Amanda: Hey, so before we get into it, I just wanted to say–if you're listening to this in the car with your kids or have some, you know, sensitivities, this is an official trigger warning that we are going to get into a little bit more graphic detail than usual for us. There are some domestic violence triggers, there's a lot of drug use triggers, and so just use your best judgment whenever you start listening to this conversation.The other thing is we start talking about ADHD in particular as well as a few other medical conditions. And just a reminder that while we are doctors, we are not your doctor. And so if you are interested in treatment or something else like that, you need to speak with your own primary care provider.
Amanda: Hi guys. Welcome back to the podcast. I am Amanda.
Laura: I'm Laura.
Kendra: And I'm Kendra.
Amanda: And this is the section before we get going where I remind you to scroll down real quick and leave us a review. I'm going to keep on announcing this until we get to 500. Also, I want to let you know that we have CME available now for our podcast. So just scroll down to the show notes and click the link if you'd like to claim CME. So this time I'm excited because we have a special podcast on addiction. I am so excited to welcome our very special guest, Elyse Segebart. She is a software developer, a certified life coach, specializing in ADHD and addiction recovery, though people who are already in recovery.
I met her in my coach training class and she is such a fantastic coach. She's coached me and I actually hired her to coach my son who has ADHD, and I'm going to share some of his thoughts about Elyse at the end, but she's such a powerful and amazing coach who happens to be a recovered former addict herself.
In the emergency department, we see so many people who struggle with addiction. This was one of the things actually for me that contributed to my own burnout, was that feeling of just hopelessness as I encountered these people. And I think I was probably triggered because my own dad was an alcoholic and it was, it was triggering to me, to see so many people struggling this way with substances.
We see this so often and it's really easy to either dehumanize these people or feel hopelessness ourselves as we encounter them in their depths of their problems, especially when we're suffering from burnout. We know that burnout reduces our empathy and when we have less empathy, we're going to enjoy our work less.
So I'm so excited for you to hear her story and hope it will provide a different perspective, maybe a perspective of hope on our patients who struggle with addiction.
So, hi Elyse and welcome. Thank you for joining us so much. Hello. Thank you for having me. So to get us started, will you please tell us a little bit about yourself, where you're from, where you live now, what you're up to these days? Sure. So my name is Elyse Segebart. I am 34 and I live in Iowa. I'm currently working as a mobile application developer and I also do life coaching on the side.
In my free time, I love to run and watch true crime shows and draw. Love that. So you do coaching with Underdog Devs. I'm not sure if I'm saying that or not. What is that? Tell us about that. Yep. So Underdog Devs is a group of software engineers that help aspiring developers who were either formerly incarcerated or from an economically disadvantaged background, get a job in technology.
So they'll provide stipends and the training to do the job. And so I wanted to add this element of life coaching to give them the support that's not from a technical side with their mindset for sure. This cause is really near and dear to my heart because I was formerly incarcerated myself. I got into a lot of legal issues stemming from my addiction, and I felt this was a perfect way to give back.
Okay. So Dev is developer short for developers. Underdog. Yes. Devs, yes. Yeah. Yep. Okay, good. And, and like, what, what an amazing thing. I love that. Yeah. Making such a difference. What was life like for you before you were introduced to drugs? So before you know, like when I would look back at it, or if when I was currently addicted, you know, I, I would look back and I would never have expected this for myself, honestly, I had a really normal childhood. You know, I was a good student, nice family, mom and dad in the home. You know, I started to have emotional problems. I think stepping from undiagnosed ADHD when I got into my teenage years in eighth grade, I just struggled really. Like, I struggled a lot to stay on task and stay focused.
And I was always drawn to just like, wanting to do the fun things, like just what I wanted to do. I never wanted to do the work. It was so boring. It was so hard. And I, I just remember like my 14 year old self thinking like, what's wrong with me? Like, why can't I just do these things? I just, I have to get 'em done, so why don't I just do them?
We ended up moving to a smaller town and then, so I did a little bit better there but I was still like chronically late to things. I would get really wrapped up in the things that I liked to do. I was a night owl. But then I got into high school. I still got good grades, but I really struggled to get everything done on time still, or like even being on time to school.
