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November 2, 2022 38 mins

Minnie questions Julia Samuel, psychotherapist, pediatric counselor, and author. Julia shares the importance of balancing love and work, the importance of going for a good walk to help work through grief and anxiety, and why she kept her old work lanyard.

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Speaker 1 (00:04):
Disgusting food, and as child, did you inedible, my mom
did what we called chicken mess. Oh god. It says
yesterday's left over chicken with a tin of asarbaragus soup,
oh god, oh god, a tin of mushroom soup, Oh good,
and macaroni, and she'd slurp it around. I loved it

(00:25):
at the time, and then I went back like there
was in my twenties, and I thought, oh my god,
that really does sound disgusting. Though. I have to say, however,
I can think of some brilli rank things that my
mother used to make, boiled beef and carrots, spoiling beef.
She's trying to find a way of doing it so
it would be tender, and it turns out there is

(00:46):
no where. Hello, I'm Mini Driver. Welcome to Many Questions,
Season two. I've always loved Pruce's question. It was originally
a nineteenth century parlor game where players would ask each
other thirty five questions aimed at revealing the other player's
true nature. It's just the scientific method, really. In asking

(01:09):
different people the same set of questions, you can make
observations about which truths appear to be universal. I love
this discipline and it made me wonder, what if these
questions were just the jumping off point, what greater depths
would be revealed if I ask these questions as conversation
starters with thought leaders and trailblazers across all these different disciplines.

(01:31):
So I adapted prus questionnaire and I wrote my own
seven questions that I personally think a pertinent to a
person's story. They are when and where were you happiest?
What is the quality you like least about yourself? What relationship,
real or fictionalized, defines love for you? What question would
you most like answered, What person, place, or experience has

(01:52):
shaped you the most? What would be your last meal?
And can you tell me something in your life that's
grown out of a personal disaster? And I've gathered a
group of really remarkable people, ones that I am honored
and humbled to have had the chance to engage with.
You may not hear their answers to all seven of
these questions. We've whittled it down to which questions felt

(02:15):
closest to their experience or the most surprising, or created
the most fertile ground to connect. My guest today is
best selling author and psychotherapist Julia Samuel doing my own
podcast feels like therapy an awful lot of the time,
so it felt only right to have an actual psychotherapist

(02:37):
on the show. I was first introduced to Julia's work
when my mom died and somebody gave me her extraordinary book,
which is called Grief Works. And even though I couldn't
read it right away because reading about other people's experiences
of grief and loss just compounded my own. But it's interesting.

(02:57):
In the process of grief, you reach a point where
you need to feel that solidarity, or I did, and
you need to feel like you're not alone. And that
book helped me so much. And every time I have
a conversation with Julia, I feel like I unravel some
deep Gordian knot that I've been holding onto. And this
conversation that we had was no different what person, place,

(03:27):
or experience most altered your life Working in the NHS.
Will you explain what the NHS is, because I have
a lot of American listeners. Yes, so the NHS is
held in this sort of brand of What is the
best thing about the UK is that you can be
ill and go into an NHS hospital or doctor and

(03:50):
at the point of meeting you never have to pay
whatever is wrong with you, whether it's acute, whether it's chronic,
you will have your health needs met. And it is true.
Of course, it's also broken system because the weight and
burden of it is so enormous. But for me, I mean,
I'm now on the Ethics Commission of Imperial College because

(04:13):
I couldn't leave it, and I still meet the doctors.
So for me, I would walk there from home. It's
about half an hour walk from when I was thirty two,
an hours fifty six and wearing my lanyard. I loved
my NHS lanyard that would give me ten percent of

(04:34):
from the coffee shop. But also beat doors, opened the door,
and as I beaked into the door, there's this crappy
building that is Victorian and falling apart. But I belonged,
and there was a little sign that said, you know,
psychotherapists this way. And it was this thing of being
part of something that was so much bigger than me.
There was the building that contained me, the people in

