Welcome to Your Anxiety Toolkit. I’m your host, Kimberley Quinlan. This podcast is fueled by three main goals. The first goal is to provide you with some extra tools to help you manage your anxiety. Second goal, to inspire you. Anxiety doesn’t get to decide how you live your life. And number three, and I leave the best for last, is to provide you with one big, fat virtual hug, because experiencing anxiety ain’t easy. If that sounds good to you, let’s go.
Hello friends, you are going to love this episode. Holy smokes, I just recorded it, so you’ve got me fresh, and I’m so excited. I just had such an amazing conversation with Mike Heady. He is an LCPC and he treats OCD and anxiety disorders. We talked about shame and shame and shame and shame, and he brought so much wisdom. You guys are going to love this episode. It is packed full of all the good stuff. So, I’m not going to waste your time. I just want you to get straight there and listen to it.
Before we get started, if you haven’t left a review, please do so. I love getting reviews from you. When we get good reviews, it doesn’t just stroke my ego. That’s not the point. It is because the more reviews we get, the more people will come and listen to the podcast, which means then I get to help people with these incredible tools, these science-based tools. Hopefully, even just from today, if you’re first time listening, welcome. We are talking about shame, and you are going to get so much from this. So if you are listening, please do leave a review. I would be so grateful. And enjoy the show.
Kimberley: Welcome. I am so excited to have with us today, Mike Heady. He is an LCPC. That’s correct. Right?
Michael: That is, yes.
Kimberley: Yes. We’re going to have a conversation that actually might be my favorite topic in the whole of the podcast. We’re talking about shame. So, welcome.
Michael: Thanks for having me. I share your passion for the conversation.
Kimberley: Yes. Not that I love shame, but I like talking about shame.
Michael: Yes. I agree. It’s hard to say you love shame. It’s like saying I love fear.
Kimberley: Exactly. So, why are you interested in this topic?
Michael: It’s been a professional evolution for me, originally being trained to treat anxiety disorders and OCD. We talk a lot about fear and uncertainty and we have a ceremonial way of responding to shame. We’re like, “Oh yeah, and there’s a shame too.”
In the last couple of years, I’ve really done a deep dive into like, “Well, what is this?” Because a lot of clients are having a hard time getting better. I don’t think it’s the fear that’s hard for them to get past sometimes. I don’t think it’s the uncertainty. I think it’s the shame. I think it’s a different animal. When I started doing a lot of digging, I realized there’s a whole world of shame out there in the literature, and how it applies to OCD fascinated me. So, that’s my new passion project.
Kimberley: Yeah. Same. Exact same experience. Also seeing how much fear in and of itself is a generator of suffering. But as you said, there’s this shame that’s generating suffering at exponential levels. So, I’m so grateful to have this conversation with you. for those who are listening and who might not really understand shame, would you be interested in giving me your working definition of what shame is?
Michael: Sure. Are you okay if I elaborate on it a little bit?
Kimberley: Yeah. Go for it.
Michael: Okay. I think a good definition is that shame is a really painful, aversive, unpleasant emotional experience. Fear or disgust, it’s natural or instinctive for us to want to back away and get rid of shame. Shame is often brought on by some kind of real or perceived violation of a social norm that we actually believe in. So it’s not this mystical emotional thing. It’s a thing either real or perceived occurred. And then I experienced this negative, painful emotion of shame. That’s the short version of the definition.
I think it’s worth talking about shame as having two levels of shame. We might call an adaptive kind of shame, the shame where we view it as a response to a specific episode, rather than some generalizable character flaw or full-on assault of our identity. I violated something I believed in, I feel bad, which is different than guilt because guilt is about apologizing to the other person for something you’ve done. But I might feel bad for violating a norm I believe in. Okay, there’s nothing toxic about that.
There’s another level of shame that we tend to want to talk about more. It’s the toxic shame. That’s the shame that is unworkable. It’s always unhelpful. It is a response to a perceived or real violation of a norm that has broad sweeping characteristics to it. It is a full-on assault on our identity. It is a condemnation of the self. That’s the toxic shame.
