Podcast Episodes

057 | Photographers and Mental Health | Just Reach Out

June 27, 2023

I’m sharing my experience with mental health, anger and depression and seeking help

I'm Dan!

Photographer, podcaster, extreme empath, and certified life coach. I help photographers enjoy more family and personal time while growing their business.


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An incredible amount of challenge exists for photographers and business owners when it comes to managing their mental health. In this episode, I am continuing the series on photographers and mental health, speaking with fellow creatives regarding the correlation between our mental health and our businesses. Today I am sharing a solo episode detailing my own personal experience with mental health, managing anger and depression, and seeking help from therapy. My hope is that by sharing my journey, I can encourage you to give yourself similar support and grace. 

The Focused Photographers Podcast was created based on the idea that the most incredible tool for learning is a deep dive into any given topic from multiple perspectives. Join us every other week as we explore important topics, with host Daniel Moyer and a variety of guests offering different perspectives! Make sure you’ve hit that follow or subscribe button on your favorite podcast player to get notified each week as we air new episodes!

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The decision to share my own experience (1:54)

The start of my struggle with mental health (4:24)

When I knew I needed help (12:54)

Who do you call? (16:56)

My first experience with therapy (19:26)

Meeting my current therapist (21:58)

Tools that support my mental health (25:15)

Grace and acceptance (35:01)



Wedding Instagram: @DANIELMOYERPHOTO



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Review the Transcript:

Hey friends, I’m Dan Moyer and welcome to the focused photographers podcast where photographers gather this podcast series is about photographers and mental health and it tackles some real stuff. We are all going through something and we’re all going to go through something. Burnout is more of a conversation now than it ever has been before. It is all different for each of us. But listening to these episodes may bring up some thoughts and feelings inside of you that might be difficult. This episode is very personal. For me, it is my story about the stuff that I went through during the pandemic and parenting and trying to run a business and, and trying to handle being an entrepreneur and a dad and all that kind of stuff. And I talk about anger and depression and hopelessness. So that may be some triggers for you. This episode, like I said, is my story about dealing with some hard stuff. But there are some high points and some emotional parts for me, but my greatest hope is that this conversation will be me being able to be transparent and a little bit uncomfortable. But my hope is that it lifts you up encouraged you give you some more hope and makes you feel like you’re not so alone. These episodes, though, are not a substitute for therapy, there are no substitutes for talking to someone whose only job it is is to listen to you with an open heart and open mind and help get you through whatever you’re going through. You even know how I knew I needed help. When I couldn’t shake my negative thoughts when they spilled over into my life. And I started feeling this negative cloud regularly and without warning therapy has done wonders for me which I’m going to talk about a bunch in this episode towards the end, and it might do some good too. So if you’re feeling down, and you just can’t shake your negative thoughts call or text 988 If you’re in United States, okay, friends, let’s get to the show.

