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EMDR and the Power of Processing Trauma ft. Diania Merriam – TMWS10

In this episode of The Mental Wealth Show, Rich Jones chats with Diana Merriam about therapy and EMDR. Diana is the founder of the Econome Conference and hosts the Optimal Finance Daily podcast. Rich has been interested in EMDR for a long time, and Diana shares her personal experience with it.

Do you feel like you’re struggling with anxiety and depression? Have you been told to “snap out of it” or “get over it”? This episode is for you if you’re tired of taking ineffective actions and not getting results.

In this episode, you’ll learn about:

  1. Diana’s experience with EMDR and the difference it has made in her life.
  2. The importance of focusing on physical health, in addition to talk therapy, when dealing with mental health issues.
  3. How EMDR has helped Diana to enjoy her life more by processing stored emotions.

Trigger Warning: discussion of death/loss

Diania Merriam of Econome TMWS10 podcast graphic

 

“That’s why exercise and running and walking and hiking is so beneficial for your mental health, because bilateral movement is a way that your brain can process emotions that are stored in your body, and it’s a way that your body can bring up some of those things that are buried in there, in your subconscious that you don’t even know are there.” ~ Diania Merriam

 

Related: Financial Flexibility ft. Diania Merriam PB195

If you’re new to the podcast,  my name is Rich Jones, and I’m a certified wellness coach, master’s All American in track and field in the Triple Jump, and founder of Find More Balance and the upcoming Wellness for Black Men membership community.

As a Certified Wellness Coach, my goal is to help high-achieving professionals make better choices and live healthier lives. Because high performance doesn’t mean you’re well.

If you’re thinking of making a lifestyle change, making better choices, or increasing your sense of wellbeing so you can show up more consistently across your life, maybe we should talk. My 1-on-1 coaching doors are open, and you can schedule a free discovery call to see if I’m the right coach for you by visiting richrunstrack.com.

Thinking about changing your relationship with alcohol? Be sure to check out Monument. You don’t have to struggle in silence. They’ve got a wonderful anonymous community, free live meetings, optional therapy services, and more.

Next: Mental Health Care is an Important Investment

[00:00:23]

And me. I'm your host. My name is Rick. Rich Jones. Yeah, I'm your host.

[00:00:38]

My name is Rich Jones. Yo. So the last time I recorded, I was getting ready to catch a flight to outdoor track and field championship and so much has gone down since then. One after I recorded last time, I ended up missing my flight. That's a whole story in itself for another day, but I ended up missing my flight to Nationals, having a panic attack, rescheduling the flight.

[00:01:10]

And then a couple of days later before my rescheduled flight, I then hurt like the left side of my back hip butt. It basically felt like I got punched in the left as cheek. Not sure what that was about. Get to nationals. Now it's humid as hell in Lexington and I can deal with that.

And I notice I'm a bit tight. I'm not as loose because initially I plan to get there a few days earlier so that I would have time to get loose adequately, warm up, adjust so I'd be ready to go. But since I missed my flight and I went a few days later, I didn't have as much time to warm up as I would have liked over the course of days. And so the long jump comes around on that Saturday, I think that's July 30, I believe. So the long jump comes around and I am so focused on winning.

[00:02:04]

I'm feeling this pressure. It's back. Like when I was in college, I'm not even thinking about having fun. And I mentioned that for a very specific reason. I'm not even thinking about having fun.

I'm just thinking about doing well and the fact that I'm going to have to report back on this goal that I've been chasing for a year. And so the competition kicks off and I'm jumping, well, at least as far as getting into the air, but because I didn't have the adequate time over the course of days to get loose, I'm having trouble getting my feet out in front of me.

So I'm losing distance over a foot pretty much on each landing and I end up coming in last. I end up coming in last in the main event that I've been training for for the past year. And I felt so many different emotions about this.

[00:02:53]

I mean, I felt like a failure. I felt sad. I don't know, I felt everything. Just thinking about having to update the world that I've been telling about this whole journey that now had this sad ending.

Even though I still had the triple jump the next day, but for a number of hours I was just not in a good spot about it.

I had trained so hard to get there and then I ended up coming in last. And the difference between me coming in last and second place was the ability to get both feet out in front of me when I landed, which I was not able to do because I just didn't have the level of looseness and hit mobility and flexibility that I needed at that time.

So the next day, the triple jump comes around. It's first of it in the morning at pretty much 08:00 a.m.. I wake up, it's raining, because of course it's raining on the day of the triple jump, which was going to be my event, my opportunity for redemption from the day before.

[00:03:56]

And at this point, I kind of just chuckled to myself and decide I'm going to have fun with it. That was something that Boobookins was telling me the day before, just have fun, have fun, enjoy this experience.

But again, me being me, I was so focused on winning, and it's pretty much pouring. My stuff is getting soaked, and I just compete and I have fun. And I noticed that I'm getting a little bit better on each jump.

[00:04:22]

And it comes down to the last jump. And amongst all of the folks that I'm jumping with, I'm in, I think, fifth place at the time. And it comes down to my last jump attempt, and I just say, you know what? Just go for it. Turns out to be my furthest jump attempt.

