over cuz somebody’s watching me kind of feeling like my body even did that. Like, um, so that’s, that was another weird, uh, sensation to feel. Can I do something quickly with you right now, please? ? Okay. Close your eyes for a sec. Okay. Relax your shoulders, relax your jaw.

Feel the, the chair that you’re sitting on. Feel the support of the earth pushing up. And I want you to give me your first, your first impulse. Who is watching you? My mom. Okay. Now that may bring up a lot of emotion for you. Yeah. Because she was watching me, but nothing I ever did was good enough. Well, I think there were times where she actually did come to meet you.

hard when I was a, a very little girl, one of my, one of my only earliest really good memories of my mom, um, and I’m not sure why she did this, but when I was a very little girl and she was a single mom, um, so I probably would’ve been 4, 5, 6 years old. Okay. She would wake me up in the middle of the night, like she would come into my room and get me out of bed in the middle of the night, and we would go to the kitchen and we would eat Oreos and milk.

Okay. And then she would put me back to bed. And when I’ve shared that with people, people are like, why would a mother do that? Like, you don’t wake a sleeping child , you know? And like, I honestly don’t know why. Like, I don’t know if she was driven by mom guilt and like that was her way of doing something fun and spending time with me.

Um, but so here’s, here’s my reading of that. Sorry to interrupt you. Okay. No, you. So I think your mother dealt with a lot of anxiety and a lot of, you know, mental dysregulation. I think at ti at night, um, that mental dysregulation would calm down as it does with a lot of people. Some people will say, uh, I’m a morning anxiety person.

Some people say I’m a night. And my sense is that, uh, her dissociation kind of dropped at night. So the true love that she had for you could come out at that time, but she was otherwise just too, too guarded and too protected to feel that love and that love that she had for you was very, um, it opened up a lot of places that she didn’t wanna open up.

So I think that was her way of kind of, you know, just having that was the real her. Yeah, that was the real, her unencumbered by trauma and uncovered. , you know, all those other things. Yeah. So Mark will in, I don’t know if you know Mark Will in, but Mark will. I do. I’ve read his book. It didn’t start with you.

It’s great, isn’t it? Yeah. Yes, it is. So, so, um, so Mark and I have talked a few times and, uh, he’s actually been over here playing guitar. He’s quite a good guitar player actually. Nice. And, um, so he, he has this little saying that he said at one of his, his conferences years ago, I’ve been to a bunch of his conferences and he says, you know, the love that that, that our parent tried to give us, you know, maybe it was just 2% just said, just imagine a, a tap at that 2%, opening that 2% and then just putting your cup under that tap of the 2% and just letting that cup fill up with the 2%.

So I don’t say it nearly as well as he does, but it’s kind of like that, you know, and I, and I, I try and focus on that with my mom and my dad as well. Like what were the times that they really did. , you know, come to meet me. And often, you know, our, our, our parents are not connecting with us because they’re just not connected to themselves because of their own trauma.

Now that’s fairly obvious for a lot of people, but it’s just sort of seeing, seeing our parents and their parents, you know, like it’s just where do you, and Gabo Matay talks about this in, in his latest book, the Myth of Normal, you know, but where do you put the blame? You know, he doesn’t say Adam and e, but, but I’m saying, you know, how far back Yeah.

Do you go to put the blame? Right. And I think on some level that’s really liberating for people, because if we’re at odds with a parent, you know, this is a loaded subject too, but if we’re at odds at a parent are health suppers mm-hmm. , right? So, so I have people saying my mother was horrendously abusive and that I, I can’t, I can’t develop a, uh, kind of a loving connection with her.

And I said, that’s okay. That’s okay. But can you acknowledge that she. It sounds a bit trite to say she gave you life, but it’s one of those things, just the, the acknowledge of the, just the, the symbolism of, okay, this is the person that created you and to be at odds with that person is not gonna be good for your health.

Now you don’t have to think, you know, glowing, loving thoughts about them, but you can, but can just respect their position because chances are, you know, they had it pretty bad too. Yeah. Right. So it’s just like, just respecting the position that your, your mother and father were in, that it wasn’t personal to you.

Mm-hmm. . And it, the reason why it’s so hard to forgive a parent is, is because they were supposed to do it that way. Like they were supposed to be there for me and they were. , and that’s very hard for a child. And it’s lifelong, you know, people work on that for their whole lives. Yeah. But it’s just, but I, but what I tell people is like, try not to be at odds with your parent.

You cannot see them. You can decide that they’re not, you know, they’re not healthy for you and that kind of stuff. But on some level, not gratitude isn’t the word, but on some level it’s just sort of respect for the position that they, they were in the world. Yeah. And, and, and just even that modicum of positive energy will help you.

It’s not so much for them, because I see people who are at odds with the parent. Like, I hate my mother, I hate my father, I hate this. And they get sick, you know? Mm-hmm. , they get sick in their forties, fifties, and sixties, they start getting sick because you can’t deny the energy that pulled you into the world, even if it was the environment itself and the emotional environment was toxic.

you know, you have to really look back on that in a way. And it takes, it takes a lot of the negativity out of the whole situation. I, I, I noticed you’re huge on brain inflammation, which is, is such a, a good topic. You know, like when we’re at odds with a parent, we do create these pro-inflammatory cytokines.

Interleukin one and interleukin six, tumor necrosis factor, all these things, you know, we, we create these things and it’s not, it’s not us. And the last thing I’ll kind of say is like, it’s that old saying about, you know, when someone cuts you off in traffic and you yell and scream and, and you know, you get yourself all worked up.

It’s like they don’t feel it. Yeah. You know, they don’t feel anything, but you’re, you’re, uh, you’re the one that’s suffering. And I also add something onto that too. It’s like if you, if someone cuts you off in traffic and you yell and scream at them, that’s probably not the best thing. But if someone cuts you off in the traffic, and then this comes back to your thing about awareness.

If you say, okay, this person just cut me off in traffic. I’m really angry right now, I’m gonna yell at them. and you do. Mm-hmm. . I have no problem with that. Yep. . But what I have a problem with is like, someone cuts you off. I was like, yep. You know, that’s what I have a problem with. But if you consciously say,

I’m either gonna just, you know, Zen out on this or I’m just gonna go for it. And you go for it. I have no problem with that. Yeah. Because then you met whatever your nervous assistant state was with awareness. Yeah. And like that, that, and you’re in control. Right? And you’re in control. Yeah. And so you’re like, either way you’re making a choice, right?

Whether you just like fly off the handle and start screaming, or whether you say, okay, I am going to choose to fly off the handle and start screaming. Yeah. Either way you’re making a choice, but one choice is unconscious and one choice is conscious. And I’ll do that and actually I will start laughing.

Yeah. When I start doing it, it’s like, okay, I’m gonna go for this guy. What ? And then I will see what I’m doing and it’s like, okay, this is actually pretty funny, you know? Yeah. Yeah. So it’s just, you know, again, it, it really does come back from awareness, pulling yourself into that present moment. Awareness.

