Acceptance and the Paradox of Change with Dr. Dodge Rea

You might have heard of the stages of denial. But have you heard of the stages of acceptance? Dr. Dodge is back with us this week to share the similarities and differences between the two models and illuminate just how powerful it can be when discussing our relationship to ADHD.

Links & Notes


Episode Transcript

Brought to you by The ADHD Podcast Community on Patreon

Pete Wright:
Hello everybody and welcome to Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast on True Story FM. I’m Pete Wright, and I’m here with Nikki Kinzer. Hello, Nikki.

Nikki Kinzer:
Well, hello Pete. Hello, everyone. Welcome to the show.

Pete Wright:
Those checking out the live stream today, members of our Patreon community, yes, it’s just like you just saw us yesterday and we’re back. We’re back to do it again. You know guest schedules being what they are, we got to be flexible. We are nothing if we are not adaptable and so we adapt. And today we have one of our favorite people, Dr. Dodge Rea is back to talk to us about, well, he’s going to talk to us about acceptance and he’s going to talk to us about ADHD paradoxes and he’s going to talk about all kinds of stuff. It’s a continuation of the ongoing continuation of conversations with Dodge Rea. Whether they happen here or over on his podcast, The Change Paradox, we’re thrilled to have those conversations.

Pete Wright:
Before we begin however, head over to takecontroladhd.com to get to know us a little bit better. You can listen to the show right there on the website or subscribe to the mailing list and right there on the homepage, we’ll send you an email each time a new episode is released. You can connect with us on Twitter or Facebook at Take Control ADHD. And if this show has ever touched you or helped you live in a new way with your ADHD, if you found you understand your relationship with ADHD in a new way, please consider checking out our membership program over on Patreon. Patreon.com/theadhdpodcast. Patreon is a listener supported podcasting. With a few dollars a month, you can help guarantee that we continue to grow the show. You can join us for live stream recordings and chat with the guests after we record. You can get early access to every episode. They come out a week early for patrons and more on the way. Patreon.com/theadhdpodcast. Thank you so very much. Nikki has announcements.

Nikki Kinzer:
I have announcements.

Pete Wright:
Please, a flourish of horns.

Nikki Kinzer:
Well, it’s interesting because as I was listening to you speak about the same thing that you speak every day when we start this podcast, yeah, you would think I would know it by heart, but I don’t. And I was listening GPS workshop. I talked a little bit about it last week, Guided Planning Sessions. This is a new workshop that I’ve started. I love it. The people are loving it and that is going to be opening up in its next session, its next six weeks fairly soon. So you’re going to be seeing more information around that in the newsletter and on social media and all of that. And if you have questions, make sure you let me know because it’s a really good program. If you are interested in learning how to plan, but really not so much learning, it’s about giving yourself time and space to do it. And then having somebody like me and other people who are going through the planning with you so you’re not alone and it’s pretty cool. So that’s it.

Pete Wright:
Very cool.

Nikki Kinzer:
All announcements are over now.

Pete Wright:
All right. Let’s get back to the business of the business of acceptance. Dr. Dodge Rea is an integrative clinical psychologist in Nashville Tennessee, practices at the Lotus center, which offers him an office with a glorious view. If you’re in the live stream, you get to see what Dodge gets to look at all day. It’s just that the city of Nashville is just lovely. And he’s back with us yet again, to continue a conversation that we have started in the past around the paradox of ADHD. He’s the host of The Change Paradox podcast and he has happily completed an entire season is over of The Change Paradox.

Nikki Kinzer:
Congratulations.

Pete Wright:
Hi Dodge.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
Hi, how are you guys? I’m so glad to be here. Thanks for inviting me back.

Pete Wright:
I’ve been lucky enough to be on a back channel text chat between you all and I’m very curious how your interests together over your past conversations have manifested our conversation today. Where would you like to start?

Dr. Dodge Rea:
Oh, I guess what stayed with me a lot from our last conversation was around just how much shame I see people carry around ADHD. Just the pain of feeling like this is who I am, this is the only way I’ll ever be. All of that is just, I just see a lot of pain in clients as they talk about it and work with it, family members also. And so I got interested in how does one move through acceptance of that? And so I thought it might be interesting to apply some work from a marriage and family therapist on the West coast named Marty Cooper. She works a lot with anxiety and depression and she talks about her kind of the stages of acceptance for serious depression. But they apply really well to ADHD and I thought it’d be kind of a cool conversation with you guys to bring that in.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yes, I’m really looking forward to this because acceptance, when I was on your show, that was one of the things that we certainly talked about were with coaching, there’s these kind of three levels that I look at. The awareness of how ADHD affects the person and then that second piece is the acceptance that it’s ADHD. And those are the two pieces we have to work through before we get to that third piece, which is the systems and the structures that you put in place to help manage the ADHD. But the acceptance piece is tough. And it’s really hard to go into systems without shame if you haven’t accepted the piece that this ADHD. And I think we’re very familiar, we’re not very familiar, but I’m sure people have heard of the stages of grief, the denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

