At times, things happen to us that are beyond our control. When they do, how we respond to them IS within our control!
Some of this weeks episode highlights are:
11:39 There's so much power in, in story and in storytelling. There's meaning, they can be liberating, and they can help take away some of the shame.
21:11 If we spend our lives looking in the rear view mirror that's where a lot of times depression can come from. If we're looking back on either past failures or past losses or past anything, or if we're looking too far in the future and worrying about things yet to come, we're missing out on the present moment.
27:24 This may have happened to me, but it's in my control - what I do with it from here. I'm going to get back up and dust myself off! You may not have had the choice of what happened to you, but you have the choice of how you respond to it, and you have the choice of what comes next for you.
--- Full Raw Transcription of Podcast Below ---
Dr. Erica Adkins (00:00):
For me, it's just always been, I've had kind of this inner resilience, if you will, if I'm not going to let anybody else hold me down like this, this may have happened to me, but it's in my control, what I do with it from here. And, you know, I'm going to get back up and dust myself off.
Welcome to the SideHustle Lounge. If you're looking for flexible ways to earn income, grow your mindset, and live the lifestyle you've always dreamed of, you are in the right place. So lower the lights. Grab your favorite beverage and join your host. Founder of NotaryCoach.com and Amazon bestselling author of Sign and Thrive: How To Make Six Figures As A Mobile Notary And Loan Signing Agent, Bill Soroka.
Bill Soroka (00:53):
Cheers and welcome to my next guest, Dr. Erica Adkins. Erica, thank you so much for joining us today.
Dr. Erica Adkins (01:02):
Thank you for having me.
Bill Soroka (01:03):
It's my pleasure. I read your book "Rock Bottom Is Where Bad Bitches Are Built." I saw the title and I absolutely knew I had to read that book. I love a good inspiring story and you certainly did that.
Dr. Erica Adkins (01:17):
Well, thank you.
Bill Soroka (01:18):
Yeah, thank you for writing it. Today we're going to talk about coping with trauma and heartbreak as a solopreneur, because as everyone listening knows when you're a solopreneur or just starting out or an independent contractor, your volume, your production is based solely on you. And while that's true life still continues to happen to us.
Dr. Erica Adkins (01:47):
Bill Soroka (01:49):
We lose loved ones. We break up with people, we divorce, we lose pets, we got all of this other things, all this other stuff that continues to happen, and yet we still have to work towards our dreams, your book really jumped out at me for a number of different reasons. You got really vulnerable in sharing your story there.
Dr. Erica Adkins (02:14):
Dr. Erica Adkins (02:14):
Can you - let's start there. And how did, how did the idea behind the book come out and then also, how did you decide to be that vulnerable, sending it out into the world?
Dr. Erica Adkins (02:27):
So the idea for the book came about so the book sort of starts setting the scene in 2013. I was pregnant with my, my youngest child. Who's about to turn eight and you know, I was working in a prison at the time married and so on and so forth. And I had always wanted to write a book my whole entire life. I wanted to write a book. I wasn't sure about what, and then, you know, the, the sort of precipitating event, if you will, at four and a half months pregnant, finding out that my husband had had a child with another woman and had had this kind of dual... two family, two different families, basically. And so as I was moving through that situation and that pain and that the anger and the hurt and the anxiety and all of the feelings you know, I knew that, okay, well here comes some of the, the content for my future book and it sucks that I'm living it right now, but this is a story that you don't hear very often or, or maybe you do, and we just don't talk about it.
Dr. Erica Adkins (03:37):
But yeah, so that's, that's where the seed was initially planted and little did I know that my ex-husband would give me quite a lot of other - you know, content for the book years after that. And so it just sort of for about a period of three years, I was just surviving. You know, we ultimately divorced in 2016. I didn't start writing the book until I was on deployment. So I am a clinical psychologist. I have a private practice, but I'm an army reserve psychologist also. So I was deployed to the middle east and had shared with a group of other soldiers that I had this desire to write a book and they were very encouraging. And so this was fall-ish of 2019. So I, I started a blog at that point and then just kind of told the story one blog entry at a time.
Dr. Erica Adkins (04:35):
And then about a year, not quite a year ago last fall - so almost a year after starting the blog, I finally sat down and put it all together. And you know, the, the, the way the book took shape sort of came about as I was writing it, because it was just a bunch of short stories, if you will. And then when I'm doing work with my own clients, I often talk about how healing from trauma is like climbing a mountain or like rock climbing. And I'm sort of the, the trail guide. If you will, I've been there done that. I've been up and down the mountain a million times. I know, you know, the different seasons and different, you know, barriers we might encounter. I can help you prepare for the climb, et cetera, but I can't do the hard work for you.
