Should Ned Stick to What He Knows?

Should Ned Stick to What He Knows?

Should Dr. H avoid talking about politics, money, religion, sex and other non-ADHD topics on this podcast?

Ned reacts to an email he received from a listener who said he should stick to talking about ADHD in this podcast and reaches out to listeners for feedback.

What do you think? Share your thoughts with us at [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 can be found below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:

This episode of Distraction is sponsored by Omega Brite CBD, formulated by Omega Brite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. Omega Brite 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, during this period of COVID, each week we release a mini episode that in some way pertains to the experience we’re all sharing as we live through this unique period in our lives. And unique it certainly is. I wanted to reflect on an email that I was sent, but let me preface it by saying when I was growing up, and I grew up in a very Waspy family, where being polite was de rigueur, I was explicitly told and certainly implicitly told to stay away from certain topics in conversation, and those topics included politics, religion, money, and sex.

I can still remember watching my father shave one day. I must have been six years old. And I asked him, because I had just learned this word, “Dad, what is your salary?” And he looked down at me as if I had just uttered the worst curse word you could ever imagine. He said, “Ned, never, ever ask anyone that question.” And I got the strong message that talking about money, certainly in a personal way, like how much do you have, was completely off limits. And there are other instances where I got the same message regarding politics, religion, and as for sex, that was just so out of the question, unless the people in the room had been doing what they usually were doing, which was drinking, in which case sex would come up very easily.

In any case over the years, I’ve turned that advice in my mind over and over, and I’ve really decided it’s terrible advice. It’s good advice if you want to not make any waves, if you want to avoid conflict, if you want to be as bland as you can possibly be. Then yes, don’t bring those up, and for that matter, don’t bring up much of anything. Just talk about the weather and ask the other person to talk about themselves, and you’ll be safe. But of course that’s not my way. Having ADHD, I like to branch out, reach out, inquire, probe and try to find out what’s going on. And that’s what I encourage other people to do.

Well, I must have strayed beyond the boundaries of people expect. In one episode, I opined not overtly politically, but one listener took umbrage to what I said. It was not an opinion as much as it was, I guess, a intimation, but he emailed me and he said, “Dr. Hallowell, I enjoy your podcast, but stick to ADHD. If you go into politics, you’ll offend people, you’ll lose your listenership. We don’t like it. We don’t want it. So just keep that to yourself.” And I’ve been wondering, do all of you feel that way? I’d love to hear from you. Do you all want me to just keep this very G-rated and very conflict free and free of anything that I’m not a licensed professional to talk about?

I mean, I would much rather have an ongoing dialogue with you and it is certainly true, I will never turn this show into a Fox News versus MSNBC contest. I wouldn’t want that. I mean, I think you listen to this to get away from that. So I don’t want to join the haranguing and join the venting, and join the angry discourse that you can hear altogether too easily. And I do try to be a unifier. I do try to be a connector. But to me, that allows there to be availability of all points of view, listening to all points of view, honoring, as we say in my religion, to respect the dignity of every human being. That’s what I’d like to try to do and not to avoid hot topics, but rather cool them down by airing them out. You can cool them down by airing them out in a way that makes each point of view intelligent, responsible, and discussable.

To me, the minute you say something can’t be talked about, you give it power that it ought not to have. When a thing becomes forbidden, it takes on a secret power that tends to distort it and magnify it, intensify it in a radioactive kind of way. I’d like to get guidance from you all on this. So please email me, email us [email protected], and tell me, do you want me just to stick to the G-rated discussions about ADHD, which I certainly love to do, or do you like it if I go off that topic and get into politics, religion, money, and sex, and any other topic you might like me to bring up, like dogs and meatloaf, two of my favorites that are not on the beaten path? Let me know, give me guidance. Let me know if that man who wrote to me speaks for most of you, or if he speaks for a minority of you.

And let me thank that man. I’m not naming you at all and I don’t want to single you out in a negative way. I appreciate your giving me your point of view. You were trying to help me. You said I’ll lose my audience if I don’t stick to what I’m licensed to talk about, and instead if I offer my various thoughts, feelings, and ideas on other topics of human existence. As always, thank you so very much for joining us. We depend upon you. We need you. We want you. Please tell your friends about us, as we’re trying to grow and build a community of interesting and congenial listeners. And if you’re not congenial, that’s okay too. You can be whoever you want to be.

Before I say goodbye, I’d like to remind you to check out Omega Brite CBD. I have been taking this CBD supplement for three months now, and feel very much more calm because of it, not calm in a zonked out kind of way, but calm in an equanimous kind of way. Equanimity, Osler said, was the great goal of the physician. Equanimity is a wonderful state to achieve, and Omega Brite CBD helps me achieve equanimity. You can buy Omega Brite CBD online at omegabritewellness.com. And remember, brite is spelled B-R-I-T-E. Omega, O-M-E-G-A, B-R-I-T-E wellness.com. Distraction listeners should use the promo code podcast2020 to save 20% off their first order, podcast2020. Omega Brite CBD, safe, third party tested, and it works.

Remember, if you have a question, comment or show idea, we want to hear from you. Question, comment, show idea, or recipe for meatloaf, we want to hear from you. Send us an email at [email protected]. That’s [email protected] Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is the amazingly talented Sarah Guertin, and our recording engineer and editor is the almost as amazingly talented Scott Persson,  and I’ll catch hell for that. I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell. Thank you so much for listening.

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

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Ned’s Short List of Good Distractions

Ned’s Short List of Good Distractions

Pandemic-life these days can be quite stressful, so finding ways to give your brain a break is key to maintaining a healthy balance. Our host shares a few of the things he’s been doing to take his mind off of the pandemic, politics and other upsetting topics in this week’s mini Distraction.

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 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 Pat Keogh.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode can be found below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:

This episode of Distraction is sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe, third-party tested, and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com.

This is Dr. Ned Hallowell with a mini episode of Distraction. During the pandemic, each week, we do a mini episode that touches in some way upon this phenomenon that we’ve all been living within and today’s is going to be a lighthearted one. I want to talk about things that I have been doing myself to divert me from the perils of the day, to take my mind off of the pandemic, politics and other upsetting topics. I just thought I’d go down the list of what I’ve done either alone or with family members, not an exhaustive list, of course, but just a few things that came trippingly to my tongue or instantly to my mind.

One thing, I have been binge watching Schitt’s Creek. Now, if you’ve never seen Schitt’s Creek, it is funny. I really recommend it to you. My wife started watching it and she described it to me and I said, “I don’t think that sounds good.” It is terrific. It is uproariously funny. It is so, so, so, so funny. If you don’t find the show funny, something’s happened to your funny bone. Just thinking about it, with Eugene Levy, with the big eyebrows, it’s just hysterically funny.

I also made a purchase while waiting in line because we have to wait in line to get into certain stores, and the line outside of Whole Foods happens to have a bunch of hanging flowers for sale. So I bought two of these hanging flower pots, one predominant color pink, the other predominant color violet, and I hung them from hooks on our front porch. Now, when you buy hanging flower pots, you have to water the flowers. So that’s what I’ve been doing each day, and in order to water the flowers, I’m not quite tall enough to reach the watering can up. So I bought a little step stool. So I have my step stool on the porch, along with my watering can and I get up there every day or every other day and water these flowers. I’m telling you, it’s really rewarding to see them flourish and grow and they’re bushier, and hanging downer more, and just lovely to behold.

Also, someone left us a pot of pansies as sort of a gift during this time and I’ve been watering that as well and they are just flourishing. My gosh, there were a few stray strands of pansy in the original. Now it’s just like a pansy bush. So we’ve got the blue pansies, the violet flowers, the pink flowers and the porch, it just lifts my spirits. I also wrote a letter to David Brooks, the columnist in the New York Times. He wrote a column on Friday, the 26th, about five problems that we’re dealing with that I just thought it was a wonderful column.

I’ve also been cooking. I go online and I look for recipes and there’s a gazillion recipes online. They’ll have 32 ways of turning ground meat into a meal or 17 side dishes for the 4th of July, and I love these and I go download them, I print them out and next thing you know, I’m cooking them up. Like tomorrow, I’m going to make a vegetable chicken stew in the crackpot. Tuesdays is my day to make dinner, so I’ll put it in in the morning, and by the time evening rolls around, we’ll have this yummy, delicious stew. Online recipe shopping is another activity that I highly recommend.

Play with a dog. We’re lucky because my daughter is here and with her comes her a little Chiweenie named Layla. As you know, I think dogs are God’s greatest creation. Been playing with Layla every chance I get. Then when my son brings over his dog, Max, we had to play with both dogs and out in the backyard, the two of them rushing around.

Then one final thing I got for my daughter, because she really wanted this, a inflatable pool, above ground obviously, that it’s big enough for her to put a inflatable raft in it so she can lie in the sun, in the water, on the water and to see the smile on her face, when this thing arrived. It didn’t cost a huge amount. It was $300. I know that’s not nothing, but it was affordable and it was joy, joy, joy, joy. This is all along the lines of specializing. That’s my term for making the ordinary extraordinary. Turning what’s a dismal situation into one that’s a playful, fun, rewarding, interesting, engaging.

So that’s my little list. Binge-watched Schitt’s Creek, water the hanging flowers, write a letter to David Brooks, cook up new stuff, play with the dog and get something special for your daughter, in my case, it was this inflatable pool. Let’s try to do these things for one another. Let’s try to stay connected, even though we have to keep our distance. Let’s try to bring each other messages and vibes of goodwill, of joy, of understanding, of harmony. Let’s try to get along.

Okay, before I say goodbye, I’d like to remind you to check out OmegaBrite CBD. I’ve been taking the CBD supplement myself for nearly three months and I have noticed it’s definitely helping with my feelings of irritability and random anxiety. You can get OmegaBrite CBD online at omegabritewellness.com. That’s O-M-E-G-A-B-R-I-T-E-wellness.com, Brite intentionally misspelled. They have a deal for Distraction listeners right now as well. You’ll save 20% off your first order when you use the promo code podcast 2020. That’s podcast 2020. OmegaBrite CBD, safe, third-party tested, and it works.

Please continue to connect with us. Share your thoughts, questions, and show ideas by emailing us at [email protected]. That’s [email protected] Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is the multi-talented and several voice levels, Sarah Guertin, and our recording engineer and editor is the impish and brilliant Pat Keogh. I am Dr. Ned Hallowell. Thank you so very much for joining our community and listening to our podcast.

The episode of Distraction you just heard was sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe, third-party tested, and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com.