So this past couple months that I’ve been recording these episodes on mental health, I’ve gone back and forth dozens of times about whether or not I should record a solo episode on mental health, my journey, and struggles with mental health are, I think, no greater or no more important than anybody else’s. But I still think that there’s such a stigma around talking about like, just going through stuff, especially with guys, especially with men don’t share enough about their struggles. And I feel like if I’m asking my guests to be vulnerable and share things with me, then I should also lead by example, and be transparent about my struggles. I’ve been thinking about this episode quite a bit. And what I want to say, and I’ve done lots of different things, I’ve scripted it out, I’ve outlined and event all kinds of things. But I just realized that like I’m I have like some things that I obviously want to make sure that I say, but most of this is just going to be me speaking from the heart, and from my experience of really over the last three or four years. So I’ve never really been somebody who struggled intensely with depression or anything like that I surely have negative thoughts. And the you know, the early days of parenting were very, very tough. Like I remember back when my my oldest daughter was born. That’s funny. I remember putting her in daycare and my wife was working in the corporate world at a you know, like in office, which feels weird that she ever worked in office. But she’s working or she’s working in office every single day. And I take my daughter to daycare three days a week, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and then Tuesday, Thursday, we will do all kinds of fun stuff, just together, just the two of us. And I remember thinking like every Friday, I would just like be like, I didn’t get anything done this week. You know, I only had Monday to Monday, Wednesday, Friday to work and you know, a little bit of time when my you know, my daughter napped, and now seven years later, and two more kids later, I would give anything to be able to have like three full days of work not interrupted. But what’s really interesting is what’s that saying? Oh, that’s a necessity creates innovation, right? Like with the pandemic and everything. That’s one thing that came out of it that was really good for me, besides all the therapy talk and all that stuff that we’ll get to in a minute, which was you know, learning how to be more productive, right? I have, there’s two more kids in my life and I I can get so much more done now in such a shorter period of time because it was necessity. That’s really like where where everything starts is the early days of the pandemic actually, you know, sort of end of of 2019 2019 was the best year I’d had in business and I was heading into my 10 year anniversary for my business January 1 2020 was 10 years of Daniel Morris photography, and my twins were born six months prior to that on July 28 2019. And who knew that in just six short months that things would be crazy, but I remember in like October let’s see if that passes. Dan. I did not take care of future Dan, because I had booked myself silly. I’m not somebody who does more than one wedding, usually in a weekend, maybe once or twice a year, I’ll do that. But I had booked, I think it was six weddings in, in five weeks or something like that. It was just wild, I had doubles, every single weekend in October. And then I had all of the work to editing and all that kind of stuff afterwards. And we had, we had, we didn’t really have any family helped my parents live about an hour north, my wife’s mom lived in South Carolina at the time. And we just had no help. So we were inviting friends in on the weekends, none of the some of the weddings like we’re not even close, like I was driving two hours on a Saturday, you know, two hours to the wedding and two hours back, the next day, I would drive two and a half hours, you know, up and back, it was just not a good situation. So that’s the end of, of October 2019, that’s the end of 2019. And everything is like our bank account is really awesome. But we’re just exhausted as people. And then you know, obviously, here comes 2020. And we’ve got three kids and these tiny little babies. And we’re getting to this point where, you know, we’re our, our twins are on like around the clock feeding schedule every three hours because they were early and they were in the NICU. And they needed to gain lots of weight and all this, and my wife works in the corporate world. So she doesn’t really have much flexibility. Obviously, she was working at like in office like the early part of 2020. But then when we came home, it was her stuck behind a desk. And we weren’t really paying for daycare at that point. I think our oldest was in daycare, but then the twins, I was just keeping home, I was playing with them, we were having fun, they would still nap all the time. And there wasn’t, there was a lot of juggling obviously, for me to you know, take my oldest to daycare and hang out the twins all day and bottle feed them and do all this different stuff. But you know, we made it work. But then once the pandemic really hit, it was it was a whirlwind, like just for so many, so many people out there. And my story is no different. Except that, you know, I think, you know, some we all handled the pandemic and stuff very differently. And in the beginning part it was, it was I was thinking that, you know, I’m going to work with my couples, I’m going to have some of these couples postpone, you know, they’re making sure that they want to be safe and all this stuff. And during that part, I’m like, I’m really pouring a lot into my couples, I’m really taking a lot of time and effort to like, you know, some of them were taking these big, gigantic ballroom weddings, and making them down to these tiny little 15 person outdoor things where they could be safe. And, and I remember talking with, you know, couple after couple about, you know, whether should postpone or not. And I kept saying, you know, small doesn’t mean less special, and I just remember, really empathizing with couples in this situation, but there being like, no real answers. And during all this, obviously I am, you know, working with my kids and all that kind of stuff. And my wife is, you know, doing her thing and in her job. And I’m in this role where in the mornings, we’re getting up and we’re feeding the kids every three hours and, and they’re starting to not sleep very well. And then during nap times, we would have to take them up basically one at a time. You know, my wife is on meetings, and she’s a supervisor, and she’s talking with all these different people. And she doesn’t really have any flexibility to stop and help us naps and help with mealtime and help with diaper changes and all that kind of stuff, except for overnight. And so I was doing all the NAPS all the meals and everything for our twins. And it just it was so difficult. Like I remember there were many for a good six or seven months, it was me in the nursery for seven or eight hours a day, I’d take them up, take one up at a time half hour to put you know, when I’m asleep, come back down and get the next one but that one asleep. And that was like two or three times and then they were up overnight at least six or seven times. So like well, you know, my youngest daughter, Regina,