I was in a lot of sports even, and did really well in those because it was a lot of activity, you know, like really burn off that energy. But just realizing now, like a lot of this was due to the undiagnosed ADHD and that's where my impulsivity came from. So that led to, you know, my freshman year I was introduced to that by one of my friend's, family members, and that was the first time I had tried it and that started a 13-year struggle with addiction.
So tell us a little bit about that. Like how did you become addicted and what happened next? So, . I mean, it started out small, you know, because like I didn't know where to get it or–that was like new to me. So eventually, once you do drugs with some people, you meet other people who are also doing drugs and then you have more contacts to get things that you want.
So that kind of just began a chain of events and you meet the wrong people, all the wrong people, and the people who will continue to enable your addiction. But doing stimulants like that, I think made me feel like I had control of something, like control of my life. In the beginning, of course, it always spirals, but the reason why I felt like I was so addicted to it was because I could focus.
Like I was, I was ready, I was on time for things in the beginning, you know, I had energy. I was getting my homework done for school, and I think that focus made me feel like I was normal like everybody else. I know it wasn't, and I wasn't from the outside looking in, but I think it felt good to be on time and like accomplishing things before the drugs started to consume my life.
And then what happened from there? So I did meth throughout my entire high school career. And when I was a senior, I started to get really bad. I almost didn't graduate. I was 105 pounds.
I was missing a lot of school. And I moved out of my house the fall of my senior year, and the person that I was living with, my house got raided in the spring before I graduated. And that was the first time that I was arrested. I was released the next day because the charges went to the person that I was living with.
So that was like in April, March. And by August I, three months later, I was arrested again for intent to distribute. And that was two weeks before I was supposed to go to college. Had a full ride on an art scholarship. And so obviously that got revoked. And so like this was a serious charge–this was like B felonies.
So this was a 25 to life charge. You know, I'm 18 years old. So that was very scary for me. You know, at this time I was ordered to go on house arrest, and then I had to go to treatment, and this was my first day in inpatient treatment. And I was after being sober for, and being addicted for years.
And no one knew. You keep a lot of secrets, you know, you are never your true self and you're always, always burying what's going on. And so learning to have those emotions again in treatment was just so mind blowing. Like four years of doing drugs and then the emotions that would come out, you know, I mean, it was like blind rage or like, , it's so elated.
You're just up at 5:30 doing random stuff because you just have no idea what to do with yourself. You know, and at that time I was just so, I was so completely in denial of my problem. Like, I told my mom that the minute I get out of treatment, I am going right back to what I'm doing. No problem.
And she's just like, why, why don't you wanna change? I'm like, I like what I'm doing, it's fine. And I mean, of course it's not. And so, yeah, I just, I didn't wanna stop. So I got home from treatment and I got a job while waiting for my court date, you know, finishing the requirements of me being out.
And one of the town cops knew me personally and talked to the county attorney about having me speak at schools, you know, like for their drug week, like they'd do the DARE thing. Drug awareness week. So when I went to talk at these high schools, there were still two grades below me that were still there, that knew me, that knew what happened.
And so I went and talked about my history, like how it happened and what, how you can, how they can stop, you know? And there's like four or five people that had went up to teachers after I got done talking and said, “we need to talk to somebody.” And so that made me feel really good that they could get the courage to go talk to somebody.
So after listening to my story at the schools,, the county attorney's perception was like blown wide open about addicts and how drugs affect people. He said I was going to be an open and shut case, 20 years, no problem. Wasn't even gonna think twice about it. Lose zero sleep about putting an 18 year old girl in prison for 20 years.
So very fortunate there. And he ended up putting me on a five year probation and outpatient treatment. And so I did those and I was sober for about a year, but I still hung out with my friends, you know, the ones that I did drugs with. And so eventually you can only guess, I wanted do them again too.
Elyse, I have a question about that. Sure. Because that's something that we, like you said you were in treatment and you were like, you told your mom as soon as you got out, you wanted to do it again. And this is, I think what we see. This is what we see so much in the ER. I saw it with my dad.