[00:04:39]

Turns out to be another all American status triple jump distance. And it turned out that I was officially the national champion in the triple jump for my age group. Got that shit done on my last jump. And I yelled out loud, and I normally don't do that. I literally yelled, yeah.

[00:05:03]

Because I had surprised myself with what I had just done. All that work, considering everything leading up to that point, the injury, the missed flight, I mean, it's coming in last the day before to winning a national championship in the triple jump the next day. Freaking ridiculous.

So let me recount this timeline for you. July 2020, made the decision to quit alcohol.

Huge lifestyle change. Then July 2021, started training to get back into tracking field because I finally had the space in my life to be able to do it. And then a year later, I become a national champion in my event and an All American.

[00:05:46]

I could not have predicted this a couple of years ago. I could not have predicted this a year ago. But man, when you commit to doing the work I know that I keep talking about that, but I think about the way that I've stepped away to work on healing the EMDR, which is going to be part of today's episode.

Just investing in having a leadership coach and having a track and field coach, taking advantage of massage therapy, chiropractors, all of these different things that I was partially able to afford because of my side hustle income. It's just come together perfectly.

[00:06:28]

I just wouldn't have it any other way. And it feels perfect to be coming back right now, considering the way that I came back at this .2 years ago when I really started the beginning of this journey.

And then on top of that, I am fresh back from Orlando, where I just took the main stage at Fincon, which is a personal finance content creator conference. That's how I'll describe it and deliver a well received talk and shout out to Pete McPherson and Lauren Cabello, my co presenters, for our particular session. Man, so much vulnerability.

[00:07:07]

I can't wait to see the video of the talk. I'm looking forward to being able to share it somehow because it just felt so authentic. And all I did was tell my story. I didn't do anything special, anything fancy. I just told my story and I just spoke candidly, very much like I've done on this podcast, but on a stage in front of 500, 600, 700, maybe even more than that, people.

I couldn't really tell. And what was also crazy about that is I gave my talk almost a year to the day that I started my mental health leave from my day job. So that was September 7 last year. I gave my talk on September 8.

[00:07:54]

Things just really could not have worked out more perfectly. Like I could not have written a better story just in terms of all of these things that have happened and how everything has worked out up until this point.

So this is the Mental Wealth Show with Rich Jones, and a lot of what's allowed me to do what I've done over these past couple of years is build mental health, and part of building mental health is taking care of your mental health.

And this episode is about EMDR, eye movement, desensitization and reprocessing therapy, which is something that I've been going through since probably November, December of this past year. And I found it incredibly helpful in terms of getting to the root of past trauma that's kept me stuck in cycles at various points throughout my life.

[00:08:45]

And so I had the chance to chat with Diana Miriam. And Diana is the founder of the Econome Conference, which I got to speak at last year in November while I was on my mental health leave from my day job. And it was really the first talk that I gave.

They really gave me the confidence that I could do speaking as a thing, yes, for as many talks at conferences and for as long as I've been doing a podcast, I haven't really thought of myself as being a speaker, and that being a thing that I do.

[00:09:13]

But speaking at Econome laid the foundation for me to really believe that and ultimately to deliver the talk that I just gave at Fincon this past week.

So super excited to have her on this episode. She is also the resident resource for quotes, books, recommendations for so many helpful things. And we got to chat a bit about her story and her incredible experience with EMDR and the difference and impact that that's made in her life.

So if you've been listening to the podcast for a minute, you've heard me talk a little bit about my experience, her experience, and seeing someone else go through this.

[00:09:48]

It has been incredible to witness the transformation and growth from her. And she was more than happy to come on the podcast and talk about her experience with EMDR, what that's done for her, a bit about her mental health journey, and we talked about a lot more, too.

Now, this episode is real as hell. So trigger warning since there is reference of trauma, trauma can be a lot of different things. There's nothing graphic or sexual or even violent in nature, but I'm telling you that anyway.

[00:10:18]

And also, this is for entertainment and information purposes only. It is not advice, it's experience. Always talk to a professional before you do something you heard on a podcast. So here's my chat with Diana, our conversation about EMDR. We're going to demystify some things for you.

[00:10:36]

Be informed and enjoy.

[00:10:41]

Diania, welcome back.

Diania - Thanks so much, Rich. Great to talk to you again. Yeah. Now this is going to be a different type of conversation that we're going to have today.

[00:10:49]

Rich - So super quick intro for folks who aren't familiar. Just give them that real quick hit of who you are.

Diania - Sure. So I'm Diania M, founded the Economy Conference, which is basically a party about money designed for the Fire movement. And then I also host the optimal finance daily podcast.

And I'm so excited to talk to you, Rich, about this because in our catch up calls, you have been telling me about EMDR for a really long time. And you sharing your personal experience with it really encouraged me to give it a try, and I'll get more into kind of what it's been doing for me.

But just you sharing your personal experience really encouraged me. And so I would love to be able to do that for other people because it has led me down a path that I did not expect at all.

Rich - So share a little bit of context about your mental health journey, wherever you want to start, and then I'll guide you along the way.