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Stop and Smell the Roses May Be a Cliche, But It’s Still Good Advice

Stop and Smell the Roses May Be a Cliche, But It’s Still Good Advice

Dr. Hallowell reveals the details of a special day he recently shared with his family, as he reminds us that during the pandemic it’s especially important to take time to appreciate the small things.

Reach out to us! Send us an email or record a voice memo 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 Pat Keogh.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode can be found 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, another in our series of episodes during the pandemic. This time, I’d like to talk about savoring a day. These days we’re preoccupied, and anxiety is the order of the day. But I’d like to give you an example of a day I, myself savored. Talking from my own experience, because I know it firsthand, and it only occurred Father’s Day. But I think it could stand as an example for all of us, along the lines of savoring a day. Now, I had a lot of help, and I think that’s the main point. To savor a day, it helps if you have help. So, it was Father’s Day, and I was lucky enough that all three of my grown children were around. And so they started the day off, my daughter, Lucy and her brother, Tucker, by going out and gathering up groceries, and making this wonderful breakfast for me of hash browns, and Tucker’s special scrambled eggs with mushrooms and onions in them. And bacon and sausage, and strawberries and blueberries in a bowl, and coffee.

And just a feast of a breakfast. And it was a very hot day. What we had planned for the afternoon, was the two boys and Lucy and I, were going to go off and play a round of golf. Well, it was so hot, Lucy said, “I’m going to stay and work on dinner with Mom.” Because they were making this special dinner for me. So off we went to a little golf course, because it was Father’s Day, it had been hard to find reservations. And it was a little golf course, about 40 miles West. So we drove, and drove, and drove. And I was worried we were going to be late, but we got there and it was this charming little golf course in a small town called Lunenburg. And we were able to reserve two carts, and play the whole round for just $50 for a foursome, which is unheard of. And yet Tucker and Jack and I went out and started to play.

And it’s not that I love golf, I do love golf, but I’m very bad at golf. But what’s wonderful about it, is I play with my boys, mainly with my boys. But my two boys are good and they can just pulverize the ball. I’m 70 years old with two artificial hips, but I hit it, I get around, I complete the holes. Now and then I’ll actually hit a good shot. And yesterday I sank some long putts, 30, 40 foot putts, amazing that they go in. But most important was seeing my boys just exalts. They compete with each other, they rag on each other. They’re just having fun. They’re living life. They’re just the embodiment … To me every time I’m with them, my greatest wish in life was to give my kids the happy childhood I wasn’t lucky enough to have had. And Sue and I succeeded in providing them with that. It’s just always an experience of enormous satisfaction, unlike really any other. To see them grown up and happy, and healthy and just out having fun, luckily enough with me.

So we had our wonderful round of golf and came home, and there were Sue and Lucy working on, again, this dinner, which was going to be grilled halibut and swordfish, along with coleslaw and these very special potatoes, new from Ina Garten, a recipe. They’re roasted potatoes, they’re to die for, and asparagus with hollandaise sauce. We don’t usually have that, but I happen to love hollandaise sauce, so Sue made that. And then Lucy for dessert, made this delicious strawberry rhubarb tart. And all that food, along with some wine, the five of us, my wife Sue, and the three kids sitting at our new picnic table, which was their father’s day present to me. Again, it was for me a perfect day, a perfect day highlighting what are the most important elements of life for me, being with my family, loving them, active with them, golfing, eating, drinking, kidding one another, along with Lucy’s dog and Jack’s dog.

So we had two dogs in the fray, of course, Layla, a tiny little dog, Lucy’s dog, a Chiweenie, and Max, a 110 pound, enormous mutt, made of everything, but the handsomest dog you’ll ever see, two years old. And I went to sleep that night, just sleeping the sleep of good life. It was the sort of thing you say, “Well, if I die tonight, I will have had a wonderful life.” I guess that’s what I mean by savoring. You’re at peace, not to say there aren’t problems. Yes, of course, there’s always problems. Life is problems, life is loss, life is struggle, life is difficulty, but it also is an experience to savor, if you give yourself a moment to do so.

Real quick though, I’d like to thank our sponsor, OmegaBrite CBD. I’ve been taking the CBD supplement for about two and a half months now, I truly have, and I highly recommend it. OmegaBrite CBD is safe, third party tested, and take my word for it, it works. In my case, it takes the edge off my anxiety. Get OmegaBrite CBD online, at omegabritewellness.com. Distraction listeners save 20% off their first order, by using the promo code podcast2020. That’s podcast2020.

And remember, please, to reach out to us with your comments and questions. We love hearing from you. If you have a question, comment or show idea, record your thoughts as a voice memo, and email it to us at [email protected].

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is the beautiful, talented Sarah Guertin, and our recording engineer and editor, is the well loved and beautifully talented Patrick Keogh.

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 omegabritetwellness.com.

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Homemade Hamburger Buns, Inflatable Pools and Making Each Day Special

Homemade Hamburger Buns, Inflatable Pools and Making Each Day Special

As the pandemic rolls on, many are growing weary of things like social distancing, wearing a mask, and endless Zoom meetings, including our own podcast host. Dr. H shares feelings that many will be able to identify with, and offers some ideas on how to find a little bit of joy in each day.

How are you getting by? Send us an email and let us know. Email [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 Pat Keogh.

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 three 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 with a mini episode of Distraction. I don’t know about you all, but I’m getting pretty tired of the Coronavirus. I think we all are. I mean aside from the tragedy that it’s created, it’s just been hard to live with, even for those of us who aren’t sick. It’s a really dealt a body blow to the routines of everyday life. So I thought I’d give you a few suggestions on how to deal with the emotional impact of what we’re living through.

Aside from Zoom fatigue, which is an actually recognized syndrome now… Being on Zoom is more tiring than face-to-face interaction… I have some other terms for what we’re living through. I call it COVID collapse or mask misery, or we get into quarantine quarreling. I’ve seen quite a bit of that at my house. We have dismal distancing. I’m so tired of keeping six feet away from people, but I know I’m supposed to, and so I do it. We have the stay at home blahs, just the feeling of, “Remember restaurants, remember movie theaters, remember sporting events. Do you remember all that that we used to be able to do? We can’t do it anymore.” We get to develop the stay at home blahs. We love each other, but, golly, there’s only so much excitement we can generate.

I wanted to give you a few little ways that I’ve been delighting myself or trying to. It’s all in line of my basic idea that one of the greatest talents in life you can have is the talent for specializing. That means making something, anything special, be it an event, a person, a trinket. The master of it all that I learned from was my grandmother, Gammy. She could make anything special. She could make the most ordinary rainy day into a Canasta tournament or she could take an ordinary hard-boiled egg, and peeling it, into the search for the golden yolk. She could take anything and turn it into something special.

That’s sort of what we need to do now. It’s the challenge to our imagination, what can you do with the bones that we’ve got, with the sticks we’ve got, to make each day a little bit special to beat the stay at home blahs? My daughter gave me an idea. We have a backyard and we can’t afford a swimming pool, but she said, “Dad, why don’t we get a blow up pool?” I said, “Well, those are for toddlers, aren’t they?” She said, “No, they have bigger ones.”

We looked it up and did the Google, the Amazon, entering in blow it up pools, and sure enough, we found one that’s big enough to fit in a corner of our yard. It’s got several layers, so it won’t break. It only costs $300 with free delivery. Not that $300 is nothing, but the big above ground pools can cost upwards of 10,000, and of course the real pools are 30,000, 40,000. So the blowup pool we ordered. Then my daughter, again… She’s working at home and she texted me saying, “Why don’t we grill a pizza tomorrow night? We’ll make one with cauliflower crust and the rest that you guys like to eat.” So we’re going to grill a pizza. There’s an idea.

Every night now, we’ve been having movie night. The challenge, of course, is to get… There’s four of us living together, my two grown kids and my wife, Sue… to agree on a movie. The ladies like chick flicks and my son and I go for more action, drama kind of stuff, but we work it out. I’ve been pouring through the recipes. You go to Google and there’s Allrecipes and Southern Living, some wonderful slow cooker recipes. I love those because you put it in and go away, do your day and come back.

Then one of the recipes I’ve found, I can’t wait to make this weekend, homemade hamburger buns. Can you believe that? Homemade hamburger buns and you don’t have to be an advanced baker? I looked at the recipe. It’s straightforward. Yes, you have to use yeast, which I never use, but it looks like I could do it. There’s some waiting time while it rises and all that kind of stuff, but I’m going to give it a shot. If I can make homemade hamburger buns, sesame seeds on top, well, those are just several ways of specializing this situation, which can bring on the blahs.

Now, of course, I’ve no right to complain. We’re not sick. We’re not in a nursing home. These, I guess, sound very self-indulgent to talk about it, but I think most of us… It’s like having a low-grade cold or a low-grade fever or… There’s a great term, failure to thrive. We don’t want to let this keep us from thriving. We don’t want to let this keep us from taking delight in life. Gosh, it’s really good to be alive, but it can seem pretty challenging when you’re walking around with a mask and when you’re hearing the dismal news that comes out every day, the latest death toll, the latest people who have tested positive. Try to you avoid the worst thing, which is to feel isolated and lonely. Stay connected, which is always my advice. Try your hand at the art of specializing. Find something that can specialize each day so it doesn’t feel blah.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Before I go, I do need to thank our sponsor. Otherwise, we couldn’t be on the air. Our wonderful sponsor, OmegaBrite CBD. It’s formulated by Dr. Carol Locke of Harvard Medical School and her company OmegaBrite Wellness. I myself have been taking their CBD supplement for about two months now, and I highly recommended it. It helps me with my irritability. I can be pretty grumpy. OmegaBrite CBD is safe, third-party tested and, best of all, it works. Get OmegaBrite CBD online at omegabritewellness.com.

Well, okay, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell with a mini episode of Distraction. Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. The podcast is recorded and mixed by the wonderful Pat Keogh. Our producer is the equally, if not more wonderful, Sarah Guertin.

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

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Now Is the Time to Rethink Your Plans

Now Is the Time to Rethink Your Plans

The Covid-19 pandemic has drastically changed the education system, and no one is really sure what school is going to look like in the fall. From higher education institutions to preschools, everyone is trying to figure out a way forward. Taking a “gap year” is one option many college bound students are considering. Rick Fiery of Inventive Labs, an entrepreneurial incubator, discusses the pros and cons of the gap year approach with Ned, who shares his own experience with taking a gap year!

