When you suffer from chronic illness, you can feel trapped, constricted, defeated, and exhausted. These are feelings many of us are familiar with during quarantine or suffering through COVID, though for most that experience is temporary rather than a lifelong reality. Today’s guest, Dawn Super, is here to tell you that you can choose happiness in the face of whatever you may be suffering through, that by listening to your body and creating real boundaries, you can change your experience.
0:25 Eliminating the not-okay
7:10 Sleep: The brain’s administrative assistant
12:40 Self-care is my side-hustle
18:30 New symptoms all the time
24:00 Choosing joy when you’re in pain
29:20 Getting right in your head
42:00 Quieting your mind
46:10 The Maui dream
Adrienne MacIain 0:01
Hey everyone, welcome to the That's Aloud podcast. I'm your hostess Adrienne MacIain, and today we have Dawn. Please introduce yourself, Dawn.
Dawn Super 0:10
Hi, I'm Super (comma) Dawn.
Adrienne MacIain 0:14
Dawn Super 0:15
That's really my name. I married it, but it's mine.
Adrienne MacIain 0:19
Absolutely. So Dawn, what is the story that the world is not getting?
Dawn Super 0:27
Well, I'm putting my story out there, and the biggest reason the world isn't getting it is because it hasn't gotten enough traction. How to say all this in a in a short period of time? I have a lifelong chronic illness, since I was 11, and I never knew what it meant to be happy until my 41st birthday. I mean, I had been happy in spurts, but certain key things that I did led to happy just falling out of the sky and bonking me on the head. And I had that realization that it was mine, and it was mine for the choosing. People here choose happiness. And you really, you don't believe that you can do that until the day you do. And you just decide, Wow, this feels really good, I want to hold on to this. So I was in the support groups on Facebook for narcolepsy and fibromyalgia and a couple other things. And narcolepsy is a disorder that is fueled by emotion. So being an empath and being narcoleptic, I was just a barrage of other people's emotions. My whole life, that had a lot to do with me finally finding happiness was learning how to turn that off. And I decided to start a support group that was only positive. You couldn't be negative. There's no whining, no griping, no hopelessness, no unsupportive comments. And I called it the Positively Narcolepsy Group. And it's three years old now, and there are over 2400 people in there.
Adrienne MacIain 2:20
Dawn Super 2:21
Yeah, it's pretty cool. There are between 20 and 30,000 in the bigger narcolepsy groups, so for me to get 10% of those people who really wanted a space where they could come with their narcolepsy and talk about life, rather than having narcolepsy be the focus of everything. Um, yeah, so while that was going on I started a blog called Going Beyond Coping because... This is a great story. A friend of mine, I was listening to this song and I really loved it and was about being okay, and she asked me, Why just be okay? And I thought, well heck, right now okay is like, the penthouse compared to where I am, where I'm struggling to get. I was, I was under rock-bottom at that point physically, and really struggling with my health. And so I thought about it, and I'm like, Well, why can't I be more than okay, why can't I be great? Why can't I be awesome? Why can't I be those things? And it started me on this journey to eliminate the not-okay in my life. And I did. And, I mean, I still experienced the full range of emotions, like everybody else does, but my default is happy. And I choose not to be upset about things anymore. I just, I'm not giving any more of the little time that I have away to misery. I like to tell people in my group, you're never going to go on your deathbed wishing you've been harder on yourself.
Adrienne MacIain 4:16
So true, so true.
