Sidebars

Conversation on Mental Health

October 06, 2021 Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP Season 1 Episode 10
Sidebars
Conversation on Mental Health
Show Notes Transcript

In this special episode, hosts April Abele Isaacson and Kimberlynn Davis are joined by Kilpatrick Townsend Communications Manager (and co-producer of the Sidebars by Kilpatrick Townsend podcast) Kristina Travaillot to discuss the topic of mental health in the workplace. This is an especially important topic these days, when the whole world is still reeling from the collective trauma of the COVID-19 pandemic that has taken over our lives for the last 18 months.

With three very different backgrounds and life journeys, April, Kim, and Kristina share their mental health experiences and their hard-won wisdom about building resilient, thriving lives despite tragedies, obstacles, and just plain old garden-variety stressors. This is an important conversation, filled with compassion, humor and grace, even as it touches on deep and existential questions that we all face by virtue of being human.

Highlights include:

  • Why this year’s Mental Health Day is particularly important (01:32)
  • Kim’s “mental health day” that wasn’t (02:52)
  • Growing up at a time when mental illness was stigmatized and how times have changed (04:56)
  • Getting to the point where we treat mental health like we do physical health (5:47)
  • Learning to feel like we do not owe the world an explanation about mental health concerns (06:49)
  • Admitting your limits when you’re an overachiever (9:20)
  • Learning to hear the stories we tell ourselves and probe whether they are true (11:01)
  • The subtle and insidious ways that COVID-19 is amplifying our insecurities (12:36)
  • The importance of creativity and beauty for self-care (15:12)
  • Developing a lifelong exercise habit as an antidote to stress and trauma (17:10)
  • Rediscovering childhood hobbies as adult stress-relief activities (19:18)
  • The invaluable comfort of being in a family or community that has your back – and the importance of letting go of relationships that have run their course (20:33)
  • The many impacts of growing up in a family that didn’t talk about “those things” (25:53)
  • The difference between getting over something and getting through it (33:21)
  • The magical power of quiet alone time (36:58)
  • How to loosen your death-grip on control (40:10)
  • The power of a simple breath (43:06)

Meet the Hosts:

Learn More:

**The opinions expressed are those of the attorneys and do not necessarily reflect the views of the firm or its clients. This podcast is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice.**

Kristina Travaillot:

Why do we have to say we're taking a break for this [mental health] when for other probably parts of our lives, we don't have to over -explain something. So, I think having this conversation for me, it was important to normalize the conversation, the topic, and it's not taboo. And maybe that to a certain extent us over explaining it is also a sign of it [mental health] still a taboo topic.

April Abele Isaacson:

Welcome to Sidebars, Kilpatrick Townsend's limited podcast series focused on women in patent law. I'm April Isaacson, a patent litigator and partner in the San Francisco office.

Kimberlynn Davis:

And I'm Kim Davis, a patent prosecutor and partner in the Atlanta office. We're here to discuss the gender gap in the patent bar and have candid conversations with female patent practitioners on their career paths.

April Abele Isaacson:

Welcome back to Sidebars. I'm April Isaacson . I'm here with Kim Davis and we have a very special guest today. Kristina. Kristina, why don't you introduce yourself?

Kristina Travaillot:

Hi, thank you so much for allowing me to join this podcast. I'm Kristina Travaillot [and] I'm the Communications Manager at Kilpatrick Townsend .

April Abele Isaacson:

And why don't you tell us a little bit about the special episode that we have today?

Kristina Travaillot:

Yes. So I'm very excited about this, a special episode, because I think it really hits at the heart of what is going on with many of us in the working world. It's not just women really. On October 10th is World Mental Health Day. And with the events of the last really 15 to 18 months, it's been hard. We thought having this discussion is timely and it really is important for us to talk about this topic and how it affects each of us differently. So thank you for saying yes to having this conversation and for us to be able to share it with our listeners. What is mental health to you when you hear the word mental health? What do you think of?