[00:11:48]

Diania - Absolutely. So I have been dealing with pretty high functioning anxiety and depression most of my adult life. I think when I was in college is when I really started to try to address it. I remember going to like, there was a mental health center on campus, and I had talked to a therapist. They put me on a ton of medications.

I was on sleep medications. I was on antidepressants. None of it was working for me. So they kept, like, trying different ones. And I kind of got strung out on it and thought, okay, this isn't really for me.

But over the course of the next 15 years, I have seen probably at least a dozen talk therapists. And I had tried medication, probably two more times after that initial first attempt. So I have been really exploring this for a long time and feeling quite frustrated that things weren't really working for me.

And I would say that when I moved to Cincinnati from New York City in 2017 and started working remotely, I think that's when things started to get a lot worse because my busy schedule in New York City and having to go to an office every day, the structure of a very busy life I think helped me hold things together. And then when I had a lot more time and space in my life, it's almost like I had enough space for things to completely fall apart.

[00:13:20]

And also starting my business, I think was also a catalyst in things getting worse with my mental health because entrepreneurship is like a really intense form of therapy. You know, you will uncover all of your insecurities that you didn't even know you had and that's definitely what happened to me.

So definitely around 2017, 2018, things started getting a lot worse for me. And I would say in 2019 I actually went through my first really deep bout of depression because prior to this it had been highly functional. But this was like I was in bed for about five months and my friends and family were really worried about me.

[00:14:03]

And during this time in trying to figure out what do I need to do, do I need to check myself in somewhere? I was just kind of at a loss of even what to attempt and I think I got really frustrated by my attempts to ask for help. Almost everyone said you just got to go to therapy, you just got to go talk to someone. And it was incredibly frustrating because I had gone to twelve therapists, none of them could help me. I had been medicated multiple times.

[00:14:33]

That never really did much for me. And so I started to feel kind of hopeless. And through this time it wasn't all this like deep depression where I was in bed for months and months. I have certainly like cycled in and out of that and I would kind of pull myself out of it and then at some point I would kind of dive back into it. And so I went through that cycle about every three to six months.

[00:15:00]

I was in a low for about three to six months and we have had many conversations when I was in and out of those lows. I think one thing that really made a difference for me is reading the book The Body Keeps the Score and it really talks about how the talk therapy is a very cerebral way to deal with your mental health issues and it can be helpful for many people. But that book helped me understand why it wasn't helpful for me and why the medication wasn't helpful for me. And that a lot of your anxiety and depression is stored in your body, and there are physical things that you could do to help process some of those stored emotions. And EMDR is discussed in that book.

[00:15:47]

I remember us talking about that book and discussing EMDR, and you shared your experience, and so that is what led me to try it. And I've been in EMDR therapy. I do it every two weeks for probably about three months now. So I'm still very early in it. But I am telling you, the progress that I have made in these last three months is well above and beyond anything that I've gotten out of therapy over the last 15 years.

[00:16:16]

Rich - And I know you've said that to me before, but hearing you say it again, like legit people say I get chills. I for real got chills because I've seen it, I've witnessed it. Now, can you talk a little bit about what that's like?

Diania - So the way that I would describe my functional depression is that on the outside, I was an overachiever, I was a workaholic. I seemed to be very high energy, but on the inside, I was very anxious and very negative and basically had a hard time finding the capacity to enjoy myself.

[00:16:58]

I was doing things that, on paper seemed enjoyable, but I didn't have the capacity to actually feel enjoyment and pleasure from them. And so I spent years and even now, I'm still deconstructing what that's all about and building my own capacity to enjoy my life, because the reality is I'm incredibly fortunate. I've built the life that I thought I always wanted, and now I'm working on building the ability to enjoy it.

Rich - Wow. Now can you talk about that realization? Because I talked about this at Econome where I kept talking about how I would get what I wanted, but then still not be happy at the end of it. And there came a point before I took my mental health leave where it was kind of like the final, like, yo, I've had enough of this. So can you talk about that, what that was like when you had that?

Like this trying to achieve and stay busy is just not working well. I think when you are in the daily grind of, like, you're nine to five and you're focused on building your career and your life is basically full of obligations, it becomes a real distraction from feeling your actual feelings. And so I think both of us, we talk so much about money in our respective work.

[00:18:23]

And money is an incredible tool that you can use to build more space in your life. And so when you build that space, a lot of the times it brings to light things that you may have been distracted from before because you were so busy. It's almost like a fish doesn't know it's in water. You also become so accustomed to living with that gentle buzz of anxiety all the time. And I say gentle buzz because a lot of the time it's not like a panic attack where it's screaming in your face.

[00:18:56]

A lot of times, it's this kind of low grade buzz that is in the background of everything you do and that robs you from the joy of the present moment. And I think until you slow down in your life, it's almost like you don't have enough awareness to even feel it. And then when you become aware of it, it's like, whoa, I got to do something about this. But we're both in our 30s by this point.

[00:19:24]

What was that? I said barely for me. Oh, barely. It's almost like it becomes this habit of your pattern is to be anxious all the time. You don't really know any other way to be.

