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Nicole Walters Podcast

The Nicole Walters Podcast

Join me each week for a new episode packed with what you need to know to gain clarity, grow your network, and monetize your life using the proven corporate strategies I’ve mastered in 10 years as a Fortune 500 executive.

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SHOW NOTES

Do you LIKE drama? Most of us would say no, BUT Dr. Scott Lyons is here to break down why we actually might be addicted to drama (and stress!) As the expert on drama addiction, Dr. Scott is about to blow your mind!

Dr. Scott shares how we can become addicted to stress and drama as a response to trauma and what we can do to slowly break the cycle. Friend, if you’re anything like me, this is going to open your eyes WIDE!

Finding peace is possible and the tips Dr. Scott shares in this chat can lead you there. Friend, this chat IS A MUST!

Let’s keep this conversation going over on Instagram! Find Dr. Scott at @DrScottLyons and myself at @NicoleWalters.

 

Nicole:

Hey, friends. So I am really thrilled with the way that you’ve been responding to season four of our chats because as I promised, we’re gonna get even more unfiltered, even more frank, because it’s about living boldly. And you also know that I promised that I would not bring anyone into our conversations, our growth, that I did not think was going to contribute to that have value beyond the time that you’ll spend listening. And was very qualified. And I have been blown away by the responses to, you know, me sharing about entitlement and how that, you know, triggers us and, you know, some of the therapy resources I’ve engaged in, like EMDR, and talk therapy, and then also exercising and practicing what I’m learning in therapy by changing my boundaries, changing my habits, affirming my boundaries, and you guys are doing it too. So it’s been really fun chatting about that in the DMs. And so for that reason, I felt like, let’s keep doing the hard work. Right, we’ll keep doing it together. And I want to introduce you to one of my favorite resources for learning, right? Because we have to know what it is and name it to fix it right.

And then also, one of my favorite sort of, I want to call it accessible, approachable, relatable ways to talk about therapy, particularly if you have some stigma associated to it, or if it’s something you’re not used to. And Dr. Scott Lyons is all that. Now don’t like the doctor part scare you. You heard me say accessible and real. He is a regular person, a kind human, who is smart and qualified, but my goodness, just like us, and I’m just so excited to have him here today to teach us more about how stress and trauma isn’t just something that happens to us, it can really become a part of us because we become addicted to it. And I mean, you guys probably know my background, you know that. It’s been something I’ve had to break. And I’m hoping I can help you break those chains, too. So Dr. Scott, thank you for being here.

Dr. Scott:

Thank you, my love.

Nicole:

Thank you. I am so grateful to have let me just say I’m grateful to have you as a human in this world interested in doing this work.

Dr. Scott:

Thank you.

Nicole:

I say thank you. No, it’s because I don’t want to. <laughs> I would never want to do research trauma, and try to come up with coping mechanisms and like listen to people talk, I just, I could not. Why are you like this?

Dr. Scott:
Who hurt me? <laughs>

Nicole:

Who hurt you? Who hurt you? Like we need to light candles. Who hurt you? <laughs> Why are you like this? Like, take me back to move me forward? Right? What brought you to this work?

Dr. Scott:

I grew up as a performer but I always had this heart of empathy. I wanted to understand other humans. And I couldn’t stop learning until I figured it out. I didn’t feel human. I was so dissociated and traumatized as a kid, you know, I used to tell my parents as a four year old that I feel like I’m a walking ghost.

Nicole:

Wow, as a four year old.

Dr. Scott:
And they put me in therapy. They like what else do you do? But I would say like, I don’t feel dimensional, I feel flat. And like, I didn’t know what that meant. And we have words for it now as adults, like I was really dissociated. I was totally disconnected from my body and at times reality. And I wanted to know what it was to be human. I wanted to know what it felt like because I was so disconnected to my feelings and my body, and my sensations. And so I was like, I don’t know, where do you get that information, maybe school? I studied psychology and medicine and acting.

Nicole:
Listen, I mean, you want to talk about being put into an environment where you’re gonna use your tools? Theatre, acting, that will let you know what trauma looks like, you know, for sure every theatre kid has something they need to say and express right? But I’m so impressed with the sort of solution focused nature of it all, because so many of us take what we’re feeling and what has happened and just kind of say it is, you know, and I’m just gonna carry it, you know, or sometimes you get kind of victim-me and we’re like, oh, you know, I can’t believe this happened to me, and then that dictates how we approach life, you know, but you did something. So I’m excited because I want to extract you’re doing something this for all of us. So you came to it because you were experiencing it.

Now, so many of us are experiencing, you know, trauma, drama, stress. And we don’t even know it because it is so normal.

Can you tell us how we get to that place because I know that coming out of divorce, you know, I am going through sort of I, you know, you look back on it, multifaceted awareness where I thought I got it. I didn’t get it six months later. Oh, that was what that was.

And I am blown away by how I used to live three years ago, and the fact that I’m still standing. How do people even know how bad it is?

Dr. Scott:
Sometimes when we rely on other people, or the things that like, our life just doesn’t feel right. Like we keep feeling like these challenges that can’t we can’t resolve. I mean, the reality is this such a great question, how do we know…

Nicole:

Yeah, just like, because your thing is being addicted to drama. Yeah. How do I even know if I’m in drama, if I’m just used to it? Like how people are like, Oh, these are just my kids until they go to someone else’s house, and you’re like, Oh, my house is dirty. Or you? Are you meet someone else’s kids. You’re like, Oh, your kids, like sit at the table? Yeah. How do I even know my life is weird or crazy. When I watch on TV, and it’s chaos. I go to my workplace, it’s chaos. My house is chaos, like, how do I know?