Share your thoughts with us. Write an email or record a voice memo 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 Pat Keogh.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:

This episode of Distraction is sponsored by Omega Brite CBD. Formulated by Omega Brite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years, Omega Brite CBD, safe, third party tested. And it works. Shop online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Rick Fiery:

The college experience next year is going to be very, very different. And I don’t know what you think Ned, but I don’t think it’s going to be very conducive to people with ADHD. Online is really, really tough for folks to do.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Hello and welcome to Distraction. I’m your host, Dr. Ned Hallowell. Today, we have a guest who has been on the show before, and a guest whom we love and adore, who was an amazing entrepreneur himself. And along with his partner, Tom Bergeron, no, not that Tom Bergeron, but another Tom Bergeron, on some years ago, founded Inventive Labs in Amesbury, Massachusetts, and amazing place that takes kids and some older folks who are entrepreneurial, but don’t want to go to school or can’t go to school or have tried school and found they’re allergic to it. They go up to Inventive Labs and they find a place, an incubator, if you will, where they can share with other Inventives as they’re called, rather than students, other Inventives and learn how to develop and start a business, or build a boat or a design a dress or whatever might be the entrepreneurial creative outlet that they’ve found for themselves.

It’s an amazing place, an incredible place. And we are thrilled to welcome its co-founder Mr. Rick Fiery, aptly named because he is indeed a fiery man. And he’s here to not only talk about Inventive Labs, but an idea that he has related to what he’s seen during the pandemic. So without further ado, let me welcome my friend and colleague, Mr. Rick Fiery.

Rick Fiery:

Well, thanks Ned as always, it’s amazing to talk to you and kind of share some stories and have a conversation. And that’s what I was kind of hoping to do today. I would add that we did start out as entrepreneurship as kind of a thing that we wanted to help people with. And that was probably… It’s hard to believe it’s about seven years ago that we started and we’ve also morphed quite a bit. We’ve listened to what people have wanted and we’ve added, probably about five years ago, what we call kind of career prep and gap year programs as well. Because we felt that… We saw that people really wanted to start a business potentially.

But they also realized pretty quickly that they needed to gain some more knowledge and maybe get some industry experience in a field before they jumped into the entrepreneurship group. So like good entrepreneurs, we listened to our customers and we pivoted and we’ve expanded and added those programs about five years ago. So I think that’s an important component to what we do. In fact, those programs have turned out to be very, very popular with people to where we have probably, interestingly enough, we probably have more people enrolled in gap year and career prep than entrepreneurship right now. That may change though, with the latest shift in the economy.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

What about your idea related to what people have learned from distance learning?

Rick Fiery:

Well, I think what has happened, interestingly, I think in the world, quite frankly, the whole world right now is on pause for a number of different reasons. And a lot of people, when they’re considering college, we kind of believe, especially with people with ADHD, they really need to know why they’re going to college. I would say that the number one question that ADHD-ers ask is always, “Why? Why do I need to do this? Why do I need to study English literature if I’m going to be an engineer?” That was my question when I was in college. Why do I need to do this? What am I going to get from it if I put forth this effort?

What we’ve tried to focus on with people is really identifying their strengths, identifying their weaknesses, and then based on their strengths and weaknesses pick a career direction first. I think when I was younger, people didn’t ask me where I was going to go to college. They asked me what I was going to do for my life, what I was going to do for a career. And then once you knew that, then you pick the college. I think right now it’s kind of a race to pick the best possible college that people can potentially brag about it to their friends at a cocktail party. And I think it’s gotten backwards.

So from our perspective, people have struggled in the past to take a gap year, but they’ve struggled in the past because they think they’re going to fall behind. That’s been the number one reason that people have said, “Hey, I’m not really comfortable doing this. I’m going to fall behind.” And our point right now with everything that’s going on with the pandemic, et cetera, the college experience next year is going to be very, very different.

And I don’t know what you think Ned, but I don’t think it’s going to be very conducive to people with ADHD. Online is really, really tough for folks to do. And we’ve seen that firsthand. We went online partly for our program and it worked, but it was very different. It was a different kind of experience. And for online and the colleges going forward, it’s going to be an extremely difficult environment for people with ADHD. So kind of our point is, if there was ever a time to take, not a gap year, but what I would call it a focus year. Where you can focus yourself, identify your strengths and weaknesses and take a break and figure out where you’re aiming before you go marching off to college or marching into a career and get it right.

And you’re going to save a lot of time, frustration, potentially failure, and many other bad things from happening if you just hit the pause button for a second. So I kind of, the thing that has struck us is that if ever there was a time to do it, now you have a great reason to do it. And there’s no reason to go marching off to college this fall, or even the next spring, with the way the environment is going to be for folks.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah. I think the experiment in distance learning, using Zoom and other tools has really taught us how much better live and in-person education is, not just for people with ADHD, for everyone. I think the experiment has largely failed. And I have a lot of… I’m doing all my seeing of patients over Zoom now. And, that’s a perfectly acceptable replacement, but I’m not teaching a course, nor am I trying to learn physics or chemistry or English literature for that matter. It’s really difficult for people to both teach and learn.

I’ve talked to teachers about this, many teachers and I’ve talked to many parents and I’ve talked to many frustrated students. I haven’t heard one person say, “Oh, this is really great.” Not one. I’ve heard people say, “I’m glad they’re able to continue the educational process in some way.” But it’s always followed by, “I can’t wait to get back to live and in-person schooling.” I think drives home the point I’ve always made about the importance of connection and in-person human connection is the best. Virtual electronic connection is okay. But it just isn’t the same thing. And certainly for folks with dyslexia and ADHD, both of which I have, it would just be torture.

It would be a real exercise in going backwards to head off to school in September with the expectation of doing online courses. And I think you’re so right to say this is a perfect time and it’s not a pause. You say hit the pause button. You’re not pausing. You’re just redirecting. You’re saying what is being offered won’t work for me. It will be torture. It will make me hate what I’m studying and hate school and hate life. And turn me into a very miserable human being.

So why in the world would I want to do that when I can redirect to something else? Inventive Labs is one distinct possibility, but there are so many others. Travel, get a job, look into areas of life that you’ve never seen before. Explore your city, your region, your family, your ethnicity. I mean, you could really do the equivalent of a Montessori education, which is follow your curiosity. So I’m with you 100%, 1000%. And I think this is the ideal time to redirect rather than paying a huge tuition for, at best, a second rate experience in college, if you’re having to do it.

Rick Fiery:

Exactly. And honestly, I think if you look at the college experience for most people, at least for me when I look back at mine, the big… Academics was certainly part of it, but a big part of it was social growth. I was totally introverted and shy and terrified about public speaking and getting up in front of people and doing presentations. And I didn’t have a whole lot of friends in high school, but I got to college and socially, I was able to blossom. And in the fall those opportunities aren’t going to be there. There isn’t going to be the team sports, there isn’t going to be intramurals, there isn’t going to be fraternity rush, there isn’t going to be sorority rush, there isn’t going to be the ability to exercise, there isn’t going to be the ability to isolate and study in a private area, in a library.

Again, it’s just, they’re going to be in a very difficult environment. Plus accommodations are going to be even harder to come by because the classes will be recorded, which is nice. But note taking is still a challenge and extra time is going to have to be negotiated. I’ve seen that with some of the folks that we work with trying to get that done in an online environment. And it just adds to the level of difficulty and stress and anxiety. And there’s enough of that in the world right now. So from our perspective, it’s a golden opportunity to say the time is right to find your focus, to find your drive, to find a direction that you want to head, that you can get excited about. And if you can do that, then the chances of you being successful academically or in a career that you choose, or if you can decide to start up a business right now in the middle of all this, the chances of success are just much, much higher.

So we just were frustrated in seeing that some folks are just saying, “Yeah, I’m going to go back to college in the fall.” And what we’ve heard from many of them is, for 20% or so, it’s going to be an in-person experience that they have things like labs or things that require hands-on. And for the rest, it’s going to be an online experience. And that just doesn’t make a lot of sense to us right now. So that’s why we’re kind of waving the flag and we’re seeing some people send some folks off with ADHD for their very first college experience in this kind of an environment. And it just seems like the wrong thing to do right now.

[SPONSOR BREAK]

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

I’d like to take a few moments to talk with you about OmegaBrite CBD, a supplement created by OmegaBrite Wellness. One of our wonderful sponsors of Distraction.

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[SPONSOR BREAK END]

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

When I was in college, I went to Harvard and I took off the year between junior and senior year. And I worked during the summer on Cape Cod. I lived on Cape Cod as a tutor during the daytime. I tutored high school kids in English and math. And then in the evening, I worked as a waiter at a famous restaurant in Chatham called Pates. And I learned how to carry trays on one hand. These huge trays that have six orders of lobster on platters. So I could walk around the restaurant full tilt, holding this huge tray with only one hand and negotiating corners, and then putting down the tray stand and putting the tray on it and serving it and many wonderful experiences as a waiter. It was a wonderful summer. I’ll never forget the customer. We would put the salad dressing on their salads.

They could either get a Caesar salad or a tossed salad. And for the toss salads we offered dressings. And this one diner said, “I want you to put the dressing on my head.” Well, he’d had a few too many drinks. And I said, “I don’t think you want me to do that, sir.” He said, brought out a hundred dollar bill. And he said, “How about if I give you this?” I needed the money. So I said, “Okay, if you really want me to.” So I put a big dollop of Russian dressing on his head. The old table laugh. The restaurant laughed. It was all… So, the summer experience was very worth it. And then for the rest of the year, I went to London and I had gotten some references from my tutor in college, William Alford, who had friends over there.

And my friend, John Glossy, was doing a fellowship over there. And I met this wonderful poet named Judah Thurman, who now writes for the New Yorker and wrote the book that Out Of Africa was based on. But I wanted to try my hand at being a writer. And so I started writing and meeting with these people and I’d saved enough money to not have to get a job over there. And by the end of the summer, I took an interregnum trip down to Greece and took the Orient Express back. And at one point I got off at the wrong train station and here I was in communist Yugoslavia with no passport. A whole series of things happened. And I fell in love and asked a girl to marry me. And she said, no. And, in retrospect turned out she was gay, but hadn’t told me that detail.

But anyway, it was a wonderful year that taught me so much that I wouldn’t have learned had I just gone college straight through. And, yes, it’s true, when I came back, I was out of step. I didn’t graduate with my class. I graduated a year later, but I’m still in the class of 1972. So you don’t lose that. And to the extent it did put me out of sync, it did me a great favor, a much greater benefit than any cost associated with it.

And I decided that as far as being a writer goes, I ought to have a plan B. And so I thought… Because I realized how hard it was to write and make a living. So I went to medical school. That was my plan B. So now I am both a doctor and a writer and having the MD allowed me the freedom, in terms of not having to worry about earning an income, to spend time developing writing.