[00:19:38]

But again, I think when you start to realize some space in your life and you start to slow down a little bit, you become aware of it, and I think you build more of a desire to address it

Yeah. I think about when I was on the mental health leave, and one of the first things I realized was what it was like to be alone with your thoughts. Terrifying.

[00:20:02]

It's awful. No, it was awful. I was like, let me not deny what that experience was like. I was like, It was awful. It was difficult.

[00:20:10]

The voices got louder. And it's interesting because even my perspective on what people mean when they say they hear voices has changed because I would think of, like, oh, crazy. Just, like, hearing voices. And I'm like, no, I wasn't hearing just, like, voices of different people talking to me, but, like, the stuff that I was saying to myself or the scenes that I was replaying in my head. And I wonder if it was the same for you.

[00:20:36]

Oh, absolutely. I think that building the capacity to enjoy your own company is a life skill that nobody talks about. Because the thing is, the way that we talk to ourselves is usually pretty negative. Like, if you talk to anybody else the way that you talk to yourself, you would have absolutely no friends. We're mostly assholes to ourselves.

[00:21:00]

Right. But the thing is, it's all happening below our level of awareness, and it's all habitual, so you just don't even realize that it's happening. Yeah. And it's pervasive even. I've caught myself in the mirror, and I've noticed that that's a place where, for whatever reason, I'll have a lot of negative thoughts, and so I've had to catch myself.

[00:21:24]

And actually, it requires effort sometimes. And that's part of, I think, what meditation can address for some people, where it's almost like your brain gets hijacked and then you have to be, like, up, not judge it and bring it back. Yeah. So that's became like an exercise in itself, in a way. Absolutely.

[00:21:44]

So EMDR getting back to that eye movement, the sensitization and reprocessing when people ask you what it is. How do you describe it? It is a weird thing.

[00:21:58]

Look, I'm not a doctor. I have no idea how this even works. So another friend of mine, after we had our conversation about EMDR, she told me that she was doing it, and I'm actually going to the same therapist that she recommended that she went to, and it's all over Zoom. And I know that Imovement is in the name of it, but what I'm actually doing is I'm tapping on my legs, like bilateral tapping, right? And so the way it was explained to me by my therapist is that bilateral movement, whether you're tapping on yourself, whether your eyes are moving back and forth, whether you're walking and you're moving your arms, right?

[00:22:42]

That's why exercise and running and walking and hiking is so beneficial for your mental health, because bilateral movement is a way that your brain can process emotions that are stored in your body, and it's a way that your body can bring up some of those things that are buried in there, in your subconscious that you don't even know are there. And so the way that it's been working for me in my therapy with EMDR is we choose a target, which is an ingrained belief that your logical brain knows it's not true, but emotionally, you feel it, it's true. And so you need to work on kind of bridging that gap and processing that deep seated belief. And so I'll tell you, a target that I initially started with was I'm not reliable, and we chose a couple of examples from my life that were, like, evidence that my brain would give me about how I'm not reliable. And then we would focus on that target, and she would play, like, this metronome, basically, which is a tone.

[00:23:47]

It's just like a beep, beep, beep beep kind of tone, and I tap on my legs, and I, you know, on each side of my legs to the beat. And after about a minute of that, she stops and says, what has come up for you? And sometimes it's like, I feel a little tension in my throat, or I feel a little headache starting, or sometimes it's like nothing came up, right? And it's like, okay, let's go with that. That's what she always says.

[00:24:13]

Let's go with that. And then you just keep going. Focus on that. Yeah, focus on that. Right.

[00:24:19]

And it's not this, like, meditation, focusing on your breath kind of focus. It's just being wide open and receptive to whatever physically or mentally is popping into your head or you're physically feeling and then sharing that after about a minute, and you keep going with that. And what's interesting is, like, the first couple of sessions, it's like, I feel like I'm doing this wrong, like nothing's coming up for me. But then we'd start to get somewhere where it's like, well, I thought about this thing that happened yesterday, and then I'm thinking about this thing I'm worried about in the future. And then you just keep going and you keep going.

[00:24:54]

And what's very different, I think, from talk therapy is that my therapist doesn't really have a lot of input in this. It's very much her just guiding me through this, like tapping and processing. And I am coming up with all of the insights and realizations are really self directed. And anything I say, she's just encouraging that it's the right way to go. Because in her way, she explained it to me was that your brain and your body know how to heal.

[00:25:26]

And so if you just follow that lead, you will be guided to what you need to process. And so she's just helping to facilitate you guiding yourself. And I'm telling you, there have been multiple occurrences where I feel like I've cried every single time we've done this from tapping on my legs, like, what the hell is that about? I have no idea. But something is getting unrooted and uncovered.

[00:25:57]

And I can't explain it in any kind of scientific terms, like why it even works, but it's definitely working for me. And what I'm realizing, that's like the biggest thing that I've taken away from this and we've had multiple conversations about this, the thing that you think is your issue is probably not your issue. Your issue is like, underneath that. And so when I was telling her this belief I have about myself that I'm not reliable and all the evidence of that and why I struggle with that so much, where we ended up getting to is the second target, which is I am unloved and unwanted. And then we started digging into that and both of those targets again, what I think is the issue is not the issue, it's underneath that.