Dr Scott:
Yeah, I mean, I figured out for me, that my childhood was utter chaos, that the things that were going on that the massive fights that, you know, drama was the currency for love. And like, illness was the currency for love, like you, the things when you’re challenged, or when things are going wrong, that’s when you get attention. So it becomes the currency of love.

Nicole:
Oh wow.

Dr. Scott:
And so I didn’t realize that until I got away from my household. And I saw how other people reacted. And I noticed that they would get attention for doing good things, that they would get attention for just being loving and supportive. And I was like, Whoa, something doesn’t compute. And it’s in that dissonance, where some that, you know, like, you see it one way, but you’ve experienced another way that suddenly something cracks open, and you get curious, and you investigate what it is.

Nicole:
This is so, so powerful, because one of the things that I’ve shared here is that oftentimes our confusion resides in the isolation. So when we are living in it, when our world becomes increasingly smaller, when we kind of get into this cycle of all I do is momming, you know, so it’s like, my whole world is my kids and all I do is my entrepreneurial business. And I’m spending all these hours at the desk and it’s glamorized, and glorified. You know, like, you’re such a good mom, or you’re such a hardcore entrepreneur, that you literally don’t even realize, you step out for one minute, and you’re like, wait a minute, there can be peace? And then it’s how do I get there? Now? You have tools, though, I know that you’ve got a quiz that you do that helps people kind of figure out some of those questions, because not everyone can escape it to find out. So tell me more about this quiz.

Dr. Scott:
Yeah. So there’s a quiz on my website that they can take. Dr.ScottLyons.com and it’s also in the book, Addicted to Drama. And do you want to take it? Do I know someone addicted to drama, or am I addicted?

Nicole:
Oh, we can do it. Listen, all my friends. I feel like my friends right now would literally be like, Nicole, you don’t even need to take this. We know you. But let’s go ahead and I’ll take the test myself. I’m not too shy.

Dr. Scott:

Before we do the test, can I define drama and addictions?

Nicole:
Yes, define it. So we know what I’m testing. And also tell us about this test. Like yeah, what does it help us find out like all of that and you all take it for yourself too. Like I’m not doing this myself. You better take out a pen and decide for yourself too, okay? Don’t leave me out here!

Dr. Scott:

And we’ll normalize it like you’re still a good human even recognize you’re a little dabbler in the drama, like you’ve got a propensity or a little addiction to the stress.

Nicole:
I’m addicted to cheese and proudly Okay, so listen, addictions can’t be all bad. I receive it.

Dr. Scott:
I was heavily addicted to stress. There it is. I mean, nonstop needed it. Oh, and couldn’t get enough, built up a tolerance level for it and even more to feel more of it, had withdrawal symptoms from it.

Nicole:
Wow that’s fascinating!

Dr. Scott:
We all do that’s the thing.

Nicole:
So can you tell me, I love this, because I read somewhere and I want to hear everyone say and I don’t want to mess them up those five signs of addiction. Because we know what addiction looks like when it’s you deal with substances and think of things that are normalized as being negative.

But what does addiction look like when you are addicted to stress, drama, trauma?

Dr. Scott:
Yeah. So all you know, forms of addiction have like a basic tenants that make an addiction, like it occupies a lot of your time. Like you might not think about stress, but you might be engaging in things that are stressful constantly.

Nicole:
Like entrepreneurship. Yeah, if it’s like, oh, no, I always worked 90 hour work weeks.

Dr. Scott:
Yeah, overscheduling yourself and then the stressful result in your nervous system, we might go, “hey, you’re amazing. You do so much.” But the overscheduling is actually a dependency on stress.

Nicole:
Oh, I don’t even know. What are you doing right now? Like if you don’t get up out of my office, I’m not ready. Okay, so that’s the first one is so this aspect of of scheduling, overdoing it just taking up this time.

Dr. Scott:
It takes a lot of time, like you’re focused on it. Another part is we build a tolerance for it. So, you know, we all know this a little bit perhaps with like drugs or alcohol, like you need more to get high.

Nicole:
Yep.

Dr. Scott:

The result in stress is that you actually need more stress to get the benefits of stress.

Nicole:
Can I tell you right now that I am deeply bothered, and I feel safe saying that because you’re up there.

Dr. Scott:
I’m here for you.

Nicole:
There’s literally like, because I’m applying this to entrepreneurship, right. So you know, you get applauded, being like, Oh, she’s tough as nails she can handle it all she can I like how did you handle your daughter going through cancer while building your business and get a million dollars, you are so brave and bold, but after that, it’s like okay, you get through it and you’re like now I need to launch 8 businesses and it’s not because you are driven or ambitious, it might be part of it. But it may be that I’m pushing my stress limit to get a better fix.

Dr. Scott:

You need the fix and here’s the withdrawal piece of it is like withdrawal when it comes to addiction to drama or stress, looks like boredom and anxiety.

Nicole:
Oh, hear me on anxiety listen! About the boredom part, not so much but the anxiety for sure. Because it’s like am I doing enough things to make money? You just don’t know how to sit still feel with nothing going on.

Dr. Scott:
Yes. You never feel safe enough. You never feel like you have enough money. You never feel like you have enough love.

Nicole:
Y’all. Are you hearing this right now? Could you be an addict? We haven’t even gotten into the questions. I just want you to understand how common ideas around addiction can also apply to these other things.

Dr. Scott:
And so many of us know it and like before I read like the hard core question, right? Like, I’m gonna give the soft, the soft question.