Dawn Super 4:18
So yeah, so I'm growing the blog, and I started another page to go with that blog. And I've told people that once I get that big enough, I'm going to start up a coping group from that page, which is the Going Beyond Coping, and then I'm gonna bring in all the chronic illness and chronic pain sufferers. Because in the positively narcolepsy group, there are a lot of people who have fibromyalgia and Sjogrens and most other disorders, but the focus is really narcolepsy. I have over 82% participation in that Facebook group. Every time I do the math, it blows my mind that, you know, people want this, they want some place to go where they can ask about a medicine where people aren't going to be jumping on them about it, or sharing their crappy experience and ruining any kind of thought process that they might want to have about whether or not to try. Because the meds for narcolepsy are, there are serious side effects. It's a bandaid, it's not a cure. And there's a lot of struggle that goes on. And I call it narcolepsy strong. Navy SEALs train for Hell Week. It's five days of sleep deprivation. And the typical person with narcolepsy is classified as three days sleep deprived, 24-7, every day that they're alive. Even with meds, because the deal with narcolepsy is that the sleep-wake cycle produces hypocretin, and the receptors are what control that. You catch the wave, get to sleep, whatever the science of it is, I don't really care to understand that deeply about it. But they're broken, and we don't, we don't have them. So that's why they call it a Segmented Sleep Disorder. I can sleep for six hours at night, and then I have to take a nap at 1:00, and then I have to take another nap around 6:00, and that's just the way that my life works best. So nothing restores that sleep deprivation for us. There's no insulin for narcolepsy yet that will shore up that deficit. So we're constantly three days sleep-deprived. So I just tell them, you know, you're, you're stronger than a Navy SEAL. Namely, for five days, and then as long as they're enlisted, and once they retire, they can sleep all day if they wanna, but, you know, we have to keep being tough. We have that endurance. And that's why I call it Narcolepsy Strong, 'cause there's no other strong like it.
Adrienne MacIain 7:13
Absolutely. So tell us a little bit about what that's like, what is it like to be three days sleep deprived every day of your life?
Dawn Super 7:23
What's really interesting about it is that so many of us who have the narcolepsy forget. Memory is part of, you know, sleep. When you sleep at night, I like to say naps are the brain's administrative assistant, because while you're sleeping it's filing all your memories for you. So if you never get that sleep, your desk is just a mess all the time. And so people with narcolepsy appear as though they have ADHD, they appear lazy, they appear disinterested, distracted, like they don't care enough about stuff. A lot of the things physiologically then happen with us, like I get really hot when I'm tired. I used to be really really cold, like all the time, like I called myself a Sherpa without a mountain. I was always in jackets and blankets and hats and everything. And in January of 2019 I got bit my some flies in my yard and my body went nuts. And I looked like I was chemically burned on 70% of my body. It lasted for five months and it took five specialists to get it under control. And I forget where I was going with that. It happens. I call it train brain. You get on one train, and then before you know it your tracks are off.
Adrienne MacIain 9:15
So I was just asking, you know, what is what is it like?
Dawn Super 9:19
Being three day sleep-deprived?
Adrienne MacIain 9:20
Dawn Super 9:21
Yeah. So, you just, you have a lot of things that happen because of the sleep deprivation that aren't specifically from narcolepsy. So problems with your thyroid, you can have problems with your other glands. I have nine disorders. Narcolepsy and cataplexy, which is under certain emotional conditions I lose muscle control. And the best way to explain it is when you go to sleep at night, your brain puts your body into sleep paralysis so that you don't punch people while you're sleeping. Cataplexy is sleep paralysis while you're awake. So if I'm sitting like this, and I have my trigger, my elbow will give out, and sometimes my jaw goes slack. It's just gonna drool or whatever. Rolling my ankle, trick knee, those are all part of that. And then I have two movement disorders that go with the sleep disorders. I have restless leg syndrome, where you feel like you have spidery things in your leg. A lot of people have that, where they feel like they need to kick. And then I have a periodic limb movement disorder, which is restless legs while you're awake, periodic limbs while you're asleep. So if your partner tells you that you continue to twitch while you're asleep, that's a separate sleep disorder, and it should be treated. You should see a physician, you should ask for a sleep study. When I went into my sleep study, I discovered that the movements were happening 56 times a minute.
Adrienne MacIain 11:12
Dawn Super 11:13
Which is why, even though I was sleeping 12 hours, I was constantly in and out of REM, and I was not getting any restorative sleep at all. And then I think connected to the sleep is the fibromyalgia, and I also have myofascial pain syndrome. I got clipped in the back of the neck with a serving tray loaded with dishes, and after that I had a fall in the shower. I was cleaning houses for a living. And I just started having, you know, the trigger point pain. Myofascial pain syndrome is interesting for me, like, you know, when you have a raw chicken, and you cut the skin, and there's that white that's over the breast. And if you cut the breast pops all out inside. So, the white part is the fascia. So inside my body, my fascia shrinks. So if I stretch like this, and it's bothering me, it feels like I'm ripping myself in half. And the interesting thing about that is that I have to stretch it, because if I don't, it's worse.