Kimberlynn Davis:

I will jump in here. Let me first echo April in saying thank you so much for developing such a great topic. Thank you for being our producer. Thank you for everything that you have done for the podcast. We truly appreciate you. So mental health; it's so interesting you asked that question. I blocked out my calendar yesterday and it was called "Mental Health Day" believe it or not. Now in my mind, this is what the day was going to be: I was going to wake up, bring my boys to school, which is what I typically do. I was then going to exercise with my neighbors. There's a group who always walks in the morning starting about 6:30 AM or so. And they're out there until nine sometimes, right? So I was planning to walk with them. I was then going to go to the salt room that we have, spend an hour or so there read all of that good stuff, but really just take a break from everything that pulls at me, be it, the daily to-do list - you know, I'm known for the list and the like, but those lists can wear on you when they are pages and pages long. And just really just have some time to myself to do whatever, to read crap or good stuff [or] to be in tune with my spirituality. Just anything other than my day to day my norm. But then, what happened is I ended up spending, I guess, nine and a half hours in front of my computer, pounding out a PCT application that needed to be filed that day. So I know you're probably like, "poor planning, Kim, you should have gotten it done." But we had tons of great data that came in at the last minute so we had to get those in. So mental health, to me, that was my long way of saying that I am very interested in learning more about what mental health means for me. And I know that I need to block out time to be able to further explore it. But right now I think I need to look at it from the wellness perspective, to my point about the walking, the spirituality, and also just other self-care such as sitting in a room full of salt and letting that make me cough. So, how about you April?

April Abele Isaacson:

For me mental health, I think it goes back to being a child. And as I've mentioned previously, I had in my family mental health issues and there certainly was a stigma when I was growing up. And I think it's much better now, but when I was growing up in the 70s and 80s and having people in my family that were mentally ill, you didn't talk about it. You didn't try to seek assistance. And I'm happy that we're having these conversations. And now people are talking about going to their therapists or doing meditation and things of the like, because there are a lot of people that have struggled in silence or [have] been judged by their community. And a lot of it really does come down to what's considered socially acceptable within the community in terms of describing what's going on with you and being willing to say it's not okay. And, during COVID one of the things, my older brother is bipolar. He's had issues for probably over 30 years and he had some pretty significant difficulties during COVID. And I felt lucky that I was able to help counsel him with that, to make sure that he took medical leave, that he was able to seek medical assistance. Because I think what people need to understand is having mental illness is the same as having a physical illness. And we shouldn't stigmatize it in any way and making sure that he took that time off, got a doctor to assist him so that he quite frankly didn't lose his job. And he followed the advice that I gave. And I was able to just remind him that he's been through this before he shouldn't be embarrassed or humiliated, and he doesn't owe anybody an explanation whatsoever. And he should take the time that he needs.

Kimberlynn Davis:

That part is so key. You don't owe an explanation to anyone. And I almost feel, I would love to hear from both of you on this April and Kristina, if you sometimes feel the need to explain all the things, right? So that's something I'm practicing, blocking out my calendar and not needing to tell whoever's on the other side, it doesn't matter who it is. It could be Mr. Leonard in the reception lobby. I'm like, well, Mr. Leonard, I blocked out my calendar today, but I'm available if you need me. And the only reason I did it was this and that. And I don't know where that need to justify every action that I take. And this whole "full disclosure" mindset that I have that . Do you ladies experience that at all? Is that a Kim thing?

April Abele Isaacson:

No, absolutely. I experience it. And one of the things that I do that we've talked about before in terms of you feel like you may be need a helping hand is I talked to really close friends and family. I'm very, very close with my younger brother. Uh , he and I speak all the time when we're having maybe issues or feeling stressed or overwhelmed, which is a word I'm trying to take out of my vocabulary. But , one of my friends, I remember telling her, oh, I feel like I need to explain to so-and-so this, that. Why, why do you need to explain that? That's when she said to me, what would be the purpose of needing to explain it? And then when you talk through it, you realize there is no need to explain it. But for some reason you feel like you need to justify it to anybody. Whether, like you said, it's the person who works at the reception desk, the one of your colleagues, whomever it is. But oftentimes you don't. And we should just try to remind ourselves of that and kind of just rely on our support network and our tribes so to speak.

Kristina Travaillot:

Yeah, same here. I , when you use the word Kim justify, that was an aha moment. Why do we have to justify it? Why do we have to say, we're taking a break for this? When for other probably parts of our lives, we don't have to overexplain something. So I think having this conversation too , for me, it was important to normalize the conversation, the topic, and it's not taboo. And maybe that to a certain extent us over-explaining it is also a sign of it's still a taboo topic.

April Abele Isaacson:

Well , and then some of the times I feel like if you're admitting that maybe you are at your capacity or needing to step back a little bit worried about being judged, but what it really is aren't we judging ourselves because I feel like I can speak for the three of us and probably many of our listeners that I am certainly my own worst critic and expect so much from myself. And I assume that other people are looking at me the same way. But what I realize is that is a dialogue I'm having in my own head where I'm judging myself.