Like I remember, I remember being like 14 and begging him to stop drinking. And he is like, no, I don't want to. So what is that? Why is that? So the, that's the hardest part about addiction is that nobody wants to quit. And they always have to hit this point where they are done with it. Like they either get the resolve and wanna quit and do it, or they have to hit rock bottom enough to where they're like, I'm tired of this, I'm tired of losing this.
And sometimes it takes losing everything a couple times before they're like, okay, yes, I don't wanna do this anymore. But they have to want to, like, they can't quit for their wife. They can't quit for their kids. They have to quit for themselves first. Like, because if it's for somebody else there's a resentment element, there's a, well, I'm just doing it to appease somebody else, you know?
When you truly want it for yourself, that's where the real stuff happens, you know? And I didn't want to at first, but eventually, because I was forced to be in that situation. I eventually wanted to again. Yeah. Like, it's like good. Yeah. There was a, a part that you had mentioned to me previously too that I think is really important.
And that was like, who was it who introduced you to Meth? And when you first, when you first experienced it, but the thing that struck me about it was that, you know, sure. Somebody offered it to you and, but they were an adult. Yeah. And it was an adult, a trusted adult. Offered it to you and you Yes. Were like, sure. Like, right. Just try and be like, I had, I had no, no concept of how serious it is, you know, and that you are addicted, like the first time you do it. That you want to do it, that you, you know, you have all of this dopamine running through your brain, like meth releases 40,000 times the amount of dopamine in your brain. And that's not a natural thing that you should ever experience. And so, as you know, like dopamine teaches us where there's something important to be had or seen or look at again. And so when you have that amount of dopamine in it, it seems very important that you should do this again. Like super important and you will do whatever to do it.
I can't even imagine, I get addicted enough to TikTok, so I don't know. What? I don't know what would've been like 40,000 Tik Toks. I know, I, I was just, whoa. Exactly. But yeah, so that's, that's where the addictive component of it comes from is like so much dopamine and because , you want to find it again, you wanna experience that again, that's why you keep, you keep doing it there.
But not knowing the severity of it, when you're so young and having an adult offer it to you, you're like, this must be no big deal. They're doing it. You know? Right. So very wrong. I was, so that's, there's that .
So once I got sober, then for a year, like I still hung out with my friends, the ones that still did drugs. And so eventually I wanted to do them too. And it started to spiral again. I got really bad into it. I lost my job, lost my car. My family was tired of my crap.
So I decided to move away at that point. Like I just, I did not wanna get in trouble again. I was still on probation. So I moved to the city and I was clean for a couple years, but then I still ended up finding friends who did drugs, like my brain sought out these people who were okay with it. And I ended up starting to do meth again.
And then I started experimenting with other hard drugs like heroin. I ended up ODing on heroin and I woke up in the car on the way to my friends taking me to the hospital. So they didn't take me after I woke up, but I was an absolute disaster. Like I could, I couldn't stand on my own two legs.
And that was the last time that I did that, that was Labor Day in 2011. And not realizing how scary that is, you know, it's like I had told my friend about it, that that happened to me. And she's like, do you realize that I would be at your funeral today? And I'm just like, yeah, that's, I don't want to do that.
And so I was a meth IV user at that point in time. And so like, that's why I was doing heroin like that. But I quit. I didn't do heroin after that. Again, that was super scary for me. But because I was still using meth in that way, I slowly started to lose everything again. You know, I lost my job, my apartment, and I had no choice but to go back home.
So I still wasn't ready to quit and I kept going for another two years after I moved back home and got into so many more legal problems until the person that I dated at that time was in big enough trouble that we needed to move out of town. And I left with him to try and start over again. And so I got clean again.
I was going to outpatient, like I wasn't in any trouble except for the probation at that time. But I just checked myself into outpatient, like just stay in recovery, stay in like some treatment atmosphere or something to like keep my head on straight. And so I got a job and I was going to school and a few months later I was kicked out of the house.
And so I'm two hours away from home. I didn't have anywhere to go. I didn't want to go back home because what's waiting for me there is obviously just more drugs. So somebody I was in treatment with, let me live with her, which was very, very kind of her. I eventually started hanging around some people who did meth and started my spiral again, and my roommate eventually moved out and I was alone and I didn't do very well alone. Misery loves company. So I got very deep into drugs again. And this is where more arrests started happening. You know, I was stealing from stores. I had warrants out for my arrest. I was driving with no license. And I got a couple more possession charges. My fourth possession resulted in another felony for me.