Adrienne MacIain 12:32
Dawn Super 12:37
So, and then what else? I have TMJ really bad in my jaw. In my S bone, there's an extra piece of bone, so it gets locked, and I have to touch my chin to release it. And that's manifested in like, why I can't open my mouth all the way or I can't close my mouth all the way for months at a time, where I end up cutting my food really small and shoving it into me. So YouTube, I found this great chiropractor. His YouTube handle, whatever you call it, is 'Motivationaldoc,' all one word. And if anyone has chronic illness or pain, he's definitely a great one to just watch some of his videos. I have tinnitus and he's got great massages to help ease a little bit. Can't fix it, it's you know, once or physiologically having tinnitus, that's it, done. Tinnitus, I never know say that. And then the TMJ, he also has great ways for you to tell which side is out and what massage to do to get it back in yourself. Really saved me a lot. A lot of natural stuff. I do autoimmune paleo diet. I kept 15 symptoms going on autoimmune paleo. Yeah, huge. It's, um, I like to say self-care is my side hustle, because I have to do meal-prep, and I take a lot of supplements that help me cope. And, yeah, I really believe that when you have a chronic illness you have to treat yourself as a part-time job. You just have to. Otherwise you're going to suffer, like, all the time. And when I say the self, I don't mean just the body. It's outside of diet, exercise and meditation. You got to think outside the body into, How's my self esteem? How do I feel about myself and my contribution to the world? Even if you're a happy person, if you feel like you're less-than because you can't go to work full-time, that's affecting your symptoms. If you're blaming people for the state of your life, if you're in victim mode, if you are judging yourself harshly, all those little things add up to extra naps, and neck aches, and backaches, and stomach aches, and that's how they manifest. And I never heard from my doctor, Hey, did you know having low self esteem will make you more sleepy? No, never heard anything like that from a physician at all. Exercise, eat better, take this medicine. That's all I ever heard. And once I got, I was married for 15 years and was miserable for most of them. And I blew up my life, and decided that I would rather be alone and lonely than lonely with someone 10 feet away from me. And so I tried to go back on medication for the narcolepsy, and the drug they give you is sodium oxidate. It's a GHB, essentially. So it's supposed to knock you flat out so that you get some of that restorative sleep. And then you set an alarm to wake you up at like, three o'clock in the morning and you take your second dose, and then you get a couple more hours of sleep if you're lucky. So I was excited to try it. I was a little nervous about how unconscious would I be. I was renting a room in someone else's house, and that safety wasn't there for me, you know. But it didn't matter, bcause 42 days later, I was like, deathly ill. I only took it for 42 days. It turned my saliva to salt. And I ended up with a Pseudomonas infection, which is typically only seen in people dying in hospice. And I went to work. Seriously, my 21st birthday, I collapsed from pneumonia at work. Didn't know I had pneumonia, because when you're tired all the time, you just you push through, you know, and teaching myself how to stop pushing through changed my life. To stop. It's another big part of the reason why I want to do the YouTube channel and the blog is I like to joke I want to be the Tony Robbins, female Tony Robbins of chronic illness. I'm not going to tell you 'Just do it!' I'm not gonna tell you 'Push until you die!' It just, it's not going to happen. I'm going to tell you to be nice to yourself, and be kind to yourself, and listen to what your body wants. Because if you can give it a little bit of what it wants, it might give you back some more life.
Adrienne MacIain 18:24
Dawn Super 18:26
My lips hurt. I'm sorry.
Adrienne MacIain 18:29
Yeah. So do you want to tell tell everybody what's going on with your lips, because this is just a great example of like, how it never ends, new symptoms all the time.