[00:26:50]

And I had never got in there with traditional talk therapy, but I'll give you a pretty personal example of what I mean by this and trigger warning for the people that are listening. I'm going to talk about, oh, I already told them. I don't already told them, okay, we're going to talk about death and loss and childhood trauma and parenting and all that kind of stuff. So growing up, I felt pretty unloved and unwanted. And in all of my years of therapy, I had always blamed my mom for that.

[00:27:23]

And I would get to an intellectual place where I would have more of an understanding of my mom as an adult, when you're a little kid and you feel unwanted by your parents or you feel like you're a burden, it's hard to understand that. And I think my coping mechanism when I was young was to get really angry. Like, how dare you not want me and not love me? But as an adult, when you have more perspective and you mature, you can kind of see your parents as people rather than the way you saw them when you were a kid. And so when I look back at my childhood and I think about my mom, my dad passed away when I was two, and he was a stay at home dad.

[00:28:06]

My mom was the breadwinner, and my mom never recovered from that. And I think my mom was chronically depressed when I was growing up. I mean, she was suffering. She lost her husband when she was 32 years old, and that's extremely traumatic. He had a heart attack in the house when he was with us.

[00:28:28]

And so I think intellectually, I can have a lot of compassion for my mom, and I can see how much she was suffering when I was growing up. But emotionally, I'm still this little girl that is so desperate for her attention and love. And I always thought that that was my issue, that my mom was not capable of giving me the love that I so desperately needed as a kid. I really thought that that was my issue. It was what I focused on in every talk therapy session.

[00:28:59]

And so this kind of very interesting chain of events as I'm working on this target in EMDR of I am unloved and I am unwanted. I come across this video of my dad that is from when I was a kid, and it was just this random course of events where I had to look for something on an old external drive. And I had this video that I had digitized. Now, this video is the only video I have of my dad. And when I was a kid, I would, like, obsessively watch it.

[00:29:30]

I knew every word that he uttered, every breath he took. It was like when you memorize your favorite movie. Like, I knew everything that came next. It was on this VHS tape. And when I was in college, I ended up digitizing it and sending it to my family because some of my extended family was in this video.

[00:29:47]

But I haven't watched this video for probably six or seven years. I had it on a CD or DVD, and those don't exist anymore, right? And so I forgot that I had this digital file. And so I say to my Midwestern gentleman a couple of weeks ago, like, hey, I came across this video of me when I was, like, two years old. Wouldn't it be fun to watch it together?

[00:30:09]

It's a video that has my dad on it. And he's like, great. So we sit down to watch it, and in my mind, I thought that I had fully processed my dad's death, that I had accepted it. I don't have any memories of him. I always thought that that was a blessing that I didn't have any memories, because it's almost like I didn't know what I was missing out on.

[00:30:30]

And so this video was always fascinating to me as a kid because I could hear his voice, I could see. Him move in his body. He was always this kind of like mystical, mythical figure to me. And so to actually be able to see him on a video was always like aweinspiring to me. But I never realized how freaking sad this video is.

[00:30:54]

It is his last month of his life. He got a brand new camera. He got a video camera, and he was just playing around with the camera. So it's these very mundane moments of us eating at the dinner table or he brought us to a park and he's just like recording us playing or he's recording us playing with our grandpa. And the last scene is me turning two years old and my immediate family singing Happy Birthday to me.

[00:31:23]

And then it cuts to my brother's birthday, which was a few weeks after my dad died. And he's not there, and my mom's behind the camera and she is trying so hard see, now I'm going to get emotional. She's trying so hard to fill these enormous shoes. And you can just feel this sense of loss because he was the glue that held my family together and I don't think we ever recovered from that. So to watch this video with almost this new perspective and to realize that the root of my pain is not really my mom, because she tried her best.

[00:32:07]

She really tried her best. It was that I was so loved and I was so wanted by my dad. And I could see it. I could see it when I watched this video, how much that man loved me. But I lost that.

[00:32:19]

It was such a profound loss at two years old that I didn't have the language and the maturity to process. So it is buried in there. And I think just having this realization that it's not that I didn't get what I needed from my mom, it's that I lost something that I had from my dad. And that has just led to a lot of healing for me. And I really think that it's due to my time in EMDR to process things and get to the layer under the layer under the layer.

[00:32:56]

I don't think I would have ever uncovered that if I didn't start diving into my subconscious. And EMDR really has helped me do that. Wow, I got so much but I'm going to try to work through this. So first, I really appreciate your vulnerability, candor honesty. I think a lot of people can relate in different ways to the experience.

[00:33:20]

And that's the thing. There are a lot of us who are walking around and don't even know that we have like you said, we're just so used to it that we don't even think that we have anything. Right? So hearing you lay that out there, it's like, yeah, this is a real thing. So if this is your experience, you're not alone out there.

[00:33:38]

We'll talk about grieving because that's an important part of the healing journey. But going back to kind of the early steps of the process, how do you choose a target? How did that work for you, choosing what to focus on? You know, she just encouraged me, just pick something. Because honestly, it doesn't matter what you choose.