(04:56):
it who I knew for decades, the nurses, the amazing doctors,
going up to the special care baby unit, going into
the pediatric intensive care unit, working on the maternity wards,
the families I met who when I was there, there
was seventy five languages spoke in the hospital every day,
so I met thousands of types of lives and living

(05:17):
and beliefs, and it expanded me. And I kept my lanyard.
I can't I don't know what to do with it.
I honestly want to kind of embalm it in silver
frame it. Oh my gosh, definitely I'll do that for you.
I have to say, that's the most inspiring answer to

(05:38):
that question I think I've ever heard on this podcast,
because it is the thing that makes me proudest to
be British is the NHS. It's the fact that we
postwar like looked at what had happened to all these people,
and as a society and as a country, made this
change to go. We will have socialized medicine. No one
will pay for healthcare. We will take care of everybody.

(05:59):
There was just something out a country that wraps its
arms around you, and then that people go and that
you work there for peanuts. You work there and you
are in service. All the nurses and all the doctors
and all the people that work on those wards are
there in service of the people that live in that country,
and there's something that is so beautiful and community based,

(06:20):
so it's incredible. It was incredible being part of something
where I saw those doctors would work fifteen hours to
save a child's life. I would support teams of nurses
when there's been a death, or and doctors, or we
go out and have most disgusting pizza to celebrate it Christmas.
But it was the best Christmas party I ever had,

(06:42):
you know, all of those things because of the dark
humor and the knowing each other and the tears and
the hugs and the intensity and the exhaustion. But also
they saved lives and I had a tiny part to
playing that. I supported the families through them and it
was just I feel so lucky. So what quality do

(07:06):
you like least about yourself? Do you have an alm? Yeah?
Actually I do quite like myself. But the one I
don't like because it scares me, is I'm not good
with my own anger. It kind of sits in me
and it kind of ruminates and tox ifies all my
other feelings. And except for my husband, I'm really good

(07:28):
at being angry with and he's quite good at kind
of dealing with me when I'm angry, I'm not good
at expressing it, and then of course it hangs around,
and then I kind of wake up at four in
the morning wanting to punch someone's lights out, rather than
as I would tell them to do if they were
my client, to be a sort of talk clearly, say
what you're upset about, you be specific, But I don't.
I don't do it myself very much because I'm so

(07:50):
friended of them knocking me out when I'm angry with it?
Has that happened? Have you been overwhelmed by your rage?
Twice with one of my children and with my husband?
That is not said with pride. I understand that I
feel like everybody has, and the people we are angry
is with and hate the most normally well, in my case,

(08:12):
the people I love the most and need the most.
In difference is the opposite of love, isn't it not hate?
So it's people that really make okay. I can be
annoyed with someone at work, we don't really want to
punch their lights. It's people that I really care about
who really get to me. I think that's a very
noble way of looking at anger. I don't know there's
someone right now who I am so angry with, and

(08:34):
they are not somebody that I love, and they've triggered
in me all of these feelings of like lack of
self worth and there are really in quotes powerful person
and the fact that they're a woman makes everything worse.
But it's funny. I've just sort of been sitting with
the anger, and as opposed to being triggered by it,
I've sort of been. I've been trying to be fascinated
by it and interested and curious, and it hasn't shifted

(08:57):
anything yet, but it feels slightly more or being the
observer with it than being in it. It's weird. It
makes my heart beat faster actually thinking about even thinking
about it. It's so interesting with such little animals. I mean,
we really are. We We forget because we think we're
so bloody clever, but we're really not very well animals,
and we respond like animals. And I mean, I would
guess I have not the faintest idea and I could

(09:19):
be completely wrong that the level of your anger is
probably to do with an earlier part of you that
felt overpowered by someone it is that probably wasn't this person. No,
it's exactly right. It was being bullied by a girl
when I was younger. It's the same feeling of powerlessness
to make them like you. But that comes with shame.

