From Midlife Crisis to Mindful Living: Matt Diggity on Finding Peace in the Second Half of Life

Episode Overview

Matt's story is a powerful reminder that the pursuit of money can consume up to 90% of our thoughts, leaving little room for self-reflection. When we're constantly focused on financial gain, we may be neglecting our mental health and personal relationships. Matt discovered that once he stepped back from this pursuit, he was faced with unresolved anxieties and self-worth issues that had been lurking beneath the surface.

Money, much like drugs or alcohol, can be an addictive distraction. It's socially acceptable to be a workaholic, but this can prevent us from addressing more profound personal issues. Matt shared how his drive for financial success masked feelings of inadequacy and anxiety.

Connecting the Dots

Matt's epiphany came after an exhausting work trip. He realized that despite achieving significant professional milestones, he felt empty and unfulfilled. This led him to question the true value of his pursuits and to seek deeper meaning beyond financial success.

His experience resonates with many of us. We often use work as a distraction, convincing ourselves that once we've achieved financial security, we will finally be happy. However, Matt's journey illustrates that this is rarely the case. True happiness and fulfillment come from addressing our inner thoughts and anxieties, not from our bank accounts.

Tools for Personal Growth

Matt explored several strategies to address his underlying issues:

  1. Trauma-Focused Talk Therapy: This therapy helps uncover and release hidden traumas that influence our current behaviors and emotions. Matt found it invaluable in addressing his deep-seated issues, such as feelings of being unlovable rooted in childhood experiences.
  2. Psychedelic Therapy: This form of therapy uses substances like psilocybin and MDMA to break down barriers and facilitate deep emotional healing. Matt emphasized the importance of a guided and intentional approach to psychedelic therapy, which helped him reconnect with his true self and reframe his understanding of personal success.
  3. Meditation: Meditation has been a cornerstone of Matt's daily routine for years, but it was only recently that he fully harnessed its potential. Meditation helped him stay present and manage his thoughts more effectively, allowing him to maintain the mental clarity he achieved through therapy.

Finding Balance and Purpose

Through his journey, Matt realized that it's possible to achieve financial success without letting it consume you. By addressing the root causes of his anxieties and redefining his relationship with work, he found a more balanced and fulfilling life.

He urges others to take a similar approach. You don't need to abandon your career to find inner peace. Instead, integrate mindfulness practices into your daily routine and seek professional help if needed. It's about finding balance and ensuring that your pursuit of money doesn't overshadow your pursuit of happiness and purpose.

Embracing True Fulfillment

Matt's story is a testament to the idea that the pursuit of money, while important, should not be our sole focus. By stepping back and addressing underlying issues, we can lead more balanced and fulfilling lives. The pursuit of money can indeed be a potent distraction, but with mindfulness and intentional living, we can uncover a deeper sense of peace and purpose.

More about Matt and his Resources:

Books mentioned in this episode:

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Episode Transcript for From Midlife Crisis to Mindful Living: Matt Diggity on Finding Peace in the Second Half of Life

Kelly Berry (00:00): Hi friends, welcome back to Life Intended. Life Intended is a podcast that explores what it means to be true to yourself and live an authentic and purposeful life. Each episode explores my guest's version of personal growth, self-discovery, and the pursuit of becoming the best version of themselves, as well as how to find the joy in the journey. Today, I am talking to Matt Diggity. Matt is an authority on search engine optimization, or SEO. He is the founder of Diggity Marketing, Lead Spring, Authority Builders, the Search Initiative, Affiliate Lab, and the Chiang Mai SEO Conference. Matt was born in the US, has a master's degree in engineering from UCSD, began his professional career at a Silicon Valley startup, and he claims that he's a big-time nerd. Matt currently resides in Thailand. He's also lived in Costa Rica, Japan, and Bali, and he's traveled to more than 50 countries.

Matt is actually someone that my husband Nick follows on Twitter. Matt shared a tweet, and actually, this tweet is what we're gonna talk about. It's gonna be the basis of our conversation today. When Nick saw that tweet, he knew that Matt's story was exactly the type of story that I wanted to share with you all. So he sent it to me. I replied to Matt's tweet, connected with him, and he graciously accepted my invitation to be on the podcast. So here we are today. We're gonna talk all about that tweet, everything that led to it in Matt's life. And I'm really looking forward to this conversation and sharing that with you all. So welcome to the show, Matt. Thank you so much for being here.