I can wrap up this as saying, what was incredibly helpful for me when I was going deep dive into what shame was is, yes, shame is an emotion. We know what emotions are. We all feel emotions. We’ve all felt shame.
You and I, as therapists, spend our careers trying to help our clients have a different relationship towards painful emotions, and understanding what an emotion is, specifically around shame, I think was really enlightening for me. I derive a lot of this understanding from some work that occurred in the sixties and seventies, probably before then, but the work from the sixties and seventies is what brought it to my attention, that emotions are an emergent experience constructed by an interaction between our biology and our biography.
The biography piece comes out of Silvan Tomkins work in the late sixties where he suggested that, yes, there’s a universal kind of biological experience that contributes to an emotion. But the part that completes it is our own narrative, which is unique to us.
My interaction with the world, as I develop from a child to an adult, the experiences I have, my environment, that’s the secret ingredient to my shame. So what makes me feel shame isn’t necessarily what makes you feel shame.
For instance, if I were to, while talking to you, suddenly break out into a red flush on my face, start sweating, and my voice start cracking, I might experience that as an embarrassment, like a small shame. But if you perhaps had terrible social anxiety disorder and the same thing happened to you, the same exact event, you might see that as a humiliation. Both are derivative emotions of shame. But humiliation is different from embarrassment in orders of magnitude of pain. Humiliation is closer to trauma than it is to anxiety. This is anyway my long-winded way of saying, yes, shame is a complex animal, and that’s the working definition I tend to have.
Kimberley: Yeah. It’s a different way of explaining it. This opportunity makes me so happy. What you’re saying is, it’s on a spectrum, would you say?
Michael: Oh, absolutely. Yeah.
Kimberley: Now, let’s play that out. We’re talking about the biology, and then there’s the story we tell ourselves. Would you give an example for you? You and me, let’s say we both got embarrassed. Let’s say we both made a mistake or something. We embarrassed ourselves in front of each other, which is not going to happen here. But if we did, what might be a difference in the story we told each other which would indicate that higher level of shame or toxic shame?
Michael: Sure. Let me clarify the story. It’s not just how we appraise the shame itself. That’s a part of it. But the story is like my upbringing. I was brought up in a blue-collar family. There wasn’t a lot of room for emotions, especially for the male members of the family. So if I encountered a situation where I felt vulnerable or sensitive or hurt, the expression of that emotion could be shut down. That expression of that emotion could be punished, ridiculed. Not that I was ridiculed, but it could have been.
Someone’s narrative about a negative emotional experience could have been that and ongoing. They could have been bullied for being a sensitive kid, whereas you may not have. now you both may experience the same thing as a generic sense of shame. “I wasn’t the way I wanted to be. I wanted to be put together and intelligent and I made a stupid GAF, and I came across looking silly.” One kind of embarrassment for one is not necessarily the embarrassment for the other. That’s what I mean when I say “the narrative.”
Kimberley: Yeah. Okay. This is wonderful. I think that maybe we want to take a look at, and I know I have a few questions. What I’d love to take a look at is, why would, let’s say someone feel shame for having a mental illness?
Michael: Well, yeah, that’s a great question. I think there’s a whole lot of reasons why someone might feel shame. One of them could be, I feel shame because the mental illness – we can say OCD in particular since this is one of the things I primarily treat – is that the content of my obsessions themselves could have a taboo theme or they could be otherwise conceived as bizarre. That’s going to create a sense of “I shouldn’t have this thought, there’s something wrong with me I have this thought.”
The helping field, in general, commonly misinterprets and doesn’t understand OCD. If you present this set of thoughts to them, you’re going to get a sense of judgment and rejection or humiliation, and that’s not made up fear. That’s a real fear. That stuff happens to people. That’s an example of how someone with a mental health issue can develop shame. It’s because they may have gotten that feedback or fear rightfully so that they would get that feedback.
