Anyone else feeling all the feels right now? In today’s episode, Karen and Katie discuss how they are handling their deluge of feelings at this point in the pandemic, and chat about the benefits of therapy. Katie also admits to picking a fight with her husband over melted butter. BONUS: The pair introduces their new email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Email us with questions, comments, ideas for episodes and YOUR EXPERIENCES WITH THERAPY – thank you!
Find the episode on Anchor, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify. Stream the entire episode here or read the transcript.
Katie: Hi, I’m Katie Morell. I’m a creative and writer based in the San Francisco Bay area.
Karen: And I’m Karen Hawkins. I am the founder of Rebellious Magazine for Women and co-editor in chief of the Chicago Reader.
Katie: You are listening to Of Course I’m Not OK: An Audio Project. Join us as we talk about mental health, coping with quarantine and what conversations we wish the world was having and isn’t.
Karen: For some of our episodes, we’ll chat with writers and creatives to get their take. Thank you for joining us on this journey.
Katie: Oh, OK, we are recording. Yay. Happy Monday. It is. No, you know what? I’m going to redo that. OK. Hi, Karen. It’s so nice to see you.
Karen: Hi, it’s wonderful to see you. Katie. Time is an illusion. Time is a closed loop. None of it matters. Who knows what day it is?
Katie: Exactly. Who knows what day it is, who knows what day is when the listener is listening or what day that we’re recording. It is, it’s a construct. It’s total illusion.
Katie: So I had a week. Would you like to hear about something that happened?
Karen: I would, yes. Desperately. I would love to.
Katie: So I’m wondering if you’ve ever been in a situation where someone close to you tells you something that they’re worried about, and you totally brush them off and you’re like, that’ll never happen. What the hell? And then you get pissed about it. So that happened to me. So I am going up to Oregon on Monday and that’s three days away, I guess in terms of time.
But anyway, I’m going to Oregon and I have been talking to my dad, and my dad who lives in Michigan has been extremely concerned about the piece of crap Honda Civic that I’m going to be using to drive up to from San Francisco, eight hours north to Oregon. And he’s like, are you sure you want to use this, this car? I mean, why don’t you, you know, get a rental car? And I was, and I’ve gotten kind of pissy. I’ve been like, No, why would I get anything else? But my beautiful scratched up piece of crap Honda civic that I absolutely love. And I’m just one of those, I have always told people, but like cars don’t matter to me because they kind of don’t, I don’t know anything about cars. And so I’ve always thought like, if you know, I need a new car, it’ll, I’ll find that out when it dies on the side of the highway. So my exact words to this harping, if you will, of my dad have been really just bitchy, this is exactly what I’ve said. I’ve said: Look, Dad, if my car breaks down on my way to Oregon, I’ll pull into the nearest Subaru dealership and I’ll get a new one. And he was like, which, who says that also? That is so like, I mean, that is just, yeah, OK. I’m I’m owning the fact that that sounds elitist and asshole-ish.
[dramatic sound effect]
Which it is. So he was like, he was like, alright, I guess, and like, to be fair,between San Francisco and the Oregon border, there’s not much other than Sacramento. So like the reality of that is not really a thing. So on Sunday that happened. Literally that happened. We, my car died. And so I was driving south, like south of San Francisco visiting some friends. And I went over a pothole and I thought the back left tire was going to fall off my car for real.
Karen: Oh, God.
Katie: Yeah. And so it was terrifying. Like it was, I mean, I pulled over, Tyler looked underneath the car, neither of us know anything about cars. He’s like, well, the tire’s not flat, so it must be fine. And so we got back into the car and it was like leaning and the whole thing, and I’m like, we’re going to die. This is just, our death is coming. And so we go to our friend’s house and then right after our friend’s house, we went to the Subaru dealership and bought a new car.
Karen: Stop it!
Katie: And drove home.
[dramatic sound effect].
Not even kidding. Who does that? Oh.
Karen: My God, I can’t laugh as hard as I want to. Ooh, because I’m wearing a headset. That is hilarious.
