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The world seems more polarized than ever at the moment, and in these trying times it’s important to keep perspective and be open to others’ beliefs and viewpoints. This is one of the main lessons learned from Tana Amen’s upcoming memoir “The Relentless Courage of a Scared Child”. In this week’s series we’re wrapping up an in-depth discussion on the many insights and revelations from Tana’s new book, including why we shouldn’t rush to label people, but instead should be asking why.
For more information on Tana’s new book, “The Relentless Courage of a Scared Child”, visit relentless courage.com
For info on Tana Amen’s upcoming free live virtual event, visit tanaamen.com/event
Daniel Amen, MD: Welcome to The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast. I’m Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen, BSN …: And I’m Tana Amen. In our podcast, we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.
Daniel Amen, MD: The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics, where we have been transforming lives for 30 years using tools like brain SPECT imaging to personalize treatment to your brain. For more information, visit amenclinics.com.
Tana Amen, BSN …: The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast is also brought to you by BrainMD, where we produce the highest quality nutraceuticals to support the health of your brain and body. To learn more, go to brainmd.com.
Daniel Amen, MD: Welcome back, everyone. We’re so grateful that you’re staying with us. This is week six of The Relentless Courage of a Scared Child. Before we get into the big lessons or takeaways from the book, we have two winners that we’re going to report this week. One from, I have learned a lot of valuable information. My 16-year-old daughter deals with ADHD, anxiety, depression, and at times suicidal thoughts. This podcast has been very helpful and given me great tools as I work to help her. We love that. That is one of the reasons we do this. So, will be one of our winners this week.
So as we wrap up The Relentless Courage of a Scared Child, what do you think are some of the big lessons to take away from the Salvation Army, from your crazy childhood, cancer, Playboy, your dad, your sisters, just all of the incredible people we really meet in this book.
Tana Amen, BSN …: I think the first big lesson, and I know this isn’t just about me. I know that my life, as crazy as it was, is actually not that uncommon. I know so many people are going through similar situations with being asked to take care of family that they don’t really want to get involved with. One of the big lessons is, is when you argue with God, you often rob yourself of an opportunity to heal and to grow. That was a big one for me, because I just could not have anticipated over and over again. I kept doing, making the same mistake, but over and over again, that I was being asked to do and called to do certain things that I didn’t want to do. And even though I was being asked to help, it gave me an opportunity to heal old deep hurts and wounds.
It doesn’t mean not drawing boundaries. It doesn’t mean there aren’t some people that you just know you can’t have in your life because it’s just a little too toxic, or you help them from a distance. You love them from a distance. But when you know that you’re being nudged to do something and you don’t, you really rob yourself of that opportunity to heal.
Daniel Amen, MD: I think another lesson is, there’s just a lot of reasons why people do what they do. It’s not simple, and it’s easy to call people bad. It’s harder to ask why, and that comes out in the book over and over [crosstalk [00:03:50].
Tana Amen, BSN …: It does. I think two of my favorite chapters are probably the chapter with my dad, The Prodigal Father, and then the chapter with my sister, because they were two of the hardest people for me to sort of reconnect with and bond with. It was very, very difficult. My sister said something to me when I was at my wit’s end with her. She said something to me that just really made a transformation in my own thinking, and that was, I’m so much more than my addiction. It sounds so simple. It sounds like just a few simple words, but it really struck me, because I had been seeing her as an addict, as opposed to this complicated person who has her own trauma, her own issues. She just handles them differently than I do.
I remember for her birthday, the one thing she asked me for, I said, “What can I get you for your birthday?” And she said, “You can go with me to an AA meeting.” I was like, “Absolutely not. Anything else. Like, what can I buy you for your birthday?” And she’s like, “No. You insisted that I go to church with you. This is what I want.” I had been so just adamantly against going to an AA meeting, because I just felt like, as much work as I had done, I still had trouble being around people who were still struggling with addiction. I could do it if I were in the position of teaching; it was really hard for me to go in the position of just listening.