(09:40):
It's huge amount of shame because you can't help but go.
There must be something wrong with me because this person
doesn't like me as opposed to there is something going
on with them that makes them need to be whatever
it is, aggressive or intolerant of people around them. But
I don't know. I like the idea that even someone
like you who helps people all the time with the
things that are difficult in their own lives, that of

(10:02):
course you deal with things that are difficult about your
own character, but that the awareness is surely what makes
it bearable. I mean, I have as many flaws and
battles as other people. I can probably tell you what
my flaws are because I have quite a lot of
insight after like thirty two years of doing this thing.
But I'm as flawed as everybody else. And for my family,

(10:25):
it's unbelievably annoying when people come up to them and
say things to my husband like, oh, your wife, she's amazing,
She's amazing. I mean, this must happen to you too.
And he literally wants to say well, he does say, well,
you should try being married to her, and then they
say no, and I'm standing there. I've just been a

(10:46):
complete cow in the car, all the way wherever it is,
been a total bit And then I'm smiling. Oh no, no, no, no, no, no,
oh my god. But this is what When I came
on your podcast, we talked about this, because I'm still
obsessed with it. I think I've been upset with it.
My whole life is the idea of being completely aware
of a quality that is not necessarily a good quality

(11:08):
that we see about ourselves, and the effect that it
has on the world around us, and yet there doesn't
seem to be any evolution in the way in which
one interacts with it apart from having an awareness. I
literally feel like I went from being ignorant about my
ship to being completely aware of it and being able
to talk about it and give it a name and
be articulate and probably right about it, and yet I

(11:28):
haven't seen any actionable change. I always thought that becoming
aware about something would be the kind of nascent point
of the evolution of that difficult thing. And why the
fund is that not true? Because you're who ever told
you that knowing something and naming it would make you
three hundred and six degrees unflawed. I do. I have

(11:50):
this idea that there is this place where you can
take all of the hard things about yourself, and that
if you do the right things, you can clean them
up and then they will heal and you will be
a better person. Well, I don't know which books you've
been reading, but from my understanding is it isn't that
we take our bad stuff, turned it up and make

(12:12):
it look nice and shiny and new. It's that we
have all the wounds that we had. We get ignited, annoyed,
triggered in the same ways that we always have the
same fault lines. The thing that awareness does, it means
that we can choose between response and action. So you
have that moment where you choose, and in that choice

(12:35):
is the difference between a serious disaster and actually speaking
out for yourself. Because how you represent that part of
you that wants to say, punch this woman's lights out
will be informed by all the different aspects of yourself
that are going on. But you can do it with
a kind of confidence and assertiveness. I mean, I'm saying

(12:56):
this having not been good at anger myself. But what
I'm arguing is that there is never going to be
a picture perfect version of any one of us. It's
how we manage our fault lines and frailties and stuff. Well,
perhaps that's what I can work on, or that we
could all work on. Is managing I mean, Julia, I'm
ashamed that I wrote a book called Managing Expectations, and

(13:17):
yet my expectations are completely unmanageable. What relationship, real or fictionalized,
defines love for you? It is my husband. I mean,

(13:39):
I've been married forty two years. I got married when
I was twenty wow, and I'm sixty three, and without question,
it was the single best decision I ever made in
my life, and one I did really from complete ignorance.
I mean, I was literally just twenty. I got engaged
two weeks after my twentieth birthday. Holy ca. I mean,

(14:00):
I want to run him over, obviously, and all of
those things. But he knows me, and he loves me
as he knows me, and I feel safe with him.
What are the chances of two people's evolution as parallel
individuals but joined together in holy matrimony? What are the

(14:20):
chances that you would manage to evolve in concert with
each other, and are there things that you both had
to do in order for that to work. I think
that if you look at the stats, it's just under
probably couples divorce, but more couples don't marry, and their
stats of separation are higher than divorce. But to marry