And now I’m just finishing my 21st book. But this is the kind of experience a young person can have by taking a year off. You can work, you can explore, you can test out a career or you could go to Inventive Labs, which I think would just be a bang up solution for people with ADD. So say more, would you please Rick, about what a person would find if they went to Inventive Labs?

Rick Fiery:

Well, for us, it’s really important, and I think passion is an overused word, but it’s really important for us to understand the person and their strengths and weaknesses and build upon that. And we ask people when they come to take some tests and engage with us, do some group brainstorming. And we kind of learn from working with them kind of where they can fit into a work environment, the kind of work environment that they thrive in, the kinds of things that their brain is really good at. And then we collectively kind of brainstorm a bunch of different career paths and career ideas and directions they could go in their life.

And then the second phase of that is the important part, which I think you just hit on, which is the launch phase, as we call it. And that’s where you really just get out there and try it. You can’t Google your way to a career. You can’t figure out what it’s going to be like to be a computer programmer, writing code eight to 10 hours a day in a cubicle, unless you actually try it and do it. And that sounds glamorous sometimes, but then when the reality hits and the shiny brochure of the career wears off that can be a real challenge for folks. So the second phase, we take them through a launch process where they get out there and they meet people. They job shadow. Last time we did it online, which worked pretty well. You find that some of the higher end folks that we wanted to connect with were more willing to engage in Zoom than they were in-person, but we’ve been successful in both and just meeting and talking to people in the potential field and seeing what it’s going to feel like to have that kind of a role and that kind of a position.

And then once they do that, then we figure out, okay, well, that’s great. Here’s what you look like today. What do you need to make yourself look like to have that kind of career and that kind of job? Does it mean that you need a college education? Yes or no? If it does, what college should you attend? What company do you want to work for? Where do they hire from? Where do you need to live? If you want to be a musician it’s probably Nashville or LA and probably not in Nebraska where one of a potential inventive that we were talking to was living in, that wanted to get into the music industry. So you figure out really what you need to look like. And then the key activities that fall out of that are the things that you need to do. And now you know, “Hey, I think I’m going to love this career. I’m all in. I want to work for that company. I want to be a performer at whatever it is they want to do. And now I know why I’m doing all the different things, all the different work activities that I need to do to make myself look like that.”

So it’s really basic stuff, but we kind of say that you can’t just go to college and get the degree and then wave your degree around and expect that people are just going to hire you. You’ve got to make yourself attractive for a particular job or a particular industry. And college is only one piece of that. There’s lots of other ways to do it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

So I’ve hope we’ve enchanted the listeners enough if they have a child, a son or a daughter, or if they themselves are in school and thinking, “Do I want to take now and give a shot to a redirection, an experimental year trying out life and seeing how it feels?” This is an ideal time because distance learning has proven to be not as nearly as engaging and fulfilling as actually being on a college campus, attending live classes and going to live parties and going to real football games, whatever, and falling in love with real people, which is hard to do online and falling in love with real subjects, which is also hard to do online.

Rick Fiery:

Yeah. And it’s not just college. I mean, many folks are looking at careers differently now with the changes that have happened in the economy and things like that. And, instead of diving back into that same career, there’s an opportunity to kind of reset as well.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Absolutely. Well, as always, you have provoked a wonderful conversation. I think your idea is so perfect. I mean, talk about flipping. I’ve been listening to people complain about how bad it is and now I’ll have a nice idea to offer them instead. Say, “Well, my friend, Rick Fiery, points out, this would be the ideal time to say, okay, I’ll come back to college in a year, but for now I’m going to create my own learning experience. And one of the things I’ll take a look at is Inventive Labs.” So Rick, thank you for joining us.

Rick Fiery:

Thanks, Ned. I think it’s been a great conversation. And now the point of it is just to get people to think a little bit differently. With great challenges, sometimes come great opportunities. And I think right now it’s a greatly challenging time on a lot of different levels. And with that comes great opportunities sometimes as well. You just have to look a little bit harder for them.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah. But they’re right there. The way we’ve painted it, it’s right there on the horizons, right there for the taking. Don’t become the subject of negative thinking, just find that opportunity and we’ve described it to you pretty well. I think as my daughter said to me many years ago, don’t hold back on life out of fear. She was only 13 when she said that. I couldn’t believe it, but it’s such a good line.

Well, listen, thanks a million. I know we’ll have you on again soon. If you want to learn more about Rick and his wonderful group, go to InventiveLabs.org. It’s a unique and positively transformational experience for a person of any age, but particularly for people in their late teens, 20s, early 30s. And that’s it for today.

Please reach out to us with your questions and show ideas. We love hearing from you. Love, love, love. Write an email or record a voice memo on your phone and send it to [email protected]. And again, please be sure to visit inventivelabs.org, to learn about Rick Fiery, Tom Bergeron, and the amazing piece of paradise that they’ve created up there. Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is the beautiful, talented, and wonderfully blessed Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer and editor is the ever grumpy, funny, effervescent, Pat Keogh.

The episode of Distraction you just heard was sponsored by Omega Brite 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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Turning Tragedy Into a Catalyst for Connection

Turning Tragedy Into a Catalyst for Connection

Dr. Hallowell once thought about practicing medicine on a hippie commune! What??? This surprising detail about our host emerges as he reflects on the past and shares his hope for the future, as it relates to Black Lives Matter and the global pandemic.

Share your thoughts with us. Write an email or record a voice memo 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/podcast.

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

Photo by Kelly Lacy from Pexels

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode can be found 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 with a mini episode of Distraction. As usual, we’re releasing one episode a week related to events going on in the world. Last week, I talked about George Floyd and what I’d learned from all of that. And today, I’d like to make a comparison. I was in high school and college in the late sixties and early seventies, and it was a very important time for those of us who came of age in that era. We had the horror and injustice of the Vietnam War, which took the lives of many of us. But simultaneously, we had the burst of hope that is caricaturized these days with hippies, and the age of Aquarius, and all that.

But it, in fact, went much deeper. We were literally believing that we could create a new world, summed up in John Lennon’s song, Imagine. The Beatles in many ways epitomized the spirit of that era, the spirit of imagination, and playfulness, and hope, and love being the universal value. And it really captured my imagination and the imagination of many of us. In fact, the reason I went into medicine, as opposed to the more logical way of making a living for me, which would have been to become an attorney or go to business school, was because I wanted to help people, literally. I know that sounds corny, but that was the zeitgeists that we were all caught up in. Love, reach out, help build communities. And although I wasn’t a hippie, at one point, I thought, “Well, I could go be a doctor on a commune.”

Now, it didn’t turn out that way at all, but there was tremendous hope and naive, no doubt, but it was really heartfelt hope. And it all fizzled, but that fervency has always stayed with me, driving me. Connection is indeed continues to be my chief value. My chief recommendation is to connect, to love, to build bridges, to come closer together. And how I think it relates to what we’re seeing now is we’ve been put through a major test with the COVID epidemic and then the George Floyd tragedy. And much as Vietnam set us off protesting, this has also set us off protesting. But I’m hoping, and I’m actually believing, it well may usher in an era of connection, of coming together, of community, of finding and building bridges, of finding ways of commonality, of stopping pigeonholing people, as you know, it’s a red or blue state, or this candidate or that candidate, taking us beyond soundbites and actually getting to know one another. Because the more we get to know one another, the more we’ll find that we have in common. The more we get to know one another, the more these political differences won’t matter.

I always think of, in my generation, John Kenneth Galbraith and William F. Buckley who were at opposite ends of the political spectrum, absolutely opposite, were very close friends. They would rip each other to pieces in a debate, and then they’d go out and have a few beers together. And more recently, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Scalia who were again at opposite ends, but were close friends, would go to the opera together.

That’s the model that I would love to see us take this trial that we’re going through, and turn the tremendous tragedy of all of the people who’ve died due to COVID, and the single tragedy of George Floyd, and turn those events into a catalyst for harmony, a catalyst for coming together, a catalyst for putting down our cudgels, and our weapons, and our insults, and our demonizing of the other side, and saying, “You know, we have so much more in common than we have in difference. Let’s band together and do what the Congress doesn’t seem to be able to do and create policies of unification, of discussion, of sharing rather than policies of condemnation and separation.” I really think it could happen. Much as I caught the fever back in the sixties and seventies, I think our young people are catching it now. I hope so.

Well, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell for Distraction. Before I go, I do need to thank our sponsor. Otherwise, we couldn’t be on the air. Our wonderful sponsor, OmegaBrite CBD. It’s formulated by Dr. Carol Locke of Harvard Medical School and her company, OmegaBrite Wellness. I myself have been taking their CBD supplement for about two months now, and I highly recommended. It helps me with my irritability. I can be pretty grumpy. OmegaBrite CBD is safe. Third-party tested, and best of all, it works. Get OmegaBrite CBD online omegabritewellness.com.

That’s it for today. Please reach out to us with your questions and show ideas. We love hearing from you. Love, love, love. Write an email or record a voice memo on your phone and send it to [email protected]. Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is the lovely, and talented, and graceful Sarah Guertin .and our recording engineer and editor is the ballerina-esque Pat Keogh.

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 omegabritewellness.com.

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Race and Privilege

Race and Privilege

Dr. Hallowell talks about the murder of George Floyd, racism, and his own white privilege. Read the article that Ned refers to in this episode: A conversation: Retired African American MLB players on race, baseball, America

Want to help? Support the Black Lives Matter Movement with a donation to one of the organizations below:

Black Visions Collective

The Bail Project

Communities United Against Police Brutality

Know Your Rights Camp

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

Learn more about our newest sponsor, OmegaBrite CBD! Dr. Hallowell takes the supplement every day because it’s safe, 3rd party tested, and it works. Shop OmegaBrite CBD online at OmegaBriteWellness.com/welcome.

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

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode can be found below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:

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

This is Dr. Ned Hallowell for Distraction. In today’s mini episode, I want to talk about racism for the obvious reason, that George Floyd was recently attacked and murdered in a flagrantly racist action. I’m now 70-years-old. I’m a privileged white man, certainly a part of the problem, even though I like to think I’m not part of the problem but rather part of the solution, demographically, I certainly am and without doubt I have in unconscious ways continued the problem.

What can we do about it? What can we do about it? Well, I had one of the most enlightening experiences I’ve ever had in reading an interview on The Athletic, which is a sports site conducted by Doug Glanville and Ken Rosenthal with six Major League Baseball players, now retired, who were African American. And reading their account of what it’s like to be a black person in this country, a black or a brown person in the United States was chilling. These were all players that I’d heard of since I’m a baseball fan. These were all all-stars, highly accomplished, highly paid athletes who had retired and were continuing to do well.

