44 minutes | Mar 28, 2020

ST Podcast Ep. 44: How to Face the Pandemic Like a Hunter IRL

ST Podcast Ep. 44: How to Face the Pandemic Like a Hunter IRL

On this Episode, Dr. Janina Scarlet and Dustin are joined by special guests Rachel Miner and Ruth Connell to discuss ways to face this pandemic like hunters in real life. We’re all family and we’re all in this together.


Superhero Therapy Podcast Ep. 44: How to Face the Pandemic Like a Hunter IRL

The information in this podcast is of a general nature, and is intended for educational and entertainment purposes only. It should never be used as a substitute for mental care, medical care, or prevention, diagnosis or treatment of any other illness. Always consult with a mental health or health care professional before engaging in any activities promoted in this podcast.


Have you ever wanted to be a superhero? Join clinical psychologist Dr. Janina Scarlet and host Dustin McGinnis as they explore the psychology behind your favorite TV shows, movies, books, comics, video games and more. Thanks for listening and enjoy the show.

Dustin McGinnis: Hello and welcome to Superhero Therapy with Dr. Janina Scarlet. I’m your host Dustin McGinnis. I am a musician, filmmaker and all around fanboy.

Dr. Janina Scarlet: And I’m Dr. Janina Scarlet, clinical psychologist, author and a full-time geek.

McGinnis: So today we are going to be discussing heroic actions we can all take to face this pandemic like real-life hunters.

Voiceover from Supernatural:


Dean: My peace is helping people, working cases. That’s all I want to do.


Sam: Is this about the mark?


Dean: I’m done trying to find a cure, Sammy.


Sam: Cas is so close…


Dean: To what? We don’t even know if there is a cure. We have found nothing in the Men of Letters library. Metatron may or may not know something, and maybe Cas is onto something we can use. Maybe.


Sam: Yeah, maybe! Nothing is guaranteed, Dean. So what? You can’t just…stop fighting.


Dean: Yes, we can.


Sam: So this is it. You’re just gonna – just gonna give up?


Dean: No. No, I’m not just gonna give up. I appreciate the effort. I do. But the answer is not out there. It’s with me. I need to be the one calling the shots here. I can’t keep waking up every morning with this false hope. I gotta know where I stand. Otherwise I’m gonna lose my freaking mind. So I’m gonna fight it, ’til I can’t fight it anymore. Then when all is said and done, I’ll go down swinging.

McGinnis: We are so very honored to have two wonderful guests on our show today; Rachel Miner and Ruth Connell. Thank you two so much for being on our show today.

Crosstalk: Thank you, thanks for having me.

Rachel Miner: Thank you. It’s good to be here.

Ruth Connell: I’m grateful!


McGinnis: So, can you tell our audience about yourselves? Let’s start with you, Rachel.

Miner: Sure. I mean, I think one of the things I’d certainly like to speak to is beyond being an actress who has been on Supernatural and – I’ve played very tough characters and so forth. I also have an autoimmune illness. I’ve got multiple sclerosis, and going through all this, and figuring my way out has been very difficult. So I’d like to speak to the times I don’t feel heroic. And some of us going through really hard times right now, and how do we find solutions?


McGinnis: Right. How about you, Ruth?

Connell: Yeah, yeah. I’m not dealing with it very much like a typical Supernatural hunter! [laughs] I’m being a bit more Rowena about it in my ivory tower over here, and Rachel and I actually had a chat the other day, which I really enjoyed, and I think it would be really helpful for us all to hear what she has to say, and hopefully what I have to say as somebody who doesn’t have a compromised immune system right now, but is also still waking up in the middle of the night, fearful at times.

Scarlet: I love what you both have said because you’re absolutely right. You know, I think that probably all of us – I imagine most people around the world are terrified, whether we have a compromised immune system. This is something that affects us all, whether it’s directly or indirectly. And I actually think that facing it like a hunter means acknowledging our fears, but facing it anyway. And it sounds like you’re both facing it. You’re taking action, you’re speaking out, you’re supporting the community. And I see so many wonderful and supportive tweets that both of you post, supporting the Supernatural family, the SPN family, and I think that that’s exactly what a hunter does. A hunter shows up even they’re scared.

