ADHD 2.0 Reveals New Science and Strategies

ADHD 2.0 Reveals New Science and Strategies

Dr. Hallowell’s latest book, ADHD 2.0 is out today!

Ned’s longtime writing partner, Dr. John Ratey, joins him for a conversation about the latest research they uncovered including how the brain’s “default mode network” is especially dangerous for those with ADHD, why “ADHD” is a terrible term and we should call it “VAST” instead,  and how finding the right amount of difficult can help you stay engaged in a task. 

They also discuss the role the cerebellum plays in regulating our attention, how exercise can help with symptoms, why ADHDers are more susceptible to addiction in all forms, and the importance of connection. 

You can get a copy of ADHD 2.0 at DrHallowell.com or JohnRatey.com, or by clicking HERE. You can also find it wherever books are sold!  

Reach out to us with your comments, questions and show ideas! Send us an email, or record a voice memo on your phone and send it to [email protected]

Learn more about our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Distraction listeners can SAVE 20% on their first order with the code: Podcast2020. Shop online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson.

Check out this episode!

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Pat Yourself On The Back For Making It Through 2020

Pat Yourself On The Back For Making It Through 2020

Ned shares congratulations on making it through one of the most difficult years in our lifetime. He extends a wish of hope and continued resilience for 2021 with the Distraction community.

We are so grateful for all of you!

If you like this episode, please rate and review Distraction on Apple Podcasts! If you have a question, comment, or show idea please email it to [email protected]

Dr. Hallowell’s new book, ADHD 2.0, comes out January 12th. Click here to pre-order your copy of ADHD 2.0

Check out #NedTalks on TikTok! @drhallowell

Thanks to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Dr. H takes OmegaBrite supplements every day and that’s why he invited them to sponsor his podcast. SAVE 20% on your first order at OmegaBriteWellness.com with the promo code: Podcast2020

Click HERE to learn more about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Dr. H has an honorary degree from Landmark! 

Check out this episode!

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A Holiday Wish For You

A Holiday Wish For You

Ned shares holiday greetings with our listeners.

Do you have a question or guest suggestion? Send an email with your thoughts to [email protected].

Dr. Hallowell’s new book, ADHD 2.0, comes out January 12th. Pre-order Now!  Click here to pre-order your copy of ADHD 2.0.

Check out #NedTalks on TikTok! @drhallowell

Thanks to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness!

OmegaBrite is extending their special offer to an additional 250 Distraction listeners who respond to the offer below!

Buy one bottle of 70/10 MD Omega-3, and get a FREE bottle of CBD Full Spectrum 25mg Softgels with the promo code: NED. You’ll get FREE shipping too! These are the same supplements that Dr. H takes every day.

Just enter the code: NED after adding the Omega-3 to your cart and the FREE bottle of CBD and FREE shipping will be automatically applied.

Click HERE to learn more about our other amazing sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently!

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson.

Check out this episode!

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Ned’s Attitude of Gratitude

Ned’s Attitude of Gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our listeners! We are so thankful for our Distraction community and our neurodiverse brains. Ned shares a special message of thanks in this week’s mini podcast.

Check out #NedTalks on TikTok! @drhallowell

Dr. Hallowell’s new book, ADHD 2.0, comes out January 12th. Pre-order Now!  Click here to pre-order your copy of ADHD 2.0.

Thanks to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Dr. H takes OmegaBrite supplements every day and that’s why he invited them to sponsor his podcast. SAVE 20% on your first order at OmegaBriteWellness.com with the promo code: Podcast2020.

Click HERE to learn more about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Dr. H has an honorary degree from Landmark!

Do you have a question or guest suggestion? Send an email with your thoughts to [email protected].

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This episode is made possible by our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness. I’ve taken their omega-3 supplements for many years and so as my wife and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. I’m proud to have them. You can find all of their products online at omegabritewellness.com. And bright is intentionally misspelled, B R I T E, omegabritewellness.com.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This episode is also sponsored by Landmark College. Another institution that I have warm, personal relationship with in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. [email protected]

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell with a mini episode on the theme of Thanksgiving. No, I’m not going to give you a pious lecture on all the reasons there are to be grateful, but I am going to invite you to enter into an attitude of gratitude. How’s that an attitude of gratitude, but in a very genuine heartfelt way.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Now, I think I’ve told this story before on the podcast, but I’m going to tell it again because it demonstrates most vividly a genuine heartfelt expression of gratitude. And this came from a dear friend of mines son when he was six years old and he was sitting at the family Thanksgiving dinner. This was obviously way before we had pandemics. And 20 or so of his aunts and uncles, cousins, grandparents, mothers, fathers, et cetera, were sitting around the table and some had card tables to the side. There was the big extended Thanksgiving audience. No holiday brings together for a sit down dinner, anything quite like it. And they were doing a family tradition, which was to go around the table, each person standing up and stating one part of their life, something in their life that they’re grateful for. And so grandma begins by, “I’m grateful for all my grandchildren are here, smiling at me.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And granddad says, “Oh, I’m grateful for grandma and all the great years you’ve given me.” And one of the teenagers says, “I’m grateful for the football games we’re going to get to watch.” And until it comes to this little boy about halfway through the proceeds and this little boy was not shy and he stood up and he said to the assembled gathering, “I am grateful for my penis.” And he sat down.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I think that is a perfect demonstration of heartfelt, genuine, sincere gratitude. So I would invite you all to think to yourselves, in equally a heartfelt, sincere way what are you truly grateful for? What are you really glad to have in your life? And I’m not going to ask you to state it because I can’t see you and couldn’t hear you anyway. But if you want to say it out loud, by all means, say it out loud, say it loud and say it clear to yourself or to whoever you’re sitting with and just let yourself wonder what are you really grateful for?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Now it doesn’t have to be anything the least bit noble. For example, I’m really grateful that the Patriots played such a great game last night and came out of their funk. Some of you know, I’m a long time Patriot season ticket holder, and this is not been a good year for us. We lost Tom Brady and we went into a swoon, but last night we rose up in the middle of a monsoon and struck down one of the best teams in the league. The Baltimore Ravens.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I’m very grateful for that. Genuinely sincerely grateful for that. Perhaps not as grateful as that little boy was, but I’m very grateful for that. So think to yourself, I’m sure we’re all grateful on the good news about vaccines. Looks like there might be vaccines on the near horizon. I’m sure you’re all very grateful for your best friend or a loved one, your dog. These are things that I’m very grateful for, but I just want to allow a few seconds for you to daydream and wonder to yourself, what am I really grateful for? So I’m going to be quiet for 10 seconds and let your mind wander.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, I hope you settled on a few items. Places, memories, hopes that you’re grateful for. I’m grateful for you. I’m grateful for our audience. I’m grateful for the time we’ve spent together over these years. I’m truly grateful, truly, truly, truly grateful.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And I’m wishing you all a very happy, happy Thanksgiving. Even if you can’t be as very few of us can be with all the people you love and would like to be with, you can bring them all to mind. You can even bring them to vision perhaps via Zoom, but they are with you mentally, if not physically.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I wish you the happiest and the most gratitude filled an attitude of gratitude of Thanksgiving holidays.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, that’s it for our mini today. Thanks to our sponsor. OmegaBright Wellness, save 20% on your first order at omegabritewellness.com with the promo code podcast 2020. Please reach out to us with your questions and comments by emailing [email protected]

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s [email protected] And if you happen to be on TikTok, my new favorite platform, you can find me there with the username @drhallowell. I’ve posted a whole bunch of videos about common ADHD issues, and they’re only 60 seconds a piece.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Take a look and let me know what you think. Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer and editor is the estimable Scott Persson. And our producer is the very talented Sarah Guertin.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell until next time.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode you just heard was made possible by my good friends at OmegaBrite Wellness. I take their supplements every day and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. Shop online at OmegaBrite and that’s B R I T E wellness.com

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A Post-Election Plea for America

A Post-Election Plea for America

As we await the results of the presidential election, Ned shares his wish for all Americans.

hanks to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Dr. H takes OmegaBrite supplements every day and that’s why he invited them to sponsor his podcast. SAVE 20% on your first order at OmegaBriteWellness.com with the promo code: Podcast2020.

Click HERE to learn more about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Dr. H has an honorary degree from Landmark!

What’s your opinion? Send an email with your thoughts to [email protected].

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This episode is made possible by our sponsor, OmegaBritewellness. I’ve taken their omega-3 supplements for many years, and so has my wife, and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. I’m proud to have them. You can find all of their products online at omegabritewellness.com and bright is intentionally misspelled, B-R-I-T-E, omegabritewellness.com. This episode is also sponsored by Landmark College, another institution that I have warm personal relationship with, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Learn more at lcdistraction.org.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This is Dr. Ned Hallowell with a mini episode of Distraction. Now that the election is in its final phase, I just thought I’d make a prayer or a plea, as we move forward, for decency and civility, grace and humor, regardless of which side ends up winning. And it looks like there’ll be winners and losers on both sides. Couldn’t we all enjoy moving forward, guided by those pretty much solid and eternal qualities of decency and civility, grace and humor. Wouldn’t it be nice to turn on the TV, open the newspaper, turn on the radio and hear reasonable, calming voices, laced not with vitriol, venom and hatred, but with humor, with humility, with curiosity.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The people on the other side of the election, whichever side you were on, nonetheless, our brothers and sisters. We’re all brothers and sisters in this world. And my plea is that we learn once again to treat each other that way, especially the people who are on the other side of the divide. I’m reminded of a prayer that I particularly like. It goes like this, “Lord, help me always to search for the truth, but spare me the company of those who have found it.” It’s the people who have found the truth and want to ram it down everyone else’s throat that I think cause the most trouble. No one, after all, has a monopoly on truth. We’re all human. We’re all flawed. We’re all biased. We’re all more apt than not to look out for our self-interest before we look out for the other person. Let’s keep that in mind as we try moving forward, to move, not just onward, but also upward. This is Dr. Ned Hallowell with a reflection for Distraction.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Okay. Before I go, I’d like to thank our sponsor, OmegaBritewellness. Go to omegabritewellness.com and save 20% on your first order with the promo code, Podcast 2020. Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer and editor is Scott Persson, a brilliant man, indeed. And our producer is the equally brilliant and always rich with ideas, Sarah Guertin. I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell, and thank you for joining me. We’ll see you next time.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode you just heard was made possible by my good friends at OmegaBritewellness. I take their supplements every day and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. Shop online at OmegaBrite, and that’s B-R-I-T-E wellness.com.

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Ned’s Secret Weapon for Managing His ADHD

Ned’s Secret Weapon for Managing His ADHD

Dr. H is one of the minority of people with ADHD for whom medication does not work. Instead he drinks coffee to help manage his symptoms. And since today is International Coffee Day (and the start of ADHD Awareness Month), we thought it was the perfect day for Ned to share the details of how he uses caffeine for his ADHD!

Share your episode ideas and questions with us! Write an email or record a voice memo with your thoughts and send it to [email protected].