But what they described was just terrible to hear. One of them quoted a slogan, Caucasians want our rhythm, but they don’t want our blues. People liked me, I guess, avoid understanding the reality of these people’s lives. I must avoid it because it was eye opening to read what they had to say. They said who taught black people how to riot and loot? The KKK, the Ku Klux taught us how to riot and loot. White people, only white people who weren’t brave enough to be seen, but had to carry on and ridiculous white garb. And how to come at that and readdress the situation?

They were saying, what’s the right way? The leader of the nonviolent movement, Martin Luther King was assassinated and his contemporary who advocated a more aggressive approach, Malcolm X was also assassinated. And more recently, one person who took a nonviolent approach and simply kneeled on the field, Colin Kaepernick was crucified for it, for taking a nonviolent form of protest. He was run out of football and blackballed by all accounts simply for taking a knee to protest how black people are treated in the United States.

Let me quote what Torii Hunter said. Tory Hunter, who I watched play, one of the most graceful outfielders you’ve ever seen five all-star teams, nine gold gloves. Well, here he is. He now works as a consultant to the Minnesota Twins, the team that he achieved baseball greatness on.

And he said, “When I saw what happened that day, the first day, the next day at 3:00 AM, I just got out of bed and went into my office. I was sitting in my chair at 3:00 AM looking out of the window and I just started to cry. I have three sons. I’ve been talking to them my whole life. Even as a professional baseball player, carry yourself this way. Be careful about that. If the cops pull you over, do this and do that. I shouldn’t have to feel that way. I shouldn’t have to tell my sons every day, when you go outside the house, be smart, be respectful, be quiet.

Don’t say much. I shouldn’t have to tell them that. No white family has to say that. When you talk about white privilege, I had someone tell me my parents had to work and they got everything they got by working. I said that ain’t white privilege. That’s not what we’re talking about. What we’re talking about, you can drive down the street and police get behind you and you ain’t even worried about it. You can tell your kid have a good day. I can’t say that. I say, hey, this happened, this happened, and this happened so they won’t get killed.

They’ve got come home and say, someone called me the N word today at school. What are you supposed to do? What we have to do,” Torii Hunter went on to say, “is come to a peaceful solution, build relationships with one another. Be comfortable being uncomfortable. Come to my house. Let me go to your house. Let me get to know you. You get to know us. Let’s have a little dialogue about what we need to do for change. And you know what? It’s all about relationships. If we can get back to that, that’s what’s going to change this.”

Oh my goodness, I thought to myself, Torii Hunter, you are a brave and wonderful man. Thank you. Thank you. Can we all try to understand what it’s like to drive in a car and see a police car in the rear view mirror and tense up, freeze up, wondering what if he pulls me over? What if my blinkers aren’t working? What if he thinks I look funny? All of which happens. And then I better give the right answers or I might end up under the car with someone’s knee on my neck until I can’t breathe anymore. We’re all getting exercised about this, which is good, but these athletes were saying we’ve seen it before.

We’ve seen all of you white people get all upset and go protest and join rallies and then after the fervor dies down, nothing has really changed. We need to make something change. I’m not sure how we’ll do that, but we need to be doing it. We don’t want to take the inspiration of the moment and let it dissipate into ongoing racism entrenched part of the culture not changing. And I do believe Torii Hunter was right. We need to get to know one another, get to know what it’s like, what it’s really like to live with what these folks live with day in and day out.

We need to not black ball Colin Kaepernick. We need to allow the peaceful protest. We need to understand that these people are trying to lay claim to the freedom and justice they are guaranteed in our constitution, but do not find in their daily lives. I’m resolving to do everything I can moving forward in my own life to rectify the situation, to build as many bridges as I can. I hope you will do the same so that we can turn the death of this man, the terrible murder of this man into something redeeming, enlightening, uplifting, and transforming of the original sins our country perpetrated upon an entire race of people.

Please join me in reaching out and building bridges. This is Dr. Ned Hallowell wishing you all peace, good fortune and the ability to repair injustice.

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

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The Pandemic Is Forcing Us To Get Creative

The Pandemic Is Forcing Us To Get Creative

We’re all living in a world of “instead,” as Dr. H puts it. The most obvious one being you stay home, instead of going to school, work, etc. Over the past few months we’ve all had to improvise and adjust our plans one way or another just to navigate daily life. In this mini our host explores some of the “insteads” he’s experienced lately, and asks listeners to share their “insteads” in turn.

Please share your “insteads” with us! We will feature them in a future episode! Write an email or record a voice memo and send it to [email protected].

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin (@sarahguertin) and our recording engineer/editor is Pat Keogh.

Episode photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Click here to listen to this episode!

A transcript of this episode can be found below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell and welcome to Distraction. Today we have a mini episode in our series of mental health checks that we’re doing each week as the pandemic continues to roll along. And we all like it or not, roll with it. Today I want to describe a phenomenon that I call the world of instead. We’re all living in a world of instead. Each day we have to think up, dream up, discover, create, improvise insteads. The most obvious one being you stay at home instead of doing whatever you used to do. Go to work, go to school, go to the store, go to the movies, go to the restaurants, go to the hair salon, whatever you may have planned to do you have to do something else instead. And this is posing quite a challenge to our ingenuity and imagination. But ingenuity and imagination are qualities we Americans are famous for, as well as those of us who like me have ADHD, which is not a deficit and not a disorder but a trait. And an abundance of attention not a deficit of attention. The challenge is to control it.

In any case in my world, in my practice I’ve discovered Zoom. I barely ever used Zoom and now to see patients, I can’t see them in person. So we tend to use Zoom. And there is a special Zoom that is HIPAA compliant and so it’s secure and safe. That’s how I’m seeing patients instead. Some of them prefer the telephone or FaceTime, but most of them I see on Zoom and that’s my instead. It turns out there is something called Zoom fatigue. There’s something about that medium that is more tiring than in person conversations and so I’m learning how to deal with that. But then there are all the other insteads. Where do you eat instead of a restaurant? How do you get your food instead of shopping regularly as you used to? Do you order in? Do you have deliveries? And how do you get your mail? Well that still seems to be delivered.

How do you get your exercise? My wife who was an absolute gym rat can’t go to the gym. So she’s built the gym in our living room and she runs around the living room and is doing burpees and jumping jacks and squats every other day from our living room. So instead of the gym she has our living room. Maybe the most challenging instead is the question of employment. And if you don’t have an obvious instead, it’s pretty dismal for those people who can’t work and don’t have a skill that they know how to market in order to generate income. That’s pretty oppressive. And my only solution that I can offer is not to worry alone, to talk to other people, to brainstorm. Don’t hunker down in isolation. Try to reach out to other people. You don’t know what you’re reaching out for other than a connection.

And in that crucible of connection new ideas will spark. Guaranteed new ideas will spark. And you may find as a photographer client of mine found another way of generating business, it is in using your imagination that you will find a vast array of insteads. Necessity is the mother of invention. And we’re all up against it now. Necessity is asking us to really create some useful insteads. And that’s the silver lining. I know it’s sort of Pollyannaish to talk about silver linings in this difficult time. But I think that is a genuine silver lining that we are of necessity. Being asked to dig deep with our excavation tool called imagination. And the beauty of imagination is you never know what you’re going to find. It’s like Forrest Gump said about the box of chocolates, “You never know what you’re going to get when you stick your finger into one of them.”

So stick your fingers into your imaginations. Stick your fingers into that box of chocolates and see what you can come up with. See what insteads you can come up with. We’d love to hear your roster of insteads and we will absolutely devote a show to reading them and talking to you about them. So if you have some insteads send them along. Email us at [email protected]. It’ll be a wonderful show if we can collect a bunch of your favorite insteads. What do you do today instead? Well, that’s it for me for now. Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer and editor is the inestimable wonderful Pat Keogh. And our producer is the brilliant, delightful and extremely imaginative Sarah Guertin.

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Be A Weaver, Not A Ripper

Be A Weaver, Not A Ripper

As the pandemic continues, Dr. Hallowell checks in with listeners and encourages everyone to put aside differences and come together to get thru this. Be a “weaver,” as David Brooks put it in his recent NY Times op-ed.

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

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin (@sarahguertin) and our recording engineer/editor is Pat Keogh.

Episode image by ATC Comm Photo from Pexels

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode can be found below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell with a mini episode of Distraction. In our series of what we’ve been calling mental health updates as this pandemic roles on day after day, week after week, and I wanted today to talk about a very upbeat note in a very downbeat era. It was stirred in me by David Brooks’s op-ed in the New York Times on Friday, May 1st where Brooks talked about, in the world there are weavers and there are rippers. Weavers are people who, no matter what, are always trying to make something good out of whatever’s going on, and then the rippers are the people who delight in tearing things apart and dividing us. Brooks was saying the good thing about this pandemic is the weavers are winning. It suggested to me what I’ve been feeling, and I bet almost all of you have been feeling, that, enough of this hatred, enough of this division, enough of this ripping. Let’s start weaving.

Let’s start taking this disastrous situation and letting it be the watershed moment. Just as Kent State was a watershed moment, let’s let this period, this pandemic be a watershed moment of us coming together. Enough of this blue state/red state, enough of this good guy/bad guy, enough of this white and black and no gray zone in between. Let’s unite. Let’s be weavers, to use David Brooks’ wonderful term, and let the day of the ripper be gone. I’m quoting now from his op-ed. “If you want to be there at one harbinger of the new world, I suggest you tune into the call to unite, a 24-hour global stream-a-thon, which starts Friday,” that was last Friday, May 1st, “at 8:00 PM Unite.us, in various digital platforms. It was created by Tim Shriver and the organization Unite. There will be appearances by world leaders, musicians, religious leaders, actors, philosophers, everybody from Oprah and George W. Bush to Yoyo Ma and the emotion scholar Mark Bracket.”

He goes on to say, “When the stream-a-thon was first being organized,” and he said he played an extremely minor role, “the idea was to let the world give itself a group hug. But, as the thing evolved, it became clear that people are not only reflecting on the current pain, they’re also eager to build a different future. If you tune in, you’ll see surprising layers of depth and vulnerability. You’ll see people hungering for,” in caps, “THE GREAT RESET, the idea that we have to identify 10 unifying ideas like national service and focus energy around them. Americans have responded to this with more generosity and solidarity than we had any right to expect.” That, to me, just, it’s so wonderful, the call to unite on Unite.us. But, I think there’ll be many more similar efforts, platforms, but I think we’re all feeling this.