[00:33:59]

Whatever needs to come out will come out regardless. Right? And so ultimately, we moved from this target, I'm unreliable, to this target, I am unloved and I'm unwanted. We moved there because that second target is what kept coming up through exploring the first target. And so she is so encouraging and I think she's so talented as a therapist, because I think a big part of engaging with this work is trusting that your body and brain knows how to heal and that you will be guided to what needs to be uncovered.

[00:34:39]

And it's just about kind of surrendering to that and letting it happen. She constantly reassures me, you cannot do this wrong. You can't do it wrong. And that really helps me because in other types of therapy, like cognitive behavioral therapy, it was like I always felt like I was doing it wrong. And even though, like, on paper and intellectually it all made sense, it never made me feel different.

[00:35:03]

Whereas with this work, I can see I'm making these connections between my emotions and my cognitive side that I had a lot of difficulty doing in the past. Yeah. And how about when you're tapping? So for me, it's tapping on my collarbones, bilateral collarbone tapping. And for me, sometimes it would be a word that would come up, sometimes a scene.

[00:35:34]

And you talked about this a bit, but when you were getting to that next level, what was it usually for you that came to mind? Because people are probably envisioning, like, you're just like a rewinding of a tape. Like, that's what you would think that it is, but it's not quite like that. It's like that things really just come to mind. Yeah.

[00:35:52]

I think that different people are different in the way insights come to them. So some people will get like a vision in their minds eye. They'll see a scene or they'll hear a word. Right. They're auditorial and so they'll hear something.

[00:36:10]

I think for me, I'm much more like a knowing sense, where it's not necessarily I'm hearing or I'm seeing something in my mind's eye. It's almost like I'm getting an intuitive kind of knowing and then I'm trying to almost decode that a bit in language, and sometimes it's a physical sensation. So I've noticed a lot of times I'm getting this almost like that cryball in your throat. Like I'm feeling a sensation in my throat, like I want to cry. And then she's like, okay, go with that.

[00:36:45]

Why do I want to cry? What is that saying to me? And I think the other thing that's really interesting about this is and I heard actually, Jessica from the pioneers was also on the Mental Health and wealth show. I believe that's what it's called. Right.

[00:36:59]

With Melanie. And she sent me her episode on there. And I loved some of the insights that she had on her mental health journey. She talked about how she learned that emotions are not something to be solved. They're like a clue to tell you that keep digging in this area.

[00:37:19]

Right. So as soon as I would get that cryball feeling in my throat, and it's like, oh, I'm going to cry, the gentleness of my therapist helped facilitate more of a curiosity versus a fear of that feeling. And so it's like, let's investigate this. What is this about? This is a clue to what my issues are.

[00:37:41]

Let's go down this road a little further and see where it leads. And I think in the past, when it comes to my anxiety and depression, and I was going through a period where I was having a lot of panic attacks, and my approach in the past was always like, how do I fix this? How do I fix these negative feelings that I don't want to be feeling? And it's like the feelings are not the problem. The feelings are just information on what needs to be healed, and so use them as clues to dig into finding the root of your issues.

[00:38:15]

And that has been a big shift that I've experienced in EMDR, is just a sense of curiosity around emotions versus I need to get rid of this feeling. Yeah, I thought about distinguishing emotions, which is what I've done for most of my life, the shutting down. And for me, it would be like a physical feeling, like almost a washing over. I got to be like, oh, I'm shutting down. And there'd be times where I would be frustrated about feeling what I was feeling.

[00:38:44]

So I'm curious if you had any of that. Yeah, I mean, I still do. I have many moments where I'm laying in bed, I had a great day. I just want to relax and get some rest, and I'm stewing. An anxiety.

[00:39:00]

It's this physical feeling of anxiety, and I can't figure out what it's about. It's like, I'm not worried about anything. Nothing bad happened today. I had a really great day. I just journaled for an hour about all the things I'm grateful for.

[00:39:16]

Why the hell am I anxious? And it's frustrating because I can't fall asleep because of this physical feeling. So, yeah, I definitely still get frustrated over my feelings. I think that in my sessions, in my EMDR sessions, the mark of the talent of this therapist is that she helps me feel more curious than frustrated. That's a major difference, that idea of curiosity.

[00:39:46]

And we hear processing and sit with it, but nobody really talks about what that actually means. It's like, oh, you know, sit with it. And really a lot of that is about the curiosity. Yeah. And allowing yourself, not trying to extinguish or not feeling bad about feeling bad.

[00:40:06]

It's like you're supposed to feel it and just kind of let it take you where it takes you and learn from it. Yeah. And I do think that this idea of what's called coregulation, which is when you are sitting with someone who is skilled at being able to regulate their own emotional responses, it assists you in regulating your own. And that's what we really need from our parents when we're growing up. Right, but most of our parents are dealing with their own trauma and non healthy coping mechanisms.

[00:40:42]

Right? Most of us are. I don't know that I've met anyone whose parents have been good self regulators of their emotions to be able to assist their children and actually regulating their emotions. And so when we don't get that as kids, we don't know how to do it for ourselves and as adults. And so to me, in my experience with this new therapist, I kind of feel like that's something that I will always look for in future.