Dr. Erica Adkins (05:26):
I can't climb the mountain for you. I can be there with you. I can support you. I can even kind of throw you on my back and carry you across the stream or something, but ultimately I've got to put you back down. And so that, that's often how I set the scene for trauma treatment when I'm working with a client. And so, you know, the idea for the book came to me of, okay, well, let me take this metaphor of healing from trauma is like, you know, like a journey like climbing a mountain and, you know, break it down into more sort of workable steps of where you get started. And so that's where the idea of the footholds came from. So at the end of each chapter, I offer, you know, a handful of tips or suggestions of what worked for me and what, in, what I also know has worked for for other clients. And so it was a process. Yeah, it was a process.
Bill Soroka (06:16):
I can tell you put a lot into that. And I, I particularly really enjoyed the 'footholds' because when I got into your book, there was a part of me, especially because you include your journal entries as you are going through those moments. And at some point I remember thinking at one point I was like, I can't believe she's sharing this. And then I was thinking, I am so glad she's sharing this. And you kind of touched on that a little bit earlier when you were talking, you said maybe people do go through this or people know other people go through this, but with your story in particular, I think you went deeper in actually sharing something that was so personal and so vulnerable. We just assume that everybody's going through these situations are feeling very similar to what we're feeling, but you gave it a different take on it. And in those footholds at the end was like, oh my gosh, here she is being raw, talking about what you're actually feeling. And I particularly related to that because I have I have dated narcissistic serial cheaters sometimes. And I fell into that too. So I felt a physical emotion as we were going through. Our, as I was reading that book and those footholds gave super practical advice on how to overcome that. How did you feel after publishing such a vulnerable piece of work?
Dr. Erica Adkins (07:47):
Wow. That is a great question. And it was terrifying and it's, it's interesting people's responses because it's either people are like, oh my goodness, thank you so much for sharing. You know, you were very vulnerable. I could relate to it, or I know someone that could relate to it or they're the opposite, which is what the heck were you thinking? You know, why would you put yourself out there so much? And for me, honestly, the book was it, the journey began, the journey of writing was more for me than it was for anyone else. I needed to get that story out of my head and onto paper so that I could move forward. I needed to be able to kind of metaphorically and figuratively, close that chapter in my life and, and move forward. And so the idea for the journal, including my journal entries came to me when the book had been, the, the content of the book had been written already.
Dr. Erica Adkins (08:46):
And then I thought you know what, I, I'm a journaling. You know, I, that's what I do. That's how I cope. That's how I process things. And I thought, let me go back and reread my entries during that time period and see if there's any content there that might sort of help the book. And in the, in the sense that really giving a good glimpse of what I was going through and what I was dealing with. And it was hard to read. It was hard to go back and read those entries because man, I remember what the pain felt like when I was writing them the first time. And so you know, as far as making myself vulnerable, I feel like trauma - whether it's, you know, infidelity, domestic violence, you know, combat, sexual assault, just any kind of trauma, it's still kind of taboo in many ways in our, in our culture and in our society.
Dr. Erica Adkins (09:46):
And sometimes you have to get uncomfortable and have uncomfortable conversations in order to normalize something. And in order to empower other people, to share their stories as well. Is, is writing a book with your deepest, darkest secrets in it? You know, does, is that for everyone? Absolutely not. But being able to tell one person or two people, or, you know, a trusted friend or family member or therapist, even some of the things that you've struggled with it's incredibly liberating. And so that was my hope is that, okay, I'll make myself vulnerable in the hopes that it will help someone else have the courage to, to step forward and, and get the help that they need to get out of a situation. Like I was in
Bill Soroka (10:32):
What a powerful, a reason to, to write a book and publish a book that way. And I think you really described that so well, when I think about when I was reading your book and what I was experiencing, I was uncomfortable. I was uncomfortable with what was being shared and how vulnerable it was. I'm like, cause most people don't share that level of detail. And I was like, where is this going? Why is that being shared like this? And then it it's like peeling away the layers of like, Hey, and then your journal entries. It was like, I could, that could have been my, my journal. Right? Like I'm like, I I'm relating that to that so well, so I'm really grateful that you did that. And I think that's kind of the sign of a powerful book is when it, it forces you to think differently and maybe even peel back layers. So again, thank you for writing that. And that brings me kind of to my next point too, is and you kinda, you touched on this a bit, but why do you think sharing a story? Whether it's yours or maybe somebody else who's kind of going through things it's so important?
