In this episode, Brian Beckcom speaks with Clinical Psychotherapist Dr. Carleah East about things people can do to improve their mental health and wellness during challenging times. Brian and Dr. East also talk about the recent Black Lives Matter protests and how people of different races can come together to work through today’s biggest challenges.
Watch this episode on YouTube
Brian and Dr. East discuss:
- How to Solve and Manage issues with Love and Enrichment (SMILE!)
- “Machismo” and the mental health disparities that jeopardize true strength
- Social media’s impact on mental health and wellness
- Ways in which we can all use our platform and voice to uplift our communities
- Racial strife and “cancel culture”
- How Dr. East earned the nickname “The Sapphire Woman”
- Dr. East’s book “The Hangover: Overcoming Emotional Addiction: 12-Steps for Emotional Sobriety”
- The power of mantras: how to reframe your negative traits to see them as positive attributes
- Why we should all strive to surround ourselves with positive people
- And other topics
Dr. Carleah East is a Clinical Psychotherapist and the founder and CEO of S.M.I.L.E. Psychology and Associates, a platform that provides individuals with therapy through face-to-face and virtual sessions in the state of Flordia. Dr. East is also the founder and CEO of the Sapphire Woman Organization, where she uses her expertise in cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy to enrich communities through purpose coaching, seminars, and workshops across the country. Dr. East is also a psychology professor and the Mental Health Project Director at St. Petersburg College. With laughter and love, she inspires others to reclaim their power, embrace their truth, and design their destiny. To connect with Dr. East, visit her website at www.smilepsychology.com and click here to connect with her on Facebook.
Read the show notes
[00:00:00] Brian Beckcom: [00:00:00] Hey everybody. Brian, Beckcom from the VB attorneys, I've got Dr. Carleah East and I've just introduced Dr. East. to all of you, Dr. , how are you doing today?
[00:00:11] Dr. Carleah East: [00:00:11] I am doing very well, focusing on the things that I can be a gracious for and appreciative of, without ignoring what's going on, but I'm trying to focus, focus on the positive too.
[00:00:22] So thank you so much for having me,
[00:00:24] Brian Beckcom: [00:00:24] for sure. And, you know, did they train you when you go to school to be a clinical psychologist to have such a great smile? I mean, just I'm looking at you right now and I'm thinking, man, I. You're making me happy, just looking at you. So, so is that part of your training?
[00:00:39] Dr. Carleah East: [00:00:39] I don't think it's part of our training, but in all, in all honesty, I think that one of the things that we have to do as clinicians is remember to find the happiness and the joy and remember to smile.
[00:00:49] People are often coming to us with some heavy, you know, subject matter. That they want to deal with and discuss, and that they've already heard the negativity, right? They've already heard the lack [00:01:00] of hope from people in their communities or from friends or family. And, you know, with, with me, with my company, smile, that's an acronym for solving and managing issues.
[00:01:10] With love and enrichment. And I use that acronym specifically because forget that their therapy is a wonderful process to help us learn how to smile genuinely again, you know, not just put on that happy face when we're in front of coworkers or when in front of our mates even, or we're in front of our friends.
[00:01:27] Cause we don't want to seem weak, but it's about genuinely learning how to smile by recognizing your issues and knowing that you can work through them with love and you have to be the face, you know, representation of that. And, I'm just genuinely excited and really positive.
[00:01:44] Brian Beckcom: [00:01:44] You have a beautiful smile, a beautiful, so, and you know, many years ago I did a, I don't know if you've ever heard of a float tank or sensory deprivation tank.
[00:01:54] It's basically where you don't you give them this tank and it's pitch black and you don't, [00:02:00] the water is the same temperature as your body. There's no sound. And so. You don't get any sense at all. And so what I, what I was doing is meditating in there in one thing I realized, and this was probably three or four years ago is I was walking around with a frown on my face all the time, Mike and I didn't even think about it.
[00:02:18] And then I started looking around Dr. And I was like, man, there's a little, a lot of people walking around with frowns on their face. So I actually made myself a reminder on my phone. It pops up every morning and all it says. His smile. And it's funny because I've found that when I smile, it not only makes me happier, but like everybody around me seems it's, it's like it's infectious.
[00:02:42] Right? So anyway, doctor. Yeah. So, so anyway, well, well, it's great to see such a friendly face and I want to thank you very, very much for coming on the podcast. I think the. The timing of what your expertise is and [00:03:00] what we're going to talk about. Hopefully today could not be more perfect. But before we get into that, I got to ask you, how's your you're married and you have a son, how's your family doing during quarantine and all this other stuff going on.
[00:03:14] Dr. Carleah East: [00:03:14] Thank you for asking. Yes. I have a husband and a son five-year-old kiddo, and you know what, he's doing a great job. One of the reasons why I think he's doing a great job is because we talked to him, you know, in very real terms about what's going on. There is no fantasy fairy as to why we're not in school or, you know what I mean, as to why we're quarantining, there's, there's a pandemic going on.
[00:03:38] So he's doing well. We're keeping things balanced. we are blessed to have a pretty nice sized backyard. So we do a lot of outside activities. You know, we have recess, adult recess. No worries. I'm out for mommy. Time out for dad. Yeah,
[00:03:55] Brian Beckcom: [00:03:55] exactly.
[00:03:56] Dr. Carleah East: [00:03:56] But we just try to keep a balance and, you know, [00:04:00] allow him to have his gadgets.
[00:04:01] Cause we know, you know, kids are, they want to have their, their gadgets. They want to have their roadblocks, you know? And so we allow time and space for that, but we also just make sure we're breaking bread together and having conversations and still allow him to be a kid. You know, your kids stuff.
[00:04:15] Brian Beckcom: [00:04:15] You know, I was talking to a Methodist preacher a couple of weeks ago for the podcast.
[00:04:18] We were talking about having kids during the pandemic. And he said, he said, yeah, my wife said if. If I caught her talking to herself, she was just having a parent teacher conference.
[00:04:31] So, yeah, but it is interesting. I have three because I have two, I have two boys, 16 and 14 and a daughter who's 12 and it's, it actually has been. it's been good for me and my wife. I think just get to spend a lot of time with our children. So I know these times are terrible, but you know, if we look at the silver lining, we all get to spend maybe too much time with our kids, but, that that's been good too.
[00:04:58] So Dr. East, [00:05:00] you, you're in Florida and you are a clinical. Psychologists tell a therapist. Yeah. And a lot of people in your area know who you are. You've written a book, you've got a great practice, a big practice by the way. And, but, but for the people who don't know who you are, tell us a little bit about where you're from, where you grew up, where you went to school, what you do now, things like
[00:05:26] Dr. Carleah East: [00:05:26] that.
[00:05:27] Okay, well, born and raised right here in st. Petersburg, Florida. And so been here all my life 40 years now. So, yes, I am. I am
[00:05:37] Brian Beckcom: [00:05:37] blessed.
[00:05:39] Dr. Carleah East: [00:05:39] I look good, right?
[00:05:44] I come from good stock.
[00:05:45] Brian Beckcom: [00:05:45] Yeah. There
[00:05:45] Dr. Carleah East: [00:05:45] you go. Yeah. Born and raised and went to university of central Florida for my bachelor's degree. And, Then venture to Argosy university for my masters, and then [00:06:00] finally ended up my studies or ended my studies with Capella university for my PhD. And, I'm blessed enough to come from a family of educators, community activists.
[00:06:10] My dad, you know, worked in Sarasota County for 30 years over parks and recreation. My mom was a college professor. for 30 years. And so I really come from good stock, which has been great in helping me kind of maintain a balance and understand the importance of giving back. To my community, but it has always been a calling for me to be a therapist.
[00:06:31] actually, you know what, I wanted to be a, a lawyer,
[00:06:34] Brian Beckcom: [00:06:34] really? That
[00:06:35] Dr. Carleah East: [00:06:35] was my first dream. Yes. To be a lawyer. And my reasoning was, is I wanted to be able to defend, you know, those that were innocent and persecute those. Yeah. That were guilty. And, after doing a little bit of research, I realized that I might not always get that handout yeah.
[00:06:50] In that way. And I knew I was the type of person. I just I'm I'm I, I wouldn't be built to defend someone that I knew was guilty. That would be hard for [00:07:00] me. So it was like, okay, well, what is it that I can do that sets me on the path? And I realized that, that I had to give them gap. I had to give them understanding, putting things into basic terms so that anyone can understand, and seeing past judgment.
[00:07:14] I wasn't given that thing. You know, my blessings not include passing judgment on folk for their lifestyle or for the cars that they've been dealt. And so I knew probably in a middle school. That I wanted to be a therapist and that's what I focused on and, you know, went to school until I finished. And I ended up opening a practice called smile, which as I stated before, is the acronym for solving and managing issues with love and enrichment.
[00:07:40] And I started out with just a small office of me and a hundred square feet. And you know, and now I have a suite of five offices. and you know, several individuals that work with me as my team. And so I'm very proud to not only be a person of color in this position, because that's a rarity in itself.
[00:07:59] I [00:08:00] mean, United States percentages put me like in what 23% may be in the total us population. So I'm proud to, to be able to provide these services, but also I'm even more proud of having such, such an eclectic group of individuals that work for me. Black white, you know, multiuniverse with their lane, which, we cover substance and addiction issues.