Nikki Kinzer:
And when you had brought up the stages of acceptance, I was like, “This is really interesting to me because I haven’t explored this piece.” And so yes, I think it’s going to be a really good conversation to talk about those different points. And one of the things too that I just want to point out when we were talking on your show is that paradox, The Change Paradox, when we talked about it, you were saying it’s kind of the more you try to be something you’re not, the more you stay right where you are. And so I’m curious before we get into the stages of acceptance with your work, with your podcast and the work that you do, this change paradox, explain more about what that means. I don’t know. Maybe I didn’t give it the right definition. I’m not sure. So tell me what you think before we get into the acceptance piece.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
Change is a funny process, right? We’re both in this business of change. And what I’ve noticed over the years is that the part we’re most conscious of is the idea that change comes from me recognizing a problem and defeating the problem, me applying my will along some track on the way toward a goal. And when I achieve the goal, then the change is complete, right? It seems really linear, really conscious, really effortful, very much will-driven. And yet if it were as simple as that, I don’t think we’d be finding that 90% of people who make new year’s resolutions can’t even remember them in a couple of months, right? I’m making up that number. But just as an idea that like most of us get to Wednesday of the same week that we’d made a new year’s resolution and it’s already out the window because just will alone doesn’t seem to bring about change the way we always hope it will. Right? It doesn’t always work quite like that.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
So I’ve been really interested in my career in, so what are the subtle dynamics? How does this work sometimes in ways that don’t make as much sense? And a lot of psychotherapy, it’s not such a conscious process. What somebody comes in to work on is often not what they end up finding they were really here to work on, for example, and all their effort in the world to defeat the thing about themselves they hate tends not to work. But often the change process on us, at least on the subtle level, the conscious stuff is still there. We’re not ignoring it. We’re just saying, everybody knows about that part. What’s the rest? The subtler part often works more on a paradoxical level where exactly the opposite of what you think will happen is what happens, hardware and effect.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
You have to bring together seemingly opposing ideas or energies. So you see that all the time and in the therapy world, where for example the only way to dissipate a feeling you really don’t like is to move toward it. The more I fight with my fear, the bigger it gets. This is panic, right? This is anxiety that got clamped down on and we froze our breath and we started to spin on, oh God, oh God, oh God, I got to make this better. This has to change. I have to change it now. I can’t change it. I got to change it now. And boom, you’re in a full blown panic attack just like that.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
Depression often works the same way. It spirals as you fight more and more with it. And the more we move toward a feeling strangely, paradoxically, the more often it evaporates right in front of us. It begins to change. But this turns out to be true in a lot of other ways, kind of self-identity is often true. The more I accept myself as I am, the more free I am to change. That’s a weird thing that many of the greats have pointed out along the way.

Nikki Kinzer:
Well, let me ask you about that. I mean, because I think just to add to that, if you’re accepting or like, okay, so my identity is this and I’m okay with this and I don’t want to change it and I don’t feel like I need to change it. Doesn’t that give you kind of a sense of freedom too, is that I can let go of some of these things that were holding me back before?

Dr. Dodge Rea:
Exactly. One more example of it. Right? So what this show ends up being about, The Change Paradox, I got interested in whether this might be a principle that holds true in all areas of change, not just psychological, not just coaching, but what about medical? What about sociological? How about political? Does this turn out to be true in spiritual areas? I’m just really interested in how often +there’s something profound held in the paradoxical element of change. So that’s where that came about. And what you and I were looking at when we talked last was so how does change work when you’re working with something that itself isn’t going to go away? So if ADHD is still going to be there on the other side of it, what’s the change process there? And what part of me then changes if it’s not the so-called disorder?

Nikki Kinzer:
And we talked about mindset.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
Yup, yup. It’s at least mindset. Right? And there are other ways to look at it. So I’d be interested in, so what if we talked further today and this is the idea about these stages of acceptance and how far that can go, because it turns out there are kind of layers of that. And people may be in different stages of acceptance out there as they listen and not aware of what else is available to them.

Nikki Kinzer:
Now is the stages of acceptance the same thing as the stages of grief in the sense that it’s not linear? You can be going back and forth between or I’m sorry, resonation, denial, acceptance. Can you go back and forth between these things like you can with grief?

Dr. Dodge Rea:
Yeah, definitely. Yeah. In fact, I think you have to. It’s really much more of a spiral than it is a line. You probably go back to all of them repeatedly many times, but each time from sort of a different level of awareness.

Nikki Kinzer:
All right. So where should we begin?

Dr. Dodge Rea:
So we’d start with just the idea that before we get to any level of acceptance for either in full-on denial or we’re just in not knowing and part of what’s interesting to me about the journey inside it, which absolutely applies to ADHD is that sometimes we have it and we are furiously denying it. And sometimes we haven’t the slightest idea that’s what’s been going on all this time. We’ve had other explanations and for ADD as you’ve taught me. And we’ve talked about before for a lot of people it’s, I’m dumb or there’s something wrong with me or I’ll just never be good at that or there are all kinds of versions of not yet realizing, oh, this is a thing.

Nikki Kinzer:
This is what’s happening, right? And I’m not alone.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
The whole subset of conversations of comparing yourself to other people in all kinds of different ways that are ultimately damaging.