Connell: I felt a lot more like a typical hunter, I think, at the beginning. I had a very pragmatic attitude to it and I still do. I can see how we’re going to come out of it at the end. That’s what I’m holding, and I think it’s important that as many of us who can hold that, do. And I’ve lost my thread already. [laughs]

McGinnis: Hope is very important.

Miner: It’s a wonderful thing, because I think everyone in this group certainly has been touchstones for me across the years, and people that I really admire. Ruth, you’re certainly one of my dearest friends, and I certainly always admire your ability to find really healthy solutions through harder times as well. I think it’s good also to speak to this particularly trying time and see, okay, how do we fall back on those tools or find new ones when we’re tested to this degree.

Connell: Exactly. And it’s acknowledging – I think our conversation really helped with acknowledging and expressing some of my vulnerabilities, because my tendency is to muscle through, plus I don’t want to dwell in it. For sure, the implications on people I love, everyone’s economic wellbeing and everything. Those certainly have hit home. And then, you know, still remembering to still have conversations with people, nice catch ups, buy yourself some nice food the one time you do go to the store. [laughs] Small things. Small things.

McGinnis: I just went to the store today, and it felt like I was being exposed. I don’t like that feeling, you know. There was a lady coughing in the aisle next to me, not covering her mouth, and I just felt so uncomfortable. It just feels like the Wild West out there. But one thing is, Supernatural is in its 15th season. And it’s the longest running dark fantasy horror show out there, and the fans call themselves the SPN family. Why do you think this show is so beloved, and why does it affect fans this way? We’ll go ahead and start with Ruth this time.

Connell: And Dustin, you’re not allowed to ask that question anymore. [laughs] I sort of don’t know my real answer to that, because I’ve been in it so long. It’s sort of hard to describe something that’s part of you. In dealing with this, I think the women of Supernatural are on a really fun text chain, supporting each other practically, spiritually and emotionally, and sometimes with humor. That’s part of being of being in the SPN family as well, is the online support from fans. Rachel, you’re even more involved with Random Acts.


Miner: That’s been one of the greatest gifts. I don’t think you can rationalize how these things occur. Sometimes they might start with certain kernels and then they grow. And once they’ve grown into an entity that’s as strong as this, it can’t go back. It’s just one of the most altruistic communities, and a community that – the whole ethos is that we support each other. And I think that is so ingrained. It’s just a natural part of the way that we act, that it’s almost like breathing. And certainly running Random Acts for the last couple of years, I’ve gotten to see just the amount of positive energy and altruism is absolutely incredible in this group. And I hope we can help spread that to the entire world. Especially at a time like this.

Scarlet: And you do. And on my end, as both an SPN family member in terms of [being] a fan of the show, and also a clinical psychologist who specializing in trauma, seeing the tremendous impact that the show and the fandom and Random Acts have on fans and individuals is just tremendous, because, even in the most trying times of our lives, such as what’s going on right now, people are turning to their support groups. I see so many folks posting about what they’re going through and providing the hashtag #SPNFamily, and immediately, maybe within a few minutes, or sometimes an hour, they’ll have multiple messages, dozens of messages from strangers from all around the world, supporting them and comforting them. And I think that that’s exactly what the show and what the fandom has provided. I think Random Acts has modeled how to create this community. How to created this kind of – where people we don’t know at all, people in other countries and how to be involved. And I think – really the power of the show is that, it shows us no matter how many apocalypses we can go through, there is always hope, so if Sam and Dean can do it, maybe we can too.

Miner: I will say also, I really want to make the point that is is helpful to ourselves to help others. And I think that is part of the ethos of the show as well, is that, even in the darkest, most dire times, what brings them through is actually looking out for each other. I’ve seen that in this time. It’s been very very hard on me. And there are many times I don’t know how I’ll get through, but actually the place I breathe is working on Random Acts. And we’ve been working on a support program which Ruth has incredibly – been incredible in supporting and bringing funding to, just working on that has been one of the few times I feel completely sane and stable. And working with this staff, and just having something to focus on that takes me outside of myself is incredibly healthy.