Kimberlynn Davis:

Oh, what you just said there, April the dialogue you're having with yourself. Okay. So I'm going to share this with you guys. I am participating in this program. It's called "One Little Word." Have you heard of it? The facilitator, if you will, developer, this is her baby. Her name is Allie Edwards and what she does is she walks you through your year, right? So, you start off the year deciding what word am I going to focus on? And each month she provides a prompt for you so that you can really become more intimate, for lack of a better word, with your word and see how you can allow your word to play out in your life. So that's the program in a nutshell, but the August prompt was based on one of Brene Brown's concepts - it was the "stories I'm telling myself."

April Abele Isaacson:

Love her by the way.

Kimberlynn Davis:

Oh goodness, she's so awesome. So what we did, this was our prompt. Think about the stories that you're telling yourself in four different categories of your life. And they can be whatever are most important to you, right? So, or you need the most work in, so relationships, work, spirituality, mental health, whatever you want it to be. And then you sit there with your paper and you jot down the story that I'm telling myself right now about this is that blah, and you just fill in the blank and you are encouraged to be as raw as you can possibly be. And then the turning point of course is when you realize after seeing that on paper, yeah, let's explore this. I'm telling myself this, but is that what the person is really thinking? So to play out of , let's say a relationship April, the two of us, I called April this morning and it's been five minutes. She hasn't called me back that isn't like, April, April is angry with me. Oh my goodness. I forgot April's birthday. I did something terrible, blah, blah, blah. And I'm going off on this tangent rather than just stopping. That's the story you're telling yourself. And you're making it, you feel the need as a human to rationalize why a person took a certain action or didn't right . And so we go off on this tangent, usually we're completely wrong. April could say Kim, I was actually in a plane heading to Delaware for a claim construction hearing, which actually just happened. So that was just by way of example of, you know , what the exercise encouraged us to do.

April Abele Isaacson:

It's really interesting because that's exactly what happens. And I feel like during COVID, it just made worse because we're all in kind of our bubble. Many of us are not in the office or just in the office some of the time. And then I find that I am creating these narratives in my head much along the lines of what you were saying, Kim , wondering what's going on and I've created this whole dialogue . And then you realize when you reach out to the person or whatever the situation is, you've completely created this false narrative of just filling in things. And a lot of it is just putting the blame on yourself for assuming that you must have done something wrong. And isn't that kind of the crux of it all is the self-judgment and what I've been trying to do recently. And I've done it through , um, some different podcasts or some other kind of meditation apps that I've found that are really helpful is having something similar to what you were saying is having a word and the word last week was gratitude and expressing gratitude, not only to yourself, but to those around you. And one of the things that I thought was really helpful was picturing and focusing that person that you have gratitude toward and then reaching out to them if possible. And one of the things that I was thinking about my dad and I, I believe I told both of you , you know, he, dad, he died back in 2016. So I can't reach out to him obviously, but thinking about him and focusing on him and being able to in my head create a narrative of expressing my gratitude to him.

Kristina Travaillot:

So what's the prompt for September Kim . Do you have it?

Kimberlynn Davis:

The September prompt? It revolves. I haven't read it fully. It came out this morning, but she's been, Allie has been using guest hosts this year. I think this year is her 10th anniversary of doing the program 10th year anniversary. So this person who's facilitating the month of September. She loves poetry. So from what I briefly read, when I was doing one of the things I don't know in the carpool line, something like that , with the kids we're to develop our own poem that focuses on our word and how it is playing out in our life or not. And what we want to see and also a self portrait, which is a whole other topic. We can talk, we can spend another session on why issues with that and I'm sure so many people do.

Kristina Travaillot:

So I guess it's a creative outlet for September, which is one of the actual things that I, I heard this last year ways to manage self care or just self care tips. And one is to remind yourself to make something beautiful that week. So that's what it sounds like. So make something beautiful. And for lawyers and really for the legal industry, it might be a little harder to be, to tap into the creative side sometimes. So that was a great reminder too , every week, just make something beautiful, whether it's writing a poem or cooking something like not just microwaving it, just cooking something. It could, it could manifest itself into however you want it to be. So from a mental health perspective, you are going to make something beautiful this month.