Another way of looking at it is just, “I shouldn’t have this because having this means I’m not working properly. I’m otherwise defective or broken.” It’s a silent problem for people – these emotional and psychological things. We have a lot more empathy and understanding for people with a physical problem than we do for someone who has a psychological or emotional problem. So, I think that there’s this built-in--
Michael: Yes. Stigma. Right. Thanks. Yeah, exactly. And then there’s the people who’ve tried to get better. I’ve certainly seen a number of clients who’ve gone through years of therapy. They’ve worked diligently with great therapists, all very well-intentioned, and they failed to get better. “What’s wrong with me? I must be really broken.” I’m sure there’s countless other ways, but I’ll pass that off to you, I think.
Kimberley: Yeah. I mean, I think these are all societal expectations that are placed on us. It’s funny, you brought up the question about the concept around being humiliated for having an emotion. Somebody had written a question like: How can I be considered “the man of the house” if I have anxiety? I mean, there’s so much shame in that question. There’s so much societal expectations in that question and stigma in that question.
I think it’s definitely there, and I think you’re right. For the things that are unknown, I see that to be more shame. I think everybody understands sadness. So we don’t feel so much shame around it. But fear of harming your baby – let’s not talk about that. You know what I mean? Let’s push that down.
Michael: Right. And not only because it’s universally taboo. We know that instinctually. We don’t need to really be told that. We know that, because that’s our response if we were to hear that from someone else. Until we have that intrusive thought ourselves and they’re like, “Oh, me too?”
Shame, I think it’s distinguishing shame from the other negative emotions that people have, because I don’t think they’re all the same. Oh, negative emotions or negative emotions – let’s just learn how to handle them. Fear, that’s a tough one. But shame? Shame is the most painful.
Kimberley: It’s ouch because it’s in silence too, I think. My thing I say all the time is that shame thrives in secrecy. One of the best things you could do is to tell it out loud.
Michael: I was having a conversation with colleagues about this a couple of weeks ago, and someone brought up a slogan that comes from AA, which is, “We’re only as sick as our secrets.” It’s such a powerful message. The idea that speaking that secret allowed, speaking that shame aloud can be healing. Now it can also be traumatizing. We can probably get into that later in the episode. But I think that there’s discernment about how and who we share with, and us as therapists creating a space where that’s good and healthy for the person. But you’re right. Absolutely. The things that thrive in darkness are painful.
Kimberley: Okay, so you have a client and they have just very typical symptoms of OCD, even if it’s very typical taboo, obsessions – this is for people listening – any disorder, depression, BFRB, eating disorders, how do you work with that shame with your patients?
Michael: That’s a fantastic question. I’m always evolving on how I figure that out with a particular client. I think if I were to try to distill that down to something helpful to the listeners, I think as a therapist, it would start with the very first interaction I had with the client. The first contact is the first opportunity, probably the best opportunity to provide a safe space that’s understanding, validating, authentic so that the client can then experience this interpersonal interaction that they’re having with this therapist as welcoming towards disclosure of a secret or their shame.
I think that that first contact is vital. You can come across as the kind of person they want to talk to and try to set the stage and make that an effort, build that therapeutic alliance, continue to work on a therapeutic alliance because if you don’t, it might be a lot harder to build the work to let them disclose that shame.
And then from there, I think education about what shame is, like I brought up in the beginning, that shame can exist on this continuum, that there is actually an adaptive kind of shame. We don’t tend to talk about it. We don’t tend to see it because we talk about the toxic and the pathological shame, the one that keeps people stuck in hurt. Through that education, through a demystifying of it, I think, is incredibly valuable.
I’ll talk about the compass of shame in a minute. I don’t want to steal all the time from you. It’s like I talk a lot.
Kimberley: Go for it. No, do.
Michael: I’ve been thinking about this in preparation for our conversation today. I was thinking like, how would I want to set up an ideal way of dealing with shame with a client and again, creating that therapeutic space that they’d want to share that. And then if we have this experience that once we hand our secret or shame over to another person like, “Here you go,” that’s what the clients are doing to us, they’re handing it to us.