Matt Diggity (01:38): Thanks for having me.

Kelly Berry (01:39): Yeah, anything else? I know you have quite a long professional resume and have done a lot personally. Anything else that our listeners would want to or need to know about context in our conversation?

Matt Diggity (01:54): Sure. Maybe it's interesting. Why does this California guy live in Thailand? Yeah, so the background as you mentioned, I was an electrical engineer, which is a fine profession. I just knew 80 hours a week in a cubicle, back-to-back, just this is life as an engineer, you're just working your butt off. At a certain point, I just realized this is not sustainable.

Kelly Berry (02:00): Yeah.

Matt Diggity (02:21): I'm not, I don't like it. I need to change something. And I'd always really had a fondness for Thailand. I'd been going on holiday vacations for two, three, four weeks at a time. And I just always felt like it was home here. And then just one day, it just was like, that's it, I'm gonna sell my stuff and move out and figure out how to make money. The first thing I knew is I wanted to figure out how to make money that would give me freedom of time and freedom of location. So the obvious thing for me was figuring out how to work online. And it just turns out that the first thing I stumbled upon was this thing called SEO, search engine optimization, which is basically how do you get websites to the top of Google for a given search? It's not just Google magically figuring out what's the best content on the internet. There are signals that it's looking for. So SEO is the art of figuring out what the signals are and giving Google what it needs. And I just leaned into that. I liked it right off the bat. Something about my gamer background, it feels like a game to me. I mean, literally, Google is a leaderboard of who's performing the best. So I just took to that and it just became my life for many, many years, including it still is now. Yeah.

Kelly Berry (03:38): Yeah, yeah, I'm sure with Matt, you know, I think part of my audience knows what SEO is and part of them doesn't. I think you just gave a good explanation of what it is. Matt, as I mentioned, is an authority on it and has done a lot of really great things in this space. Thanks for sharing that. Today's episode for my listeners is going to be a little bit different. It is actually really closer to what I envisioned my podcast being like when I launched it. So I'm excited for this episode. Really, it's sharing Matt's story of how he kind of had an epiphany, we'll say, in his life and made some decisions and went through a journey to come out on the other side in a different place. And so I'm going to give him plenty of space today to talk about that. So Matt, can you give us like a brief summary of this tweet my husband Nick stumbled upon and shared with me that got this whole thing going?

Matt Diggity (04:36): Yeah, so I wrote a tweet about how I realized I was in the second half of my life. I was having a midlife crisis, whatever you want to call it. Essentially, I had made a decision that I was going to step back from working, at least step back from working just for money. In that process, I freed up a lot of time and had more time with my mind. You know, when you're not distracted by this pursuit of money, which is a very potent distractor, it can fill up 90% of your thoughts in the day. So what thoughts came up when that was all clear were not all pleasant. I realized I had some anxiety under the hood. I realized I had some self-worth issues. It got me down a path of figuring out, like, I just don't wanna live this way. There's gotta be some way to fix it. So I tried things like trauma therapy, I tried psychedelic therapy, and a lot of meditation. Around the point of the tweet, this is when I really started to feel the benefits, it all kind of turned over at the same point where it was just like, whoa, I'm onto something. This is something that really, really changed my mental state. I felt like I just fell on it by pure chance. There's no operation manual out there that tells you what you're supposed to do when you're 45 like I am, or when you're a man making changes or, you know, just what, there's nothing that's taught in school. It just fell upon it because I have good friends around me or just great resources, I guess. I felt compelled to make the tweet because maybe it would resonate with someone. The call to action in the tweet was like, if this resonates with you, reach out to me and I'll have a conversation with you about it because I really feel like I stumbled upon something that I wanted to share.

Kelly Berry (06:31): I love that. I love the willingness to be vulnerable and transparent about it, I think is extremely admirable. But then also, sharing your experience and your tools and resources, that's how the next person who finds themselves where you were can come out of it maybe without as much difficulty, like going through the spin cycle as they figure it all out for themselves. So talk about like the moment that you realized you were in the second half of your life and what that felt like.

Matt Diggity (07:09): Well, I'm 45, so numerically, I'm literally in my midlife and in the second half of my life, approximately. It all really hit me after I got back from this really jam-packed, intense work trip to Poland. What I realized is I came back just feeling completely exhausted and empty. That kind of worried me because normally work trips are kind of the fun perk of my job.