And being in the position of just listening was one of the most powerful experiences I’ve ever had. When you’re teaching, you’re not listening. When I was there just listening, I was like the pain that I heard, they weren’t making light of their addictions, the pain I heard, the anguish I heard. Yes. Sometimes they make jokes in order to survive it, to deal with it. But I was just like, wow, I mean, this is intense. And I really got a whole new perspective. So it was very interesting.
Daniel Amen, MD: I remember that day that you went. It really blew you away.
Tana Amen, BSN …: It blew me away, yeah. And she didn’t even really realize like- I was so quiet and she’s like, “I’m sorry I made you do that,” and I’m like, “No, I’m so glad I did that.” I realized that I was resisting going because I was still struggling with my own pain. I was still struggling with my own wounds from the past.
Daniel Amen, MD: In some ways it really fits with society, because society today is a lot of us versus them. Whether it’s Republicans or Democrats, conservatives, liberals, Americans, not Americans,
Tana Amen, BSN …: Black and white.
Daniel Amen, MD: It’s us versus them. People have problems with drugs. People don’t have problems with drugs. Whenever we see them as separate from us, it’s easy to judge them. It’s easy to call them stupid or bad or incompetent, or whatever term you might use. But there by the grace of God go all of us, from people could have had a head injury from that almost missed accident that so many people had, or bad things happen-
Tana Amen, BSN …: Trauma.
Daniel Amen, MD: in life. It just affects so many people. So I think what people can take away from the book is empathy, is learning how to decrease judgment and increase empathy.
Tana Amen, BSN …: That’s one of the things in the first chapter that I talk about is when I was able to stop seeing me versus them. When I was talking to a group of people with addiction, I was able to see us all in that same place when we were all kids. We all grew up in trauma. We were all scared children at one point. And when I could find that common ground, which I think in society, just like you just said, if we could be Americans first before we are all these other things, if we could be human,
Daniel Amen, MD: Or we could be human.
Tana Amen, BSN …: just human first, and people who need help, and just help one another, as opposed to all these labels we give each other. If we could find that common ground, which for me was scared children. For me, that common ground was scared children. I was able to then build a bridge instead of a wall.
Daniel Amen, MD: Who in your life do you see as separate? As different? Maybe is less than you? Our brain imaging work just teaches us over and over again, it’s so easy to call people bad. It’s much harder to go, why, in those four circles we always talk about. Is there biological issues, brain issues? Is there psychological issues, particularly trauma? Is there social issues? What’s the modeling that you’ve experienced? Is there spiritual issues? Why do you care? What are your values? What is your sense of morality? All of those things matter.
We’re so grateful that you joined us. What’d you learn today? Write it down. Many of you have done this, and we’re just really grateful. Write it down, take a picture, and post it on any of your social media sites and hashtag Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast. You can also go to Brain Warriors Way Podcast.com. Leave us a comment, question, or review. We’ll enter you into a drawing. was our winner today, and we’ll send you a signed copy of The End of Mental Illness or Tana’s cookbook, or her brand new book when it comes out January 5th, The Relentless Courage of a Scared Child.
You can also sign up for our free event, December 12th at [9:30] Pacific Time. You’re going to love it. We have great speakers, overcoming anxiety, depression, trauma, and grief.
Tana Amen, BSN …: And, oh, by the way, it will enter you into a drawing when you sign up, to win a free scan and full evaluation at Amen Clinics. You have to actually be at the event, though. You can’t just sign up. You have to actually be at the event, because the content is going to be so helpful and so wonderful, and you’ll be able to share it afterwards if you want with someone you love. But you got to be at the event, the live event, in order to win the scan. So go to tanaamen.com/event.
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Daniel Amen, MD: If you’re considering coming to Amen Clinics or trying some of the brain healthy supplements from BrainMD, you can use the code podcast 10 to get a 10% discount on a full evaluation at amenclinics.com for a 10% discount on all supplements, at brainmdhealth.com. For more information, give us a call at (855) 978-1363.