Nicole:
Oh, I like that, though. Like get warmed me up. Like he’s me in there.

Dr. Scott:

Have you ever experienced going to a meditation class being in a bathtub someplace that’s relaxing, like walking through a forest, or whatever. And all of a sudden, your mind starts to build up a million miles an hour?

Nicole:
Are you kidding me, I sat in a float tank, and I literally wanted to drown myself. Okay, I was like, no, no, no, no. It’s too loud in here. I was like, some of us need to leave. It was a lot going on. <laughs>

Dr. Scott:

Exactly, yes, it’s that physiology where all of a sudden you start to rest and there’s a reflex called the rubbing reflex. And it goes into you start to build stories, you start to think about what you have to do, you start to think fights in your head with people you love.

Nicole:
Or overanalyzing, I think is a really common one for women, like no people will say like, Oh, I was driving away and then I was like, Did I leave the stove on day, whatever. It’s like a simple way of saying like, you couldn’t even just trust that you did the thing you need to do.

Dr. Scott:
Yes you couldn’t trust yourself. And part of that is this physiology. This is all the addiction of stress is that the moments of calm settling lead us to closer contact with the things we’re avoiding, which is our inner emotions, trauma, pain, that we cannot process and metabolize.

Nicole:
And that makes sense and is commonly understood with substances. So I have a daughter who’s currently like 200 plus days in recovery. And you know, for her it was whenever it would get quiet I would use a substance because I didn’t want to think about my childhood or previous things and you know, now she’s learning when it’s uncomfortable like there are a million things, talk to people talk to friends, you know, let’s unpack it. You know, let’s go to therapy, go to meetings, but it is a confronting the discomfort. And so with stress, we do that too. I’m like, let me go find let me go to work.

Dr. Scott:
Yes, we chase the drama to avoid the trauma.

Nicole:

If you don’t write that free tip down, that is a free hot tip. Y’all don’t have to pay for that. Underline highlight, put it on a post it and stick it on your steering wheel.

Dr. Scott:
And we don’t recognize that we’re chasing it. It’s like when we feel like there’s always something going on. And it’s there’s always some type of stress or relationship, big fights, big relationship. You’re finding you’re doom scrolling, you’re watching the news. All these things that could otherwise be these moments of stillness are filled and occupied by moments of activation or stress. That’s the chasing.

Nicole:
So question about that because that sounds like what I think a lot of us think of drama looks like so I think that we do need that definition of drama. Because a lot of us think that drama looks like that relationship like oh, maybe this isn’t me because my life isn’t dramatic. You know, like I am a regular mom who just takes the kids all the time but the kids they might always be fighting or I’m always trying to argue with my cleaning their room or I have a lot going on. I’m busy. It doesn’t feel like my life is dramatic. So drama, I could still be addicted to drama. Based on the sort of medical definition that you kind of have, the clinical one, so can you tell us what that is?

Dr. Scott:

Drama is the unnecessary stress and turmoil in our life. It’s the exaggerated intensified behaviors, emotions, reactions, it essentially the disproportionate amount of energy in response to a stimulus than what’s actually needed. It’s like making a mountain out of a molehill.

Nicole:
That’s so good. It’s so good. And it’s so helpful, because it also lets us know that and there’s something that’s really I think I’ve spoken about it here before, but it’s kind of like when you have a six year old and your six year old is saying, this is too hard for me, mom, and you’re like, it’s just tying your shoes. It’s not hard for us, but in their world, that is like a disproportionate amount of stress for their tiny little human experience. And so what I’m hearing is that, even if your suburban life drama of not being able to get into the tennis club, yeah, you know, feels like something that I can’t relate to. Because you know, I’m dealing with chemotherapy sessions, this isn’t the suffering Olympics. Drama is drama.

Dr. Scott:
Yeah, it all comes back to the physiology of it, of like needing it, but not necessarily even knowing you need it.

Nicole:
Instead of being like, I don’t need to be part of the tennis club. I’m not even good at tennis. 

Dr. Scott:
Yeah. It’s like, retelling that same story over and over and over again, emotional venting to everyone you know, not letting it go.

Nicole:
We know that person or we are that person. Tell the truth. Okay. So all right, let me put myself out here. What is this test that’s about to tell all my friends? Yeah, that’s going on. But look, we’re doing it together, right together, doing it together.

Dr. Scott:
And here’s another like, fun kind of question. Have you ever blown a birthday candle out with a fire hose?

Nicole:
<laughs> No, not literally.

Dr. Scott:
Not literally. But it’s like, Okay, someone says something and your reaction is tenfold of what makes sense.

Nicole:
I have absolutely done that. And I absolutely get triggered. I’ve done it with friends, family, I’ve done it with employees and I’ve done with coworkers. And always because I have a million things going on behind the scenes that met that moment and shouldn’t have been there.

Dr. Scott:
Yeah, yeah. And sometimes we feel bad about it. But other times we go and we justify it. We find we bring friends in to justify it. We call up our best friend, we’re like, they said this and then they said that.

Nicole:
Unless you have the type of friends like me who are like girl that was your fault, get back in there.

Dr. Scott:
No, really?!

Nicole:
Oh, yes my friends tell me about myself. It’s not fun.

Dr. Scott:

I honor your friends.

Nicole:
It helps me grow. They keep me in check.

Dr. Scott:
That shows your level of health.

Nicole:
Because therapy.

Dr. Scott:
Therapy, like when we’re surrounded by beautiful enablers. We’re gonna keep recycling the pattern.

Nicole:
Well, it hurts though.

Dr. Scott:

It hurts.

Nicole:

Nothing gets better. And that’s the hard part. Oh my gosh, that’s good.