Cuz present, the present moment is the only place that we can actually make changes. . Yeah. So, and, and so often we’re dis we’re in dissociation. And when we’re dissociated, we’re at a different place and time. So we can’t, while we’re in dissociation, we can’t change anything. Right. You know, and, and much more.

And we’re much more likely to fall back into that same dissociation. And that’s where the groove of, you know, depression, anxiety, eating disorders mm-hmm. , you know, all that stuff comes from, because it’s familiar, you know, it becomes this familiar pattern for us. And because it’s familiar, there is this sense of safety.

Human beings have this kind of, this, this strange, uh, phenomenon that they equate what was familiar to them mm-hmm. with what was safe. So if you were ignored as a child, which you were, sometimes you’ll actually seek out being ignored. You’ll create it in your, in your life. Now as you start healing, you stop doing that.

But it is one of those things that we tend to create the same environment. unconsciously. Yeah. As adults that we had as children. Yeah. And it’s just, it’s called Freud called it the repetition Compulsion. Right. And it, and it really is, it’s a powerful unconscious thing. And I see people come to me, it’s like, you know, I’ve been divorced three times and I, you know, I, I keep peeking the same, you know, um, narcissistic woman or the same, um, the same, um, capitulating woman.

Like I said, it’s like, well, let’s go back. Let’s just see what your childhood was like and see how you’re, how you’re, and even when people know it’s still really hard to get out of that, out of that habit. Yeah. , it really is. Yeah. Yeah. I’m really glad you brought that up. So, um, this leads in into my next question.

Um, I have done several reels lately on Complex P T S D, just trying to help people understand that I don’t really need to have the diagnosis or the label. I don’t care if it’s in the D S M or if it isn’t, but I like to use the term complex P T S D because it is a succinct way of describing what really is a whole.

Like bucket of experiences Sure. That have like formed my view of the world and of life and of myself. Right. Yeah. So, um, you know, for me, complex B T D shows up in this like hyper vigilance and hyper-focus and hypersensitivity on people’s communication cues, both verbal and non-verbal. And as you said earlier, um, when, when the brain is not, the prefrontal cortex isn’t totally online, um, we can misinterpret something that’s totally safe to be something that’s dangerous.

Absolutely. So that is, that is something that I often do is I will. Perceive some communication cue from someone, and then I, I don’t know if I’m misinterpreting it or not. And so again, I will use the, my voice in my head is telling me that when you make this facial expression that you’re really angry with me.

Is that true? Um, I do this a lot, Russ , especially with, especially with my husband. Yeah. Give me an example. Like, like really drill down lens. I’m really interested in this and like, so what, what’s happened recently that sort of, you know, um, so when my husband and I, for example, like if we’re having an argument or like a really serious conversation, okay.

Um, if he like Coxs an eyebrow, when I say something, I pick up on that and the voice in my head says, he thinks what you said is. or he’s about to totally disagree with you and invalidate everything that you feel or like whatever. And so I used to, um, and this took like years of communication and awareness work on my part with my husband, but we would be in the middle of a serious conversation and he would give me a facial expression like cocking an eyebrow, um, or like biting his lip.

And because I had registered that in the past as like, this is something that happens before he says something that I really don’t wanna hear, um, I will stop the conversation and then we will have like a micro conversation inside the larger, bigger conversation of me needing to pick apart. Like, well what does it mean when you do your eyebrow like that?

What does it mean when you bite your lip? Like why did you make that this tone of voice or that tone of voice or whatever? And most of the time he’s like, I dunno what you’re talking about. Yeah. I was gonna say, does he know? And so then me in my victim state Sure. Which is what this is my next question I’m leading into Yeah.

Is I’m like, You’re gaslighting me, you know? Right. And, and he’s like, no, I’m not. I just don’t know what you’re talking about. And I’m like, boy, isn’t that convenient that you cannot know what I’m talking about to get out of it or whatever. Years of awareness work. This has taken me, Russ, to finally be able to see what the facial expression, the cock of the eyebrow or the biting of the lip or whatever, and be able to notice it.

And instead of needing to have a micro argument in the middle of the macro argument mm-hmm. , I can be like, okay, you just did the eyebrow cock thing again. Like, um, what’s happening for you? Cuz the voice in my head is telling me that this conversation is about to go south . Okay. And, and so then he’s like, no, I, I didn’t even realize I did that.

Like I will try not to cock my eyebrow. I know that’s a trigger for you, . You know? And I’m like, well I don’t want you to fawn for me. You know? Right. So then we’re having all this conversation, but um, so people on Instagram have asked me, cause they’re like, oh my gosh, this is me too. Like, I experienced the same thing.

Do you ever heal it? And I’m using heal and air quotes for people who are listening. Yeah. And I’ve gotten to the point where I’m. I feel like I’m pretty advanced in my journey. Yeah. Okay. At this point, like, definitely not trying to toot my horn or anything, but I feel like I’ve done a shitload of work.

Yeah. And, and my honest answer now to that question is, . I’m not sure that we ever do fully heal it, but I think that healing doesn’t necessarily look like this thing that I struggle with disappears. Mm-hmm. like healing can look, can, I think it’s healing to be able to say, the voice in my head is telling me that when you cock your eyebrow that way, this conversation’s about to go south.

Like that is certainly way more healing. than calling him a gas lighter. Right. Because he doesn’t know what I’m talking about. You know what I mean? Right. Yeah, yeah, sure. Yeah. But I also like, this is the other thing is like, I don’t necessarily know that I want my sensitivity to these things to go away because Yes.

When I don’t meet it with awareness, when there’s ego involved, like it is when you’re stressed, it is a weakness for sure. Yeah. But as a fucking coach, it’s a superpower because like I can read people’s body language and tone and all of that, and I like, I pick up on it just totally subconsciously. Mm-hmm.

And then I can ask really good questions or like I can say, okay, when you were telling me this, like your eyes like looked up and your voice kind of trailed off for a second. Let’s talk about that. So if I didn’t have that sensitivity, I wouldn’t be able to meet my clients. Like at that level of detail, I feel like.

Yeah. Um, so this leads into what I was gonna ask, which is, Let’s talk about victim mentality because Okay, we do often, did, did you know this is where I was going with this, so No, no, no. I smiled because I, I’m, that’s, you know, right now I’m working on all these podcast episodes, right? And victim mentality is one of the biggest ones because I noticed in your thing too about, um, how you get people like really going after you about stuff, right?

Yeah, sometimes. And I, I, I do too, and it’s a trigger for me. So it. . Um, lately there, there was one person who, who had this thing, and it wasn’t, they weren’t like going after me, like, Hey, you’re, you know, you’re BS and all that, but it was kind of like, you should really watch the language that you use in this kind of stuff.