Thanks to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Distraction listeners, you can SAVE 20% on your first order with the promo code: Podcast2020 at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Click HERE to learn more about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This episode of Distraction is sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com. That’s B-R-I-T-E, omegabritewellness.com. And by Landmark College, offering comprehensive support for students with ADHD and other learning differences. It is the college of choice for students who learn differently, and I have an honorary degree from that college. Learn more at lcdistraction.org.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell with a mini episode of Distraction. Today, October 1st, the first day of the month of October, is International Coffee Day. Isn’t it amazing? Every day has some designation to commemorate one thing or another. Well, today, October 1st, is International Coffee Day, not to be confused with National Coffee Day, which already happened on September 29th. But today, October 1st, we’re expanding the sphere of influence of coffee to include the entire world.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
We should maybe someday have a galactical coffee day, a universal coffee day, you know? Coffee throughout the universe. Is there coffee on a nearby planet? That’s a question to ask. But what can I say about coffee? Well, first of all, as many of you know, I have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, a terrible term, but I won’t go off on that riff, but I have that condition, which is poorly named ADHD. It’s a surplus of attention, believe me, not a deficit of attention.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
In any case, the medications that we prescribe, the stimulant medications like Ritalin and Adderall, don’t work for me. They work for about 80% of people who have this condition, but they don’t work for me. They just give me side effects. But I do have a medication and it is coffee. It is caffeine. And the way I get my caffeine is through coffee, and I get whole bean coffee. I put it in our little … don’t remember the name of the maker, but you put in the coffee beans and it grinds them up and spits out … not spit, that’s the wrong word, it drips out coffee, freshly brewed hot coffee. And that’s how I start my day, every day, with two cups of that.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Now I put milk in it because I’m one of those people, number one, who doesn’t like my coffee really hot, and number two, doesn’t like the taste of pure black coffee. My wife, on the other hand, likes her coffee very hot and black, so she gets the first cup out of the machine, and then I get the next two. I don’t understand people who say, “I want a piping hot cup of coffee.” It makes no sense to me. Doesn’t it burn your mouth? Doesn’t it burn your tongue? I can’t drink it if it’s piping hot. And there was that person who sued McDonald’s because she spilled a cup of coffee in her lap and burned herself and she said, “They made it too hot.” And she won the lawsuit and McDonald’s had to pay her for making their coffee too hot.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, I’d like that. I want it to cool off and I drink mine usually lukewarm. Well, that’s … would make my wife vomit. She can’t stand that. In fact, if her coffee gets too cool, she takes it and puts it in the microwave and warms it up, heats it up, makes it piping hot. I still don’t understand how you can drink piping hot coffee. If any of you listeners have an answer to that, please let me know, because when I try and do it, even if I just take a little sip, it burns my tongue. It burns my cheek. That’s not pleasant. I don’t like to be burned to start my day. And I don’t want to walk around with that feeling you get on your tongue after you’ve burned it. Why do people want piping hot coffee? Why? I mean, it’d be like drinking boiling water. Why would you … I don’t get it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So in any case, my medication is caffeine, and the way I get it is in the form of coffee with milk so it’s not too hot and so it tastes better. I don’t put sugar in it. I used to put sugar in it, but I’ve been persuaded that sugar is bad for us so I don’t put sugar in it. It’s an amazing bean, this coffee bean. The entire world is caffeinated now. If you add in tea and Red Bull and Mountain Dew and cola drinks, it’s hard to find a corner of the world where there is not the presence of caffeine in the form of coffee or cola or a so-called energy drink.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Now, some people claim or have claimed that coffee is bad for you. Well, the fact is anything in excess is bad for you. Too much oxygen can be bad for you. Too much water can be bad for you. Too much sunshine can be bad for you. So, all these things that we associate with goodness, sunshine, water … What was the third one? See, my mind is leaving me. Sunshine, water, and something else, things that we think of as good, if in excess … Oxygen. Sunshine, water, and oxygen in excess become bad for us.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, the same is true with caffeine. And yes, if you drink too much coffee, you can get very jittery. Your heart can race. Your blood pressure can go up. You can get terrible kinds of GI complaints and ulcers and craters and bad juices flowing, and you can just be jittery like a cat on a hot tin roof. You can just be all over the place, so you don’t want to do that. You don’t want to develop what’s called caffeinism. And also if you abruptly stop coffee, if you are a regular coffee drinker and you decide one day, I’m going to swear off coffee because I read that it’s bad for me, you’re going to get our wicked headache, a wicked headache. So, don’t abruptly stop coffee. If you want to cut back, do it slowly, taper off the coffee, switch to decaf, something like that. And remember, even decaf has a little bit of caffeine in it, so don’t drink too much.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I would say don’t drink too little because I would be lost without my daily coffee. It really does help me focus. And be grateful that we have this wonderful medicinal available element to our diet. I think of caffeine as my medication. Why not? I take it to improve my performance, and so does the rest of the world. Just don’t drink too much of it. Don’t stop it abruptly. And today, give thanks for your favorite coffee.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Our producer, Sarah Guertin, asked me what’s my favorite coffee, and I said, “Any coffee, as long as it’s strong enough.” I don’t like weak coffee, coffee that tastes like dishwater. Not that I’m in the habit of drinking dishwater, but what I imagine dishwater would taste like. So I don’t like really weak coffee, but other than that, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Homebrew, I like them all. And just so long as it’s strong enough, and I like to drink it with someone else, but when I’m writing, I’ll drink it alone. But I don’t think of writing as being alone. I’m with the work. We’re a team. We’re trying to conquer the forces of chaos.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, there you have it for International Coffee Day today, and in memory of the September 29th National Coffee Day, here’s to coffee everywhere, and here’s to all of you who drink it. This is Dr. Ned Hallowell. That’s our show for today.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Is there a special day you’d like me to acknowledge in a mini podcast? Email your ideas to [email protected] We’d be very glad to acknowledge your special day. Well, I want to, once again, thank you to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness. I’ve been taking their Omega-3 supplement for years and recently started their CBD supplement as well. OmegaBrite products, I trust them because I know the woman who’s in charge of the company, a Harvard Medical School graduate. She’s very fussy about quality efficacy, and always looking to make sure that the product she has is the best in the business.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And Distraction listeners can save 20% off of their first order with the promo code podcast, 2020, at omegabritewellness.com. And remember to look for Distraction on social media. You can find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and soon Tik-Tok. Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our sound engineer is the wonderful Scott Persson with two Ss. He loves his second S. And our producer is the wonderful Sarah Guertin, and you spell that U-E-R, not like curtain, like Guertin. This is Dr. Ned Hallowell saying goodbye for now.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode you just heard was sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com.

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Ned Believes Every Day Should Be Gratitude Day

Ned Believes Every Day Should Be Gratitude Day

Ned celebrates World Gratitude Day by sharing his appreciation for the life and service of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

October is ADHD Awareness Month and we want to hear your ideas for the show! What topics should we cover? What aspect of ADHD do you want to learn more about? Write an email or record a voice memo with your thoughts and send it to [email protected].

Thanks to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Distraction listeners, you can SAVE 20% on your first order with the promo code: Podcast2020 at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Click HERE to learn more about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This episode of Distraction is sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. Shop [email protected] That’s B-R-I-T-E, OmegaBritewellness.com. And by Landmark College, offering comprehensive support for students with ADHD and other learning differences. It is the college of choice for students who learn differently. And I have an honorary degree from that college. Learn more at lcdistraction.org.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell with a mini episode of Distraction. Monday, September 21st was guess what? National world, not national, World Gratitude Day. What a great day to reserve, ideally every day is world gratitude day. We’re alive, and the more we can give thanks the better. But I thought I would comment now on World Gratitude Day by speaking about my own personal gratitude. And I am sure I share it with most of you, if not all of you, for the life and service of the great Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I don’t think you could really have anything bad to say about this woman and you could have so much good, so much good.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Even those who disagreed with her, absolutely diametrically like justice Scalia, loved this woman. They would disagree, write nasty opinions to each other, and then go to the opera together. That’s the way it ought to be. She was the hardest working woman you could ever imagine. People who clerked for said they became like her family because she was never not working and they were the people who were around her. She worked so hard for women’s rights. Much as Martin Luther King is to Black people’s rights and civil rights, you might say Ruth Bader Ginsburg is to women’s rights. And I remember the exchange in the movie about her, where she’s talking before the Supreme Court and one of the Justices says to her, “Ginsburg, where in the Constitution does the word woman ever appear?” And Ginsburg responded, “Well, your Honor, nowhere in the Constitution does the word freedom appear either.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And you know, she was brilliant, witty, dry, but beyond every reckoning, fair, honest, believing in truth to the best of her ability to discern it and trying to render opinions that would advance the cause of justice wherever she could. Never did she ever sell out. Never did she ever come under the rubric of someone else’s sway. Never did she ever give into the power of popular persuasion or peer pressure. She was her own woman, but a woman very attached to all of humanity, very attached, deeply committed, there to serve all of us. There to serve all of us, not a selfish bone in her body.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I am so grateful for the life and service of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. What she did for me, my family, my town, my state, my country, my world. That woman did so much in her slight frame with that characteristic tilt to her jaw and twist to her lips. She just was wise, brilliant, big hearted, a great, great woman. So join me in commemoration of World Gratitude Day and make World Gratitude Day become every day in your life. And maybe to give it a jumpstart, just think of the life and service of the wonderful, brilliant, loving Ruth Bader Ginsburg. This is Dr. Ned Hallowell with a mini episode of Distraction.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, I want to once again thank you to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness. I’ve been taking their omega-3 supplement for years and recently started their CBD supplement as well. OmegaBrite products, I trust them because I know the woman who’s in charge of the company, Harvard medical school graduate. She’s very fussy about quality, efficacy, and is always looking to make sure that the product she has is the best in the business.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And Distraction listeners can save 20% off their first order with the promo code podcast2020 at OmegaBritewellness.com. All right, well next month, October, that’s the month that comes after September. See, I’ve still got my brains. October is ADHD awareness month. So be sure to reach out to us with your questions, thoughts, and show ideas. We love, love, love getting these, it sends shivers up and down my spine. Your emails and voice memos will affect what we do in October. So please take charge, send us your email or voice memo with an idea, a comment, a thought, a show, a recipe. We don’t care, we just love to hear from you. And send them to [email protected] That’s the word [email protected] Remember to check us out on social media, please, we’re trying to beef that up. Distraction is on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. This podcast is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is the wonderfully talented Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer and editor is the equally, if not even more talented, Scott Persson, with two S’s. This is Dr. Ned Hallowell saying goodbye for now.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode you just heard was sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD formulated by Omega Brite Wellness, creators of the number one omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. Shop online at OmegaBritewellness.com.

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Mentally Prepare Yourself For The Future

Mentally Prepare Yourself For The Future

As fall nears closer and the pandemic rages on it can be difficult to envision what next month, or even next week will look like. In this mini episode Dr. H shares some words of advice on how to think about the future and get ready for whatever comes next.

Please share your thoughts and ideas with us! Write an email or record a voice memo on your phone and send it to [email protected].