Dr. Scott:
So a few of the quiz questions.

Nicole:
Here we go, y’all.

Dr. Scott:

I use language like extremely, literally, always, very, really, never. We create this more extreme language essentially. Sound familiar?

Nicole:
Yeah, totally.

Dr. Scott:
I feel anxious when things are calm.

Nicole:
When things are calm? Sometimes. And I will say I’m going to be completely honest about this, cuz you’re, you’re new to me, Dr. Lyons, but like everyone in my community has been here a while and they know, and they would know if I was lying. Right? Yeah, there was a time where the answer that is always.

Dr. Scott:
Yes!

Nicole:
You know, and so it, you know, post divorce post big move. I like have reduced the size of my team. I take different project like they’ve heard the work that I’ve done, which is why you hear the hesitancy because I’m thinking I’m feeling, I can to feel in my body. Which is interesting, because that stress response when you say that I can feel like, oh, wow, like, I remember when I was the answer would have been always. And that is really interesting. Yeah, they mean, like I’m weaning off.

Dr. Scott:
Yeah you’re weaning off the drama, the stress.

Nicole:
Yeah, so sometimes.

Dr. Scott:
Yeah. And it’s not yes or no, it’s sometimes, frequently, it is a full scale of our propensity for drama. Have you ever had someone say after interacting with them, say to you like, wait, what just happened? I don’t know how we got from here to here or shit! That was intense.

Nicole:
Yes, that’s happened. Or like, girl, you a lot! That’s the people I talk to.

Dr. Scott:
Yeah, that’s a lot. And that’s feedback.

Nicole:
On the podcast. I’m sure people listen, and they’re just like, oh, that’s a lot Nicole. This was a hot one today so yes.

Dr. Scott:
Yeah. And then there’s the question of, could it also not be a lot? Would you be okay? Is there a range? Is there a scale of response and that’s really what we’re talking about. When he goes from zero to a 60 in a second and that’s the only response you have, you have lost your power within you to be responsive to what is truly here in the present moment.

Nicole:
That’s so good. So about this, I have noticed that as I’ve gotten older and I don’t know if some of that’s just biological, right? You know, because people like to say, Oh, the 13 year old girls are a lot of drama, that sort of thing. And some of its hormonal, whatever.

Dr. Scott:
Neuropruning.

Nicole:
Oh, I love this. Well, you know, I’ve pruned the heck out of my tree. I don’t even know what’s gonna bear any more drama fruit. You know what I mean? Because I rolled up on 40 and was like, oh, no, no, no, no, no. Like, it’s not a lot. I just don’t have the space or energy for it. Is that real? Or is that just something that like I think or people say.

Dr. Scott:
Yeah, I have experienced that myself in my own addiction drama. The older I’ve gotten, like, I just don’t have the energy.  I’m tired. I don’t have the extra energy. And like, I don’t want the energy because this is the thing about stress that most people don’t know. You ready for it? Stress gives us energy. It’s like drinking four cups of coffee because you get that big boost of energy activation, in order to fight, flee, or whatever you need to do and people become attached to the energy because it feels powerful.

Nicole:
So Okay. Okay. Yeah, you don’t understand… And for those y’all watching on YouTube, you’re seeing my faces, okay? So I have experience with bipolar disorder, I have not personally diagnosed but I have experience with it in many phases over the range of my life. And one of the things that was really powerful for me, as I’ve gone through therapy to, you know, cope with, you know, people in my life who have had bipolar, or people in my life who have bipolar, one and two, right, the thing that was shared with me was that mania feels good.

Dr. Scott:
Yeah.

Nicole:
And that was a transformative statement to me, because, you know, in trying to understand why someone with bipolar wouldn’t take their meds or wouldn’t engage in therapy, because I’m so practical. I’m like, oh, bipolar, like, I have no, when someone’s, you know, not a neurotypical, you know, thought process or neurodivergent. You know, I’m very like, okay, it’s like having diabetes, take the insulin, you know what I mean? Like, kind of let’s Yeah, so you’re just different, you know what I mean? Like, in your processing, cool, we’ll just figure out what we got to do to accommodate because you have so many great things to bring the world.

So having the diagnosis of bipolar does not mean anything to me more than okay, so you operate a little differently. Let’s see what we can do to figure it out. And I say that for anyone who’s listening who may struggle with the shame or stigma of any mental health diagnosis, like you have so much to offer to this world still and don’t let that hold you back. Right.

Dr. Scott:
You are amazing. You are perfect. You are human.

Nicole:
Yes. Nothing is wrong with you. You’re just different. You’re having it.

Dr. Scott:
Yeah, there are things in the way of you experiencing the worlds richness, the wholeness of who you are. And the survival strategies you had to navigate.

Nicole:
That’s right. That’s right. Yes. All of that. And so knowing this, you know, when I heard that mania feels good, yeah. And that it’s kind of a pull, you know, that makes them inclined, especially if they feel the need in a moment where they’re feeling a little less self esteem a little bit weaker. They’re like, gosh, if I put on my manic hat or my manic coat? You know, then maybe I’ll show up differently or I’ll perform better. So I want to take that to stress…

Dr. Scott:
It’s absolutely the same as stress.

Nicole:
No!

Dr. Scott:

You feel a sense of elated power.

Nicole:
Like I can do it. Yeah.

Dr. Scott:
Have you ever had like, this is gonna sound like a strange question, like been in a fight, not necessarily a physical fight, but like an argument. And there’s a moment where you’re like, I feel powerful.