(14:42):
somebody at twenty, when you're closer to a child, you're
closer to being a little child than you are to
being like who you are today? Like what's your husband's name? Michael?
So you and Michael? Like I just find it fascinating
that if he was in his twenties that twenty year
old Michael and twenty year old Julia can have of two, thirty,
thirty five and now sixty. My aunt who was married

(15:06):
for sixty years, she said it was just a decision.
It's a decision that you keep making every single day,
and that it's no more complicated than that. But I
feel like there must be some extraordinary thing that people
who get married in their twenties and are still married
when they're sixty one do or figure out, and what
can you please tell me what that is? I think
your aunt is right I think he's partly a decision.
I think all the things that you've heard, you know,

(15:28):
many times from many people before, is like if you
ask yourself the question, are we a good fit? Do
we have the same beliefs? Do we have the same outlook?
Are we good at repairing after a rupture? Do we
talk the same or collaborative love language? Do we love
each other in the right way? You know that works
for each of us. I mean, one of the things

(15:49):
that works for me is that I have to work
quite hard to get his attention and his love, and
that is quite good for me. It really drives me nuts,
but it keeps to be interested, right. And also the
kind of other men that I was brought up with,
they never believed in me to work or have a
career or to use my brain. And he always and

(16:13):
his mother actually always from the moment we got together,
wanted me to work. I think he wanted me to
work because he wanted me to be tired and less sassy,
less sassy and not having affairs tire her out. Should
be too tired to have an affair, should be too
tired to give me lip. I think that is part
of it, and the idea of me having lunch people

(16:34):
all the time and shopping. It just was not his thing.
But luckily I always worked, So I mean I worked
from when I left school at sixteen. I've never not
had a job. That's really funny. I love that love
would be having you know, a really robust work ethic
for your partner Like that's that's really sexy and romantic
actually because there's longevity built into that. Well, because he
doesn't have to meet all of my needs now. And

(16:56):
I think that's also the biggest misnomer is the idea
that our love partner should somehow tick all of the
boxes of the things that we need from other people.
It's just absolute bollocks. So I mean having a job
that I find that I can do, which because he
earns a lot more than me, he enabled me to do.
I have a completely different work identity where I'm not

(17:17):
known as his wife, I'm not known as a mother.
I'm known for my job as a therapisn't that I
can go on doing? You know, all of my lot
of my friends, their children have left home, the husbands
are retiring, and they're kind of you know, working in
bits and bobs. But I have this kind of machine
inside my brain that just wants to keep going, and
it keeps me interested, and I think it keeps me interesting.

(17:40):
I mean I'm not always interesting, obviously, but having a
purpose to get up for. Freud talked about love and work.
You need love for connection and meaning, but you also
need work for structure and meaning. And you know, what
are you for? I've always known what am I fault?
It is so interesting curiosity, enthusiasm. I mean, my mother
did everything she possibly could to keep her businesses afloat

(18:04):
and was constantly making financial choices that were startling to
her children and maybe to other people of why she
would keep investing in things that, by their metric weren't working.
And it's not the only metric, it's not. And I
saw it was worth it. It was worth her putting
all the money that she had into these businesses because
her interest and her curiosity and her work ethic that's

(18:26):
what made her happy. And the idea of sort of
saving all her money, I think it was very much like, well,
what am I saving it for? I need to keep
investing in being engaged with life in the way that
I see it. I really understand that, like how that
fuels a life and keeps a person interested and interesting.
Being sixty two year sixty three, I'm of the age
in the background, and I was never expected to work.

(18:48):
So I have a twin brother who my father expected
to go to university to go and get a job
and to carry on working. Whereas when the school said
to my dad she should say gay levels, my father went,
what for? What would you be going to university for?
What is the point? And it made a decision to
me From a very young age. I can remember sitting

(19:09):
at my desk in my bedroom and to share with
my sister who didn't like you at all, and doing
my homework and work for me has been a savor,
so using my brain, having homework to do, getting a
job done, and it's probably been too much, but being
determined to do it has saved me from many holes.