Dawn Super 18:38
I really don't know what's going on. Like four days ago, I woke up from my nap, and it felt like I had drunk something really hot and burned the inside of my lips. And that's happened to me before. I suck my tongue in my sleep, apparently. So, I often see, like, geometric patterns on the side of my tongue from pulling it through my teeth. But it usually goes away in an hour or so. And by the end of that night, I knew it wasn't going anywhere. And it feels like my lips are chapped, but they're also peeling, and they feel burned, and inside my mouth feels a little burny in the back. And the Santa Ana winds are coming through, I live in the San Fernando Valley outside Los Angeles, and anytime the winds come they bring with it whatever it is they're carrying, and put a lot of fires in California, and a lot of ash falling. And my skin thing started about the same time of year, as is now. So that's another thing that's really important in chronic illness is paying attention to that kind of stuff, you know. My thyroid went crazy, I was having lady hormone issues, and I got the fly bites, and that was enough. I like to say that autoimmune disease is like a Ouiji board to other autoimmune diseases. Once you open the portal, forget it. So try to stay as healthy as you can, because even a cold can bring something else on. And when the dust settled from the salty mouth, I had, I was diagnosed with Sjogrens syndrome, which I always, after I learned about it, because Sjogrens is also rare like narcolepsy, it's an autoimmune disease that attacks your moisture-producing organs, so eyeballs, the mouth, the lady business, your organs, I mean, your body's 96% water. So that's all moisture. And I think this could be Sjogrens because the there's a gland in the lip that does flare. I asked in the group if anyone had similar symptoms. I also have blister eczema on my hands right now because that comes with change of season. And a friend of mine where that was similar to this. So I don't know what it is. But I had recently added, two weeks ago I stopped yogurt because I was having hiving on my arms and yogurt is histamines. And, you know, when you're hiving, you want to try and keep your bucket of histamine as low as possible. And my friend says that that way, when you have too much histamine your bucket just overflows and that's when you get hives and other kind of skin issues like that. So I cut the yogurt and started having stomach problems because I was no longer getting my fermented. I don't like fermented food at all. So I got the kombucha. And I think I had a little bit too much of it, and it made me really gassy. So I take a gas pills or kombucha for the fermented. And then another thing I had added recently was CBN and it's cannabinol. It's different from cannabidiol, which is CBD, and is, it comes from the aged plant, and it deepens sleep and increases pain relief.
Adrienne MacIain 22:28
Oh, that's good to know.
Dawn Super 22:29
Yeah. It's expensive. They sell it here in the dispensary, and it's like $5 a capsule.
Adrienne MacIain 22:36
Dawn Super 22:38
I typically only do the CBN when I'm having extra physical pain, because it's worth the extra money to not be in pain, right? Access to that? So, I found a new one while I was there that I could split in half, and it was a lot cheaper. So I decided to do a half, just add it to my THC at night. And so that was new. So those two things I stopped doing when this continued to see. And it's only been a day. So I didn't take any supplements today. So the best thing for me to do is strip back, let's strip back everything that we're doing that might be aggravating it and see if we can get it to stop on its own, you know. Increase my nutrients and my veggies and fruits and that kind of stuff and avoid, like, we had Chinese over the weekend. And even though I just asked for shrimp and broccoli stir fried with no sauce, they are still cooking it in the pan that had soy in it and other ingredients that they use in restaurants. So that it could be something as simple as that. It's just time. You have to notice, and then you have to try and do something about it, and then you just have to give it time to get it work.
Adrienne MacIain 24:07
So how do you stay? Yeah. So you said you know, you had this kind of epiphany where you decided that you could just choose joy, like exactly where you're at, right? So how do you choose joy when you're in pain? How do you choose joy when you're constantly in discomfort?