Kelly Berry (07:12): Yeah.

Matt Diggity (07:35): I get paid to travel and do stuff like speak at a conference, which usually really energizes me as an introvert. I like going to a conference and then people can come up and talk to me. I feel like I'm being social without having to do the hard work myself. But this time around, I felt nothing except exhaustion and emptiness. I was just like, there's something wrong here. Something's changed. The glow is starting to wear off.

Kelly Berry (08:04): Yeah. You talked about your definition of this money distraction, the pursuit of money, the money machine. Can you define that?

Matt Diggity (08:14): Well, I think we all know that people use distractions to occupy their minds from getting into their thoughts. This normally comes up, you hear it quite often with drugs and alcohol. Like, I use alcohol to stop thinking about my ex, I'll use drugs to escape my depression, I will smoke weed to help with my anxiety. These are normal things you hear all the time. But in my experience, what I found out, it's not just drugs. There's other things like gaming, shopping, binge eating, scrolling Netflix, or scrolling social media, binging Netflix and stuff like that. So it's not just drugs and alcohol, it's other things too. What I found is that work and the pursuit of money is a very, very potent distraction. I think partially because it's just so socially acceptable, you're supposed to be making money to get a better future for yourself and look out for yourself. So I found that was what was covering my mind up from some of these things that were going on under the hood. I realized that it's really addictive too. It's called workaholism for a reason. You do get dopamine hits completing tasks all day and getting praise from the people you're working with and stuff like that. Those are very addictive.

Kelly Berry (09:30): Yeah, distraction is a really good way to think about that or to frame it. I do think it's valid to talk about the different ways that looks for different people because it doesn't have to be what society deems as an actual addiction, substance abuse problem, or something like that. You talked about eating, drinking, any type of distraction that takes you away from being fully present in the thoughts in your mind is definitely something that is far more common than people realize. So how did you connect the dots from this feeling that you had to that moment in your tweet when you said you sat up basically in the middle of the night and said you were going to stop doing things just for money? How did you connect the dots that was going to be the thing that was gonna help you feel differently?

Matt Diggity (10:31): Well, I actually don't think that this money distraction or the work itself was a problem. I think it's a normal thing that you're supposed to do in your 20s through 40s and 50s, whatever. You should have a hard focus on accumulation. Not just because you're setting yourself up, but this is also your prime years of your life where your mind is better equipped to make money. I've gone down this path of reading a lot of books about the midlife crisis and stuff like that. There's a really good book by Arthur C. Brooks called From Strength to Strength. He talks about something called the fluid intelligence curve. Well, the fluid intelligence curve is something that curves up in the first half of your life and your ability to solve novel problems, find product market fit, just learn new things. This is why most of your founders and entrepreneurs and CEOs are young, right? Then in the second half of life, you have a different curve, it's crystallized intelligence, where you take what you've learned and you're able to distill it and teach it to other people. So in this first half of your life, you're supposed to be thinking about making money or starting a business or pursuing your career and stuff like that. I don't think there's anything wrong with it. I think the problem that comes into play is it's just, if it's distracting you from taking a look at the things that are really important in your life, like if you have a bad relationship with your parents or you're not being a proper father or mother or you have anxiety or self-worth issues, then that's when I think it's a problem. I talk about this a lot in my community in Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai is somehow this digital nomad hotspot and a melting pot for entrepreneurs and stuff like that. I talk about this theory with a lot of people that, you know, this money pursuit is a distraction and that there could be anxiety under the hood, but I get a lot of resistance because many people think that the reason that I work hard is because I have an intense amount of pressure and anxiety that I put on myself. If I get rid of that, then I'm gonna stop showing up at work. I'm gonna stop succeeding. I do think that there's some truth to that, but I also at the same time think it goes the other way. Maybe you're productive in spite of the baggage that you carry with yourself. We all know that things like anxiety and pressure, they have a stress on the nervous system. You sleep worse, etc. So there's some balance here, but I don't think that you can have a crystal clear mental state and you're just gonna go poor. Clearly, there are examples of people who have solved both things at the same time.

Kelly Berry (13:15): Mm-hmm. So you had this epiphany, what was your wife's reaction when you told her, I guess, how you were going to handle it by stopping the pursuit of money?