she was just constantly awake and you know, I became I was crowned the the sleep time master right everybody wanted to come to me for sleep, which was really lovely thing and looking back on it. It was really sweet. But you know, that was there was just so it just really drugged me through. And so I’m giving so much and I’m I’m trying to stay positive and all this stuff. But part of me was like, alright, use this time as a as like a it’s a purposeful break, right? Like what can I do during this time to be productive? And anytime I will try to start something I just didn’t I couldn’t get far right because there was just no time. I was spending so much time on my phone with a kid on my arm trying to take notes and you know, send emails and do work sitting in his dark nursery, you know, giving a kid a bottle or something like that. It was wild, but it just I remember feeling stuck. That was probably the biggest thing that I remember like, like I was all revved up I was ready to go I was actually getting excited about the possibility of for the first time in 10 years. Being able to have like this purposeful break, it was always Oh, in the offseason, I’m going to do this or that, but there never seemed to be an offseason, right. And I just felt angry all the time I just got, I just became so angry, and I can’t pinpoint a day I can’t pinpoint, like, these were the months, but it was just the slow build through the middle of 2020, through all of 2021 until I finally got to therapists, which we’ll talk about in a little bit, but it was I was just angry at everything, I was angry at everyone. And then I would get upset about being upset because again, I was like, like I said, I was not somebody who ever really struggled with with depression are these like thoughts. Short of you know what most people feel like just everybody’s got upset thoughts, everybody, you know, gets angry from time to time, but it just became compounding one thing over top of another and these negative thoughts, cycles would happen all the time. And it just could not shake myself out. Um, and then I got frustrated with the kids who are not sleeping, who are like one years old, or one and a half, and then it just like gets to this point where you’re in this and you’re like, this is never gonna end. Like I remember being so reluctant to start driving my son around a like, we would go to the mall, I would, he would not sleep no matter what. And our twins were in the same room. And I was afraid to put him up there because he would wake Regina up and they wouldn’t be able to sleep in the same room. And it was just, it was just brutal. And then I don’t know, I remember being so reluctant to drive him around the mall, like I’m just go to the mall and just do laps to get him to fall asleep in the back of the car. And I revealed like, this is what my life is going to be like, right? Like, I can do nothing, I have no time for anything. And I I’m, I’m starting to look at my children like I’m resenting them, which is not a place that you want to be at. Right. Like, it’s not the ideal situation for anybody to be in where, where like, the joy of being a father is like, is one of my greatest joys, like if you ask any of my close friends, like I love being a dad. And then when you get to this point where you’re not excited about it, that gets scary really quick. And that got me I was so terrified. When I when I remember, like trying to put Virginia asleep, and just feeling like total apathy about like, I just sat there, she cried. And I’d like I just couldn’t do anything. And it’s like, it’s like, I am her whole world. All she needs is like a hug from me. Right? Like, like, that’s it. And I could not bring myself to just do this basic dad thing. Then that was the point in which I knew that I absolutely needed help. And it was, I would love to say that, like, at that point, I was like, Alright, I’m gonna, like change my life, and I’m gonna find a therapist or whatever. And it was still months after that. I was like, I don’t know what it was. I just pushed that down. And I said, Oh, no, I’ll be fine. I’ll get through it, I’ll do whatever. But I couldn’t it was still months until I actually took a real look and said, Okay, you know, what do I need to do here? But it’s when I started, you know, feeling that apathy. And then I started sort of pulling away from my wife. And it was just be quiet, right? Because I’m, I’m processing all the stuff and I’m saying you can do this, you can get through this. And you can’t think yourself out of depression. You can’t think yourself out of anxiety, right? Like you need somebody who’s not part of the equation to help you like sift through that stuff. And I do