Nikki Kinzer:
Well, and just this morning, I was talking to a client who was telling me how cathartic it was to speak to two other people who had ADHD. And they actually were talking about some of these things that they find themselves doing. One is like researching too much about apps and things like that. And she said-

Dr. Dodge Rea:
I don’t know anything about that.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah, you don’t know anything about that at all. But it was interesting to hear her say how good that was for her to talk to other people that dealt with the same thing. And they didn’t know that they were all dealing with the same thing either. And I guess that’s my point is they didn’t know that that was like an ADHD symptom or characteristic.

Pete Wright:
And you know what’s sort of lingering in the back of my mind is our conversation last week with Seth Nelson divorce attorney, which is that what he deals with when assessing people who live with ADHD, who are going through or injected into the legal system is again, how do you help them to modify behavior signals so that they can adapt their own behavior to a system that does not acknowledge or accept ADHD or not? Like it does not care about your ADHD.

Pete Wright:
And so what does that coaching look like when you run into this wall of unacceptance and have to figure out like, oh my gosh, I need to, when I go on the stand, I have to shut my mouth after I give an answer. My brain’s going to keep going. And as he said, I don’t care if your brain keeps going. I love it. That’s great. Just stop your mouth at the end of the sentence that answers the question which I asked. That’s what the coaching is like. And I think that is such an interesting place when you have to slam headlong into culture and not just experience home and struggles and systems, those sorts of things.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
So that first stage of acceptance then is recognition. The first part is just where I see this and I feel terrible about it, but I don’t accept that this is here to stay. I see okay, now I see what you’re talking about. Yeah, maybe I’ve got some ADHD symptoms, but I’m going to fight this thing. I’m going to win. Right. So there’s recognition, but there’s really no, there’s no owning it yet.

Pete Wright:
Like anything else, I can conquer this beast.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
I can conquer this beast. Right.

Pete Wright:
I can slay the dragon.

Nikki Kinzer:
Well, and there’s shame in that too, because I can hear people … I mean, I can just think of several conversations that I’ve had where people will say, “I should be able to do this. I can’t believe I can’t do this.” So it’s recognition of it, but then they’re beating themselves up because of it. They’re beating themselves up of something that they can’t control and that’s a bad place to be too. Like it’s kind of … yeah, I don’t know. Help us with that.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
In some ways that may be already at the second one. At this first stage, they may not even be ready to beat themselves up because it is so not them that they are ready to … all they need is a quick … They’re going to fix this. This is [crosstalk 00:16:26] because they already have even gotten to oh (beep). This is the, oh, well, I see what you mean, but I’m going to make some calls. I’m going to take some supplements. Something’s going to just make this stop.

Pete Wright:
This is where recognition runs like into a conflicting self-identity. Yes.

Nikki Kinzer:
Well, and I would see denial in there too, right? Or I mean, I could see maybe before even the recognition of I can make the stop, but like I don’t believe you.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
I don’t have ADHD.

Nikki Kinzer:
I don’t have ADHD. I don’t believe you.

Pete Wright:
I remember kids with ADHD in the sixth grade and that wasn’t me.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
Right. Right. And so yeah, it’s still got flavors of denial. It’s gotten just a little past the this absolutely isn’t happening. It’s like, I can see what you mean, but there’s something I can do about it. I’m sure I can do something about this and I’m going to beat it. That’s what’s going to happen. The second phase of acceptance then is resignation. Okay. I have tried for six months or six years, or half my life to make this whole thing go away, because all I got to do is buckle down or I got to just take … I just got to get more sleep and that will totally erase it. Right. And then I’m suddenly realizing I can’t beat it and I’m screwed. And at this point, I am no longer resisting it in choices or behaviors. I’m just resisting it like crazy on my insides. This is where the shame is just brutal because we feel really helpless.

Pete Wright:
Yeah. That’s the part where we see a lot of people who find us, for example, who find our community, because it seems like that’s the stage where people start to ask, I need help. I need a rope. Right. But I think what we hear over and over again is this story of the bounce back between resignation, oh God, I’m hopeless to like oh, wait a minute. No, that was just a fever dream. I’m okay. The thing that triggered all of my ADHD symptoms has passed. Maybe it was a big presentation at work or a big trip you were trying to prepare for travel and you botched plane tickets, but that’s just a one-off thing. Don’t worry about it. I don’t really have ADHD.

Pete Wright:
And so then you get the bungee kind of experience bouncing up and down between denial and recognition and resignation. And my sense is you become sort of practiced at denying and recognizing and denying again and recognizing, and then resigning yourself to where it is. And at some point, there’s got to be a trigger, right? What is it that pushes you through to acceptance? That’s the gap that I feel like we can live in those first sort of three areas for a long time and accept a lot of pain, but eventually we move through it. And that’s the part that I don’t see as consistently, like everybody seems to have a different story of what it was that made them pick up the phone to ask for help.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
Yeah. I’m a big believer in really letting ourselves have our whole experience at every stage. So when I’m sitting with somebody who’s in kind of a place of resignation, as much as I can to a point, I really want to make sure they have had the full grief of I am (beep) for just a little bit, sorry for the language, but that’s what it feels like.

Pete Wright:
Yeah, that’s right.