Nicole:
Sure. Well, people will say like, I got to burn off steam. But that doesn’t really make sense. Like, because fighting should be exhausting. So why did someone need to go like walk a mile to like, cool down?

Dr. Scott:
Do you want to know? Yeah, I’d have to go. So here’s the other thing about stress. Are you a runner at all?

Nicole:
Do I look like a runner? <laughs>

Dr. Scott:

I’m not answering that question.

Nicole:

You’re a smart man. No, I run to the fridge. I run away from my problems. I run to my man. I know what it’s like to move quickly. I definitely don’t actively run as an exercise.

Dr. Scott:
So have you ever heard the phrase like an a runner’s high?

Nicole:
Yes, I’ve heard of it. Never experienced it. If I did, I’d be a runner.

Dr. Scott:

We’re gonna go for a run your night and just so we can get the high and then we’ll take a break. 

Nicole:
I am an empowerer. So so I will be happy to cheer YOU on. <laughs> I know my ministry.

Dr. Scott:

<laughs> Yes, so that endorphins high. That runner’s high is endorphins. It’s hormone producing sure, in a stress response. We have a massive release of endorphins. So stress is our most natural pain reliever; it blocks the pain receptors.

Nicole:
It’s also why when people punch walls, they don’t realize until after and then they’re like, oh my gosh, my hand. What do they do? They’re like, Dude, you’re bleeding. Yeah, like, this is crazy because you’re marrying science with what we already feel.

Dr. Scott:
We know this.

Nicole:
And so it’s, it’s what I’ll say is it’s got to be freeing and I’m hope all of you hear this because we’re going to shift to solutions. But Identifying the problem is so key to accepting the solutions. Knowing that some of our responses are biological, they’re enforced by society, you know? And also there are ways to know what’s happening to us if you felt any of these things or identify with any of these things, like you’re just human.

Dr. Scott:
You’re just human. Can I tell you one more interesting stress thing.

Nicole:
Yeah.

Dr. Scott:
So have you ever heard the phrase like trauma bonding?

Nicole:
Oh have I? I literally came out of a divorce. And I was like, I can’t even get a dog. I couldn’t even get a plant because I will be bonded to this and it will lose leaves and I’ll be like, why are we going through this?

Dr. Scott:
So studies show that people who share stressful or traumatic experiences bond more faster and for longer than people who go through happy experiences together. Stress is a social glue.

Nicole:
And that is so terrible.

Dr. Scott:
That’s why people gossip, it bonds us.

Nicole:
It’s not even like a legitimate connection but it’s you’re telling me it’s like physiological.

Dr. Scott:
It’s physiological, while dress gives us power, or a sense of energy. Stress gives pain relief, stress gives us a sense of connection to other people, why would people not become dependent on stress?

Nicole:
And it’s easy.

Dr. Scott:
And it’s free, it’s easy. You could be in a desert and stress yourself out. You could be in a forest and stress yourself out.

Nicole:
Oh, my gosh. Okay so I’m getting stressed by this conversation. <laughs> I’m literally over here like, this is all too much true. So let’s go to the list. Go to the relief portion of it, right? So we know what it feels like, we know why it happened. You know, some of it can be us. Yeah. And some of it is just how we’re hardwired. So I don’t want to you know, get into hacking of the hardwiring. But I do want to know, if I’m a simple person, regular mom, and I’m like, Alright, I get it. Yeah, me. Yeah. Where do we even start with this?

Dr. Scott:
Yeah. Recognize your revving is one of my first ones.

Nicole:
Write that down y’all.

Dr. Scott:
Recognize your revving. So revving means you’re stirring yourself up to a stress response. You are pulling things in from external from you like, Oh, I’m gonna watch the news. I’m gonna get into an argument on social media.

Nicole:
Yeah, certain people you follow me, so okay, recognize your revving. So I like this because I love breaking things out into like, real actionable things. So when you say recognize your revving, one thing I’m hearing is that stress isn’t like sudden onset, you’re saying that it can rev up to a point where it’s too much.

Dr. Scott:
Yes. Okay. We will rev all the way to that drama explosion. That unregulated on like reactionary position, like response.

Nicole:
So today, I went to the doctor’s office in the morning, and I was really like, my regular checkup. I’m very into like, blood work, and all that just tells me what’s inside, right? Like, I get body scans, just and I’m like, you know, god willing, nothing’s there. base level. Tell me what’s going on so I have something to say like, look, yeah, you did this child. Mom did not arrive this way. You know what I mean? She did not have gall stones before. And she does now. Do your homework. African parenting. Your inner therapist right now your therapy is cringing. 

Dr. Scott:

It’s a little bit of weaponization, a little bit.

Nicole:

You’re saying putting the scans on the fridge next to their next to their school test and say, Look, mom succeeding also is a bit much. That’s very Mommy dearest. Like, get some help.

So, okay, but that said, when I was at the doctor’s office, and they were taking my blood work, I said to them, Hey, can I have a minute to kind of calm myself down versus walking in cold and then taking my blood pressure right away? Because I knew the number may not be reflective of me taking a minute to like, rev myself down I guess or like de escalate myself.

So when we feel ourselves starting to rev, we can remove things, or do we just remove things or people like, are you telling me to quit the job? Or do you know what I mean? Like I really want to know.

Dr. Scott:

Start small. Okay. So like when I said, Okay, have you ever sat in a meditation practice and started to recognize the fast thoughts? Yep, that’s a rev. That’s called an internal rev. Yeah, you’re stirring things in your body and you’re in your mind who and what was that sensation? Do I have a headache? Oh, my God, what does that headache mean? You know, versus external stuff. So you start to notice that revving action at all.