Dawn Super 24:25
It's not easy, that's for sure. And I'm not always able to choose it. I, you know, after I took that drug that did the salty thing to my mouth, I started having these periodic episodes of what I call despondency. And to me despondency, it's not I want to die or I want to kill myself, it's more like, can this be over? Like seriously, I'm so tired of having to do self-care as a part time job, of having to feel so worn out, and deal with these things that come and last for weeks and months. And, gosh, how can you not feel that way? At least sometimes. So for me, it's cyclical, and I like to notice, that's the key for me. Oh, darn, you know, maybe my brain chemicals are off. Maybe I'm out of serotonin and endorphins and the feel-good stuff. And I just need to be quiet for a while and take some extra naps and be nice myself. I tell the people in my group, when you can't handle it anymore, you need to become your own mom. Even 'there, there dear, you're gonna be okay, you can do this.' And give it to yourself. You know? Half of us don't have anyone giving us anything like that, even close. My husband worships the ground I walk on, literally, he's demonstratively, verbally, in every way madly in love with me. But he forgets, you know, he's human. He forgets that I have things wrong with me. He may get upset because I didn't do something, and I'm like, Look, my name is Super. I'm not really super. I know I seem it, but no, I have these physical limitations. And I just won't, I won't let the physical limitations take my mental limitations. I won't. Narcolepsy is a hobbling disease for beautiful geniuses who without it would take over the known universe. Because if I could show you all the things that I've accomplished, only being awake sometimes eight hours in a 24 hour period, it's impressive. Ego out of it, put it on paper, it's impressive. And a lot of us are like that. We get this crazy overachiever gene that comes with proving that we are not less-than because we have things wrong with us. And that's great, as long as you're not running yourself into the ground to do it. You know? I had a friend, I do startup consulting for businesses. And I always try to explain that they need to run their business with empathy for themselves, for empathy for not only the mistakes they you make, but the choices that you make, and any kind of feelings that you experience. There's a lot of fear in running a business. The days, the risk, the cash registers ringing, you're like, Yes, you got this! And then the days that it's not, you're like, Ooh, is everybody gonna forget about me, and I'm gonna become irrelevant, and my business is gonna be done. And that's the same with anything, you know, working a job, you want to be relevant to whoever it is that's paying your salary. So when you work for yourself, it's your customers, when you work for someone else's your boss, but having that perspective of 'what I do is enough.' That's critical. If I didn't get to the dishes, that's not a problem unless I decide it's gonna be a problem. Even if it's a problem for someone else, it doesn't have to be your problem. And learning to reject that, teaching yourself, practicing that rejection of the thing, it gives you confidence. Oh, here's a fun story. So I was, I took a job consultant thing with a startup. And it was LED light bulbs, and he was importing, private labeling and importing them. So I had already had the experience with importing and I understood that and it was a really fresh startup. So I had to create all the collateral for us to start and it was a lot of fun. And about three months in I had given, you know, I don't know how he found out, but the guy says to me, Wait a minute, you're engaged to Steve Super? And I'm like, Yeah. And he's like, Is that why your email is dawnsuper@ your email address? And I'm like, Yeah. And I'm like, Wait, alright, you didn't know that? And he's like, No. You thought I was just calling myself super? And he says, Yeah, I thought you were that confident. And I'm like, I inherited confidence out even intending to. And it was really fun because in the beginning, I remember saying to myself, He doesn't know what I know. He doesn't know what I know. And I use that as my confidence booster. And that's how I learned it. You know, I was isolated a lot as a kid, I was a latchkey kid. Five years older sister who really didn't want much to do with us, and an 18 month younger sister who we are, we were pretty close most of the time growing up. But I went to a private school and there were like, 14 kids in my class, and they all hated me. I can laugh about it now. 41st birthday, things got a lot easier. But yeah, there were, I can see now as a grown up why they didn't like me. And the reasons carry with me through adulthood. And nobody, like the doctor never told me that self-esteem would make me not sleepy. Nobody ever said, Hey, being a blabber-mouth is not a good thing to do. You know, I had read How to Win Friends and Influence People, but it didn't get through. And so yeah, I had a lot of growth. That's how I did it actually, I think. Have you ever heard of the Ben Franklin Close? So the Ben Franklin Close, whenever you have to decide on something, you list all the reasons why it's a good idea and all the reasons why it's a bad idea. And whichever column is longer is the one to support. So I got a Franklin Close on myself. This is what I like about myself, this is what I don't like about myself, and became sold on the idea that I didn't like more about myself than I should, and I should, you know. And I got to working on it. And while I was going through my separation, my ex was at the place we used to share, and he got a hold of my journal. And not only did he read it, but he wrote in it. And he wrote, Only when you see your part in all of this will things change. And he meant it like a jab. But, after I got done being thoroughly mad that he had done