Nikki Kinzer:
No, but it’s true. That’s how you feel.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
Because it’s not like I’m in trouble. It feels worse than that. You feel really, really devastated by this is a serious problem. I’m seeing it here and here and here-

Nikki Kinzer:
For the rest of my life.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
And it’s never going away. And for just a little while, there’s just enough truth to that, that I think it’s really, it honors the person to let them grieve for a little while and oh God, oh God, what am I going to do? If somebody can stay there, especially if they can stay in their bodies, like so I work somatically a lot. I really help kind of guide people back into the sensations of like where do I feel the total hopelessness in my physical self? And can I maybe even put a hand there and breathe into that? And those are just the early parts of the grace sequence that we’ve talked about on your show before. But just to kind of join my body for a little while and just breathe into that and be in the grief and that might be five minutes. It might be five weeks, but I strongly encourage people to just be talking about it for a little bit at a time to just be like, “This is really scary.”

Pete Wright:
Do you find people surprised when you introduce them to the somatic experience of their grief, the physical experience of emotional pain? Do you find them surprised when they actually notice, oh God, something hurts.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
Yeah. And really surprised when they breathe and notice, wait, that’s weird. It just changed. Most of the time they’re like, “Oh, that’s a weird little trick you just played on me.” I paid attention to it and now I can’t find it. That’s kind of weird, but obviously it’s still there and I just have to go, “Is it? Let’s stay with that a minute. [crosstalk 00:21:56] right now, where is it now?” All right.

Pete Wright:
Can you hear me now?

Dr. Dodge Rea:
Right. And if people get really attached to the ideas in this place of resignation, the feelings never really move through very well. And they get really fixated on, I am totally screwed and here are all the ways my life’s going to suck and no one’s going to ever like me again and no wonder I’m such a failure or something. You can really go into believing all of the, every thought they think. One of my favorite bumper stickers forever will be don’t believe everything you think. Because if we can let the thoughts go by from it and just stay in I feel scared or I feel sad or something, there comes a moment when something else shows up. If we just keep breathing, something else shows up and it might be a kind of curiosity, might be anger like okay, how the (beep) is everyone else dealing with this? Apparently that’s my word for today.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
But there’s just so much frustration around this. Like the folks I work with living with ADD, some of the time can just sort of wave it off. But when they really have to sit with what a big deal it turns out to be in their lives, sometimes they get mad. I’m like, “Okay, what is everyone doing about this?”

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah. I hear that a lot where people get very angry. I just I’m so mad that I have this. I don’t want this. I don’t want … just angry that they have it. And something else I want to say real quick, that when you said to kind of sit where you are, I remember when my daughter was diagnosed with ADHD earlier this year, one of the emotions that I felt really strongly at first was sadness. And I felt guilty about feeling sad because so much of my career is built on helping people see that this doesn’t have to be sad. Right. And it was really an emotion I struggled with because it’s like, I didn’t want to feel that way, but yet that’s how I felt. And I remember talking to my husband about it and he immediately wanted to try to change my perspective. And well, but you know that this isn’t going to be dah, dah, dah, or she’s going to be fine, dah, dah, dah. And I’m like, “I know that, I know that, but I’m just sad. Let me just be sad.”

Dr. Dodge Rea:
Yes. Yes. And it’s such an important thing to be able to do it as a therapist or a coach or a parent to be able to just let them be sad, let them be in resignation and not rush them to the next better stage of acceptance yet, to just be in, oh no, oh no, oh no, this is going to be hard. Or some of the time angry. It’s not freaking fair. It’s not fair. And it’s not. Well-

Nikki Kinzer:
And it’s not. I mean, it’s not fair that my husband has MS either, right? I mean, when we look at all of the different things that can happen not just ADHD, but any of these chronic illnesses and things that we live with that we have to go through the same stages. And one of the things you were saying about your show is that you’re looking at health and all of these other avenues, and I can tell you, we went through denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. And when I see embrace with acceptance, it’s entrusting because like I struggle with that. I don’t want to embrace his MS. I’m sure that there’s a lot of people that don’t want to embrace ADHD. So I’m really curious to hear what you have to say about the after acceptance, but I’m jumping the gun here. So let’s go back to resonation and acceptance.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
You are, Nikki. Thanks Nikki.

Nikki Kinzer:
I know. I’m so sorry. It’s this brain.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
It’s totally fine. I mean, but let’s just pause for a second and notice how fast we want to do that. We want to get where this is hard.

Nikki Kinzer:
Oh, for sure because it is.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
Tell me something about the part where this feels good again, right? As fast as possible. And what really sucks is for the folks who are living with this thing that’s going to be here again tomorrow. And no matter what insight we give them today, which might feel freaking great, might change everything kind of, they’re still going to wake up the next day after that and be like, “God, there it is again.” Some of that’s just true.

Pete Wright:
You know what? That’s 100% and that is how it manifests for me too, because I have so many systems and so much of a scaffolding around my life that I count on, I can trick myself into thinking, everything’s fine.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
I got this.