remember the moment when I said like, Okay, enough is enough. And it was just, my wife actually came to me one day and she said, Do you need to talk to somebody. And my wife and I are extremely transparent. We talk all the time. And when she came to me and said that, I I knew that she was picking up that I was not well. And then I think you know, maybe a couple of days went by because I think I’ve said yes, maybe I do. And I sort of googling How do you know you need to see a therapist. And it was like it just listed me it was overwhelmed. It was apathy, which like I was losing interest in like the very most simple things that I love to do. And I was losing interest in all of them. And I only saw everything through this lens of anger and and like that I was just stuck in the place I was going to be at and life was not good. It was not fun. I just like I said I felt anger most of this time. But I think stuck is the best description. And in like as I’m reading down this list, like I said, it’s everything of me. It’s affecting your ability to interact with others and Care for your children. And once I saw that, I was like, that’s it. And there’s a button. I think the website actually, it was for this. It’s like a registry that they have lots of different, lots of different articles and things. But you also can click on find a therapist, and they’ve got a bunch of different listings there. And it was good therapy.com. And I remember reading this article and being like, that is me, right? Like, this is me, I need to find somebody. And so I started searching through the people who were close by. And I found somebody, I found a couple people, I reached out to them, but everybody was booked. Everybody. And I again, went to this place where was like, Okay, maybe, maybe there’s like a sign, I don’t need one, I need to do some more work. And so again, I like went back into this place of like, okay, let me read about, you know, how to become better, let me you know, meditate or like, you know, listen to do like an app or something like that. And it was band aids, because the point the problem that I had was, I did, I wasn’t able to talk to anybody about what I was going through, because we were all going through the same thing. And me being an extreme Empath that I am, I didn’t want to overload my stuff on to anybody else. And like, you know, there wasn’t many people who were calling me I wasn’t calling anybody back. Again, I was withdrawing from everybody. My one good friend, Ryan, was one of the only people who will just constantly reach out. And we would catch up like maybe every once in a while, like every couple months when I came out of my shell. But he was always writing, he was always texting me and just giving me a call to check in and see how I was doing. I don’t know if it was a sixth sense, or if he knew what was going on, or what but I don’t know, he’s somebody who definitely got me through a lot of the stuff just to hear from even though I didn’t, even though I didn’t reach back out or text him back many times. So that is something like if you take away anything from this podcast, just reach out to your friends, if they if you get like the vibe that like something’s not working, just reach out to them. I’m somebody who, I’ve always been very interested in like mental health, self care, taking care of yourself. And I’ve been generally pretty open about talking about especially when I’ve seen people going through things. And I always talked about this analogy, right. I heard this years and years ago, I think it was actually my first boss that I worked at the studio was a photography student, I think he told me, but he said, you know, you’re at home, your homeowner and your pipes break. Who do you call? Could you call plumber? Of course he called plumber. All right, when you call the plumber, do you like feel weird or awkward about us? Like no, you call the plumber, because they know how to fix pipes and you’re good. It’s like, okay, when you’re driving your car, and your car breaks down, who do you call flickable, you call a mechanic, you take your car there, and you always like, you know, make sure you take your car there, you take it there all the time to get checked out. So they have like a history on the car and all that. It was like, Do you Do you feel awkward or weird about like, calling a mechanic to fix your car’s like, No, I don’t have the skills to be able to do that. It’s like, okay, you know, if your lights go out? Or if you need some help with putting an outlet in Who do you call? Well, you call an electrician, right? You get to where I’m going with this. When your emotions are broken? Who do you call? Well, you call therapist, like,