Katie: Who does that? That is so ridiculous. Also, like we tried to trade in this Honda Civic and I was like, Oh, definitely get at least like two grand or something. They’re like, we could give you maybe at the very most, $275.
Karen: Wait, what?!
Katie: For real.
Karen: Oh, yeah.
Katie: And then they’re like, but you can donate it for a tax write off. And I was like done. So the downside was that I actually had to drive the car back. It was like an hour away to my house for them to the tow truck to eventually pick it up. That was actually very scary. And what I learned in that stress, sweat soaked moment was like that those 65 minutes of near death was, I will never ever say that, like shitty, you know, sentence to anyone again, like who says that, like you get a new, like you fix a car or you get a new one when your car is crap. So anyway, that’s what happened to me this week. And my dad did not say, I told you so, but if he had, he wouldn’t be wrong.
So that’s what happened.
Karen: I mean, I, I’m glad you obviously, I’m glad you survived this harrowing experience. And I just want to say: witchcraft works. You put out into universe, I’ll just go to the Subaru dealership and get a new one. And then that’s what happened.
Katie: Isn’t that the weirdest thing? Like, it’s just, I mean, it’s still, I’m so glad it happened like it did. And then like, we didn’t actually get in the real car accident, but you’re right. I did, I put it out into the universe and the universe was like, just so you know, it’s going to happen way quicker than you think it is. And so I’m going to shut this shit down right now.
Karen: Wait, before you get out on the Oregon trail, and you know . . .
Katie: Exactly! So anyway, that was my week.
Karen: Congratulations on your new car.
Katie: Thank you. It’s actually really nice. You know, I don’t know anything about, like I said, I don’t know anything about cars, so it’s, it’s nice. But to me it’s the same level as getting like the fanciest Tesla or Lamborghini, because like, I mean, there’s nothing, no offense to Subarus, but like truly it has working air conditioning. That’s the same.
Karen: Right? I am totally with you. Yes. I am totally with you when you go from having like, like we’re getting new appliances in my kitchen and when you go from like, Oh, I guess the freezer door is supposed to have a handle on it to, like, Oh, the freezer has a handle on it. Like, I don’t really care what this new freezer’s like. It’s just not crappy.
Katie: Yeah. Isn’t that nice?
Karen: Or, it’s crappy in a different way. It’s a whole thing. Yeah. I’m with you.
Katie: But new appliances, that is game changing. Are you getting all new appliances or is the freezer door that or the freezer the biggest one.
Karen: So, this all started when, I think our appliances are just trying to send us a message. Like, I feel like your Honda Civic was just it, you know, things in our lives have a way of telling us goodbye, even when we’re not ready to say goodbye, and ours was the hood vent on the microwave just popped off.
Katie: Oh! It just gave up.
Karen: Just fell right on off, the whole thing at the top. And it was like, Oh, OK, great, Sam’s going to think that was my fault. I didn’t do anything to it. It just popped off. And Sam, my partner is just like, has like zero tolerance for things like really just like not working perfectly. And she said this thing about replacing the appliances and I was just like, that’s so wasteful, why would you do that? And then she starts pointing to things like, OK, how about the freezer door? How about the dishwasher? How about the like, so it’s going to be exciting, but yeah, we’ve been dealing with some crappy stuff for a really long time and I didn’t realize it.
Katie: Isn’t that amazing how, like you can be wedded to your crappy stuff? At least I can, like, I actually really felt a lot of personal affection toward my crappy Honda. Like after I ran into like, I didn’t run, I sideswiped multiple poles at Whole Foods. And like, it was, it was really, it had a nice constellation of scratches on it that were like, you know, that were just became vintage after awhile. Like, it was really something that I owned that, I really honestly did not. It did not matter to me. I mean, it worked whatever, like it was fine. I could have been riding a go-cart down the 101 and it wouldn’t have mattered. But apparently I do need to care about those things. So this is lesson.
[dramatic sound effect].
Karen: $275 worth of car really makes me sad.