Thanks to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Distraction listeners  SAVE 20% on their first order with the promo code: Podcast2020 at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

And thank you to our sponsor, Landmark College in Putney, Vermont. Click HERE to learn more the college of choice for students who learn differently.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson, and our producer is Sarah Guertin.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This episode of Distraction is sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe, third-party tested and it works. Shop online at OmegaBriteWellness.com. And by Landmark College, offering comprehensive support for students with ADHD and other learning differences. Learn more at lcdistraction.org. Landmark College, the college of choice for students who learn differently. Hello and welcome to this mini episode of Distraction. I’m your host, Dr. Ned Hallowell. Thank you so much for joining me. We love having you with us and lending us your ears.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Our wonderful producer, Sarah, gave me a note to base this mini on, and I’ll just read you what she gave me. She wrote, “I think we’ve all been waiting for fall to get here, kind of wait and see what’s going to happen with the pandemic. But now that it’s almost here, what if nothing changes, or worse yet we have to go into lockdown again? How do you look ahead when you can’t envision what it will look like?” Well, that’s the world we’re living in. Isn’t it? How have we done it so far? How do we look ahead when we don’t know what it’s going to bring? This whole thing has been an exercise in learning flexibility, an exercise in learning resilience, an exercise in learning how to find connection in places we haven’t found it before, learning new uses of technology.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
My practice has drastically changed, but thanks to Zoom and the telephone, I’m able to see patients. Without Zoom and the telephone and other platforms, I wouldn’t be able to. They wouldn’t be able to see me, nor I could see them. Now, it’s not as good as in-person, but in many ways it’s better for people who leave live two or three hours away or people will live with the other side of the country or the other side of the world for that matter. It’s an absolute godsend, and I think I will continue after the pandemic is over to offer that as an option. You can either see me live and in-person or over Zoom or another platform, so it’s been wonderful in that sense. Another hidden advantage is my two kids, our two kids who live in New York City, work in New York City have come home, and they’ve been with us for the past three months to avoid the virus in New York when it was so bad, and they’re doing their work. Fortunately they can from home, so we’ve had the benefit of their wonderful company.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
But the damage is colossal and the deaths and the restrictions on life and the not going to restaurants and going to movies. I used to love to take my son, who lives locally too, we’d go to Legal Seafood, a great seafood restaurant near us, and then we’d go to the Burlington Mall cinema and watch movie. We’d do that almost once a week. Sometimes Sue, my wife, would come with us, and sometimes she wanted a night to herself. But we can’t do that anymore. We haven’t been able to do that anymore, and then of course the big X factor, school. What’s going to happen with that? And we don’t know, and as we try to look ahead, people form opinions, and people think this, think that, think the other thing, and sometimes they get very angry and strident about it, but we’re still dealing with X factors, with unknowns. When you’re dealing with unknowns, you want to try to plan for various contingencies.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Harvard Business School made the worst case scenario famous by saying, “Well, let’s imagine the worst case scenario and then plan for that, and then if we do that, we’ve got everything else covered.” But we don’t even really know what the worst case scenario is with this virus. Haven’t we already had the worst case scenario? Can it get worse? Well, sure it could get worse, but what steps are we taking to make sure that doesn’t happen, and how can we maintain hope but also be realistic and prepare for bad things? So I guess my riff on Sarah’s question is use your imagination, both imagining what you hope for and imagining what you dread and get ready for all of the above, knowing that we are very resilient as humans. We’re very resilient, and what really makes us most resilient is when we’re serving one another, when we’re connected to one another, when we’re working together, because then you see we create a mission, and mission really motivates people.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And our mission now is to survive and to thrive, but begins with survive, and we’d never had our survival threatened on a daily basis, at least in my lifetime, like we have it threatened today. Survival is actually a matter that we have to take precaution to ensure, and wearing masks and keeping distance and all that kind of stuff, washing hands. We’re doing things. We’ve adapted. We’re banding together. We’re helping one another. By wearing a mask, you help other people, not just yourself. By washing your hands, you help other people. I mean, by working together, we’re building muscles we didn’t know we had, and we’re learning the value of interdependence rather than independence. We’re learning the value and power of what we can do together.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
My daughter happens to work for the National Football League, so I’m, as a long-time 26-year season ticket holder for the New England Patriots, I’m praying not only for my sake to have football back, but for my daughter’s sake, because that’s her job. We’re hoping and praying, and I can tell you the NFL is taking tremendous care and precaution. They’re working very, very hard to do everything they can to allow the season to proceed. But again, there are X factors. Who knows what will happen? I do take my hat off to the NFL for the way they’re handling it so far, and I take my hat off to businesses and organizations everywhere as they deal with this and try to make the best of it for everybody.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Again, the people who are hit the hardest are the people who are hit the hardest by everything: people who live in poverty, people of color, people who don’t have access to medical care, who don’t have access to good food, who don’t have access to transportation, all of that, the people who usually get the short end of the stick. And I think it’s up to us to try to reach out to them in whatever ways we can. So the answer to Sarah’s question, “How do you look ahead when you can’t envision what it will look like?” My answer is envision and just know that you’re probably wrong, but one of your visions will be close to what happens, and you want to prepare for all of them as best you can and never worry alone.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So don’t envision alone; share your thoughts with other people. Go online. Talk to neighbors, friends, however you do it, but this is a groupthink. This is not an individual think. This is a groupthink, and if we groupthink long and hard enough, this thing will come to an end, and we’ll reduce the damage it will do, and we’ll even find the hidden good things, just as I’ve discovered Zoom as a way of seeing patients and have got two of my three kids back inadvertently but as a special hidden benefit.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Okay. Once again, I’d like to thank our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness. My wife and I have taken their omega-3 supplements for years, and for the past several months, I’ve been taking their CBD supplement as well. I highly recommend them both. Go to OmegaBriteWellness.com and save 20% on your first order with the code “podcast2020.” Okay, please continue to reach out to us with your questions, comments, and show ideas. We love them, need them, thrive on them and would be lost without. Send your thoughts in an email or record a voice memo and send it to us at [email protected] That’s the word “connect” @distractionpodcast.com, and talk about from rags to riches, that little at sign, which never, ever, ever used to get used by hardly anybody is now everywhere. It must be so proud. It went from nothing to the penthouse, that little at sign. What a story.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is the infallible, lovely and brilliant Sarah Guertin, and our recording engineer and editor is the impeccably careful and always never missing a note or a sound, Scott Persson, and that’s Persson with two S’s. This is Dr. Ned Hallowell saying goodbye for today.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode you just heard was sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD: safe, third-party tested, and it works. Shop online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

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Do Something Just For You

Do Something Just For You

In honor of National Just Because Day (Yes, it’s a thing!), Ned is going to float in his inflatable pool and create a silly walking zone in front of his house, among other things. In this mini podcast he challenges you to do something today that makes you happy!

Learn more at NationalDayCalendar.com.

Please reach out to us with your questions and episode ideas. Write an email or record a voice memo and send it to [email protected].

Thank you to our sponsor, OmegaBrite CBD! Distraction listeners, you can SAVE 20% on your first order with the promo code: Podcast2020 at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Click HERE to learn more about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This episode of Distraction is sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe third-party tested, and it works. Shop online at OmegaBriteWellness.com. And by Landmark College, offering comprehensive support for students with ADHD and other learning differences. Learn more at lcdistraction.org. Landmark College, the college of choice for students who learn differently.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, and welcome to a mini episode of Distraction. I’m your host, Dr. Ned Hallowell. I’ll bet you didn’t know that today is National Just Because Day. I think there’s a cause attached to pretty much every day of the year. I had never heard of Just Because Day, but our wonderful, resourceful, incredible producer, Sarah Guertin, found out about it and suggested we do a little mini on that. And I think in the era of a pandemic, with everybody worrying, it’s nice to be a little bit frivolous and lighthearted.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
According to nationaldaycalendar.com, and see, leave it to Sarah, that’s where you can go to find out about this. According to nationaldaycalendar.com, an actual website, today, August 27th, gives us the chance to do something without having a reason. Well, I do that all day anyway so I don’t know what’s so special about that. But I guess most people don’t, I guess is the message there. Most people have a reason for doing what they do. I guess I don’t. Anyway, if you’re a fan of the sit-com Parks and Recreation, it’s kind of like when Tom and Donna created their own Treat Yo’ Self Day.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So we’re always busy doing stuff for other people, or so says Sarah who wrote this copy. But it’s true; we do. So today is an opportunity to do something for you. You got it. Just because. So what are you going to do today, just because? Sarah asked me to ask myself that question, and I thought of a few things. One thing I’d like to do, my daughter, who’s home from working for the National Football League, because of the pandemic she’s working from our home in Arlington, doing work for the league, NFL in New York, and since she was going to be here through the summer, she wanted me to buy her an inflatable pool that she could float in and sun in. And so we did. And it’s been out there. Not that expensive. For $300, you get a pretty good sized pool. You can’t dive in it or anything like that, but it’s big enough that she can actually put a float in it and float on the float in the pool. I’ve not been in that pool. So, I thought, just because, I’ll go plop myself down in the pool and see what it feels like. That I am actually really looking forward to doing that.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I did do something just because, that I don’t usually do on Sunday, and I planted an hydrangea bush on our front walk. I dug the hole, I put it in, I put the potting soil in. I followed the instructions from the nursery where I got it, the wonderful place called Mahoney’s in the Boston area, and I planted it. And then I set the sprinkler on it to water it and I stood proudly until the skies opened up and we had a thunderstorm and I had the ridiculous sight of looking out my window and finding the sprinkler on as it’s being pelted with rain coming down torrentially. So I put on a raincoat, I was too embarrassed the neighbors must think, what is this crazy man doing watering his plant in the middle of the thunderstorm? And I went out and I turned off the sprinkler.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And then our terrific producer, sound engineer. Sorry. I get them confused. Scott Persson told me about something called a silly walking zone. And some very imaginative people have created parts in their neighborhood where they post a sign saying, “This is a silly walking zone.” So you have to do some silly kind of walk like Charlie Chaplin or Michael Jackson with his moonwalk or whoever. You have to do some silly kind of walk. Now, that has got to be good for you. I don’t care who you are. That has got to be good for you, to be willing to loosen up enough, to do a silly walk, whether it’s a imitation of a drunk walk, or a moonwalk, or Charlie Chaplin walk, or hopping on one leg, or whatever comes to mind. But I think I’ll just declare a silly walking zone on the sidewalk outside my house and do a silly walk today, just for me, just because.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Another one that comes to my mind, this morning, by mistake I turned the shower to cold when I meant to turn it to hot and I got this shock. But instead of immediately turning it to hot, I kind of enjoyed the moment. And it is bracing, a cold shower. It’s bracing. So I think I’m going to get in the habit of doing that. It’s an instant way of … You go, brr, but if you stick in there a little bit, it brings you to life in a non-drug way. It’s a real shot. And so I’m going to do more cold showers. I’m sure you could make all kinds of remarks about that, but I am going to get in the habit of taking cold showers.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And finally, just for me, tomorrow I’m going to bring my son’s dog to work. I do go into the office. I don’t see patients there, but there’s some staff there. All the patients I see are on Zoom. But I’m going to bring Max with me. And I might, if I’m brave, also bring my daughter’s dog, Layla. Now, Max weighs 110 pounds, Layla weighs 10 pounds. So it’s quite a combination in the office. They’ve both been there before. But as you all know, if you listen to this regularly, I have a incredible love affair with dogs. It’s no accident that God spelled backwards is dog. And so I could bring God with me, or two God’s with me, to work.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, those are five examples of what I might do today or tomorrow, just because, just for me. It’s a nice way to loosen up your imagination to wonder to yourself, what might I do today, just because.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Before I go, I want to thank our sponsor, OmegaBrite CBD. I’ve been taking it for several months now myself, and I’ve found that it is really good for my reactivity. A lot of us with ADD can be impatient and reactive when something goes wrong, we don’t get what we want, things don’t work out right. We can snap at people, snap at ourselves. That’s not fun. And I’ve found that the CBD, OmegaBrite CBD, really helps diminish that. If you want to get it yourself, you can save 20% off your first order by using the promo code podcast2020, when you shop online at OmegaBriteWellness.com. That’s O-M-E-G-A-B-R-I-T-E wellness.com. The Brite is intentionally misspelled, B-R-I-T-E. So OmegaBriteWellness.com. Why, you might ask, do they intentionally misspell it? I don’t know, but that’s what advertisers, or branders, or namers tend to do. OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Okay. Please continue to reach out to us with your questions, comments, and show ideas. Our email address is [email protected] That’s [email protected] Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is the wonderful, beautiful, talented Sarah Guertin, and our recording engineer and editor is the meticulous and very, very talented Scott Persson. I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell wishing you all good luck and thanking you for listening.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode you just heard was sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe third-party tested, and it works. Shop online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