(19:30):
I couldn't agree more. I couldn't agree more work Before
my son, work really was the great love of my life,
I mean, and still is in a more balanced way.
I think when I talked to clients, who are you
know in the stage like my daughters are, of having
children and working, even keeping your foot in the work
door to go back to that you can kind of

(19:52):
work part time while you're parenting, then you can go
back to it, because you know, it's likely if we're lucky,
that we're going to have a long life. The average
life expectancy for those of us that are kind of
lucky as well is a hundred. So what were we
going to do with all of that time if we're
not working? Yeah, it can't all be Love Island, Julia, clearly,

(20:18):
Can you tell me about something that has grown out
of a personal disaster? I can't. As it happens, I
first went to a a when I was five. I
started smoking when I was seven. That's a picture of
me writing lines with my twin brother, Hugo, I promise

(20:39):
I will never smoke again. And I started drinking when
I was about eleven, and everyone in my family drank
a huge amount. And luckily, I literally woke up one
day and I thought, I just can't do this. I
can't do this, And I tried doing it on my
own without a and I sort of count the number

(21:00):
of units and then I do deals with myself the
whole time, like if I more today, then I won't
have to tomorrow, you know, But you get pissed one night.
Then you'd have a hangover two days and then get
pissed like day three or for whatever it is. And
so I went to A and I did not speak
a word for like two years. I only went twice
a week. I went at lunchtimes. It was near my office.

(21:22):
That's what got me interested in therapy. I had no
idea people could talk about how they felt. That was
a whole new world to me. I always thought you
just faked it and pretended everything was fine until I
went to A. So that was your first experience of
therapy was seeing somebody getting up to share. Was it
shocking hearing them speak about how they felt about their

(21:43):
life and the things that happened to them. I was
completely blown away, completely blown away. And the only person
I told I was going was my husband because I
didn't dare tell anybody because then, you know, this is
forty forty years ago, was still quite shaming. Then there
was a diction, was still quite a shameful thing. I
haven't drank since then at all, But then when I

(22:05):
used to go out for dinner, people would like look
at me weirdly when I wasn't drinking, and they kind
of try and ply you with drink and stuff. But
it was a complete revelation. It was amazing. But I
didn't speak. I was just learning and taking it in,
and I'd rehearse in my head what I would say,
and I never dared actually speak it out. What made
you eventually raise your hand? I can't remember. I genuinely

(22:28):
can't remember. I would tell you, but I do remember speaking.
And I didn't die, and the sky didn't fall in
and people were kind. Did you have a sponsor even
when you weren't speaking? I just like it was literally,
like it was my secret. I'd go in on Tuesdays
and Thursdays and sneak out. I must have been ashamed
of it. Well, you stayed, which is the only thing

(22:49):
that matters. He stayed, and I stayed sober. He showed
up when he stayed sober, amazing. I was cycling this
morning and I had the first time I've ever had
this thought, what if I start drinking again? What would
happen if I started drinking again? And I thought, oh,
that's such a dangerous thought. That is the gateway to
Julius Samon. You do not want to go down because
you don't know what's the point of risking it. Yeah,

(23:12):
I second that, Julia Samuel. Yes, I'll be the echo
to your Jiminy cricket, keep cycling, don't drink. So what

(23:34):
question would you most like answered? I'm going to have
to put this in context. So the context is that
my specialty is children and babies dying. So for for
like thirty years, I've supported families who have children and
babies that and so my perception of children living to
a long life has been changed by hours every working

(23:56):
with terrible death. So my question, which actually makes me
christ saying it, is are my children and my grandchildren
going to live and have a long life? Because it's
what I want more than anything else in the world,
makes my heart stop. I'm sure I can imagine exponentially
as a grandmother, but it is the worst thought in