And I was in a very abusive relationship at that time.
I couldn't leave him because I feared retaliation. Neither of us were going to quit drugs and I felt really trapped. I had another warrant out for my arrest. We were homeless living in other people's homes, wherever we could stay. And I had nothing anymore. Of course, my family still loved me, but like there was nothing they could do for me at that point. Like, I was not accepting help. They couldn't put themselves in that position to have me keep doing it, like enabling me and not figuring it out, you know? So I just, I needed to turn myself in honestly. And so there was one night that a different person that was dating at the time–I'll say dating loosely because it was not in any way a relationship looking back on it.
Tried to kill me during one of our fights and it fractured my cheekbone in three places and it shattered the bone underneath my left eye. And we were both still on the run. So we were staying in a hotel with my eye that was just blown up. And I needed to go to the doctor. So we went to the hospital and he would not let me be alone with the doctors at all.
Like he was right there. And, they're asking me like, what happened? You know? And like, I think they kind of knew what was going on. But I said, oh no, I got into a fight. Like I got in between two guys fighting in a bar. Like I was trying to stop a fight and I got an elbow in the face and I was just trying to tell them with my eyes like, it's him, you know, like, this is the person.
But I also had a warrant for my arrest. So if the cops were called then I would also go to jail. And it was the next day that our. Hotel room was raided by MINE (Mid-Iowa Narcotics Enforcement Task Force), and we ended up in a foot chase with them. And that was the last time that I got arrested. I was sitting in the back of the cop car and it was so hot.
It was like a summer day, like mid-July, just steaming. And my eye is blown up, like I'm in pain. And I just kept thinking to myself like, what am I doing? I was just so done with this. This is just, I, I couldn't take it anymore. Like, I'm gonna die. Like literally, if he doesn't kill me, then I would end up probably killing myself in some way, but, and then also I was just so relieved, you know, that it was over, I didn't have to run anymore. And so, when I got to the jail, they wouldn't let me have the painkillers for my eye. So I had to tough the pain out with Tylenol because you can't have drugs in jail, I guess, or, you know, painkillers.
Until I could see an eye doctor, you know, the swelling had to go down before they could do like x-rays and do what they wanted to do about surgery. And so about three weeks later, I was able to go to the eye doctor and make sure that my vision was okay. I have some like slight double vision in that eye, but yeah, that was, that was really, really scary.
So they set up an appointment for surgery and I knew that sitting in jail that I was just ready to do whatever it took to just not do this anymore. I was, oh, I was just so over it. Like I was so done with fighting what I'm doing and I think what really made the difference for me you know, cause there's like treatment for drugs where you can get off drugs, but then there's the other component where you stay off them and that's the component like I was always missing was like, I can get off drugs just fine, but I couldn't stay off them.
I couldn't stop doing them. And I think really what made the difference for me was the mental health therapy and going to it, like sticking with it. And I had done so many treatments, inpatient, outpatient, and I think mental health therapy really is the only way that's going to keep you off of them. And it just needed a longer form of support, you know, like that that therapy is what was needed. I think it should be a mandatory requirement for anyone who is being rehabilitated, that they have mandatory mental health therapy and not just drug treatment. Drug treatment is, you hear it once, you know it forever, you don't need to hear it again. I needed to understand why I'm doing the things I'm doing or build the skills to rewire certain patterns. And I needed help to manage my ADHD and all the impulsive behaviors that, I had. I think that's a really interesting point, Elyse. Yeah, because I’ve had so many families that I've encountered in the pediatric ER, they'll bring in their kids for a variety of things, and the kids clearly have ADHD. They're like, oh, we don't want to, we don't want to treat them because we don't want them to get hooked on drugs. But what they don't realize is that treating. Yeah. Actually is protective against, developing a substance abuse problem. So, right. It's so interesting. It really is because I think that substitution therapy is, is good for some things or like, you know, short term to get them into a different place because if you can get away from it long enough, then you don't really desire to be in that place again.