And so it’s like when things are calm, notice what happens in the space in your body in your mind. That’s in most likely you’re starting to rev. If anything of the things that we’ve said before sounds familiar, you’re likely starting to rev even in the slightest ways. Like if you start thinking about your ex out of nowhere, what are you doing?

Nicole:
Because also it’s not real, right? Like it’s they’re not there. They’re not there right now. And so my therapist calls this just not being in the present. Yeah, it’s not. Because if you’re in the past, like she calls it living in the memory. So if you’re in the past, or if you’re thinking about the future, you’re causing yourself undue stress, because neither of those things are here with you.

Dr. Scott:
You are revving if you’re cycling the past or resourcing the future.

Nicole:
That’s so good. And also, I guess, if you have people around me that like to do that.

Dr. Scott:
Yeah, I mean, misery loves company, drama loves company.

Nicole:
Yeah, because I have people in my life or had, or have altered boundaries with people in my life, who literally, like, all they want to talk about is like this happened in 2016. Or that one time, 45 years ago I remember you stepped on my toe and it’s just kind of like…

Dr. Scott:
They always have to rehash.

Nicole:
Yes and you’re just kind of like, I understand, I believe you. But now what?

Dr. Scott:
It’s the inability to move on because the inability to move on requires the vulnerability to feel less, or to feel what you actually feel.

Nicole:
So I have to ask a lot of people, so the reason why they can’t move on is because they need validation in their experiences, you know, like, where they’ll say, because this is common on the internet, where there’s this weird dichotomy of people saying, you know, the therapists from different camps, you know, saying, like, you gotta move on, you gotta live in the present, you gotta, like, you know, do the here and now and then other therapists saying, Look, you know, you have to deal with the pain, you have to deal with the past, you have to, you know, reconcile what happened to you in order to move on. So how does that sit with the drama? How can I reconcile my past but not obsess over my past or victimize over my past or need to rehash my past?

Dr. Scott:
Yeah. Is there any metabolism of the past? Is there any emotion that gets processed? And if not, you’re just recycling the past to rev yourself up.

Nicole:
So revisit your past with a purpose.

Dr. Scott:
Exactly. And so I feel like this sadness in my chest when we talk about my divorce or your divorce. And I can tell the story about how awful my ex was, or I can attend to, this is called processing dialogue versus dramatic dialogue. Dramatic dialogue is: he said, then she said, then they said that and talking about the narration, the story and not talking about how I feel. 

Nicole:
I hope all of y’all are hearing what is being said. I’m telling you, I’m going to get all the messages about this. This is a session on a session on a session, because so many of us think that talking about the issue or talking about it is healing, but rehashing and getting into narrative stories and situations is not healing. Healing is a real process. So what does that sound like?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Dr. Scott:
Well, first of all, you cannot talk your way out of trauma.

Nicole:

But there’s talk therapy?

Dr. Scott:
And it doesn’t work to the significance, like you’ve done EMDR.

Nicole:
I agree. I agree completely.

Dr. Scott:
Cymatics are body oriented therapy. Trauma lives in the body, the ability to talk like, you know, it’s in our bodies, it’s in the way we move. It’s in our behaviors. It’s ingrained, like a memory. And talking is way above that, in our evolution of how our brains are.

Nicole:
We can talk ourselves out of therapy, literally.

Dr. Scott:
Wooh! I’m good at that, intellectualizing, talking about other people’s shit.

Nicole:
Rationalize, deflecting all the things. This is so good, because it also I think, is healing for some of you who might be hearing I did therapy and it didn’t work. Well, it’s because you might have done talk therapy or have the wrong therapists or weren’t ready or whatever. But, you know, when you, therapy works, yeah, period, you know, it’s about finding the process that works for you.

And also acknowledging there have been evolutions in our understanding of therapy that can really help you find the type that works. So as you said, somatic like helping people know what that is.

Dr. Scott:
First, when I say talk therapy, you can’t talk your way to trauma. There are a lot of other things people come into therapy for sure, sure, not a skill set building, how do I be more empathetic? How do I just function with another human being and like, there’s a lot of other things but trauma is different. Trauma resides as like an imprint of memory in your body.

Nicole:
Is that why you get sick? Because I talk about that in my book. Yeah, I had Bell’s palsy, high blood pressure, I got psoriasis, which is only stress-induced, you know, like I bought it was literally breaking down. And I never understood that. But what you’re telling me now is that like stress, because it’s trauma, it’s manifesting.

Dr. Scott:
So if you imagine yourself like a glass like this glass of water, and we pour water in, and then we sip some out, that’s, that’s functional, that’s functional. We have you know, it’s not flooded. But if I put your glass under a hose, and I just keep filling and filling and filling and filling, you’re drowning inside there, and you are not able to talk yourself out of that drowning, out of that flooding. And that’s what we’re talking about as trauma, it floods your entire nervous system and lingers there because there isn’t the space, time, support, permission to allow it to move out or it’s there’s, like, meaning there’s not someone here to hold your hand, and walk you through it, and say, you’re gonna be okay or you’re safe enough now, to let it move through, I know you’re scared, I know, you don’t want to feel that pain again, I don’t want you to feel that pain. And I know that touching into that pain, even just the littlest amount is going to help your liberation.