(24:17):
the entire world as a mother, like it is, it's
heart stopping. If you knew the answer that question, would
it change the way in which you lived your life? Yeah?
I mean every night before I go to sleep, I
thank God that my children are alive, and one of
my grandchildren I say their name, every single one of them,
and my sons in law and my daughter in law
I'm not an anxious person, and I don't feel anxious

(24:38):
all the time, but I think I would feel liberated
in some way of having that as my worst worry. Yeah, listen,
it's an awful to carry around having one child, having
multiple children who then have partners and their own children.
It's a lot and a joy, you know, it's the
greatest joy as well. You know. Love is a risky business, right, Yes,

(24:58):
it really really is, and it is not build as such.
I feel like I was sold a very odd bit
of goods. I think by myself being the small shopkeeper
that I was selling this idea that love was going
to solve everything, as opposed to push you really to
the limit and make you know yourself and give you
all these gifts. I mean, love in all of the

(25:22):
books and the films that you're in and and other
great movies does are in is like a soft skill, right,
But love is hard. It's the hardest thing we do.
It's the thing that matters most. That love is the
strongest medicine. It's the thing that heals us and holds
us together and gives our life meaning. And when we

(25:42):
look back at our lives, it's the people that we've
loved and loved us that matter most. But also it's
the hardest thing to sustain and allow ourselves to dare
to love and take the risks and the costs. And
it's build as a soft, easy thing, but it ain't. Yeah,
And I think that's a lot of like Hollywood and

(26:02):
music is where the way in which it is sold.
But it is rigorous. Love is rigorous and deeply painful.
But then so as being a human, you know, that
could also be descriptive of the fundament of being alive.
You know. I remember the first head book I ever read,
that's probably about twenty five, and there are lots of
catastrophic things going wrong. And the first line of M.

(26:24):
Scott Peck's book, A Roadless Traveled was life is difficult.
And I thought, hang on, no one ever told me that,
although it had been my entire life. But somehow it's
the secret that no one had said. It's normal that
it's difficult, not like I'm struggling through it and I'm
the one that's failing and everyone else has got it sorted.

(26:47):
Life's difficult, right, Okay? Boom God. I mean I wish,
first of all, I wish it was taught in schools
in like a robust and fluid way. I wish we
were taught about love. I wish we were taught about
death and were taught about these things as opposed to
sort of picking it up from God knows where, like
all these this little patchwork that I've used as a

(27:07):
map in my life was created by this little child
who had no idea about any of it, but piece
together what became pretty good. Man. Well, I mean, it's
a constitution that I'm now finding it quite difficult to amend,
even though I would really like to, like my ideas
about love, I'm now, you know, at fifty two, I'm
with this extraordinarily wonderful man, having been constantly in my life,

(27:31):
absolutely sort of brought to my knees by my relationships
with men, and in a way that I kept going,
why am I not learning? Like? Why is everything seemingly repetitive?
And I feel like I'm only now being able to
amend this constitution that I wrote when I was little
about what love is or what love is meant to
be because this person has this extraordinary spirit and patience

(27:54):
and also what he call it. He said, we have
a shared fortitude He's like, it's not me being patient
with you. It's that we have a shared fortitude and
I love that. But I'm only now figuring that out.
That's why I wish it was taught in schools, Like
why I wish these big things like love and death
and life were actually taught alongside physics and maths and history.