If we receive it and hold it with compassion and understanding, if we hold it with acceptance of them as a person, I think we introduced them to common humanity – one of the three things that show up with self-compassion, that common humanity – perhaps for the very first time in their life. Because this is such a secret, quiet problem, this might be the first time they’ve ever been met with common humanity and acceptance when they’ve revealed this. I think that’s immeasurably powerful for the client. I think it helps them create a healthy distance from that narrative that’s been telling them to keep it a secret, keep it a secret, or else you’ll get rejected. “Wait a minute. I wasn’t rejected.”
Kimberley: Yeah. It normalizes it too. Right?
Kimberley: Sometimes when I hand over the why box that has all the different obsessions, that in of itself can be a shame killer because they’re like, “Oh my goodness, all of the things I have are right here on this piece of paper and you don’t seem alarmed at all.”
Michael: Yeah. I’ve had email interactions with clients who are like, “Have you ever heard of this kind of presentation?” I’ll shoot them links to three books written about it. They’ve written entire books about this so you’re not alone. It’s so helpful for them.
Kimberley: Yeah. Tell me about the compass.
Michael: Yes. I was introduced to this through one of my mentors, and it really rang true for me as a useful concept. The compass of shame was developed in the 1980s by a psychiatrist by the name of Donald Nathanson. I don’t want to bore the audience with the history, but he researched shame basically that was his career. Nathanson had found through his research that there are four predictable and common unhelpful responses to shame. I’ll say toxic shame. We’re all talking about toxic shame. Those four represented the four points of a compass – north, south, east, and west. It doesn’t matter where they go.
One of the points is withdrawal. Withdrawal is when we get quiet, silent, small. Like a dog who got caught chewing on the cash knows they did wrong. They get small, they get quiet. They try to disappear into the moment. That’s one common response to shame.
Another one is avoidance, behavioral avoidance of situations and people and circumstances, but also through substances, through food, through sex, through anything that would be a direct response to a cue, “I’m going to avoid this feeling.”
Then another part of it is to attack others. This shows up when you felt humiliated or embarrassed by someone else. Someone made you feel this way, so you’re going to lash out verbally or physically. In a sense, the way I think of it is in the sense of trying to balance the scales. “You’ve made me feel small and vulnerable and insignificant. I’m going to try to balance that out by making you feel the same way.”
The last one I think by far the most common in the people that we’re going to be working with is attack the self. This is self-criticism, this is berating ourselves, self-condemnation, degrading ourselves. It’s often seen as “I’m going to be holding myself accountable for this failure real or perceived,” and that’s going to make it better, that there’s somehow a utility to this attacking self-response. But when you poke at it just a little bit, it’s completely unhelpful. It’s just a massive perpetuator of the problem.
So, that’s Nathanson’s Compass of Shame. I think his point in bringing this up is, look, everyone’s toxic shame response is going to fall probably into one of those four. Where do yours? if we can bring awareness to that, maybe we can learn to pivot to a more functional or helpful response instead.
Kimberley: Right. I think that that awareness, again, it’s validating and it’s normalizing the normal response to shame, which helps the shame, I think, in and of itself. Okay, so let’s play this out. If something happens, you’ve made a mistake or you’ve had a thought that you’ve deemed unacceptable, or you showed up in a way that created shame, you did all four of those things, what do we do from there? Or you did one of them. Now that we have this awareness, how might we meet shame instead in your thoughts, in your mind?
Michael: I think hearing that from a client and I was watching it unfold in the moment, I might say, “Can we pause for just a minute? I think shame showed up for us.” He might even be able to see some of the behavioral changes in their eye contact and the postures. I think shame showed up. What are you doing with that right now? Because again, it’s silent. It’s not broadcasting this out loud. It’s silent. What are you doing? What’s going on in your mind?
Probably reveal what you said, they did one or all four of those things – I would point that out, give it a name. We understand this process. This is somewhat of a predictable response. Can we hit the pause button and can we now make a choice to pivot to a different response. Pivot to what? Pivot to self-compassion maybe. That might be a teachable moment. What is self-compassion? Can I give you an experiential exercise on meeting this moment with self-compassion? I can model meeting this moment with you with compassion so you can see what that looks like and feels like.