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Minimize ADHD’s Impact on Your Relationships

Minimize ADHD’s Impact on Your Relationships

How do you work through issues that arise when you and/or your significant other have ADHD? Sue Hallowell (a couple’s therapist and Ned’s wife of 31 years) sat down with Ned in the kitchen of their Massachusetts home to talk about the realities of being married to someone with ADHD. Sue’s insights shed light on how to navigate the frustrations of being the “non-ADHD” half of the couple, and what predicts whether a relationship will succeed. You’ll hear the love as Ned and Sue talk shame, blame, excuses and more in this heartwarming episode.

Please reach out to us with your questions and episode ideas! Email [email protected].

Click HERE to learn more about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently.

Thank you to our sponsor, OmegaBrite CBD! Distraction listeners SAVE 20% on their first order with the code: Podcast2020 at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson.

This episode was originally released in August 2019.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This episode of Distraction is sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe third-party tested, and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com. And by Landmark College offering comprehensive support for students with ADHD and other learning differences. Learn more at lcdistraction.org. Landmark College, the college of choice for students who learn differently.

Sue Hallowell:
Even though the person with ADHD, their intention may not be to ignore, to not pay attention, to forget, they have to understand that that behavior still has an impact on their partner.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right. Hello. This is Dr. Ned Hallowell and welcome to the opening episode of Distraction. Fittingly enough, the first episode in August of 2019 is graced by my lovely and wonderful wife, Sue, always the favorite guest. I don’t think I need to introduce her, but for those of you who have not heard her before, Sue and I have been married for 31 years. I would say wonderful years, but she doesn’t like me to say that because she doesn’t like me to brag. She would prefer I say 31 strenuous, difficult, horrible, years. But anyway, we’ve been married for 31 years and that’s a fact and, and we have three wonderful children, now aged 30, 27 and 24, Lucy, Jack and Tucker. Sue is an incredible therapist, a social worker, the best therapist I know, and she also runs our office in New York City and runs our lives.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
She’s an amazing woman, an amazing woman, the kindest person I’ve ever met, and truly the cornerstone of our lives. We’re grateful to her every, every single, single day. I really love having her on the podcast. And her specialty naturally enough is working with couples where one or both members have the wonderfully interesting condition so misleadingly called ADHD, which I’m renaming, John Rady and I are renaming in our next book, VAST, variable attention stimulus trait. So without further ado, let me introduce Sue. Look how I made that little rhyme, ado, Sue.

Sue Hallowell:
Ado, Sue. That’s my Ned.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Welcome, Sue.

Sue Hallowell:
Thank you, sweetie.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So we can talk about so many different things. I said I was going to ask you, what are the elements that you think predict a marriage that will go well versus a marriage that won’t go well, particularly when one member of the couple has this thing called, that I now called VAST, but most people call ADHD?

Sue Hallowell:
Well, I can certainly tell you what predicts in couples therapy what’s going to make things go best. It’s whether both people are really willing to look at themselves and what they bring to the relationship, the challenges they bring to the relationship. I always like to say that whoever comes in my door, actually whether they have ADHD or not, but every couple that graces my door, whether they will cop to it or not, their primary thing that they think needs to happen is their partner needs to be fixed. That if only my partner wasn’t the way they are, if only my partner did this better, then the relationship would be better. And that is just not true. And-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You’re still trying to fix me.

Sue Hallowell:
I’m not trying to fix you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes, you are.

Sue Hallowell:
I’m trying to understand you as you’re trying to understand me. And I know that I bring a lot to the table. That’s why I tell this story over and over about the kitchen counter, because we talk about the kitchen counter and how what a mess it was for years. I don’t know if everybody knows, but not only do I have a husband with ADHD, I have three children with ADHD, and in our kitchen we have a counter that is constantly covered with everything.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
In fact, we’re doing this interview right next to that kitchen counter.

Sue Hallowell:
Which is …

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Covered.

Sue Hallowell:
… covered with things. I used to get so mad about this. I used to say, “How can you guys be so …

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Inconsiderate.

Sue Hallowell:
… inconsiderate? You don’t care. It’s not so hard to …

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Selfish.

Sue Hallowell:
… put things over there.” I would get so angry about it. But one of the things that I’ve really learned to do for myself as well as encourage other people, is I began to think, why does this bother me so much? Why does this make me so angry? I began to think it’s almost like it’s imperative that the counter be clean, that that is a moral issue, that that is the way a counter is supposed to be. But when I really stopped to think about it, what I understood about myself is I spend a lot of time in the kitchen and when the counter is covered, it makes me feel chaotic. I’m someone who likes things structured and like space more organized.

Sue Hallowell:
And when that counter, it has a lot on it, I end up feeling chaotic. Now, that’s my problem. It’s really not everybody else’s problem. And once I was able to be aware of that, then I was able to develop strategies. So we developed this plan where every day I straighten out the counter and then after two days, I’ve let everybody know anything of theirs will be removed from the counter. I don’t do it with anger anymore. I don’t yell at people. I don’t get upset with people. You guys don’t like it when I move things, but you’ve been given lots of notice.

Sue Hallowell:
But what I’ve been able to do is look at myself and not just blame you or the family for doing something. I figured out where the issue is. People in a couple begin to think that there are defined ways that the world should be. And we have to understand, not just about our partner and why they do things the way they do them, but we also have to understand why we want things the way that we do them. And couples, when each individual is really able to look at themselves and stop just wanting to fix their partner, that’s when a couple can really make progress.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). And how, when you do your couples therapy, how do you help them do that? That’s our dog barking in the background, by the way. Our dog is Max.

Sue Hallowell:
The first thing I really have to do is develop a relationship with both people, because no one wants to hear that they’re the locus of the issue. It often takes a lot of work. Learn how to ask questions and be curious about both themselves and curious about the other person rather than make assumptions. One of the things that I try to work with people first to try to understand is we all are smart enough to know that we all view things from our own lens. But it’s really funny, in those that are close to us, even though we know that the other person has a different way of thinking, feeling, processing the world, we make the assumption that they’re doing it in the same way that we are. So we determine their intentions, we determine everything based on how we see the world.

Sue Hallowell:
So early on I try to begin to help each person separate that out a little bit so that they can begin to question and have some curiosity that maybe the other person’s reasons or ways of doing things isn’t what they assume it is. Once you’re able to do that, then you’re be able to begin to think about it differently. I talk a lot about intention and impact with people. One of the mistakes I made when I first started doing this work is everybody was talking about how the person with ADHD, how their brain is different and how it’s not their intention to forget things all the time. It’s not their intention to not pay attention.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right.

Sue Hallowell:
Right? But that would get you a little ways, but then I found the couples therapy still falling apart, the person without ADHD is continuing to be angry. And then it went more into the, oh, that’s just an excuse. What I found out that I had to pay more attention to was impact, that even though the person with ADHD, their intention may not be to ignore, to not pay attention, to forget, they have to understand that that behavior still has an impact on their partner.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right.

Sue Hallowell:
Right? So when you’re able to begin to make sure that both people are being heard, then they’re able to begin to take more responsibility for themselves.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Let’s say the ADD guy says, “I didn’t mean to forget your birthday. My intention was to remember your birthday. I just forgot your birthday.” So then you say what?

Sue Hallowell:
Then I say, “So it was your intention, but how do you imagine that makes …

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Her feel.

Sue Hallowell:
… her feel? And are you able to open up your yourself a little bit to imagine and to listen to how that makes her feel?” And I say, “That’s really going to be hard for you,” because people have ADHD, they often have so much shame and so many years of being told that they do things wrong.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right.

Sue Hallowell:
Right? So I say that to them and I say, “So that makes it really hard for you to hear the impact on her because you feel so bad. There’s part of you deep down that feels so bad about what you’re doing, you can’t tolerate.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So what does he do with that? He feels bad and ashamed, so he says-

Sue Hallowell:
I think shame is the greatest disability there is, honestly. I know you talk about fear, but I honestly think that shame is. I think that what shame and its counterpart, externalization, and for those of you don’t know, shame is when you take whatever is happening in you internalize it and blame yourself and you go-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So you feel bad about-

Sue Hallowell:
You feel bad about yourself.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, let’s be concrete. You feel bad that you forgot the birthday.

Sue Hallowell:
Well, you feel like you’re just not a good person or you’re never good enough and you never do something.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So you generalize and you say …

Sue Hallowell:
Right.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
… I’m just a bad person who forgets birthdays.

Sue Hallowell:
Exactly. Exactly. Or you externalize because you can’t tolerate that feeling of feeling bad and feeling shame.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You’re just a bad person who always blames me for-

Sue Hallowell:
Or I wouldn’t have forgotten your birthday, but you-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You’re so mean to me.

Sue Hallowell:
You’re so mean to me, I forgot it or I forgot it because of blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, something outside of yourself. Right?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right, right.

Sue Hallowell:
What both of those are, are really ways to keep the feelings away, even though you’re feeling-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
How is shame a way of keeping the feelings away?

Sue Hallowell:
Because it’s rather than taking responsibility for just the fact that you’re someone who is forgetful, one of the symptoms of your ADD may be that you become very distracted with a lot of different things and you forget things. That in and of itself is not … If you can separate out the shame from it, if you can see it as a symptom, if you can see it as just something about how you are in terms of behaviors as opposed to part of who you are, it becomes easier to not let it be such a big deal. It makes it so that you don’t have to feel bad about yourself. And when you don’t feel bad about yourself, then you can develop strategies to help yourself.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I’ve been taking a new supplement called OmegaBrite CBD. As I’ve mentioned before, OmegaBrite CBD was created by my good friend, Dr. Carol Locke, graduate of Harvard Medical School and her company, OmegaBrite Wellness. They’ve been making the number one omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. Well, Carol and her team decided to break new ground and having set the standard for purity, safety and efficacy in the world of omega-3s, and they’ve brought that same commitment to excellence to their new CBD supplement. I take it myself. It helps me with my reactivity, my impatience. It just puts a smoother edge. It’s in no way is it a buzz or a high, anything like that. It’s way more subtle.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
But it’s a very noticeable subtle effect and one that I’ve come to really appreciate as I take it every day. So, all right. Get OmegaBrite CBD online at omegabritewellness.com. And now Distraction listeners can save 20% on their first order by using the promo code podcast2020. That’s podcast2020, go to omegabritewellness.com and order OmegaBrite CBD. You’ll be glad you did, just as I am. Now, how does the other person, the person whose birthday was forgotten, how does she deal with that?

