The Psychology of Eating Podcast Episode 105: An Actress Leaves the Stage to Heal
Bridie spent many years pouring all of her energy into her career as a professional actress – until she realized she was stuck in the real-life role of Ms. Perfect Helper. When she discovered that she was consistently putting others’ needs before her own, and that her health was suffering as a result, she made the courageous decision to leave the stage so that she can truly take care of herself. In this poignant session, Marc David, Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, helps Bridie to let go of her acting career so that she can fully step into her own life. Tune in and experience the magic that can happen when we learn to soften and surrender!
Below is a transcript of this podcast episode:
Marc: Welcome, everybody. I’m Marc David, founder of The Institute for the Psychology of Eating. Here we are in the Psychology of Eating podcast. And I’m with Bridie today. Welcome, Bridie.
Bridie: Thanks, Marc.
Marc: Glad you’re here. Glad we’re doing this.
Bridie: Happy to be here.
Marc: Let me jump in and say a few words to viewers and listeners just to get them caught up. If you are new to the podcast out there, here’s how it works. Bridie and I are going to be together for about an hour. We have not yet met before.
And we’re going to see if we can take many months’ worth of coaching and life and condense it into one session and see if we can help move you forward and get where you want to go. So let me start by asking this question, Bridie. If you could wave your magic wand, get whatever you want from this session, what would that be for you?
Bridie: Well I definitely have thought about that a couple of times since knowing I was going to be doing this with you. I’m dealing with about three autoimmune diseases with some extra co-infections. So unrealistically, if I could really wave a magic wand, it would be to just have all of those disappear. But unfortunately, that’s not how it works.
So I think the things I’d really like to have happen would be for all of the hard work and effort that I have put into years of dealing with these diseases that have continuously grown recently, to have some of the hard work pay off, or feel like it is, to see some of the results.
Weight is obviously a part of it as well. And that has been something that I’ve struggled with since I was in about seventh or eighth grade.
So I definitely see that. I think, really and truly, I put so much effort and energy into my health, especially considering what my recent lifestyle has been and sort of the transition now as to where my life is headed, trying to kind of put all of that into one aspect. I feel like it’s sort of overtaken my life. And I’d love to feel more balanced with all of that.
Marc: What are the autoimmune conditions that you’re dealing with?
Bridie: So I was on growth hormone as a kid. So my mom and I actually think a lot of it has stemmed from that, seventh, eighth, ninth grade until I got my period. And then I went off of it. And ever since then I’ve been dealing with weight issues. From then I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroid condition. Then I was misdiagnosed with type 2 diabetes when I graduated college. And it was just due to the doctor sort of seeing my body type and assuming I was just a type 2.
So I dealt with that for about two years and was doing the Broadway musical, Hairspray, and was dancing for hours and hours on end. And my blood sugars were still so high. So I went to a new doctor. And they diagnosed me with type 1. So I’ve been type 1 since 2007, on insulin. But I’m an extremely brittle diabetic. So no matter how on top of my insulin and sugars I am, I always run high.
So that, I think, attributes to a lot of other issues as well. And then just recently, in the last six months, I was diagnosed with celiac, which I haven’t had gluten in a couple of years from the paleo and autoimmune protocol that I had been on due to an adrenal issue and SIBO and leaky gut and all these other things. And the doctor thinks that I was actually probably celiac first. And no one caught it. They weren’t looking for that. And that that’s kind of what has caused all of the other autoimmune issues. So that’s one perspective.
I’m sort of mid looking for new doctors now that I’m home. That’s sort of been a shift too. So my adrenal fatigue went from completely flatlined to now over the chart. So I sort of over-treated that. So I’m trying to work on getting that back into a normal range. And the thing that is probably most uncomfortable is the SIBO that I’ve been dealing with. That was a really challenging thing.
So I was in the Broadway musical Wicked for four years. And it was really restrictive on my costumes. Because my stomach just gets so swollen and uncomfortable, it was really challenging to be doing the show and dancing like I was. And it actually also impacted my breathing. Because I was so swollen inside, I couldn’t use my diaphragm to intake the breath support I needed as a singer. So it was just a very challenging thing to deal with on the road.
Marc: You’ve got a lot going on there young lady.
Bridie: I know. I know.
Marc: How young are you? Tell me what your age is.
Bridie: I’m 33.
Marc: You’re 33. And you were saying you’re not on the road anymore?
Bridie: No. So I’ve been on the road for pretty much my entire adult life, performing, whether it was a regional theater… sort of based out of New York City since 2005. But for the last four years, specifically, I’ve toured with the Broadway musical Grease. Sorry, Grease was before that, Wicked for the last four years. And we’re on the road permanently.
So we literally do eight shows a week. And we move cities every two to five weeks, depending on the city. So I’ve had to look for a new gym, new Whole Foods, new everything in every city I go to because I have numerous food allergies. And because of them I couldn’t stay in the hotels with the rest of the company.
So I actually had to buy a car to drive the tour and then stay in airbnb’s throughout the country so I could cook all of my own meals. So now I’m home, which is nice because it’s great to be in one place. But I’m still feeling a little… I’m at my parent’s house. But I have a boyfriend in my life. That’s new and exciting. So I’m sort of half over there and half at home. And I’m still feeling a little unsettled just because none of it’s mine. I’m at parents’ or at his place. But nothing is my own at the moment.
Marc: So when do you feel best physically?