it, it dawned on me, pun intended, that he was absolutely right. I went to him and I said, You know what, you are 100% right. Our entire marriage is completely my fault. He's like, What? What do you mean? And I said, I never should have stayed with you. I never should have stayed after the first year. I should have got out. And I had so many opportunities, because we had this cyclical relationship where everything would start falling to pieces, and there would be a confrontation, and there would be a mea culpa, and there would be a return to normalcy, and then shit starts - sorry, things started repeating. It was cyclical, and it was constant, and I let myself be snowed every single time into believing this was the time that he's finally gonna get his stuff together. Nope. 11 years later, it's still not the time apparently. So yeah, I'm really glad that I just, I get that if something's going wrong, I'm part of it. Whatever it is, it's either because I'm participating in the game playing, that the game is continuing, or because I'm allowing someone to ... my boundaries, or try to pull one over on me, or make me a doormat, or whatever those things are. Those all come from a need to fit in, and the need to belong, and the need to have people like you. That's one of my YouTube videos, What Happens if I Don't Need People to Like Me? And I had to do that when I started the group. Because there was a lot of pushback from people, because someone would barf their drama into a post, and I would delete it, that's in the rules. If something's there that shouldn't be there, it gets deleted, without comment, for everyone's benefit. And someone posted, like, 'Oh, they deleted my comment,' and then all these other people were jumping on the bandwagon about that. And I just had to nip it in the bud. Like, here are the rules. You know, there are boundaries, baby. They're there for a reason. And I think a lot of people discount other people's drama, in their emotional distress. So it's talked about, but I don't think the connection is quite made all the time. Like, people complain about Facebook being empty and vapid. I never see anything empty or vapid on my Facebook. You know, complaining about Facebook is like complaining about your bookcase when you let your neighbor choose your books. You pick all that stuff, you know, and you decide who to follow, would to be friends, with who to talk to, who to like. It's all controlled by you. So if you're unhappy with it, the mirror is really the only place to be looking. And life is like that. Coworkers, stuff you choose to watch on television, the way you consume your news, the friends in your circle, your own family members, all of it is just one big soup that you sip on all day long. And if it's crappy soup, you're going to have a crap time.
Adrienne MacIain 37:06
I always, I always say that the world is a mirror, and so you can't actually fix it. You can fix you, and then that will be reflected in it.
Dawn Super 37:15
Yes, that was my experience. It's so good to be on this side of it. And I just want to help as many people get here as I can. I have a little text group of friends. And we're all at that level, we're all big-time chronically ill, and three of us are on disability and the other two work part-time. And so we get it, you know, just support each other and help each other cut through the stuff that sleepiness keeps you from seeing sometimes. You know? Being able to see it. I actually just had a great realization that I could share. It was Brene Brown, none other like Brene Brown, and I owe so much to that woman. So much of my coping belongs to Brene Brown. And I read a page someone shared on Facebook, a page from her book, Dare to Lead. And I can't read anymore, I call it study-itis. As soon as I crack the book, I start falling asleep. But I can do audiobooks. And even just half-listening to this audio book while I'm doing no crap or driving to work, just cracked my brain right open and opened my eyes to a lot of things that I had been doing and didn't realize I had been doing. So, to back up one thing, there's your autonomic nervous system is what you experienced with the whole shaking thing, you know, during your confrontation, something that happens. Another one of the illnesses that I have is called POTs, it's postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. And what happens is when you change your posture, your blood doesn't flow properly. And so you get blood-pooling, you can faint, you see stars, that kind of stuff. And the heart rate jacks, like, you stand up and your heart rate's 110, you're like, Ooh, I'm jogging, look at me, gettin' fit. And, yeah, so that that happens and you have that response. And so once it was identified to me that that was a response that I was having automatically, I kind of gave myself like this sort of forgiveness. Right? Up to that point, I felt like the shaking was because I let myself get so out of control. But really, I just was having the same response as any normal person would, but because of the POTs, it made me like, you know, heart slamming, you're shaking, your pits are sweating, just hugely autonomic response to that. So once I had that just a little bit of awareness, it diminished the response to the point now where I can sense my hand starting to shake as I'm about to tell someone something in a comment, and I'll literally put my phone down. And I'll be like, You know what, you're too emotional right now to say this. Until your thumbs don't shake, you need to protect yourself from this first, you know. Get emotionally aligned. Like, the comment needs to happen, you need to say the thing, but you need to not be emotionally charged up while you do it. And making those small adjustments, I call it Getting Right in Your Head. Really, 'cause a lot of people don't realize how much control they can have over their brain, because they're so out of control with their illness.