Sue Hallowell:
Well, I can tell you that there’s a true two-pronged approach for them too, right?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Sue Hallowell:
First of all, if someone really feels like their partner understands the impact, really takes responsibility for how it makes them feel, you see, when somebody says, “I’m just a bad person,” that’s really about them. It takes the focus away from the person whose birthday was forgotten, right?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Sue Hallowell:
Which is the feeling that people often have. If someone can really say, “Look, you’re right, I really have trouble. I get distracted and I forget things, and I really understand that hurts your feelings and made you feel unloved, and I am really sorry about that,” if someone hears that, they still may not like it, but at least they feel connected. At least they feel loved, and that’s a really different experience. That’s what a lot of these couples can never get to.

Sue Hallowell:
Now, of course, the person with ADHD, they also really have to buy in and understand that so if they forgot somebody’s birthday because they’re not distracted, or if they didn’t pay attention, that would mean probably something more dynamic or would mean that they were angry or it would mean that they don’t care. Right?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Sue Hallowell:
So they have to be willing to understand that there is a different lens and they really have to buy into the fact that their partner with ADHD really does get distracted and when they forget something, it doesn’t have the same meaning for them. So they have to really be able to buy into the idea of intent and see that it really is a different thing, which they are more likely to be able to do if the person with ADHD really feels the impact. Does that make sense what I’m saying?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Oh yeah, totally. Yeah. Yeah. And then there’s the old problem where the spouse doesn’t want to have ADD be used as an excuse.

Sue Hallowell:
Right.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I always say to people, “No, it’s not an excuse, but it is an explanation.”

Sue Hallowell:
But where it becomes an excuse, where that comes from is exactly what I’m talking about. When people go to externalization of shame rather than taking responsibility.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right, but it’s an explanation to help you take responsibility more effectively.

Sue Hallowell:
That’s exactly right.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s not an excuse to get out of taking responsibility.

Sue Hallowell:
That’s right. But you know what’s amazing to me is people, even people who proudly wear the banner of ADHD sometimes, they say, “I have ADHD and I’m proud of it,” they fight the symptoms that make up the ADHD and that’s where the problem come.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
How do they fight them?

Sue Hallowell:
So they may say, “I have ADHD,” but say there’s someone who’s always late because that’s an easy. They won’t really take responsibility that they really have trouble being on time. They make it about, “Oh, I just can’t help that,” or, “I’m a bad person because of that.” Or, “If you love me, you just accept me”, instead of just really understanding yes, timeliness, because of the way that I think in the world, being on time is hard for me. And if you can really see that as a problem that you want to solve, then you can develop strategies that aren’t going to work all the time, but you can certainly do better.

Sue Hallowell:
But people with ADHD, they’ll often say, “Oh, I don’t want to get help with that.” Or, “I don’t really need to put strategies in place. I’m just going to be better next time. I’m just not going to do that anymore.” Or they get mad at the other person for getting upset with them. So even though they say they have ADHD, they don’t want to accept that they really have trouble with time management, or they don’t really want to accept that they have trouble with different things.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
But on the other hand, just to take the other point of view, I don’t think someone should spend a lifetime trying to get good at what they’re bad at. At some point you want to say, “Look, I’m just not going to get better at this now. So I probably always will be late.” And you don’t offer that as an excuse. You offer it as a part of who I am. In my own personal case, as you know, I don’t remember names. I just simply can’t remember names and I no longer feel ashamed or guilty about that. It’s just a fact of who I am. If someone doesn’t like that about me, that’s their problem. I no longer think that’s a failing on my part because it’s a quirk of my brain. It’s like the fact that I’m also left-handed.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It doesn’t hurt anybody, and if someone does take offense at that, that’s their problem. I’m fully ready to explain to them I have this neurological problem. My brain doesn’t remember names. Unless I walked around with a notebook writing down, okay, describe the person, took a picture of them, it would be ridiculous the lengths that I’d have to go to. And for some people, the lengths they have to go to to be on time would be equally ridiculous.

Sue Hallowell:
I do. One of the things that I really do work with people is realistic expectations of what is possible to change and what isn’t possible to change. Right?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right, right.

Sue Hallowell:
One of the famous ones use for people is you would be surprised, or maybe you wouldn’t about how many people come in and one of the major issues is whether people close the cabinet doors.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Oh yes, yes.

Sue Hallowell:
Or whether they turn off the lights before they go to bed.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. I wrote, you know my satirical piece in Super Parenting For ADD where the guy says, “When I take something out of the cabinet and I don’t even notice if it’s open or not.”

Sue Hallowell:
That’s right. That’s right. That’s the kind of thing that I absolutely agree with you, that there are not really strategies one can put into place. I don’t spy so much the timeliness issue so much. I do agree that you will never be perfect at it and I really work with people around, again, what are realistic expectations. But I do think that there are strategies that you can put into place that can help you with that. You just have to understand what it is that gets in your way and be willing to do that.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
But once you’ve put all the strategies into place …

Sue Hallowell:
Then you’ve done the best you can do.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
… I’ve done all I can do about names. Well, not all I could do. Like I said, but I’m not going to go to the length of writing notebooks and putting posters up and hiring an assistant to follow me around.

Sue Hallowell:
Well, of course.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So I suppose if I were a politician maybe I’d have to do that. But since I’m not, I’ll just live with people wondering why I can’t remember their name. But yeah, you don’t want to blow off being late because it can cost you your job and it can cost you …

Sue Hallowell:
Lots of things.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
… lots of things.

Sue Hallowell:
It’s really important.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right, right, right.

Sue Hallowell:
And I do try to make the differentiation, but yes, they’re never going to be perfect on it. But I do think that that is the kind of thing that there are more practical things that you can put into place rather than your brain just escaping you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right.

Sue Hallowell:
Right? So I really try to work with people around what is realistic and what isn’t realistic and what needs to be done. And sometimes I try to get people to think out of the box. Like this isn’t about timeliness, but I worked with a family and I think a couple of the kids had ADHD too and mornings were just very disorganized. And even if dad, it would take him a while once he took his medication and it would just be a mess. The family was just very distressed about this. What we ended up deciding was he would either have to stay in bed until everybody left or get up before everybody got up.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s a good example of thinking outside the box. Well, talking about escaping us, the time has escaped us. As always when we have you on the time just disappears. Would you come back again soon?

Sue Hallowell:
I surly would.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
We really should have you on more often. It’s wonderful. I know our listeners love it as much as I do. We just begin talking and we just keep talking, which is not surprising.

Sue Hallowell:
Well, after 31 years.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
31 miserable years. Correct? Is that what you want me to say?

Sue Hallowell:
Now, now.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
31 impossibly difficult years full of [sturm and drang 00:00:23:59]? Right?

Sue Hallowell:
You know that’s not what I mean. You know that what I hate is when “experts” make it sound like they have all the answers. You know that it’s something I can’t stand.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
We certainly do not have all the answers. This is Dr. Ned Hallowell, who does not have all the answers.

Sue Hallowell:
And his wife, Sue …

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
… who does not have all the answers, thanking you for joining us on this first episode of Distraction. Please come back and join us again. We look forward to building this community as this year develops. Thank you so much. This is Dr. Ned Hallowell, until next time for Distraction.

The episode of Distraction you just heard was sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe, third-party tested, and it works. Shop online at omegbritewellness.com.

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Mental Illness Affects 1 in 5 Families

Mental Illness Affects 1 in 5 Families

Mental illness is so prevalent in the U.S. that we now have a reduced life expectancy as a result of 2 specific causes, and the pandemic is only making things worse. Dr. Ken Duckworth, the chief medical officer for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), joins Dr. H to talk about how his organization helps those with bipolar disorder, PTSD, OCD, schizophrenia, depression, thoughts of suicide, and other conditions.

Looking for help? Learn about NAMI by clicking HERE.

Is there a topic you’d like Dr. Hallowell to explore in a podcast? Write an email or record a voice memo on your phone and send it to [email protected].

Learn more about our sponsor, OmegaBrite CBD. Distraction listeners can SAVE 20% on their first order with the code: Podcast2020. Shop online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This episode of Distruction is sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe, third party tested and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
If anybody here is listening to Ned’s podcast and lives with schizophrenia, or loves someone with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, severe post-traumatic distress, has had a suicide attempt, NAMI is a great group. It is a great group, and one thing you’ll know is that people will listen to you. They won’t dismiss you, they know how hard this is, they know how much pain there is in this, and they will embrace you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello and welcome to Distruction, I am your host Dr. Ned Hallowell. I am really excited about our show today. As you know, I have some very special people in my life and one of those is Dr. Ken Duckworth. I’ve known him since he was a resident back at Mass Mental Health Center, and I used to call him one of the living saints of this world. He’s an amazing man, he’s a Harvard professor, a psychiatrist and the Chief Medical Officer for NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Ken and I share a personal history in that both of us had bipolar fathers, and that’s what brought us into the field. We exchange stories about that often. Ken is also double board certified in adult and child psychiatry, and he’s completed a forensic psychiatry fellowship, there’s nothing he doesn’t know about. He’s also an incredibly devoted dad to his three wonderful, brilliant daughters and has made them his top priority throughout his life. Another thing we share with me and my three kids and him with his three kids.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
We over the years have grown up together and even though I’m a little bit older than he is, he is one of the most special people I know. Without further ado, let me welcome my friend the…

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
I’ve got to meet this guy if any of that’s true.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well he is.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
[crosstalk 00:02:35].

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It’s you Ken, just look in the mirror.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
[inaudible 00:02:37] all right, so I want to start with a story if I may.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Please.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
This is about Ned, and in 1986 I took the radical path which was extremely unfashionable, to write about my dad’s bipolar disorder as the reason I wanted to become a psychiatrist. This essay was very personal and intense and real, my father was a very good man with a very bad illness. I spent a lot of time at state hospitals, police coming to the house and then on alternate summers or falls or winters, my friends and relatives saying, “How come you got the nice dad?”

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
I’m like, “Yes, I did get the nice dad,” but there was an asterisk there which is that, his bipolar disorder was quite severe and it made a big mark on me. This is 1986, this is NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness had just gotten started. I thought, “I’m just going to write the truth because for God’s sake I’m going into psychiatry. Surely someone will understand what this is like and have been through a personal experience.”