Katie: I know. I had to drive it to the, the, yesterday to the, the tow truck, because it couldn’t come on my street. And when I drove it after driving my new Subaru for two and a half days, I was like, Oh, wow, like this is a Flintstones vehicle. Oh my goodness. What was I thinking? And so, you know, it’s amazing how quickly you can get used to your beautiful new thing. I’m sure you’ll feel the same way about your appliances. And you’ll forget about your microwave hood in two seconds.
Karen: That’s what I’m hoping.
Katie: Yeah. Oh, the other thing that happened this week was I got in a 12-hour fight with my husband, which was complete. It was a silence fight. It was one of those, that’s fun. When something bothers you. And it was, it was just 12 hours of silence. I really think that that was, and you know how like the energy is just not working and the actual fight is embarrassing to explain, but I’ll tell you. He was in the other room. He was, he was making a piece of toast with honey on it.
Karen: Oh my God.This is so good already.
Katie: And I was in the other room and I wanted to tell him something and he was taking too long with his fucking honey. And so I was like, what are you doing? And he got really mad and it turned out that like, we just stopped talking because like we stopped because we were so mad at each other because I wanted one thing and I didn’t understand that his butter needed to melt before he put the honey on it. This is so ridiculous for anyone who’s listened to our first, our second episode on rage. This is like, this is how people get mad about not being able to open gummy bears. Like this was, this was the level.
I mean, it was like a real fight and it was about melting butter, which I didn’t actually realize until the following day when finally we had cooled off. And I mean, to be fair, I actually think the reason that we didn’t talk for 12 hours was because we actually just needed a 12-hour break. Like, that’s it like just, we live in the same house in half for five months. And so we’re just like, you know, we don’t see any other human, why not just stay seething.
And so we just, we basically –
Karen: Mix things up!
Katie: Mix things up, it just changes the energy totally works. And so when we finally started talking and he explained that he needed an extra 45 seconds to melt his butter, I realized how much of a bitch this made me sound like. So anyway, I’m a, I’m willing to own my faults and yeah, so that’s my week. So yeah.
Karen: I mean that bitches get stuff done, right? You, you got the 12-hour break you needed and there you go.
Katie: You’re right. Thank you, Karen. I really feel a lot better. Oh, God.
Fun times, pandemic life. But I do love the topic that we were going there. We’re thinking about covering today because I feel like it’s something that all of us are dealing with, which is feelings.
Karen: Ugh. And the feeling of feelings.
Katie: Yes. And the lack of being able to avoid feeling those feelings.
Karen: Correct. Because all of the things that we use to escape from feeling our feelings are not really available to us, or not available to us in the same way. And I think last time we talked about how everybody’s, everything is heightened right now, melting, see earlier, melting butter. And I feel it it’s all just so present in our lives that you can’t, you just can’t escape, feeling your feelings right now.
Katie: Yes. I’m finding that the feelings that I’m having are totally shocking. I mean, it’s not like, yes, I’m so upset about what’s happening in the world. And if I look at Donald Trump’s face for more than like 1.5 seconds, like I have an anxiety attack and that kind of stuff, that’s just normal. But like, I feel like there’s other things that I’m realizing, like ancestral traumas that are like, you know, surfacing and just like thoughts that I’m like, Oh, that’s a issue that I haven’t thought about since therapy in 2004. Like, and it’s like, I need to just keep pushing that down. Push it down! But then, it surfaces so much faster because I have nothing going on. Like there’s no, like you said, there are no distractions.
Karen: Yes. And I feel like my interaction with this topic has been the realization that I have pockets of time, where I am not feeling my feelings and that, that is the only way to get through the day. And actually, this is the way I was explaining it to my friend: I was talking to my friends about how I lost my phone, RIP phone. I have friends who call it River Phone now, that’s fine.
Karen: And how calm I was about losing my phone in the river and how I explained it was like, of course I was calm. I’m just in a dissociative haze most of the time now.
Karen: And I feel like that explains that. And it explains how I can like work full time all the time now and like get all these things done. Like I, like, I have days where I realized, like I have just been checked out. That is how I’m getting through the days.