Bridie: I haven’t felt good physically in a long time. When trying to think about a specific time, there was a time when I was on the road before I dealt with some of these more recent diagnoses that I was working out pretty intensely. Eating specific but I’m not exactly sure as to what it would’ve been following. But I at least felt stronger. I haven’t felt good in my body in years and years and years. I think it also impacts the fact that I am in the entertainment industry because it’s something that it just is. I have to deal with what we would call type. I have to fit into a specific type category in order to even be in for specific auditions.
So that’s always been an issue with being in this business, is never feeling right in my body because I feel like I can sing some of the roles that I never get called in for due to my body type. So the only times that I really have felt good, I guess, would be when I, knowing that I don’t feel good, how my body necessarily looks, but I felt stronger, would’ve been the last time I can remember feeling good about my body.
Marc: Does your weight fluctuate? Or does it stay pretty much the same these days?
Bridie: No, it’s been pretty consistent over the last couple of years. I did lose about 25 pounds. But I was doing lower fat, not calorie restrictive. But I’m dancing eight shows a week and then on top of it going to the gym. So I had some sort of steady decline. It’s probably the most weight I’ve ever lost in my life.
And since then I’ve put about 15 of those pounds back on when I was told to start doing a paleo diet due to the autoimmune issues. I had seen a natural practitioner in Canada when we were up there for six months. And she sort of introduced me to paleo. And I got on board with that. And it definitely helped a lot of my mood issues and irritability and fatigue issues. But it definitely put some weight back on.
Marc: What a fascinating challenge for you. I’m going to imagine that it’s probably not a good thing for your weight to fluctuate because if you’re cast and if you’re in a certain role, shouldn’t you be staying consistently at a certain weight, whatever that weight is for that role?
Correct. It’s written in our contracts that we can’t lose or gain within a certain amount.
And luckily in this company I was in the ensemble. So I don’t think they were as strict about it for some of us in the ensemble. But they did have to take in my costumes originally. And then by the end of the show, before I left, it was really uncomfortable because everything had gotten extremely tight whenever I eat pretty much anything. I’ve done FODMAPS and specific SIBO protocols as well as two rounds of antibiotics to help that. And it definitely did not help the bloating feeling whatsoever. So that was really uncomfortable during the show.
Marc: So when you look into your future, let’s say all things being equal, you were healthy. Let’s say you had no more health issues. Everything’s great. You’re doing well. You lose 15, 20 pounds. What would you want to be doing with your life, truly, truly, truly?
Bridie: Well I definitely felt the need for this break in my performance life. Due to all of these health things, I really felt called to start helping other people, even though I still feel quite sick myself. So that’s sort of how I stumbled upon your program. And I’ve been doing that since October. So that was a huge transition, as well, for me, to say goodbye to theater because I really wanted to put my effort and energy into this. So I definitely would love to be working with people one-on-one and seeing where that goes.
I am in a relationship. We’ve known each other for 20 years. But it wasn’t until I was on a medical leave last year that we sort of reconnected. So that’s been six months. And I’m excited to see where that goes. So I think that would be something I’m definitely hopeful about in the future.
Really I just want to feel that sense of balance. I feel like I’ve been in a very stressed state, which, listening to all of your videos, I have become very aware in my life that I seem to live in this stressed state. I can’t eat out. Or it’s extremely challenging. On the road it was so hard to know where my food was coming from. And I feel like I’ve lost a sense of the outside world. I’ve lost a sense of what happens outside of what I deal with day to day with the food challenges, the food allergies.
And then I think I get into a sense of eating the same things because everything else I have a food allergy to. Or not having convenience of quick and easy foods, so I end up eating the things that are within the range I’m supposed to eat but too much of them or different things like that. So I think future wise I would love to just have a balance with all of that, feel proud of my blood sugar numbers, feel proud of work that’s paid off.
Marc: So you’re working hard for your health. And you want to see yourself get better. This is, on one level, a big piece of what’s happening. That totally makes sense. As you’re speaking, I’m thinking how what you’re presenting with is a complex of issues and challenges. Oftentimes we have something going on. I have Hashimoto’s. Or I’m dealing with diabetes in some form, or insulin resistance. Or I have a thyroid issue. And you’re dealing with a lot on your plate. And from a medical perspective, it’s often difficult. You have to do a lot of detective work. And you have to do a lot of sleuthing. You mentioned a recent practitioner said, “Wow, you probably had celiac first. And that’s what led to all these other challenges,” which is extremely possible.
It might be likely. There are other things that can happen. There are people who will receive hormones at a young age, and their system doesn’t take well to it. Having celiac at a young age can often compromise the immune system and lead to issues. Vaccinations can also do the same thing. It can collapse a person’s immune system.
I was a vaccine injured child many, many moons ago. And that’s how I kind of got into this work. I was figuring out how do I heal myself. So I’m getting the complexity of what you’re facing. And it sounds like you’re moving in this direction.
But oftentimes one of the antidotes to complexity is simplicity.
Marc: And when I hear you saying wow, okay, so I’m not going to be on the road anymore. And I’ve been on the road all my adult professional life, or adult life, in a lot of ways, it sounds like. That’s a lot. That’s a whole lot.
Bridie: It is.
Marc: And when you think of autoimmune condition, autoimmune condition is when our own body thinks our own body is the enemy. Some part of my body thinks some part of my body, some tissue, some function, is bad. It’s the bad guy. It’s the enemy. And we literally start attacking our own self. Our biology attacks itself thinking it’s the enemy. And that’s an interesting kind of cross-wiring.