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Little did I know how naïve that was and I went to 15 of the best programs in America. 14 of those people ignored my essay, literally talking to me about my major in Political Science or my passion for college football, which is ongoing. I went to the University of Michigan and no, I don’t want to talk about Ohio State.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
One person that I interviewed with the day before I saw Ned in Boston, at our world’s famous Harvard Institution, said to me, he’s the only person besides Ned who I met the next day who took a look at my essay. He said, “So, you want to help your father, that’s a terrible reason to become a psychiatrist.” I say that with an accent because he had an accent.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
He apparently was a very famous person because I was a 26-year-old scared kid out of medical school, I didn’t know what that whole thing was that he was a world famous psychoanalyst. I said, “Well, I have been traumatized by this experience, but I loved him very much. I thought it might be good if I could see if I could make a difference because I know a little bit about what it’s like to love someone with a severe illness and see them for their strengths.”

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
He further ridiculed me and before I left and I walked out to my car, burst into tears and didn’t even finish the interview with that world famous program, I asked him, “One last question,” and again I sound like I have confidence but I don’t at the time. I’m a kid, I know no one. I said, “What would be a good reason to become a psychiatrist?” He paused for a minute, I think nobody had ever asked him that hard of a question. Paused for a really long time and he said, “Well, if your father is a psychiatrist, that would be a good reason.” I said, “Don’t we have something of a workforce shortage in the field?” Like I did say it, I got in one punch but then I left and I even skipped the free lunch, which is very unlike me if you knew me at all. I walked in my car, burst into tears and the next day I met Ned Hallowell.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Now, I’m going to finish this story about this world famous hospital flash forward 14 years and I’m the commissioner of mental health and this hospital does something very bad to a patient. When I called them into my office I wanted to remind them that I had the power to shut their facility because I was over licensing and control. What I did is, I didn’t do that of course. Maybe wonder what kind of person I was because I did have the power to actually harm them back, but I said, “I’d like to tell you a story.” I told them this story about how they had treated me when I was a nobody, but now I was the commissioner of mental health with power over their facility. I don’t know if they listened to my story, but it was very therapeutic to tell it.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
That next day I got up and I thought, “Maybe psychiatry isn’t for me.” I liked cardiology and I noticed they drove nicer cars than the psychiatry. I thought maybe I could just switch my whole orientation and just go into cardiology. I like talking to people about their hearts, it seemed very concrete and I really thought that morning that it wasn’t for me.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
After 14 programs had ignored me, one program had humiliated me, the last interview I did was with Ned Hallowell at the Massachusetts Health Center. The other three people I interviewed with at Mass Mental Health Center were very nice, but they also ignored my essay. It was just too much to take on, I mean you want to deal with this guy’s problems and his issues and how does that fit into who he is?

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Ned read my essay and I’m going to say 45 or 50 people I interviewed across America, he was the only person who read the essay, looked at me and said, “What a great thing. You know what this is like. Do you know what a difference you can make in people’s lives?” When Ned said that to me, I made a decision to move to Boston from Philadelphia. I’m still affiliated with the same Massachusetts Mental Health Center three decades later.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
It matters how you talk to people and it matters how you talk to them about their vulnerabilities. Ned was encouraging and supportive. You also encouraged me to pursue my actual interest, which was the first person and family experience of living with a condition and try to master it.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Then of course I found the National Alliance on Mental Illness or they found me, and I’ve been their National Medical Director now Chief Medical Officer for 15 years. I found this community of people who live their first experience and the family experience and Ned’s encouragement, pursue what you want to do. You might actually have some knowledge or advantage through your traumatic experiences that will help you be a better doctor.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
That’s a long story about Ned, but it’s the crucial story of my becoming a psychiatrist because for that one day after I was humiliated at the world famous Harvard Institution down the street, I thought seriously about becoming a cardiologist.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well I’m glad you didn’t do that Ken.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
I do drive a Mazda, it should be noted I could be driving a Bima, but psychiatry is my calling. I just needed one person to respond to my essay with an affirmation or at least an inquiry of, why was that important? Ned you made a big difference in my career and I shall never forget that.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, thank you so much and you in turn have made a huge difference in the lives of thousands if not millions of people around the country. With various kinds of mental illness, do you want to just talk a little bit about, what are some of the misconceptions in the general public that you could disabuse people of?

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Well I’d start with the idea that these aren’t real illnesses. Back in the day before this thing called mental health parody, I testified before Congress in multiple state houses that my dad had bipolar disorder which easily could have killed him if he didn’t receive medical care, and his medical care was the bare minimum. I had the misfortune of having cancer as a psychiatric resident and I could have been dead of course through an illness that would have killed me if I had not attended to it.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
I said and somehow in our society, this is in the 1990s, cancer is considered legitimate, [inaudible 00:10:11] casseroles they call you a hero. They offer to cover for you, they send you flowers. My father after his manic episodes was isolated, alone, people wouldn’t talk to us at church. Church is supposed to be theoretically nice people, who would all move away from us after a manic episode. I thought, this was a big part of my life in my 40s which was to fight for this idea of mental health parody.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
These conditions are real conditions. Is it true that there’s things that we don’t know about the brain that’s absolutely true? Is it true that I can’t tell you how lithium works to save people’s lives? It’s true. Might have something to do with membrane stabilization, but is it true that we don’t really know how the antipsychotics impact voices? The answer is, it’s really humbling because there’s a lot we don’t know. The fact that we don’t know a lot about the brain has nothing to do with the fact that these are real conditions.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
If you need to any further proof, I mean look at the evidence on suicide which has gone up steadily over the last two decades. From 1999 to 2018, we’ve had essentially a straight line of increase in suicide. At the same time we’ve had an increase in overdoes deaths too to opioids. These two illnesses together are conditions, are outcomes together are for the first time in 100 years caused a reduction in the American life expectancy.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Really? Wow!

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
The deaths by suicide and the deaths by overdose, the French continue to smoke their brains out, drink coffee up to the max and their life span keeps expanding. This is an American problem, and it has something to do with health disparity, it has something to do with the complexity of the uninsured but it has a lot to do with the fact that mental illnesses are not fully treated. Because of our problem with opioids, we’ve seen a lot of premature death.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
When you say mental health parody, Ken, what does that mean, mental health parody?

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Mental health parody means your insurance company can’t give you unlimited visits to see your oncologist, which of course as a cancer patient when I was a young man, I was allowed to do anything I wanted to. I think my treatment probably cost half a million dollars, while final copay was 50 bucks. Cancer was legitimate, my illness was legitimate. Was I grateful? I’m incredibly grateful. Medical science saved my life but the insurance company at the same time would have $500 as your outpatient psychotherapy maximum.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
That meant I could go see an oncologist twice a week if I wanted to, but I can only see a mental health practitioner perhaps five times if they charge $100 an hour. If they had the courage to charge 250 an hour, I only had two sessions that were covered. This is the inequity that was structured into the mental health system and into health insurance.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Mental health parody was a big cause celeb of mine personally and largely National Alliance on Mental Illness made this happen. The first version was 1998, Domenici and Wellstone. Domenici was a Senator from New Mexico, Wellstone a Democrat from Minnesota and they together had family members with serious mental illness. They got it, and they did version kind of 1.0 and then later on Patrick Kennedy with the affordable Care Act and all the activity after the housing collapsed 2008.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
This amendment was tied to it, and to make the long story short, mental health access has improved. I think a lot of people still feel that we’re not at true parody yet. That means treating them exactly the same, but I do think we’re going in the right direction.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What percentage of families in the country have at least one member who does have a serious mental illness?

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
The answer Ned is one in five Americans would endorse, one in five families have a person who would endorse an anxiety disorder, a depressive disorder. Another mood disorder like bipolar disorder, psychotic disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder, OCD, these are kind of the major categories. For serious mental illness the number is smaller, that’s about one in 17 people has a condition that is severely impacting their functioning. That is brain based and it involves emotion, behavior, cognition that is severely impacting their functioning. Frequently with work, relationships and their health and self-care.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. What percentage of people who could benefit from help from a mental health professional actually consult the mental health professional?

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
That’s a good question. We think less than half of people with most mental health conditions actually get help.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Wow!

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Well the good news is since we’ve done this whole mental health parody thing, the number of people who are seeking help is increasing. We saw this in the pandemic. NAMI has a helpline 1-800-950-NAMI which is staffed by individuals with first person experience or family experience. Our calls went up very substantially.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Wow!

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
The other thing which was surprising in the pandemic is the American mental health field not known for sprinting, pivoted in three days to become a teleservice. The experience of the therapists and the patients has been very positive, although not universally positive, but I think it’s a new way of delivering care that’s here to stay.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
The therapists were surprised that the people always show up, that the cancellation rate is low. That they don’t have that first five minutes of accession where they can read CNN online because the patient show up on time as they do for their professional meetings or other Zoom calls during the course of the day. The patients notice that it’s convenient, they get heard and they don’t have to pay for parking or fight traffic.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
I think that for people who don’t have a lot of privacy, it’s important to have a phone service covered so people can go into their car. If you live in a studio apartment with another person and part of your experience is to talk about that person, privacy can be a challenge. I do think there are people who are a little bit paranoid of technology. There are people for whom this isn’t an ideal setup. I think if you talk to people they’d rather see somebody like you Ned in person, but given the fact that we’re in the middle of our first pandemic in our lifetime, the rules have changed. I think the mental health field has responded.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
They’ve changed by using Zoom or some other platform, that’s one.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Any platform that they’ve been using has made a difference, and it’s interesting the other fields of medicine have really struggled. How do I do ophthalmology care? How do I take care of people’s knee problems? Well, those things are very hard to do virtually but because our skillset is listening, judgment, empathy, compassion, and thoughtful reflection and potentially recommendations, that’s a skillset that’s ongoing.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
We can’t touch the patients. We’re not supposed to take their blood pressure. We have to be thoughtful about what we’re trying to do here in the field of medicine and it turns out mental health is an incredibly easy thing to apply to the tele space. I think that’s been a great gift.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Do you think that will continue after the pandemic is over?

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
I do think people will want to see their therapist in person. I think they’ll want to, but now that they’ve been thrown into the deep end of the teletherapy pool, and realized they can swim pretty well, I think a lot of people are going to say, “You know, it’s an hour to drive to Sudbury,” you probably don’t charge people for parking Ned at your office.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
No.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Sudbury’s not next to my house, so if I want to come see you as a professional, be an hour commitment going out, an hour commitment coming back, I’d had to pick up some apples in Concord on the way. It’s four hours round trip, so it’s a big commitment. If I could see you by pushing a button, then go back to work or engage in child care or do any other tasks that might be relevant like cooking dinner for the family, I think I might choose to do that some of the time. Some other time I just break down and make the trip.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, I have been taking a new supplement called OmegaBrite CBD. Listeners know that Brite is spelled, B-R-I-T-E, so it’s Omega B-R-I-T-E CBD. As I had mentioned before, OmegaBrite CBD was created by my good friend Dr. Carol Locke, graduate of Harvard Medical School and her company, OmegaBrite Wellness. They have been making the number one omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well Carol and her team decided to break new ground and having set the standard for purity, safety and efficacy in the world of omega-3s and they’ve brought that same commitment to excellence to their new CBD supplement. I take it myself, it helps me with my reactivity, my impatience. It kind of just puts a smoother edge. It’s in no way is it a buzz or a high or anything like that. It’s way more subtle, but it’s a very noticeable subtle effect and one that I have come to really appreciate as I take it every day.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
All right, get OmegaBrite CBD online at omegabritewellness.com and now Distruction listeners can save 20% on their first order by using the promo code podcast 2020. That’s podcast 2020, go to omegabritewellness.com and order OmegaBrite CBD. You’ll be glad you did just as I am.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What about the person who’s listening now and is saying, “This living at home and this keeping social distance is starting to drive me crazy.” That’s not a mental illness but what should that person do?