Nicole:

So I have to tell you, I know right now, for some of you listening in your headphones or in the car before you go in the house, like you might be having a moment, you know, and I just want to, you know, applaud you for having that moment. And for allowing yourself to, to lean into what you deserve, which is information, opportunity, permission, you know, to embrace your own healing and change in your life. And, you know, and so with that said, now that I think we’re really, hopefully getting an understanding, you know, of what stress and trauma can look like, you know, in our lives and our feelings and kind of where we either, you know, need to take some ownership over allowing it to continue or revving ourselves, you know, now that we know what a rev is, and how it shows up, and hopefully some ways to kind of de-rev, you know, what does it look like to really start making some long term changes?

Because I think a lot of people’s fear is it happened, it’ll never go, it’ll never get better. No, I can’t change it. Like, what am I going to do? Get rid of my kids divorce my husband? Quit my job, you know, Eat Pray Love my way out of this, you know, so I did that. But not everybody can do that. You know what I mean? So what does that look like?

Dr. Scott:
Do you remember VHS or DVD?

Nicole:
Are you kidding? I found a floppy disk the other day, I don’t know, no one knew what it was. I was like, they were like, is that the Save icon?

Dr. Scott:
Well some of us remember what a VHS or DVD is. So think about it like this way the trauma gets recorded there. And it stays in your closet. And so we think because of its impact, maybe we’re sick, or maybe we get into really bad relationships all the time, right? The way that survival response from the trauma is playing itself out but the truth is, we can learn to go get that DVD and push the play button slowly, this time and process through it in a way that we couldn’t before. And it actually erases from the DVD.

Nicole:
This is, my brain literally, you painted a picture where I’m like, holy cow, and I hope everyone hears this. I think so many of us will have those DVDs and CDs. And we’ll say they have value to us still, because we remember listening to with our favorite song, or whatever else. But realistically, sis you don’t have a CD player anymore, you know what I mean? Spotify, you’ve upgraded. So you put this in your closet thinking, Oh, this thing is done. It’s over. But I kind of have some fond familiar, which is that addiction, right? Like I have that bond familiar. I remember feeling something with this.

Dr. Scott:
The addiction is keeping it in the closet, right? You’re using all these other ways to distract yourself from knowing it’s there, or even coming close to it.

Nicole:
And we just need to take it out and download all of it and put it on our Spotify so we can have it or whatever make a list. Like you can have pieces of it, you know, like but get rid of the disc. I don’t need it.

Dr. Scott:
You don’t need it. And absolutely, so once you like I recognize the revving you start to find the sacred pause before the revving but you create enough wedge in between stimulus and response like between what’s coming in and your reaction or behavior.

Nicole:
A wedge? Creating like a pause, do you mean just saying hey, I need to sleep on this or I’m leaving room or something bigger?

Dr. Scott:
More like, oh, I can feel myself stirring shit up in my body or like pulling things in or like on the internet for no reason. No reason or think about my ex for no reason so I go pause, menopause. And the more we can learn to pause, the less we go in to the reflex of getting into the drama. We are stopping it before it begins and then the magic of that is that wedge that we’ve created is enough space for us to go and look in what’s inside of us that hasn’t been processed. That’s the space we get, the you know, the defense responses to survival responses have been let down enough so that we can start to meet our inner childhood wounding.

Nicole:
Actually heal.

Dr. Scott:
Actually heal it.

Nicole:
Wow.

Dr. Scott:

And that’s going to stop the pattern over some time. It takes a while.

Nicole:
Of course it does.

Dr. Scott:
But we’re taking the fuel out of the car.

Nicole:
Well, and this is really powerful because you know what I’m hearing and just sort of a very simple process, like de-rev yourself, use that pause moment, you know, and then look at what’s in there. You know, look under the hood.

Dr. Scott:
Right, exactly.

Nicole:
I have to say that pause sounds so great because just like stress, it’s free. It’s readily available, you can do it anywhere you already have everything you need. Nothing’s missing. You got it, you can roll. But so many of us are afraid to pause, that we’ll drink, we’ll party, we’ll go somewhere else, or we think that that’s the pause, we deflect, right. So, I want to call out and ask, what is a real pause look like? And do you know what I mean? Because some people will say, Oh, you know, this girl’s stressing me out. I need to go have a drink. Yeah, you know, or this situation is too much, I’m gonna go shopping. Or is that really a pause?

Dr. Scott:
No, it’s not definitely not. So like, let’s go back to the example. This girl is stressing me out. This person is stressed, right?

Nicole:
And I’m gonna just block them.

Dr. Scott:

I’m gonna block them and then I want them to know I blocked them, right?

Nicole:
I’m gonna block them and text them that they blocked.

Dr. Scott:
And then I’m gonna go stop. Right? I’m gonna think about backing away from the situation. Sometimes I have done this with people in a room, we put the like, the drama is like this water bottle here. And they say walk away, take five steps back. Can you do it? Are you okay? Do you feel safe enough? And they’re like, I want to go closer. There’s something in me that wants to grab it.

Nicole:
No way!

Dr. Scott:
All the time. And I was like, okay, just notice that. Notice something and he wants to grab it? And is there any part of you that can feel the ground underneath you, that can hear my voice? So bringing them back to the present. And just like that, we both kind of took a deeper breath when I said that, because we actually have done this you and I have.

Nicole:
Yeah, I’ve done the work. Like count or you know, breathing exercises.

Dr. Scott:
There’s so many things like bring yourself here, bring yourself back to the present. And that’s creating the pause. So the pause away from that revving reflex, the one that goes, oh, I need to go get that, I have to do that now. There’s immediacy. And it’s like, no, no, there’s not.

Nicole:
It’s an animalistic urgency and fat like, it’s the amygdala, right? It’s that sort of response of in your brain that saying, I need this thing life or death, but realistically in the present, that it’s not real. It’s just the science of it.

Dr. Scott:
Yeah. It’s not real.