You know what I mean? Like with the ADHD. Adderall is a stimulant, you know, it's an amphetamine, but it doesn't, it's not the kind that somebody who's addicted to meth wants to abuse. You know what I mean? Like, I take it every day. I have zero desire to abuse it because it just, I feel normal. Like I feel good now.
Like I can accomplish the things that I want to do. And so it's just, it's just a weird dynamic, you know? But you're right, it is protective of keeping people from falling into their impulsive behaviors and trying things or putting themselves in situations they shouldn't be in. But yeah, so I did that and then once I was in the halfway house, I was there for three months and I got a job and I had a car and I had my family back.
And that's why I decided six months later that I was going to go back to school and finish my degree. So there were some of the credits that transferred. So then I finished my bachelor's in three years, and right before I graduated, I got a job working as a mobile application developer, which I am still doing now.
And in between that time of the full-time work and full-time school, and now I experienced a super severe burnout, like doing all of that, just barely sober. I, I mean, it was a recipe for disaster, but I just knew I had to do it. I knew I had to get this done somehow. And that's where, you know, like my brain was still coming off of the drugs.
Like it takes, I think like two years for your brain to fully recover from meth and. . I don't think my brain knew how to make dopamine anymore. So I was really just trying to like, regulate my emotions and get through the day to day. And that's what I found coaching. And coaching really helped me feel better, like nothing else.
I was going to therapy, but this helped me in the way that I wanted to be helped, I think. And I started to rewire a lot of my thoughts I had about myself and become a version of me that I liked. And then I decided to become a life coach and coach other women with ADHD or people who have struggled with addiction and then they get clean and go, okay, now what?
You know, those are the people that I want to help find that direction in their life. And so that's where I am now. Love that.
What do you think ultimately made you decide to come clean for good? Was there a moment or a thought or was it just the mental health treatment in general? What was it?
I think what made me want to get clean for good is I was just so tired of running because it always ended up that way. I always ended up either in jail, on the run, or just so depressed. Like it just becomes a cycle to where you just want to find drugs and do drugs, find drugs to do drugs, and you just feel terrible.
You have nothing. You have no one. You lose everything always. And I think I just got tired of losing everything all the time. So kind of along the same vein-when you were in jail for that very last time and you knew it was the last time, what new thoughts or beliefs did you come up with that made it different?
Like what made this time the one that worked? I think the thought was like, I am gonna do whatever it takes. Whatever advice they give me, whatever. I don't even care if I think it's dumb or not. They want me to go to treatment. I'll go to treatment. They want me to go to therapy. I'll do it for five years.
I don't care. I will do whatever.
I think that's so interesting how you went from not wanting to quit. It's like that, it was like the dopamine had hijacked your brain and, but then eventually, the pain became so much that you decided you wanted to change. And I think that's right. We see that a lot in coaching actually.
You know, not, we're not coaching people out of meth addiction, but still, for us to change, we have to have a motivation to change and the right have to be that uncomfortable that we want to make that change. Right. And it's so interesting, right, because it's uncomfortable the other way too.
It's like you're choosing between two discomforts, like you're either going to have discomfort and grow, or you're gonna have discomfort and lose everything. Which discomfort do you want? Yeah.
So what, after you sustained your eye injury, tell us a little bit about that. So I wanted to stop running. I wanted, you know, I didn't want to do it anymore. We both had warrants out for arrest. We were both on the run. We were staying at a friend's house because we were homeless at the time, so we're just staying wherever we could.
And we got into an argument and I said, I'm tired of doing this. Like, I don't want to do this anymore. And of course we are screaming, so I said, I'm gonna call the cops and we're gonna turn ourselves in. And he tried to shove my nose into my brain. But luckily I was able to turn when I saw, like my instinct, saw it coming and he smashed the left side of my face in and I
remember like I saw stars, like I hit the floor and I just saw blood just running out everywhere and I could feel the blood in my eye bone. Like I could feel the, it was almost cold is how my brain remembers it, like coming into under my eye and it was just puffing up and I looked into the mirror and it's just like blood all over the floor and my friend's like freaking out.