Marc: And on the one hand, because my mind loves to work poetically even though it wants to work scientifically as well, I think both are necessary. And right now what I’m getting is you’re doing so much for yourself from a clinical, medical, nutritional perspective. And it sounds like even though you said I’m looking for new doctors, that you’ve kind of been riding the wave of okay, let me explore. Let me find a new practitioner in this city, in that city. It might’ve almost been one of the best things you could do. I don’t know. But sometimes you need a lot of opinions to figure out complexity. But what I want to say is it feels like there’s an awareness that you have. You’re being the general manager of your own body and your own health, which is very empowering.
Bridie: I’ve been that for a long time. And when I heard that recently, what you said, it was ding, ding. I was like wow, that’s exactly what I’ve had to do, is truly become that. I think, in one sense, though, I’ve also almost been searching for the one answer of the disease that will answer all the questions and be the thing to figure it all out.
And unfortunately I think of every disease that I’ve acquired, I’ve hoped that that was it. And it hasn’t been. Or I’ve followed x, y, and z. And I’m extremely type A in that sense of, okay, I’m doing this. I got all of this done. I’ve done everything that they told me to do. And then there are no results. So I think that’s the frustrating part. And I think at this point the simplicity rings very true. But I’m also just very tired of it.
Marc: Tired of it meaning tired of all the try this, try that, do this?
Bridie: Yeah, but tired of trying to have to… I don’t get to take a vacation from it. I don’t get to take a vacation of not checking my blood sugars one day. So that, I think, gets very draining, especially then when I’m like okay, well I can’t go run to whatever fast food joint and get something. I can’t run to the grocery store and just get something and it’s made.
I have to literally know so much due to the food allergies that I’ve acquired what I can and can’t eat. And then trying the different SIBO and FODMAPs protocols, that haven’t worked, have then restricted the food even more. So then food becomes I don’t want to say an enemy because I don’t think of it that way. But it’s no longer enjoyable. So it’s not quite gotten to the enemy point.
But when I first got introduced to paleo I was really overwhelmed and didn’t really want to do it. But I embraced it. And I actually really enjoyed cooking it and learning to make new foods. And my body really loved it in the sense of I could feel my mood changes. And I could feel the irritability disappear a little bit. And aside from the weight increasing, that was fun. But then when the more protocols and different things kept piling on and on and on, it no longer became fun.
Marc: Yeah, understood. So again, I want to say for the purposes of this conversation, I can geek out with you on the details of a SIBO diet and a FODMAPs diet and celiac disease and Hashimoto’s and diabetes and how these all might be synergizing and impacting you, and adrenal issues and all that sort of thing.
And you’re in the midst of that. You’re swimming in that. And I get it. And I also get how you would want to finally, in all the detective work, start to hit on something and feel like okay, I’m getting there. We’re narrowing it down. We’re arriving closer to ground zero.
So all I’m saying right now is I want to do my best to deliver to you what I know best, in this situation anyway. And what I think is that there’s a really juicy place here for you to work. And you pretty much identified this. You said it in the beginning of the conversation.
It’s like hey, I want to feel like I’m getting somewhere with all my efforts because you’ve been putting in work.
And you want to see a result. And if the result isn’t feeling like it’s happening, and you have to almost start from square one, which every day is like square one because you have to watch your food every day. You have to watch your body every day. You have to test yourself every day. So every day is sort of square one. I’m really feeling for you that a life shift is good. And you’re in it. It really feels like you’re in a life shift.
And maybe you get this. And maybe you get it intellectually. Maybe you get it on other levels. It’s probably hard for you because you’re the one in your body and in your business and in the work that you do. But what you’ve just described in terms of your work and in terms of being an actress, it’s intense. It is a lot of work. You described to me intense amount of physical work.
Most people don’t understand how physically demanding that work is, especially if you’re dancing and especially if you’re doing eight shows a week. You’re on your feet. And you’re traveling from city to city. And you’re staying in hotels or airbnb’s. And you’re cooking for yourself. So all I hear is I’ve got three full time jobs. That’s what I hear.
Bridie: That’s what it feels like.
Marc: I feel like you’re a professional cook. You’re a professional actress. You’re a professional medical advocate for yourself, which is a lot of work. And then there’s all these little part time jobs you have, which is having a life on the side somewhere in there and taking care of yourself. And so all I hear is that there’s a lot on your plate. And especially in the theater world, you’re constantly on. And you’re constantly performing. And in a way, we don’t care how you feel. You’ve got to show up.
Yeah, the show must go on.
Yeah, and that’s how it’s been, which… yeah. That’s how it was definitely feeling. And I think it’s a very competitive industry. And I know how extremely blessed and lucky I was to be a part of the show and to have the small niche that I had, especially due to my body type.
But I think all of those things, I think that that hope for that simplicity or just the overwhelmingness of all of those full time jobs is what was a very large factor in having me leave and making that decision, which was probably one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made, to leave an extremely steady paycheck, a paycheck in which I could’ve stayed for years.
But I really was feeling a shift to try and… I’ve always been one to help other people, almost to a fault, many would say, because I think it’s much easier for me to take care of everybody else than it is to take care of me. I see results in everybody when I help them. And I don’t see them when I do it. So it’s really easy for me to take on those jobs. And I do it to a fault.
Even being home for the short period I’ve been home, that has been something else that I’ve been struggling with in that balance aspect. But you’re absolutely right about a large life shift and that certainly being where I’m at. And I don’t know what that looks like. So that’s also a scary thing for me. But I just felt like I couldn’t do well at all those full time jobs anymore.
Marc: Yeah, you can’t. You really can’t. And one of the kind of hidden secrets about healing the body and healing our life is that all healing happens in a physiologic relaxation response. So when you and I are ill, when you and I are under the weather, and you come home from work, and you had a rough day, you instinctively know oh my goodness, I’m feeling low energy. I’m feeling down. I’m not going to go run around like a maniac.