Pete Wright:
I’ll go days and days and days and days. And even now, after being a co-host on an ADHD podcast for a decade, I can still wake up in the morning and think, oh yeah, no, it’s fine. Don’t worry about it. I’m going to be great. And then just last week, I completely cratered, right? Everything fell apart because it’s the house of cards that is my life. And one alarm goes wonky, and I’m gone. I’m gone for a full day and let everybody down and have to think, oh, that’s right. That’s not who I am. I’m a guy who has to rely on the house of cards and chew bubblegum and yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
Well, and it’s like that’s the gremlin. Right? I was just talking to somebody about this yesterday. And we were talking, she had actually disclosed some of her ADHD and some of the challenges with her boss. And unfortunately within just like a week’s time, she missed, well, she didn’t really miss anything. He thought it was an attention issue, but it wasn’t, she was doing the work. She just didn’t tell him that she was doing the work. But here was this trigger that was like, oh, I shouldn’t have told him because now he thinks that anytime I don’t talk to him, it’s an attention issue and we had to talk through that. Like here’s that little gremlin saying, “You shouldn’t have done that. You shouldn’t have done that.” And our conversation then led more into how do you fight that gremlin voice? What can you say to that gremlin? But yes, it can go back and forth so fast. I have the freedom of disclosing this, I feel so good about it and then now, bam-

Pete Wright:
Oh God, I have to fear honesty now.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
Yeah. Yeah. And I think for a lot of people, the shame really is more related with the stigma of it than with the experience of it. So they’re really worried about how if this becomes, like is now attached to how people know Dodge let’s say, does that mean every time I make a mistake, it’s going to get blamed on that or every time I don’t communicate just right or every time I’m five minutes late, it’s probably because I couldn’t help it or it couldn’t possibly be actual traffic. So there’s a lot there that goes with living with it in any way.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
So acceptance is the third stage then and that’s where we get to a place where we go, “Okay, I’m ADHD and I’ve had a big cry or I’ve had a fit. I’ve let my anger move. I’ve let all the fear come and rise and peak and move through me, now what?” And this is a place where if we’ve genuinely really worked a lot on the emotion piece of it and have moved past that or have gotten better and better at letting a wave move through us quickly, we’re less gripped by the emotional piece of it, right. We’re less in resistance or resentment or sort of stuck in our emotional reaction, and we get open to responding. And so at this level of acceptance, then we get curious about what’s available from here?

Dr. Dodge Rea:
So a lot of your highest functioning clients and listeners out there have gotten to a place where they’re like, “I’m sort of over having a fit about it. What I’m interested in is what systems work for me.” In fact, that can get kind of exciting. They find a new system and they get really jazzed on.

Pete Wright:
Truly exhilarating.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
It can be just to really be like, “This really fixes it for me. As long as I keep up with this system, I don’t …” Or they find a new med and sometimes there’s like a thrill. Sometimes I work with folks and they’ll find finally just the med they’ve needed all this time and they cry for a week that they didn’t have it when they needed it before.

Pete Wright:
There’s a huge tendency for that. Right? Which is the waves of regret that come when you first say, “You’re telling me this has been here all along? You’re telling me that this pill would help me close the window to the noise and you’ve had it and you didn’t share it with me world? Right. What did I miss? What switch did I flip? Why did nobody pick up on it and tell me about this. This could have saved me 20 years.”

Dr. Dodge Rea:
And especially right at the beginning when we’re pretty sure the pill erases it completely, we’re flipping now back and forth between three and one. We’re like, “See, I knew I didn’t really have this because there was a permanent perfect solution that would make it completely go away. Why didn’t no one tell me this?” And then we hit a new stage of grief where we’re like, “Oh (beep), it wears off at 4:00.”

Pete Wright:
Yeah. Right. Hello 5:00.

Nikki Kinzer:
It didn’t actually teach me the skill. Like I focused better, but I didn’t actually have the skill of whatever it might be. Right. Yeah.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
So now we have just got the chaos of my old habits because they were long developed by now.

Nikki Kinzer:
Before we move on though, Dodge, I have a quick question about what Pete was saying about this, I don’t know if it’s regret or just this anger-

Pete Wright:
There’s a lot of rage.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah, rage towards this past, what could have been. How do you sit with somebody in that?

Dr. Dodge Rea:
The way I do it tends to be a direct and back into their body. So I’ll listen for a little while and I’ll tend to mirror back to them and I do this kind of with any big feelings coming up, I’ll just, I’ll mirror back a little bit of what I’m hearing them say. And if their energy rises then to meet that and they find want to go on, they naturally will. This is a lot of how Ted Klontz would listen. Right. He’s going to say just a little bit back. So it’s like, so you’re just feeling really mad right now and you’re realizing holy cow, I could’ve had help with this sooner or really mad right now that it is just so unfair that you got this and your sister didn’t or something. Yeah. And then they might go, “Yeah, I am. And …” And a whole bunch more.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
And eventually, they’ll get to a place where you say that part back to them and then the next part, back to them. And then there’s like this moment where they sit back a little in their chair where the energy falls and they go quiet. And about then I would just be like, “Can I ask you a weird question?” If they haven’t heard me ask this before, most of them have by now. “Can you tell me where you feel that in your body?” And they’re like, “Huh?” And so I’d say like, “If you and I could switch bodies, what would I notice in there first?”“Oh, my chest is super tight.” And I just be like, “Good. Do you mind just putting a hand there and just being as kind as you can to that part of your chest that has to hold all this anger for you today and then breathe.”