Isn’t this what we’ve been hungering for? Been trying to find a way to come together to create, and it’s terrible that it took a pandemic and it took, what are we now, about 70,000 deaths to get us to this point. But, I do think the rippers, it’s time for them to go rip somewhere else and let the weavers weave together the kind of connectedness, the kind of tapestry, the kind of well knit society that we really want. That’s who we are as a country. We’re a country of very disparate, different off-beat, out of place, out of whack folks, but we unite around the common theme of togetherness, of freedom, of the right for everyone to be whoever they are. The day of ripping and hating, we don’t have time for that. Life truly is fleeting, as we’ve been seeing, and what we do want, every single one of us I am convinced, deep within our soul, deep within our heart is to love one another, or at least to like one another.

We can’t love one another, that’s too tall of an order. But, we can treat each other as if we loved one another. We can treat each other as if we were loving each other, and then we can call upon ourselves to like each other. Anyone can like someone who was just like you, but it takes a special person to like someone who’s pretty different. But, that’s what we weavers are all about. We weave a way to bring people together. My hope for you today, echoing David Brooks and echoing, I think, probably all of you, is let’s come together. Let’s put the rippers to route and let them go rip each other if they must. But, let’s us set about weaving, and if any of you are rippers and want to join us, please do. Become a weaver and weave the connected, harmonious, loving society that all of us really want. This is Dr. Ned Hallowell for Distraction.

Share your thoughts, questions, and show ideas by emailing us at [email protected]. We love hearing from you. We often devote entire shows to your questions, your comments, and certainly we create shows around the ideas you send us. So, please, we’re a growing and building community. We would love to hear from you. Be a weaver and come to us. [email protected]. Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer and editor is the illustrious and incredibly literate Pat Keogh, and our producer is the constantly creative, always coming up with new ideas Sarah Guertin.

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5 Tips for Parenting in a Pandemic

5 Tips for Parenting in a Pandemic

Parents of children with ADHD we are thinking of you! Dr. Hallowell offers five ways to help you manage your kids while quarantined. These are simple things everyone can employ– like having set breakfast, lunch and dinner times. And they’ll work even if your kids don’t have ADHD.
As you’ll hear, structure plays a key role!
What are you doing to stay sane? Share your thoughts with us! Write an email or record a voice memo and send it to [email protected].

Learn more about our newest sponsor, OmegaBrite CBD! Dr. Hallowell takes the supplement every day because it’s safe, 3rd party tested, and it works. Shop OmegaBrite CBD online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Do you know a high school or college student with ADHD or other learning difference? Tell them about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Find out more HERE.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin (@sarahguertin) and our recording engineer/editor is Pat Keogh.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode can be found below.


Dr. 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, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell with a mini episode of Distraction. Each week we’ve been putting out what we’re calling a mental health check during this pandemic. And today I’d like to address the specifically people at home with children who have ADHD, which I have myself. And give sort of a overview of the issue and then a few little tips that might be helpful to you.

You know people with ADD, we are born renegades. We like to run wild and run free. We are open prairie people. So our idea of hell is being cooped up, stuck in one place. Reined in. We hate rules. We hate being told what to do. The best way to get us not to do something is to tell us to do it.

So now, we’ve got this total terrible situation where we all have to stay indoors and we all have to play by really tough rules of not interacting, not going out and being cooped up. And so, the people with ADD particularly, nobody likes it, but people with ADD hate it. It pushes all of our buttons.

So the first tip if you will, is just to recognize that fact. If you have ADD, if your kids have ADD and you’re having to shelter at home, just be aware that that is a setup. That is a setup for all kinds of conflict, for anger, for tantrums, for breaking rules, for busting out. And try to acknowledge that amongst each other. Say, “This is real stressful for us,” and don’t be surprised when fires break out so to speak, when tempers flare.

So other than recognizing it, which is a big deal. Once you recognize something and name it, it’s a lot easier to deal with. It doesn’t mean it’s easy, but it’s easier. One really good tip is to structure your day. People with ADD need structure. We bristle at it, we push back at it, but we really want it.

Structure is like the walls of the bobsled ride. You know my analogy for ADD, a Ferrari brain with bicycle brakes. Well, structure strengthens brakes. And structure, contrary to popular belief, potentiates, enhances creativity. Far from repressing it, structure enables creativity.

And my two favorite examples are Shakespeare and Mozart. Shakespeare wrote everything in iambic pentameter. Bu-ba-bu-ba-bu-ba-bu-ba. All of his stories, iambic pentameter, blank verse, very structured. And yet within that structure he created infinite variety, the most beautiful poetry that’s ever been written in English.

And Mozart, the same with music. He wrote within very tight forms, very tight forms. But within that tightness he created unbelievable beauty and variety. So think Shakespeare, think Mozart when you’re creating structure. You’re not being a repressive schoolmarm at all. Without structure you have chaos. With structure you have potentially beauty, but certainly your chances at harmony, living at home, sheltering at home, are much greater.

So what do I mean by structure? Have a schedule, have a breakfast time, lunch time, dinner time. Have a project. Okay, your project Joey is to design the house you’d like to live in when you get to be 30 years old. Draw it on a piece of paper. And Sally, your project is to call grandma and grandpa and get their life story and start a grandparent book. And your project is to make sandwiches for lunch.

I mean give everybody a project. Or even better, let them design their own project. So the projects can be you make up your own or mom and dad will give you one. Either way but have them have a project, have them have a structure and have them have goals for the day. Structure is really, really important.

Another little tip is to have games. This is a great time for games, board games, charades, hide and seek around the house, have games. Games are also, it’s a kind of a project. And it engages the imagination, which is what you want to do.

A third tip is to allow for space. If you live in a place that’s big enough, try to let people go off into corners by themselves. This is not the time to force togetherness. This is the time to give permission for people to go off to their room, lie on their bed, read a book, veg out, what have you. Because that togetherness, you can reach a critical mass and the next thing you know you’re fighting with each other.

And then finally, expectations. Try to manage your expectations. So, you anticipate there will be conflict. And you anticipate, what Ross Greene calls, collaborative problem solving. Instead of issuing orders, you issue alternatives. Try this, that, or the other thing, and work out the differences that way.

So those five suggestions, add structure, play games, allow for space, create projects for everybody every day and manage your expectations so they’re in some concordance with reality and reasonable expectations. It’s a hard time, but it can also be memorable in a good way of closeness and learning how to get along during periods of stress.

That’s it for this mini episode. Before I go, I’d just like to thank our sponsor, our wonderful, wonderful sponsor, OmegaBrite CBD. That’s OmegaBrite, O-M-E-G-A-B-R-I-T-E, intentionally misspelled. I take it every day along with their Omega-3 fatty acid supplement and I highly recommend them both. OmegaBrite CBD, was formulated by Dr. Carol Locke of Harvard Medical School. And her company OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years.

She’s really a remarkable woman and the work she’s done is truly outstanding. All our products are safe, third party tested and they work. I can tell you, I take them as does my wife as well. Please help support our podcast and check out OmegaBrite CBD online at omegabritewellness.com.

Okay. Remember to reach out to us with your comments and questions. We need them. We love them, we grow from them. They’re our mother’s milk. Reach out to us please with your comments and questions and thank you to those who have been sending in emails. We just love them. You have no idea how our eyes light up when we see a new email from you guys. We truly mean that. We love hearing from you.

If you have a question, a comment, or a show idea, anything, try recording your thoughts as a voice memo on your phone and then email the file to us at [email protected]. We really will absolutely read them all and mull them over and very likely do what you suggest. Unless your suggestion is for us to go jump in the lake. Well, maybe we’d do that when it gets warmer.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media and our recording engineer is the amazingly talented Pat Keogh. Our producer is the also amazingly talented, delightful Mary Poppins-esque, as I love to call her, Sarah Guertin. I am Dr. Ned Hallowell and thank you, thank you, thank you so much for listening.

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 omegabritewellness.com.

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The Side Effects Of Our “New Normal”

The Side Effects Of Our “New Normal”

Now that the novelty of living life in a pandemic has worn off, we’re finding ourselves feeling more tired, sad and on-edge. But that’s totally normal under the circumstances. Dr. H opens up about how he’s been feeling lately and asks listeners to do the same.

We will all get through this together! Let us know how you’re holding up. Share your thoughts with us by sending an email or voice memo to [email protected].

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin (@sarahguertin) and our recording engineer/editor is Pat Keogh.

Learn more about our newest sponsor, OmegaBrite CBD! Dr. Hallowell takes the supplement every day because it’s safe, 3rd party tested, and it works. Shop OmegaBrite CBD online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Do you know a high school or college student with ADHD or other learning difference? Tell them about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Find out more HERE.

Listen to this episode!

Or if you prefer, a transcript of this episode can be found below.


Dr. Hallowell: This episode of Distraction is sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega three 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, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell, with a mini episode of Distraction. As you know, during this pandemic, we’ve been every week giving a what we’re calling a mental health check-in, and this is number six. What I thought I’d talk about today was prompted by our producer, Sarah Guertin, who said, “We’ve been doing this long enough now that the novelty has worn off.” We’re settling into the reality of shelter-at-home and now whatever that means where you are, it means different things for different people in different places.

But for most of us, it’s a radical change from what we’re customarily doing every day. Puts us at home, most of us for most of the time, with limited access to the outside world and that is having interesting effects. I mean, I can tell you personally, I feel more tired every day than I’m accustomed to feeling. I am seeing patients, but all over Zoom or virtual. So I’m not seeing any patients face-to-face. And I do go into my office some days and I see the support staff there, we are essential and they are not infected. So I have some human contact there.

But other than my wife, I don’t mean other than, I mean she’s the center of it all, but it’s nowhere near the person-to-person contact that I used to have. And I really do believe that takes a toll. I talk all the time about vitamin C, vitamin connect, it’s real. And I think if there’s a precipitous decline in the number of living human beings that you come into contact with every day, every week, it drains you. And I think that’s why I’m more tired. I think I haven’t been getting the dose of vitamin connect that I need. I mean, I tried to get it with email and of course my Zoom sessions with my patients and time with my wife and all that.

But I just think the fatigue I’m feeling, and I think it’s because I’m not getting the people that I need in my day. And I’m talking about people at the gas station or people at whatever markets I might go to, not to mention my patients and my friends and the Tuesday afternoon when I’d play squash and go up for a beer with my friend after it. All of that, none of that’s happening.