And it’s like, you know, this is this whole victim. And I, and I, and I, I, I take awareness, like every negative state, I, I take awareness from it. It’s like, okay, maybe, maybe I could be a little more aware of that. And that’s helpful. Um, but also it’s, it’s the same kind of thing. It’s like if you’re, if you’re triggered, if you’re, if you’re what, we can’t just not say what we wanna say because we fear we might trigger some.

And this is why, you know, I was a standup comic for 15 years. Yeah. This is why, um, Seinfeld and Chris Rock won’t do colleges. because it’s like they, they’re, they’re the, the, the fact that people will get upset Yeah. About some of the things that are said. Like you, you should have framed that in a different way.

And it’s like, this is the way the world is kind of going these days. So, so we’re really getting into this victim mentality. And the thing about victim mentality, and here’s, here’s the neurophysiology behind victim. Perfect. So when you go into, when you go into victim, you start secreting cortisol and epinephrine and in your brain, nor epinephrine.

So that puts you into this kind of protective stance. Like I was talking. There’s other protection or growth. So we get into this protective stance and basically everything that we see from that point on, we will look through the eyes of protection. Mm-hmm. . So, you know, if somebody gets triggered by a word that I use or whatever, and they say, well, you shouldn’t be using this word.

And, and it’s like, mm. You know, I, am I doing you any favors by not allowing you to see like your awareness around the IC and that kind of stuff. Yeah. You know, that awareness helps you. . So am I, you know, if we just avoid all these, you know, potential triggers, we’re not helping people Right. That way. So this whole victim thing, and, and, and I, I’m a vic, like I was a victim for many years.

I still am sometimes because it, it is, it is something that gets put into us when we’re anxious. Mm-hmm. this sort of sense of victim. Now, when you lean into what scares you, you create a different neurophysiology. You start secreting some dopamine in your brain saying, Hey, you know, this is gonna help you.

Um, there’s a place in your brain called the periaqueductal Gray, uh, which secretes endogenous opioids, which are kind of like the brain’s natural pain relievers. So when you go up and you actually do what you’re going to do, and you address your fear, uh, your brain physiology will come up to support you.

And if you move away from it, and you go, this is scary. I’m not gonna do this. This is something bad for me. Your brain will also support you in that. Mm-hmm. . So whatever you decide to do, consciously or unconsciously, your brain will support that decision. So if you move away, your brain’s gonna go, okay, we’re in protection.

We’re gonna protect you. If you move towards, your brain’s gonna go, okay, here’s the chemicals that you need to actually go and ask that girl out or ask that guy out. Do you the chemicals that you need and. growth and growth and growth . So you’re either in protection or growth. And that’s, and, and they’re mutually exclusive.

Now, I, I write about this in the book too. The only place where protection and growth kind of meshed together, and I’m still working on this in my own mind mm-hmm. , is, is faith, like having faith that things will turn out okay. Mm-hmm. , uh, really looking and don’t necessarily mean religious faith. I mean, just faith that the, the world, the universe, whatever way you wanna look at it, is going to help you.

Yeah. And again, like whatever you focus on, you’ll get more of, if you focus on that, the, you do have things in your life that are helping you, you will see more of that. If you focus on a victim mentality where no one’s helping you, you’re all in this on, on your own, which is what happened to us as children, you’re gonna get stuck in that too.

Yeah. And one of those things will provide you with some growth and some healing. And one of those things will just keep you stuck in the whole of anxiety, depression, all that sort of stuff. Yeah. So it’s really, you know, whatever you, whichever way you go at it, your brain will support you. I’m so glad you brought that up because you know, I like in my work that I do with clients one-on-one and they’re going through something really difficult, after a while you start to feel beat up and you feel tired and you start feeling defeated and then that’s when you go into victim consciousness.

Mm-hmm. . And I’m definitely not into like, like affirmations. Like I never tell clients to, you know, when you’re feeling dysregulated to just repeat 10 times, I am safe, I am calm. Right. Cause I’m like, you’re just lying to your nervous system, like it’s not gonna work. Right. But it is that element of like trust that when you’ve done everything you can do, like when, when you are going through it, it’s gonna take as long as it takes.

And some things are within your control and some things are not within your control. Right. But when you’ve done everything that you can do, like the only thing left is to surrender and trust. Like, trust that. , when the time is right, I will have what I need. Like an opportunity will come my way that is gonna help me in this situation.

Like, I trust that I will meet the right person that I need to help me with this. Or I will find a book that I need that will help me with this. And like, and, and I tell my clients too, like, be open to being surprised by the universe. Like, tell the universe surprise me, . And it will come in the most unexpected of ways.

So I’m so glad that you brought that up. And in the book you say, I’m gonna quote you here. You say, if you consistently deal with anxiety, you are likely in a victim state. Meaning you are unknowingly victimizing yourself in an attempt to protect yourself. Um, I don’t know if this happens with you, but for me on social media, when I talk about victim mentality, literally everyone comes along.

Or not everyone, many people come along and they say that I’m victim blaming, victim shaming. Mm-hmm. , uh, minimizing people’s pain. Uh, like being an apologist for people’s abusers. Yeah. Like all of that. Can you dive into how we, uh, keep ourselves in victimhood as an attempt to protect ourselves? Yeah, I mean that’s really what it comes down to.

Cuz I think when we have trauma as children and that trauma can be, you know, the other thing I talk about too is like, I don’t think we’re born anxious. I don’t think an anxiety is a genetic trait. I think sensitivity is a genetic trait. I think we’re born sensitive, so if we grow up in an environment where there’s trauma and we’re sensit.

We lose faith in the world. Yeah. And we stop trying, you know, like with your mom, it’s like after a while you would’ve stopped trying to connect with her because you knew it wasn’t gonna be there. So when you try and get people as adults to go, okay, can you have faith? It’s like, well, my only template of that is how I didn’t have faith.

I I, and the, the natural corollary of that is that everything is up to me. Like everything is up to me. Mm-hmm. and, and a lot of like mainstream psychology is, if it is to be, it’s up to me. It’s like, there’s a lot of stuff in there that sort of says, you have to do it all yourself. No one’s gonna help you.

No one’s coming to save you. Which I’ve actually said to people actually. So I’ve gotta sort of watch what I say here. But I think it’s really important to understand that, that faith is something that you cultivate. It’s not, it’s like compassion for yourself. It’s not something that just automatically comes.

Yeah. So it’s really organizing, like, okay, I can have faith in just small things. You know, start with small things and then just sort of see the, you know, when you dip your toe in that water, There, there isn’t a crocodile there that’s gonna come and eat. You like it. It does actually, when you start again, that old neuroscientific 10 is like, whatever you focus on, you get more of.

So if you start focusing on having faith in the world, and some I woman, uh, a while ago, it says, you know, I have, I have these guardian angels that help me. It’s like, whatever, whatever lady. Yeah. Whatever works, works for you. Right. , like if she believes that there’s guardian angels Yeah. And she sees like, and then that helps her.