Okay, well, I’m going to feel awkward about that, why you’re going to feel awkward about that. I’m going to feel awkward about it. Because you know, I need help doing this thing. I can do this on my own. You know, it’s it’s weird to talk about my feelings or emotions. And I remember him telling me this is like, so your car, your pipes, your plumbing are worth more than your emotional well being. I don’t know if it hits you like it does me. But it at the time when he told me that years ago, I remember it hit me like a ton of bricks. And I’ve mentioned that and I’ve told that analogy. I’ve posted it on social media many times trying to just, I don’t know, put a positive message out or whatever it is. And I decided to listen to my own advice. And reach out to a bunch of therapists and make it happen and set up the actual thing like set up the time to actually talk with the person about the stuff that I’m going through. So I searched for like a bunch more months, and finally found a person that said, you know, in another month, I have a spot opening up let’s talk. Now before I dive into this next part, I want to say that I’m not a therapist therapy is different for everybody. And I’m no by no means a guru or anything like that. And I do not have everything figured out. I’m still very much a flawed person. And I’m still very much in progress. But I have made some serious progress that I’m going to talk about in a minute, which is why I’m sharing this as a testament to just talking with somebody in a professional capacity. If you’re like on the fence about it If you’re just like, oh, I don’t know if I should do this, I don’t know if I need to know if it’s going to be necessary, whatever. And full disclosure. Before we get to this next part way back, when I graduated, undergrad, I came out of college and I started working full time with this photography studio. And before that, I was working for that photography studio all through undergrad, I started working for the studio after I graduated and everything. And then that’s when the economy bubble burst back in, like 2008. And I remember my boss coming to me one day, and he was just like, listen, there’s more than enough work for me, but there’s not enough work for you. So I have to let you go. So I moved back home after being out on my own for over a year, I was living in an apartment with a roommate, we were having. Awesome, super fun times. And I went back to school and I was living back in my parents house. I just felt deflated about it. And I was going to school at Kutztown, and I tried to see a therapist there, and it wasn’t great. If I’m honest, like they, I just did not gel with that person. And I firmly thought that like therapy wasn’t going to be for me, that was in my mid to early, mid 20s. Like maybe 2425 I think, and so I just thought like, Oh, like this is like not like therapy is just not going to be for me. And, you know, I’m thankful that I got over that part. But therapy is different for everybody. And it’s sometimes can take a while to just, you know, get the feels of the other person and, and build trust and all that kind of stuff. If you’ve watched Ted lasso, you know, they’re they, they do a really great job of discussing, like the relationship that Ted has with his, with his therapist, Dr. Sharon fieldstone, and the you know, play off some of the interesting dynamics about what it’s like to, you know, talk with somebody in there, you’re expected to, like, you know, throw all your feelings out there and all that stuff. Well, when I first met with my therapist, who I still meet, now over two years later, he was not what I was expecting, he was tattooed sore a bunch, bow is completely and honestly open about his life. And I’d never met somebody up to that point, who just lived on like, such a different level, right? Like, he he was just so open about everything that he has gone through and being sober for 30 years and, and the stuff that led him to becoming sober and, you know, the marriages that he was in and failed and like just all these different things that he has gone through. And I was just sort of captivated by like that side of things, but how he was really able to, like, see through the stuff that I was talking to him about. And I think there was like, initially from that first session, like something that stuck out to me, as somebody like, obviously, we’re photographers, and we’re in sales, and we want to like get somebody to book, there was no pressure to book from him. And this, I don’t know, this is