And you know, I didn't have anyone, I don't know, like my friend was obviously concerned about me, but it's just like I needed something so much more than those people, you know? Like I was so alone and lonely. And even though he had just punched me in the face, all I really wanted was a hug. you know, I just wanted to snuggle with him to feel better. Like I wanted somebody to offer me comfort because you don't have that anywhere when you're homeless and on drugs, you know? So that was a really, a really weird feeling for me to experience that level of violence. And then also what comfort from the same person at the same time.
So yeah, it was not fun at all. That's like, that's just, that's just heartbreaking. Yeah. Like, yeah. That's just so heartbreaking. And what our brains will do, and to be clear, this is not just Elyse, this would be any of us. This is right, this is our brain on, on so much dopamine that you just can't even process.
Yeah. You can't even process it that this person just injured you. Why do you wanna be around them? Do whatever it takes to get away. Like he tried to kill you, what are you doing? So yeah. It's so interesting how brains work, right? Yep. So in coaching we talk a lot about thoughts and beliefs and obviously there were thoughts you had during all of this that kept you in this cycle.
What were those thoughts and then what were the thoughts that changed?
So I think it started out like the thoughts in the beginning were like, it's just a few times. I'm not gonna do it forever. A little fun. I wanna feel focused. I like to feel normal. And also I don't wanna feel sad. I don't wanna feel sad, I don't wanna feel bad, I don't wanna feel lonely, and I just wanna get away from all the stuff in my head.
I didn't feel good enough. I didn't feel like I belonged. I always felt different. And, you know, , the feeling good enough is such a weird one because, wanting to feel good enough is–drugs don't get you there, first of all. And it's ironic because nobody I know is like, oh geez, I'm so thankful I did drugs.
I am so successful because of them, you know? I think the feeling good part was more of a self relationship thing. I knew the relationship with myself was very bad. And so I just wanted to avoid it at all costs and just like numb it by being high all the time.
You know how Brooke always says that when she was helping her son's friend–Brooke is our mentor for all three of us, our coach training, our mentor–that her son's friend was overcoming addiction and was like, I feel awful. And she's like, yeah, you're supposed to.
And it was like such a relief for him. But I think a lot of us think we're supposed to be happy and serene all the time. All the time. And there's something wrong with you if you're lonely or miserable or whatever. That's part of it. Right? Well, and nobody ever teaches us that, right? Like, right.
Yeah. We're always like, oh, why aren't you happy? You should be happy. You should be positive. Be more positive. Yeah. And it is just, you know, the beliefs, the beliefs and thoughts that shifted from that moment when I said, , I'm gonna do whatever it takes to beat this. I'm gonna beat the odds, that was another one of 'em was I'm gonna beat the odds and I'm gonna do whatever it takes.
And what are those odds, Elyse? Would you share those? Yeah. So I believe the odds of meth addiction recovering, the odds are like 12 to 18% chance of recovery. And it might be 12 to 20. I can't remember exactly, but it's low. It's low. It's very low and it's very sad to think that, some people who start doing it didn't know how serious it can get or is.
Yeah. So yeah, I, so that was your thought, that's a very powerful thought and belief that I'm going to beat the odds. Yeah. Yeah. I wanted it so bad. Like, I didn't, I didn't wanna die that way. I didn't want to have somebody else take my life. I wanted to live life on my own volition, like my own decisions and not let the courts decide that, not live it in prison.
Which I was heading to if I didn't stop. So yeah, that's probably my favorite thought. Yeah. What I, I just always think that even with like dismal medical diagnoses, why not be part of the small percent that comes out unscathed? Right. You know? Or, or, yes. Why not be part of the small minority that wins, you know?
Right. Or why not try, even if you don't think you could do it, why not try, just try. It's gonna feel like crap for the first couple years while you're getting yourself back, but it's so worth it. Of course. You know? Yeah. Well, it's certainly failing ahead of time if you don't try, you know?
Right, right. Yes, exactly. Yep. I agree.
So we joke in the ER that many ER docs and actually the nurses too likely have ADHD. And that's kind of what draws us to this exciting fast-paced environment where things are changing all the time and nothing has a chance to get boring. In fact, we're not even allowed to say the word boring there because then an onslaught of patients will come.