Yeah. You know, create the, the, you know, the periaqueductal gray creates the endogenous opioids, creates the dopamine. Fine. You know, I have no problem with that. So it’s a, it’s a matter of, and I ma maybe if, you know, pe if we all thought we had guardian angels around us, you know, maybe we’d live happier lives mm-hmm.

in a way. So it, it really is understanding that, that, um, it, it, it’s, it’s a, it’s a, a protective reflex and people do not want to, uh, abandon what they perceive as been protecting them. . So when we adopt a victim mentality and we perceive that hypervigilance is helping us, which often it is in, in childhood, often when we have a parent who’s abusive or abandoning or whatever to that, that’s protective.

Mm-hmm. For us. Mm-hmm. . So it’s really about understanding that, um, victim mentality is a coping mechanism and no one wants to have their coping mechanism removed, so people will fight tooth and nail for that. So it’s really, again, about your awareness thing. It’s like, you know, do I wanna be a victim? You know, and, and, you know, people that heal are the ones that, that decide they’re not gonna be victims anymore.

Like universally. Mm-hmm. , you know, people that have, you know, , um, you know, emotional, physical, sexual trauma, the ones that heal are the ones that decide I’m not gonna be a victim anymore because whatever you, whatever you kind of decide, either consciously or unconsciously, your brain will support that.

Yeah. If you, if you know, if you’re gonna be a victim, it’ll support that and it’ll fight tooth and nail to protect that victimhood, you know, but it is a delicate situation, you know, you don’t want to, um, especially people who are kind of really on the edge and really, really suffering, you know, you don’t wanna sort of push them over the edge.

But by the same token, human beings don’t change until the pain gets so bad that they have no choice. Yeah. So it is one of those things that I think we just have to be responsible. Like, if you’re not actively, you know, saying, you know, you’re a victim and you shouldn’t be doing this and this is what’s happening, um, unless you’re actively going after them, I think you should be able to say whatever you want.

And this is what I say all the time. It’s Instagram, man. Like it’s, it’s Instagram. Like, it’s not, you know, what do you want from me? This is Instagram, right? Yeah. So it’s like, that’s the other thing. This is not like a, a seminar on how to resolve your parental wounds. This is fricking Instagram, right? And, uh, but here’s the other thing I wanted to say earlier on too, is that people will project, like if people had quote unquote bad parents, very easy thing, very short thing to say, but if people had bad parents and you’re trying to help them, they will project that bad parent onto you, right?

And if you don’t help them in the way that they perceive, they wanted to be helped by that parent who wasn’t there. , they will shit on you. Yeah. So, so they will, a lot of transference goes on there. So it’s like you just have to sort of see them, like I see them a lot as just wounded children. Yeah. And, and really that’s kind of the way that that’s helped because I know like six months ago when people say, oh, what you say is bullshit, I would go back at them and go, and I would start going into, you know, I, here’s the evidence from the bed nucleus of the stria terminis, the basal ganglia, the anterior, like I would go into all that stuff.

Yeah. And it’s like I realized that I had to start explaining myself, like, why am I even gonna explain to myself, I’m helping the majority of people, you know? Yeah. And there’s gonna be people that just don’t, aren’t ready or don’t accept it or whatever, who are probably in victim. And until they see they’re in victim and take responsibility for victim, they’re kind of always gonna be in.

Yeah. And that’s not, and that’s not my problem. And that’s not your problem. Right. That’s really their problem. And then, you know, if someone says, I’m in victim and I realize that that’s what’s happening, I, I, I will be a hundred percent behind them to help them. Yeah. Yeah. But if someone isn’t victim and they’re blaming and then they’re standing there, you know, putting their flag in, I’m victim and you are wrong.

You know, they’re gonna sit there until, until they’re not. Yeah. Or the rest of their life, whichever comes first. Yeah. And for me, I just block them from my account. . I think that’s, I think that’s fair, right? Like, again, this is Instagram, like, why are we taking so much negative energy? We’re putting a lot of like, good into the world.

Yeah. As much as we can. And you know, and I think that’s what happens is that people do project their parents onto us, uh, or transference is happening, and you know, we take a hit for that. Mm-hmm. , you know, because their parent wasn’t there for them and we’re trying to help them. and it doesn’t quite work.

They’re like, well this is what happened to me when I was a child and, and you know, I’m gonna shit on you. Like, I want to shit on my parent, but I can’t. Yeah. Because they’re my parent and they’re, but, but you’re a much easier target. So, you know, and that’s why, you know, I get people that, that on Instagram and say you have a hundred thousand followers, you could have like a millions, I don’t want a million followers.

Yeah. Like, I don’t want a million followers. Like I, the, the people on my that follow me, I love them because they’re so engaged. Yeah. And, and, and cuz a lot of my posts are these carousel posts and they’re pretty intense. Mm-hmm. , right. So it’s like, um, they, they’re really engaged and I think a lot of Instagram is zombie scrolling.

Yeah. And mean. . And I think in a way that’s what people quote unquote want. So when you provide long form content, you know, what is it that T L D R like too long didn’t read? Yeah. Kind of stuff. When you provide long form content, I want those people as followers. Mm-hmm. because they’re actually paying attention and I learn from what they tell me.

Whereas if it’s just like these, you know, like kind of memes that you put out and that kind of stuff, um, I want people to, to, to get a little triggered by the stuff that I say, because then I know that I’m getting into, you know, kind of the, the root cause of the problem. Yeah. I remember years ago there was this guy, uh, uh, he was a bank robber.

I, I, and, and I, and they said to him, it’s like, well, why do you rob banks? And the guy said, well, cuz that’s where the money. , you know? Duh. So it’s like, you know, it’s like, and that’s true. It’s like when you trigger people, it’s like that’s where the money is. Mm-hmm. , like when I trigger people and I do it, you know, when I do consults with people is I, I do kind of poke them a little bit.

I do try and find, I did a little bit with you today. Yeah. You know, finding that place in your throat and that kind of stuff. Cuz that’s, that’s where the healing is. The healing isn’t in cognitive stuff. Like talking about it, you know, a lot of, a lot of the issue is subcortical, like below the level of the cortex, below the level of thinking.

My, like amygdala, hippocampus, ponds, medulla, uh, brain step. None of these things are verbal, none of them. Right. So why are we trying to use verbal language to try and change these subcortical non-verbal issues? Yeah. Like, but, but verbal stuff helps for sure. Like, it helps, you know, it, it puts the icing on the cake.

But the cake itself is the subcortical structures that we have to start changing. because unless we change those things, any, any help you’re gonna get, it’s just gonna be thought based and temporary. Right. You know? So, and, and then I, I get a lot of people upset at me about that, especially people in traditional therapy, you know, um, C B T and all that kind of stuff.

It’s like C B T will help. It’s definitely helpful, but it’s not gonna heal you. Well, I mean, I think CCPT is a lot like psych meds and lord knows I’ve been on my share of psych meds. I mean, you don’t, you don’t leave the five day inpatient psych hospital stay and not leave on psych meds. You know what I mean?