[00:41:06]

Therapists are ones that are so good at regulating their own emotions that they can assist me in co regulating. How would you look for that? I think it's really about do you feel calmer with that person? Are they able to just their presence? Is it able to be some kind of comfort to you that is to me a sign that they are able to self regulate.

[00:41:31]

I'm listening. I'm like that's. Also what you would want in a good partner, right? Oh, totally. Yes, absolutely.

[00:41:39]

Yeah. And I believe you all have done some co regulation. We'd have to get into it. But I believe like, you've shared that with me before. I think so.

[00:41:47]

Something that I had never really thought about. But go ahead. Yeah, no, it is thinking about even this experience of watching this video of my dad. Me and Brad were like bawling together. We were both crying a lot over this and the next morning we actually went to hot yoga together.

[00:42:10]

And that physical exertion and the sweating and the really deep breathing, it was very healing in its own right. But it was also really bonding for us as a couple because we were processing this big heavy experience that we had the night before and we were doing it physically. So yeah, we are still learning how to be that source of co regulation for each other. But it's a worthy thing to explore because I'm finding in my partnership it's incredibly bonding. Yes.

[00:42:45]

I'm going to have to take some lessons away from this on the side, off the air to learn for self, because it is difficult when and it's something that I have not been good at and that I am still very much working on. Part of the journey is like even accepting it like this is going to take some time to resolve. I've spent 38 years here. I'm not going to resolve that in like, two months time. It's going to take some effort.

[00:43:13]

So I've definitely seen the impact of that, and in some ways, it even can add to the feelings that you have about how you grew up and what your experience was. Like, damn, it's creating this experience for me today, and it didn't have to be this freaking difficult. Yeah, well, I remember we had some conversations where I'm reading about all this trauma stuff, and I just feel like this word trauma is, like, thrown around so much, and I think there's a lot of confusion over it. And I've heard many people say when you think of trauma, you think of something big, like a sexual assault, a car accident, war, like, something like that. But the little tea that I think most of us have, like, everyone has.

[00:43:58]

Right. It's just something as very simple as you were not able to process your emotions at the time that they happened and they got stuck. That's all it is. It's not anything bigger than that. Right.

[00:44:12]

It's just trap stuck emotions that there are tools and techniques and physical ways that you can almost release those and process them. Yes. I'm getting fired up. I'm getting too fired up because you're hitting all the notes. You mentioned yoga.

[00:44:29]

I'm like, yes, now we're getting into holistic health and wellness, but we got to talk about the grieving part because it's critical to the healing. And the healing is I'm in a stretch of healing right now where I'm not talking to my mom, and I'm finding that it's the hardest part. I'm not, like, crying or anything like that, but just like the passing of time and trying to get to a place of acceptance. So can you talk about the grieving aspect? Yeah, I think my mom has said to me that over the years and through every kind of developmental phase, moving into being a preteen and a teenager, and throughout my life, I have had various moments of grieving my dad, and it kind of coming up again, this profound loss that I experienced.

[00:45:28]

And I don't think that you ever finish grieving. I almost think that it just becomes a more like, tolerable part of your life, and you have a degree of acceptance around it. To me, acceptance and grieving and even forgiveness is really kind of letting go of the idea that it could have or should have been different. I think that when I was really struggling with the fact that my dad died very young, it's because I was telling myself this story that my life would have been so much better if my dad was alive. And that's a really painful story to believe.

[00:46:10]

And so acceptance to me is kind of like recognizing that there is no alternate universe where my dad was alive and my life was so much better. There's only reality. And when you fight with reality, you're going to lose, but only 100% of the time. That's a quote from Byron Katie, who is an author that has written a lot about acceptance and the stories we tell ourselves, and that a lot of our pain is in fighting with reality. And I think grieving for me and even recognizing that I'm still grieving my dad.

[00:46:50]

And that's kind of surprising to me because I really thought that I was done. But two weeks ago, when I cried for three days, I realized, okay, I'm not done yet. No. And to me, I think that I'm almost learning how to grieve better and learning, like, where the healing is and surrendering to it. So I journaled a lot about this experience of watching this video of my dad.

[00:47:16]

And one of the things that was so painful about it was seeing how encouraging he was as a parent. He was a really good dad, and watching the way he interacted with us, he didn't coddle us. He wasn't like a helicopter parent, but there was a lot of love there, and there was a lot of acceptance there. And there was also just this amazing encouragement for us to do things on our own. I mean, I'm less than two years old, and he's got me running around this park where he's off to the side with a camera, and I'm just doing my own thing, right?

[00:47:54]

At separate times, both me and my brother, we fall on the ground and we get dirt on our hands, and we come up to him like, I got dirt on my hands. Help me clean me up kind of thing, right? And he just goes, you can do it yourself. Brush your hands together. You got this.

[00:48:13]

And it wasn't any kind of annoyance or anything. It was just kind of like, you are a capable person. I believe in your ability to do this yourself. Such a simple thing. Yeah, it was such a simple thing, but it was just a gentle encouragement that I had to grieve this idea of, like, how would my life be different if I would have had more of that growing up?