Dr. Erica Adkins (11:39):
There's so much power in, in story and in storytelling. If you think about it, you know, historically that's how, that's how our history has been passed along right back before writing was a thing. It, it was, you know, verbally telling stories that that carried on throughout time and stories are, you know, we can, there's morals to stories. There's meaning in stories, in stories also can be interpreted different ways depending on who's reading it. And so I think that there's, there's a lot of power in story because like, in my case, again, it was just very liberating. It unlocked a whole different layer of, of healing for me. And I think many times in, in telling your story and in telling your story confidently, it can help take away some of the shame that's attached with some of these, like, like in the case, in my books, you know, shame attached with infidelity, shame attached with all of the stuff that I put up with for an extended period of time and you know unlocking some of that shame and, and letting that go. I think that that's, that's an important piece in sharing stories is being able to have others validate your experience. Not that you need other people to validate your experience, but certainly it does help you to feel like, okay, what I went through was hard and it was you know, hurtful and I, my feelings are valid in this.
Bill Soroka (13:12):
And you're not alone. You know, you're not this silo off having this weird experience that other people have never had before. What do you think about the quote - and it's one of my favorites - share your scars, not your wounds. Do you think that processing your sharing strategically is important in your story?
Dr. Erica Adkins (13:35):
Yes, yes, absolutely. And that's a great point because sometimes I'm sharing all of the nitty gritty details of your story can do more harm than good in the sense that it can be triggering for others. And I know mine kind of border or my story kind of borders on that. There's a lot of detail, but honestly there's a lot of detail that got left out as well. But I think that, and, and when, when it's a wound it's fresh and you're still healing from it, a scar implies we're a little bit out from, from the, from the event, from the incident, from, from whatever it is. And there's been some healing that has occurred. And so sharing, sharing the journey of healing and of the healing process is, is powerful and important
Bill Soroka (14:20):
As you were going through everything that you went through, you still managed to hang on to your overall bigger dreams, even though you were working in a prison and with the military at the time, you still wanted to start your own private practice and you were able to move forward on that. How did that work?
Dr. Erica Adkins (14:40):
Yeah, so the, I feel like working in the prison at one point, that was my, my, my dream, if that sounds weird. But I had this grand vision of, you know, I'm going to go in there and I'm going to save the world. I'm going to help people rehabilitate so that when they go home, they can be productive members of society. Unfortunately, the position that I worked within the prison didn't allow me that that freedom and I was utilized in a different way, which was fine. But I got burnt out from doing that combined with my personal situation. I knew that it was, it was time to go out on my own and my private practice started as a side hustle. You know, I, I stayed full-time with the bureau of prisons for, you know, six to eight months while I was getting my private practice up and up and running.
Dr. Erica Adkins (15:34):
So for a good while, it was just part-time, you know, one or two clients a week until I got myself to the point where you know, I wanted to do it full-time, but it was a huge leap and a huge risk because I had always had the steady, dependable paycheck and to go from that to, I am 100% responsible for, you know, my family's wellbeing based upon my ability to run this business, because yes, my skill set is in treating clients, but it's a business. And so there's all of that aspect to it as well. It was, it was definitely challenging. And then, you know, later on in the book talking about some of the later traumas with my ex-husband, I was in full-time private practice. And so trying to navigate you know, a lot of those, those traumas and difficulties, and not being able to, I shouldn't say, not being able to, I could have missed work but you don't get sick leave and you don't get paid if you're not working when you're an, you know, single, single entrepreneur.
Dr. Erica Adkins (16:40):
And so I made the decision that I'm not going to let this affect me to the level where it impairs my work. You know, I'm going to, in my mind, draw these from boundaries between this is my work life, and this is my home life. And was it always easy to do that? Absolutely not. You know, there were, there were times when I would find myself just sort of feeling like, oh gosh, this takes a lot of effort today. And I just told myself that's okay. It's okay. That today takes effort. You know, tomorrow's a new day. The day after that it's a new day, just keep putting one foot in front of the other. And fortunately for me, I'm in a line of work that I find to be incredibly meaningful. I love my work. I love what I do. I love the, the people that I get to help on a daily basis. And so I think having work that's meaningful to me also helped me through those tough times, because yes, I was going through my own struggles, but I could see that there were other people hurting as well, and that I was able to help them.