Like Exactly. Hey, thanks. Thanks. Coffee was terrible by the way. Do something about that. Yeah. Yeah. So I’ve been on a cocktail of psych meds. Uh, I’ve had, you know, come off of them. I’ve done multiple tapers. And then six months or a year later, I would have some relapse, right. Or something. And, you know, I’m not scared of them anymore, but I emphatically tell people like, , just like c B T psych meds do not heal you.

No. No. Like you are not healing anything with this medication. Just like you are not healing anything by talking about all of this stuff. It is a tool. Absolutely. It is a tool. Mm-hmm. and, um, psych meds, for me anyway, they gave me these like faux windows of regulation in my body. I read that. I love that how you put that.

Thanks. Yeah. That’s great. Yeah. And so then I was like, because I decided I wasn’t gonna be a victim anymore. , right. I took those full windows of regulation and I’m like, all right, I’m gonna take this time where I am feeling normal. Mm-hmm. and like myself, and I’m gonna dive in and I’m gonna start learning some nervous system regulating tools and I’m gonna start trying to practice some neuroplasticity stuff and rewire my brain even if, if I.

Four hours before this benzo wears off. Like, that’s what I’m doing, you know? Exactly. Yeah. You know, and, and, and you’re, you’re the exception rather than the rule. Un unfortunately, with that Lindsay, cuz most people, when they feel good, it’s like, Hey, I feel good, you know, I’m gonna go, you know, bowling or I’m gonna go do this.

And it’s like, that’s the time that you have the most traction in your healing. Yeah. Like when you’ve already wait to hit rock bottom or you’re depressed, or you’re anxious or whatever. Trying to heal at that point is like trying to run a marathon after you run another marathon. Like you’re already tired and depleted.

Right. So, but so many people when they feel better, and this was my issue with, with antidepressants, I is that I, I wasn’t so upset. when they didn’t work as, when they did work. Because when they did work, especially with people that I, I had this sense that you look, you can probably work your way through this.

Like you don’t necessarily need your single, you don’t have three kids, you don’t need to, you know, do this. You can probably work through this. And then they would take the medication, which is human nature, ab absolutely human nature, um, rather than, you know, go in and work on those old issues. Mm-hmm. , you know, which is just human nature.

So for you to kind of go, Hey, I, I’m feeling good now. This is the time to do it. I wish people would do that because it, you know, you’re, you’re, you get so much more traction in your healing when you’re, when you’re already feeling good. Now going into your old wounds is gonna make you feel bad again. And that’s the other thing about people when they go into therapy, it’s like, I’m gonna go into therapy.

And it’s like, well, the first three months of therapy, you feel worse because you’re bringing up all this old shit. Right? . So, so, um, and it was the same thing about what people would, would be on meds before. and they, they come in and they go, Dr. Kennedy, you know, I was on this like four years ago and it really helped me.

I want to go back on it. And they agonize, you know, for months and months, you know, like, oh, I’m feeling okay today. Maybe I won’t, maybe I will. So by the time they come in and see me, I know that they’re really suffering. Yeah. Right. Yeah. And, and that’s the thing. So, um, meds have their place without a doubt.

Absolutely. And, and I, I, you know, I’ve prescribed thousands and thousands, maybe millions of tablets of antidepressants and benzos and all that kind of stuff, because, you know, that’s one thing that medical doctors are good at is, is relieving symptoms. Mm-hmm. . But the problem is for mental issues, once people’s symptoms are resolved or better, they feel no urge whatsoever to go back and actually fix the root cause of the problem.

I think my, my biggest motivation to not be on meds, really honestly, was rooted in, um, I was a food blogger before I do what I do now. Oh, okay. And I did food photography and I wrote recipes. Um, and I did like whole Foods, keto, paleo type recipes. And I am a certified health coach, so I know a lot about, um, elimination diet and healing diets and gut healing and thyroid health and supplements and amino acids and all of that.

But I call it now toxic wellness culture. Mm-hmm. where it like places all of this emphasis Yeah. On like, you just need to find the right supplement and the right brand of the right supplement and this specific strain of probiotics and eliminate, you know, if you’re not steaming your spinach before you put it in your smoothies, you’re consuming too many oxalates.

And like, like all of this like shit. You know? And I’m like, like people are fucking suffering and you’re trying to tell them they’re consuming too many oxalates. Like, throw me a fucking bone. But like, um, Anyway, so I call it toxic wellness culture, and I was just coming out of toxic wellness culture about the time I was on psych meds.

Okay. And so there is this deep belief in toxic wellness culture that like any mainstream medicine is bad. Oh, oh sure. Pharmaceuticals are bad. And so you’re not supposed to be on them. And so I did sort of have this like, okay, I’m gonna accept the help of this now, but this is definitely temporary. . Um, and it was really rooted in like the fear of what these pharmaceuticals, like, the effects they might have in my body.

Right. Or like becoming chemically dependent on them. Or even, let’s just be honest, like the ego of a person who’s in wellness culture likes to be able to say, oh yeah, I don’t take any pharmaceuticals. Yeah. You know, so there was that in there too. But I’m now, since I’m like, like, fuck the wellness culture shit, like I, yes it has a place, but also it’s like any other dogma becomes an ideology and a like a religion and it’s not helpful to people in the long term.

Especially because almost every person that comes to me to work with me, Has been on what I call the hamster wheel of wellness. Mm-hmm. , and they’ve been like chasing the symptoms with all the diets and the, the things. And so they come to me and they’re, they’re like, they don’t need any more of that information.

You know, they, you know, it’s not working for them. Yeah. They need something else. Um, and that’s like why I love the magic of the nervous system and brain healing and awareness and all of that because it is a paradigm that’s outside of that where you’re not outsourcing your healing to the bottle of supplements or to the diet or whatever.

Um, I don’t even remember why I started talking about, but Excitement. No, . Oh yeah. Ok. Go ahead. Yeah, keep going. No, no, no. That’s it. I, I just had to finish my thought. , but I, I, I love that toxic wellness culture too, you know, because I think people are just, we’re drowning in information too. It’s like, it’s like people’s like, oh, you know, you gotta go keto.

You gotta, it’s like, get all this fat, the fat brain, you know, lies not fat. And then there’s like, no, no, it’s protein. You need protein in the way. It’s like, yeah, what the hell? You know, it’s like Seinfeld has this joke too about I don’t know what to eat. Yeah. Like, I don’t know what to eat. I fall around people in the grocery store that look healthy.

It’s like, Hey, what are you eating? What are you eating? I’ll just, I’ll just take what you’re eating. So, you know, it really is, and they become very singularly focused on, you know, I, I heal myself from years and years and years of lupus and whatever, cuz all I ate was craw dads and, and beaver tails. You know, and it’s like, so they think that everybody, because they did it, that everybody else should do it too.