[00:08:21] We cover uh children's yeah. Autism, you know, those types of areas, but women's issues. And your basic mental health issues people deal with on a regular basis, your anxiety and mood disorders, stuff like that. So we really try to cover, cover the gamut and we pride ourselves as specializing in a holistic way of treating individuals.
[00:08:42] Meaning it's not just a book about talk therapy. That's important too, but it's about what are you eating? That's playing a role in the way that you feel, what vitamins are you not putting in your body? What kind of stretching or coping strategies are you putting into play? So we really want to focus on those areas because when we're dealing with topics such as [00:09:00] domestic violence, when we're dealing.
[00:09:01] With topics such as LGBTQ, we want to make sure that we are covering that person for top to bottom. And so, you know, you know, our goal is to never let a person leave our office without a smile on their face because that smile resembles hope. And that's what we inspire to guess.
[00:09:17] Brian Beckcom: [00:09:17] You said a lot there and I got to tell you, doctor, I, I'm, I'm absolutely, and completely fascinated by, by this topic, particularly the topic of psychology addiction, the way your mind works.
[00:09:29] And I've been fascinated frankly, about it for. Gosh, probably seven or eight years because, you know, when I was young, I'm 47 now, but when I was in my twenties and thirties, I thought PTSD, I thought psychology. I thought all that stuff was a bunch of woo, woo. You know, just people talking, is it just toughen up was by our attitude and then.
[00:09:50] I had an experience with panic attacks and, Oh, I got to tell you, after that I found meditation. I found some other things yoga and some [00:10:00] other things were very, very helpful for, for me personally, but it made me realize not only are these psychological issues real, but they, in my opinion are in many ways more important than.
[00:10:15] The F the physical issues we, as like your mental state, is that, that is basically how you, you experience the world, it's with you all the time. And if you're not working on your mental state, then you're gonna, you're, you're not going to have a very happy life. And so I'm super fascinated to hear from you cause this, this really is, I mean, directly in your expertise, that the idea of mental health and, and treating people all different sorts of.
[00:10:44] Issues. So let me ask you this, before we get into the, the meat of this, what, what was it that, what, what was it that made you interested in this? Like, why did you, I mean, I became a lawyer for instance, primarily because my mother died when I was 10 of some really bad [00:11:00] negligence. And I think subconsciously that kind of drove me towards what you were talking about.
[00:11:05] I wanted to help people and families in that situation, but what was it that. For you personally that said, I want to spend, I want to devote my life essentially to helping other people deal with their mental issues.
[00:11:19] Dr. Carleah East: [00:11:19] I think that for me, it, I honestly got pretty tired of hearing people say it's in your head.
[00:11:25] And my response, you know, began to be, yeah, d that's
[00:11:31] Brian Beckcom: [00:11:31] the point, right? That's exactly the point. Yeah.
[00:11:34] Dr. Carleah East: [00:11:34] I think for me, the excitement is not just helping the client that's in front of me, but the reason why I have a platform specifically, cause I could just do therapy, right. I could just talk therapy with my client and that'd be it.
[00:11:45] But the reason why I have this platform is because it's about the individuals who have not quite ready to address the fact that they're having some difficulties, or they have family members that they don't quite understand how to navigate, how to communicate, how to [00:12:00] effectively. You know, support and be there for them.
[00:12:02] So it's kind of like a 50 50 between the two of them. And I genuinely feel that every person on this planet deserves to live their lives to the fullest and be happy and satisfied with that life. Not compromise that life, not settle for that life, but genuinely be happy, you know, about where their life lies.
[00:12:21] And we all have accommodations. You know, those of us that have high blood pressure, we take our high blood pressure medication to help balance that off those of us that, you know, may have some form of physical disability. We put accommodations in place for that situation to be taken care of. But I found a discrepancy and a huge error and the lack of accommodations for mental health.
[00:12:41] And the lack of understanding. And what I also found is that repetitively, we see a, kind of a light flicker in the concept of education, and then the light goes out. So we'll have someone in the profession, no realm of sports or acting or something, come out and say, Oh, I'm bipolar. Or [00:13:00] I have depression, or I deal with this.
[00:13:02] And then we get, we rally the circles around and we rally these wagons and we start supporting, and then that falls off. You know, and when you made that point about. Mental health, having more of an impact. And then sometimes some of our physical medical diagnoses. You're absolutely correct on that. If I have an injury on my ankle, which is causing me pain or causing me difficulty to walk around, and my mindset is one of defeat.
[00:13:29] If my mindset is one that I feel defeated, that I feel no motivation that I don't feel supported, then wherever is that internal drive. Which is only found in terminally or energy or motivation to push and pull me to go to my rehab, to get dressed in the morning, to look at that scar on my ankle and, and see it as a beautiful thing, you know, as a challenge instead of a struggle, that's the mental part.
[00:13:54] And so my job is to come in kind of like a surgeon, but through my words, [00:14:00] And through me, pointing out your words and areas, get you to think differently. That's a powerful thing to do is to get someone's thought process, to change where they are. Anything more
[00:14:12] Brian Beckcom: [00:14:12] powerful than that. I'm not sure there's anything more powerful than that.
[00:14:16] Dr. Carleah East: [00:14:16] Yeah. So to get us to change the way we perceive things or the way we see, we see ourselves
[00:14:21] Brian Beckcom: [00:14:21] and doctor, it's not just like on an individual level, it's on a societal level too. Like we see this right now. Like people are reframing the way they look at certain very important things, both on a societal level and an individual level.
[00:14:35] And I'm not sure anybody could give me an example of anything. That's more powerful than the power of ideas and the power of how you look at it. The world. And you said something earlier, you, I think you were tell me if I'm, if I'm guessing, right, right. I think you were referring to Damar to Rose and Kevin Love when you talked about professional athletes.
[00:14:56] Raising the issue. And then all of a sudden it kind of goes away.
[00:14:59] Dr. Carleah East: [00:14:59] Well, there's [00:15:00] been a, you know, there's been them and many others, you know, that we've seen. And the problem is, is that we, we like these torches and then the flame flickers out and we don't continue to move forward. What I tell people is this, if your car starts to sputter or make any noise of the check, engine light comes on.
[00:15:17] Immediately if we have the means, right? We're like, we need to get this thing right. Fixed because why our car is our means of transportation. Some of us see that as our means to make money, because it gets us from our jobs to our homes, to whatever we do in order so that we can provide for our families.
[00:15:33] So if you would take the same urgency to get your car tuned up and she was to get yourself a mentor. Yeah. And this vehicle. Is the thing. This brain is the thing that carries us from day to day, decision to decision from breath to breath, right? Your brain decides that from breath to breath. Then I think we will start recognizing the power of reaching out and getting some help with some understand
[00:15:58] Brian Beckcom: [00:15:58] and, and for some, [00:16:00] for some people Dr.
[00:16:00] East, and I include myself in this group until having a personal experience with some mental health issues, specifically panic attacks, I think some people still, so Kevin Love and DeMar Rosen are NBA players for people that aren't familiar with this story. And essentially Damara Rosen came out first and said, I've had problems with depression and anxiety.
[00:16:22] And Kevin Love came out and said, me too. And I've had those problems too. And at the time I was thinking, man, that is really brave because particularly in that culture, that macho athletic culture talking about these issues at least historical historically has, has made particularly men feel. Like maybe they're there, they're not up to the task or something.
[00:16:48] So for instance, Dr. Easton, and you'll probably know exactly what I'm talking about when, when I tell you what I'm about to tell you. When I, when I started having panic attacks, I didn't go to the doctor like complete, [00:17:00] stupid idiot, man. Like, I'm like just, I'm going to grit my teeth and I'm going to get through this.
[00:17:04] And so, and, and it took about a year of trying to figure out various things until. Until I finally got that problem solved, but I could have gone to somebody like you immediately and within a couple of weeks that you would have been able to teach me what was going on and how to fix it. So what do you tell people that are hesitant to either admit that they may be struggling mentally with some issues or people that know they're struggling, but they're hesitant to come to something, but he like you, like, what, what would you tell him about that?
[00:17:40] Dr. Carleah East: [00:17:40] I often like to use the, the example of a personal trainer. Right. And so, you know, a lot of us like to go to the gym workout we've, we've had some level of interaction with a personal trainer, someone, right. That tries to guide us on how to help eat. You come to a therapist because you, we are your personal trainers for your mind.
[00:17:59] We [00:18:00] teach you how to use your brain, which is a very large organism that helps to regulate your whole body. We teach you how to use that brain to the best ability so that it can fire and act appropriately so that it can heal the way you need to heal. And so, number one, I try to use it as an example of just like anything you're training for.
[00:18:19] You have to get exposed to a professional in that area to teach you how to. maybe, work past those things that you are weekend. You know, if your first time learning how to train, you may not be able to live 250 pounds out the gate, maybe only a hundred pounder, but that trainer is going to teach you ways.
[00:18:39] Building your resistance, your resiliency, so that you can push towards that two 50. Our job as therapists is to teach you how to handle these mental drainings. These, the mentors that are in our communities that just kind of want to suck all the energy out of us and help us how to balance that. The other piece that I try to inspire to focus, [00:19:00] especially men, we want to really talk about that is the fact that.
[00:19:03] There is the societal umbrella that says that a man has to be strong. And there's this very stereotypical, you know, look of what that man looks like. And what strength is, there's this machismo, right? That men, no matter your culture are put up against. If the idea is really to be strong for your family, strong for your community strong for your environment, why would you allow something to implant itself?