I’m going to lie down and rest because we understand that it’s that rest state that sort of the wisdom of the universe comes in and reorganizes and comes in with its healing forces.
And it’s literally how we’re designed. We’re designed to do maintenance and repair and healing of body tissue when we’re sleeping, when we’re in a relaxed state, when we’re in a meditative place, when you’re lying on the couch doing nothing and worrying about nothing. I don’t know that you’ve had that really.
Bridie: No, I haven’t.
Marc: And I want to say something else. You also probably have, on one level, the kind of constitution, and I mean a physical constitution and an emotional sort of psychic constitution, where you can handle a lot of intensity because you do handle a lot of intensity. What you described to me, you might as well have said I have a really intense life, a really intense schedule.
I work intensively hard. I have to take care of myself in a very intensive way. So you work very hard on a lot of levels at the same time. And there’s a place where that’s one of your greatest assets. And it’s a place where it’s one of your greatest liabilities because you can overdo it.
You can be so good at that that yeah, I don’t necessarily take care of myself in the exact and more specific ways or more subtle ways that I know how. So it feels, for you, like the life shift is, on one level, slowing down. But it also feels like on another level, Bridie, you’re giving up, perhaps, what may be a dream.
Bridie: Yeah, that’s accurate, very accurate.
Marc: And giving up a dream, with all due respect, ain’t easy because I’m imagining, even though you’ve been working hard at what you’re doing, you probably had to work very hard to be able to get good at what you’re doing so you could do what you’re doing. So there’s all the other work that it took you to get where you are, and all the training. And that’s all, oftentimes, driven by this wonderful goal of being up on stage, which is its own excitement. It’s its own rush. It’s its own accomplishment. And it’s not easy to let go of.
Bridie: No. That’s true. Yeah.
Marc: So I’m kind of highlighting that for me because I think in your healing journey, I think in general in our healing journey, as we try different things, and we do this, we do that, this diet, that diet, that practitioner, that approach, which you’ve been doing, which I think is an amazing thing, and it’s a great thing, and it’s a necessary thing, we have to be so responsible for our healing journey, even if you don’t know anything because you don’t know anything about all the conditions that you have. You’ve had to learn. And then you choose the practitioners that you want to work with, even though you don’t know if they’re going to be any good. You don’t know if it’s going to work. So all I’m saying is that there’s a place in there where we have to get real subtle about our healing journey and what can heal us.
And it just feels like the life shift is not just okay, I’m slowing down. That’s a huge piece of it. But you’re morphing. You’re kind of going into the cocoon right now. And you’re giving up your identity. So part of it is what is that identity for you. And what exactly am I giving up. And okay, well yeah, it’s a career on the stage. I’m giving up that. I don’t know if this is true for you. I’m going to just throw this out there.
Sometimes what we’re giving up by being on stage is we’re giving up getting some nice attention, getting nice love.
It’s like hey, I did a good job. Throw some love my way. So it’s a way that we feel good about ourselves, that you can feel hey, I’ve accomplished by I performed. Here’s my voice. Here’s my body. Here’s my movement. How am I doing? And that takes a lot of energy, to perform and then receive good feedback. There’s a lot of stress in there.
Marc: There’s a lot of tension in there. So I’m getting that you letting that go is going to put you into a whole different place. And I also want to make sure that you’re noticing everything that that means for you because I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. But it feels like the implications are huge for you to give up your career, at least for now.
Bridie: Yeah, that’s absolutely accurate, for sure.
Marc: Are you afraid?
Bridie: I think there were too many other things pointing me in the direction of this shift. I was not afraid. My relationship is very exciting at the moment. And being a part of your school is very exciting at the moment. So there were a lot of things that I think were pulling me to make that decision. But it doesn’t change the actual fear of putting your notice in and having the last everything, the last show, the last goodbyes, the last, journey’s probably the wrong word, with the company, but that transition.
And of course the fear of not having the paycheck is huge. So there are definitely things that were fearful, parts of it. But it didn’t make me afraid of what was to come. I felt like there were too many things, even if it was amount of diseases that kept accruing. Or I was dealing with a lot of vocal issues too. So that was adding to that. It just kept pushing me towards it’s just time. So that part didn’t scare me too much. It was more the goodbye of it all.
Marc: There’s also the piece of when one is a performer, when one is a woman and a performer, and especially, as you’ve mentioned, it’s like hey, there are certain roles I’m going to be put in because of my type, because of my body type. And I’m going to guess that you probably weren’t the kind of kid that raised your hand and said yeah, I want to be cast as the body type of the bigger girl. Let’s do this one.
Bridie: Absolutely not.
Marc: Right, and probably few would fall into that category of wow, let’s do this. That’s the one I want. And in a strange way it puts a whole other burden on one’s psyche because you could wake up one day and decide hey, I want to look like this. I want to lose weight. I want to have this body type. That’s hard enough to want to change one’s weight and body type.
If it’s not easy, if there are challenges with it, that’s difficult enough. It can cause its own brand of pain and suffering. But then when we have a job or career where your body is sort of your billboard, and it’s what shows up, then there’s this added pressure of okay, well here I am. But it’s maybe not the role I really want to be in. And I really wish I was doing that or being her.
And I can’t imagine how tough that would be. But I’ve noticed it. And I’ve seen it. I watch how there’s even, Bridie, a lot of people in the fitness industry, in the nutrition industry who think I’ve got to have the perfect body in order to be in this industry. You can’t be 10 pounds overweight and call yourself a fitness person.