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Well first of all I don’t think anybody likes it. Although I have one friend who’s a psychiatrist who’s a severe introvert, who seems happier. He works out of his basement, has lunch with his wife every day. I go over to his backyard every other week, we stay at 20 feet away from each other and chat. I think his quality of life has improved. Now, this speaks to how individual this all this.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
True.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
I of course I’m an extrovert.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes you are.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
I struggle to not see my friends. I don’t like not going down to my coffee shop at the end of my street and hanging out, and talking to the owners. The owners are hiding in their masks, it’s not a convivial environment. In fact, all the tables have been removed.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Oh gosh.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
You can have a standing chat for two minutes, nobody checks in about my daughter who used to work there, but there’s something lost there. I guess what I would say is isolation is hard on all of us. If you have an anxiety disorder, depressive disorder, it’s a challenge. You have to figure out, how do you stay connected with people?

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Connection is crucial for mental wellbeing and it doesn’t solve all problems, but through your faith group, through AA, through anomie connection, through some other vehicle. I have a Monday night meeting with four friends, we used to go out to dinner once a month and now we meet once a week. It’s fun.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s wonderful.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
I actually look forward to it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s wonderful.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
I have a friend deficit disorder during the variation on the thing you study. It’s hard to be isolated.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It is.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
It is weary. I will say that, I do think it’s going to be a very long haul, like I don’t think the vaccine’s going to turn up and everything’s going to be okay. I think we’re up for a pro crafted experience, so figuring out what your inventory of coping skills is. Mine happens to be connecting with friends online, family reunions of sorts online. We’re doing a memorial service for a beloved member of the family this week in New Jersey. I didn’t really want to do it but somebody really wanted to get us together.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Oh good for you.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
I’m driving to New Jersey and I’m going to see the family and it’s not the way I wanted to see them. I wanted to have a party and hang out and toast the family member, but what we’re going to do is have lunch under this tree where our little grave sites in Cape May, New Jersey and we’re going to have lunch. Elbow bump, and go back to our respective corners, extremely suboptimal.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
I have come around from opposing this idea to believing it’s probably better to make it a choice to be connected.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Oh yes.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
You mentioned that your family’s in North Carolina, see and they’re cousins right? There’s some risk there, but there’s a lot of benefit in the connection.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes. There sure is, I mean it’s essential. I mean we’ve learned social isolation is as dangerous as cigarette smoking.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Yeah, it’s really not a good thing and so I really think we miss the boat when we called it social distancing. We should have called it physical distancing from the get-go. I think you’ve seen in this entire pandemic that we’ve missed several big boats. Telling people not to wear masks because we were trying to secure them from medical providers I think has confused a lot of people. Giving the impression that young people can’t really get the virus so they can feel free to party on at the beach. Again, just some young people duly noted.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
I think we haven’t done a very good job and by calling it social distancing, I think we missed it. The idea is we have to stay away from each other because the virus is transmitted physically. Socially you got to stay connected to your people.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Absolutely. Absolutely.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
You really have to because that’s an antidepressant and an antianxiety treatment.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I call it the other vitamin C, vitamin connect.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
There we go, vitamin connect. It’s also good for people who have addiction vulnerabilities.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, absolutely.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Connection is really important. I have a friend who’s a physician who’s in AA, and on his birthday, I checked in on him on his birthday and he said, “I had a great birthday.” I said, “What made it great?” He said, “Well, I’m here in my apartment and I have been to two AA meetings and I got a lot of love in both of them. It was new and I called them in the middle of the day.” I thought, “This man has figured something out.” He said, “I’d be at meetings anyway and it turns out the AA platform is very well suited, and it might even be better because when on a Zoom call, somebody’s speaking, you get to see their face. You’re not spacing out in the room like you might be the rest of the time.”

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
He found something that meant something to him and this is the art of self-care. You have to find out, what is it that will help you get through this because this might be a long haul? It’s not good for people to lose their jobs, it’s not good for people to live with the anxiety of losing their jobs and coping with the anxiety of someone you love getting ill or dying. There’s a lot to cope with.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
We’re almost overtime, just coming back to irrational things and what to do to combat them, what can we do to dismantle the terrible stigma that still surrounds mental health issues?

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
I prefer the words prejudice discrimination to the word stigma, because the word stigma itself is complication of how you think about things. What is the prejudice that you have for yourself if you were to say, “Can I join this club?” Every time a famous person comes out and says, “I have such and such a condition,”… Selena Gomez two weeks ago did a talk with NAMI’s CEO. I’ve had several chat with famous celebrities on NAMI’s Instagram page. People want to talk about their mental health conditions and so this idea I have prejudice against somebody gets broken down when you see Selena Gomez, one of the most amazing humans on the planet has said, “I think it’s okay to talk about the fact that I’ve struggled with bipolar disorder, that’s very helpful.”

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
The related thing about the attitudes is the discrimination. This gets back to our early discussion about mental health parody. The idea that you just structure and rules that jam people who don’t have illnesses that are considered quote legitimate end quote. This is why mental health parody’s an ongoing struggle, we continue to have lawsuits and interpretations and attorney generals review it.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
What are the conditions under which the race is actually fair for a person with mental health condition? Can you allow yourself to seek help? Still, a challenge for many men. There was a pretty good study a little while ago, showed that the more hypertoxic, masculinity men endorsed, the more likely they were to have very bad outcomes including suicide. The idea somehow being threatened by mental health is such an unfortunate piece of our culture and I think this ordinary human experiences… My dad’s bipolar disorder, hearing voices and believing that he was Jesus wasn’t great. It is 2.7% of the population plus or minus has this condition. It’s rooted in biology. It’s treatable for the most part. It requires a lot of self-knowledge and self-care.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Was it difficult? It was very difficult. Was it worse before there were things like NAMI and Selena Gomez to use two examples? Yes, it was worse. There’s a NAMI chapter in every major American city that’s doing connection groups and programming, educational work. Advocacy if you feel the service system is mistreating you or somebody you love. Well let’s fight to make it better. Mental health parody, that fight is not over. We’ve won some battles but that war is not over.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
I feel like there’s a place to go now if you’re struggling with this, and you will be welcomed by people who are loving and creative. A community of people who probably didn’t start their lives thinking, “I want to be identified with a condition that it does not have a high status.” Like mental health problems, mental health conditions, turns out it’s an amazing group of people and I consider it my second family. NAMI is in my will.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
I feel like NAMI helped to save my life by giving me a sense of purpose around these wounds I had. I feel so fortunate to have stumbled upon it, and if anybody here is listening to Ned’s podcast and lives with schizophrenia or loves someone with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, severe post-traumatic distress, has had a suicide attempt, NAMI is a great group. It is a great group and one thing you’ll know is that people will listen to you, they won’t dismiss you. They know how hard this is, they know how much pain there is in this, and they will embrace you.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
I think the question about prejudice discrimination is, can you take the first step? I might be talking to your primary care doctor about the fact that you can’t sleep, you’ve lost 30 pounds, you’ve lost interest in everything. You’re thinking about giving away your possessions. That’s a classic depression, you could reach out to your primary care doctor. They prescribe most of the antidepressants in America, they help people, they might be able to refer you to somebody who does therapy. Or if you don’t want to go that route, you could start with NAMI and find a local NAMI chapter and say, “What are the resources that are out there? How can I find a path to be supported and connected while living with this particular challenge that I have?”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You go to nami.org, is that the website?

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Nami.org is where it’s at. We get millions of hits and we’ve become the dominant source of information for people in the last year. It’s been interesting to me to see that because I have tremendous respect for the other communities, NIMH, the American Psychiatric Association. More people seem to be seeking media inputs and lessons from our website, so people have come to trust NAMI and I’m grateful for that.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well that has a lot to do with you Ken I mean because you’re the face of it and the spokesman for it. There’s no one I know who’s more convincing, believable. You’ve done such a great job.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Well thank you Ned and if it wasn’t for you, I’d be practicing cardiology today, driving a BMW.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I think also the image problem would be helped if more people talked about, it’s hard to find a very creative person who doesn’t have either an anxiety disorder, a depressive disorder, addiction, or ADHD. It’s common among those countries or common among the highly creative people amongst us.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Yeah, if you want to do a treatise on this, Kay Jamison’s, Touched By Fire is the artistic temperament and mood disorders. It’s unbelievable-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, absolutely.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
… how many of the artists that we would hold out as our greatest artists were clearly quote touched by fire. Maybe not with formal diagnostic schemes but she goes through their-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
No, they were crazy as hell, I mean you know.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
… diaries, their writings, their observations and you’re absolutely right Ned.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right, it’s…

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
For many people.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, so it’s not to be ashamed at all. By the time I die I want people to wish they had ADHD because if you manage it right, it’s such an asset. It can ruin your life as well, but if listening to Ken if you’re listening and you know someone, don’t think of it as a marker of shame. Think of it as a marker of talent. I tell people overtime I don’t…

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Or of resilience.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
We all have to cope with something and the faiths conspired through genetics and environment and epigenetics to have you have a recurrent condition. You’re not alone with that, in fact there are millions of people who are living with these kind of things and together you can get a lot out of it.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
I do want to say one thing that I still quote you about whenever I’m confronted with somebody who says, “I have a young child and he was just told he had ADHD.” I said, “Ned Hallowell would say you have a BMW brain and a Chevy hand.” They said, “How did you know he can’t write?” I’m like, “Well, it’s the Chevy hand, it’s right there. All the great ideas, he’s having trouble translating it.” A few things that you’ve said Ned have really stuck with me including one you said to one of my daughters who was diagnosed with ADHD, you said, “So you have the gift?”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes, exactly.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
It was a great moment, it was a great moment in her life because thinking about these things which have the potential to identify you as different or less than through a different lens, that there’s a possibility, there’s a potentiality inside of us.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. No, I don’t treat disabilities, I help people unwrap their gifts.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
That’s right.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I think that you do the same thing. What you’re doing it’s such spectacular work. I mean it really is, it’s a wonderful thing. I’m glad that NAMI is now the leading source of information. As I said that’s thanks to Dr. Ken Duckworth.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Well it’s a whole team of people, but I do think-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, I know, I know.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
… people trust a consumer family experience and we also made a decision about three years ago, every research study we cite is listed on the website. If you don’t believe what we say, click on the research study and you can see that it’s only 400 people but it’s the best study there is on this topic.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
We make everything as transparent as possible, goes back to the antiscience discussion we’ve had, I believe in science, I believe in education. I believe that people have the capacity to learn and make decisions for themself.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
If you want to see what the literature is on a specific treatment or an intervention, or on the risks or traumas that attend to certain things, it’s on the NAMI website and it’s all transparent.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yup, nami.org, N-A-M-I.org, not .com .org. N-A-M-I.org. Well you know Ken, I could talk to you for so long, this is wonderful. You’ve brought so much and you do so much. If people listening want to learn more and want to connect, feel a part of a growing community of people who have different brains and learn how to understand them better-

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
That’s right.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
… join a group [crosstalk 00:36:51].