Matt Diggity (13:32): I think some part of her had a knee-jerk reaction thinking, what about the future of our family? Are we gonna have enough money and stuff like that? Because when I shot out of bed in the middle of the night, it was just like, I'm done. I quit. She's like, oh my gosh, he's lost it. I've reeled that back to more like I'm only going to work on projects that provide meaning, are fun, and have some kind of leverage to them. I can leverage my time in ways that are beneficial. So she originally had this knee-jerk reaction that, you know, maybe we're going to run out of money or something. But I think she trusted me. She saw that this was the right decision. She got behind me. And I think now she definitely thinks that was the right decision.

Kelly Berry (14:21): So I think for probably a lot of people listening or anyone that you maybe shared your story with, that can be a very real and scary thing. Maybe people feel like, well, I would love to do that, but I don't have enough money or I don't have enough runway or I don't have anything that I could leverage my time to do. Do you have any advice for people who may be in a situation where they can't necessarily walk away from things or take a big break on maybe some steps that they could take that would achieve a similar result?

Matt Diggity (14:56): Yeah, so I don't think these things are coupled. I don't think in order to do mental health work and in order to look at yourself and resolve traumas or whatever, you can only do that if you can't work for money. I think they're completely decoupled. I think you can do these things at the same time.

Kelly Berry (15:14): That's a valid point too. You don't actually have to just stop everything and throw up your hands and devote all of your time to it. You can definitely find some balance there. So once you had this epiphany and you started doing the work, you mentioned that removing this money distraction revealed a lot of underlying things that were going on with yourself. So can you elaborate on the types of things that you discovered?

Matt Diggity (15:42): So open book time. The first thing that really struck me was when I was young, when I was a teenager, we'll call it just teenage years, I thought the whole point of life was to make a lot of money or make enough money to the point where you can retire. And then you just get to play video games all day. That's literally what I thought the point of life was. Obviously, that was pretty immature, but even in a more adult context, I really thought it was about you make money and then you can retire on the money and then you just do the things that you like at that point. So I was running the simulation of, you know, really scaling back on work and only working for fun and meaning. And I wasn't blissed out. I wasn't in full enjoyment of it. And that was like, there's something wrong with me. There's something, there's like many people would choose to be in my shoes, but I wasn't liking it. And then I started to realize, okay, let's really dig in. What am I feeling? A lot of it had to do around self-worth. So I created this persona of myself as an entrepreneur and what would life be like in the future as a non-entrepreneur? Who would I be? And then I started thinking about, well, in my life, I've had a couple bouts of depression, let's say two or three. When I became an entrepreneur, that just stopped. And so I don't think that they're correlated together, but somewhere in my subconscious, I thought like productivity equals depression blocking. And so that got me scared too. I was fearing slipping back into depression. And then the last thing, this is probably the most potent one, was a general, just the anxiety volume level was always turned up to four to six or something like that. I think this boils down to, you know, working so hard and always wanting to be productive. And I looked at free time as wasted time. So when I got up in the morning, it was like, you know, I'd do my morning routine. I would meditate, you know, looking at meditation almost like it was a chore, just in the way of me getting started working. And then I would just hit the ground running, work as fast as I can, and then get all the stuff done. Always with the thought like, today's the day where I'm not gonna complete everything I need to do, let's race to get it done. So then I'm done with all my work at 2 p.m. and then I'm just sitting here like, now what do I do? Because here's 2 p.m. to whenever bedtime is and now I have all this free time, which I hate because it's wasted time. So this just cultivated just a sense of anxiety in me. And that anxiety was now triple because I had scaled back on work and I had tons of free time. So these are all the things that were in my head over and over again. And let me just say, it wasn't torture. It was just all set in this background of you're supposed to be happy now and you're definitely not.

Kelly Berry (18:51): Mm-hmm. And that's uncomfortable, right? I think anytime you think that the outcome is gonna be a certain way and it ends up not being that way, or to your point that you said a couple of times, like, you feel like so many other people would be just thrilled to be in my position right now and I'm just sitting here not loving it. And I think a lot of people probably would just suppress that because it doesn't feel like it should be, so I'm just gonna pretend like that's not the way I feel. Yeah.

**Matt Diggity (19:33): Yeah. I mean, I could have chosen to drink it away. I could have chosen to video game it away or find another distraction. But, you know, I'm a dad. You shouldn't do that.