different, you know, this is different for all different therapists. But for, for me and him, he just said, you know, everybody’s different. And you know, sometimes it’s good to talk with a couple different therapists. And one of the things that you’ll know is like, if you are, you might not know, is that if you are you seeking a therapist, a lot of them have like an introductory session to see if you’re a good fit, which is kind of like what most of us do as photographers where we, we sit down across the table, and we have a conversation to see if we’re a good fit. And it’s nice to like, see if you actually gel with this person before making this financial end, taught, you know, significant time investment. But I talked with my therapist for pretty much every single two weeks for the over the past two years. I think I missed maybe one one or two times. And it has been nothing short of groundbreaking for me. I want to reiterate this part that it does take time and there were so many times when he said things that challenged me and at times make me want to quit in the moment made me want to quit but then as I got space from you know, the conversations we had, I saw that he had my best interest in mind. And I was I was acting in a place from a place of fear that he saw me for who I was or that I was, you know, he I couldn’t be vulnerable or something without fear of judgment, but he wasn’t judging me. And I think that was like that, in turn became so refreshing. You know, so I’m just like word vomiting all this stuff to about my my experience up to this point. And you know, what led me to therapy and and what it was like to hire a therapist, but there are several things. That one I know that therapy has worked for me but several of the tools that I’ve implemented that I just think are worth noting in terms of like a daily practice or just things that help um To combat anger, combat, some hopelessness combat some of the fear that we have sometimes combat burnout that so many of us feel from working so much when you’re in the photography space, and you’re an entrepreneur and all that. So I want to go over just a couple of the things that really have made a difference in my life. Initially, I think the benefit of therapy is just having somebody who is outside of the equation, outside of like your life, and outside of like your realm of people who you normally talk to, that you don’t have to worry about unloading your stuff on to this person, because, or unloading your stuff on to a friend, right? Like, if you’re anything like me, I’ll like share some things with friends. But then it’s like, oh, I don’t want to complain, because I don’t want to, you know, burden them. Because we’re all we’ve all got stuff. Sure we, you know, you like unload some stuff on friends, you have a conversation where you vent or whatever. But I think that it’s like, it’s difficult when it’s when it’s the same thing over and over again, it’s like that, that is also one of the tools are one of the ways you know, you need therapies, when you keep like bringing this same topic up, you know, weeks and weeks and months and months, to a friend or somebody else where you just like can’t work through it. I think the act of just getting my thoughts, my emotions and my feelings out of my head was therapeutic, just so I could I could get them out and process them without the worry that I’m burdening somebody or, or there was like, it was like a guilt free experience. And there’s this really beautiful thing in the Quaker religion, I believe it’s called the clarity Council, if I remember correctly, where a person who’s having an issue can come to like the the base of the board of elders in their quicker friend’s house, I’m not sure that’s the correct term for it, but come to their community and say, I need help with this problem. Can we form a clarity committee and they can, they can sort of pick people that are on it. But the only job of the clarity committee is to ask clarifying questions, or basically restate what the person just said to them, they cannot give, they cannot cast any judgment, they cannot give any advice. And I, I love that aspect of therapy, where it’s just about talking in this exchange of like getting things off of your chest. That was one of the first things that really helped me, the next thing was probably the thing that took the longest. But the thing that has helped me the most, which is labeling my emotions and actually sitting with them, so much of it, it was like I want to, I want it to go away. I’ve