But it's interesting that ADHD seems to be a common theme there, but also in people who struggle with addiction. Mm-hmm. It's kind of like two sides of a coin in the ED, where we have, you know, the caregivers who may be struggling , with ADHD who are treating people who struggle with addiction, who also have ADHD.
And we talked a little bit about what you felt like ADHD had to do with you becoming addicted. Do you have any thoughts about that? Yeah, so I think that once I hit my teenage years, I was like super depressed, like all the time. And it could be due to something like, you know, the low dopamine, but it just always felt when I was younger, I would get so attached to stuff.
I would stay up till two or three o'clock in the morning doing like, hyper-focused on things like doing a latch hook. Like I couldn't stop until it was done. Any new thing I just went gung-ho over it until I got bored of it. And then I would do another thing and go gung-ho over that.
But I think it was once I, my teenage years when I didn't know how to handle my feelings and I was depressed that, that made me more vulnerable to trying drugs. But it's the boredom, the excitement, right? And the mood swings that, you know, bang, bang fireworks when you do drugs, you like go up, you have an extreme mood swing, and you're not bored and you are excited.
And I think that impulsivity like, it's just a perfect storm, right? Like you're bored, you're impulsive, you have this new thing that's right in front of you. Of course you're gonna do it I think that's how it all played into it, honestly. And depression now.
As we're coming to understand the neurobiology of depression, depression actually goes kind of hand in hand for people with ADHD. So as we see people in the emergency department with struggles with substance abuse or with depression, I like to ask at least, especially among my pediatric patients about ADHD.
So one of the things that we talk about with burnout, which, you know, that's our focus with our clients, a lot of them is, ER doctors struggle with burnout a lot, mm-hmm. And we don't, we don't have as much empathy when we feel burned out.
So tell us what might we want to remember about our patients struggling with addiction? Or what do you think they might want for us to know about them? Yeah, so like, just like when I went to the hospital for my broken eye, you know, like I would take any kindness that they would like.
I loved being there, you know, they're like offering me things and being nice to me and that always feels really, just being kind is always really, really helpful. And it makes somebody feel good when you have a very nice, genuine nurse or doctor. And that these people are not their addiction.
Yes, I understand that. Some of them are violent, or spitting, biting or in complete denial-don't think they have a problem, but they aren't their addiction. A lot of addicts don't get the same kindness from providers that somebody who is sick would, and addiction is a disease, you know?
And that's, I think that's something that's super important to remember because when your addiction becomes bigger than yourself, like all they're doing every day is just feeding this demon and a lot of it stems from emotional and mental issues. Like the undiagnosed ADHD myself, or they're escaping something they're not equipped to handle, like domestic violence or some forms of abuse.
There's always something deeper going on, like they might not have the support to quit. And just having a general curiosity. I think having curiosity about what's going on instead of judging them immediately can offer that kindness to them to treat them the same as somebody who is sick.
You know, just like remembering this could be your mom or your brother or your daughter. They're all somebody's family member and they deserve compassion just because they're human also, you know, just like you guys.
Do you think it's possible for us to make a difference for any of these patients?
Absolutely. 100%. Like it just takes one person somewhere to say, you know what, here's some help. Here's how you can get it. And it's always a little seed, right? Like I said, they have to want it themselves and do it for themselves before anything. But you guys have all the seeds too. You can plant them.
You may not be the person who makes them change their mind or get off drugs, but you could be, you know, it's, it's the impact. There's one of my outpatient therapists that was just so, so good. I love seeing her. She was so sweet, so loving. She always told me I was doing a great job and, you know, she was just so cute. Most of the time a lot of addicts don't give kindness to themselves. So I think I really liked that outpatient therapist because she gave me the things that I was not giving myself. And having somebody else be so kind is very, very touching. But you are also able to offer resources, right?
Like phone numbers or how to get help. How can they get there to get help? Where to find therapy or treatment and just get the ball rolling. Make a phone call for them you know, because there's so many puzzle pieces, right? When you're homeless, you don't have a car and you're trying to get off drugs and all you're around is people who have drugs.There's a lot of puzzle pieces there. Like where, how am I gonna get there? Where am I gonna stay? And having that conversation with them, like, what do you want to do from here? Or they might be in denial and they might be argumentative or combative with the idea. But just keeping it open-ended and getting their answers.