Dr. Dodge Rea:
And so if somebody will lean into longer exhales than inhales and just put their hand where they’re feeling it in their body, it starts to move. And the rest of the grace sequence gives them more to go on and they can go find that workshop in your catalog or we’ll figure out something. But just there is a really nice beginning for getting reconnected to their bodies because otherwise what they’ll want to do is they start to just chase their thoughts and all the stories about it. And as soon as the way would peak and fall, they just whipped themselves right back up into feeling awful again. Right. If somebody is really working with anger and they’re finding it’s pretty chronic, like there’s just a lot of anger in their lives right now or it’s not just kind of naturally wanting to subside and get curious about, so what could I do with this instead?

Dr. Dodge Rea:
You’re right, they’re still kind of in that resignation. There’s a cool technique for just moving anger in a physical way and it kind of goes like this. You stand with your feet a good shoulder width part or a little wider. You get ahold of something like half a pool noodle or a rolled up newspaper or something soft and you go stand at the edge of maybe a kitchen counter or back behind a chair or something where you’ve got a good, hard surface that you can whack with this thing.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
Okay. And you pick a big breath in, and you draw that thing back with both hands above your head like a samurai would. And then you follow through down and you hit the end of that on whatever’s in front of you so there’s a nice, strong pop, and you yell ha really loud, just … like that and follow through so it comes all the way down to the floor between your legs. Another big breath in, up over your head like a samurai and then wham, hit that as hard as you can. Now, you want to do this in a way where you’re not injuring any property, where you’re not destroying your house-

Pete Wright:
Doing it to a person.

Nikki Kinzer:
So what do you want those rooms? Like those rooms where you can just wreck things?

Dr. Dodge Rea:
That might be fun too. Yep. You can go actually beat the hell out of something. Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah. Because they’re letting you take the dishes and throw them against the wall. And it’s a … I don’t know what they’re called, but my daughter and I both were like, “That would be so fun to just be able to destroy things.”

Dr. Dodge Rea:
That would be seriously satisfying. Yup.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah. But I can see where that, like that physical movement is letting that go from your body.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
Yeah. And I think this is probably useful when people hit an emotional storm or where they hit that like that place where their brain has started to swim. They’ve run into a problem. Their brains started to spin out, too many things coming at once and they really need … All they feel is just that massive, energetic agitation in the body.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah. That’s awesome.

Pete Wright:
I mean, it’s the same thing we learned about a method to interrupt obsessive thought spirals, obsessive thought patterns by just, when you feel one coming on, yell, stop, wherever you are, just start yelling stop. And my understanding is because the act of like creating another sense is interruptive. So by hearing your own voice, not just telling yourself stop, stop, stop, stop. You have to actually hear it to actually interrupt that mechanism. That’s what it feels like to me, like you’re doing something so violent that it interrupts the space, it interrupts where you are.

Nikki Kinzer:
Well, and we got a boxing bag for my son and I mean, I love pounding on that thing sometimes. It’s just fun.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
Absolutely. Feels good.

Nikki Kinzer:
But yeah, it gets that energy out. Yeah.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
And all three of them involve lots of exhales, long exhales. Or stop. Right? Yeah. That’s different from how we normally breathe when we are retaining feeling, which is short and shallow and up in the chest. Yeah. So if you do that ha several times, you’ll probably find you go six, seven, eight, 10 times, maybe 12, and then you’re going to just feel weirdly done. Yeah. I don’t know why it happens. It happens every time. You just kind of get to this place where you’re like, “Yep. That’s enough.” And what I encourage everybody to do is then stop and put whatever down they were holding, the noodle or something and just notice how do your hands feel? Notice that they are alive with chi, like huge amount of energy gets released and they will feel their whole, their limbs and everything just buzz with energy. And they’ll notice also usually a sense of like, I am emotionally calmer and my body feels wild with energy instead of the other way around.

Pete Wright:
I don’t remember where we were in the list. I think-

Dr. Dodge Rea:
So we got into acceptance.

Pete Wright:
Okay. Acceptance.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
Right. Because this is the process. So acceptance was just that part where we start … This is where we start to learn strategies from people like Nikki and Pete. All right. So-

Nikki Kinzer:
Start looking at opportunities and-

Dr. Dodge Rea:
What are my available … what systems are out there? How well do these meds really work? Are there ones I should steer away from? And there’s kind of an openness to responding. There’s kind of a claiming of some agency to adapt. I’m not so full of feeling fighting with this thing that I can’t at least do something with it if I can’t do something to erase it. Yeah. And a whole lot of people would stop there because that normally would be a pretty solid success story. They found their systems. They’re not feeling too much about it. It (beep) sucks, but whatever, they’re kind of over yelling at it. There’s nothing good about this. There’s nothing really bad about this. It just is. It’s just how things are. So here are my systems and I kind of live with it.

Pete Wright:
That seems great. And then we’ve fixed ADHD and depression it sounds like.

Nikki Kinzer:
And anxiety.

Pete Wright:
And anxiety. Yeah, and MS don’t forget.