Yeah, yeah. And they’re so adamant about it, you know, and if, if you realize anything about how humans are made or how any animal is made, we’re all made very, uh, like a little bit differently. , you know, it’s like the, the, we’re always trying to evolve. We’re always creating stuff, you know, everybody’s a little different.

So when I see these things about, you know, like fasting, you know, you gotta do this fasting and then, then people say, no, you have to make sure that you eat regular meals to make sure that your glucoses, you know, uh, people are just, you know, fucking, it’s confused, right? Yeah. Who the hell do you believe they’re just trying one thing on their body that worked for them?

And then they’re like, this is it. I found it. Eureka. Which is great, because I think for some people they’ll meet their own compatriots and it’s like, oh, you know, and those are the people that write the testimonials for them. It’s like, until I met this person, you know, my, I, you know, my right leg was, was invisible and now I can see it again.

Right? So it’s just like that’s what happens and people are so eager to, to believe something that actually works because really putting in the work and going after your old traumas and stuff, They don’t wanna do that. Yeah. You know, people would, it sucks much rather take a pill. People would much rather believe in some rapid transformational therapy.

You know, like I, you know, I went to this guy, he put me under this set of hypnosis and all that abuse that I suffered from my father was gone in like 30 seconds. It’s like I, the brain actually doesn’t work that way. Right. But you know, so if you take a hundred people to go and do these like amazingly, like I’ll fix your anxiety in like five minutes, you know, probably three or four of them will have a massive placebo effect.

And those are the people that are writing testimonials. It’s not the 97 people that didn’t really get much from it. Right. It’s the three people that, so this leads in a toxic wellness culture because it’s like, you know, people find something that works and then they showed it from the rooftops. And people that are desperate for healing.

You know, it’s like, okay, you know, I’ll try this thing. And, you know, universally, you know, it, it, it typically doesn’t work. You really do have to do the work. Yeah. And like you started when we started talking, you know, the awareness is massive and that’s my little a b ABC protocol in, in the book. You know, I don’t, I don’t put a lot of like, healing structure in the book.

This book, this first book is really about how we got here. Mm-hmm. , how we look, how doctors look at anxiety, how we look at anxiety is wrong because we’re looking at it purely as a cognitive process. And the cognitive process is just the, the icing on the cake. Mm-hmm. , it’s the top layer. It’s not really anything that’s gonna heal you.

And the little analogy that I draw is like, you’re in a rowboat. The rowboat’s got a hole in it and it’s filling up with water. And cognitive therapy will help you bail water out, which, you know, you’ll see the water dropping a little bit, you’ll feel a little bit better, but it’s not fixing the root cause of the problem.

Mm-hmm. , you have to go underneath, fix that hole in the boat. , and then that’s when you get some long lasting healing. So, and what you said earlier on, the difference between healing and coping. Coping strategies are great. They’re helpful, but they’re also seductive because you can, you can sit in tapping and again, you know, don’t, don’t, you know, the tapping, nobody, nobody cancel.

Russ, nobody cancel me because of tap. It’s like tapping, you know? Uh, even breathing. Yeah. You know, even, even this stuff is like, it’s basically you’re kind of making yourself feel better so that you can ignore all the other shit that’s going on. So it’s really about taking the time. Yes. Do the breathing, do the tapping, do all that stuff, but know that you’re kind of just coping.

Like these are coping things. They’re not actually going to heal you until you go under and fix that hole in the boat and go under and address, you know, the, the, the aloneness you. when your mom was there. Yeah. And you couldn’t connect with her unless you really go in there, allow yourself to feel it maybe in the presence of someone else with a regulated nervous system so that you can kind of ping off their nervous system and kind of go, oh, okay, I can get this sense of safety.

And then once you start getting this sense of safety and realizing, Hey, you know what? I can do this for myself. I can, I, I don’t have to rely on my therapist. I don’t have to rely on this medication. I can. And that’s especially with anxiety, cuz that’s my, that’s my thing is anxiety. Once people start feeling empowered, they have the tools themselves, man, they get better faster.

Yeah. You know? Absolutely. It’s just like, because they’re not depending on someone else. Yeah. Because, and I think it all comes back to, depending on a parent that wasn’t there for you. So you’re still, you’ve got this template in your system that no one’s gonna be there for you, including yourself. . Yeah.

Wow. Absolutely. Um, damn, this has been so good. I wish I could talk to you for the whole day. I was actually, I’m not gonna ask you now, but I actually have written down, um, you can ask me. I’ve got time. Do you wanna share the story of the, the tuna lady? . Oh, the tuna lady? My god. Yeah. . I mean, I definitely want people to buy your book like that.

44, the Tuna Lady. Please buy Russ’s book. I will link to it in the show notes. Um, but you do talk like, my husband and I have laughed every time you say the tuna lady. Oh. I just like, am reading out loud and I just start laughing. So will you tell us the story of the Sure. The par, the parable of the tuna lady.

Tuna lady. Okay. So I’m a third year, uh, at Western, uh, university in London, Ontario. I did med school. We do our kind of junior internship, our clinical clerkship in third year as opposed to fourth year. So I’m a third year and I’m on my psych rotation. and I meet this woman that I called tuna lady, and I’ll tell you why I gave her the name the tuna lady.

Now I’m like, I don’t know, 27. The tuna lady’s probably only like 35, right? Oh, seriously? In my head she’s like 60. Nope. , nope. Tuna lady is quite, quite pretty. Um, and, and so, so what happened was she had convinced herself that she was, um, mentally sick because she wasn’t getting enough protein. So what she would do is she would eat cans of tuna because she, the more tuna she ate, she thought that she would feel better because clearly her mental illness was because of a protein deficiency.

So this went on for a week or two. Well, and I would check on her every day and see, and then by the end of like the second week she was getting, Trying to get the nurses to pour cream into the blender and put a can of tuna in there and make a tuna milkshake and stuff like that. The nurses were going, look, we’re not, we’re not doing this anymore.

So she would get her friends to bring in like cases of tuna and she would eat tuna. So there’s, one day I said to her, Hey, what we’ll do is I want you to eat a can of tuna, and, and within about 15 minutes, I’m gonna get your blood taken and I’m gonna check your protein level on there. So she was all in for that.

So normal level of albumin is like, you know, from like 40 to 70. Now hers wound up being like 62, which is kind of normal and kind of in the high normal range. Now, I showed this to her and she said, oh, you know, that’s because I just ate a can of tuna. That’s why it was off. And it’s like, oh, what did I do wrong?

So I was gonna get caught in the trap of going, okay, well let’s, let’s notate a tuna, let’s check it then. And it’s like, no, I’m, I’m never. , whatever I do, she’s always, she’s always gonna sort of come back to this. Now, she did eventually, over the course of the six weeks that I was there, actually get better and get discharged because there was a lot of, um, you know, emotional, she had a lot of emotional trauma and childhood in that, but she was in the psych hospital for a while.