Like, not do you need treatment, but more like, what do you wanna see from here? How could I help you? I don't know how long you guys see people while they're in the ER, but just letting those people know, help us here if you want it. They may not want it, and that's okay, but you still offer the seed to them.
Yeah. So I think that's some ways that it's possible to make a difference. I absolutely, absolutely think all healthcare providers can make a difference in these people. Even if they don't want it at that moment, they might think of it later. I remember some people who had talked to me and said, why are you doing this?
Why do you keep doing this to yourself? And you got so much going for you? And I'm like, yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm gonna keep doing the same thing. I'll, you know, forever. But when you get alone, those conversations pop up again and you think about it and eventually all those conversations add up to where you're like, okay, yeah, maybe I can do this.
I want to do this. Yeah. I love it. You're amazing. You really, your story is just so powerful and so amazing, and thank you. It gives, it really does give me so much hope to see what you have overcome and what you're doing now to help other people. You are just an awesome person, Elyse. Thank you so much. No problem.
Thank you so much. How do people find you if they'd like to work with you? So you can find me on my website www.elysesegebart.com, or you could find me on Instagram @Elysethelifecoach. That's E L Y S E. And so like if we have a patient who might be in recovery and looking for some additional coaching or help, would that be, could we give them your information? Absolutely. A hundred percent. Okay. And I have to tell you guys, so I knew that Elyse was such an awesome coach and my own child who has ADHD, I have several who do–but one of them in particular was struggling last winter. He had missed some school because of Covid and got really behind and got very frustrated and sad. And actually it was kind of a scary moment for us. And so I. . I hired Elyse to coach him and asked him to give a testimonial about his experience because he, and I will tell you, he is a, he's a different, he's a different kid.
I know the power of coaching, but to see it in my own child, and I feel like I'm a good mom, I really pay attention to my kids and try to do all the best things for them. But in this situation, I just could not, I couldn't get him through it. So this is what he says about working with Elyse. He said, “Prior to my coaching sessions with Elyse, I was honestly convinced that I was a waste of oxygen.”
And keep in mind, side note from mom here, he has never heard any of that from anybody at our house. But he said, “I was honestly convinced that I was a waste of oxygen and that I completely deserved the pain. At the time, I'd say that about 19 out of 20 days were awful. After just one session though, I started to come to the realization that my depression was irrational and that I didn't have to be perfect in order to be worthy of a happy life. Over the course of a few months and some terrible scheduling on my behalf,, my outlook started to shift as I realized that being patient with myself is the only way to improvement. Now about 19 out of 20 days are amazing, and I can rest knowing that I am in control of my own happiness.” So there you go.
Testimonial from a 17 year-old boy about the power of coaching. That is so sweet. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. That's amazing. I love that he added in the scheduling. He's like and a couple months of terrible scheduling. That was so cute. Yeah, he was so, it was night and day, really, like just the short amount of time that we were together. Like I reviewed the first episode and the last one and it was just so powerful, I think, to see what this work can do for people. Yeah. It's awesome. Yeah. And he, you know, it's still interesting because his struggle was perfectionism, which we see in doctors all the time. All the time.
Insane. Big one. Yep. Well, I'm so happy to hear that. Thank you for sharing that with me. Of course.
What an amazing story. Elyse, thank you so much for coming on today. We honor you and your bravery for just opening up here on the podcast because we know that even just telling your story again means reliving it in some way, some fashion, some form.
So thank you, thank you, thank you. We honor you today and we know that somebody out there, even just one, is going to be thoroughly impacted and turned around because of your brave testimony. And to our audience, thank you for joining us. We want to tell you about our new webinar series, topics that come directly from what you said you want to hear more about.
So join us Wednesday, March 29th at 12:00 PM for what's the ICD-10 Code for Injury
Sustained in a Dumpster Fire, which we all know is where we walk into every single day. So we'll give you some tips on how you can thrive in the crazy circus we all work in-a deeper dive into how to manage the frustrations of working in healthcare.
Use the links and use the link in the show notes to sign up. So until next time, you are whole. You are a gift to medicine and the work you do matters.
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