(28:14):
I think they should be taught or at least discussed,
you know, so that they're not this huge journey that
a child is expected to go on with no tools.
Because the tools that all children have they learned from
the adults around them, and that's the map that they're given.
Their kind of internal working model of love looks like this,

(28:35):
and moods look like this, and work looks like this.
You learn it from the people around you, the adults
around you. It's interesting when their tools have been my
mother and my father's tools bore you just get on
with it, which is a very very useful tool to have,
but it also has implicit in it, like not dealing
with stuff. Turn away, yeah, forget and move on, just

(28:55):
keep going, kick on. That's the English saying exactly. It's
very very British, it really is. It is a very
useful tool, but it needs to be augmented it and
kick on and name what's going on, experience that, express it.
Let the pain of it change you. Let pain is
the agent of change. Let the pain run through you,

(29:16):
and it's painful asitors, support yourself through it so that
you are expanded and grow through the pain, rather than
build your armor to block the pain in your life, Julia,
where and when were you happiest? It was not difficult
for me to choose this because I'm never happy in

(29:38):
those big kind of scale things like your birthday or
a big event. My happiest moments are those tiny moments
like I remember New Year looking around the done room
table and all my children were there, and they all
had a partner who loved them, and they had jobs,
and nobody had a problem, nobody had some awful thing

(30:00):
that was happening, and I just felt this it makes
me cry on me, so I felt this kind of
relief like and then of course, by two weeks later,
something terrible happened and you go off again. But those
moments of all of the people I love most in
the world are loved and they have kids and they
are happy is an amazing amazing moment. I love that

(30:23):
so much. I think about that so much as well,
of the lily padding, the leaping from the lily pad,
Like is it the respite is the anomaly? The happy
moments and the stress and the difficulty is what's normal?
Or is it the other way around? I look at
it that the happier moments are the moments that sustain
you when you go through the difficult moments. And sometimes

(30:46):
I look back at them when it's been difficult. Quite
soon after, I look back at them with a kind
of poignancy, like Oh. I wrote a book called This
Too Shall Pass, and at the beginning I said, you know,
we say bad things are going to pass, but we
have to remember things are going to pass too. It's
not just a one way street. Yes, but I as
I can feel the bad thing happening, I then have

(31:09):
It's like a photograph album the moments that have been
good or it's often simple, isn't it When they're simple
and it's not complicated, there's nothing big happening and they
sustain me, completely sustain me. Do you return to them
in moments of hardship? Do you consciously sit down and
remember something good? Remember sitting around the table with your children,

(31:34):
all of them peaceful and content, And does that put
a dent in the hard moments? Do you think in
the peak of the hard moment, so you've just been
told some bad news, it's too painful to look at
the happy one because it's too far from where I am.
But as the intensity lessons, then I can look back,

(31:55):
and that's what gives me hope. And the hope is
the alchemy that turns a life around, you know, believing
that I can have moments of that, and that I
will have moments that because I've already had them, and
I know from my job at myself that my belief
system is informed by my experience. And so my experience
is that we can have really good times when everything

(32:17):
is okay, they are quite rare, and we can have
kind of life you know, normal times, and then there
are the kind of also hopefully rare, very bad times,
and knowing that we have all of those and seeing
it like that enables me to kind of normalize it
rather than well, I think you talk to me about this.
When you're in the weather. You never believe the weather

(32:37):
is going to change, and then it does. Yeh In
the moment when one wakes up every day and it's
maybe faced with the same set of circumstances that have
not yet changed. It's like they've just been there waiting
at the end of your bed while you sleep. And
if you know, you wake up and you've sat and breathed,
and you've maybe done a little meditation or you've read
something good, and yet still there they sit at the

(32:58):
end of your bed. Is there something that you do
or that you recommend to people that they do to
help engage with what's beyond that anxiety of circumstance to
what I do? And it's so unsexy. I love un sexy.
I want the flannel night dress of therapist. Thanks, I
don't want the lingerie. The eighteen year army who was

(33:20):
going forward did not see that I would be an
expert on grieving a psychotherapist. I kind of thought I'd
be sexy and fancy. But now, well, why I said
that was because I've had to work out for myself
and for other people what works, and what works is
not glamorous and sexy, but practical and the thing that
works the best. Because grief or anxiety, a loss, whether