And I think it’s tiring because of what we’re not getting. I’m not working any harder. I’m seeing roughly the same amount of patients. I’m working on my book roughly the same amount. I think it’s the withdrawal of that vitamin connect that, you can still get it online virtually, but it’s not the same. And there is something about what I call the human moment to be distinguished from the electronic moment, that is just very powerful. And I believe we’re seeing it up close and personal now, how powerful the human moment is and how much we do need each other in person face-to-face.

Now I’m not saying run out and break the protocol and break the rules. Please don’t. We don’t want to have a resurgence of the pandemic. We don’t want to have phase two be worse than phase one. I’m just saying that I think we’re paying maybe an unanticipated price when we give one another up. As much as we complain about each other, as much as we complain about traffic and crowds and crowded supermarket aisles and crowded schools, crowded school meetings, crowded churches, crowded synagogues, I think we need those crowds in some very real and visceral way that we’re discovering now.

I don’t know about you, but I am pretty sure it’s happening to a lot of people, where you just feel more tired because you’re not getting the invigorating effect that person-to-person contact has ,that what I call vitamin connect. And I’m telling you, it’s as important if not more important, in fact, I know what’s more important, than ascorbic acid. We don’t have a name for it, the deficiency, like we do with scurvy when you don’t get enough vitamin C, but we ought to name whatever, this is, not enough of the human moment, not enough of vitamin connect.

It’s tiring, mildly depressing. It’s not depression per se, but it’s a life without that zip, that zest that you get from the smile of the person you’re seeing across the table from you, from the energy you feel in the restaurant or the bar or the barbershop, the hair salon. I don’t know where I’m going to get my hair cut now. Or the street is empty, all of that. All of that that we get from being close to living people. And as I said, as annoying as it can be, I think we’re now seeing how vital it is in terms of our energy, wellbeing, joie de vivre, elan vital, call it whatever you want.

I think we’re really discovering how much we need each other in physical being, present with one another. We’ll get it back, don’t worry. But I think it is a time where we’re discovering the interpersonal force that we don’t have a name for, but how fortifying it is for us and how much we miss it now that we don’t have it.

Well, let me know if that resonates with you all. I’d love to hear your opinion because this is something that I’ve just been thinking about. I’d love to hear your opinion. If you identify with that, please let us know. Send us a note at [email protected]. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, and meanwhile stay connected safely, as best you can, and look forward to the day when we can once again meet in person. With all best wishes, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell for Distraction.

Well, since we’re all kind of stressed out these days with the pandemic and the uncertainty that comes with it, I’d like to tell you about a new product that I’ve started taking myself. It’s manufactured by the people who make OmegaBrite Omega-3 supplements. They’ve been around for some 20 years and I take that product myself, as does my wife.

Well, their new product, OmegaBrite CBD, is really terrific. I’ve been taking it for about a month now and it does create a feeling of calm without being sedating. It’s a really good natural anxiety reducer. I recommend it to you. Try it and see for yourself. Go to omegabritewellness.com and order OmegaBrite CBD. Okay, go get it.

Distraction is a project of Sounds Great Media. The podcast is recorded and edited by the marvelously talented Pat Keogh. And our producer is the extraordinarily talented Sarah Guertin.

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 OmegaBriteWellness.com.

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Managing Relationship Stress During the Pandemic

Managing Relationship Stress During the Pandemic

Living in quarantine with your significant other isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Some days or moments can be really tough. Our host’s wife, Sue Hallowell, LICSW, joins Ned for a conversation about the ups and downs of married life when neither partner can leave the house. They share some real examples of the struggles they’ve encountered over the past few weeks, and offer ideas on how to manage parenting, jobs, and relationships when you’re stressed to the max.

Reach out to us! Write an email, or record a message using the voice memo app on your phone and send it to [email protected]

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin (@sarahguertin) and our recording engineer/editor is Pat Keogh.

Learn more about our newest sponsor, OmegaBrite CBD! Dr. Hallowell takes the supplement every day because it’s safe, 3rd party tested, and it works. Shop OmegaBrite CBD online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Do you know a high school or college student with ADHD or other learning difference? Tell them about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Find out more HERE.

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, LICSW:

You have a couple who are already struggling with day-to-day life with each other and all of a sudden they’re both trying to work from home, if they’re lucky enough to have jobs. If they have children, their children are all at home, supposedly doing their homework or we’re learning whatever they’re supposed to be learning, and you’re all trying to manage that and there’s absolutely no way to get away from each other. And so it can be a really challenging time for couples to figure out how to manage all that.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell and welcome to Distraction. Every time I have a guest on, I always say this is a very special guest and in fact all our guests are very special, so I’m not exaggerating. But I think today’s guest does qualify as the most special guest. It’s a repeat appearance, but each time this guest comes on this guest does qualify as the most special guest we ever have on this podcast. Now who do you suppose that is?

Well, of course it’s none other than my own very special and only wife by the name of Sue Hallowell. In case you don’t know, Sue is a licensed independent clinical social worker, otherwise known as LICSW, and truly the most skilled therapist that I know. Nobody does it better than Sue when it comes to psychotherapy. She also manages this family and believe me, even though our kids have grown up and moved out, they still need managing, she manages me, which believe me, even though I’m grown up and not moved out, still need managing, and she manages the office that we have in New York City and helps out with the office in Sudbury and tonight she’s going to make a special dinner of tamales, which she already gave me the recipe for this-

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

Enchiladas.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Enchiladas. Oh, Tamales, Enchiladas, Tacos, all the same thing. But I’m not skilled enough to know. Anyway, she and I are at home in our house in Arlington doing the quarantine thing that one is supposed to do. But I persuaded her, at the very last minute, she had no idea she was going to do this, to come on the podcast because we get feedback whenever she comes on that she is indeed the best guest that we could ever have. So, with no further ado or introduction or babbling on my part, let me introduce my wonderful wife of 31 years, mother of our three children, Sue George Hallowell.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

Hi, honey.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Hi, Sue. You’re down in the kitchen and I’m up on the third floor. So Sue, we agreed that we would talk about how it is to live together as a couple where one person has ADD, namely me, and the country has a pandemic of the coronavirus. Is that what we agreed to talk about?

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

Well, or when one or both people have ADHD or couples in general. What it’s like to be together when you’re struggling already, or maybe even not struggling, and living together in this crazy time.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yes. And just so our listeners know, Sue actually does a private practice and specializes in couples therapy where one or both partners have ADD.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

Well, also I see other couples as well.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yes, yes, you have a veterinary practice on the side, right?

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

No, but I do see people who don’t have ADHD, I’d just like to be clear.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yes, yes. You’re a full service general practice LICSW.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

Yes.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And you see me every day.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

I see you every day.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

So you see individual patients as well. Somehow you keep me kicking along. So how would you like to jump in? What do you think is the greatest stress on couples now on top of the ADD with the pandemic that we’re living with?

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

Well, I think that all of the challenging traits that we have are exacerbated when you’re living under stressful circumstances and when you can’t get away from each other, both of which are true during this pandemic. So, you have a couple who are already struggling with day to day life with each other and all of a sudden they’re both trying to work from home, if they’re lucky enough to have jobs. If they have children, their children are all at home, supposedly doing their homework or learning whatever they’re supposed to be learning. And you’re all trying to manage that and there’s absolutely no way to get away from each other and so it can be a really challenging time for couples to figure out how to manage all that.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Wouldn’t you say a first suggestion would be to reduce your expectations? It’s only normal to feel irritated and irritable and short tempered and try to cut each other some slack?

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

I think that is clearly the number one answer. Everybody is feeling stressed and cutting expectations is really important and being kind to each other. But I think that one of the key things is that we have to reduce our personal expectations. I think that a lot of people are feeling like they have to be functioning at the same level that they always function.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

I think that when you have those expectations for yourself, then you are going to have those same expectations for your partner. And when that happens, tension is going to ensue. So, one of the things that we always talk about, Ned, I know one of the things that you always talked about, is good enough. And I think that during this time that has to really be the key statement.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

Everything has to be good enough. We can’t expect ourselves to be able to be perfect parents, perfect workers, and perfect partners at this time. Wonder if we gave ourselves permission to say, “Maybe I’m not going to be giving 100% at work.” Or, “Maybe I’m not going to be that 100% perfect parent who has their child’s day perfectly mapped out with enriching activities and no screen time.” I think that we have to give each other a break.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Okay. Hang onto that thought.

I’d like to take a moment to talk to you about a new product created by one of our sponsors, OmegaBrite, and it is their OmegaBrite CBD. I started taking it myself about a month ago and it really does make a difference in terms of creating a general feeling of calm. And it is in fact organically grown. The product was derived by careful research done by Dr. Carol Locke, who’s a Harvard Medical School graduate and faculty member.

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Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Well, you’ve been very good at giving me a break over the weekend. I was saying, “I have to work on this book cause I got to get this book done.” And you were saying, “No, you really should take a rest. You can’t push yourself too hard these days.”

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

That’s right. That’s right. You’ve been seeing a lot of patients. You’ve been seeing so many people and working so hard and I think that when you put that kind of stress on yourself, you start to take it out on other people. I think also it’s really important for people to really acknowledge the importance of each other’s work and each other’s time, right?

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

You really try to work out a schedule for each other that is realistic for both of you. Understanding that these children need to be taken care of, but if you’re both working, it can’t fall on one or the other. It’s going to require some kind of schedule or managing it that’ll work for both of you. Trying to take some downtime and just have fun.

I have a client who basically has been under so much stress, she has been working and then basically just wanting to go to bed because she’s so exhausted and then she lies in bed fretting and anxious and can’t sleep. I said, “Look, watch a mindless TV show. Have a glass of wine and chat with your college age adult children.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Why don’t you tell the listeners the ritual that you and I have developed after dinner?

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

Well, we go into our living room where I’m trying to maintain six feet away from Ned at all times since I was in New York City and I’m quarantining myself. And we watch a movie every night. We alternate because in good couples practice, he likes action, adventure, and I like comedies, particularly romantic comedy, mindless things. And we’re alternating. It’s something that in our day to day life, I’m working late or he’s working late or we’re both so busy, that we often get into bed at 10:00 or 11:00 o’clock and I fall asleep immediately. But now we’re trying to set aside our evening to sit down and watch a show together, which gets our minds off of the day and all the challenges. It lets us and have fun and we’re spending some really nice time together.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

As well as arguing about the choice of movies.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

Well, that’s why we’re alternating.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

I liked a couple of the rom coms we watched.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

There you go.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

You definitely did not like one of the action adventure we watched.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

No, but I’ve liked some of them and that’s awesome.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah, and you did hang in there. You dozed off but you, you hung in there. But it’s nice just being with you and I think you don’t have to be necessarily in conversation just to be with your partner, what have you. Just the connection is good to enjoy.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

I think that’s exactly right. I think that’s exactly right. And getting outside. If there’s a place around you, can walk without many people, just to get some fresh air is so important. Another issue that I find that’s coming up with couples who are in the house all the time together, particularly around parenting, but other things as well, is that if they have different ways of doing things and they’re trying to share responsibilities, it’s hard not to interfere with what the other person is doing.