talked to you know, a bunch about being angry and seeing everything through this lens of anger all the time. And I, I just wanted it to go away, I wanted it to be gone. And then I would be upset when I’d be angry. And then it’d be upset that I was angry about being angry. And it’s just like I said, this negative thoughts cycle. And so much of what I was trying to do was to make those emotions go away. And so today is Father’s Day, I’m recording this late at night, on Father’s Day. And it was, it was not the best Father’s Day, unfortunately, because my wife is sick, my son is sick, they like must have a stomach bug or something. And it was compounded by the fact that last year and 2022 over Father’s Day I had COVID and I was I was quarantining from my family. So it’s like two years now and I felt like sort of sort of crappy today and maybe a year and a half ago or two years ago, that would have completely wrecked me. And I’m not saying I like was my bound you know, this like boundless bouncing bunny miles, a lot of bees that talk about alliteration. I’m not saying that I was this like, major ball of energy today. But I noticed like these feelings coming up in me and and I labeled each of these emotions that I was having, like, really the sensations that I was having, when you like, when you can just label and like look at what you’re feeling. And my one of my favorite labeling mechanisms is a thing called halt. H A LT and it basically is like I’m feeling this way. Why am I feeling this way? Can I hold? Am I hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired? And I was pushing my daughter on the swing and I’m like, I should be so old. Like I should be so overjoyed with this moment right now. Like it’s it’s a beautiful day, I should be pushing my daughter on the swing. And I was like, but I’m just feeling what I’m just feeling heavy today. I’m feeling overwhelmed today. I like did my little heart thing. I took a deep breath. And I said I’m not hungry. I ate because it’s my daughter’s birthday this past week. A plenty. I’m lonely though. I’m feeling lonely. My wife is in bed all day, you’re supposed to have this like, you know Hi of you know, we get to have like this fun thing. We’re supposed to go bowling today and all this stuff. And I’m angry, I’m angry that we didn’t get to go bowling, I’m angry that, you know, I my weed this day is not living up to the expectations of what it was supposed to be. And then I took a deep breath. And I said, this is like kind of her this like Final ish part of this like perspective shift of this is like a David Goggins thing, which he’s definitely a cup of tea, like, you need to have, like, a certain kind of temperament to listen to him. But he’s like, this power of like, the what if, right, he’s like, he like talks about, like, you know, when he’s going on these big Adventures of these big challenges. He’s like, What if I could be the person who doesn’t prepare for 100 mile race? And does it? What if he’s like, you know, that there was only, you know, less than 10 African American men in the Navy SEALs? He’s like, What if I could be number left, right, whatever it is. And I said, Okay, what if today is a challenge for me to actually be the kind of dad that I want to be? Right? So rather than me being upset and withdrawn, that today’s not going my way? What if I can just muster up a little bit of strength to play with my daughter to push her on the swing to be a little bit silly, maybe I’m not, maybe I’m not my normal, eight or nine on the scale, maybe all I can do today is a six or seven. But if I’m actually feeling like a to a six to a seven is a huge jump, right? If I What if this is my challenge to show up as the dad that I want to be. And so that’s the motivation that I had. That was the clarity I found from being able to sit with my emotions, label them, explore them, and then put some, put some feeling to them, and then gain some clarity around that and say, Okay, what can I turn this into? How can I turn this around. And that’s something that’s taken me a very, very long time to get to. And the road to that is, for me, it was also a bunch of things like I’m hyperactive, I move to a lot of different things I go to, you know, I have lots of projects going on. So for me being still is very important, right? Like literally pushing my daughter on a swing than the act of like, just stopping for a minute putting my hand on my chest, and taking this like deep breath and saying, What am I feeling right now? Like what’s coming up for me right now. And, and, like, that’s the kind of stuff that you know, I’ve learned through meditation and practices that there’s so many people have talked about, I’m not a meditation guru. But I think just the importance of stillness and, and finding those quiet moments, whether it’s, you know, reading a Bible, or doing a, you know, an app, like the calm app, or headspace or something like that, finding ways for these, this stillness to see what sensations to get more in tune with your your body and your mind to literally feel the sensations in your, in your body. I think, you know, being starting way back when my you know, with my therapist, he said, You need to get this meditation practice, and I meditated pretty hard, regularly for, you know, five to 10 minutes a day. And now I’m at a place where I can sort of take my deep breath and, and gain some of that clarity by just putting my hand on my chest and on my belly and doing what I said before. The other part is his actual real physical activity. And if you follow me, you’re on my newsletter or anything like that, you’ve known that I’ve gotten into the Spartan Races and stuff, and that has given me an outlet to focus some of my hyperactivity, and to but also, you know, I gained a bunch of weight in the pandemic. And, and being able to, you know, move my body and lose some of that weight, but also set a good example for my kids, like, there’s tons and tons of study about the benefits of physical activity and exercise and the benefits on mental health and all that. So I’m not going to spend too much time on it there. But but just getting into this regular exercise. What’s interesting is like, when I run, it’s almost the same thing as meditating. Because I don’t listen to music. I just go for the run, and whether it’s three miles or 10 miles, I don’t have anything with me because I just want to be able to be in my mind and just see what comes up. And it’s the same thing. It’s like, we’re not bored that often now. And sometimes when we allow ourselves to be bored by doing this, like one monotonous thing, some interesting things come up comes up. So this has been a lot. And you know, like I said, therapy is is so different for everybody. But I think the more that you you know, get real with yourself and listen to yourself and, and, and have like real honest conversations with yourself. I think the better. You will be in like really taking the space to like listen and know that kind of stuff. But there’s the one final thing that I want to put out there is just this idea of grace, right? My therapist often says to me, that you are exactly where you’re supposed to be at in your life. And I think about that often when I’m like, in like, not a great space, or whatever. And it’s just a matter of, of acceptance and, and your situations are, are just going to be constantly coming at you life is just going to keep coming at you. And my therapist, like I said, he always says this thing was like you are where you’re at, you’re supposed to be at in your life right now.