Connell: And that’s where you really are tackling it like a hunter, right? And I see that strength in you. I saw, you know, what you were saying about you turned one aspect off of something that was being focused on and switched to another. You’re incredibly dynamic in your role. I don’t know if you can say very much about what it is that you’re turning to right now.

Miner: I mean, yeah, I’ll speak to a couple things. I have a loved one who is in the hospital right now, and another loved one who is there, looking after them, and most of us can’t get there because of the virus. It’s very scary in New York City hospitals right now. It’s just terrifying. And the people that I would normally – I would lean on, help me take care of myself, just physically be able to do things, most of them are in danger zones as well. And so literally it’s a constant choice of, do I choose to be exposed to the virus, and therefore get help that’s needed, or do I choose safety from the virus, but therefore I’m physically going through trials. So it’s a lot to have loved ones and not be able to be there, and to have their lives threatened is terrifying. And I think we all need to be aware that these are realities a lot of people are going through.

Scarlet: Of course, and thank you so much for sharing that, Rachel. I can’t even imagine and you’re speaking to the truth, the really harsh reality that so many people worldwide are facing, and I think this is what we need to be talking about in terms of – that our loved ones might be going through a hard time, and this feeling of feeling torn between being there and also being safe. It’s such a hard choice. I actually wanted to ask Rachel, you’re the pioneer. You’re one of the most involved people in Random Acts, and you are literally saving the world on a daily basis. And I was wondering what can we as a community do for you in terms of supporting you?

Miner: Random Acts, we have this support program for Covid-19, which we just announced and we’re fundraising for. So that’s one of my happy points, and that’s certainly something that I want us all to support, where it’s not just financial donations that you can do. We set it up as well so you can nominate organizations and groups in your community that are doing good works, so one of the things we can all do is find people to help. And that’s going to be really crucial, so it’s important, I think, that everyone look out for their wellbeing first. So we’re really stressing, don’t donate if you can’t afford to donate, but you can always give your time, and energy, and let’s find ways to connect and help each other.

Connell: Can I ask a practical question about helping, for example, somebody like yourself who does have an immune system that does need protecting or a case of getting – we need to get more tests so people who want to come and help you physically can. Is there anything we can do about this just now?

Miner: Thank you! That’s a really good question. I think one of the things is that it’s hard because we’re still within that 14 day period for a lot of people – they haven’t had a chance to see if any symptoms that they’re having are due to the illness or not, so therefore a lot of people are more nervous that they’re dangerous. I think if you’ve socially distanced and maybe quarantined or gone into isolation and you know you’re relatively safe, then you can go around people who have compromised immune systems. And certainly there are protocols in terms of sanitizing our hands and maybe wearing masks and things like that. But I’ll be honest, I’m trying to figure out the rules a lot of the time. But I think one of the main things that all of us can do to help everyone who is in the danger zone is to not spread the virus as much as we can. So I’m constantly moved by how many people who aren’t necessarily in that danger bracket are taking all of these precautions and staying at home and making sure not to spread the virus, because that is saving lives of people like me.


McGinnis: This is all really amazing to hear. Janina is also immunocompromised, and just me going out to the store today, and being in that environment – I came back home, I stripped all my clothes off, I went down and I showered before I even would be near her. I just feel so, you know, it’s not guilty, but I feel like I need to take those precautions, extra ordinary – I just wanted to let you know that.

Scarlet: Thank you honey.

Connell: You see, the guilt – actually I woke up and had a dry cough. The heating had been on, and the shame I felt. I felt so ashamed. And you know, it’s nobody’s fault that we have coughs.

Scarlet: Of course.


Connell: We’re doing our best to get through it. It really is a bit of a puzzle how you get you’re – I did the shop thing this morning. I really sympathize with you, Dustin. I got there. I had my mask on, and I got out and I was like, how do I take this off? I didn’t have anywhere to put it down. So I put it on my car seat and I thought, okay, I can’t touch my car seat again. And it’s like this puzzle, to get your messages and your stuff into the house whilst not really touching your face and much of anything that’s in the house. It’s really just a puzzle and obviously we’re doing our best.

McGinnis: Yeah.