[00:48:36]

And, like, grieving the loss of what could have been, but then also accepting that things couldn't have or shouldn't have been different, but allowing myself to feel the pain of that, to cry, to fall apart and feel all of that pain and then come to a realization of acceptance of my reality. That, to me, is this process of grieving. I think in the past, I would feel that pain and I would stuff it down, and I wouldn't let myself cry and I wouldn't let myself fully relax into feeling grief. Now the grieving process goes on. As we're probably finding out, it takes time.

[00:49:21]

I found that when you think, you're done. So there was a point where I thought I was done with EMDR. I was like, oh, we uncovered the thing. We're done, but oh, no, it was just beginning. Yeah, there was a whole other cluster of memories because something happened, like, a few days later, and I was like, I thought I was past this.

[00:49:39]

I don't know that we're ever done. I just think we get better at grieving and processing and developing healthier coping mechanisms because a lot of our coping mechanisms were developed when we were kids. It was more about survival than anything else. Yes. And so to kind of unravel those and replace them with healthier, more mature coping mechanisms and learning how to do that self regulation, that's a lifelong process.

[00:50:14]

I don't think I'll ever be done. Yeah, I don't think so either. And I'd written down a quote that my therapist mentioned on forgiveness. And forgiveness is letting go of any hope of changing the past. Yeah, exactly.

[00:50:26]

Same thing, right? Same idea. Even what I was saying earlier, like, it didn't have to be this difficult. I'm still having some of those feelings because I find that there are things that constantly remind you, and I think this is also part of the awareness that I didn't realize how much these different things would remind me of what I did not have. And so it is a lifelong journey because they're going to always be situations that come up.

[00:50:50]

Things you may see a smell, a scent, a commercial, a ringtone. There's so many little things that come up, and you never get to a place where you have the perfect, okay, wu sat never happens. The thing is that curiosity and almost saying to yourself, like, it's okay. These are just feelings. So, Diana, it's been incredible having this conversation.

[00:51:17]

I mean, really listening to your story and your experience and just being so open around it and being able to witness a part of your journey and going from some of our other calls to literally the last call, where as soon as I joined, I noticed I was like, there's something different. I don't know if it's that she moved, I don't know if it's that there's more sunlight, but there was just this positive energy and vibe about you. So I'm also very glad that you found benefit in EMDR. Yeah, thank you so much, Rich. It really is meaningful to me to be able to share this with you.

[00:51:54]

And thank you for always giving me the space to be vulnerable and you yourself being so vulnerable and realizing that I'm not alone in a lot of these realizations. And I hope for your audience, too, that if you're feeling these things and feeling frustrated with the attempts that you've made to address your mental health, I think what I really learned from this whole experience of EMDR is that I'm so proud of myself for keep that I kept trying that, as frustrated as I was, and not to tell you that I didn't give up. I went through many times of giving up, and not working to find a new therapist and all of that. So if you do feel like you're in that place, like no judgment at all, I've certainly been there. But I just would encourage you that if something isn't working for you, just keep seeking, just keep searching, because there is something out there that can help you.

[00:52:50]

I love that. And is there anything you want to tell folks about where folks can find you? Any of that good stuff? Yeah. So if you're interested in hearing more from me, you can listen to me every single day of the year on the Optimal Finance Daily podcast.

[00:53:07]

This is a show where I read from popular personal finance bloggers. I'll read you an article, and I'll offer you a little bit of commentary every single day in ten minutes or less. And then you can also hang out with me at the economy conference. The next one is scheduled for March 17 through 19th of 2023. Rich spoke last year.

[00:53:28]

I hope he's going to be partying again with us this next event. And I'll have a discount code for your listeners. If you just type in Rich Jones, all one word, all caps, you can get 10% off your ticket. Yeah. So, fun fact, I don't think I told you this, or maybe I did.

[00:53:45]

Indoor masters. Track and field championships are in Louisville in March, like, right around that same week. Amazing. It was meant to be, Rich. It was meant to be.

[00:53:56]

Which is right around my birthday, too, so that would be a really cool experience, hopefully coming there with some more medals. But Diana, thanks again. Won't be the last time. You're on. Really appreciate you.

[00:54:08]

Thanks, Rich.

[00:54:13]

Thanks again to Diana for her courage and candor in talking about her mental health journey. Hell, I'm going to call it her mental health journey. And as a reminder, you should always consult a professional and do your research. No self diagnosing. Talk to someone who knows what they're talking about.

[00:54:33]

I said this during the episode, and I'll say it again, so many of us are walking around with conditions and don't even know it. So if you've been delaying on finding the appropriate professional for you or going to the doctor or even getting checked out, there is no better day than today for you to start your mentalwealthmentalhealth journey. Because even if things seem like they're going perfect, it doesn't hurt to talk to someone and make sure that they are indeed going perfect. The same way that you would get an annual physical, I think you should do something similar for your mental health. So that's it for this episode.

[00:55:05]

I'll be back in a few weeks. Thanks so much for listening, and until then, do something. Dope you.

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