Kimberlynn Davis:

Absolutely. Yes, absolutely. And I've been quite intentional about it. You know, you could do this program on your own. You don't really need to subscribe, but I do because I love the sense of community. I love the idea of, look, this is a part of a program that I paid for and I am going to lock myself into my craft room and do the work, right. So that's a big part into your point of creating something beautiful. I'm all for that. A group of us at the firm, we are all about our cutting machines right now. So, you know, the Cricut and silhouettes and all of those types of machines and creating shirts and, and , I don't know, water bottles with our names on them. Just anything, any creative outlet I feel is so it's just therapeutic at times because you're just sitting there, your hands are occupied. So you can't do, you can't scroll on whatever social media account, you can't address emails. You can't work. You're just focused on something else. And April, I know that you you're quite the athlete when it comes to your stress relievers.

April Abele Isaacson:

I am. And it goes back to being a kid and not having the ability to really fully acknowledge the stress that I was under. In certain times, as I've shared with you, there were some pretty traumatic events that happened to me. One when I was nine and one was, I was 13 in my family. We weren't allowed to talk about it. And when I look back now, I realize what I did was I made sure everything was organized. My room had to be perfect and clean, organized. I would focus on reading my books and going and doing sports without even acknowledging. But now in reflecting back as an adult, realizing that was my coping mechanism for being able to keep my stress and anxiety under control. So exercise has always been an important part of my, my regimen, I will say. And during COVID I got the at-home bike. Like many of us did, I will say a plug for Apple because Apple Fitness with the Apple Watch has been a life-changer for me. And I've really relied on that. And some of what they have is these mindful cooldowns that I do. And one of them is where I got the idea about having gratitude. So it's just been a wonderful source of being able to do the exercise because, you know, we all got locked at home and then thinking, what are we going to do? I don't have the gym. I don't know how I feel about going out running and things like that. So it's been, been really, really helpful. What are some of the things that you did when you were a kid Kim and Kristina to maybe keep your stress or anxiety under control?

Kimberlynn Davis:

So it's kind of interesting. I was that child too. I liked everything in its place, right? I'm like this back here, listeners, I'm pointing to my desk, it's awful. I'm looking at a cup back there and papers that are not stacked neatly into their respective pile. So I'm very, very embarrassed. Ignore it. But what I really remember doing, I was really into latch hook. So back to the crafting again. So it's like, you have this mat, if you will, and it's color coded and you get the piece of yarn, that's the right color. And then you just do the little hook movement. And, you know, you create these little small rugs in the light. I would crochet, which I've started picking back up now. But yeah, I was a very crafty child. I loved puzzles. I loved reading, oh my gosh, I was that nerdy child.

April Abele Isaacson:

That was me too. I loved reading. I had all my little book series that most little girls would read and would sit in my room and kind of got lost in the stories of it. And then I don't even think I've told either of you, but a couple , I learned how to knit as a child from both of my grandmothers who were immigrants. So I learned kind of both styles of knitting, the continental Europe, as well as the English style. And then a few years ago got back into knitting. And it's been a nice way to keep your hands busy, as you were saying, Kim focus on something, but also create something that I can give to someone. And just because not even just for a birthday, just because I was thinking about them and I thought this was something that they would enjoy

Kristina Travaillot:

For me I think you both know, I grew up in the Philippines and I am one of four kids. And there are last time I counted, I think there were 17 of us cousins. So my release, mostly either talking and playing around with my siblings and or my cousins. I know over the course of the episodes that we've discussed, it's having a tribe and my tribe has been my family. And sofor me, even now, it's really leaning into them. Having family time is what I do for self care , because it grounds me to, what's really important. It's the time with family and the memories made with the family,

April Abele Isaacson:

One of the things that I've thought about a lot, because I don't have too much family and I don't , I don't have kids as both of you know, is that sometimes your family is the friends, you know, it's the family that you choose as well. And what I have found is that over the course of the years, and in the last few years in particular, I've kind of broken up with friends, so to speak. So the friends that you realize, maybe aren't there for you when you really need them, I've realized I'd rather have the quality friendships as a close to the quantity. Wondering how you feel about that. And if you run into the same thing ,

Kimberlynn Davis:

Yes, that's a deep one. Both of you just said two points. I mean, I've jotted down both and I want to chat more about both of them, but to start off with you April, that that's tough. It's so tough when you realize that a friendship is growing apart. Right. And that actually happened earlier this year for me, a lifelong friend. I mean, I don't even remember not being this person's friend. And we spent some time apart actually since pretty much, December 31st of last year. And we literally just spoke for the first time yesterday when I was doing my calls, because look, arguments don't matter when it comes to natural disasters like we're facing right now [*for context, we recorded this conversation in early September when Hurricane Ida made landfall in New Orleans]. So my parents are there. My, all of my family pretty much they're there. Right? And this person who is still my best friend, even though we, we had our, you know, nine months apart. But when that happened, it made me realize, you know, what, you, you miscategorized her, you know, you had an argument and you thought that that was someone that you needed to filter out, but to just had an argument that you have to deal with you move on and you can tell those people, right? Because it's the people that no matter what happened, you pick up that phone and you keep calling until you get through or down and that sort of thing. And when they answer , none of that matters like, oh , Kimmy, Hey, everything's good. We're trying to get the water out. Let me give you the status update, call me on this number because that number isn't working because of the lines being down, you know, when, when you can reconnect on that level, that's a person that you miscategorized, but April I'm completely with you. Some are in the right category in terms of it's just time to move on from that friendship. So if I can go back to, to one of your points, Kristina , are two of your points actually, but with your family grounding you, my family does the same for me when you know, everything is going on and I feel so scattered in the, like, I would go home, right? New Orleans is a city where you are forced to slow down. I think I've mentioned this before. You have no choice. And you cannot be that , that type a personality where you want it this way and the other, they will quickly remind you of where you are. And I need that from time to time. COVID has stolen that from me. Right. I can't go home to see my parents. I have really young kids and my mom is , is very careful about making sure they're not exposed unnecessarily. So that's been a lot. And I think that has , uh , that's played a bigger role on my mental health in not having that time with my parents. And it's now manifesting in other interactions. I won't say I act out because I'm not a child in that regard, but let's just say I will , I will handle a situation a little differently than I think I would have if I had that grounding moment with my family. Does that make sense?

Kristina Travaillot:

It does.

April Abele Isaacson:

Yeah. And it's, it is hard when with the family, because like I said, you know, my father's not around anymore. My, my mother suffers from mental illness as does my older brother and I only have one other sibling. Yeah . So I only have really him to turn to, and my husband and my friends in terms of family, because most of my family isn't around anymore or available really to have those deep kinds of discussions. And then I thought I was thinking the other day back to when I was a kid and just not necessarily feeling like you had the ability to talk about things and just how challenging that can be. And one of the things I was thinking about as well is that I decided not to have kids. And of course, you know, you look back and think, well, you know , why did I decide that? And I think part of what it was is that in my family, though, it was just so much pain because of trauma and that pain rubs off on you. And I think for me, I was afraid that I would rub that pain off on somebody else in the next generation. But then I look at people and I specifically my younger brother and raising two daughters and how he's trying to do what he can to have that next generation not have that pain rub off on them. I don't know if you can relate to that in some way.

Kimberlynn Davis:

Wow. Oh, I love that. Breaking the generational - and I hate to put it as a curse, but you know what I mean? Just breaking that cycle somewhere. I love his efforts and what he's doing there.

Kristina Travaillot:

Yeah. To your point, April, I have a 16-year old and in my generation too . It's and you know, with my background as Filipino, you just don't talk about problems or, you know , mental health. It's just, it's just a thing you just, I hate to say, "suck it up, buttercup." You just suck it up and figure out a way to do it. But I have to be intentional with my son to make sure that he knows it's okay for him to express what he's feeling, because the internalization of all that is probably going to be worse than not just saying this is not okay right now. Just accept it right now. And then we'll figure it out. We'll problem solve it.

April Abele Isaacson:

And I think that internalization is for me where the pain comes from and being able to express and share with people, helps to alleviate that. Kim, how does that work for you? I know we've had conversations in the past kind of on a high level about your community and being able to express when you're not. Okay. Can you talk about that a little bit?

Kimberlynn Davis:

Yeah, sure, sure. I think very similar to Kristina. I mean, you know, you, you can spend your time talking about the problem, but the person on the other side is going to say, look, now I've dealt with that and more, okay . So you're going to make it through you keep on trucking. It's pointless to even talk about it because you have to do anyway. So, so just get it done. My family and I can't speak culturally for this part of it, even though I do think that it's a big part of my culture, but , my relationship with God, right? We, you are taught you bring it to Jesus and you let it go. And I agree with that. I do bring it to Jesus and I let it go. But sometimes I want to talk about it a little bit because I haven't fully let it go. Right. I just need to, I need to play out that story a little bit more and I need someone to confide in to vent to just, just to feel, I don't want to say to feel better about it, but yeah, I need to release it somehow. So, so I actually I'll share this with you guys. I went to my , primary care physician. Everything was fine that day. Actually, I had just selected her as my PCP because I wanted to find a doctor on my side of town after COVID all that good stuff. She was so great. She was just so, so awesome. And she asked about, you know, well, tell me about your career. So, you know, I'm so excited. Oh, I was just promoted to partner, blah, blah, blah. I'm so excited. She was like, oh , she said, and how old are your kids? And this, she was like, all right , how do you deal with anxiety? It's like, I keep it moving. That's what I do. I don't really, I don't, I don't know what you mean by that. How do I deal with it? How does everyone deal with it? And we had a discussion about the potential use of anti-anxiety medication when needed. So she wrote, oh, I'm telling you all way too much. She wrote the prescription and everything. Do you know that I never went and got that prescription filled just because of not wanting to have the conversations to justify why I felt the need, which no one needs to know. First of all. And even if they did know, no one would care, but the story that I was telling myself, right. That story, it pretty much made me make a decision and never looked back on it. And it could have been one to my detriment. Right. Who knows if that would have helped me during that period. When I ended up calling her in tears about it and she was like, Nope, we're gonna work through it another way. Cause it's going to take too long for everything to work now. So we did have to find another outlet at that point, but had I been more open-minded maybe I would've had a different result.

April Abele Isaacson:

Well, but isn't it , doesn't that go back to that self-judgment you are projecting on to not you, but one projects onto others that you think that they're going to think X, Y, and Z, but they have no need to even know any of that. So it's really about us judging ourselves and thinking we need help in some way, whether it's talk therapy or medication for a short -term or whatever it is, but not thinking that that's an acceptable way to deal with it.

Kimberlynn Davis:

Exactly, exactly. And I don't, I don't know where that comes from and it's not just with that situation. It's just all around a really good friend of my work bestie. I remember one day I had lunch with someone who maybe I shouldn't have been - not that I shouldn't have had lunch with, but I felt the need to, first of all, hide the fact that I was going to lunch with this person. And this is nothing that my husband would be concerned about.

April Abele Isaacson:

We don't want to create a scandal on the pod .

Kimberlynn Davis:

Oh, we'll get tons of listeners. Kim tells all! But no, I had lunch basically with a former colleague and I felt the need to hide it. But as soon as I walked back through the doors and our offices were right next to each other, I walk past, I'm like, oh, Hey, she's like , Hey. And then I stepped back. I walked into her office, plopped on her chair and said, okay. So I just had lunch with such and such a she's just sitting there like, okay, well, thanks for letting me know. I really did .

April Abele Isaacson:

It's like you were in the confessional.

Kimberlynn Davis:

Right. And it was so, I mean, literally that's the way we say hi to each other every time, but in my mind it was, oh, hi Kim. I know where you were. So before I get trapped into this, let me just tell the whole story. Yeah . It's just interesting. So , so interesting.

April Abele Isaacson:

One of the other things I've thought about is that, you know, people talk about, oh, get over it, get over it. And I look at it as you don't get over anything, you kind of get through it. I want to toss that out to the two of you, get your thoughts.

Kristina Travaillot:

I was reading a book recently. I can't remember what it was now, but one thing that really struck me in that plot line was time is the only thing that can heal wounds. And so to your point, April, get over it, get over it. I don't think is realistic. It's you move on from it after some time of healing and then you just approach things differently. That's how I see that. It's and again, kind of going back to my family life with my son, I can't tell him to get over it because it's just, that's not healthy either. I have to be able to be an example to my child so that hopefully it would break the cycle of being judgmental and really being our worst critic so that he is able to go through life when there are situations in front of him in the best possible way for him, not for me, but for how he thinks it would be best for him to approach it.

Kimberlynn Davis:

Yeah. Love that. Love that. I , I agree. I cannot, it's hard for me to quote unquote, get over something. Um, and my kids, we, we, we have that talk about it. I, I encourage them to , um, verbalize their feelings, right. Respectfully you have to be respectful, but I do encourage them to do that. What I've found with me is that I, if I think that I've gotten over something, quote unquote, and I hadn't really done the work in fully getting through it, using the process it'll resurface. And I mean, it will come up at some odd times. Um, I've had a discussion where event 16 years ago came up, right? And it's like, well, I thought you were over that. It's like, well, no, clearly out am not over it. But my sister-in-law she's an educator. And what she encourages, she's a creative mind as well. Right? So as most educators are, she , um, deals with the elementary school children and what she encourages are very strong moments of heated fellowship. So we get into a safe space and she's like, Nope, we are all going to work this out. Everybody is going to stop hiding what they're feeling, stop suppressing, because we're never gonna move together as a family. It's basically the females of the family. Right? All of them are my sisters in law, but , um, it's the two siblings of my , uh, husband. And then my, the sister-in-law I'm speaking of is the brother's wife, right? So we're the Outlaws, they're part of the inner circle. So there's always that dynamic there, but she's always encouraged us. We're never going to move together as a family. If we keep suppressing and hiding under the rug, how we really feel point to the person and tell them why you don't like them . You know, she encourages that type of healthy discussion, which sometimes is unhealthy.