Sh yeah. So, okay. So it was one of those things. Yeah. Yeah. So it was just, yeah, so I, I, I just called her the tuna lady and, uh, and again, the tuna lady was only like 35. She wasn’t Wow. I was, but she, she was seeking the certainty, like, like you talk about certain uncertainty is the most horrible thing that a person anxiety can feel.

So if she can feel certain that a lack of protein is what’s causing her mental illness, and then tuna makes her feel more certain, she is somehow coping with that. I mean, my husband actually, he asked a really good question. He was like, Maybe she had a lot of mercury in her brain from the tuna baby. Yeah.

You know, that did cross my mind as well. But, um, it wound up being that, you know, cuz I, I had asked her, cuz this tuna thing was a relatively new thing. Like, I’m going back quite a few years here. I’m trying to remember, you know, um, cuz I think she, she’d sort of come upon this conclusion that the tuna was, was helping her.

I don’t think she was, uh, as an outpatient or before she got admitted, was eating a ton of tuna. Wow. I think this just started when she was actually in the hospital. But that did cross my mind, you know, like, what if the tunas got a lot of, you know, mercury in it and that kind of, so yeah, it’s d definitely a, a possibility, but unlikely at that point.

Yeah. We may never know. Did you ever hear from the tuna lady ever again? No. I even say in the book, it’s like, I don’t know where you are tuna lady. Oh, right. You do say that. This is like, you know, she was like 35, you know. Wow. So this is like, I don’t know, 30 years ago. She’s probably 65. Yeah. Yeah. Well, if you’re listening tuna lady, we wish you, you’re listening to Una Lady.

We wish you all the best. I hope you’re, uh, yeah, for sure. So, okay, I’ve got a couple more questions. Um, you talk about in the book, uh, that you’re a yoga teacher, that you’ve done a bunch of meditation. You went to India and lived there for a while, um, to learn from various gurus and spiritual teachers.

Mm-hmm. And all of that. Um, what is your current, what is your current spiritual practice look like? Meditation usually. And not a lot, you know, and, and probably fairly commercial. Like, like YouTube stuff. Like I go through YouTube stuff and just listen to, cuz I, I, I. , um, yoga Nedra and meditations for my audience.

Mm-hmm. as well, or I’m going to make more of them now. So I listen to a bunch of those and, and I try and take the best out of all of those. Go, Hey, I can use that, you know, and put it in mind. So, um, I get up, I’ll usually do about, uh, to be honest, like five minutes of yoga. It’s not like I’m in there for 20 minutes or whatever.

I just do, there’s a, a little series that I do, uh, quite quickly actually, maybe 10 minutes. And then, uh, I listen to some meditation. I’ve got these new, um, noise canceling headphones that I love. And, uh, I listen to the meditation in that. And I really just try and sit with the sense of alarm that I still have.

Like, I still wake up with it just about every day, um, in my solar plexus. Mm-hmm. And I just, I, you know, the thing is like, I don’t mind the feeling so much anymore. Like I don’t it. . I wouldn’t say, it doesn’t bother me cuz I don’t like it. If I, if I chose like, you know, you could have a magic wand and say it’s gone.

I would, I would probably choose that, but it just like, it doesn’t trigger me into all these like, cascading negative thoughts anymore. Mm-hmm. . Which is why I think that, you know, that I’ve kind of healed from anxiety. I still feel alarmed at points in my life. Absolutely. I don’t think you ever get, you know, I don’t think your nervous system ever, you know, goes back to like, its nascent, you know, state, uh, yeah.

Whatever, but it’s just, I don’t give the, I don’t give the anxiety or the alarm any credibility anymore. Mm-hmm. , like, it’s like, oh, okay, you know, whatever. I go off and do my own thing and usually after about 10 or 15 minutes of yoga, if I wake up with a fair amount of alarm, which is not that common, but still happens, um, especially if I’m not sleeping, like these days I’m having a, you know, a creative kind of thing, so I’m not sleeping that well.

Hmm. Um, then I’ll do a little more yoga and after about 10 or 15 minutes I will notice. , like Andrew Huberman talks about this too, the physiological sigh, like the, the quick, the two sniffs in and the one and the long sniff out. It’s like, and, and people do that when they’re crying too. It’s like they’ll cry and they’ll go, it’s that, that two quick breaths in that, that’s a, a, a reset, that’s a parasitic reset.

So I’ll notice about 10 or 15 minutes in a yoga. It’s like, I’ll, I’ll be in there and I’ll be like, and I, at that point it’s like, okay, I know that I’ve flipped the switch at that point, you know? Mm-hmm. . And it’s really, really interesting when you start looking at yourself and you look at your own physiological triggers and your own, um, your own sort of, when you, when you start feeling better, when you start healing, you start recognizing, oh, that little thing is what happens to me about 10 minutes in a yoga.

It’s like, I get this and my breath starts getting a little deeper. Mm-hmm. , that kinda thing. It’s like, oh, there’s a sense of relief in that. So, so yoga, some meditation, um, and awareness. A lot of it is really, you know, just being aware that, yeah, I don’t feel that great right now when I wake up, but I don’t start.

Uh, and this is where I think I, you know, the healing is, is that you just don’t compulsively start attaching a story to it. Yeah. And then, and then it will pass. Like it will pass. And if you do other things like breath work and that kind of stuff, it’ll pass a little faster. But often I still think that that’s, that’s my, my younger self trying to communicate with me is that alarm, right?

Mm-hmm. . So I try and connect with him as well. So that’s, a lot of it, I think is just really developing the awareness of, of your body sensation when you’re in alarm and realize that’s, that’s your younger self asking you for the love and the care and the tension that you didn’t get when you’re younger.

Yeah. And can you do that now? Yeah. And one of the things that I talk to people about is if they have a pet, it’s like, well, you love your pet. It’s like, oh yeah, I love my cat, or I love my dog. It’s like, can you take that love energy and put it into your. that you give to your path. Right. Because a lot of times I think we just block that love because it wasn’t safe to love when we were younger.

Yeah. You know, a lot of times just wasn’t safe. So love, and so what we do is what we started talking about today, Lindsey was dissociate when we spent so much mm-hmm. , I spent, I spent years, like years in. Yeah. And it may look like overwork, it may look like, you know, being a successful doctor and that kind of stuff.

But a lot of it was just, I wasn’t present, you know? Yeah. I, I was disassociated. So it’s just really learning about, you know what, I need to be able to just be happy with myself. Mm-hmm. , just be happy and just, even if I’m not, even if I’m feeling a bit alarmed, I can still, I, I had that yesterday. It’s like, you know, I’m alarmed right now, but I can still be happy.

Which sounds like one of these Pollyanna, like, oh, life is wonderful. Like a, it’s not, it’s really like developing the sense this agency, that this isn’t gonna run my life. You know, this isn’t gonna, I know it’s, it’s pecking at me. Like, you should think bad thoughts, think bad thoughts. It’s like, no, I don’t really want to Yeah.