Well, to me, you could weigh anything and call yourself a fitness person or a nutrition person, whatever the case may be. But there’s that added oomph of well did you ever quite make it. And that, to me, is… I don’t know if that’s a piece for you to kind of reconcile. But it makes me wonder, is there that dream of wow, I never really got to where I wanted to go because my body held me back.
It’s interesting listening to you say all that. What comes up for me is being told senior year of college unless you look a certain way, New York’s not going to work with you.
And I kind of got to New York and… or was told you’ll work later, in your 30s or 40s. And we were all told that out of my school and sort of put into a cookie cutter look in order to have the ingénue roles and whatnot.
And I think I got there and knew I was bigger and knew that I wouldn’t be going in for certain things. But I watched the other people, the very small population of people like me who have worked. And I said well, until I get to where I want to go, I’m going to fill those niches. I’m going to work. And I’m going to go towards that.
So instead of being frustrated and angry, which of course I was, that I’m not doing specific things that I wanted to do, I still worked. And I’ve now been one of the only members of my class who have consistently worked since I graduated because I decided I’d rather work than not. And I’d rather work and fulfill and do what I love rather than only go in for something that I will never get called back for because I don’t look a certain way.
I think the only wish for me, and still dream, which I’m not closing the door to at all, would be to do… our tour is the Broadway version on the road, but to do it in New York, that’s it. So I have already put it out there that if there are people needed in New York in my company for a fill in, even if it’s for a week, I’d love to check that off my list. But at this point right now, with the health stuff and with this new direction hoping to coach and whatnot, it doesn’t feel like I’m disappointed by the decision I’ve made.
Marc: Yeah, I hear you. For me, again, I want to get back to I think it’s important for us, and I think it’s important for you here, and I see you doing this, and I’m acknowledging it, I’m affirming it, and I’m saying keep going on this, which is, to me, a big part of your healing at this point, is really looking at your journey in the big picture and really understanding that this is a journey.
By journey I mean this is your life unfolding.
This is your own epic sort of Broadway show. It’s The Bridie Show. And it’s interesting. It’s not necessarily the script that you imagined you would write. And this feels like the part of the story where you gather in your forces. And you really stop. And you take a deep breath. And you go on what feels like more of the inward or spiritual part of your journey here. And I’m kind of getting that as you really relax into the unknown that’s your new life coming up here, really relax into it as best you can and give your body a chance to not have to work every day in the way that it’s been working, to not have to push every day, to not have sort of behind you motivating you I have to perform. The show has to go on. And I’ve got all these symptoms. And you have to put your symptoms aside to perform. You really do.
Marc: And there’s a place where that takes a lot of work. And this feels like really a beautiful transition point. I so feel like you’re on the right track. And you’re not going to quite get what you want right now, which is oh, I feel better now.
Marc: And true it is though, I think you’ve been building up your healing bank account because you have been doing a lot. And part of it is you don’t have to keep pushing. You do have to keep moving forward. You do have to keep finding things out. You do have to keep exploring. But I think there’s a difference between that and pushing to find an answer.
And pushing to find a cure is different from here’s me. Here’s Bridie. Damn, this body ain’t totally cooperating with what I want it to be and what I want it to do. And, phew, how do I just shake off some of my life and shake off all this travel and shake off all that stress and shake off the airbnb’s and plant yourself somewhere and get up when you need to get up and sleep when you need to sleep and be unhappy when you need to be unhappy and be you when you need to be you, whatever that is, and not have to perform for anybody or anything. What if you feel like garbage that day? Don’t pretend.
There’s a place where you get to start to own yourself in a whole different way because you’re letting go of any extraneous roles, even though it’s my career. It’s my profession. It’s what you do best. What a fascinating thing, to have to let go of it. I mean that’s an interesting kind of sort of spiritual weight lifting that you need to do. Or it’s a big let go.
Marc: And I hear that as part of your healing. I hear letting go as part of your healing. I hear you not having to play a role. Who are you without this career? How do you show up? Who are you every day? Who are you with your new relationship? Who are you just kind of getting in the car and going to the store? Who is she without a role?
Marc: What comes to…
Bridie: I don’t know. Well I feel like I’ve sort of stepped into many different roles since then. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I sort of stepped into okay, well this is what it would be like to be a housewife. I never thought I’d be one. But that’s something, taking care of… because I still have to take care of my food. It’s become taking care of my food and my boyfriend’s food.
And then his mom has been very sick for the last couple of weeks. So I’ve been taking care of that and helping her, which is very much a part of who I am. I am very much a nurturer, a helper. I try to definitely help others heal. I have not spent as much time with my parents due to wanting to spend time with my boyfriend, and his mom being sick, on top of trying to shift and figure out okay, where are the grocery stores I can go to and researching which gyms am I going to now look into. That was something that was sort of already figured out on the road or I had done the research for. On top of that, I still have to find the doctor to prescribe the insulin. So I have to find certain practitioners right now.
And Ohio is not exactly the easiest place to do some of the healing that I would prefer to do. Before my relationship I was really toying with moving to Denver, having had performed there for five weeks this past May, or Nashville. And I knew I didn’t want to go back to New York. I just knew that the stress there right now was not going to be good for me. Even though I know the city like the back of my hand, I could tell that my body and it were not going to mesh. But I know that I can find all that I need to find there.
So I think that’s another challenge with Ohio, is trying to figure out how to find the places that are a dime a dozen in Denver and Nashville and LA and New York. So I still have been trying to do all that. I don’t think I’ve had some of the let go moments you’re talking about because I still had to keep finding all these things and sort of step right into all of these different roles I’m now filling at home.