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
The other thing you might want to check out and dish to our groups is, I run a session called Ask the Expert, once a month. Where I get the leading thinkers in American mental health to talk about different topics and people who join in.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Beautiful.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
We run about 1,000 people per session.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Wonderful, wow!

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Can ask questions and we cover everything from transcranial magnetic stimulation to minority disparities in mental health.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Wow! What’s the latest on transcranial magnetic stimulation?

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Well I think it’s pretty well covered by private insurance.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes, but does it work is my question?

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
It does have an acute indication, so if you fail on several meds, because nobody would start with an engine problem by doing a major overhaul of your engine. You would probably add oil first, check the timing of the engine. TMS does appear more invasive, but I took a three-day course at the Beth Israel Hospital in transcranial magnetic stimulation. I was impressed mostly by not the fact that when they zapped my brain it felt like a bee sting to the skull. Like I’m like, “How did they do a generic sham zap? How would you know the difference between that zap?” I was very interested in that.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
I talked to the techs instead of listening to only the professionals and I [inaudible 00:38:18] about five of the techs. I said to them, “What do people say when they say our show rate is 95%?” I thought, “Okay, that’s telling me something, people feel they’re getting a benefit.” My understanding of literature Ned, is the maintenance use of TMS has not really been well established. I don’t think there’s really a research base for that and I don’t think it’s well established for bipolar disorder or psychosis.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
That would just be an example of a discussion, that if you have depression and the other interventions haven’t worked, there is some evidence there that this could be helpful to you. The side effects are apparently quite mild in terms of a headache or something like that. People show up at very high levels and it makes a different for people.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. You are a living saint and can’t thank you enough for taking time out of your amazingly busy schedule to join us. Listeners go to nami.org, N-A-M-I.org or go to Ken’s Ask the Expert, happens once a month. Join a chapter, get involved, suddenly you will feel so much less alone and so much more accepted. You’ll learn, you’ll gain knowledge which is power in and of itself.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Thank you all for joining us, so much thank you especially Ken. As I say, learn more go to nami.org and don’t forget, please reach out to us with your questions, comments and show ideas. We need them, we live off of them, we use them, and we produce them. Send an email or a voicemail to [email protected], that’s [email protected]

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Distruction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer and editor is the estimable Scott Persson and our producer is the always vivacious and brilliant Sarah Guertin. I am your host Dr. Ned Hallowell saying goodbye for now.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode you just heard was sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe, third party tested and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com.

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Ned Loves Tuna Salad, Thunderstorms and Facts

Ned Loves Tuna Salad, Thunderstorms and Facts

Encouraged by numerous emails from listeners, our host shares more about who he is and what he believes in.

Is there a topic you’d like Dr. Hallowell to explore in a podcast? Write an email or record a voice memo on your phone and send it to [email protected].

Learn more about our sponsor, OmegaBrite CBD. Distraction listeners can SAVE 20% on their first order with the code: Podcast2020. Shop online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson.

Click HERE to listen to this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:

This episode of Distraction is sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega 3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe, third party tested, and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com.

Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell and welcome to a mini episode of Distraction. As you know, we release these mini episodes, people, I think, like them often better than the longer ones, because they’re short and we live in an age of, short is good. In any case, some episodes ago, I said, I asked listeners, “Is it okay if I go off topic and talk about things that I don’t have a degree in or written books about?” And you all answered me, “Yes, yes, yes, yes.” So, I felt wonderfully liberated by that permission you gave me, and so I thought I’d do this little mini on 10 beliefs I hold, so you’ll know where I’m coming from.

Get a sense of what I’m like, as much as I’d love to hear from you as to what you’re like. So, here are 10 beliefs or preferences or predilections that I have. I love tuna salad that I make on my own, and I put everything in it you can imagine, chopped onion, chopped garlic, chopped celery, capers, chopped olives, cayenne pepper, salt, celery salt, whatever I can put. I make this amazingly, I think, delicious. Some other purists would say, “Over seasoned and extra ingredient-ed.” But I love that tuna salad and I often make it for my lunch.

I love thunderstorms. I know I’m not alone in that, but I love thunderstorms, if I’m inside. I don’t particularly like being outdoors in a thunderstorm, but although that has a certain thrill to it as well, but the incredible energy that is released in a thunderstorm, really titanic and inspiring, honestly, when I listen to them. The third item, I really don’t understand people who reject facts. I don’t get it. I’ll go a step further and say, “I really don’t like these people because they’re getting in the way of progress, and they hold onto their ignorance as if it were a badge of honor.” Science means knowledge. You don’t believe in science, it’s not a religious principle. Science means knowledge. So, if you reject science, you’re rejecting knowledge. And isn’t that the story of the mistakes people make, rejecting knowledge, rejecting a proven fact? And it just, it boggles my mind, and the very pressing example of it, people who say, “I won’t wear a mask because it’s my personal freedom not to.”

Well, it’s like saying, “I won’t stop at red lights, it’s my personal freedom to drive through them.” Or, “I won’t wear a seatbelt because it’s my personal freedom not to wear one.” Or, “I think I’ll drive on the other side of the road because it’s my personal freedom to.” Don’t you understand that wearing a mask around other people, if we all would do that, this pandemic would come to an end? I just don’t get it. And people who, I hear them on talk radio going on and on about their personal freedom not to wear a mask and they’ll be blankety blank to fill, listen to blankety blank, telling them to blankety blank. Really? You want to have it be your personal freedom to infect other people and to perpetuate this horror of a pandemic that is absolutely hamstringing the entire country?

And it’s no accident that Europe and other countries have taken care of this. They’ve got it under control. We don’t because of these stubborn, and I would add, ignorant people who won’t wear masks. I mean, honest to goodness, why not? Why not? Why do you put your personal freedom over the welfare of the entire country? I honestly don’t get it. I just don’t get it. It must be wired into us that, in this country, that we, I don’t know, that we have to be selfish, that we can’t sacrifice for others. I mean, I know that’s not true, because I know most people are very self-sacrificing, but why won’t you sacrifice whatever freedom you have in favor of wearing a mask? Okay. Another one, I’m an ardent, ardent, ardent sports fan. I have wasted more time, although to me it wasn’t wasted, watching sports.

I grew up watching the Red Sox, and then the Patriots, and the Bruins and the Celtics. I don’t have a favorite. I suppose, if I had to pick it would be football. Baseball has just become so slow, I literally can’t sit through watching a game on TV. And if I go to the park, I want to leave by the sixth inning, but they really need to do something to speed the game up. It’s crazy. And the players saying they won’t do it, they’re being paid hundreds of millions of dollars, they should just learn how to get the ball and throw it and not stand there scratching themselves in various areas before they throw it. You can tell, I have feelings about that one too.

I love, love, love the beach. I grew up in Chatham on Cape Cod back when it was a small town, before it had become the megalopolis. But I love Chatham, I love the beaches around Chatham. I spent many, many, many wonderful times, Hardings Beach, I’d stand in the parking lot on the white lines, waiting to get a hotdog from the hotdog stand and then go back out to the beach and swim, and Nauset Beach and Monomoy, all of that. It speaks to me in a very special way, the way childhood memories do. Those of you who listen regularly know, I love dogs, adore, adore, adore dogs. Dogs are God’s best messengers and it’s no accident that God spelled backwards is dog. Dogs, just, they’re just, they’re the most wonderful loyal connectors, lovers, healers.

I have a patient who’s actually writing a book about how her dog healed her from her addiction and depression and place of abject misery. And her dog, for over the course of a year, loved her up and out of it. It’s going to be a wonderful book. I yearn for a time when humor and civility return to the national discourse. I am really worn out with rancor and accusation and gotcha, and just people going after people. I’m so worn out with that. There are no good guys and bad guys really, we’re all human and you know the wonderful line, to understand all is to forgive all. I’m really tired of people who just are in the business of accusing. One of my favorite prayers, I’m Episcopalian, so that’s where I’m coming from.

But one of my favorite prayers is, “Lord, help me always to search for the truth, but spare me the company of those who have found it.” So much damage is done by people who think they have the truth and they lord it over you. Self righteousness, thinking that you have the truth and it is your duty to impose your will on others. Now, I just said, “I wish you’d wear a mask.” But you have the right not to, I just can’t understand why you would choose not to. But I’m not imposing it, I’m begging, please, please look at the facts and wear a mask. This is the final one, I’m also grateful to be learning, I’m 70 years old, about systemic racism. I thought we had it licked back when I was in college, graduated in ’72, with the Civil Rights Act and whatnot.

But of course, we didn’t have it licked and with George Floyd, I’m learning about out the experience of black people, that I just didn’t know. I didn’t know that the average black person, regardless of level of education or income gets tailed and followed and gives their kids advice on, “If you get stopped, don’t put up an argument. Just obey.” And what it must be like to live right in that kind of fear. And I was blissfully, not blissfully, I was terribly unaware of it, until this recent movement. And I realized how in my own self, I have stock responses, that I guess have to be called racist. And if we can understand this, if I can learn about it, it’s all about empathy. It’s all about putting yourself in the other person’s shoes and walking a mile.

And we say we do it, but it’s very hard to do it, and the beauty of the Black Lives Matters movement is to help those of us who didn’t really get it, get it. And I don’t feel like I’m confessing to some terrible sin at all, I feel like I’m happy, I’m grateful to be learning something I didn’t know. And I do feel badly that I didn’t know it, but I also know that an awful lot of people don’t know, and the best thing we can do is not to get defensive and say, “Oh, I’m not a racist, or I’m not a this.” Don’t be defensive. Just say, “Yeah, I have these stock responses and I need to learn about them, so I can counteract them.” You don’t have to act on your prejudice and you can empathize with the person.

And first of all, know about it, learn about it. What does it feel like to be a black man in a world that, where you are not looked at in a way that acknowledges your dignity and assumes your innocence? That must be so hard and I’m glad to be learning about that. Honestly, I’m grateful to be learning about that. Well, those are some of my likes and dislikes, and predilections and where I am in my life. And I’d love to hear from all of you about this or about anything else, please reach out to us with your questions, comments, show ideas, anything, and email us at [email protected] That’s [email protected]. And remember to check out our sponsor, they help us stay on the air. So, check out our sponsor, OmegaBrite CBD, that’s O-M-E-G-A-B-R-I-T-E, intentionally misspelled, CBD.

I’ve been taking it for a little over three months now, and I highly recommend it. It’s good for mood and cuts down on impatience and reactivity. OmegaBrite CBD is safe, third party tested and it works. And if you go to omegabritewellness.com and use the promo code PODCAST 2020, you’ll get 20% off of your first order. And as I said, please reach out to us, [email protected]. Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is the always reliable and always delightful, Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer and editor as well, is the very multi-talented and very socially engaging Scott Persson. I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell and I can’t thank you enough for listening.

The episode you just heard was sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega 3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe, third party tested, and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com.

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