Miner: An amazing point, and there’s something I want to speak to, too, because that guilt is exactly what so many of us who have been ill have felt for years, and it’s wrong. You should not feel guilty for your own illness. But I know it’s something that I have struggled with psychologically for years, is that, every time my MS worsens, or if I’m not overcoming it, I feel like I’ve done something wrong by everyone I love and care about, or by the world. It’s a really interesting thing that, Janina, maybe you can speak to it because I don’t know where it comes from psychologically, but I do know that it’s something I’ve noticed for years.

Scarlet: Yeah, I’m glad you brought that up, Rachel, because on a personal level, I’ve been in the boat of feeling incredibly guilty if I have to take extra time for deadlines for example, or if I have to cancel on a patient because I can’t get out of bed that day. On the outside I appear healthy, but after my exposure to Chernobyl, I’ve never been the same, and I’m severely immunocompromised. And so I can completely relate to the guilt of believing that somehow we’ve done something wrong. I think a lot of times we have these internalized “shoulds,” that really are not logical, but we have this thought process that tells us, I shouldn’t let people down, or I should do everything right. We have this, what’s called “just world belief,” that says essentially that, if I do everything right, nothing wrong will happen, but of course, this belief isn’t accurate. But a lot of times we think that, if something went wrong, like if we caught an illness or if we feel worse, or if we’re unable to do something, we think that we somehow did something wrong to deserve it. But the truth is that sometimes unfortunate things happen and they’re out of our control. And I think that’s where self-compassion and kindness is so important, because I think that we would be so understanding and kind toward another individual going through the exact same thing, but for all of us it’s very challenging to find that same kindness toward ourselves.

McGinnis: I find this so interesting because, like I was saying about guilt and everything is, we’re all in this together and it’s nobody’s fault, like everybody said. In Supernatural, for instance, there’s monsters, right? And they all have these vulnerabilities. For instance enclosing oneself in an area with a line of salt can repel a ghost in an area, right, it can’t get in. Coronavirus is the same thing. It’s its own monster. It’s the monster of today. And as a collective group that are all in this together, what are some of this virus’s vulnerabilities, and what are some tools we can use to repel it?

Connell: I think one of the tools is to not lose patience with myself and with others. We’re all getting the memo at different times. Certain pieces of information are being digested at different rates in different countries, by different states even, and different people. And I think I was a bit more gung ho in the beginning, and to give myself that patience while I was just catching up with the program, and to be patient with people who perhaps I’m speaking to who are three or four days behind information wise, depending on where they are. And trying to, you know, if they’ve gone to see someone, I think, well that is done. That happened. And to try to say, well, you know, that was maybe not the best idea now to go and visit. [laughs] You know, finding that patience because, to me, information is the salt that we all need.

McGinnis: I agree, one hundred percent.

Scarlet: I think we also need to remember a few key elements of the show that can really help here, in that, exploring the lore is really important, right?

McGinnis: Nice!

Scarlet: So learning from the CDC, right? The verified lore about what precautions we need to take is important. Also remembering that none of these are foolproof, right? Sometimes a ghost can get through the salt line. Sometimes a demon can escape the demon trap. But also, most importantly, what we learn time and time again is that, banding together is the most important weapon, right? When we can unify, and I think that’s exactly what’s happening now, worldwide. People are unifying. We can support one another. We can provide accurate information. And we can work as a unit in terms of doing our part, which sometimes means going out into the community and – for example, if you’re someone with a good immune system, as long as you’re taking accurate precautions such as wearing a mask or wearing gloves, or staying six feet apart from other people, maybe bringing groceries for the elderly and for other people. It might mean staying at home and practicing physical distancing, which I just learned that the term “social distancing” is now being changed to “physical distancing” so as not to confuse it with folks needing social connection. So I actually really like that. I like that much more. So I think that what we really learn is that the best way to defeat any kind of monster is by all of us exploring the lore, but also working together more than anything as a unity instead of arguing which method is better. I think it’s working together as hunters and facing this monster together. It’s not country versus country. It’s not Democrats versus Republicans. It’s people against this virus. It’s all of us as human beings against this one monster. We’re all in this together.