Katie: And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I mean, I just don’t think we can fully live in this like heightened state of like constantly feeling every single emotion. I mean, it’s just, it feels, and I think there are some days where I do experience every emotion and that’s hard. That’s really, really hard when those things come in and sometimes it’s just an avalanche and it’s just like, Oh, here we go. We’re going on the, you know, whitewater rafting, level five, like that’s happening. But like, I feel like I, I like the dissociative state sometimes. I mean, that’s why I’m watching so much of the British Baking Show. Like that’s like a really nice disssociative state. Like I don’t even know if I’m really dissociating like as much as I’m just like, I didn’t realize how much I care about pastry. Like I just, I mean, I have to, it’s, it’s honestly helping me. I wasn’t even a big TV person before this and it’s really helping me check out. And I think that’s, I think that’s healthy.
Karen: I absolutely think it’s healthy because the thing about feeling your feelings when so many of your feelings are bad, is that it it’s paralyzing and yes, like you said, like the whitewater rafting of it and we have therapists, and it’s tough. And I think the other piece of it for me, that’s hard is, you know, my therapist, god love her, I hope she’s listening, will ask me what I need. You know, I’ll like describe some experience or something I’m going through and she’ll just ask me what I need. And it’s really hard because so much of what I need is unavailable. Like I need a margarita in a bar. I need a cheap beer in a dive bar. Like I need to be out with my friends. And so it’s hard to like have this list of things that I feel like I need right now that are unavailable.
And so then yes, the stuffing happens, then it’s just like, well, I’m just, it’s easier to just not have needs then, that’s what let’s just go back to that. Like just, let’s rewind a couple of years of therapy and just go back to a place where we have no needs. Great.
Katie: Wasn’t that nice? Like sometimes I think about my pre-therapy self and I’m like, wow, like ignorance was bliss. You know, like it was just, I mean, and this is not to say for people listening who have never tried therapy and don’t really want to, I still think it’s worth it. I really, really do. I am a happier person truly like on the inside. That said, I don’t think I realized how many things I really needed to work on before talking.
Karen: Well, and I don’t know about you, but I was inflicting my issues on other people, so they weren’t necessarily a problem. So yeah. I mean, they were problems for me eventually, but like, yeah, I just was like just outsourcing my drama to other people, it’s awesome.
Katie: Oh, that’s such a good point. Wow. That is so true. Like, I mean, that’s the part about the therapy when you realize like, Oh, I was just spewing my codependency as one example, on all of my relationships. Wow, good to know. Awesome. But now I can work on my codependency. And so, you know, it’s better for all involved, I will say.
Karen: But, but now that you know, you have a responsibility to do something about it and that’s the shitty part, like, dammit.
Katie: Dammit, really, you have to do anything? And then you’re like, I do, shit. My life will be better and so will the lives of everyone I love. That’s great. But yeah, I do think that it’s interesting because this time is just such a strange time to, it’s like, we’re in this weird vortex of, of like, we’re, I feel like there’s so many of us who are trying to really figure out ways to make it through and like, you know, we’re, we’re on Zoom. We’re doing like, you know, like social distancing drinks with people. We’re trying to, if we want to travel, we’re doing it very, very carefully.
Like there are things I feel like people are kind of stepping out a little bit, but like going to a live music venue, like that’s the kind of stuff that I miss. And it’s, I mean, there’s many things, but it’s just, I feel like there’s, it’s a weird time for feeling those feelings. And I feel like we’re all just we’re in it together. I think that anyone, anyone who’s, anyone who’s like, even if you’re not feeling your feelings, like they’re probably still under there. And like maybe one day you kind of feel like shit. And you’re like, why does, why is that? Like, maybe it’s because, you know, there’s just a, a amalgamation of feelings kind of like erupting at once.