Adrienne MacIain 41:27
Dawn Super 41:28
You know, I can't control my sleep-wake cycle, I can't control my saliva flow. But a lot of people say things like, Oh, I can't turn my brain off, that's just who I am. Or, I always have 50 tabs open at once, that's just who I am. And I used to be that person. I totally did. And I do still have 50 tabs open, but they're all good.
Adrienne MacIain 41:59
Dawn Super 42:00
In the past, I had 5 good ones, and 20 that were like, Why did you say that? Why did you do that? What is she saying? What is she gonna say? And when you kill those other 20 tabs, if you have 50 tabs open and they're all like, Oh, I should tell so-and-so happy birthday, or, you know, just the things that make you feel good. It's different, and the whole train-brain thing at night. Quieting Your Mind, that's actually a video that I'm shooting for my channel next week, I'll give you a teaser. So when my son was in elementary school, I would stop and chat with the crossing guard, Carol. She was lovely Jamaican woman and I just adored her. And we got to this place where, you know, as an empath people tell you things, you know, that you wouldn't like them to tell you, and her stories were sad. And I told her, Carol, you need boundaries, you need better boundaries. And she didn't understand that, as a lot of people don't. Even if you know what boundaries are, unless you're enforcing them they're useless. So I told her, You need to bring your stop sign home. And when he starts doing it, you go hold it up, stop, stop. And I thought it was so comical, the thought of someone actually doing it, that Carol moved into my brain. And when I'm laying in bed at night and I'm thinking like the, not the, you know, typical sleeping meditation type thoughts, or, Oh geez, I gotta remember to call a plumber tomorrow, not those kind of thoughts. But the whole, Maybe they were right, or I'm so useless, or, but just those thoughts that are really crap. Like, a lot of people think just because they have a thought that it's a legitimate thought that deserves a place in their head. Hey, your brain is not your friend. Not even close, and it just will spit some crazy stuff at you. And that's where Carol comes in and 'Stop.' You can think about anything but that. Another thing I do is, this is really silly, but I think that's why it works. My kids used to watch this anime-type show where the guy would say something like, I mean, how many, Whoooh! And he would, like, beam this beam. And I do that in my thoughts, and I beam the beam of silence out into my empty warehouse. I imagine my brain as an empty warehouse, and there's nothing in there, nothing at all. And I kick everything out, it's an empty warehouse. And it works. You know? I mean, things start to sneak back in after a fashion, but it gives you, even if you only have 30 to 60 seconds where you're thinking absolutely nothing, it's actually very nourishing for your brain. And so if you can, another one I like is Ohm. Like, I listen to Ohm chanting, because, here's a great tip - 432 hertz is the exact frequency of the ringing in my ear. So when I put my headphones in, and I listen to the Ohm chanting at 432 hertz, I don't hear the ringing in my ear. And whether you know this or not, the ringing in your ear releases cortisol into your body. It's a chemical response that you have no control over one way or the other. But if you don't hear it, it's not stressing you out. So when I had that seven months where I couldn't open my mouth, I just listened to all chanting like 24-7, just trying to relieve my stress level. And I listened to that at night. So when I can't stop thinking, I do the Ohm, and I just imagined the word Ohm traveling through, forward, and I just watched the letters and focus really super hard on just Ohm.
Adrienne MacIain 46:09
So can I take you through a quick little exercise here?
Dawn Super 46:13
Adrienne MacIain 46:14
Yeah, so I like to end on this exercise. And this is actually a perfect segue, because it's very hard, as you've discovered, to stop thinking about something without thinking about something else, right? Having no thoughts is actually very difficult for your brain to do. So what I like to do is give people a go-to image or thought that they can just, whenever something's bugging them or they're giving themselves the the guff, they can go to this and it will kind of recenter them into a happy place. So here's how it works. Want you to close your eyes, if that's comfortable for you. Okay. I have just waved my magic wand, and all your dreams have now come true. Everything that you deeply desire. And I mean desire, like as in desidere, like in the stars, right? This is like your purpose, your gift, everything that you want has now come to pass. So I want you to just look around your life. You've just woken up. Where are you? What's going on? What do you smell, see, hear, taste, touch in this perfect life space?