Bill Soroka (17:44):
I bet that is so helpful to pull you through or having a compelling, WHY, you know, some major purpose or reason that your business has to work will pull you through some of these hard times. Do you have like a specific strategy you used to help you put one foot in front of the other when your heartbreak, or was at its worst for those listening, who might be going through something similar, whether it's grief of any kind or heart heartache, what should they, what could they do to help move through that?
Dr. Erica Adkins (18:20):
Yeah, that's a great question. One thing that I don't remember who said it or where I heard it, but somewhere along the line, you know, you have a 100% success rate of making it through tough days. If you didn't, you wouldn't be sitting here right now. Right? Right. So that in, in the, you know, the, the biblical saying of this too shall pass which I know can be kind of cliche sometimes and can feel kind of you know, like somebody is, is minimizing your difficulty of just like, oh, well, this this'll be fine eventually, but for me that idea that, okay, this minute that I'm in right now is very difficult, but the next minute might be easier. Or maybe it's more difficult, but guess what, I'm going to make it through time. The one thing that we can all count on is that time is going to keep on ticking.
Dr. Erica Adkins (19:11):
And so I just told myself that just keep putting one foot in front of the other. You will eventually figure this out, eventually some sort of answer is going to come to you and you'll feel peace, you'll feel resolution. And until then you don't have the option to sit and do nothing. I have three children and that they are my, WHY - they have always been my, why they will always be my why. But they, they didn't have the option of somebody else stepping in and caring for them. So it was, you know, Erica, like put your big girl panties on and just deal with this and it's going to be hard and it's going to suck and you're going to get through it. And so it was a lot of sort of cheerleading, you know, my own self along the way. Sometimes I had to remind myself just to breathe, you know, that I would find myself literally holding my breath at times. And you know, just - our breath is so important. The, the you know, the inhale can energize us and the exhale helps activate the parasympathetic nervous system. And so when it, as simple as that sounds like just focusing on our breath can help center us back in this moment. So I did a lot, a lot of breathing and centering myself. Yeah.
Bill Soroka (20:28):
It is incredible. And I know it gets a little cliche too, but breathing is probably one of the the secrets to my peace of mind as well. And just by the time I start breathing, I always say, I'm going to do 10 deep breaths. And by the time that I get to six or seven, I've already forgotten whatever it was that I needed to breathe about. Yes. Super, super powerful. And I know this the way my brain works, I always like to prepare for a prepare and prepare, you know, I've got a backup plan for a backup plan. Is there any way to prepare or build resilience for trauma yet to come?
Dr. Erica Adkins (21:05):
Yeah. that's a really great question. I don't know if I've ever thought of it conceptualized that way. But I think that the more that we can really focus on the moment that we're in and being present and mindful that is almost kind of like basic training for, for life, if you will, because if we spend our lives looking in the rear view mirror that's, you know, that's where a lot of times depression can come from or can, it certainly doesn't help depression if we're looking back on, you know, either past failures or past losses or past anything, or if we're looking too far in the future and worrying about things yet to come, we're missing out on the present moment. And so there, unfortunately the, in, I talk about this in the book that there's no way really to insulate ourselves completely from hard things, because life is hard and hard things, bad things sometimes happen - often happen to us with, with little or no control.
Dr. Erica Adkins (22:11):
But just being able to kind of breathe and center yourself in the present moment and reminders of, okay, what, what do I know to be true in this moment? And you know, what are the things that are important to me and are they still intact and let me focus on those things. And so I think just that ability to be present and be mindful can, can make a difference when you're going through something difficult. Because again, even if the best you can do is take a deep breath and take a step forward, then that's, you know, that's the best you can do and that's enough
Bill Soroka (22:47):
And that's enough. I'm picking up a pretty big Eckhart Tolle vibe here. How are you familiar?
Dr. Erica Adkins (22:54):
Yes! Absolutely. I love Eckhart Tolle. And I love there, there are many great philosophers and yogis and psychologists, et cetera, who have, have adopted the idea of mindfulness and being present in the moment. And I would say Eckhart Tolle was kind of my introduction to a lot of that.
Bill Soroka (23:13):
Likewise, me too, "The Power of Now" was probably one of the most powerful books I've ever read. I tried to read it once a year just to stay refreshed on it. Speaking of mentors and gurus and teachers do you have suggestions for those who might be looking or do they think they might need some assistance?