Been there. It’s not fun. Yeah. . So, and then that becomes, that becomes the, that becomes the new kind of, you know, the new opera and conditioning as you start realizing, hey, this is a way better way to live. . Yeah. . Yeah. Yeah. Way better. Uh, so do you feel that, I mean, cuz you’ve been a medical doctor, you’ve been a standup comic, you’ve been a yoga teacher, meditation teacher, you’ve, you’ve worn a lot of hats.

Um, do you feel like you came to this planet at this time to do the work you’re doing now? Like, do you have that sort of sense of purpose? Yeah, I mean, I wish, I wish I’d started earlier. I’m 62 now, right? I wish I had really started, but I also know, cause I remember thinking when I was younger, it’s like, why are you a medical doctor and a standup comedian?

and a speaker and a yoga teacher. Like, why, why are, you know, I mean, part of it was me looking for attention and affirmation. Absolutely. And I realize that, but I realize now they’re all kind of vectoring together. It’s like, oh, okay, well this is, this is what it is. And you know, and, and things are great.

You know, things are, I am really starting to get, um, a lot of traction. And a lot of people are starting to realize that, you know, anxiety has much more to do with old stuff and, and the alarm in your body than the thoughts of your mind. And, and your mind is basically just, it’s just gonna give you whatever you, whatever you perceive is gonna help you.

And if worry you, perceive worry is gonna help you, it’s gonna give you more of that. Yeah. And that’s gonna be the group you go down and just creating awareness of a different paradigm, a different understanding and treatment of anxiety that’s distinctly non-traditional. Mm-hmm. , because traditional therapies didn’t help me 30 plus years, I, I probably spent over $300,000 on therapy.

Yeah. , I dunno how much you spent, but you know, I’m older than you so, well, you are a little bit older than me. Yeah. I would not have guessed you were 62 though. I get that a lot. This is good. You know, considering all the, the cortisol and rine that’s been running around in my system, for like, no kidding, 40 years.

I’m surprised that I actually look, look the way I do. But I mean, I do exercise quite a bit and that kind of thing, and I think yoga, you know, yoga’s one of those things that I think really joins your mind and your body. Mm-hmm. And I think a lot of what anxiety and depression is just a, a detachment of your mind and your body.

Yeah. And when you can connect those two, then you really start healing. So, Exercise is great. Um, but, you know, pick an exercise that actually joins your mind because I see people at the gym like hanging it out on the treadmill, which is great, but you also have to have some, some exercise where you’re just really conscious of your muscle movement, stretching your connected tissue.

Mm-hmm. , all that kind of stuff. Really. It’s not, it’s not a sort of, uh, you know, type a, you know, no pain, no gain kind of thing. Like there’s, you have to have some movement in there that flows and that’s why I like, you know, chaong and, and tai chi and all that because it jo joins your mind and your bo mind and body together.

Mm-hmm. , because that’s how you heal. You heal when your mind and your body are joined back together. Yeah, for sure. So, uh, I don’t know how that, I was doing this work for a couple years and I just came across your. and your Instagram account this year. Okay. Um, so, but you wrote Anxiety RX in 2020, I believe it was.

Yep. And I sort of heard you perhaps maybe mention that you’re writing a second book. . Yeah. Yeah, I’ve got it. It’s right now it’s kind of a masterclass and I’m gonna do, I’m gonna start doing, um, seminars or, you know, masterclass probably through Zoom and that kind of thing too, just to expose people to my kind of different view of anxiety.

And um, and I think the masterclass will actually form the outline of the second book, cuz I tend to, I tend to balloon when I write, like I just write and it just, Flowing at at me. Mm-hmm. , so, or Anxiety Rx went originally was over 200,000 words. Oh my gosh. Yeah. So I hired two editors. One was a science editor from Harvard to make sure I didn’t make any, you know, science mistakes and it cost me a lot of money, but they got it down to about 120,000 words.

It’s still big. Like it’s still, it is a big book. Yeah. You know, but I had to put it all in there. The second book will be shorter and more practical too, but I think people just like, when they read it, it’s like, oh, this is what hap this is why I, this is why I do this. This is why I feel this way. This is what happens.

And it’s not, it’s not a cognitive, it’s not a cognitive thing. It’s really about these, these are the things that happen to you when you’re a child and this is why you develop this anxiety disorder. Because, you know, anxiety on some level is a coping strategy. Yeah. But it’s, it’s, it’s one that just minds you, leading you down a path that’s never gonna, never gonna help you.

No . No, no. It’s crazy making. Yep. Um, yeah. Well, thank you so much. Welcome. This has been You’re welcome. A joy. I have loved having you on here. You are easy to talk to. You’re hilarious. Um, and you have really great stuff to share, so I just appreciate you so much. Is there, um, anything that you wanted to make sure you said and you haven’t?

Um, no. I guess just, you know, follow me if you’re interested, follow me on Instagram. Um, at the Anxiety md all my stuff is the Anxiety md, not the anxiety doctor, the Anxiety md, my website, Instagram, all that kind of stuff. Yeah. Perfect. And I love, I love people that follow me and, and are on, are willing to do the work, you know?

Yeah. Like are willing to read through the posts and kind of, you know, reflect on it and that kind of stuff too, which can be hard and trigger. . You know, so it’s, it’s really, but it, it really does give people a different understanding of why, why they’re suffering and why they’re struggling. And I think we understand a little better, and we don’t blame ourselves so much because, you know, it’s, it’s just the reason you became anxious is because it, it worked for you.

Yeah. It’s just not working anymore. Yeah. That’s the whole reason why I love to teach. I teach a class called Nervous System 1 0 1. Every few months I teach this class, and I love teaching that class so much. Mm-hmm. because again, I believe that like, knowledge is power and like if you understand the way something works Yeah.

Like you are far more likely to be invested in changing it or helping it, but also I think it brings a level of compassion and understanding because then you can’t really argue with what the body’s physiologically doing. Yeah. Um, so. . Yeah. And also like pain, neuroscience education says that like when patients are educated about their pain mm-hmm.

it reduces their pain. Absolutely. And so I’ve kind of taken that same theory of being like, well, if you’re educated about your nervous system, could that reduce the dysregulation you’re feeling? does. It does. Yeah. It totally does. Well, we will, I think it takes a lot of the self blame out of it, you know?

Absolutely. Self blame involved in depression. Absolutely. And anxiety, you know, and once you realize that your body is just doing this stuff actually in an effort to keep you safe Yep. You’re kind of, oh, okay, well that’s, that’s, maybe I should be a little more compassionate towards that, that child in me that is just, just relentlessly trying to do the same thing over and over again and you know, and hoping they’re gonna get a different result.

Bless those little children. Mm-hmm. . Absolutely. Oh, well thank you so much. This has been lovely. We will link to your Instagram, your website, your book, all the things. Sure. Uh, in the show notes of the episode, 📍 and I just appreciate your time so much. Thanks, Lindsay. It’s been really nice talking with you.


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