Marc: So there’s a lot on your plate just to get yourself almost to square one.
Yeah, it’s a fascinating lot in life that you have, that you have to work this hard to care for yourself.
When you look at it from, I don’t know, a different vantage point, when you look at your life in that way, what do you think about that? What do you think it’s been teaching you? If there was a brilliant reason for that kind of journey for you, why is that there?
Bridie: I think my hope is that it will be to help other people. I think that’s my hope, that all of this has been because it will eventually do something for other people and also help myself. I think that’s been the biggest hope of all, is that eventually I’ll find the ability to find that simplicity. But I think it has to have all been for a bigger purpose. It all has to have been for a bigger reason.
I’m an extremely high functioning sick person.
So I think that’s the other thing, is nobody ever sees or knows the stress, the pain, the anxiety, my mom, for sure. But I think that’s the other thing, is trying to find the simplicity so I’m not having to be so high functioning with it but then hoping that the reason it’s all been is to help other people who feel the way that I do.
Marc: So Bridie, I think we just hit, for me, kind of a bingo point here. And the bingo point is I’m a high functioning sick person. And on one hand that’s a role you can play because you are. And there are a few high functioning sick people out there. It takes a lot of willpower. It takes a lot of energy. It takes a lot of inner fortitude. It takes a lot of mental power. It takes a lot of emotional power. It takes a lot. And you’ve got to push yourself. And you have to motivate yourself. And for me I’m getting that there’s a place where you’re tired of that. You’re tired of having to be a high functioning sick person.
So what I want to offer to you is, yeah, I would love for you to really keep your sights set on that and have the places where… and you might have to get a little more specific or elegant around this, but to have the times and the moments and the places where you don’t have to be a high functioning sick person. And it could literally be when you calendar it in, where I’m doing nothing, literally, or where I’m getting supported. My boyfriend supports me at this time. It’s my time. Or I’m getting my massage at this time. It’s my time. It’s 100% mine. I do nothing.
Sometimes to get better we have to fall apart.
And falling apart is not always the thing that we think it is. And you’ve held it together for so long. So when I say fall apart, it’s really the part that just wants to let go. I would love for you to keep track of that woman inside you, the part that sometimes wants to fall apart. And you might not fall apart. You might not say oh no, I can’t go there. I can’t go there today. There’s too much to do. There’s too much to accomplish.
But still, even there, I still want you to be in touch with her and that part of you because I think in a lot of ways that might be where the action is because the woman inside you that’s very vulnerable and tired and sick of this stupid nonsense and just wants to be healed and lose a bunch of weight and not have to deal with all this craziness, she has a legitimate complaint. And she is legitimately tired. And she is legitimately just fed up with all this nonsense.
Bridie: You are correct, for sure.
Marc: And I really get that you’re doing your best. I really get it. And I really get that you have been successful in managing your diseases. You’ve been successful. You’ve been able to maintain a career, get through things, build your resume, do what you love, do something amazing, do some amazing work that not a lot of people can do or get to do.
And it’s time for a break, but more than a time for a break where okay, now I have to learn how to settle in, take care of my body, find my practitioners. I know you have to do that. But I also really want you to keep your eye on having a place for the part of you that’s tender and that’s raw and that just is messy and doesn’t have your shit together and doesn’t want to show up as Miss Perfect Helper girl for everyone else.
I think it’s important for you to give that girl and you some airtime, where you can just be ‘okay, this is all about me’.
And I don’t care if you have to scream your head off and be angry at the world – I mean that – I don’t care if you just have to break down and be depressed. It might be that that’s a part of your journey right now, to give yourself that space to not have to hold it together. Holding it together doesn’t mean that falling apart is bad because you can fall apart in moments.
You can fall apart in the evening before you go to bed. You could get your act together in the morning again. But to have those little homeopathic moments where it’s like oh, okay, I can let down my guard a bit. That’s what I would love to see you do because I know when we hit that place sometimes, we’re able to relax because I hear you’ve been on a journey where you’ve had to keep it together. You’ve had to be a high functioning sick person. And there’s a part of you that’s sick of being a high functioning sick person. And she deserves a lot.
How, at this point in your life, can you start to be more of the center of attention when it comes to your own healing journey, when it comes to you being supported, when it comes to you not having to play a lot of big roles for people? How else would that show up for you right now?
Bridie: I think it means I need to pull back from a lot of what I have been doing, then, for other people, in that sense. I still feel extremely unsettled here. And I think me feeling some of that, settled, my childhood life in this house, my tour life in the car, my New York life, my high school life, everything that’s been around has been sort of going through in order to feel like I’m in one place, and I’m here for a while.
So I think that I’m so wrapped up in trying to settle there and spend time my boyfriend and help his mom and eat the food the way that I’m supposed to eat it and spend time with my family and start things here, I haven’t had that time at all. I haven’t had the… I keep saying I’m transitioning.
But I’m transitioning without having had the letting go moments. Yeah.
Marc: How do you create that for yourself? Can you? Can you have more time in that way?
Bridie: I think that’s the thing that’s always been about me. I feel like I never have any time. That would be the one thing I would easily say, and everyone will say about me, is that I’m stressed for time, always, because it feels like the to do list is never ending. And some of that I put on myself because I love doing for other people.
So I’ll add those things. But those are actually the things that I get joy from. It’s the things that I know are on the laundry list of to dos for me that aren’t fun, that are necessary but not fun, that I end up feeing like that’s where my time goes. So that’s the struggle for me, is to try to figure out where I can find
that time for sure.