Dr. Erica Adkins (23:38):
I have a few go-tos. My number one, I would say is Dr. Brené Brown. She wrote "Daring Greatly." And "I Thought It Was Just Me" and "The Gifts Of Imperfection" and several other since then, but she's a shame researcher. And so she is sort of the queen of, of, I don't want to say the "Queen of Shame", because that sounds terrible, but the queen expert of shame and dealing with shame - she's amazing. And you know, I I've read all of her works and continue to read her works. And she's probably my number one. And then there's another a researcher named Dr. Kristin Neff, who does a lot of work in self-compassion. And again, that's one of those things that seems pretty simple, but it's very, very difficult because if we pay attention to the, the way we talk to ourselves it's, it's often very different than how we would ever speak to a loved one. Our expectations for ourselves are higher. We're, we're harder on ourselves, more critical. And Dr. Kristin Neff does the research on self-compassion, which is just that idea of, you know, being, being more gracious with yourself. And she and Brené have very similar works and often cite each other.
Bill Soroka (24:58):
I love that. Well, I'm going to take a look into Dr. Kristin Neff, because I think for me, the voice that we have in our head, that that's the most important voice. We hear it in the most throughout our life, and it does it molds our feelings, then it molds our behavior. And so I think it's critical and my inner critic can be a real bitch sometimes. And it just tears me apart at times. So I love that you've focused on that and Brené Brown. She is, I just feel like we're besties after I've read her book. And she really did. She got me through some of those heartache moments through daring greatly. I love that now for the, how do people know? Because your book is called "Rock Bottom Is Where Bad Bitches Are Built." So how do you know if you're at rock bottom?
Dr. Erica Adkins (25:49):
Excellent question. And I think that that is it's different for all of us. And you may hit rock bottom several different times, you know, it's before you've actually, and I don't know what the actual rock bottom is for anyone. I thought I had reached it when going through all the different things in the book. And then since then something, something else has happened. And it's like, well, you know, I, I wrote about this and I said that this is probably not going to be the last rock bottom, and here we are. And so it's, it's just, I think for me, rock bottom is getting to a place in your life where you feel like your resources or your coping skills are pretty much tapped out and you feel almost desperate. You know, like, I, I don't know where to go from here. And feeling like there's, there's only up, I, I, how, how much worse can it possibly get?
Dr. Erica Adkins (26:44):
And so rock bottom is going to look different to every person, just like experiencing a trauma that, you know, we could put 10 of us in a room together. And we all experience someone bursting in with a gun and 10 of us may have 10 different things that we remember about the event, 10 different things that bother us about the event and 10 different ways of, of coping or struggling after the event. And so rock bottom is different for everybody. And you know, for me, it's just always been I've had kind of this, this inner, I don't know, resilience, if you will, I'm not gonna let anybody else hold me down. Like, this is not, this, this may have happened to me, but it's in my control, what I do with it from here. And, you know, I'm going to get back up and dust myself off. So I would encourage anyone who's - if you feel like you're at rock bottom, then that's your rock bottom. And you may not have had the choice of what happened to you, but you have the choice of how you respond to it, and you have the choice of what comes next for you.
Bill Soroka (27:48):
So when somebody makes that decision, I'm at rock bottom, my resources are tapped. I'm not sure where to go. Who do they call for help?
Dr. Erica Adkins (27:56):
Great question. That may be different for, for everyone. But for me, I have, I'm very fortunate to have a great support system of friends and family, and they definitely helped out. In fact, that's where the title of my book came from. You know, I reached out to a best friend during all of that and said, "you know, Tony, I just don't know how much more of this I can take." And she said, "Erica, rock bottom is where bad bitches are built. Now you get up, and you do what you have to do." And okay, I hear you. And so, you know, trusted friend, trusted family member and sometimes people that, that doesn't feel safe, you might not have that support network, there's crisis hotlines. There are therapists you know, with COVID. I think one of the silver linings is that telehealth has become something that I think is here to stay, which has made mental health care, more accessible to people in more remote areas or who may have you know, difficulties accessing that. So a religious or spiritual leader, if that's something that's important to you, a therapist there's, there's always someone that you can reach out to, even if you don't feel like there is.
Bill Soroka (29:10):
I love that, Erica, thank you so much for joining us today. And if you're interested in learning more about Dr. Erica Adkins, she's a licensed psychologist, a business owner, fellow business owner. She's obviously a published author, wife, mothers, soldier, and ice cream enthusiast. So you are my people. Yeah. You can visit www.sidehustlelounge.com and join the free VIP room. I'll have all the resources and links to the workbook "Rock Bottom Is Where Bad Bitches Are Built." And plus, links to Erica's book. Thanks again, Erica. I appreciate you being here.
Dr. Erica Adkins (29:48):
Thank you so much. It was a pleasure.
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