Kelly Berry (19:36):** Yeah. And I think the other thing that I would just like to highlight because it's come up on a couple of other podcast episodes is that I just think that so many of us are walking around with our anxiety levels up, like you were talking about on that meter of four to six, that we do not even recognize the amount of anxiety that we have, the amount of stress that our central nervous system is under, the reduced ability for us to handle things that are coming our way, process information, remember things. It's all of these things, this anxiety and all of these feelings are just doing to you. And so many of us are just like, this is normal. This is what it feels like. And so we just don't recognize it. So I think definitely it's to be commended to stop and realize this is not normal. And it's time now to do something about it.

Matt Diggity (20:44): Yeah, and I think that goes back to this belief that anxiety and pressure are the fuel to getting stuff done. And I think that's untrue. I think you get stuff done in spite of your anxiety and pressure.

Kelly Berry (20:53): Mm-hmm. Yep, and there's so many layers to it, right? There's comparison, expectations. There's just a lot of things that go into the reason that you feel like that. So I think this is a great segue into what you started to do about it. Because I think, you know, one of the things that I loved about your tweet was like, these are the things that I did. And for me, it's like I'm familiar with them, but I don't know a lot about them. So I'd love to talk about each one, what it actually is, what it looked like for you and how it helped you. And the first one that you mentioned was trauma-focused talk therapy. So tell us what that is.

Matt Diggity (21:42): Okay, so I had two things wrong about therapy. The first was I thought it's you sit on a sofa and then someone asks you a bunch of questions and then you eventually speak so much about it that you solve your own problems and then you move on like Good Will Hunting. That's what I thought it was. And then the second thing I had wrong about therapy is that I thought trauma was for people that went to war, saw a murder, were abused and stuff like that. And that's certainly trauma. That's what I've learned is called big T trauma, trauma with a capital T. Then there's little t traumas. That's something I discovered in the last year where things happen to you when you're young, usually up to about 18 years old while your cerebral cortex logic center is still growing and you're learning to make sense of things. And things happen to you or they're said to you that cause a huge emotional reaction, then trauma is a mechanism that steps in that says, we can't ever feel this again, we can't think this again. So number one, I'm gonna delete this from your memory so you don't ruminate on it all the time. Then we're gonna set up rules about life. We're gonna create stories, we're gonna create protection measures to make sure you never feel it again. And you live your life with this stuff in the background because it's deep in the subconscious. It's like a core processing. Like if you're using a computer analogy, it's your kernel process running in the background. An example of this, I won't bore you too much with these personal stories, but I think it kind of needs a little illustration is, when I was about four years old, and this is something that was completely deleted from my memory, but I discovered it again. When I was about four years old, I was going to sleep at night and I was dead convinced there was a monster in the closet. So I did what I normally do. Mom, mom, the monster's in the closet, it's gonna get me. That night, mom decided, Matt's four years old, he can't be scared of monsters forever, I'll let him cry it out. So what I experienced was, number one, the monster's gonna kill me, now I'm gonna die. And the second thing is, mom doesn't love me. Mom thinks that I'm worth sacrificing to the monster. She doesn't love me. There's something wrong with me. And so I lived my life with the background that there's something about me that's unlovable if even mom doesn't love me. So it doesn't make sense coming from an adult. I can completely see what she was going for, but as a four-year-old, that was my reality. And trauma stepped in and said, let's forget about this thing. That was really crappy. And we'll just put in some protective measures like let's make sure you don't get too close to people so they can't find out you're unlovable.

Kelly Berry (24:37): That's amazing, and also just, it's amazing, I guess. So is the talk therapy, do they like uncover the stories?