[00:19:31] Fester grow and then interfere with other areas of your life. That's what mental disparity does. That's what mental interruptions do they interrupt our ability to feel positive about ourselves, to feel motivated, to love the way we want to, to live the way we want to and to laugh the way we want to. So, if it's really about strength, we have to recognize that we're not going to allow anything to come in and jeopardize that strength.
[00:19:58] And the strength is [00:20:00] saying, you know what? This is an area I need to know hustle up on. I need to get my mental health to two 50, instead of a hundred. I need to get pushing and, you know, really just making it into human layman's terms that I feel people can understand. And then the third piece, if I may add, is your therapist got to be right?
[00:20:19] You know, the therapist that you go to see, I got to vibe with that person. You feel comfortable with he or her, and you have to feel like they get you. And so it's important just like when we're picking a medical doctor to do surgery on us, we go through the gamut, we check their licenses, we check, you know, we want to know what work they've done.
[00:20:39] It's the same thing with the therapist, finding one that works, or you. We don't all fit. Right. We don't all fit. So be open to that experience of talking to someone, maybe for your first session and being like, Oh, I didn't really vibe with him or her by somebody else,
[00:20:56] Brian Beckcom: [00:20:56] man, that reminds me of this story.
[00:20:58] This is like 20 years ago. I used [00:21:00] to, I used to dip Copenhagen and I quit, but I haven't had a debit Copenhagen about four years now, but I, but I wanted to quit tobacco. So I go to this. Hypnotist. And I show up to this dark office and I'm about to get hypnotized and I see he's got some sort of pendant and he walks out of the room to do something.
[00:21:17] And I'm like, Oh my gosh. I think that might be a devil symbol. I'm about to get here. I'm hypnotized by this guy. So I like immediately just ran out of the office and I never gave that. But, but you, you know, you said something. Yeah. I think I really want people to hear this. I want to emphasize this a little bit at the beginning of what you just said, you talked about.
[00:21:36] Mental training and you compared it to physical training and what it took me a long time to realize doctor is, just like you said, if you put garbage into your body, if you don't use your body the way it's supposed to be used, if you don't exercise your body, you're going to be very physically unhealthy.
[00:21:56] That's just guaranteed.
[00:21:58] Dr. Carleah East: [00:21:58] And
[00:21:58] Brian Beckcom: [00:21:58] so why [00:22:00] would it be any different for your mind? Why would it be any different. If you put a bunch of garbage in your mind and you don't work on your mind, why would you expect your mind to be anything but very unhealthy? And it took me a very long time to realize that doctor, and it also took me a while to realize that what you do and what people like you do is you're, you're just exactly what you said.
[00:22:25] I think it's a great way to put it. You are a physical trainer for the mind you teach people how their minds work. and so I think that's a, that's a fantastic analogy. And I, you know, the other thing, doctor, and I want you to comment on this a little bit. My impression has been, and maybe it's my own bias, but my impression has been over the last five or six, maybe 10 years that we have kind of awoken to the fact.
[00:22:54] That mental health is as important or more important than maybe it's the veterans that [00:23:00] are coming back. Yeah, PTSD. Maybe it's some of the stuff we've been going through as a society. Maybe it's some of the social media and how it affects our brains. But, but my impression is people are starting to realize kind of globally how important it is, what, what you do, how important that is.
[00:23:17] So. Yeah. Do you see that maybe the people are starting to recognize this a little
[00:23:21] Dr. Carleah East: [00:23:21] bit more? I definitely see a trend of people understanding the importance of, of mental health and mental wellness, you know, just globally around. it will be, I would be remiss if I didn't state that, you know, dealing with the pandemic of the COVID-19 that did help to shed some light on this situation because all the distractions that we would normally use.
[00:23:42] To work through some of these situations. we didn't have, because we were kind of, socially quarantining ourselves. So distractions of projects, people and going places and spending money and drinking and, you know, doing all these, you know, unhealthy ways that we overindulge it. Not that you [00:24:00] can't indulge in them, but we overindulge them and we use them as ways of coping.
[00:24:04] We've been forced. To deal with our own stuff. and so I do see people definitely understanding the importance of mental health, but what I also think people are finally getting is how the mental health impacts your behaviors, your actions, and how those compound traumas. That we are. All right now I'm kind of experiencing, right.
[00:24:26] These multiple traumas being added on. So first we were already some, and when I say we, I mean, folks that are like minded, like me, right. There was all, always the trauma of where's our country going, what is happening, you know, with our democracy, with, with our whole government, like what is happening. So they were fears and little microaggressions and traumas that were happening there.
[00:24:50] Then you have a Corona virus come in and now there's an additional trauma cause now freedoms that we once had ability to move about that we once had those things were kind of [00:25:00] taken from us. So many of us that had all of these, I would say opportunities and access to things. For now put in the position that other people have already been living in, which is lack of access and resources and ability to move about.
[00:25:13] So that adds another bit of trust. Okay. Because you're forced to deal with your staff. And then when we add the next level of trauma, which is the, in your face. Of racial disparities that are taking place, we can help, but recognize how that is just heavy on people's mind, emotionally and mentally. Totally.
[00:25:33] And so I have seen an increase in mental health, even on shows like CNN, right? Who's very good. I love seeing it. And they cover these, these great stories. Now they're having more town halls about mental health. You see more mental health apps. That are popping up, you know, around. And so I think it's important for people to recognize that sometimes life is just, yeah, and we need a non-biased viewpoint to just point us in the right direction.
[00:26:00] [00:25:59] You don't have to have a mental illness. Or be diagnosed with, you know, a mental disparity in order for you to reach out for some reason. Yeah. There's some guidance for someone, you know, it doesn't have to be about you with ring. You could be reaching out because you want to help understand your friend or your coworker, or you want to help understand as a white person, how to help black people, the voices being heard, or you want to understand as a parent, how not to flip out while you're being a teacher and a parent, you know, these are sayings.
[00:26:32] That we need help navigating. And that's what mental wellness is about.
[00:26:36] Brian Beckcom: [00:26:36] And it's not something that, and again, this is something that took me a very long time to realize, but it's not something that happens naturally necessarily. I mean, it does take some training, you know, you, you, you talked about the quarantine.
[00:26:50] Yeah. Talk about the protest and then you put on top of that, this essentially science experiment. Called social [00:27:00] media that none of us signed up for really they exploited, I mean the social media companies, and I'm sure you know that Dr. Doctor, some of our listeners may not, but they employ an army of psychologists in order to figure out better ways to manipulate people, to get more clicks, more links, get people on social media.
[00:27:20] And that's fine, I suppose, except none of us signed up for this. Right. Like, we're just, we're, we're just, we're just letting Twitter and Facebook and all these companies run psychological experiments on people essentially without their consent. And so when you combine all this stuff where you and I are talking about, it's a recipe, for, for, an unhealthy mental state of mind.
[00:27:45] So let's get, let's get into the current times now. And maybe you can cause one of the reasons I was. Super excited that you were coming on the podcast was to talk about what people can do. I [00:28:00] mean, quarantine pandemic, racial strife, and protest police brutality. I mean, none of us were prepared for this, earlier in the year.
[00:28:11] So, so give us some general ideas of. You know, what, what you would tell people about how to cope with these things that are just completely and totally unpredictable.
[00:28:22] Dr. Carleah East: [00:28:22] Right. so first of all, I think that we have to number one, recognize on both sides of the gamut. as, as an African American, I have to recognize my worth and value so that I know what it is.
[00:28:36] I'm fighting for, you know, what those disparities are that I'm fighting against. as a non person of color, I need to be aware of my privilege of the access to that. I've had two services or goods, or just, you know, those types of things, both of those sides, being aware of those areas, help us to hone in on what is upsetting us.
[00:28:57] And how we can best utilize [00:29:00] our voices, our strengths to kind of fight against that. I've been asked this question a lot, like how do we navigate? Yeah. You know, everything that's going on without becoming the thing that we're fighting against. Cause it's such an emotional pool. And we were already pulled emotionally before.
[00:29:14] It's very easy for us to get frustrated, angry, and aggressive. So again, know your worth, know your privilege, put those things into perspective. The next thing is that we got to know how we feel and understand why others feel that way. So from my perspective, it's important for me to understand how I feel as a person of color, how this is impacting me.
[00:29:36] What are my fears about this? Because again, acknowledging my fears is a strength because then I know what I need to work on. I know what areas I need to build my strengths up now for the others. The other half of our society, it's really about understanding those biases and understanding the fears that we're having.
[00:29:56] So it's not about feeling sorry, or feeling sympathy [00:30:00] for anyone it's about empathy. And there's, I just wanna explain that for some people who kind of get like, okay, well, what's really the difference between the two sympathy is feeling sorrowful for someone, you know, for their situation. I'm sorry that happened to you.
[00:30:13] I'm sorry. You went through that. Empathy is saying I'm going to put myself in your shoes and actually imagine how it must feel for you. To go through that experience. And so it's important that we understand the empathic part because it's about being able to put yourselves in the shoes of a person and say, now I get why they're pissed.
[00:30:36] Now I get why they're frustrated or angry or sad, you know, or depressed. So there's those pieces. Now when I bring it all together, generally, We've got to ask questions. We have to ask difficult questions and we cannot be afraid to share those answers and to share the ignorances that we may have. Every single person on this planet is born with [00:31:00] biases and prejudicial views.