Nikki Kinzer:
Wow. We’re brilliant.

Pete Wright:
Knock them down. What’s next? Climate change?

Dr. Dodge Rea:
Climate change. Yes. Just got to accept it and deal with it.

Pete Wright:
The way you said that though, implied that there might be something further.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
Yeah. Yeah. The fourth one is to actually embrace it. And this is where things get hard. This is where often people find themselves-

Pete Wright:
Oh, this is where things get hard. I’ve already finished beating the crap out of my kitchen counter, but this is where things get hard.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
Yeah. It’s hard all the way along and it’s doable all the way along. So this was just one more stage of, you got to be kidding me. I can’t get past acceptance. That’s as good as it’s going to get. (beep) off for encouraging me to actually like that I have this. Right?

Nikki Kinzer:
Right, right. Well, that’s a good point though. Acceptance and likeness, that’s not the same thing.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
This is past that. This is hard. This is weird. And there’ll be folks out there that I think are even angry that I suggest this as possible and I would encourage them just to get really curious about that. Get to watching that piece. So let me tell you what this isn’t before I tell you what it is. This is not some Pollyanna, white knuckling false positivity where you say, “This is great. I’ve always wanted this. Everyone should have ADD. This is awesome.”

Nikki Kinzer:
You’re missing out.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
You’re missing out. This is great. I loved every bit of it. It’s not that. It’s not even a little of that. This is a place though where you say, I accept this, I see this and I accept this and I’m open to owning it and working on it. But I’m also curious as to what gifts in my brain and what it might be here to teach me. You can start to get curious about, is there anything about this I might be willing to be at least kind toward? If not, well curious about, I might stretch for some times once in a while grateful for, or thoroughly amused by?

Pete Wright:
Oh, I do have that all the time. Yeah.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
That’s a huge part of embracing it though. A lot of people never get to this is funny.

Pete Wright:
I wonder if there is … I sometimes think about this and I wonder because I don’t really know how I would know if I’ve embraced it, but one of the triggers that I sometimes find, especially when I go into preparing for a show, right, where it’s my responsibility any given week to come up with a rundown for the show and figure out what we’re going to talk about. And I feel a certain bit of elation that I have lived through something enough to feel ready to teach it, to talk about it to the point where we’re sharing it with others. And that has always read to me like potentially an embrace, right?

Pete Wright:
When you have people with ADHD, we have them in our community. These are just wonderful people who have lived with ADHD for so long they decide, you know what? I think I’m ready to be a coach now. I’d like to go get my coaching certification and help other people. That kind of feels like it doesn’t mean that I don’t have days where I’m miserable about some behavior or some missed appointment or something, but it also is already integrated into my self perception, my identity. I don’t know. What do you think? Am I just spouting words?

Dr. Dodge Rea:
No, you’re doing great. No, that’s a perfect example. Yep. One of the things I’ve lived with my whole life is pretty severe depression and it’s not constant thank God. But sooner or later, most every year, oh, there you are again. Hello my old friend. There you are again. Come on in. I’ll take good care of you as Thich Nhat Hanh would say. That’s my best response. Sometimes it’s every version of a swear word I can find for how could you be here again? And there can be a lot of despair and there’s every time I have to go through some kind of recognition and resignation, a bit of acceptance, what can I do with this? And I do best if I can get all the way to embracing it.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
But over on the whole, depression has brought me some really interesting things that I wouldn’t have had without it. For one thing, it is an ego shattering kind of experience. It beats the hell out of what [crosstalk 00:44:12] in a huge hurry and I have to live in the who of me. For another, it’s taught me a whole lot about pain and how much pain is in the world and has made me an immensely more compassionate person, which is what I would want to be anyway. For another, it’s really made me a whole lot better at my job. Even when I’m in a full-on depressive episode, I do some of my very best work because I can really be present with other people’s pain and not just try and snap them out of it. So it’s given me a lot of my life’s work really as one example.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
I think, another piece to look at here is that one of my great teacher’s definitions of mental health was the tolerance and hardiness for a mixed contradictory feeling. So the tolerance and hardiness for a mixed contradictory feeling, that ability to feel more than one thing at a time about any given thing or a person makes us sane. When we can only feel one of them, we’re a little bit crazy. So if I can only feel love or anger at any given moment, I can’t love anyone I’m angry at. It’s gone, or I can’t ever be angry at somebody I love, which is crazy. Those are both crazy, but to love somebody and be mad at them sometimes, that sane.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
So the mixed contradictory feeling here would be around ADD. Sometimes this is really painful and I can also recognize that with it can come immense creativity, can come the both and brain, which I’d love to talk more about, can come enormous intuition, which is really cool and we can talk about that. But I can feel both of these at the same time and that gives me some room to embrace something that I also hate some of the time.