Matt Diggity (24:51): Yeah, yeah. So what a trauma-focused talk therapist will do is they will essentially, it works like this, you figure out something that's affecting you now. Like in this example, it'd be, I feel like I'm unlovable or something. And then they work with you to trace. Well, where did you get that from? Well, I had a girlfriend that, you know, she told me that whatever, she said something bad. And it's probably not that because that was recent. That was five years ago. You had a cerebral cortex. So let's dig back further. Just keep digging, digging, digging, digging. And then eventually a good therapist will not only help you identify, okay, sure, it's this situation with the monsters in the closet that caused all this thing, they'll help you release it. Another quick example is, this is probably the biggest breakthrough I had. And it was about a month ago. I had a bully situation in high school. I was a freshman. And there was a situation where a bully was picking on me in front of a bunch of people and I kind of just shut down. Like I didn't defend myself, I just kind of took it. And so that we traced back to being the cause of some feelings of always needing approval from others. And so we walked back, we visualized, walked back to the situation. I'm Big Matt, I'm me now, walked into that room, told the bully to go fuck himself and then sat down with little Matt and made promises to him, said, you know, I got your back. You don't need anyone else but me. I'm always in your corner. I will never judge you and we will be best friends forever. And so that's the release mechanism. That's how you make it stop having a hold on you. And that one just really stuck. So for me, that one stuck. So I truly can say I'm my own best friend now. I've never said that before in my life. Never even thought about myself. Like my own internal dialogue would definitely say, like, if you could read what I was thinking to myself a year earlier, like, dude, you're not your friend. You kick your own ass all the time.

Kelly Berry (27:02): Mm-hmm. Yeah. So how did you discover trauma-focused talk therapy or how did it get introduced to you?

Matt Diggity (27:13): Just by pure chance, pure luck. A couple of friends of mine, they'd been seeing some therapists. They're like, dude, you gotta try this guy. I was like, well, yeah, I like self-work. I'll give it a shot. And yeah, that's what he does. That's why I felt so compelled to make the tweet because it's pure chance I fell on it.

Kelly Berry (27:31): Mm-hmm. Yeah. And I can imagine, like, this seems like kind of a totally separate topic, but something, you know, I'm a mother to a young daughter, and I feel like there's so much information now on raising children and how to parent and gentle parenting and attachment theory and all of these things, you know, and cry it out or not cry it out. And, you know, all of the research tells you, you know, like, if you do these things or if you parent in these ways, you can cause psychological harm or things that our parents weren't aware of or nobody did these things with the intention that this is the result. But it's just like anything else, like, know better, do better. But for me, hearing your story, especially about the monsters, it just really hits home.

Matt Diggity (28:44): Yeah, freaks me out as a father too, because it's so trivial. Like in that situation with the monsters in the closet, I might have done the same thing. Maybe wouldn't have done it now, now that I know like the impact it could make, but there's going to be something else I'm going to slip up on. There's no way you can have like a 24/7 radar and I'm guessing what will be really impactful for a toddler, you know, or a teen. But I think the important thing is, is, you know, it's going to happen no matter what. And just be there as an adult, like when they're older to talk about these things and give them the tools that they need.

Kelly Berry (29:21): Mm-hmm. Yeah. Yeah, so that was one approach that you took to uncover some things. And the next approach was psychedelic therapy. This one I am familiar with. And to be honest, I'm hearing like more and more and more and more of it. People I meet all the time have done it or are thinking about it. So tell us, first of all, to start out, like, what is psychedelic therapy?

Matt Diggity (29:52): Yeah, so the talk therapy is very manual, right? You're talking through it, you're working through it, and sometimes it's slow. And sometimes people are just very resistant to uncovering the past because it's hidden from them for a reason, because it's going to hurt, right? So that could be because of the walls they've built around it or the stories that they've told about it, like, that's why I'm productive, etc. The psychedelics are like going after it with a nuclear missile. It's going to show up no matter what. I mean, there's different types of psychedelics. There's classic psychedelics, LSD and mushrooms. I had tried those as a kid, teenager experimenting, but these days I'm using them in a more intentional sense to learn more about myself. I'd say with the classic psychedelics, like the biggest thing there is you get to a sense, a re-grounding of what's really, really important to you. And I find that money is not even close to being on that list. Family and community are very high. And being in that state helps me work through like complicated decisions. I have a second kid on the way right now that I don't want to say I was on the fence about, but I was just like, I'm sure when we were going to do it or if it was the right decision, you know, he's coming next month because of a realization on psychedelics.

Kelly Berry (31:18): Amazing. That's awesome. Congratulations. Yeah. So how did you, I guess same question, like how did you get involved in psychedelic therapy?

Matt Diggity (31:22): Thanks. Yeah. So, you know, as a kid, just stumbling upon it, you know, going to a music festival or whatever. But then I started hearing, you know, over here in Thailand, I started hearing about the news in the States that people are using psilocybin and, you know, in a clinical setting and getting great results. And then I started hearing about MDMA. Like MDMA is making really incredible progress on PTSD. And so that just got me thinking, I wish I was in the States at this point, because it's gonna be ages before it gets over here in Thailand. And then now my foot's in my mouth because Thailand's on the cusp of legalizing psilocybin for mental health purposes.