Instead of spending time in the head, in the verbal, in the ruminative come back to the feeling, because that’s what we’re trying to avoid. When we criticize ourselves, we’re trying to avoid and escape criticism, or using criticism to try to avoid and escape shame and humiliation. Okay, let’s come back to that. That’s painful. We can learn how to sit with that without having to beat ourselves up or escape it.
I think people can sit with it in different ways. You can use it as an exposure opportunity for people who are feeling smaller kinds of shame, like embarrassment, like let’s do some exposure towards what it feels like to be embarrassed. If we’re dealing with a much more painful kind of shame, that humiliation kind of shame, let’s meet that with more direct self-compassion in this moment.
I think it gets sticky a little bit when we introduce self-compassion, if we haven’t already introduced it, because like any intervention, it hinges on the client buying into it and thinking that they deserve to receive it.
Kimberley: Right. I’ll give you my personal experience with this because I think, and I see a lot and I would add a fourth point to the compass, which is, now as you’re talking, I think this even different than what we talked about in previous conversations, just the two of us, is I think if I were really to track it, I think that another thing that I did when shame showed up is I swing into perfectionism. The stronger shame was, the more I would do good or be good. It’s an interesting reflection for me because I think the more I felt imperfect and the more shame that brought up, the more it’s like compulsive do good kind of thing, which I think again, might be why some of our clients get stuck around shame because there is that sort of self-punishment. “Well, I did a bad thing. Well, I have to neutralize that with a positive, good thing.” I don’t know. Just something I’m thinking about.
Michael: No, I think that’s really great. I’m sure a lot of people listening are thinking right now, nodding their heads, “Yup, I go into perfectionism.” If I can channel Nathanson for a second, I imagine he would say, “That’s a type of avoidance. It’s an avoidant behavior. You’re doing this thing and it’s a compensation to numb, or to balance the scale.” If I do enough good, it cancels out the bad. The message is that that thing is intolerable to feel, and it’s not.
Kimberley: Good catch. That’s true. It is. It’s like neutralizing the compulsion, right? Yeah. Okay. This is amazing. I have some questions from the audience that I think is a perfect segue, and there’s one that really hit me, really deepened my heart and I wanted to ask your opinion on. Somebody had asked, how do I manage shame for having symptoms? They didn’t express which ones, but I’m assuming it’s having symptoms of being a human of some respect. But I also have privilege and resources and the ability to get care, how do I manage shame when I have privilege?
Michael: That’s a really great question. I think if I can flip that around a little bit, I can say that the cost of your privilege towards access to care, towards a good community of people, the cost of that isn’t more shame. We don’t want to shame ourselves for having opportunities. In a way, it moves you away from doing something about that, about that privilege. If you recognize I have privileged shaming yourself is useless. Who’s that for? That’s a silent response to try to balance out this. It’s an avoidance. It’s a running away from.
So can we try to meet that? I’d say first with patients and then recognition, yeah, there is some privilege here and I feel bad about that, and then move into a “what’s next” kind of a mindset. Like, I still need to work on my own shame about having these symptoms. It’s not like I have to suddenly stop working on that because I also happen to have the privilege and the capacity to work on those.
But I think we throw it into the same mix. It’s like, okay, so you’re shaming yourself. Which one of the four points of the compass are you doing now in recognition of a privilege? Once we get off of that unhelpful response, we can then maybe find a more helpful way to recognize the privilege, to speak out against the privilege, to prop other people up and help other people have access, things like that. But we can’t do that if we’re shaming ourselves, because shaming yourself, criticizing yourself, avoiding isn’t workable.
Kimberley: Yeah. There’s so much of this like self-punishment involved as a response to shame. Like, okay, so I have this one privilege, so I must be punished for that before I can address the problem that I have almost. I’m so grateful that you answered that because I have seen that multiple times, many, many times with my patients and I’m guessing you too.