[00:31:02] Not that your parent and doctrinated this in you, but society, television shows commercial channels, right? Networks are geared towards certain clusters and groups of people. And so when you watch those networks, you're going to automatically get those subliminal messages. That talk about that, that put those ideas in our heads.
[00:31:21] So we have to be aware that we're not, no, one's guilty for creating this. We're guilty. If we're not helping to move it, to push the needle. Right. We're guilty if we're not using our voices. So how do we do that? How do we use our voices? First of all use it in a way that's comfortable for you. Okay. I am very concerned about COVID-19.
[00:31:44] I am very concerned about also my child being African American boy, who's going to grow up to be an African American man. But with that said, what I've got to make sure is that I use my platform in a way that makes me feel safe. Keeps my family safe, but also allows me to speak [00:32:00] my truth. So I make sure that I'm reaching.
[00:32:03] I do my five tips every week, so that I give inspiration to folks I'm sharing positive outcomes of the protests, positive. We know the negative, I'm not ignoring it, but I'm choosing right to share. And tweet about the positive things or sharing tweets about resources or sharing tweet about, organizations that are making moves in our communities.
[00:32:29] Those are ways that we can all use our platforms or we can use our social media pages to trust strategically. Have a voice, even if it's one of just positive means and inspiration, even if it's one of you just sharing the fact of two people hugging each other, it doesn't matter. We have to use those. And then the next thing that we have to do is start asking questions, asking questions at our workplaces, asking questions at our churches, at our community [00:33:00] organizations, where are you?
[00:33:01] You know, IB, you know, where are you? International baccalaureate program on making sure that we are having equality for all people. Where are you middle school or high school? Where are you? Johnson and Johnson. You know, we have to ask these questions of the places that we, that we patronize as well as the places that we are employed to make sure that they are aware that we are aware that some changes need to be.
[00:33:27] Take place for inclusivity of all people. And those are just some very generic things, but those are very how powerful, powerful things, because those are ground breaking, right. Things that we can do to start the conversation. Think about cancer when cancer first was diagnosed and a name was put to it. No one talked about it.
[00:33:51] Don't talk about cancer. Don't want people to know you have cancer. It was this big secret thing.
[00:33:55] Brian Beckcom: [00:33:55] Like it was good pages or something, right. Yeah.
[00:33:57] Dr. Carleah East: [00:33:57] Right, right. And now what do you [00:34:00] have? You can't Google cancer. Without finding a walk, a March, a protest, a fundraiser, you know, save the topic, something going on every single month.
[00:34:11] Right. And that's because we talked about it, we had dialogue and we find ways to celebrate. And we found ways to encourage people. And we found people who survived cancer to show folks that they can get through it. And so it's that same thought process and manifestation of ideas. And works that we have to do.
[00:34:31] We're dealing with mental health. We have to find people who are in it, not just famous people, but folk we see across the street folk, we see as CEOs of our organizations and our corporations to talk about this, we have to give it a face of familiarity and we have to continue to raise awareness about it and not stop.
[00:34:50] Because once you stop, you become stagnant. Yeah.
[00:34:53] Brian Beckcom: [00:34:53] And, and, and you said something earlier about, you know, interacting in a positive way. And I, and I'll tell you last night, [00:35:00] the protest, the NFL protests has been a big deal to me for a very long time because you, and I think it's because I have a black, older brother, I was a basketball player in high school and college.
[00:35:13] I spent a lot of time around black men, particularly very big black men. And so I I've I've, I feel like, personally invested in this. And so I've been posting stuff on social media for many years, about how we have forgotten about. The historical fact that our country was founded on protest. This is part of the fabric of our country.
[00:35:40] And it's been really frustrating to me because Dr. The people that don't agree with the kneeling typically say something about the military. The flag and it's like, I'm banging my head against the wall. I mean, my father and my mother, both my grandfathers, two of my uncles and [00:36:00] hundreds of my friends were in the military.
[00:36:01] Don't tell me about the military. That's what I feel like saying, I know more about the military, then I forgotten more about the military than most of you will ever know. And so last night, okay. You know, you start to see people like drew Brees. And JJ watt, they they've, they figured this out. They're listening now.
[00:36:19] They're like, it is not about the mill. It's never been about the military, but anyway, last night I saw somebody posts a long post on Facebook about please don't kneel during the flag, it's disrespectful to military. And then there was this long story about the military, and I got so annoyed with this. I sent this, I put this long comment up and it was basically, you know, I'm sick and tired.
[00:36:43] People using the military for political reason, the military doesn't want to have anything to do with this. This is other people pulling the military in and using them. And it's gross. In my opinion, the point, the reason I'm bringing this up though doctors, because I was [00:37:00] really aggressive in the post. And I thought about it.
[00:37:03] And 10 minutes later, I message the person I had commented and said, look, I was too aggressive. And, I'm sorry, I shouldn't have done that. And one of the things that I think I've realized as I grow older is that the approach I took basically saying, you know, you're, you're a jackass. We'll never convince anybody of anything.
[00:37:26] So we've gotta be more mindful of this, but on the flip side, even as even somebody in my situation who, you know, I, I like to think that I have, one of the richest cultural experiences you could possibly have given my background, even I am learning things. That I never knew. For instance, a friend of mine who is a six foot, 250 pound black guy, I used to play football.
[00:37:56] He characterized himself as a pit bull. He puts something up on one of my posts the other [00:38:00] day that said, Man. I got a plan when I go out at night. I gotta be careful if I'm at the park, I can't have a bad day. I can't get angry in public. And I was like, man. Wow. That I, you know, I, I didn't think about that fact.
[00:38:14] So that w when you talk about empathy, I think it's important for people, even people that feel like they understand what other people are going through to be openminded enough. To be able to learn, Hey, maybe you don't know everything that people are going through. Right. And so talk, talk about, talk about that a little bit.
[00:38:37] If you, if you don't mind, like how do you learn? What's the best way to learn and empathize with what other people are going through, whether you're black, white, or any other race or anything like that?
[00:38:50] Dr. Carleah East: [00:38:50] I think it really comes down to choosing to educate yourself. you know, we make a lot of excuses as we don't know, that's the way I was raised that, you know, that's all I've been [00:39:00] exposed to, but, I'm pretty sure you didn't know exactly what your seats were going to be at the next concert, but you did some research and you found out, right.
[00:39:10] So that's what frustrates me as well as from a clinician and, and, you know, yes, I'm a clinician, but I'm a black woman first. Right. And so what, What causes me some pause is when, when folk don't understand that it's up to them, to take power in their own purpose and to take charge of the message that not only they perpetuate, but also the message that they create.
[00:39:35] From themselves. And so educating yourself on disparities, meaning yeah. Did you know, follow them folk that are living in that lifestyle that you don't understand in order for you to maintain? It was funny because when we have, I'm a professor too at st. Petersburg college. And, when, when I am teaching my students about diversity and I'm educating them and [00:40:00] specifically my students that are getting ready to travel overseas, you know, when we could travel, to do study abroad, They had to study the culture that they were getting ready.
[00:40:09] Brian Beckcom: [00:40:09] Absolutely. Should they should.
[00:40:11] Dr. Carleah East: [00:40:11] Right. That is the point. If you want to be a part of assisting, helping, bringing about change awareness to any type of culture of th that's being treated, you know, in a negative light, whether it's LGBTQ, whether it's women, whether it's Muslims, whether it's African American, whomever, it is, you gotta educate yourself.
[00:40:33] On their culture, you have to educate them yourselves on what their experience, the other piece of that, you can't be afraid to recognize that you are ignorant. In that area. I am ignorant in the ways of calculus. I have no problem.
[00:40:51] Brian Beckcom: [00:40:51] I have an engineering degree. Anytime you want to teach me a little clinical psychology,
[00:41:00] [00:41:00] Dr. Carleah East: [00:41:00] a trade off, we would have an even trade, you know, but it's like, yeah, I have this PhD.
[00:41:06] It's psychology. That's my area. I don't know every single area about everything. So it's humbling ourselves to know that we need to ask, that group, how, you know, what is it that I can do to, to impact you? How do I change? This is the other piece. I think we have to really recognize, the stereotypes and the biases, as I stated before that we hold, but we also have to decide what type of message we want to send out to the world.
[00:41:35] No matter how upset you are, no matter how enraged you are. And trust me, I have those moments all the time when I'm looking across different feeds, I have to still decide the type of person that I want to represent because. Folks are going to look at me as being a representation of African American PhD clinician, for sure.
[00:41:59] Whether I [00:42:00] want them to or not.
[00:42:01] Brian Beckcom: [00:42:01] Yeah. That's going to happen no matter what.
[00:42:04] Dr. Carleah East: [00:42:04] Yeah. So I've got to make sure that my message is one that, holds a level of responsibility and accountability for others that are in my same field. You would have to do the same thing. So I think it's about not just allowing the action to activate us.
[00:42:21] Right. And that's being just quickly to react, but being proactive and proactivity is when you pause from that comment and that statement, you think about the platform and the position that you're in, whether you work for the city, whether you work at a gas station, you know, whether you work at discount auto parts, it doesn't matter.
[00:42:42] There are people that work at discount out parts. There's people that work at gas stations. There's people that work in these areas that are looking for some guidance and some understanding. So we all have that responsibility to make sure that we're clear and that we're not behaving and responding in a way [00:43:00] that represents what we're fighting against harder to do.