Voiceover from Supernatural:


Dean: A wise man once told me family don’t end in blood. But it doesn’t start there either. Family cares about you. Not what you can do for them. Family’s there. For the good, bad, all of it. They got your back, even when it hurts. That’s family.


Connell: I think it’s also okay to be mindful politically that that is the ethos that our leaders are using, because – and I feel that with the governor and the mayor of California, I feel they’re doing a great job, which is so great.

Scarlet: Yes!

Connell: Rachel, I know New York is a bit more of a hot bed.

Miner: It’s a hot bed, but the local government has been really stepping up. I’ve been really impressed with how they’re handling it. Especially the governor has really stepped up and been a real voice of hope for a lot of people and really helped. But yeah, it’s quite intense here. But also, there’s so much of the population so close to each other and on top of each other, so really, it’s a hard situation to handle. And one of the issues too is that they’ve really stepped up in terms of testing. Even though we have more reported cases, that doesn’t necessarily mean we have more cases, factually. Interestingly, I think one of the ways this situation and scenario differs from Supernatural, is, having been ill for years, but not having it be a global situation, more toward what it must be like to be a hunter, in that they’re battling these monsters and so forth, the majority of people around them have no clue that they’re fighting these things and that they’re saving lives and going through these trials.

This is a really interesting scenario because we are all in this together, and we’re all going through various trials.  And I don’t want to undermine, because mine have to do with having an underlying illness doesn’t make it less scary or traumatizing than someone who’s say, facing eviction and homelessness, or you know, not being able to feed their children, whatever it is. There are so many different trials that people are going through, living with an abusive spouse. So many dangers and ways this can manifest. But I think for the first time we’re all kind of having to realize how connected we are and how much, when one person is going through something, we all are. It’s an interesting time too, because we’re all experiencing differences. Sometimes it comes off really strange when someone is posting on social media about the fact that they couldn’t get their favorite breakfast cereal or whatever from their mansion, and another person just lost a loved one, or, you know, going into the hospital, or overwhelmed as a healthcare worker or whatever. There are differences, but I’m hoping that we start connecting more and more and come to realize that our wellbeing depends on other people’s wellbeing. We’re connected in that way.

Connell: I actually feel the interconnectedness. Sometimes it’s really strange and hard to not be in the presence of people. I think there’s a very human element to that. But for sure I’ve had more chats and catch ups with people, and it’s just to say that I think there are going to be many great things that could come out of all of this. I think, like the last Great Depression, we had the social reform. I think there’s a lot of great things, perhaps pay raises for teachers and nurses. Also to acknowledge that people are going to entertainment, to podcasts. You know, these things are important and we all have a contribution to make. There is something kind of really uniting about us all being in this together. I hope.

Miner: I agree.

McGinnis: Most definitely.


Miner: I do have a lot of hope that there are positive outcomes that will come of this. And also the younger generation that are going through this, and that they can be learning by watching it all. And I think that – I don’t think you’re ever going to have a population that has the same perspective or lack thereof. You know, I think it has been a long time since, as a human race, we went through one of these shared traumas like a war or whatever, and I think sometimes there are really good lessons that can come out of that.

McGinnis: Oh, most definitely. I’m finding this conversation about connections and things like that – I’m recalling a conversation that Janina and I were having. You know, we’re actually becoming a little more social than we were in the past. Like we’re going online, and we’re having movie nights and things like that with our friends. I found that really interesting that we are reaching out to be a little bit more connected with people, and I think that’s probably a little bit more…

Connell: Yeah, the technology, but also how much I appreciate going for a walk. I go outside once a day, pretty much. I’m very mindful of walking six feet away as much as I possibly can, and how much I appreciate it! [laughs]

McGinnis: Yeah, and I bet you see somebody and you’re waving hi! But you’re at a distance. [laughs]

Miner: Another thing I’ve realized is how very very much I need people. It’s one of the first times I’ve been reaching out more to friends. I’m a bit of an introvert and I’m also very stubbornly self-reliant. It’s one of the first times I realized I can’t do this on my own. And even just for mental health, I need friends. I need to be able to talk about things. I mean, Ruth, when we talked the other day, it was so incredibly healing for me, helpful for me, and good for my mental wellbeing, just to have that connection.