You’ve talked about shame around lots of emotions. Interestingly, there were two very common questions, and I’ll leave these as the last two questions for you. There was a lot of questions around having shame for anger and there was a lot of questions around having shame for having a “groinal response,” which I’m assuming is in relation to some kind of sexual obsession or maybe even sexual orientation as well. Can you share your thoughts on those?
Michael: Sure. Shame around anger, I think... I’m trying to interpret the question a little bit. I imagine it goes beyond just the feeling of being angry, but maybe the act of being aggressive, if I can make some interpretation there. I helped the client recognize that anger, like any other emotion, is universal. It’s an emergent experience. It’s not really up to you about whether you get angry or not. We don’t have to act on the anger. We don’t have to become aggressive either passively or physically aggressive about it. So, teaching them that there is some workability in our response to anger and that if we accept anger as an emotion, if we make room for anger as an emotion, we don’t need to have a response to it in the same kind of way. We can let it in.
Susan David, in one of her Ted Talks, she said that emotions are data, not directives. I love it. Super helpful way of organizing your thoughts around that. It’s just, let the emotion be data. It’s if you’re responding to something in your life, something happened that it shouldn’t have happened and it wasn’t fair, and then you felt angry. Okay, I understand that process. I don’t need to do something about it to get rid of it because there’s that relationship to an emotion that can be unhelpful. Now I have to find a way to control or get rid of it. Notice we only do that with the negative side of emotions. We don’t tend to be like, “I have to get rid of my joy.”
Kimberley: Too much joy.
Michael: Too much joy.
Kimberley: Unless we feel privileged, so then we’re not allowed to have too much joy.
Michael: Right. Yeah. In response to the groinal stuff, I think, again, it comes down to your biological, your physiological, your groinal response isn’t really up to you. I think Emily Nagoski does a really great job in her talk about unwanted arousal, and such a powerful Ted Talk and really great education around that. Your body’s going to respond, whether you like it to or not. I used to joke around and say, the reason why the 13-year-old boy isn’t standing up at the end of Spanish class is because he wants to get more lessons. It’s because he’s waiting to not be embarrassed when he stands up. It’s not that he’s attracted to Spanish as a language –maybe he is – it’s because he had a response and it wasn’t really up to him.
Okay, so bodies respond to things. Can we separate that out from the thing that was in our mind? Bodies respond to sex generically. It doesn’t matter who it’s with, what it is. Just the idea of it, the notion of it, the hint, and it response. So even people listening to us now, using the words like sex, might respond to the word, and that doesn’t mean you’re attracted to the word or to this podcast. Maybe you are, but it’s probably not. It’s that your body responded to things because of all these associative learning cues that are going on. That education is powerful.
And then, of course, I treat shame the way I treat any toxic shame, which is, the response to it is the biggest problem that needs to try to meet it with something a little bit more akin to self-compassion and common humanity.
Kimberley: I love it. Thank you. Oh, you nailed it. Is there anything else you want to share?
Michael: I mean, not off the top of my head. I’m sure that we could dive into so many different rabbit holes on the subject, but I think this was a good intro to it.
Kimberley: Yeah. Intro, but also with depth. I’m really grateful. I love to give as many applicable tools as we can. I feel like there is some better understanding. The compass is so good. It’s so helpful to be able to deconstruct it that way.
Michael: Yeah. That was a game-changer for me when I heard about that too. I will add a couple of things, just in passing other ways of therapeutically addressing shame. Once we’ve agreed that those four points in the compass are not the way we want to handle it, we have to have a new way. There’s a, what used to be, I think, a Broadway show called Get Mortified. It’s now a podcast, and it’s people sharing humiliating and mortifying personal stories. Again, this is going out to strangers and this is an idea that I’m normalizing these experiences in my life. Maybe someone else can relate to it and maybe we can bring some humor to it. It’s not about making fun of the person or the situation, it’s about saying, can we all just laugh at the fact that we’re busy concealing something that is so universal and ubiquitous.