[00:43:04] You know, harder, you know, easy to sell a lot harder. So let's say you can, let's just say you're pissed. Right? And you just don't know Andy kind of way, other than to say what, what you need to say now. I am not innocent of reading. I've never been stopped, but I mean, honestly I gotta be stereotypical. I totally journal.
[00:43:29] I totally have a place that I spew all the stuff that pisses me off. It's a space for me to be transparent. And when I don't have that, that journal, I have a person. Well, I know, understands me in and out and who's okay with me yelling the things that I want to yell with me using the profane language that I selected.
[00:43:47] Get my point cross, you know, from me crying. Because I don't understand for me being angry for me being afraid, we have to have safe spaces that we allow ourselves to get that out because [00:44:00] only then can we get all that frustration, anger, right? Cause we got free will. But then after we worked through that, then we're able to process our thoughts a little bit easier because it's not being clouded by all the aggression.
[00:44:10] Yeah, you have to have a healthy place to put your anger too. You have to help a sounding board to disclose that because then once we do that, we're able to think more calmly. It's like that angry email. You want to send out to someone, right. You'll type it up and be like, well, first of all, he'll go through this whole category of reading this person there.
[00:44:32] Brian Beckcom: [00:44:32] You know, what's so weird to
[00:44:33] Dr. Carleah East: [00:44:33] doctor. Let me tell you, what's
[00:44:35] Brian Beckcom: [00:44:35] so bizarre. I find this so strange. Yeah. Interesting at the same time. So. There's people on Facebook and social media that I know personally that are fantastic people on social media, you would think they were insane. Like I know these people personally.
[00:44:55] I know they're nice folks. And I know there's one guy who [00:45:00] donated a kidney to a stranger, but if you looked at his Facebook page, you would think he was certifiably. Insane. And so this disconnect between what we see online and what we see when we're talking face to face, like we, you and I are right now is just.
[00:45:21] Amazing. But you know, you, you talk about empathy a little bit and, and, and, and I think that's really important. So let let's talk about George Ford. For instance, George Ford was six foot seven muscular strong, intimidating looking black guy. He had to behave in ways that frankly, I, or you don't have to be Hey, because people are naturally intimidated by him.
[00:45:46] And I keep hearing this stuff about, well, He had a criminal record and this and that, you know, why don't we ever ask the next question? Which is, Oh yeah, what did he do? Well, it turns [00:46:00] out that he got a felony for some low level drug offense. Somebody in my neighborhood would get deferred adjudication for it.
[00:46:10] And so he's his. Yeah. If you want to call him a criminal fine, but you better do your homework and figure out where that came from. Because the path that he was put on early in his life is just not the same path that one of my kids would be put on if they were in the exact same situation. And that's what I think.
[00:46:31] And, and that that's not. To criticize or say anything bad about anybody, right. It's a fact. Yeah. It's just a fact until we realize that those facts.
[00:46:45] Dr. Carleah East: [00:46:45] Yeah.
[00:46:47] Brian Beckcom: [00:46:47] then, then, I mean like the, to me, the first step is realizing. This is the facts. These are the facts now, what are we going to do about it? Right. I mean, it's not like we can shrink George Floyd to be six foot and make him [00:47:00] less intimidating.
[00:47:01] Right. But we can certainly understand. That people, big people like him, particularly big black men, like him don't get treated the same as the restaurant. It's just that they just
[00:47:12] Dr. Carleah East: [00:47:12] don't. If, if you know, if you were to take, less, let's just remove the criminal, you know, criminality of it. All right. Let's just remove that because that's not the case and a large majority of our black men that have been killed on the streets.
[00:47:27] Many of them don't have records. And
[00:47:29] Brian Beckcom: [00:47:29] I want to make sure I want to make sure and flag that I don't want to read to you, but there's something really important about that, that I want to talk about. So go, so go ahead though.
[00:47:36] Dr. Carleah East: [00:47:36] Okay. And so my thing is, you know, when we look at it, if you, if you look at us a six foot, seven white guy, think about this, this is how I tell people when you win, you win.
[00:47:45] If you want to recognize some of these ways to check yourself, you know, That six foot seven black guys should not automatically come with intimidating. Yeah. And then that intimidation, yeah. Based on what this is, what I'm asking each person to ask themselves. [00:48:00] When you look at this tall black guy, why do they intimidate you?
[00:48:04] Do they intimidate you from an actual experience that you've had to be intimidate you from a comment that he or she has made to you? No, they're silent. You're just looking at them. So what is it? It's the stereotype because if I was to take. That George Florida character and put in that character, a Mark Ricker, Steve, you would not feel the same intimidation that you feel from Georgia Floyd.
[00:48:26] So that is that recognition of the bias, right? The stereotype, the microaggressions that are already there because they're causing us to set a vantage point of judge and intimidation doesn't even exist. We have to understand it.
[00:48:41] Brian Beckcom: [00:48:41] And you know the thing, and I've been thinking about this quite a bit lately, too.
[00:48:44] The thing about. that is, I'm not intimidated by, but I see a big black guy. I'm like, I've been banging against these guys for my entire life playing basketball. I've had, I've had a blast. I'm I feel no intimidation at all, but guess what? [00:49:00] I've had a little bit of an advantage in the way I grew up over some other folks.
[00:49:05] So the other folks that haven't had, the experiences that I have probably aren't going to feel quite the same way. And so. A big part of, I think our job, as it relates to all this stuff is education. you know, just educating people about yeah. things that they just know, nothing about.
[00:49:26] Dr. Carleah East: [00:49:26] Yes, continuing to have education and continuing from that, for the education to come from people, honestly, that also look just like them.
[00:49:33] That's the piece as well. You know, it is when you think about effective change in our country, right? Just open just a historical perspective, in order for change, to take place with any organization or any group of our population, marching or protesting, they. Consider the opposition to have their backs and that March women for our writing votes and equality needed men to speak up for our rights to vote, you know, [00:50:00] black people need white people and all others to stick up for the inequalities and the social disparities that are happening.
[00:50:07] Brian Beckcom: [00:50:07] A friend of mine told me, a friend of mine told me Dr. G not to interrupt you, but a friend of mine told me, I thought this was a great quote. He said, injustice will not be prevented until the people that are not affected by it are as offended as the people that are affected by it. Right.
[00:50:25] Dr. Carleah East: [00:50:25] And that's when it that's, when it really goes down to particularly you, for instance, using your voice in front of your peers specifically is going to go across much differently than me using my voice or my husband using his board.
[00:50:38] So we have to understand those powers that we have just from, in our own cultures of how to educate. I think the other piece with that education is then once we, once we start that conversation, Living the conversation. You just can't have the conversation and put out a tweet or a meme I'm so over that or a hashtag [00:51:00] prayers.
[00:51:01] Brian Beckcom: [00:51:01] Yeah. Tears and prayers. All right. Great tears and prayers right now. Let's get some action and actually get something done,
[00:51:06] Dr. Carleah East: [00:51:06] but you might have missed something.
[00:51:08] Brian Beckcom: [00:51:08] You said something earlier that I think is really important because there's, there's been some talk about this statistic that white people actually get killed by cops at a greater rate than black people.
[00:51:20] And I've heard. I've heard this from people that I actually really respect people that are, you would normally think would, would, would, have some different views on that. And it frustrates me because of what you said, because it's not just the number of people that have been killed. There. It is also how many of these folks were innocent.
[00:51:42] How many of these folks got killed as a result of a traffic ticket? I mean, just last night, doctor, you know, there are two nights ago. A black man was shot in the back three times running away. But the most, the, the, the thing about that that's so crazy to me is he was passed out, [00:52:00] drunk in a parking lot in his car.
[00:52:02] Why don't we just go and call him a taxi? Hey, can I help you out, man? Hey, I'm going to grab your keys. We're going to have him at the station. We're going to call you neighbor and we're going to make sure you get home. All right, like this man Halliday. It's it's a confrontation is just nuts. I mean, what, what are we doing here?
[00:52:24] I mean, how many black men have been killed as a result of having a busted tail light? That's a question we really need to be, and it's not just the shootings. It's the, it's the, just the mistreatment in general, the suspicion, all that sort of thing. That's not captured in the statistics. But if you know anything at all about the experience of the black community, then you know that it's just, the treatment is different.
[00:52:52] I don't get, I live in a neighbor, a very wealthy neighborhood in Houston. I have never been harassed by the police. Ever, and I [00:53:00] don't know a single person in my neighborhood who's been harassed, literally, not a single person by contrast. I was talking to a buddy of mine. Who's a sports professional in China and he knows 25 NBA or professional basketball players.
[00:53:14] He said a hundred percent of them had had an experience. So,
[00:53:19] Dr. Carleah East: [00:53:19] and experience. Yeah. I'm sure you have,
[00:53:21] Brian Beckcom: [00:53:21] I'm sure you have. And you know what. I haven't, I've been pulled over by the cops. I've never felt like I was, I was being mistreated because I had blonde hair, you know, I was all or, or, or anything like that.
[00:53:33] And so, and this is not to say by the way. And I think some people, when they hear this stuff, think that we're fussing at them, or we're saying they're bad people. We're pointing our finger at. We're we're not, I don't think at least I'm not all I'm trying to say is we have to recognize factually
[00:53:49] Dr. Carleah East: [00:53:49] right?
[00:53:50] Brian Beckcom: [00:53:50] That there, there are differences in the way people. Are treated.