Connell: I learned so much, just talking to you, Rachel. It really touched me, and I really appreciated you being vulnerable because you, like me, we’re not very good patients. [laughs]

We like to be the people helping! I really applaud you, and I’m really happy you did. I love you so much.

McGinnis: Aww.

Miner: I’m very lucky to have such friends. It’s not my natural tendency to reach out and ask for help, or share that vulnerability. But I absolutely could feel that it’s a necessity right now. Like, it’s amazing that you reach these types of trials, and now I know I can’t pull through without having that. So it makes me all the more grateful.

McGinnis: Aw, man, that was beautiful. My heart just got touched. I wanted to say, I freaking love you guys! [laughs] So, do any of you have advice on how to cope with this level of fear and confusion and uncertainty that’s going on?

Scarlet: I think the most important thing is actually to be open and honest about it. The truth is we’re all afraid. I think fear is the right emotion to feel right now. A lot of times, people think we need to put fear aside, but I think fear keeps us vigilant, and allows us to pay attention, and it also is a human emotion. It’s something that’s universal right now.

There is actually a bell-shaped curve for emotion and performance. And what that means is, too much fear to the point of severe panic where we can barely think might not be the most advantageous way to feel right now, but at the same time, sometimes we have a panic attack and that’s just how we need to feel in that moment and that’s okay. Also, not enough fear will also affect our performance in that we might become complacent and not pay attention. And so I think that, if folks are feeling anxious and afraid, not only is it normal, but it might actually be helpful in a way, that it can remind us of what we need to be mindful of. And also, I think that it’s important to reach out. It’s important to post on social media, to reach out to friends. I think the best thing we can do right now as human beings is check in on one another, and maybe have a Zoom trivia night for example, or Netflix parties is a new thing that’s going on right now. It’s an extension on Google Chrome that folks can watch Netflix movie or TV shows from their own homes. But one person will be kind of starting the video, playing the video, and the rest of the people who are watching it from their own homes can all chat with each other, almost as if they were in the same room, but they can be within their own households.

And so the idea is, I think, to understand that this emotion is normal, to utilize it to protect ourselves and loved ones, and also to create these kinds of social networks within our community, and also globally to be able to support one another because we will get through this. Times are tough right now, and the more that we’re able to connect with each other, and support one another, the easier it will be for us to face this.

McGinnis: Yeah one thing about Supernatural is there’s always hope.

Connell: Absolutely, and that’s actually what I was going to say Dustin, what’s really important – there’s such an intensity right now. This really puts pressure on everyone’s situation, whether you’re on your own and you feel that intense loneliness, or you’re with too much family that you can’t get away from [laughs], or whatever it is, there’s such an intensity, we can’t help but come through this somehow changed, I think. I read a really good article this morning about hope, and it really broke down what hope was. I really loved what you said, Janina, about fear and acknowledging it and using it as a healthy tool. And I think the other side of that coin is hope. Hope that things will get better and that we’ll find a way through this, so there can be some positive outcomes. And however you can find that, whether it’s watching a movie, talking to a friend, reading something uplifting, or just tap dancing around your kitchen.

Miner: I think one thing that I’ve been trying to do – because fear is good sometimes, but I also know that I’ve reached a level of like, constant traumatized level of fear that I feel like it’s literally not healthy, physically. It compromises your immune system! It’s not a good place to live in. So I’ve been really trying to find ways out of it. I’m used to being better at that, but this was such an intense stretch that it was harder, but one of the things I found one night – because I literally have had nights where I am waking up when I can’t – I just am in such terror that I just suddenly just started making myself find the little spots of like, I’m safe right now. I’m in my bed right now. And find the things around like, this is good and this is right, and don’t carry around all the worries about tomorrow, and the worries about what’s going to happen next and so forth, but to be able to focus on right here and now, what is occurring.

I know Ruth, you and I have talked about gratitude before, but I guess it’s a form of gratitude practice to go this one thing is going right. I have water. I have this thing, whatever it is, and find that.