He shared with me this passage that I read pretty regularly. And it’s from the AAA handbook. And it’s, it’s this very powerful paragraph that I want to read right now. And I think there’s two things that go hand in hand here, and it’s grace and acceptance. But let me read this right now this is something that whenever I am, in a NOC great place I bring this out, it’s I literally have it on my phone regularly. And I will bring it out and read it. And it basically says this acceptance is the answer to all of my problems today, when I’m disturbed is because I find some person place thing or situation, some fact of my life unacceptable to me. And I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place thing or situation is being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake, until I could not accept my life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy, I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world, as on what needs to be changed in me and my attitudes. And I think out of that comes grace. Grace is making the choice to interact with the world and yourself with goodwill and kindness. And so many of us talk to ourselves the way we would never talk to other people. And if you if you know, Dr. Peter T is he’s talked about this process he went through, where he says, you know, some point, like multiple times a day, there’s going to be something that happens, it’s going to set you off. And when it sets you off, your job is is to basically pull out your phone and record a message to yourself looking into your friends eyes. And doing that over and over again, creates this space where you realize how kind and goodwill you are. And the things you would say to other people, you can say to yourself, and you know, over months, and you know, weeks or months of saying that and doing that kind of exercise of giving yourself space, allowing yourself to say I am where I’m at right now and accepting life on life’s terms, will create some really beautiful changes in your life. And I hope that this episode, you know, is a little bit all over the place, came together actually better than I was expecting. But you know, there’s a lot in here, and you know, we’re all going through something, and just know that you are not alone. And if if you’re really hitting, you know, bottom, if you’re really feeling stuck, you can talk to a therapist. It’s not weird. It’s it’s really pretty groundbreaking. Because you deserve to be the best version of yourself possible. You deserve to have clarity deserve to be able to have a whole spectrum of emotions that you can access, like, like anger and frustration, but also the opposite of that, it as joy and happiness and laughter and all of these really amazing things and they’re all there for you to access. And if you can’t access them, it’s time to talk to somebody. If you’re really in a place where you feel pretty dark and overwhelmed and like You’re like there’s no way out. Just call or text 988 Somebody is always there. It’s just a great resource for you to be able to, to contact somebody who cares about you. That’s on the other end. Because if nobody said it to you right now I care about you. So do what you need to do to get back to the person that you want to be and to live the life that you want to because it’s yours and you only got one of our friends. Thank you so much for joining me today. I wish you all the best make it a great day.

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I'm Dan! Life Coach, Photographer, Extreme Empath, and Podcaster.

I'm a full time wedding photographer since Jan. 2010.
Smitten Husband since 2014
Dad x Three (one plus twins), certified life coach, Phillies fan and extreme empath. 

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