[dramatic sound effect]
Karen: For everyone at the same time. And I do think that there is something to that. Cause they feel like this idea that everyone is suffering in some way, everyone in your lives. And I feel like, it becomes harder than for me to like, I feel like there are people in my life, I’m the caretaker listener friend. And I feel like, I don’t, uh uh, I got nothing for you, man, right now. Like I just, yeah, you’re having problems, really? Let me tell you about my problem. You know what I mean? I feel like I just, I feel like I like there’s, there is a part of that, obviously that I like, and I just don’t have any room for it. And also I feel like, and this was another thing I realized that therapy, is that I kept getting pre therapy, in relationships with people who were outsourcing their emotions to me.
Like this bad thing happened to me, but I don’t know how to feel my feelings. So I’m going to tell you, and then you’re going to get really upset Karen. Cause that’s what you do.
Katie: Totally. Totally. And then you acting different if you’re in that scenario now I would assume that it actually changes the entire dynamic within you and that other person, because you’re not metabolizing that for them. Like you’re not taking it in.
Karen: Exactly. Yeah.
Katie: Yeah. Does that feel better?
Karen: I feel like I’m just not, I’m doing the same thing you’re doing. I’m having very curated interactions with people. So yeah.
Katie: I am too. I really am. I mean, I have, I think that’s one thing that I would say if for the people listening to, if you’re feeling all the feelings and you’re struggling with boundaries is to, to have it’s something we mentioned in our last episode, but it’s also just to like have these curated boundaried conversations. I mean, you and I talked for one hour every Friday, usually it doesn’t go over an hour. That’s great. And it’s not that I don’t want to talk to you for five hours. Of course I would. But it’s like, I have to guard my own energy, and my own feelings of, you know, like I have to have so much more buffer right now. And it’s the same thing with other people. Like I’m not even available as much over text. Like I think that’s, I think that’s kind of OK. Like I think there’s, there needs to be some conversation about that being OK. Because like we’re trying to caretake for ourselves right now and that’s super important.
Karen: It takes a lot of energy to get through just everyday. Yeah.
Katie: Yes. It really, really does. Yeah. Yeah. I think also just like to your point about therapy, I mean, yeah. I think we’ll do an entire episode on therapy at some point, but also just advertisement for therapy. Like this is just now I just want to tell everyone, like, it’s definitely the best thing that I am doing for myself right now. And I had a conversation with a friend the other day that I thought was kind of illuminating and that person was telling me, you know, yeah, I’ve tried therapy. And basically something happened in that person’s life, where it was like an emergency situation and that person needed to reach out to a therapist immediately. And so they did, and it was very, very helpful, but that person came to me later and said like, well, how often do you talk to your therapist? And I said, well, it kind of fluctuates.
Like over the past many, many years, you know, I mean, I’ve been in therapy for let’s see, 23 years now and I will be in therapy for the rest of my life, as a wellness, like practice. That’s how I think of it. And so I said, you know, right, as of right now, I talked to my therapist on zoom every other week. It’s great. Sometimes it’s every week, sometimes it’s every three weeks. It kind of depends, but it’s very consistent in terms of like, it’s not just a one off. And the person I was talking to was like, well, what do you think is the advantage of that? And I was like, you know, one of the things that I find, and I’ve had the same conversation with so many people where they’re like, OK, I’m not going to go to therapy until it gets really, really bad. Like something is seriously wrong.
And so what I said was basically that, like, it’s kind of, I sometimes when I go to therapy, I’m talking about positive things. Like I’m talking just about my normal life. And what I find is that there might be something within that conversation that comes up, that I didn’t even think of, that I’m able to then work on in that moment versus these building blocks of little things, finally getting to the top of the volcano and then erupting, it’s harder to work on those little things.
Karen: No, it totally makes sense. It’s it’s preventive visits versus the ER, like why wait until you’re bleeding out when you could just like go every once in a while do kind of check-ins and like, Oh, I feel like that’s not, you know, you’re just, you’re tweaking things along the way. Yeah. I also feel like I have friends who also have that attitude about therapy. Like I’m just going to go deal with this one thing. And I, I, you know, obviously you should tailor your therapy approach and you should do what works for you. But I feel like it also makes it so that you don’t have to dig really all that deep, like I’m going to therapy to work through leaving my job, or I’m going to therapy to work through this thing. And then you stop going and meanwhile, you and I are on like dig excavation level 42, you know, you’re, you’re not going to get to generational trauma in your six to 12 weeks of dealing with your job change. You know what I’m saying?