I had a couple the other day and when the dad is on, when he’s doing the parenting, the mom is up supposedly working, but they have different ideas about what’s important. She’s very into the child has to be on a schedule and the child has to eat vegetables and the child has to exercise and the dad thinks all that’s important too, but the kid is pretty difficult and he thinks maintaining a relationship with the kid is more important and he has to pick his battles about what he’s fighting with.

And how do you let parents, even though they’re in the same house and closer than they are at other times when you don’t see with the other parent is doing, really understand that you have to divide up those duties? And when one is on the other has to let the other one do it, whether it’s the way you would do it or not.

Giving them the autonomy even if you have to hide upstairs. There was another couple who I was talking about where the worry is, is that the mom would never be able to work because as soon as the children see her, they want mom. And these are littler kids so you’re able to do this. And there was a lot of tension developing between the couple because the mom was like, “Why can’t you just keep the kids away? I need to work too.” And the dad said, “Once they see you they don’t want to be with me and that’s a problem.”

And so the solution they came up with was the mom gets up really early before the kids, goes and hides up in her office, and doesn’t come back until 2:00 o’clock that they really feel like that she’s not there in a very different kind of way. So, it’s how can you be resilient? How can you think outside the box during this time to be able to get each other through and be supportive of each other?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

You can take care of things that maybe you’ve been putting off. Just before we came on the podcast, you and I did something that we’d been meaning to do for 20 years, namely update our wills. So, we got this attorney on the line. Last time we spoke to him was 1999 and we were sort of sheepish about it. But we slogged away at updating the will. I do think it was sort of ironic that during a pandemic we’re updating our will, but let’s hope that’s not anticipating any terrible event. But the point being you can take care of things that maybe you’ve been putting off taking care of.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

Well, I also think that it’s about what are your priorities, right? And thinking through what our priorities are and what’s important in life. I was in a peer supervision that I do and we were talking about what are the silver linings? When we slow down, if we give ourselves permission to slow down and not rush, maybe there are points of connection that we can make that we’re too busy to do and enjoy both ourselves and our children in a way that we normally aren’t.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

Getting things done we haven’t, you and I were talking about how we watch TV. I will say one of the most interesting things to me is I have seen in our neighborhood more families out walking or biking together than I think I’ve seen in my entire life.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

People of all ages.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

People of all ages. And I think that that’s a positive thing and really understanding, I have had some people say, “You know, we could die. People could get sick and do I really hate you as much as I think? Are you really as annoying as I think you are? What are the things that did bring us together?” And I do think that the slowing down may give us an opportunity to be able to do that.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

All right, we’re going to pause right here for just a moment.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Joining me now is Scout MacEachron, a former student at Landmark College, our wonderful sponsor in beautiful, beautiful, bucolic Putney, Vermont. So Scout, thank you for joining us for a couple of minutes. And could you please just tell us about your experience at Landmark College and why it worked for you?

Scout MacEachron:

Sure. Happy to be here. So, I attended Landmark from 2011 to 2012, I graduated with my associates degree and I ended up at Landmark after failing, for lack of a better word, out of traditional college. I’m diagnosed with ADHD and mild dyslexia and a few other learning disabilities. And yeah, regular college wasn’t working so well for me. So, I ended up at landmark where it was just unlike anything I’d ever experienced before. I was suddenly surrounded by a bunch of other kids who thought differently, like I did, and a bunch of teachers and staff who were really well equipped to be supportive in a way that I would think most traditional college professors and what have you might not be.

So, it really helps me, boosted my confidence I think would have been one of the primary, biggest things that I left Landmark with. Also just all those basic skills that might come easily to some but not all of us, like writing a college essay or managing your time outside of class. Really all of that, I found support for there and was taught how to do in a gentle but firm way and I graduated with straight A’s and went on to finish my BA and I’m at a different school in New York and yeah.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Wow. What are you doing now?

Scout MacEachron:

So, I’m a journalist. I’m a video producer for a company called Now This News.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Oh, cool. Based in New York City?

Scout MacEachron:

It is, yeah. Although I’m based in LA. We make news videos for social media.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Oh my gosh, that’s wonderful. So, Landmark really turned it around for you.

Scout MacEachron:

It really did. I went in there hating college. I’d spent some time working as a waitress and I thought I wanted to be a photographer and I really just didn’t think college was for me. But after Landmark, I just left with this whole new found sense of confidence and I actually enjoyed the things that I was learning again. And I remember reading a book for school for the first time and actually enjoying it and finishing it and not just telling my teacher I finished it. It was a great place for me.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

That’s a wonderful. I’m a huge fan. In fact, I have an honorary degree from Landmark College.

Scout MacEachron:

Oh wow, that’s neat.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

I’m a big fan of it. Well, thank you so much for sharing your story and I know firsthand that there are many, many, many more stories like yours, but there’s nothing like hearing it from the actual person.

Scout MacEachron:

Absolutely. Well, thank you for having me.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

If you’d like to learn more about the college of choice for students who learn differently, namely Landmark College in beautiful Putney, Vermont, go to lcdistraction.org. That’s Landmark College, to learn so much more, and our thanks to Scout MacEachron for so eloquently representing what Landmark College can do for you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

So, do you hate me as much as you think you do?

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

Oh, stop.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

But I am as annoying as you think I am, I’m aware of that.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

You can be be annoying, and I’m sure I can be annoying too.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

No, you’re never annoying. One of the things whenever Sue and I do these podcasts together, she always wants to be sure that we don’t make it sound as if we’re the perfect couple, that we acknowledge that we do argue and can annoy one another and I think that’s true.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

Well, we do and I think that’s important because, again, I think the message has to be is we all have these challenges and it’s how do we manage them and how do we try to get through them in the best way we can.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

I will say, one of the advantages of having ADD is a tendency to focus and get organized in times of crisis. So, I have found myself a little bit more energized during this period, a little bit more focused than I normally am. I don’t know if you’ve noticed that.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

You definitely have. And that really has been interesting that you’ve been able to do that. And I think you’re right, it might be the high stimulation of it being a bit more of a crisis, because I do think that for some people with ADD, one of the challenges has been the lack of structure of being home.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

And I think that particularly if people … if your job is increased because of this. If you’re extremely busy, like you Ned, you’re seeing lots of patients who are very anxious and upset or I have a client who works in communications around the virus, so then I think that this sort of high stim pushing it is easy. But for some people their job, don’t have a job, or their job is much less busy because they’re working from home.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

And I think that that can be a challenge to figure out how to develop routines or how to develop structure if you’re not good at doing that by nature. And that, again, can cause stress between couples if one person is very structured and wants you to be more structured or if one is working very hard at their job and needs a lot more structure and you’re struggling with that lack of structure. That’s a real challenge for people.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

How do you advise people to work that out?

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

Well, I think it’s really hard because if it’s someone without ADHD you say, “Well, develop a routine, develop a structure for yourself.” But we know that that’s not always easy for people with ADHD because they don’t have those internal structures and they really rely on external structures and they bristle when someone tries to set up a structure, I.E. their partner tries to set up some structure for them.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

So, this is really tough and what I really try to do with people is to help them come to grips with what they struggle with themselves. So, if I can get a person with ADHD who struggles with setting up a structure for themselves or having that internal way of setting it up, if instead of them getting angry and defensive about it or feeling criticized, if I can really help them understand that this isn’t a bad thing about them, it’s just a fact.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

And what kind of strategies or how can they rely on the help from others to be able to set up some kind of structures so that everybody feels better? Because I find that if you can help people take responsibility for what they do well and don’t do so well without making it such a big deal.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Or that without shame.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

Without shame or externalization, without blaming other people for trying to make them be something they’re not, or internal shame, then it’s easier to come up with some easy structure. It has to be a structure that can work for them. Not a structure that other people think is a way that they should be structured. And they have to also understand the impact on their partner, right.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

If instead of it just being a fight between the two of them, if they get to a conversation where, “Look, I know you’re not someone who easily structures yourself, but we’ve got these kids we’re having to develop some routine for. I’m trying to get my work done and it’s really hard if I don’t have your help in some sort of framework, and I then get more stressed and upset.” If it can be a conversation around impact and around what we struggle with, then you can get somewhere.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And you mentioned earlier, make time for fun, make time for fun. You don’t think of this as being anything fun about it, but at the same time there’s no command that you have to be absolutely shut down, misery.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

In fact, it’s not good for you. To be shut absolutely shut down, misery. I know this sounds trendy and it’s what everybody says, but the more that you can find some ways to be grateful or my groups said today silver linings, the more that you can enjoy little moments, the better you’re going to be. Because if we get, like my client who was not allowing herself any fun, was just so pulled down by it, that doesn’t do well for anybody. It hurts her partner, it hurts her kids, and mostly it hurts herself.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

We have to try to push against that. And if it means that you let your children watch more TV than you normally would or play more video games so you and your partner can sit down and have a cup of tea or a glass of wine or just a few minutes to catch yourself, so be it. People are going to survive. But relationships can be damaged if you don’t take the time to try and nurture them, even in this time when it feels like there’s so much going on.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Well, I’m very, very grateful to have you in my life and our three children and I.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

And me to you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

I’ve been feeling that way every day. We’ve been together an awful lot and our nightly movies are a lot of fun, even though we don’t always agree on the choice of the movies. But I think you’re right, a time to feel gratitude in the midst of feeling oppressed and deprived and denied. I love the silver linings that you pointed out, and that’s not to be Pollyanna. We acknowledge that it’s that it’s terrible. Absolutely terrible. People are dying and losing their jobs and their businesses and their livelihoods. It’s terrible. But at the same time, it’s not uniformly relentlessly terrible. And to find the, as you said, the silver linings. And Sue, you are a huge silver lining in my life and thank you so much.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

Thank you, honey. I always love to come on.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Okay. Remember to reach out to us with your comments. A lot of you have commented on these COVID-19 check-ins and we love hearing from you. We had a bunch of emails. So please send us an email. Send it to [email protected]. Share your stories and thoughts. Write an email or record a voice memo and send it to us.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer and editor is my dear friend and wonderful colleague, Pat Keogh, and our producer is the delightful, effervescent, and always brilliant and imaginative, Sarah Guertin.

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 omegabritewellness.com.

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