Kimberley: Yup. Life happens, right? It doesn’t go to plan.
Michael: Yeah. I think that’s the other piece. Once you’re ready for it, humor is hard to think of a more helpful response to shame.
Kimberley: I’m holding back every urge right now to be like, “What’s the most mortifying thing that’s ever happened to you?”
Michael: That’s a different podcast.
Kimberley: I was once on a podcast where he asked that, a very similar question. It was on OCD and he asked me a similar question. I think I completely went into your shame compass, like all the things, “What can I do to avoid this conversation?”
Michael: Yes, yes. I think that would be like a few cocktails and we’re going to record a podcast and maybe we can talk about that. But again, you can see, you can notice how even here, I could easily come up with two very shaming experiences in my life, and the difficulty of sharing that when I think that other people are listening to it. Why should I care? It’s because it’s a painful emotion. So even us therapists have a lot of work to do with personally so that we can show up with the client in a way that’s helpful.
Kimberley: Right. When I was doing one of the Mindful Self-compassion intensives, this is with Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer, one of the activities where we had to stop and do activity with the puzzle we came with if you came with someone. And then you had to turn to a person you didn’t know, and you had to tell them one of the most painful things that’s ever happened to you. They didn’t really give you a lot of choices either. They were like, you’re here, you’re going to do it.
The whole act was there was tears everywhere, flying across the room. But the thing was then, the person who’s listening was not allowed to say anything, except “Thank you for sharing.” It was so powerful. It was so powerful. They weren’t allowed to say, oh. You weren’t allowed to touch them. You weren’t allowed to say anything, except “Thank you for sharing.”
Michael: And again, an immeasurably effective and important thing. That wasn’t self-compassion. That was compassion, right? This is why I think like you with your Instagram work and people like Chrissie Hodges and OCD peers, and anyone who’s an advocate for OCD that is building a community of people where they can interact like OCD has a community of people. These communities allow other people who are struggling with OCD to interact with each other. You create this group acceptance. The group has accepted you in, shame and all. You no longer need to conceal or keep secret this thing. The weight, the anvil that gets lifted off your shoulders, you no longer have to be weighted in the past.
It’d be nice if we could generalize that outside of an OCD community and just say, the community at large has now been sufficiently educated about what OCD is and isn’t, what depression is and isn’t, what eating disorders are and are not, trauma, so we can be a lot more understanding of one another. Perhaps that’s a little Pollyanna-ish to hope for, but I think that that’s the direction we should head on.
Kimberley: That’s the mission. Yeah. Well, I actually think that this is a perfect place for us to end because I think that that is where we’re at. That common humanity, we all have it. You’re not alone. Yes, it’s the most painful thing you’ll feel. You’ll feel like your heart is breaking at the time. All of these things are so normal and part of being a human. So I love that that’s where we’re at. Thank you.
Michael: Thank you for indulging the conversation.
Kimberley: Easily, so easily. Tell us about where people can hear more about you and know about you.
Michael: Sure. As you mentioned, my name is Mike Heady. I’m the Co-Director of the Anxiety and Stress Disorders Institute of Maryland. I work with my other Co-Director, Dr. Sarah Crawley, who’s a Child and Adolescent Psychologist. The Executive Director and Founder is Dr. Sally Winston. She’s written a number of books on OCD. We’re in Baltimore, Maryland. We’re an outpatient, private group practice. We have over 20 clinicians that specialize in depression, OCD, anxiety disorders, and other related conditions. Yeah, that’s us. That’s me.
Kimberley: Amazing. Well, thank you. I really am grateful. I feel so calm after these conversations too because I feel like it’s the more you guess, you get to settle into it. So thank you. I’m so grateful personally, and for the community here, who sounded like they were very excited about this episode.
Michael: Well, thank you for having me on.
Kimberley: My pleasure.
Please note that this podcast or any other resources from cbtschool.com should not replace professional mental health care. If you feel you would benefit, please reach out to a provider in your area.
Have a wonderful day, and thank you for supporting cbtschool.com.