Karen: Like, I feel like I really, I do think of it as preventative care. And I do think I got a lot going on up here and I just need to understand how all of the things that have happened in my life impact who I am now.
Katie: It gives you perspective. It gives you, it’s like a, it’s like a rear view mirror on your life. And then also it’s kind of, it’s like sitting in the driver’s seat of where you actually want to go. Like, it’s not just about the trauma. It’s not just about the negativity. It’s about like, how do you want to form your life? Like, who do you want to be in your life and how, like, what kinds of experiences do you want to have? And kind of, so it’s, it’s like, you know, taking the Swiffer and like brushing away so many things and maybe not, I guess you’re spraying it with a spray bottle and I’m really doing way too many metaphors right now. But like you’re, you’re picking up the trash is what I’m trying to say. And you’re cleaning your insides. That’s that’s, that would have been an easier, quicker way of saying that.
Karen: I liked the Swiffer. My, what does my therapist say? I feel like the way she puts it is that you have to, if you want things to grow you have to clear the soil.
Katie: But yes, therapy, it’s a wonderful thing.
Karen: It really is.
Katie: Yeah. I think one of the things that people, you know, they can really buy into the idea that they want to be in therapy, but they might be so scared of how to find a therapist. And I think that might be a great, that’s a future episode of like, so listeners, if you’re interested in finding a therapist, we will be dedicating an entire episode to that because I think that’s something to explore. It can be kind of daunting. It’s kind of like dating and I know that’s maybe not the perfect metaphor, but it is actually in my opinion.
Karen: Yeah. It very much though is, yes, you should date around. Yeah. You should date multiple therapists until you find one that you click with.
Katie: That you absolutely love. Yes. So, but yes, I love talking to you about feelings.
Karen: I know.
Katie: This is, it makes it, it, it lessens the I’m the only one feeling yet, again, another feeling, but yeah.
Karen: Yeah, right. Yes, exactly. Well, right. And it makes it, like you said, our hour is just this container you can put, that’s the other thing I like about therapy. Like you have this built-in container in your life where you can freak out about what’s going on in your life. That otherwise I feel like people, I don’t know how people who don’t have that are dealing with what’s going on or deal with anything that’s going on in their lives. Like if you didn’t have this place where you could put all the shit that’s happening in your life, where would it go?
[dramatic musical pause].
Katie: So I feel like I know that in future episodes, we’re going to talk about, how to find a therapist. And I’m really excited about those episodes. So listeners stay tuned. But in the meantime, one of the things that we’ve talked about, Karen, is how people can reach us.
Karen: We, we don’t have a website because this is not a podcast. We don’t have any of that infrastructure. We don’t have a way formally for people who don’t know us personally, to get in touch with us. But now we do.
Karen: NotOKpod@gmail.com. I love that.
Katie: Yes. So we have this new email address friends. So please email us, feel free to email any suggestions, any comments, questions. We’re always looking for ideas for guests, for, we will have guests on this audio project slash podcast at some point. And so, yeah, we’re just so interested in talking about mental health and talking about humor and talking about just what everyone isn’t really discussing at the moment. So, please feel free, notOKpod@gmail.com. We are very excited about the launch of our new email address.
Karen: Email address, and OK. I’m going to steal an idea from the YouTube influencers, which is a comment question. So email us at email@example.com and tell us about your experiences with therapy. Are you in therapy? How do you feel about it? Did you try? Did you not like it? Are you afraid of it? Do you think it’s crap? Like what, what do you, what are your feels about therapy? NotOKpod@gmail.com we want to hear from you.
Katie: Yes, we do. And we will see you next time. Thanks for listening.
Karen: Thank you.
Katie: Alright, bye bye.