April Abele Isaacson:

I've noticed that sometimes it's when you have those quiet moments alone, that some of these things that you may haven't gotten over and they're still trying to get through really hit you. For example, you know, when my, when my dad died and then I was his executor, he was 3000 miles away. So I had to deal with all of that as well as just the grief, but I was also really busy at work. And one night I was lying in bed and then I just sobbed uncontrollably for like two hours, just because I think it hit me because I had that moment of quiet. Have you had similar moments either of you where it's that quiet time alone? That really lets you do the reflecting?

Kristina Travaillot:

Absolutely. For me, I live in the Pacific Northwest. Almost in our backyard, there's this great trail system. And so I have the chance to just go out, whether it's 30 minutes, a couple of hours just to go on a hike and I cannot tell you how many times I'm in the middle of my walk - and I just, I have a sense either. It's either I have an emotional moment, whether it's just a release from the day events or acknowledging, or just working through some issues. So that time of self-reflection, and you may have heard of the term forest bathing, just being out in nature has helped tremendously. And to be able to just go out and do that, I have worked through some personal issues and also that time has helped me in more ways than one come up with topics for our Sidebars. Podcast. So having, you know , the nature that self-reflection has given me the outlet to work through challenges and also bring beautiful things to life. So, yes,

April Abele Isaacson:

And I think, I think it was Yeats. If I'm remembering correctly, that was talking about the tree and getting lost in the tree. And I would be paraphrasing if I tried to even quote it, but it's something like, you almost look lose yourself in the nature of focusing on the tree and what's around you. So I love that. How about you, Kim?

Kimberlynn Davis:

I will tell you that I've noted it on my list of ways to explore this mental health journey that I will soon embark upon. I don't get many moments of quiet. I've been thankful that I can come back into the office a few days a week because the commute, as long as it is that those are pretty much my only moments of true quiet, where I'm not doing or I'm with someone or, you know what I mean? I'm just sitting, I have no choice, but to sit and then I can spend time with myself, but I do want to do more of that. I love to hear , uh, I love what I've heard about both of your experiences doing it. So add that to the list.

April Abele Isaacson:

I will confess that I'm a bit of a control freak, and I think I can speak for at least one of the other women on this podcast that they may have the same affliction. Yes. Yeah, yeah. That would , that would be, that would be, you know , Kim, without a doubt, I've gotten better. As I like to describe myself as I'm a , I'm a reformed perfectionist. I'm really trying. What have you found that you've tried to do when you realize that not everything is under your control and that you can't control it? How, how have you handled, trying to accept the fact that things are out of your control?

Kimberlynn Davis:

Exactly - go ahead, Kristina.

Kristina Travaillot:

Okay. So I've already alluded to the fact that I have a teenager and he is driving and that is just a truth that I cannot control. It's part of growing up. It's part of what we all say, adulting like the whole, you know, just growing up, needing to be able to drive that freedom. I cannot stop that process and I shouldn't stop that process. So how I was able to handle it, my husband, thank God for him. He reminds me that this is, this is a necessary step and just to breathe, enjoy it, to enjoy the fact that we are able to teach him driving. Enjoy the time that I get to sit for the permit process that I get to sit and be able to troubleshoot. Okay, here's maybe what you do here, or allow him to make his own judgment calls. So the answer [for me] is just to breathe and enjoy whatever that is. If it's a pain point, if it's the inevitability of children flying the nest, flying the coop, enjoy it because it goes so fast. I have two more years, two more summers left [with my son] and I'm dreading it, dreading it, and [also] looking forward to it

Kimberlynn Davis:

A completely new phase that you're about to enter. Wow. Wow. The breathing, the breathing. Can you tell us a little bit more about that? I'm really interested in it, especially , um , as it relates to a meditation practice, for instance, that many tend to do, is it more meditative or , or how do you do ,

April Abele Isaacson:

Oh, before we go there, I'm thinking that Kim has answered the question about how you try to control things outside of your control. I don't know if you've noticed that she died the question. So perhaps Kristina could answer Kim's question and then we'll circle back to Kim. How about that?