[00:53:55] Dr. Carleah East: [00:53:55] Yes. And I often say I often lead with this, when I'm talking to people about [00:54:00] these areas, you know, never to offend, always to educate because that is exactly what we need. We need to be educated. You know, we need to be educated on the fact that yes, I hear your stats right.
[00:54:10] About more white people, you know, versus black. But when we look at the, the, the population in whole, the, the numbers. Of white Americans versus the numbers of black Americans and then the numbers of black Americans being smaller. But then that number being despairingly spiritually huge of those that are mass incarcerated, treated differently, killed on the streets.
[00:54:34] You just cannot compare.
[00:54:36] Brian Beckcom: [00:54:36] No, it's not, even if it's not even the same universe. I mean, it's just,
[00:54:40] Dr. Carleah East: [00:54:40] yeah. Right, right. And so again, this is kind of comes down to that point of. What we're saying is not that these things don't happen in other areas. What we're saying is that there is a major area of disconnect.
[00:54:55] When it comes to the frequency of these disparities happening to Brown and black individuals. [00:55:00] That is what we're saying. And the only way to bring about that effective change is for conversations like this, for those of us to be active in our own communities. I'm not saying that you have to go out and protest because you gotta be safe.
[00:55:13] For sure. Not saying that you, you know, you want to get involved in the political realm.
[00:55:18] Brian Beckcom: [00:55:18] And I don't have, so you're not saying, you're not saying Brian Beckham, you got it. Go move to the fifth ward in Houston and live with a bunch of black people for the next five years. We're not even in that or vice versa.
[00:55:28] Hey doctor, you got to come move into my neighborhood for five years. All we're saying, we got recognize that we've got a community that gets treated in ways that are different from other communities in ways that are not fair. And we need to empathize with people. And, you know, I will say this, Dr. E's. I have been, I've been very, happy to see when, you know, when you see an 85 year old, [00:56:00] old, white guy by himself on the corner with a black lives matter billboard, or when you see Mitt Romney walking, or when you see, you know, groups of people that you would have never expected.
[00:56:15] To stand up and support this movement. Aye. Aye. Aye. I think that shows that not, not only that there's hope, but that we have a lot more. Good folks in this country than we do bad folks.
[00:56:29] Dr. Carleah East: [00:56:29] Yeah. Yeah. I agree. I think that we that's that positivity of reframing things and not just always focusing on what is not happening, but focuses on the things that are happening in the, the mindsets that are evolving and giving people time to evolve.
[00:56:45] Remember. Folk are really being educated right now on this thing, and they're figuring it out. And so instead of a screaming, stay in your position, do something about it, you know, educate them so that they can state their [00:57:00] position. But then the other piece of that is to also, you know, if we are to have any effective changes of people, we have to forgive, the ignorance is of fools.
[00:57:08] And we have to learn how to do. We have to allow people to make amends who make mistakes, where they allow people who make, get the statement wrong to come back and get the statement. Right?
[00:57:17] Brian Beckcom: [00:57:17] 100% agree, honored percent agree. Like we have to forgive people that make mistakes that are legitimately trying to learn.
[00:57:26] I mean, this, this notion that if you say something wrong, you're, you're done forever is preposterous. And the people that do this. Are just as big a fascist as the fascist themselves. You got to give people a chance to tone. If, if they're, if they're honest about it, I mean, there, there are literally murderers that we have forgiven over people that have just made bad comments on social media and have apologized.
[00:57:54] I mean, this is, this is kind of upside down. Well, doctor we've been gone for an hour. Do you have [00:58:00] another 15 minutes or so? Sure. Okay. So, and I want it, I want it talk about your book or read your book. yesterday. Great book. It's called the hangover. And then the subtitle is overcoming emotional addiction, 12 steps to emotional sobriety, everybody, the hangover overcoming addiction, 12 steps for emotional sobriety doctor Carlia East that's on Amazon.
[00:58:23] You can get it. Matter of fact, if you're, I don't know if you know this doctor, but if you're a prime member. You can do the book trade and just get it for free. I think they still pay the author, but I
[00:58:34] Dr. Carleah East: [00:58:34] got it for free,
[00:58:38] Brian Beckcom: [00:58:38] but great, great book. And, you know, I, I was, I made some notes on the book. First of all, I got to ask you this question.
[00:58:44] Okay. Where did you get the nickname? Sapphire woman.
[00:58:55] Dr. Carleah East: [00:58:55] I actually, I have a organization called the Sapphire woman [00:59:00] organization. and we are geared towards having, helping women of all socioeconomic backgrounds and sexualities to kind of find their hope, healing and happiness. That's what we focus on. And I am a proud member of Zeta Phi beta sorority, which the color is Royal blue.
[00:59:14] And so. When I thought about the color Royal blue and the stone Sapphire, which I've already always loved. I thought about the fact that it stood for royalty, but blue also stands for healing and peace and, you know, renewal. Right. And those are things that I and truth. And those are things that I think women all should embrace.
[00:59:36] And embodying no matter what walks of life. And so in order for me to, to have women become Sapphire women, I got to be her myself. And so that's where that came from.
[00:59:44] Brian Beckcom: [00:59:44] I love it. Well, the book is great and the book, I think it's fair. And then tell me if I'm characterizing it correctly. It's basically, like a, a map or a, like a [01:00:00] route about how to, first of all, define emotional addiction.
[01:00:03] Second of all. how you recognize the different signs of it. And then third of all, you got a bunch of great suggestions about how to overcome emotional addiction, but I made some notes and there's no way I'd have to get you on another podcast to be able to talk about everything I want to talk about with book, but you talk about.
[01:00:21] A couple of things. I made some notes on that I want to make sure and touch on real quick. So first of all, the , when we talk about emotional addiction, you define emotional addiction is basically being addicted to the highs, the emotional highs and lows of the relationship. And I, and I think actually we could take that outside of the context of what you're talking about in the book and see some people are addicted.
[01:00:46] To the emotional highs and lows of the internet, social media right now. Right. And so, so, so that rage and anger and all that stuff becomes somewhat addictive, but you talk about, and by the way, I love this [01:01:00] kind of thing. I love how you talk about journaling. You talk about mantras, you talk about surrounding yourself with positive people.
[01:01:08] You talk about. triggers you talk about recognizing mental patterns and I want to hit those just real quick. So tell us a little bit about. mantras what they are kind of how they fit into the book and your way of seeing the
[01:01:25] Dr. Carleah East: [01:01:25] world. Okay. Mantras in general are just positive affirmations. You know, that we can Google or create yourself specifically for, my book, the hangover.
[01:01:37] I use it as an exercise. That's one of the things I love about the book, cause it really is a guide. You know what each chapter gives you a free therapeutic exercise, you know, to engage in, to explore. It's awesome.
[01:01:48] Brian Beckcom: [01:01:48] Very straightforward. I mean, it's like you lay it out so straight forward. I love the way you, the way you lay it out.
[01:01:56] Dr. Carleah East: [01:01:56] Yes. Yes. And I, and I liked that it's a as a very evergreen [01:02:00] approach, so no matter. You know what you're going through to at any moment, you can pick that up. Yeah. But the mantra is really about you recognizing the things in are about you that you don't like, because those are the easiest words to pull out.
[01:02:11] Right? We're, we're constantly berating ourselves and judging ourselves and feeling guilty about stuff. So at first you point out everything, you don't like, you know, my head's too big. I got cellulite, you know, muscle's not big enough. I don't make enough money. Whatever the point of it is for you to counteract that with something positive.
[01:02:27] You know, so, you know, maybe I have cellulite because I brought three kids, three wonderful kids into the world. And they're amazing individual.
[01:02:35] Brian Beckcom: [01:02:35] Have you been talking to my wife?
[01:02:39] Dr. Carleah East: [01:02:39] I know,
[01:02:44] but it's just about really, it's about finding those things that we normally. Would see as a downfall or a weakness and finding the strength. And it's like, for instance, you know, I have dark circles under my eyes, you know, am I going to complain about them? I ain't to realize these [01:03:00] dark circles represent hard work and dedication.
[01:03:03] So it's reframing yeah. The negatives, making that a positive and then saying that to yourself every day that you get up, instead of saying what we often say, I didn't get this done. You know, here's another day, you know, being agitated. So the mantra is really about surrounding yourself with positive energy about yourself.
[01:03:20] Because if you are investing in you and making you positive than it, it, it sets you up to be able to combat the negativity that you're going to face, regardless from people that aren't,
[01:03:30] Brian Beckcom: [01:03:30] I absolutely love that. And it's important to, I think, and you said this in the book to actually ride them down, like to actually put them down on paper, like write down.
[01:03:41] Your mantra. There's something about the connection from your hand to your brain that really kind of solidifies those kinds of thought processes. So, so that's a good segue, I think, to talk about journaling. So I've journaled for 25 years, a journal basically every day is one of the best things [01:04:00] I've ever done in terms of just being able to get stuff out of my head, mental loops we get into, or like when I'm, when I'm having some negative mental States.
[01:04:11] Throwing that stuff down on paper. It's amazing how therapeutic that can be. So tell us a little bit about, your experience and your thoughts on journaling.
[01:04:20] Dr. Carleah East: [01:04:20] you know, I was asked one time in an interview, there was a book that you could recommend to someone, what book would you recommend? And I said a journal and they said it was the author of that.
[01:04:30] And I'm like, you.