Connell: Yeah, there’s something – the woman I work with, Marini . . .(inaudible) she’s a clinical psychologist like yourself, and she says 17 seconds, I think it is. If you’re focusing just on how comfortable your bed is, or you’re at the right temperature, a basic simple thing, or the sun is okay, you can see the sun shining, it’s really hard to feel anxiety at the same time as you’re focused on – and it sounds so trite. And it’s not easy to remember to do it. But these small things can work. It’s being able to remember them. [laughs]

McGinnis: I mean, it’s mindfulness, right?

Scarlet: It is. It’s essentially a mindfulness technique, and I love that you both brought this up. And I wanted to add one more technique, which is a little self-compassion technique, because I think that, a lot of times, what helps some folks to feel better is a hug, and now that we’re practicing physical distancing, that might be challenging, especially for people outside of our household. But what we can do is we can provide a little hug for ourselves, and one way to do that is to put either one or two hands on our heart center and even do a little, like a light press against the heart. And for a lot of folks that feels really nice and kind of soothing. It’s not only a grounding posture, but it also can activate the release of this hormone called oxytocin, which is a soothing hormone. It’s the same hormone that’s released when we’re getting a hug from someone, or when we see a cute little puppy or a cute kitten. And offering this little light pressure on our heart center is almost like – I call it an oxytocin pump where it can release this hormone into our body and allow us to self-soothe. Some people also use weighted blankets, which for some folks can allow them to feel like they’re getting a hug, just kind of the weight of the blanket an be soothing as well. And I think it’s important to remember that it’s okay to not feel okay right now. What’s going on right now is not normal. None of us have lived through something like this before, and it’s okay to offer ourselves some support and some self-compassion right now, and to take some time to get through our day.

Connell: Absolutely. I did a therapy session another day that was immensely helpful to me, like, whatever it takes and to be generous. And I know not everyone has the resources. I feel guilty, even having a hot bath for me is very soothing, I think for the same reasons. I think it’s the same kind of cuddle, but thinking gosh, I’m using a lot of water. [laughs] Sometimes we have to be generous to ourselves in whatever way we can right now. Reaching out, asking for help.

Scarlet: Exactly.

Miner: In terms of the release and that feeling of connection, I think that’s where Random Acts, to me, comes in, or finding any outlet to connect to people, and feeling you can do good and help, especially when we can’t go out and physically do that. It can be small, that’s why I’m always trying to find ways that all of us can help each other through this, and that, to me, is one of the biggest releases and biggest bright points in life that I know how to find.

McGinnis: Most definitely.


Connell: Yeah, it’s been so nice to reach out to people and offer help in whatever way it is. We all have different things to offer, and I think that’s another thing about hunters. Different hunters have different skill sets. And your skill set might be that you’re good at chatting. I’m a terrible shopper. Some people might be good at shopping for other people. Everyone has something to offer someone else at this point, I think.

McGinnis: Yeah. I really love that advice that you said, Rachel, about being mindful, taking those little precious moments, and taking it day by day, and trying to make the best out of the situation. What I wanted to ask you all – is there anything else you would like to add, just on a personal note, or even some more advice? We’ll go ahead and start with you, Rachel.

Miner: I think the only way we’re all going to make it through this time is by helping each other. I definitely have been most lifted up and helped by just – I have – I’m lucky enough to have friends like Ruth who just check in and say, “Are you okay?” I don’t know if I would have had the wherewithal to reach out to friends. It’s very hard when you’re kind of piled on with trauma going on, to have the energy to reach out. And so it has been a lifeline for me to have friends who say, “I love you. How are you?” And I think that’s a good reminder. We all should be doing that for each other.

Voiceover from Supernatural:

Castiel: You’re my family. I love you. I love all of you.

Miner: Because it’s not something where we’re all going to be able to ask for help all the time. And especially, there are just logistical things going on. I know I’ve been dealing with trying to make sure I get my regular medical infusions and things like that. There’s so much that I think to be aware, whatever it is people are going through, there’s so many things that have been disrupted that are people’s very lifelines, that we should be cognizant that each of us needs help in our own ways.


McGinnis: Definitely. How about you, Ruth?