(33:44):
it's a living loss from you know, bad news, your
boyfriend's broken up, that you've lost your job, or from death.
It hits your body and sends your body into hyper arizon.
So you're in kind of fourth gear. Your autonomic nervous
system goes on vigilant, vigilante almost it can be that
you own to attack. And the single thing that helps
you most is get outside and take some exercise moving,

(34:07):
even if you're in an urban environment. If you can
get to a part better so cycle, run, walk fast,
and even if you only do it for ten minutes,
you will always feel better when you walk back through
the door. If you can walk back through the door
and journal for like five minutes, do a breathing meditation
for five minutes, and then give yourself a stauntingly good breakfast,

(34:29):
you will feel much much better and be able to
face the kind of waves of adversity and loss and
whatever the feelings are as they are, sail your body.
That is so brilliant. It's what I wailed the loudest
is what can I do? I wail at my lovely boyfriend.
I want something actionable? What can I do? And that

(34:51):
makes so much sense, But for you it's the sea. Yeah,
it is you go surfing, but in London it's hard
because there is no sea. I've often been known to
run out of my house and up to the park
and done exactly what you said. Just go and sit
by the certain time and try and feel differently. Well,
your body feels differently. Difficult feelings sit in your body

(35:12):
and they're like looking for a place to go, and
they're kind of an alert waiting for the threat to
come at you. So if you actually move your body,
you tell your body you've flown, so you're throwing fight
or flight. You've tell your body you've flown, so your
cortisol levels drop and your oxytocin, your dopamine, your kind

(35:32):
of connecting levels where you can connect with yourself. Get
a hug from your boyfriend or anybody. I mean practically
a stranger will always work for you. It's so interesting.
I do love I love the practical physical response to
sort of encouraging a different way of feeling about something.
And like you said, you can't get from abject misery

(35:53):
to joy. The jump is too big. But to take
small steps to put yourself physically, to tell your brain
that you're in a different place, to tell your body
are in a different place to then find your way
mentally to being in a different place. And then when
you're in a different place, your relationship with what's troubling
you has changed because you have the capacity to then

(36:15):
think more clearly, to collaborate with someone else, to have
a conversation with someone else, and their words, their warmth,
their love and support for you can sink in. When
you're like this hyper people, when they hug you, it's
like your brittle, it's like your armored. It never goes in,
And you basically want to punch their light site and
say because they're not fixing it. But when you've moved

(36:38):
and you've calmed down and you're kind of centered, and
you've given yourself a treat, I do think you know
good breakfast or whatever it is. Your treat helps you're
then open your expand your capacity to connect with other people.
And the single biggest thing for all of us, whatever
our difficulty, that will predict our outcome is the love

(36:59):
and connection of others. That we can't do life alone. However,
we connect with others. We need to be and be
close and connected to others. Oh, you're such a joy.
Thank you so much. It's so wonderful talking to you.
It's such beautiful insights on the things that are just

(37:19):
the hardest, that are the most normal. Yeah. Well, it's
such a pleasure. It's really fun to Julia's new book
titled Every Family Has a Story, will be in stores
across America on November, and you can find her podcast,
Therapy Works wherever you listen to your podcasts. In Therapy Works,

(37:39):
you'll hear Julia's guests talk about the big lessons and
challenges of their lives. I was on the show, and
at the end of each episode, Julia reflects on her
session with her two psychotherapist daughters, who share their thoughts
on the conversation. I hope you enjoy listening to Julia's
show as much as I enjoyed being a guest on it.

(38:03):
Mini Questions is hosted and written by Me Mini Driver,
Supervising producer Aaron Kaufman, Producer Morgan Lavoy, Research assistant Marissa Brown.
Original music Sorry Baby by Minni Driver, Additional music by
Aaron Kaufman. Executive produced by Me Mini Driver. Special thanks

(38:27):
to Jim Nikolay, Will Pearson, Addison, No Day, Lisa Castella,
and Nick Oppenheim at w kPr de La Pescador Kate
Driver and Jason Weinberg, and for constantly solicited tech support
Henry Driver
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