[01:04:35] Yeah, but will really is a safe place. And that's what I want to those two words. It's a safe space. Many times, even if we're talking to our loved ones, they may not understand exactly the inks and the Tor moral and the frustrations that we're going through because they haven't necessarily lived our lives in color and had the experiences that we've had, even though we're married to them, they may not get it.
[01:04:55] and so your journal is a safe space for you to put your thoughts, no matter how politically [01:05:00] incorrect they are, no matter the fact that you can't tweet it or type it. It's an area for you to express some of that aggression that we all have that free will, that we all have. And then for you to tackle it in your own time, instead of someone putting a timer or a deciding factor on when you're supposed to work through a we're supposed to process things.
[01:05:18] The thing that journaling does is that clear space. For you to process and think clearly on the things that are the most important, you know? Yeah. Can we get things in our head? And we vacillate and vacillating means we re we think about them over and over, like a repetition over and over and over again.
[01:05:34] And so it interrupts our sleep. It, it, it causes us to be easily frustrated with folks. Our temperament is a little bit less calmer. So when you're able to take that piece of it and put that on a sheet of paper, even if it's before bed, put that list of, to do things on a nightstand so that you can have peace at night so that you can remove that negativity so that your brain can have what it needs to have, the space that it needs to operate fully.
[01:05:57] Then you do that. And the really cool thing about the [01:06:00] journal is it shows your progress or the areas that you need to do a little bit more work in because you're able to go back and read your own words of what you were frustrated about, or your own words of the things that you wanted to conquer and kind of check yourself, right.
[01:06:13] Do a self check. I have conquered this. I'm a lot better at this, or I still do this behavior. Let me work on that. So it's really. Your own manifestation of the truth of who you are, where you're trying to be and the steps to get there. And it's personal and only for your eyes. And that's a very safe place to be in.
[01:06:31] Brian Beckcom: [01:06:31] And there's no rules. There's no, you don't have to write a certain thing. You don't have to write a certain number of words. It's not, it's not like that at all, but it really is. And you know, the next thing I was going to talk about is these patterns in your mind. And it's amazing to me, doctor, how.
[01:06:48] Mantras journaling, mental patterns, how they're connected, they're all so connected. So one of the things I find when I journal is I'll start going, man, [01:07:00] I got a mental pattern going over this particular subject. I need to figure out how to break this pattern. You know what I mean? And so, so, so that again is the perfect.
[01:07:09] So we talked about mantra as we talked about journaling. talk a bit, a little bit about. Mental patterns, how people, so, so what I didn't know until about, until I started meditating about 10 years ago, I didn't even know I had mental patterns. To be honest, I didn't even know they existed. Right. I just thought I was, you know, my brain and just worked the way it worked and everything.
[01:07:31] And that was it. And you know, when I started meditating and all, all, I mean by that is when I started looking at my thoughts. I read that basically all of my thoughts were where some sort of mental pattern.
[01:07:46] Dr. Carleah East: [01:07:46] So
[01:07:47] Brian Beckcom: [01:07:47] what do you, what do you recommend for people? First of all to recognize their mental patterns.
[01:07:54] And then number two, if they want to do something about those patterns, how would you suggest they go about [01:08:00] that?
[01:08:00] Dr. Carleah East: [01:08:00] So in recognizing the mental patterns, we got to go back to what we just talked about. Journaling is going to be super awesome for that because you're writing what you're thinking. Right? And so when you're able to go back and look at, you know, week one, week two, and this theme.
[01:08:14] It's coming up in your writings and that's an area that needs a little bit more attention. if you're not writing and you just find yourself coming back to the same thought process. That's when, you know, there's something that you need to address. Number one is when you can't kick it, when you can't shake it, when it constantly pops up and things, that's not even relevant for it to pop up in, like, if you're at the grocery store looking for fruit loops and all of a sudden this thing pops in your head and you're like, can I just want some fruit,
[01:08:41] Brian Beckcom: [01:08:41] Sheila, where are the fruit loops?
[01:08:48] Dr. Carleah East: [01:08:48] You know, I hate that woman. And that's exactly what it is. Yeah. Is being able to see yourself coming back to a [01:09:00] similar thought process. So, so to answer the question of recognizing it's either seeing the patterns in your writing or recognizing that you're still upset about this, that you still talking about it.
[01:09:09] The other piece about that is the mindfulness and understanding your patterns. Once you realize that you are still upset about something that, so that is still triggers your meaning. It has an emotional pool. That's what a trigger is by the way that trigger is something, whether it's sight, touch, taste, smell, or sound that pulls us emotionally.
[01:09:28] So it can be a song. It can be the taste, the taste of a food. It can be the sound, whatever it is,
[01:09:33] Brian Beckcom: [01:09:33] smell, smell,
[01:09:35] Dr. Carleah East: [01:09:35] smell, right. A touch in the wrong place. You don't can trigger up in different types of ways. And so it's about you being mindful of how you're being pushed and pulled how your sentences are being impacted.
[01:09:47] Mindfulness is about thinking more deeply about what you're hearing in your senses. So when you're mindful, it's about me taking stock in. What am I hearing right now? What am I tasting right now? What am I smelling? What am I feeling? [01:10:00] What am I thinking? Why am I thinking that way is really dissecting your thought at that moment, that allows us to see patterns in the way that we think that allows us to say, you know what?
[01:10:10] I'm upset. I'm angry. Why am I angry? Okay. Cause my little boy spilled milk on carpet, but is that really why, you know, is that really? It am I really upset that my five-year-old made a five year old booboo, you know, made a five year old accident? Or am I upset about something else? That is now being directed and bleeding into this.
[01:10:32] So that's what being mindful. The more mindful you are, the more you can check yourself and ask yourself those questions. Then the more powerful you become, because you're more aware of how your brain processes information. And then once you, I realize that this is something that causes me irritated immediately, or every time Joan walks into the office, I'm just like, here she goes.
[01:10:53] You know, those are things that you notice patterns in. Then that's the area that you need to focus on. Effective coping strategies [01:11:00] and coping strategies are simply put you putting things in place that allow you to still be your best self, even though your triggers are present. Yeah. That's what those are for.
[01:11:11] So, yeah, it's really about being more mindful, understanding how you feel, recognizing those patterns and then questioning why exactly you're still feeling that way.
[01:11:20] Brian Beckcom: [01:11:20] You know, Mark Twain has a great quote. He said, I am an old man and have known and I'm paraphrasing, but you'll get the point. I'm an old man and have known many sorrows.
[01:11:29] Most of which never happened. Right. And he's trying to illustrate the point. And so for me, like I had a, I injured my wrist a couple summers ago, and this is a, this is not a huge deal, but I think it's really illustrative of the way your mental patterns were. So I hurt my wrist and I was scheduled to play in a golf tournament with a good friend of mine that I've been playing in for five years.
[01:11:50] It's kind of the highlight of my summer. I was always look forward to this and he's a really, really close friend. His wife comes up to. Colorado, [01:12:00] my wife, we all love each other and we have a great time. And so I hurt my wrist and it hurt like painfully physically it hurt. But then I started telling myself a story in my head and the story went, something like this, what am I going to do?
[01:12:15] If it doesn't get better in a month? What if it, what if it's worse than I think. What if I have arthritis and it's always going to hurt for the rest of my life. And I started, and I'm laughing
[01:12:26] Dr. Carleah East: [01:12:26] because I know you probably
[01:12:27] Brian Beckcom: [01:12:27] hear this all the time. Right. And so I was like, you know, Whoa, this is a difference between pain, which is just whatever, the physical sensations you're feeling and suffering.
[01:12:40] Like basically causing
[01:12:43] Dr. Carleah East: [01:12:43] more pain.
[01:12:47] Brian Beckcom: [01:12:47] So there's these patterns in these triggers that you're talking about, that, that, I mean, they, they, the difference between having a wrist injury that gets better in a month and having a wrist injury that you mentally torture yourself about for three [01:13:00] weeks is massive. Right?
[01:13:03] Dr. Carleah East: [01:13:03] Yeah, our body responds to the way that we think our brain is our motherboard of our body.
[01:13:09] You know, when you hear things about, you can stress yourself into an early yeah. Stress is about thinking and I'm bodies don't recognize good versus bad stress. It just knows that we're stressed. We can be stressed because we're getting married and we just got a promotion and we're so excited and happy to be worked for.
[01:13:24] Or we could be stressed because we're getting a divorce and we're getting demoted, you know? So our body doesn't know. But what we do know is that when we produce negative thoughts that causes negative toxins to attack our bodies, those toxins attack our white blood cells, which are there to fight off infection, disease, things of that nature.
[01:13:42] So if you've ever noticed that this way, think about when you've been really taxed about something, when you've been really. I'm upset about something or grieving something you ever notice, you get headaches, stomach aches, you know, you get tingling sensations, you know, those things don't operate the same.
[01:13:57] You get heart palpitations. They don't operate the same [01:14:00] because your mind is flustered. So the more that we can keep our mind healthy by making sure we're getting our Omega threes and our vitamins and our nutrients, and talk about things that we're experiencing. If we don't want to talk. Write them out.
[01:14:12] The more that we do that, the more that we are providing our brain a space for it to let go all of those toxins or it's to release that negativity and for it to restore and renew so that it can operate the way we need it to operate.
[01:14:25] Brian Beckcom: [01:14:25] Awesome. And then the last thing, and again, we could talk about, cause I, I mean basically every single sentence in your book is something I'm interested in.
[01:14:34] We can talk about it for a while.