Nikki Kinzer:
I mean, I’m just thinking, I remember doing a coaching group. This was several years ago. And one of the questions, or one of the sessions that we did at the very end were like your strengths. Like what do you feel like you’re good at? What do you feel like you have a talent for or whatever it was. And it surprised me, but it made sense how many of them said that they felt compassionate and had a lot of, a great deal of empathy and really cared about people who weren’t being treated equally. And it all makes sense because they may themselves have felt like they weren’t treated equally or they have felt these things in their life and they just have a great deal of compassion for others. And that I think is something that you can come back and say, “Okay, this piece of my brain has helped me feel that way.” Yeah, it does. That’s an interesting … I like that.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
Most ADHD people I know are exquisitely sensitive. They’re often moving so fast they don’t pause to notice that. In fact, sometimes it is a reaction to their sensitivity or their pain that makes them want to bounce to anything else, but what they were just thinking and feeling right then. And so it can fuel it a little bit, but the sensitivity is so lovely. There can be such compassion. And I think one place people might look if they’re figuring out, okay, so what in the hell could I possibly embrace about this? We could go back to that subject you and I talked about, and then in the afterthoughts, Pete and I talked about some, which is one way to look at two different basic categories of brains as either an either or brain or a both and brain.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
They both have got real gifts to them and they both have got real liabilities or these real challenges. So the either or brain is kind of that farmers’ brain, really good at sequential task and a lot of executive functioning and a lot of blocking out what isn’t relevant to right now, because I’m focused on the one priority I’m clear about. It’s either this priority or it’s a different priority, but they don’t match together. I don’t get confused and that’s really handy. The both and brain is one that is fantastic at synthesis. You can pay attention to more than one thing at a time. You can even figure out how those two things go together when no one else in the room can. So it leads to a kind of creativity that’s really interesting or a kind of intuition that is often unavailable to either or brains.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
I have I would have to say much more a both and brain than an either or brain. And so I am definitely in the spectrum of ADHD somewhere, partly because of the systems I have in place and also because of what sort of profession that led me to. It’s turned out to be a gift and doesn’t show up in super chaotic ways like it will for somebody else. If I were an accountant, I would be in chaos all the time because that’s not interesting to me. But one of the beautiful things about an ADD brain is the capacity to hyper focus on things that really, that are interesting to you, that you deeply value, right? Things that are stimulating to you are things you are extra good at often and I find people freaking fascinating. My brain turns on around feeling.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
So I get real quiet inside when somebody else is talking about trauma and my life as a psychologist is pretty structured one hour at a time. And all I got to do is deal with the person right in front of me and I’m good. So in some ways, that’s one more reason for me to embrace that both and brain, it makes me really creative in the work I do. And it’s pushed me into a profession where I think I’m doing a lot of good where I probably wouldn’t have in the same way where I were to go use some of my other skills, but be able to focus on lots of legal documents or whatever.

Pete Wright:
Relevant comparison.

Nikki Kinzer:
Fascinating.

Dr. Dodge Rea:
Does this make any sense?

Nikki Kinzer:
Well, and I just have to say something from our guest last week. What was so fascinating is he, Seth Nelson is exactly where he should be, right? When you listen to him talk about the law and the linear thinking and knowing that he is a good linear thinker, it’s just, it’s so I think inspiring, because I know I’m in a position that I love and I feel like I was meant for, and it’s always so nice to hear other people and hear them talk about what they do and have that passion and you can just tell that that’s exactly where they should be. It’s exciting.

Pete Wright:
Yeah, it’s really lovely. And I also know that our listeners, our ADHD audience is now saying I’m ready to either, or my next podcast, because we are going a little bit long. And I hope that-

Nikki Kinzer:
Yes, we are.

Pete Wright:
Just once again, every conversation that we have with you feels like a cliffhanger. And I have been taking notes, a list of things that we need to talk about next time. Dodge, thank you so much.

Nikki Kinzer:
They’re such good little nuggets.

Pete Wright:
Yeah, there are so many nuggets.

Nikki Kinzer:
Like I want to read the transcripts and pull that out and say, “Okay, we need to talk about this now.”

Pete Wright:
Yeah. Right. It really is delightful. Where do you want to send people to learn more about you, Dodge?

Dr. Dodge Rea:
Oh well, you probably could explain better than I could about where … Send them for The Change Paradox would be the best place to go look. The website also for the Lotus center in Nashville is still in the works because we’ve just made a big move to Midtown. So as our team changes and all of that stuff, our website’s a bit of a mess. But just to hear the kinds of things I’m interested in and the kind of work you and I are doing Pete together on The Change Paradox would be a great places to go check us out.

Pete Wright:
I’ll put a link in the show notes, but the show is available everywhere you can find podcasts. That’s all over the place. It’s also available at truestory.fm/thechangeparadox. Would love you to check it out and subscribe. You’ve dropped a couple of names, excuse me while I pick these up. So I’ll put direct links to the Ted Klontz conversation that we had in there. And we’ll make sure that any of those relevant episodes are in the show notes for this show. Great stuff.

Nikki Kinzer:
Our show, the show that I was a guest-

Pete Wright:
Yeah, and the link that you and Nikki did. That’s right. Of course.

Nikki Kinzer:
Hello, yes.

Pete Wright:
That’s going to be in there too. You got to check that out. And the great sequence workshop, we’ll put a link to that in there too. So thank you everybody for downloading and listening to this show. We sure appreciate your time and your attention. On behalf of Nikki Kinzer and Dodge Rea, I’m Pete Wright. We’ll catch you next time right here on Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast.