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Hey, everyone, today's guest is Tika Sumpter. You know her from sixish Gossip Girl, ride along, ride along to and also my movie. What's your number? Spend just a short time with Tiger and you'll walk away in a great mood believing you can do just about anything later. I'm joined by psychotherapist and author Lori Gottlieb. Lori writes, The Atlantic's Dear Therapist Advice column and co-host the Dear Therapist podcast. She frequently appears as an expert on mental health topics on the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, the BBC and NPR.


If you're looking for advice from Laurie or one of our other experts, please send your questions to unqualified dotcom. Now, here's Teka.


Ladies and gentlemen, you are listening to Unqualified with their host unifiers. Hi. OK. I swore to myself, I'm not going to start off by saying, damn teacher, you're beautiful, but fuck you do.


Thanks, Mama. No way. I have to tell you, though. Do you remember doing what's your number? Yes. OK, so you have always been so nice even to the people who were number two, number three, number four and number five on the call sheet, which for listeners, if you don't know what that means, like no one means like you're the top actor on the show.


Number two is just as important. But you never made me feel like. Unwanted, you were just so welcoming, even though you had so much on your plate to get, that is such a nice compliment because I was just telling Michael, my fiancee, I worry that Teka remembers what's your number? Because I felt like having done House Bunny and working with a lot of ladies and we never get to work with each other.


But I was so honored that you and our other ladies were a part of this project. And I'm not saying that as like this is like one of my flaws is being, like, overly sentimental.


I don't think that's a flaw. And I think that's such a valuable trait of yours, seriously.


And that was the thing that I was worried about, that I was like, yeah, I was like I couldn't gauge if everybody felt supported in the way that I wanted them to listen.


I wasn't there very long. But like from what I saw and the way I felt like Maya Angelou says, you remember how people treat you and I just have the utmost respect for you. You were so completely nice and genuine and you had a lot to do. You were in every scene, you know. And so I really wanted to say that to you because I never got to talk to you after that.


You that really means a lot to me, because I think that I was like, OK, I have 12 lines and I imagine I have to get my hair on and I need to move into that red dress anymore.


And I hope the ladies are happy because I'm so glad that you know. You know what I mean. Your producer, like, you know that shit.


I know. And I just think if you're nice to people in general, like it's consistent where people are like, no, she's a cool person. She's super nice. That's who you are.


Really both. Thank you. And thank you for doing this today. Of course. And I truly I was like, don't tell her she looks beautiful. Don't do it, don't do it.


But I love it. I like the idea of changing dialogue between women where it's like, oh, we're so focused on how we look and we're doing a podcast.


And I did put on care for you. Open up for you. Well, it looks great. Here's the thing, though. I'll take all the compliments. I'll take it because I feel like women can do more than one thing at the same time we can walk and chew gum. So not only can you be beautiful, but you can be smart and hold a conversation. Right. So I'll take it.


And I just turned 40, so fuck. Yeah.


I was thinking also, as you talk a lot about on your podcast about raising your daughter. So my son's about to turn eight and he's at this phase where he'll snuggle with me at night, like when he's sleepy or if he's like, you know, skinned his knee or something like that. But I'm so used to just like touching his head or like putting socks on him or, you know, kick me or he'll like, swatted me.


So I tried to explain to him, I'm used to touching you your whole life. I'm used to having to do all of these things. So in order to hurry things along when we have to go to the store and I need you to put your shoes and socks on and get your coat on, I'm used to manhandling you. Yeah. And of course, that absorbed very deeply within him.


He's like, don't touch me anymore. Stop it. I think your daughter must be at that age where it's like, oh, she still needs a lot of the physical contact all the time. But she is getting into that place where she'll start to do those like, no, I need my own physical independence. So only when I know how to do that is to, like, jerk my foot in your general direction. Right, right.


Right. No, my daughter is definitely at that phase where I overly kiss her and I hug on her. I just want her to know she's so loved. I feel like if you feel your kid up at home, I mean, eventually she'll go searching somewhere else for something else that she needs. But I feel like at least let me fill her tank up. But my daughter is seriously like, mom, that's enough. I keep kissing her and she's like, no more, no more kisses.


You don't get any more kisses. And I'm like, but I love you. She's like, OK, let me watch Frozen, please, you know. Yes.


And I mean, like trying to put on a sock or something. I don't know the kicking thing. Like I want to be like do don't kick me. Yeah. And the other day I tried to explain to her, like, listen, we have to work this out. You know, I, I'm used to touching you and changing your diaper. Believe it or not, you used to wear a diaper.


No, don't do it. Don't do it. I mean, I think it's your right to be like, dude, put the iPad down. Pay attention right now for two seconds. Like Ella is literally it's almost like butterflies and be like she just does not you know, she's still three and a half and she's like, not moving where I need to. I'm like, we need to go.


So you can still play tricks with her. You can be like, hey, look over here. Look at this. Look at oh my gosh, I think there's a butterfly or whatever. And I'm like the moth. Just she likes to be scared. She loves me. Oh, I like Monster.


She likes that voice. Do you think this is how we have to like maneuver the rest of our lives playing games?


Digga Are you in L.A.? I am in L.A. when I was working. What's your number? I think I still lived in New York. I moved to L.A. like four years ago. And I love California. I just love the way.


Yeah, you are an incredibly positive person, I think, according to your bio.


But but to get can you, like, think of three things that annoy you about Los Angeles?


Yeah, I think one of the things is like the people who are from California who act like they're the bee's knees, like they give California a bad name. I feel like people who are actually from here are always the sweetest, most down to earth people. But it's always people who are coming here who feel like they have to be something else. And so everybody kind of carries this, you know, like Jesse Jackson said, you are somebody. Yes.


But you don't have to act like a pretentious butthole, you know?


I mean. The second thing. Oh, my gosh, when you're eating out and everybody looks at the door every time it opens. Oh, yes. Yeah. Because they're like, it's Brad Pitt coming. Is that unfair? Is socially that's annoying.


And then third thing is I don't have a third thing, but right now, those are the top two that are probably the most annoying.


When I first moved to Los Angeles from Washington State, I couldn't believe how just geographically unattractive it was. And I know you come from New York. And like when you arrive in New York, you're like, what is this sport? And when you arrive in L.A., you're like, well, the city engineers was the planning department because this is like thousands of miles of grotesqueness as you're like flying over smog or whatever. But I really loved Baja Fresh.


I really loved, like, this general sense of optimism that I totally mistrusted. Yes. I was like, what do you mean things are great? Like, you started a new routine doing a lot and you seem like it's all going well for you. You're smiling. Yeah. And you just sold your script.


OK, but you're sure you should be this happy? Because what if it never gets old and everybody's always at a meeting? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Believe me, we're talking a lot. Yeah. When I first came out here is just like. Wow, there's a lot of space I was born in Queens, raised in Long Island, and when they say, oh, the city to me is not really a city because I lived in, like one of the biggest cities.


So I know I really enjoyed the space. I enjoy being in my car.


Yes, they did sort of enforced solitude in a way. Yes. It's like, all right. Well, yeah, I have to drive for 30 minutes.


Solitude man is so real. And then also there are so many great podcasts now that you can listen to. And, you know, I'm the girl who goes to the movies alone. I've always been that girl. I love it.


I love peace. I don't know. I love being with myself.


And you're clearly an amazing mom, but what's your guilty pleasure?


What do you do? What's your equivalent to me? Like drying my hair for a weirdly long time? Yeah.


So my meetings are amazing because I'm like, OK. Mom has to be in this room for a while. Yeah, she's like, who are you talking to? I'm like, I'm in a meeting. Yeah. Mm mm.


Honey, I have to work from home now. This is what Mommy does. Yeah. And then you're just like, Mom, hi. How are you? I'm going crazy.


The meetings go on for a little longer than they're actually over.


But in my mind, I'm like, no, this is still a meeting like I hear, you know, I do take extra long showers for sure. And this is going to be the longest shower I've ever taken. Oh, my God. And I sit down.


I enjoy it. OK, Teka, because your negative things were so great about L.A., do you mind doing three positive things?


Yes, because people are going to be like, bitch, leave L.A.. What I love about L.A. is it's sunshine. I love for the most part, like there's some really good people I met out here and I love well, I used to love all the outdoor spots that you can just, like, chill. I don't know. I just love that you can take a meeting, like at a coffee shop. You don't have to necessarily be in an office.


Yeah. And I love oh my God, the beauty I didn't realize, like, California doesn't even look like California. Like I'm like, this is California. Isn't it so glorious.


It's glorious. Yeah. It feels like a movie. Yeah. That is the beauty of California. There was that old cliche like surfing in the morning, Enschede or whatever, which came to sort of exemplify this idea of ridiculous optimism. But then when you kind of see, oh yeah, I don't know how to surf the ocean scares me. But skiing in the afternoon maybe. Or just hiking. Exactly. The beauty of the light and the opportunity.


Yeah. Which is also in our industry too. I do love Los Angeles for the idea that I didn't know anybody and somebody gave me an audition so I could. Yeah. Not be a waitress because I was a really bad one. I was a really good waitress. You were bad. I liked it because I felt good to be a chameleon.


When you waited tables, you know, like you'd come into contact with, like a girl who's with her boyfriend and gets a little like, I don't know if it was insecure or whatever it is. I'm feeling like, oh, God, here is a girl whose weight at my table looking at you. And it's like an opportunity to, like, let her see you and like, you connect with her like girl. I think you're going to love this.


She's like, really? And I'm like, yes. And I'm like, oh, your dress, you know? And she just like, let her go down.


I and I feel like it helped me even in rooms, whether it was directors or casting directors or even now just producing stuff like I feel like I can win anybody over you tell me that this is not going to happen. It's going to happen. Yeah, it is. Yeah.


So I feel like waitressing really well because you're absorbing kind of very mundane, boring material.


Yeah. Or No one to leave people alone, you know what I mean. Know when to stop. You know, no one to like, OK, he doesn't need to be checked out anymore. He's over it. You know, those people keep checking on like every two seconds. You're like, girl, guy, please stop.


You know, I gotta get let's get to some life questions, if you don't mind. I don't mind. OK, what is your favorite ice cream flavor?


Cookie dough. Ice cream pie. Biddinger All right. What would you eat for your last meal? Steak seared like crispy on the outside medium with a baked potato fully loaded and broccoli with some pecorino cheese on it. And I'm good. And maybe a glass of wine. No, like pasta. Pasta, I don't know. Like a macaroni and cheese, like high end or something. I'm just imagining your steak plate here.


No, I would say I love it. You're like, I think this is my last meal. I mean, my mom's mac and cheese is amazing, but that's like one of my favorite meals, like steak, a baked potato and broccoli. You're right. I overanalyse. I'm sorry.


Yeah. You mean that mac and cheese. Yeah. What do you want to conform to?


What I want I don't know.


What was your favorite toy as a child.


My favorite toy. It's so crazy. I remember bits about my childhood which I'm like, should I talk about this? And thereby, you know what? I had to play outside a lot with my friends. Like that's what we did. We like climb trees, we played house. I mean, it was more like interactive. We played double Dutch. You know, I don't double Dutch. Yeah, you should see me. I yeah. I have to pull a thread a little bit.


When you were playing house, I had kids.


What was your role. Who is I. Can I make a prediction. Yes. OK, here's my prediction. At the time you were the tallest kid that was playing with you, but you were definitely the bossiest and you were the older sister who got to go out on dates. Yeah, I definitely went on dates.


And you'd be gone for like five seconds behind the bush. Yes, and then you'd come back and be like, yeah, I don't even know if I like him, but he's yeah, that was me.


My was going to hear this and be like, wait, you were behind Bush and with you.


Yeah, I think I was always kind of like the mom and then like I had this guy who's always the dad, you know. Oh I never got to play with boys like that. Oh, see, I played it. It was one boy there.


You're the mom and he's the dad.


Yeah. And as far as we're going to go take his mommy, don't worry, don't worry, everything's OK. But behind the bush. OK, so what was your first boss like?


Oh, OK. I worked at a movie theater. He was great because I was a really good employee. It's crazy because when you're raised by a single mom at first and then I had my stepdad come on like when I was 10, I saw my mom struggle so much and then it went from struggling to like she got afraid and, like, moved up in her job. And so then life changed. And then she got remarried and then we moved to the burbs.


And so seeing my mom struggle, like, made me a really hard worker and grateful for every opportunity because I always knew, like, this is not where I'm staying. So when I was, like, popping popcorn in the back, I was the concession girl I always like. Do you want a large for a quarter more? You know, like I always up sold. I draw my till was always the right amount of cash. And so I feel like I'm a good employee.


Like I worked at Honey Baked Ham as well. I sold a lot of hams during seasonal. No.


Can I tell you why you are not a good employee. I can see it so clearly. Why? Because if you're like a mid-level manager and you're like, I'm pretty content with my life and let's it again.


Oh God. Yeah. Well, all right. Sales are up or people seem to like her. It's nice. Yeah. Those people.


What the fuck does my boss. You're just like sneaking up from behind. Yeah. But as we should know, here's the thing. I know I never wanted to be a manager there. I'm like, no, I'm here to just get my cash and go like I'm going on the LIRR to New York to take a like I was like, I don't want your job. Don't worry.


I was so focused on me and like what I wanted to do that would have turned the boat left.


I'll take it. You took my visualization completely incorrectly. I was like, OK, so if I'm like a production company, let's say I had a hundred billion dollars and I wanted to offer you two and you come work for me or whatever, they get some point. Eventually I would like to think I would be smart enough to recognize that you were taking over like, oh no, no, no.


Like in the best of ways.


I love that. OK, who has influenced your career the most? It depends at what point in my life. OK, can I give you an age, let's say like 15 to 17. Oh my God.


It's like a weird mixture of like I was a girl who was like a latchkey kid but also had to play outside, but also watched Janet Jackson Rhythm Nation VHS cassette. Whatever she's doing, I want to do. I don't know what that is. I don't know how to get there. I'm a girl from Queens by way of Long Island. So that and then like my mom, to be honest. And I know that's like the answer that probably everybody gives.


But look, she didn't understand this business at all. She's like, I don't know what you're doing, but you need a four one K and you need a real nine to five to work and you need consistent money and all that stuff. But what she did teach me is like to never give up on myself because she was doing it for so long by herself and like raising us five kids. And she just continued you she marched on not only for us but for her.


And I just feel like if my mom did it with way less resources than I have in life, I owe it to myself to do it big for whatever I want to do.


Teka, what age order are you?


I have two older sisters and then I have an older brother and then comes me and then I have a younger brother who's in his early thirties and then I have another little brother. So I'm like in the middle.


I don't know too many like in the middle, but I know a lot of youngest like I am now. The middle is always hold up the weight of the world. Yeah. On both ends. I believe that both my parents are middle's. Yeah. Do you have any siblings. I have an older brother. It's just you two.


Yeah. And I love him. Love him ferociously. But man he was a big kid. We had a contentious childhood but he's been on the podcast we've talked about. You don't need to hear all the things. OK, what is the best or worst advice you've ever been given?


The best advice is probably for my mom. I remember coming out of this acting class and this is while I was already like a working actor, but somebody was like, oh, maybe you should go take this acting class.


Everybody goes and takes it and named all these artists and stuff. And I was like, I have the job and I'm doing the work. I don't know what you want me to do to elevate, you know. So I was told to go take this class and it's one of those classes that, like, break you down and then build you up. Oh, boy. Yeah, it makes you feel like you're not a good actor at all. And so I walked out of the class and I called my mom and I go, am I that bad?


Like, should I be doing this? Like, should I be acting?


And she goes, first of all, you know, keep the meat and throw out the bones, meaning take the good things out of it. But like, leave the stuff you just don't need. You know what I mean, like, who cares, like it doesn't do anything for you, it doesn't contribute to you and stop listening to everybody. I love that.


The idea of stop listening to everybody, I mean, I guess I don't know if there's a philosophy behind like young people should get prepared for a ton of rejection, which I sort of believe in that. But at the same time, how are you supposed to gauge at all if you're good? Because I went through like a similar deal. It feels like you have to get used to the idea of rejection.


Yeah. I mean, I feel like you got to somehow have some kind of confidence, know, until you start booking jobs, you don't know. But then you also realize, like sometimes booking a job doesn't mean you're good for anybody. Like there are a ton of people who are booked a lot of jobs and who are super famous.


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OK, what is your favorite rainy day movie, something I can watch over and over again? Sound of Music. That's a good one. And for Ella, is she, like, all over? She hasn't seen it yet. She's heard it on my, like, Spotify or whatever. But like, I always played Doh Foster Latino. And then I act like, you know, I'm the lead. You're Maria. I'm Maria.


Ella likes when I act out things. And so it's fun. Jack says he doesn't now, but I know that he does.


Well, he's a he's like, no, stop.


He's watching a cartoon. I'll hear some of the voiceover actors. And I'm like, hey, I can I can do that the opposite. I can see that line better.


I know I can. I know I can. Mom, we've had a dance party and I put on Footloose.


I thought I was in that movie from the original. I was like in black and I was a dancer and I was like, man, that was good.


Isn't there a lot of, like, kicking like was that the style is a lot of book kicking.


There's a lot of putting you dress up like jerking. Right. It's mostly like below the knees and then it's like raising your dress a little bit. I don't them props. Yeah. I just have like a crazy person. I loved it.


OK, what is a trait you dislike in others.


There's a few people who are pretentious and unkind and only nice to people who seemingly only matters in that space. I love that because.


Well, it's so common in our industry. Oh my God. How do you trust somebody who's like that was great. That was great. That was great. But then in my experience, if they've said, you know what, that wasn't so great, I'm like, I don't want to work with you anymore. Goodbye. Like, we cultivate the duplicity.


I guess it's two different types of things, like I think we're talking about two things, like if you're talking about like a director who's not telling you the truth about what you're doing, then that's not a good director because you're going to look crazy. So hopefully they're telling you that let's retake that. And there have been times where directors have said, how about we try it this way? And I'm like, oh, great, let's let's do that if it makes sense.


Sure. I don't think that I'm kind, but I don't like when this happens in the industry where you're at a party or, you know somebody or you see somebody and they're not kind or you're not important enough. Yes. To be who they are around you or to be nice. You're so right. I can't stand when people are just not kind to people like it doesn't take anything to be kind, you know, even if you're tired, it's like, hey, nice to see you, whatever.


It doesn't have to be a long conversation. Like I was telling you, like even in what's your number? You know, there were certain people who were just not nice and you can tell who they were nice to and who they weren't.


Nice to you, you know what I mean? And it was just like, oh, OK, I see you. But it's always interesting when the thing they thought was going to do whatever for their careers doesn't happen. But the thing is, like, you just have to be kind, regardless of where your career is completely OK.


What is a trait you dislike in yourself? Oh, that's a good one. I think sometimes questioning my instinct, you know, like questioning what my gut like was is the right thing to do, even if it's for a moment or can I do it? Can I push this forward? Just questioning myself, I think, or allowing other people's questions to make me. I think it's good that people question you because it makes you analyze and really figure out why you want to do something.


But when they question me to the point where they make me feel like I can't do it, and then I question my first reaction of, oh, I thought I could them making me question myself and then me actually being like, shit, maybe I can't do it. Yeah. Giving people my power, really.


I wish I could trust my instincts all the time. I know. But that I might be a real fucking asshole.


Yeah. I mean, I feel like your gut is usually right most of the time. I think you're right like ninety nine point nine percent of the time. Yeah.


OK, to whom would you most like to apologize and why.


Oh my God. In my adult years, I don't know. I'd like to apologize to everybody I've ever slighted and if I did it, not if they felt that way.


I so understand because I hate the idea that somebody would have had a very minor interaction, but they recognized me and it became something much larger in their head without my intention at all. Right. I would hate that their perception of me or if they had lied to me before or maybe they wouldn't, you know. But I also think that it's really an exhausting way to live to. I don't know if you feel that way.


Oh, my God. Walking around with that. Yeah, that's exhausting. I always try to say I think the best about people like trying not to go straight to they did this to me on purpose or, you know, they treated me like that on purpose. Like I do try to say, well, you know, let me think the best of this person rather than go straight to the negative part. Right.


But that's so hard. Like, I remember having minor interactions with the celebrities and any little thing, but they ordered what they were doing with their like every single thing was so seared into my brain.


Oh, so you took it all to heart?


Well, just the idea that if I inadvertently didn't hold the door open for, you know, the old man came in, I was like, oh, you know, she might be like, shit, that bitch.


I don't like her anymore. I'm going to write about that. I know now everybody's writing about they're like celebrity attraction is like he's like he wasn't even that hurt. That guy's his cane wasn't even real. Yeah. It's like, oh, and I could tell he was like moving faster like towards me. Yeah. I mean even just people in our industry and you know, listen, even me talking about people being unkind, like I don't know what people were going through at that moment, you know, so I just got to think the best.


I completely agree. Right. OK, so if you could live anywhere in the world for a year, be Paris, my dream is to buy. I don't even know how you say this. It's yeah. It's OK to say what I feel like. That's the sexy place where people go to places.


No, I feel like I want to go there, learn French for a year and live in Paris. Like go everywhere, just travel around.


Thank God. That sounds amazing. I know. And eat a lot of food.


OK, what haven't you taken the time to learn about.


I haven't gotten the time to learn about. My family history, just my ancestry, like I really keep saying, I'm going to do it. I'm going to make a family tree. I want to learn more about my southern roots. I'm going to learn more about my great great grandmother. I just have not taken the time to get to know my ancestry yet completely.


What feels familiar. My mother my mother feels familiar.


Like her. Just her. That's a beautiful answer. When do you feel generous?


When I see that there's a need and I feel like why isn't anybody fulfilling it?


Like the idea of being proactive.


That's incredible. Yeah. Yeah.


So we. What does your perfect day look like? Oh man. My perfect day is waking up on a beach.


What time? I want the whole thing. OK, so waking up in a room facing the beach. Great. Facing the water here. The ocean, the wind like the ocean air is like coming in. I wake up, I order like pancakes and bacon. Maybe some fruit, some orange juice syrup.


Yes they are. But like the artificial kind. I don't mean to be gentle. I'm just. Yes, OK.


We're done. I'm sorry.


Well, you know, the kind that they get, like the one you buy from Whole Foods, whatever, that one is not like the corn syrup with additives.


You go to the tree, I go to the trees, I make my little hamburger, that corn syrup stuff. I grew up on that and that was yummy. But then I got more expansive in my my I don't know. I just wanted to be more healthy. You're right, though. It's that it comes down to what you grew up with. It's true, man. What's accessible?


Yes. Like, I grew up with best foods mayonnaise and I am such a loyalist.


See, I grew up with Helman's and when I came out here, I'm like, what is this?


And then waking up and then maybe doing a prayer and a meditation and walking. I have this new thing about walking. And so I walk every day and listen to a podcast and read a book. It's sitting on the beach, eat lunch. I like to chill like when I go on vacation. My fiancee loves to, like, do things. He's adventurous and he's like, let's go. I'll plan everything. And I'm like, dude, all I want to do is sit right here and do nothing and read a book.


But Teacup, is that because you have a three and a half year old or have you always been that way? Yes, it's because I have a three and a half year old and also I'm always literally at a meeting pitching something my brain is always on. But before all this, I like hiked through Nepal. I went to Sweden for three days just because my friends were like, let's go.


So then how has this experience been for you? Like, have you been able to slow down your brain or how do you feel now?


So has it been very frustrating then? It's like, where do I focus my energy when we're confined?


It hasn't been frustrating because I feel like work has given me an outlet to like have some sort of structure and doing something, you know, and like actually executing some things, which has been great with the great balance is like I am never home this much. So when I first started, it was like, you're staying home again. You're here like more. And then it became like normal. So it's like both. I can do both. It's like there's no driving time, there's no commuting.


So it's like that cuts out a lot of time. You know, once I'm done with all this stuff, I go see my child and we're spending time together. Now, it's still exhausting because then I have to like, cut myself in many pieces of like, OK, just finish work all day. Now I got to go and give to my daughter and then after she goes to bed, you know, my fiancee wants to, like, be next to me and talk.


And I'm like, I don't want to talk anymore. Unfortunately, he gets like the end of the stick where it's just like I'm tired, like the peace with you. It's just like not talking is amazing, you know? And I had to kind of train myself also to he has to be given something like he needs nurturing, too, and he needs love and he needs to speak and all those things. So it's just trying to balance it all.


You know, I don't know how much is balance, but yeah. Trying to figure it all out.


I'm so with you and I haven't and I don't know if I will. I don't either. I don't know if it's going to be balance ever. Yeah.


For me it's felt like almost getting off of the hamster wheel to go through days where it's like, well what's it all for. Like we're working on these various projects that I'm really excited about sometimes. Yeah. And then I'll go through this like Cliff of I'm just like diving down like, well what if this never ends? Can we live. Right. And so it feels like is there pointlessness to ambition right now. Oh so I go through those dark things.


But then I'm also like this is kind of an amazing time. My family so far is safe. Yeah. We are fortunate enough to have resource. Yeah. I spent more time with people that, you know, with four people than ever that I really fucking love. Yeah.


I do believe that however we come out of this, that I'll look back and be like, what a concentrated, interesting time and I'm so glad that oh my God, I was able to spend more time with your family and attempting to rewire myself a little bit, you know.




Like, when are we going to ever have the time to go on road trips like this? Like my family, me, myself, Nick and Ella went on a great hike the other day and we were just like, when does this get to happen? So, like, let's try to enjoy it. Thank God we've been safe and we have resources and all that stuff. But like we've just been taken advantage of, like things that we don't get to do ever.


Like this is experience. Yeah. And I sense in myself that it's starting to really reframe my own sense of how I consume. Like, do I need that bag? I don't know if I need it like I used to.


And it feels really liberating in a way. I love that.


Just seeming like doing stuff around the house that you wanted to do, you know, completely crafty stuff, crafty stuff and like fixing things, I'm so bad at all of them, but somehow I'm still kind of doing them.


So Nick has been doing outside and putting rocks in the car, just like going to clothes and grabbing plants and just kind of beautifying things. And I don't know, it's just been really, really cool to, like, touch up things like something like the nesting idea. You know, if I had it, we now have to, like, protect our space.


And yes, let's see if we can grow a fruit tree. Yeah. In case we need fruit in the future. Do we need letters like all this? It's got to be lemonade. Yeah, exactly. Exactly.


But anyway, for me, it's been a very concentrated time of some degrees of a lot of degrees of childishness, a ton of anxiety and then peacefulness. Yes. Which is very confusing to my hamster wheel. That's like what happened or so confusing because there's a piece of nesting like there is.


There's a piece of my oh, I don't have to get up and go. I literally thought the other day, well, I don't have to like, read the script and like learn these lines and have any anxiety in my belly about whatever is going to go wrong or not or go great, whatever. It's just like waking up to just being in your home. It's the weirdest thing.


It's odd.


It's been very hard, I think, for people to describe. It's like this is weird. This is crazy. It's not specific enough to not think we're all going through yet. I agree to it. Did you go to your senior prom?


I did. And how was that experience on a four point oh grade scale?


It was not even a one. Is it negative? It was a negative one. Leg of my hair didn't turn out the way I wanted to be. Like my dress just didn't fit how I wanted it to be. I went with a friend of mine like my friend. My junior prom was actually probably better than my senior prom. The senior prom just didn't do it for me. It just wasn't what I thought it was going to be. The standards that I had for myself I just didn't live up to.


That's an incredible thing to say. No, it's true. Most of the time it's not. You know, it's like six years time. It's like, you know, everybody said, oh, this. And then you're like, it's this. Oh, shrug.


Yeah. Your experience was anything like mine. It was magical.


It was like a magic carpet ride.


It was like a cross between Space Mountain and the haunted house at Disneyland.


But like the fun, you know. Yeah. God. OK, do you have a favorite joke? OK, what color is a burp? Purple.


You know what I want you to do? Well, I want you to tell her that joke at every important event of her life.


Oh, film it every day. I remember you were three and a half years old and you told me this joke and I knew that you were.


So I'm going to do it and everyone will be able to recite the joke. It's going to be a whole thing.


But yet at the end, her twelfth grade year, she's going to go, Mom, stop. Oh, of course, Will. She'll do it long before that. And then it'll come back around, though, when she's getting married with mom.


Don't do it at the toes. Don't give it the toast. No. You know what?


She'll start crying when I play a video and she'll be like, I love you so much. I am funny, Mommy.


Oh, my God, that's amazing. I'm really going to do that.


OK, who would you like to invite to your dream dinner party? Can they be dead? Yeah, I want it to be well, to be at my dinner party just to hear all her crazy stories of like her fighting for women's rights and fighting for people like me and just justice. And she was doing it while she was a mother, you know, just to see if it's like, are we having these kind of same conversations about motherhood and balancing work and wanting to do what we want to do as women moving forward.


But her and then also, like I think Barack Obama would be a fun one to know Michelle, Michelle as well.


Oh, just me. Oh, no. Oh, no. Michelle. Yeah. You got I can just just say hi. I got Barack. All right, Michelle. Really, girls, I want to see the dinner party to though that felt like an intentional omission.


No, you said what? Oh, not again. Click bait. Click bait ticos. Michelle, I know Michelle could come to Michelle and the kids, the whole administration. They can. And a steak and potatoes, I think it's sales and broccoli.


Yes. And some apple pie.


Yeah, OK. In one word, how would you like to be remembered?


I want people to remember me as someone who is kind and loves her friends deeply and her family loves her daughter, will do anything, will give her life for her daughter, and then just somebody who has always stood up for the little guy, even in high school, like when people were making fun of somebody who they thought wasn't important or deemed nerd or whatever, like I always talk to that guy or that girl and then somebody who also changed the world with my art.


You know, even if the world is a small segment of people, I did it. You know, she came from somewhere where she wasn't even in the percentage of getting to where she is. And and then I've actually I got there and she was actually successful because she liked the way she did it. You know, that was success to her, the way she did it and how she did it take. I have no doubt that you will.


You're amazing. You truly are. You're incredible. Thank you. And like I said, I didn't want to start this off by telling you how beautiful you are, but you really are. You're just your beautiful person inside and out. And truly, you're just incredible.


And thank you. Thank you so much.


I love you, too. Thank you. I love you too. Bye, love by my love.


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Hey, everyone, I would like to introduce you to Lori Gottlieb. Lori is a psychotherapist who writes The Atlantic's Dear Therapist Advice column and co-host the Dear Therapist podcast. She frequently appears as an expert on mental health topics on the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, the BBC and NPR. If you want to know more about Lori, her books, or are looking for some resources, we'll have all the info on our website. Hi, Laurie, thank you so much for joining us today.


I'm so glad to be here. So we're going to call Holly.


Hello. Hi, Holly, it's Ana, and I'm here with Lori Gottlieb. Hi, Holly. Will you tell us what's going on?


Well, my husband and I have been together for a while. We've been married for 11 years and together for over 12. And even when we are engaged in dating and stuff, it was the same cycle of like, he would be fine. Life is great. Everything's on the up and up. And then. If anything goes wrong, he immediately plunges into this depression and it's just the same cycle over and over where he'll be in this funk and you can't get him out of it.


And it's bad enough that, like he told me recently, like, that's why I don't keep a gun in the house, because I get that down. And I don't think he ever really would. Even with our issues. We have what I think is a pretty good relationship, but I just don't know how to help him if he is not going to get help. He recognizes the fact that he is depressed and that he has issues. And over the years, he's gotten help here and there via our church.


And I mean, I grew up being very religious, not stuff. And I do have faith and I believe in it, but I feel like he needs more. But he is not getting it. It's almost like an alcoholic who acknowledges they have a problem but won't go to AA. And I just don't know what to do with them.


I just want to tell you that I was with an ex for seven, eight years who suffered from depression and also wouldn't get help. And it was so hard to shoulder. It felt like dating a professional athlete like, oh, he lost a game. How do I cheer him up? Oh, he won a game. Okay. So we can be happy now. OK, like that constant burden of trying to shake somebody's mood was daunting to think about.


Lori probably has a lot of thoughts.


Yeah, I do. This is such a hard situation and I want you to know too, that it's very common and a lot of people feel so much shame that they don't talk about it. So I don't know, Holly, if you've shared this with anybody or if this is something that you've just been holding yourself.


Actually, I've just recently reached, I guess I would call this my breaking point. When I came across on a Instagram story where she said to send in a question, I was like, you know what? It's been rough. And I feel like I have to do something because I it sounds dramatic, but I feel like I. I don't want to live like this. Yeah, that's not dramatic at all. I mean, I think that's the healthy part of you.


Yeah, I haven't actually talked to anybody. This is my first time. Yeah.


I'm glad you reached out because there's so much secrecy around depression and so much shame around it. And I'm wondering how you and your husband have talked about his depression before when you've said, you know, this is really affecting not only you but our family. What are those conversations sound like?


Honestly, I pretty much don't bring it up, because even if I bring it up on a good day, it just sends him spiraling into this. Yes, I know. I'm dirt. I'm horrible. You deserve better. I bring you down. And so I just pretty much don't talk about it. When I heard that I was going to get to actually talk to a professional about it, I mentioned it to him and that was the best conversation we've ever had.


He he's actually like, well, I'm interested to see what she's going to say. And I don't know what was different this time.


I'll tell you what was different. What was different is that he really does want to get help. And I think that what happens is, especially for men in our culture, there is so much shame around being vulnerable, there is so much shame around needing help. And there's this idea that it's a weakness to reach out and get help. And so when I see men in my therapy practice, a lot of times they'll say, I've never told anyone this before because literally they have never told anyone about what they're experiencing, whereas women will say something like, I've never told anyone before except for my mother, my sister and my best friend.


Right. So they've actually told a few people, but men won't do that. And so I think that when he hears you talk about, hey, you know, I see you suffering, what he hears is what he's voiced to you, which is, oh, you know, I'm bringing you down or something's wrong with me or I'm defective. And I think what he heard this time was, oh, wow, I want to work with you on this.


I am here for you. I think that that's really important. And I'm so encouraged by his reaction to the fact that you are reaching out, because I think it normalizes it for him a little bit. One thing you can talk to him about is you're not bringing it to him because he's bringing you down persay. You're bringing it to him because you love him and you care about him and you see how much he suffers. Right. And that it's very common for people to suffer like that, but that he's suffering in silence and that when you talk about how it affects you and your children, that it's not that you're blaming him or it's not that he's bringing you down.


It's that this is something where the health of the whole family is at stake. And if he had, like, cancer, right, I wouldn't just say, yeah, just kind of hang out, don't see a doctor. Don't don't get any treatment. Right. You know, I think that if you can bridge that for him, that this is just like any other health issue and it affects you and it affects our family. And we love you so much.


And I need to know that you're going to get help for this. Just like if you had cancer, I wouldn't sit around and say, OK, don't do anything about it.


Right. But that still feels like such a difficult bridge.


It is. But I think that one of the things that he needs to hear is that you actually have a boundary around this. And having a boundary doesn't mean you're abandoning him. It doesn't mean you either do this or I'm leaving you. Right. What you're saying is this is not sustainable for you, for me, for our kids. And if anybody in our family had a health issue, we would get help for it. You would want me to get help for it.


You would want our kids to get help for it. And I'm saying that you have to, for the sake of our family, get help for this. Sometimes people have a really hard time making that initial appointment. There are so many hoops to jump through. It's like, how do I find someone who I see? I'm really still have all the shame and I'm not sure I really want to go and I'm very ambivalent about it. So one thing you can do is you can call his doctor and say, you know, he's really struggling or he can call his doctor.


But if he won't do it, you can say to him, I want to call your doctor and tell your doctor you're really struggling and get a referral for you and I'll go with you.


I'll go with you to the first appointment just to get over that logistical and emotional hurdle of getting in for that first time. I think once he's in the room, he's going to really be glad he's there.


Right. Lori, are there good online resources as well during this time?


Yeah, absolutely. And I think this even makes it a little bit easier because you don't have to deal with do I need to find someone who's within five miles of me? Right. You can find somebody who's highly recommended and who really deals with this, who might be somewhere that would be hard to get to ordinarily. And you can see the monsoon. You can get a referral from his doctor, which I think will help with the. In for him because it's somebody recommended by his health professional, but you can also go on Psychology Today and look for people in your area.


You can type in depression. You can type in the kind of therapist he wants. Does he want a male therapist or a female therapist or how many years of experience does he want them to have?


Right. And he can kind of pick and choose who is this person reminds him that the first session is a consultation. It is not like just because you made the appointment that you have to be in therapy with this person. It's simply let me go talk to this person and then let me see how I feel. Right. And if I want to talk to this person again, I could talk to this person again, or maybe I feel like that wasn't the right person and I can talk to a different person.


Lori, I have a theory about people who work in jobs where there is not a ton of emotional communication like construction, where you spend all day with communication. That's probably directly about the work. I wonder if you are used to a pattern of not being emotionally communicative.


Yeah, that's a great point. I mean, the environment in which you're operating is going to affect how you feel about what you're experiencing. And if he's in an environment where people just don't talk about their feelings, they just don't talk about their struggles, then that's going to be even harder. But I want you to notice something that when we talk about environment, Holly, the environment in your house is one in which people don't talk about feelings. And I say that just to make you aware that there's a role that you're playing in this dynamic.


So you've presented it like this is what's been going on with him. And I'm at wit's end with this. But I think that you've been afraid to really talk to him, too.


Yeah. You know, when you say, you know, we haven't really talked about it in that way, I think the most you've talked about it is, you know, maybe you should get help, but that's not really talking about the feelings underneath it. And so I think that there's something about the relationship that will improve to when the therapy starts, that it might be that you guys end up doing some couples work together to around around. How do we talk about this in our family?


How do we talk about other things that maybe I'm afraid to bring up because he doesn't react well to it. And I'm very avoidant when that happens. Yeah. Have you noticed that in other parts of your marriage yet as you talk about it?


I'm thinking, yeah, we could definitely improve. Definitely stuff that I don't talk about.


Yeah. And you know why you're afraid to talk about it with him, the other things?


Well, again, because I feel like I don't like to bash my husband because I think he is a very good husband in a lot of ways. But I feel like if it is anything remotely critical, whether it's like how we're doing things with the kids, he defers to me. He knows that I'm the one who is home with them all the time. So he knows that I have a reason for why I'm doing something a certain way. But I kind of want him to take the lead sometimes, you know, like to just take charge, be the dad.


But I feel like even with that kind of thing, I have to be careful because if I critique even a little bit, he just shuts down. Yeah.


What you're calling a criticism of is actually just a request. Yeah. So there's a difference between a request and a criticism. And I think that something is going on between the two of you where either it's presented in a way that feels critical or he is interpreting it in a way that feels critical. And so once you guys start learning more about how to talk about some of these things that feel really hard, but that will bring you both so much relief, you're going to see not just his depression improve, but also your marriage improve.


That's encouraging. That's amazing. Yeah. And it makes a lot of sense. It does make sense. Yeah.


So when he asked you, how did it go, this call, you can tell him, you know what? I discovered something about myself, too, so that he doesn't feel like it's all on him because it's not right. I discovered something about myself I wasn't expecting to discover, and that's that. I feel like maybe I have trouble talking about my feelings, too. And maybe this is an opportunity for both of us to get better at understanding ourselves and also how we relate to each other in our marriage so that we can both feel better.


Right. Lauri, I love how you approach the idea of starting therapy with hope, with like, oh, this is exciting. This is going to be like a fascinating journey.


I think it's so hopeful because I feel like people are so afraid of uncertainty. They're so afraid of trying something new, they're so afraid of change. But I feel like change and uncertainty are times for opportunity, because if you don't do that, if you don't venture into this place that feels a little bit scary, you're going to stay in exactly the place that you're in, as you've seen, Holly, for over eleven years. Yeah. And so now there's an option.


For humanity to have something different happen, and I think that's incredibly exciting when people come to me for therapy, I always ask them not just why are you here? But I always want to know why now? Why this week, this month? Did you call me when maybe this has been going on for years? Because I'm looking at not just what's not working, but I'm also looking for signs of strength. Right. And one sign of strength is readiness there.


Like I'm ready to see something change, even if I'm really scared, I'm ready to see something change. And I think you're at the point where you aren't ready to see something change. And I think given what your husband said about your going on this call, I think he's ready to see something change, too.


I think so. And I know I referenced this a little bit, but so, you know, like where we're coming from, we grew up very, very conservative religious background. And I tell people it was borderline cultish. Both of us have grown up being told that depression is a sin. It's not a real thing. And we don't go to psychologists because you need to just develop your relationship with God and that will solve your problems. And I, I feel like I over the past.


I would say six years or so have really gotten away from that, and I think that's part of what has gotten us to this point, to be ready to acknowledge, you know, what we're learning that a lot of what we grew up with was just crazy talk.


You know, Holly, I grew up in a nonreligious household and they felt the same way about therapy. But has his depression increased?


Do you think during these times he kept on saying, I don't think it is really slowing down my business. He owns his own remodeling business, but then he did his finances and had to file some paperwork and stuff and realized how much he had not made. He thought that he had done better. And so I do think it has affected him a little bit more than he would realize. But overall, it hasn't been as bad as it could have been, I think for a lot of people, I think it was worse.


And one thing that therapy can help you both do is to weather the storms, weather the emotional storms. I always say to people who are struggling with depression. I say you are not the best person to talk to you about you right now because depression distorts our thoughts. It makes everything seem all doom and gloom. We can't see anything from a more balanced perspective. And once you start getting treatment for that, you start to see that there are lots of ways to look at a situation, even a very difficult situation, so that you aren't paralyzed by it.


That makes really good sense. Yeah, Laurie, you are wise.


I think this is the first time I've been so quiet.


Holly, thank you again. You have a hopefully a rewarding journey ahead of you guys. If communication can open up, that can be really exciting. Sometimes you never know what's going to come out.


Well, I think it's definitely a very good starting point for me, and I appreciate it. Thank you.


Holly, I am so excited for you to have this conversation with your husband. I think it's the start of something that's going to be a game changer for your marriage.


I really hope so. And thank you very much for your help. Absolutely.


Thank you, Holly. Thank you, Laurie, so much for your incredible words of wisdom.


Oh, my pleasure. I hope that it was helpful. Have a wonderful rest of your day. You, too. See you soon.