Nicole:
Oh, Dr. Scott, I’m telling you right now, like I am over here, like, this is transformative, you know, and you give so much in such a short amount of time but as we all know, the real work continues with us. Where do you send people to continue to do this work? You know, what is the process of someone’s listening now and saying, look like, I do have an addiction. And I never would have labeled it as such but understanding the severity of it is key to me actually, being incentivized to change it. Do they need to run out and get a therapist or do they need to practice their pause, because you can feel overwhelmed with finding a fix. So what do you recommend? 

Dr. Scott:

Look, therapy’s not accessible to everyone. So I never default to that, because I think it’s unfair. It’s expensive nowadays.

Nicole:
I pay a mortgage in therapy.

Dr. Scott:

Me too!

Nicole:
I mean, I just make the room for it because it’s hard to do, especially the work that we do, where we’re interacting with people who, you know, money issues, consulting issues, like I need therapy to show up, you know, so it’s an investment for me. I literally would sleep in my car and still have therapy, because it’ll get me out of my car. That’s how I believe in therapy but I also recognize that yeah, it’s, you know, for some people, it’s 1000s of dollars, and there are sliding scales. I always tried to say that you can always ask if therapists are some of the most generous people in the world, you know.

Dr. Scott:
There is group therapy, as long as people are not looping in on each other’s drama.

Nicole:
Some people are not well beyond what a group.

Dr. Scott:
Yeah. And also, yeah, there’s groups, there’s, you know, there’s online resources, there’s YouTube videos, there’s books, like, in the back of my book is about 25 pages of exercises.

Nicole:
So y’all, I just want to say, because our clients are gonna say it, there are all these resources online, but please go to Dr. Scott’s stuff because I do not want you landing in some, you know, hokey pokey fake me out shamans inbox, you know, and it’s not legit. You know what I mean? Like I because there are a lot of people who have their own healing work to do that will co opt your pain for profit. And one thing I can say is Dr. Lyons is again, qualified, generous, you know, experienced, please, please, please start with his book, because there are resources there that I know are valid, both in an emotional, moral ethical way but also clinically. So Addicted to Drama is the book and it’s out now everywhere, you can just grab it, you can listen to it.

Dr. Scott:
And I built a whole online learning platform for trauma called The Embody Lab. And so we have workshops, we have trainings, what we wanted to do was make trauma therapy, and learning how to offer it to other people and yourself accessible. So we have an enormous amount of scholarships. We do that. And we do at least once a month, once every other month, a day of just free workshops, like five or six workshops in a day, on different subjects, all related to like coming back into the present, coming more connected to yourself, connected to other people as one of the strongest ways of healing.

Nicole:
So tremendous and so generous. I’m telling you, I couldn’t do this work. I couldn’t like it. I mean, it is giving so much of yourself. And y’all, that’s the homework assignment, get the book Addicted to Drama by Dr. Scott Lyons, then go to the embody lab, you can find him on Instagram at Dr. Scott Lyons, you can see when the free workshops are if that’s the bucket you’re in, but it is an investment that is worth getting. It’s affordable, it’s accessible. And above all else, do not be ashamed to identify that you may need trauma-related healing because heck, if you made it through the pandemic, you experienced a collective trauma. Yeah, like it’s real. It’s out there. Let’s work on it.

Dr. Scott:
Yeah, thank you. We’re all just trying to come back to ourselves, come home to ourselves. And I just, I love that your work is out here to helping people come home to themselves. You’re such such a powerhouse.

Nicole
Oh, you’re going to heal my inner child. You told me everything my African parents didn’t.

Dr. Scott:
I’m going to talk directly to your inner child right now. I love you. You are worthy. You are special. You are magnificent. And you’ll may change the world.

Nicole:
Tell me I’m pretty!

Dr. Scott:
Oh shit and you’re pretty!

Nicole:

Y’all take a little bit of that for yourself too. This is a great chat. You’re amazing. I appreciate you. Thank you Dr. Scott for taking the time. Thank you for your work. Y’all you have your assignment, hop to it.

 
In this episode, Dr. Scott and I chat about:
  • How we can become addicted to stress and drama,
  • What role trauma plays in our response to drama,
  • Why drama and stress are addicting, and
  • How to slowly break the cycle so you can bring more peace into your life

Resources and links mentioned in this episode:
  • Find Dr. Scott Lyons HERE and connect with him on Instagram!
  • Grab Dr. Scott’s book, Addicted to Drama, HERE!
  • Grab my New York Times Bestselling memoir, Nothing is Missing, HERE!
  • Send me a DM on Instagram and Facebook!
  • Book a 20 min call to see if working together is the right next step for you!
  • Don’t miss our last chat with the most unexpected life pivot! Listen here or watch here!
  • I love reading your reviews of the show! You can share your thoughts on Apple here!

More about The Nicole Walters Podcast:

If you’re looking for the strategies and encouragement to pursue a life of purpose, this is the podcast for you! Week after week Nicole Walters will have you laughing hysterically while frantically taking notes as she shares her own personal stories and answers your DMs about life, business, and everything in between.

As a self-made multimillionaire and founder of the digital education firm, Inherit Learning Company, Nicole Walters is the “tell-it-like-it-is” best friend that you can’t wait to hang out with next.

When Nicole shows up, she shows OUT, so tune in each week for a laugh, a best friend chat, plus the strategies and encouragement you need to confidently live a life of purpose.

Follow Nicole on IG @NicoleWalters and visit inheritlearningcompany.com today and click the button to join our betterment community. Your membership gives you access to a world of people and tools focused on helping you build the life you want.