Marc: Yeah, you may need to let go of some of the places where you’re giving and serving, just a thought. I know it gives you pleasure, and it makes you feel good. And that makes sense. And in a weird way, as you’re getting settled, it might be a time of upheaval, still, on another level. Oftentimes when we cycle back to the place where we were born… so this was the house that you were raised in that you’re in now?
Bridie: No, only high school actually. I moved throughout my childhood. But my high school life was here.
Marc: But still, high school, yeah. So essentially you’re going back to a previous scene in your life. So you’re in a time capsule right now. And there’s a beauty in that. There’s a sweetness in that. And I often find that when we cycle back to a place where we used to be, geographically, emotionally, energetically, socially, family, when we cycle back like okay, living with my parents, here I am it the high school house, it usually means that we’re tying up some loose ends.
It often means that we’re doing a strategic strike into that part of our life to help heal something, elevate something, complete something, wrap something up. I’m not sure what that is for you. But I would ask that question. What is it about the time in your life when you were last here that now you’re coming back to to make better, to elevate, to transform, to graduate from? There might be some interesting patterns there.
There might be some interesting thoughts or beliefs that you adopted at this time about you and yourself because in a lot of ways, from high school your career was launched. And now you’re going back to that place before you launched, or as you’re being launched. It’s just interesting. You’re going back in time. You’re time traveling.
And I want to say there’s a wisdom for it. And I want to say that I’m just guessing for you and your journey there’s something that wants to get worked on. There’s something that wants to be healed, smoothed over. I’m not sure what that is for you. But it would be interesting to play with that.
Bridie: Okay. I’m not sure what it is either. I don’t know. I mean now I’m thinking what that could possibly be. And I’m not exactly sure what that is.
But it’s definitely worth looking into.
Marc: I often like to say that if you want to understand a person’s psychology, psychology of an adult, you want to understand how they operate, how they work, what they are, learn about their experience in high school. And that’ll tell you a lot about how they experience the world now. We often experience the world the exact way we experienced it in high school, to a certain degree.
So it might be interesting. Who were you in high school? What was my identity? What was my social energy like, really? What was going on in my inner world? How is that kind of being reproduced now in my life? How has the rest of my life been like that in some way? You might find connections there for yourself.
But it feels like there’s a little bit of a do over. Not that you’re going back to high school again, but you get to return to this place, which is a power spot for you in its own right. And the body has to relax. The body has to settle in in order for us to heal. And I mean this. And it’s both scientific and it’s very non scientific.
The body heals in a relaxation response. But our life heals when we are able to drop in, be who we are.
Let go. Let go of everything extraneous and hear ourselves, whatever ourselves is. And oftentimes it could be a place of pain. It could be a place of upset. It could be all of it together. But that place where we just start to feel my life and oh, whew.
It’s been quite a road for you. It’s been quite a road. So this is a good time to just kind of reflect back a little bit without you having to apply so much of the Bridie push through I’m going to make this happen energy. So I get that you have to push through and make things happen. I hear that. I know you have to be still a high functioning sick person in order to take care of yourself. And at the same time, I also would love, love, love for you to start drawing to yourself support in a whole different way.
And notice there will be some places where you don’t have to push as hard as you think. And notice the places where you could ask for more help, especially in your relationship. Especially look to see how can I not drop into the role of okay, I’m super woman. I’m going to save the day. I’m cooking for you. I’m cooking for me. I’m cooking for your mother. I’m taking care of her. And here comes the list of super woman and what she can do. And just don’t be super woman for a while. Just be you. And you know something? You might not be as popular, even in your own mind.
Bridie: Yeah, that’s, I think, a fear of that, too, for sure. Yeah.
Marc: So you might have to let go of popularity in your own mind. You might have to let go of do you all love me because here’s what I do so you love me: I show up. I do things for people. I’m happy. I’m interesting. I put on a good show. I bring all the meat to the table. And that’s all wonderful. That’s all so sweet. And you don’t have to do it in order to be loved. That’s part of who you are. It’s not all of who you are. And you being you and you being loved and accepted is not contingent upon…
Marc: Yeah. It’s a good role to decommission, I think, right now.
Bridie: Yeah, I hear that. I agree, because I think that’s just the role that I step into naturally, and what I’ve been doing for a long time, even if it’s not for me. It’s for other people. So I think there is something, that I have to deal with that fear of what that means when I don’t do that because I think a lot of it has become doing it because I do see the results for other people.
And that is exciting and hopeful for me. But I also feel like when you said it that way, that I do it, I don’t want to say for acceptance. I think that’s too strong of a word. But I think that that comes into play.
Marc: It does come into play. And it doesn’t mean that you have these impure motives. We’re human. We’re complex. And we’re looking at nuances here. We’re looking to fine tune. It’s kind of like working with your voice. You do these tiny little things. And you fine tune it. And then something different comes out.
So we’re looking to fine tune your life. And part of that is fine tuning what you’re thinking, what you’re feeling, what’s motivating you, what’s driving you, and seeing where we can oh, wow, there’s this part of me that’s invested in super woman that doesn’t actually serve me at the end of the day.
So it doesn’t mean you stop doing things for people and you stop having that aspect of you. It means you have more facility to not be Superwoman if you don’t want to, if you don’t need to. But you don’t always know when you don’t need to because it is automatic. And when I did mention that, and you said yeah, that’s something I need to look at, a part of you kind of relaxed a little more. And that’s the place I want to see you get to.