Dawn Super 47:24
Oh, so got this one. I do this every day, actually.
Adrienne MacIain 47:28
Dawn Super 47:29
Yeah. My husband took us on our honeymoon to Maui, and we've been back three times since. And I was born on the island of Oahu, my dad was in the service. So I've always wanted to go back and I could never afford to do it, so being able to go was amazing. And since then, while I was there, I embedded a bunch of thoughts. I don't know if you've ever done that, where there was the road, and there was the sky, it was like a certain kind of rain cloud thing, and it was a smell in the air. And I just forced myself to record the moments that barred meditating back at home, I could relive it. And I've been able to do it a couple of times driving, you know. There are a lot of mountains here, especially in like, Malibu, with the beach and stuff. So I can pretend that I'm in Maui, and I actually feel like I'm really there. And so we found this one beach, and it's on this residential street where the houses are very large. And my dream is to really propel my career helping people cope. I want to expand my blog, I want to monetize my YouTube channel, I want to have some ebooks that I want to do. And I already do coaching, but I don't like, advertise it because I can only do one or two clients a month because of my limitations. But I want to do where I can be in more places at once. I want to record webinars and interactive things and make them available to people who are suffering from chronic illness and pain to help them, you know, learn that outside of the bottle thinking, get over feeling bad about themselves. And I want to have, like, a retreat at that house in Maui. And some of the people that I work with one-on-one throughout the year will have the opportunity to come and stay in my house and then work one-on-one with me to help get their coping levels up so that they can also feel like they can keep going beyond coping, because you can, you know. There's a young lady who had CFS, Claire. And that was her whole purpose was just to tell people, Even though you're sick, you can still be happy. You can still carve out a little life for yourself. And it all happens up here, it all starts up here. And my lips are killing me and I probably have six symptoms right now going on. And I'm not going to give up the experience to talk to someone and to share my story and to just walk through the world, you know. This is my contribution to this thriving idea.
Adrienne MacIain 50:47
So when I say the word 'joy,' what is the image that comes into your mind? Oh, I lost you. Are you back? Oh, there you go. Okay, so I don't know if you heard that. I'll repeat it. When I say the word 'joy,' what is the image that comes into your mind?
Dawn Super 51:15
Adrienne MacIain 51:17
Okay. Okay. So what's another, like core desired feeling, something that you just want to feel every day of your life?
Dawn Super 51:25
Adrienne MacIain 51:26
Strong, okay. So when I say the word strong what's the image that comes into your mind? Okay, so I want to see, I want you to see you against that yellow, joyful backdrop, jumping up into the air, your hair kind of goes whoosh, then I want rainbows coming out of you and splashing onto everyone around you.
Dawn Super 51:53
That's like my Facebook cover page.
Adrienne MacIain 51:56
Exactly, exactly. So that's your little image that you can come up with whenever a thought is just, like, hounding you. You can be like BAM with your stop sign, but instead of a stop sign, done, enjoy.
Dawn Super 52:12
Adrienne MacIain 52:13
There we go.
Dawn Super 52:14
Yeah, that's great.
Adrienne MacIain 52:16
Thank you so much for joining me today.
Dawn Super 52:18
It was my pleasure.
Adrienne MacIain 52:19
Where can everyone find you?
Dawn Super 52:22
On my blog, it's goingbeyondcoping.com. And I'm on Facebook, Dawn Super. If you want to friend me personally, that's totally cool. And I share a lot of really funny stuff 'cause happy matters. And a little bit of happy that you collect along the way goes to hold you up when shit hits the fan.
Adrienne MacIain 52:45
Absolutely. Thank you so much for being here.
Dawn Super 52:49
Thank you. Have a great day.
Adrienne MacIain 52:51
Transcribed by Rebecca MacIain