Kristina Travaillot:

Yeah, so breathing , um , literally within the beginning, Kim, it's literally just taking three deep breaths, just taking physically, taking a step back and just breathing and then maybe counting one to 10. And I've also had I subscribed to the Calm app and they have these meditation every day. There's a meditation for every day and it can be as short as five minutes to 10 minutes. And just taking that time to just be still. So physically being like lit, like physically breathing in for me three times on a daily basis doing the Calm meditation. So shout out to Calm.

April Abele Isaacson:

Yeah. I love Headspace as well. I think there's just, there's so many great products out there that people can use for free that I think are really helpful. So now let's go back to Kim and talk about how she tries to deal with that, which is outside her control Kim.

Kimberlynn Davis:

So, so as you can probably gather from my attempts to evade the question in its entirety and then get tips from Kristina on how to implement the breathing. I don't do well with it. I try to control what I can control as amazing as that sounds, as I say it out loud, I realize how ridiculous that concept is, but, but I still try to do it. So that's, I'm a work in progress when it comes to that. And I will try to incorporate the meditation more if it's that helpful. And that's what I've been hearing. That meditation is extremely helpful when you, you know, make it a from practicing your life, you do it daily or a few times whenever , however you want to, you know , set up your regular practice and even yoga and Pilates and the like , um, maybe not Pilates sweat one time , but no, April to answer your question, I'm terrible at it.

April Abele Isaacson:

It's very difficult. I do a meditation app every night when I go to bed and I set the sleep timer for 30 minutes. So I try to do that. And I have found that it's really helpful because I'm not a good sleeper, but I've always struggled with insomnia ever since I was probably a teenager, but I was actually watching something last night just by chance. And it was this great show where the guy I think was having some issues with, I think he was having a panic attack. And then he went to this breathing workshop and he was sort of eye-rolling thinking it was ridiculous. And then all the people around him were doing what they were supposed to do. And he was just lying there. And then he looked over at this woman who was just in tears and older woman and because she was having the breakthrough by using the breathing. And then all of a sudden he started doing it and he reached his hand out to hold her hand and they kind of got through it together. And I thought it was just very touching and really it put me in a position to think about kind of what we were going to talk about today and how important it is to, to, to not only take care of yourself, but also to literally reach that handout to someone else who may even be a stranger when you're just having that moment, that sometimes isn't even needing to be a spoken moment.

Kimberlynn Davis:

I love it. I absolutely love it. Yeah , ladies, this time with you has been awesome. I mean, we talk all the time, right? We all talk all the time, right ? This intimate, very transparent and raw conversation. We didn't even prep in advance. We did some prep. We had some prep, right . Kristina always, she makes sure we don't come in just cold, but this was great.

Kristina Travaillot:

Yeah. And I think so my takeaway has been from the conversation is different strokes for different folks, right? Kim, you said that meditation is something that you might work towards and there are, you know, knitting I've heard knitting is great. My sister knits, I'd love to be able to knit. So I think if our listeners have any takeaways, hopefully is a mental health. You know, taking care of yourself is it's important because if you don't take care of yourself, there's nobody else who will be able to do so. Like you cannot possibly give your a hundred percent to a project to a case if you are not whole. And whether it's through exercise through time in nature, family time, those are things that you need to figure out on your own, what works for you. And please do it because it's so important, especially where we are now during the pandemic. And just every day .

April Abele Isaacson:

I agree. Absolutely. Well, Kristina, thanks once again, for all of the work that you've done behind the scenes and now in the front of the house, so to speak, it was such a pleasure. We kind of sprang this on Kristina at the last minute, but really wanted her to be part of the conversation. So thank you very much. Thank you ladies.

Kimberlynn Davis:

Thank You. Have a great one guys.

April Abele Isaacson:

Thank you for joining us today. If you enjoyed Sidebars, we invite you to check out the Kilpatrick Townsend Medicine and Molecules blog at KilpatrickTownsend.com to read, watch, and listen to other related insight on patent law. We'll also put that information in the show notes. The opinions expressed on this podcast are our own and are not those of Kilpatrick Townsend.

Kimberlynn Davis:

So we would love it. If you would rate us or leave a review, it helps others find the show. See you next time.