There’s a place in you that’s more quiet and just more thoughtful and just quiet and observing. And sometimes in that quiet observing place, nothing happens. There’s a lot of nothing. You could be sitting in your room all day in that quiet place, and nothing happens.
But everything can happen from there. So all I’m saying is there’s a value in you dropping into more nothingness, more silence, more non accomplishment and non doing just to see, just to see what’s there. And it might be uncomfortable for you because it’s going to ask you to get more cozy with yourself because I think there’s a place where for you, as a performer, there’s a lot of will you now love me.
But I kind of want to start to wrap things up and say that I think there’s a part of you where being a performer and being in theater and being an actress has gotten tied into what we all need as young people, as children, which is love me, accept me, here I am, and do you love me. And we’re all taught to do different things in order to be loved. We’re all conditioned in certain ways. I will love you if, your parents will love you if you do the following things.
And you’ve had it wired in a lot of ways that when you do this thing really well, you’re loved.
Bridie: You get applause, yeah.
Marc: Yeah, so you’re letting that go. And you now have to dig a little deeper. It’s not finding the next work that you do, even though you’re doing that. It’s less about okay, well how am I going to contribute and do good stuff in the world. You’re doing that. And that’s important. I’m not knocking that.
More important than that, to me, is finding the place where you’re okay with you regardless of whether you’re on stage, whether you’re sitting with a client, whether you’re in a classroom learning or teaching or just hanging out with your mom or your boyfriend. It doesn’t matter. So it’s finding that place where we love you. You’re okay. You don’t to have to do a damn thing different than just sit there and show up and have Hashimoto’s and eat weird food and try to heal yourself. It’s like here it is.
So that feels like the place that you’re relaxing into. And when you relax into that place on a deep level, you’re not pushing yourself so hard anymore. And when you’re pushing less hard, your body won’t think that you’re attacking it so much. There may be a place. I don’t know. But the way you’re able to be a high functioning sick person might be pushing yourself too hard.
Bridie: Yeah, I think it’s not allowed my body to relax at all.
Marc: Yeah, so you’ve got to take your foot off the gas because if you were a race car driver, you would be very fast. And you would be very successful at it because you just got that food on the gas kind of DNA.
Bridie: All the time, yeah.
Marc: So you’re learning a different way. You’re accessing a whole different part of you, which I truly, truly believe. We haven’t kind of talked about the medical conditions that you have, even though that’s what’s really most important to you and to me. We’ve been talking about it in a way that I think on a deeper level can help move things along because we can do all the diets and the supplements and the drugs and the therapies.
And oftentimes when we don’t learn the soul lessons that we’re ready to learn, the personal lessons, the deeper lessons that life is trying to teach us, healing isn’t always so forthcoming. And I think you are so placing yourself where you need to be. It just feels like life has conspired to place you in okay, sorry Bridie. It’s time out now.
Bridie: It’s time, yeah.
Marc: This is it. And you’re heeding the call. And I really believe you have what it takes. But a lot of what it’s going to take is the opposite of your super power. The opposite of your super power is not doing a whole lot. And it is letting go. And it’s not pushing. And it’s not forcing. And it’s not performing. And it’s just not being super woman. It’s being average girl, whatever that is for you in the moment.
And you’re going to love that place in you. It’s a softer place. It’s not all of who you are. But it’s a big part of who you are. And it deserves some air time. And it’s probably the part of you that needs to be massaged and healed and loved the most right now, is my guess.
Bridie: Yeah, that rings very true.
It feels like I’ve been able to hide behind the performer part of me.
Or the average part of me has taken a back seat because I’ve had the role that I’ve been able to play. But I’ve always said I would rather sing in front of 5,000 people I don’t know than 5 that I do know because I don’t like that role to be me. I don’t like that role to be actually who I am. I’d rather play a different role. So I can connect that with the average me being that person that needs the time to figure that out.
Marc: Yeah, and to be you and to be vulnerable and to be not knowing and to be not perfect and not super woman and really freaking get that you’re still loved. And you’re still lovable. And you must, and I really mean this, you must prove this to yourself.
You must prove to yourself that this part of you that is weak and sick and sick of this whole thing and all of it, that’s just as lovable as all the other stuff. And it’s not a sign that we’re going to now abandon you and not show up anymore because you’re not singing and dancing in the way that entertains us. You don’t have to entertain us to be loved. And it’s a powerful lesson for a powerful actress. It just is.
Bridie: A shift, a big shift.
Marc: Yeah, I feel like you’re ready for it.
Bridie: Yeah, I feel like everything sort of has propelled me into that. Whether I have thought I was ready for it or not, I think that there were too many God moments pushing me into it being time to leave to then bring me to this place.
Marc: Well, I think you’re a brave lady. I think you’re a courageous lady. I really do.
Bridie: Thank you.
And it takes a lot of bravery and courage, also, to kind of surrender.
I mean surrender in a good way, just let yourself be soft and left yourself be you at this time of your life. So I’ve got all kind of good hopes for you and good confidence and really appreciate you laying it on the line here and being so open and honest and inviting us into your journey and into your world. And I think you’re going to get there. I think you’re going to look back on this time and go wow, what a powerful initiation.
Bridie: Yeah, I agree. I think that it’s a lot of culmination of events to get here. And there will be a lot of transition more, I think, on the journey, but in a new way of handling it with myself rather than a role I’m playing.
Marc: Beautiful. Good for you. Bridie, thank you so much.
Bridie: Thank you, Marc.
Marc: And thanks, everybody, for tuning in. Thanks for being along the ride with us. Once again, I’m Marc David. On behalf the Psychology of Eating podcast, lots more to come, my friends. You take care.
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