Connell: Yeah, just that awareness is amazing. All the different – the way the wheels turn, all the different things that are needed. And I see a lot of companies, and I think companies should do this right now, who are reaching out and being mindful about how to help their clients or their customers, will do very well in the long run. Somebody who helps you now, will hopefully get that benefit in the times to come. You know, companies are saying no, you don’t have to pay this credit card bill this month, or that kind of thing is important. It’s important to find out how you can help yourself. For me, I’m just aware of this seesaw that I’m doing between wanting to be positive, and I’m actually feeling very positive sometimes, and then seesawing into fear, and guilt maybe that I felt so positive. [laughs] And again, just to be mindful, and to be kind to ourselves that we are all going through a lot right now, whatever your circumstance, whether it’s just that you’re stuck inside, or you know, Rachel, you’re facing something that is incredibly challenging, and I salute you, darling, for how well you are coping.

Miner: Thank you.

McGinnis: Definitely.

Miner: I think it’s – I do think, for all of us, it’s an important balance. Like yes, we don’t want to ignore that this is going on, but we need to find that space. You know that thing of put the oxygen mask on yourself first. I think we need to all find ways to heal and find the energy so that we can help each other through and lift each other through. So I think that, instead of feeling guilt for it, I hope that people walk away knowing it is okay as well to find that space of love for yourself.

Scarlet: Absolutely. And there’s one more skill I wanted to add, and that is – it might sound simple, but it’s so important. It’s just stopping once a day to ask ourselves, what do I need right now. Because I think many of us are so good at checking in with our friends, and being like, “Hey! How are you? What do you need?” but we don’t do that for ourselves. And just taking that moment and just asking ourselves what do I need right now. And sometimes it could be just taking a bath. And sometimes it could be watching an episode of Supernatural. And sometimes it could be cuddling with our pet or taking a nap, and sometimes that’s exactly the resilience building that we need in order to be able to then show up and be able to face the rest of our day.

Connell: Oh, I’m finding it so hard not to go out and take a cat. [laughter] I want that for myself! That’s what I need. I need a kitten right now.

McGinnis: Oh yeah. They would help. [laughs] Fur babies.

Miner: I think the most important takeaway, I think, from this whole podcast is our need for connection. That’s why I know that showing up to do this – I like the fact that I’m not in the best place, but I get to share that with people and say, hey I know there are many others going through that. And the fact that Ruth is on this podcast, and that she’s someone that literally helped save me, just by reaching out and checking in, and I think we can all be doing that for each other.

Scarlet: That’s so lovely.

McGinnis: Well, you guys are such amazing hunters and heroes, and we’re going to end this episode of Superhero Therapy right now, but I wanted to ask you guys if you’d like to let people know where they can find you on social media.

Connell: Oh honestly, if you haven’t found me by now… [laughter] It’s something like ruthie_connell or something. I know on Instagram, that’s what it is. (Note: It’s @RuthieConnell on Twitter, @Ruthie_Connell on Instagram.)

McGinnis: There are imposters! [laughter]

Connell: A blue tick. I do have a blue tick. I have to work out how that works. So wish me luck.

McGinnis: Good luck!

Miner: Yeah, and I’m @rachelminer1 on Twitter, but more importantly @randomactsorg,the Twitter account for Random Acts.

McGinnis: Yeah, Random Acts is amazing. You are all amazing, and thank you so much. Rachel, I know you’re going through a lot right now and we just want to wish you the best and your family the best. Thank you so much for being on our show.

Scarlet: Thank you so much for joining us, and Rachel, thank you so much for sharing because I agree, so many people probably needed to hear exactly what you had to say, exactly what you both had to say. So thank you both for joining us today.

McGinnis: This has been a very, very important podcast. Thank you so much. So we’re going to go ahead and end this episode of Superhero Therapy. My name is Dustin McGinnis and you can find me on Twitter @thevaliantgeek.

Scarlet: And I’m Dr. Janina Scarlet. You can find me on Twitter @shadowquill.

McGinnis: Thank you for tuning in everybody. Stay safe out there and remember, you’re a superhero.

The post Superhero Therapy Podcast Ep. 44: How to Face the Pandemic Like a Hunter IRL first appeared on Superhero Therapy.
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