[01:14:36] Dr. Carleah East: [01:14:36] Yeah. Happy back on for sure.
[01:14:37] Brian Beckcom: [01:14:37] Oh yeah. No, definitely. But, but, but there's a, there's one more thing I want to talk about is you say surround yourself with positive people. And you know, when, when I, that really the reason I wrote that down is because I've read and been preaching to people for quite some time that.
[01:14:53] There's tons of evidence essentially shows that you will basically end up, [01:15:00] in the same physical and mental shape as the five or six people you spend the most time with. And so the important point of those studies and that stuff is it's not just taking care of yourself, but you need to be real careful about who you spend your time with, because that has a way bigger influence than maybe.
[01:15:22] A lot of us realize, so talk about that a little bit. Yeah. Dr. East, because right now, you know, it's kind of bizarre. We can, if we want to, we can go on Twitter or Facebook or social media and be completely surrounded by millions of negative people. Yeah.
[01:15:38] Dr. Carleah East: [01:15:38] Right,
[01:15:38] Brian Beckcom: [01:15:38] right. We have that option and some people choose that option, but, but anyway, talk, talk a little bit more about what you mean when you say.
[01:15:47] As a practical matter of surround yourself with positive people, because
[01:15:50] Dr. Carleah East: [01:15:50] I'm going to use a couple of metaphors. Cause I think metaphor is a great and kind of paint a picture for folk. so number one, I want you everybody to go into their Harry Potter land. [01:16:00] Okay. Everybody gonna put your Harry Potter hats on right
[01:16:02] Brian Beckcom: [01:16:02] there.
[01:16:03] Dr. Carleah East: [01:16:03] Done. Stupid box. So when you think about the mentors right in Harry Potter, the main thing that they did was they, they, they came up and they sucked, right? The essence that energy that made Harry have life, right? They suck the essence of life out of them when you're surrounding yourself with people that are not on the same page as you.
[01:16:24] And I'm going to say equally yoked, which is not about financial strengths and gains it's about emotional and mental levels, right. Being on the same page, emotionally and mentally. When you are not equally yoked, emotionally and mentally with someone one or the other of you is going to pull off of the other person.
[01:16:40] So if you're the strong one that weaker individual is going to pull for you now, I'm not stating that it's not okay to have that because there has to be an ebb and flow with relationships. I have the girlfriends and guy friends that are much stronger in other areas than I am. So there's an ebb and flow of me pulling off of them and me pulling off of it and then pulling off of me.
[01:16:58] And that's fine. What [01:17:00] I'm speaking about is the folks that only follow. They float behind they follow and they absorb all of it energy. And you're there trying to carry them along to where it becomes your issue and you're exhausted by it. So that's the first thing we need to recognize as those folks.
[01:17:17] Those are the people that you call and you want to voice an opinion about something you're experiencing and the conversation ends up being about them. So those are also the people that you express a certain thing that happened to you. And you know, what had happened to them too, but it was way worse. So those are the things you have to think about.
[01:17:33] The other metaphor picture that I want to paint for you. Is that right? The planet Saturday, right? Saturday has seven brings around it. I want you to think about those seven reigns as being seven people in your life. Okay. That are, you know, there for you. And I use, I love number seven just because it has a biblical, you know, very strong spiritual meaning to it.
[01:17:55] in a very protective meaning to it orally, you know? I'm sorry, not orally, but, when [01:18:00] you're looking at. Vibes, right. Your vibrations in your arms, right? Yep. So seven is a great number, but when you look at Saturn, you're the planet in the middle and Saturn needs, all of those rings around it in order for it to stay in rotation.
[01:18:13] Right. That's how it stays. Afloat is all those rings have to kind of balance and move as they flow. Think about the people in your life. If I were to ask you to create your, you as the planet and the seven rings around you, who would you put there? So first of all, do that and then tell me this, those people that are there, how many of them are going to answer the call?
[01:18:36] When you call, if you need something, not necessarily financial thing, but emotional support. How many of them, of them can you really share who you are transparently? How many of them are just are there because they've been there and been your friends for years, but you really don't talk a whole lot. They really don't know exactly what's going on with you now, but y'all been ride or die again.
[01:18:57] It's about looking at where those people [01:19:00] are in your life. Yeah. And not dismissing them. No, no, no, no, no. You're not dismissing them. You are meeting them with expectations that are fair. So if I have a girlfriend and she and I are in different planes, right. Being equally yield, I'm thinking differently than she is.
[01:19:15] I'm not going to stop being her friend. I'm going to adjust my expectations or that friendship so that I can meet her where she is. And she can meet me where I am and we don't disappoint each other. In those expectations. So I think we really have to take stock around the seven rings that are keeping us in orbit and make sure that those are individuals that are positive, that it's an ebb and flow of give and take.
[01:19:41] And that we are both equally yoked and reaching for the same goals and missions.
[01:19:46] Brian Beckcom: [01:19:46] Here's a, here's a potent, I love the way you put that here. Here's a potential test for that because when you were talking about that, it made me think of. A couple friends and my wife and I have the, we own, we cone a little small vacation [01:20:00] type house and we spend four, five weekends in the fall together.
[01:20:05] And I'm thinking about the fact that every time we do that, when I'm, when, when we're done with the week and my wife and I are always have smiles on her face, we feel good. Well, even if we drank a little bit too much and ate a little bit, we feel refreshed, like spending a week weekend. With this particular couple gives us a feeling of just feeling like emotionally and physically refreshed and happy.
[01:20:27] Whereas I'm thinking of another guy that I know that man, I, I kinda don't want to play golf. Cause all he does is bitch and complain about everything. I'm like you're so negative all the time I might break out of it. And so maybe a good test would be in terms of the seven rings. that are around you, how you feel.
[01:20:51] Cause I, I know that Dr. East, everybody listening and, and YouTube probably has that experience where you man godly, I just talked to this [01:21:00] person for 30 minutes.
[01:21:03] Dr. Carleah East: [01:21:03] Feel completely okay. To put those individuals that require more energy than others on a schedule. I'm so I'm being so serious. Like be okay to say, you know what.
[01:21:14] I know he or she is going to require a little bit more energy. You're going to require a little more conversation. let me wait until Friday to call them. Let me let them know. Listen, let's get together. When I can have a glass of wine, it's a bad conversation. I think that we have to feel okay about setting personal interpersonal boundaries for ourselves.
[01:21:36] And even though we are socially Corrine,
[01:21:47] Brian Beckcom: [01:21:47] Oh, no. Did I lose you? Are you still there? Doctor
[01:21:50] Dr. Carleah East: [01:21:50] merely communicating.
[01:21:55] Well in our environment, we have to be, strategic [01:22:00] in the way that we interact with others and how we bring people into our lives. And sometimes that means saving for Saturday, you know, save them for a day that you, you have the energy and you, and you don't mind, but we have to allow ourselves to give our, we have to give ourselves the permission to do so
[01:22:15] Brian Beckcom: [01:22:15] well.
[01:22:15] Great advice.
[01:22:20] People that are listening. It didn't hear our little conversation beforehand where I told you that it would take a little less than an hour, maybe an hour, and we're already at an hour and a half. And you're, you're in very, very big number. And it's not often that I get a chance to talk to a PhD clinical psychologist slash therapist.
[01:22:39] For an hour and a half about these topics. I don't wanna, I don't want to keep you any longer because you're already half an hour over the time that you committed. I, and I, and I do want to really honestly, and sincerely say, I appreciate your time, cause I know you're very, very busy and your time is, is very, very valuable.
[01:22:56] But before I let you go, doc, tell [01:23:00] people where they can find you online. and, and, and they wanted to learn a little bit more about you where you would suggest they go. Okay.
[01:23:08] Dr. Carleah East: [01:23:08] well, you can reach out to me. My website is www.smile, psychology, just as it, as it sounds.com. There, I have a team of professionals that I work with, where we provide services.
[01:23:21] And so, you know, even if you're looking for a therapist and maybe I'm not the one and that's okay, I've got a squad of people that can assist you. And we all follow the same holistic way of treating and providing, you know, therapy. You can also check me out on my Facebook page. My handle is at doctor, at, doctor East LLC, or you can just call, and, and speak to, our support staff at 17 seven five six nine six three zero five.
[01:23:52] But if you ever just want to reach out and you want me to come out and speak, let's say, it's that say, it's not therapy that you want me to come out and educate and do some trainings or [01:24:00] do some webinars or whatever it is. You can reach out to me info at smiles, psychology.com and exactly as it sounds influenced miles, psychology.com.
[01:24:09] Brian Beckcom: [01:24:09] Perfect. So smile, psychology.com as the website info at all. psychology.com is the email address. Well again, doctor, thank you very, very, very much for your time. Thank you for your beautiful smile. Thank you for everything you're doing during these. Times and even just kind of during normal times, and
[01:24:30] Dr. Carleah East: [01:24:30] yeah, thank you so much for having me and for allowing my voice to be heard.
[01:24:34] I think that people have stereotypes when they think about therapists in general and they think we're all Freud. We're not, but hopefully this adds a little bit of a color to the way we see therapy and, and, and a little bit more acceptance. In ourselves that the work that we need to do. So thank you so much for allowing me to share my expertise on this platform.
[01:24:57] Brian Beckcom: [01:24:57] You got it. Take care.
[01:24:58] Dr. Carleah East: [01:24:58] Take care. Bye bye.
[01:25:00] [01:24:59] Bye.