Kelly Berry (32:13): Nice. So you mentioned that you have done both group and solo therapy. So what have those experiences looked like?

Matt Diggity (32:24): Yeah, group is interesting, especially with a group of close friends, because it becomes like a bonding experience. Psychedelics have this effect of really, really lowering or reducing the ego to almost nothing. So you can get really, really deep in conversations, and you're 100% authentic. There's no agenda, there's no ego, there's no, am I going to look bad if I say this? Am I gonna look good if I say that? No, everything is really authentic. So it's like you can be your own therapist to each other and get really deep in conversations. Solo sessions are really interesting in their own way. I'd like to highlight MDMA as being one that's particularly impactful. As I said before, MDMA is getting trialed as an extremely effective solution for PTSD, so trauma, right? There's a guide you can find online. You can find it yourself if you are remotely good at using Google. It's a solo MDMA therapy guide. So there's a protocol to using MDMA by yourself and being a self-therapist to sort through problems. And it's a really, really effective tool at basically doing this. Like you figure out what's bothering you now and it doesn't take long until it points out exactly where that came from. So that, the monster in the closet thing, that was from a solo MDMA session. And the cool thing about MDMA is it's not psychedelic in the sense that there's visions and like crazy visuals and you're not thinking weird thoughts. You're very lucid. And it doesn't give you a puzzle to solve. It just says, nope, this is it. And it's crystal clear. Yeah, I wouldn't say like I recommend everyone try it. This is a controlled substance, but it's something to experience, especially for those kind of stubborn with the talk therapy stuff.

Kelly Berry (34:25): Yeah. So I guess another question would be like, you know, when I first started hearing about this, I think that there is for a lot of people, a certain stigma around it. It's not legal or it's not socially acceptable or there's, you know, a lot of things around it. So what would you say to somebody who, you know, is kind of looking at it like, well, that's just not something that I'm going to explore. Like, why should somebody kind of change their perspective or open their mind to that as a solution?

Matt Diggity (34:57): Yeah, we have a lot of leftover baggage from the war on drugs, you know, in the 80s and 90s in the United States and all that. And, you know, I get it. I get it. I grew up with that and forever. I thought, you know, every drug is cocaine and heroin. You're going to get addicted. It's going to mess you up. There's, I mean, if you really wanted to look into it, there's a history of MDMA, LSD and psilocybin that made a lot of progress in the 50s and 60s and was on the way to becoming a legalized medicine for curing very, very stubborn treatment-resistant mental health issues. And that research is in a renaissance right now. I think we're on the cusp. I mean, psilocybin is already legal in Oregon for therapy situations. I truly believe that there's gonna be a time in our history, we're gonna call it pre-psychedelics and post-psychedelics where mental health looks like a night and day issue. So if you're on the fence about it, I mean, maybe you wait for it to get legalized. I don't think it's going to take that long.

Kelly Berry (36:01): Yeah, or maybe just have a conversation with somebody who's experienced it because I think there's a lot of probably just stigma without a whole lot of understanding of what it is. And I think that that's, that's important too. I've certainly, the people that I've spoken to have shifted my perspective on it immensely because, to your point, you know, I would also be a child of the 80s and 90s and the war on drugs and there, you know, there's a lot of beliefs I think that we all hold about those things.

Matt Diggity (36:12): Yeah.

Kelly Berry (36:29): Yeah.

Matt Diggity (36:33): Yeah, remember, "This is your brain on drugs," and they're frying an egg in a pan.

Kelly Berry (36:36): Absolutely. Seen that a million times. Would you say that type of therapy, and you might have just mentioned this, but who do you think it's right and not right for?

Matt Diggity (36:53): I don't want to get too much into that. To be honest, I'm not certified to answer that question. But from what I do know is like if you have severe PTSD, if you're dealing with war trauma or something, I'd have a clinician involved, probably not go the solo MDMA route. For any of the classic psychedelics, if it's your first trip and you don't know what to expect, have a guide there, a trip sitter, and hopefully someone certified and therapist. You can find that in the United States now. And if you're on antidepressants, I know there's contraindications there. So like, yeah, but again, I don't want to say who it's for.

Kelly Berry (36:59): Yeah, do your research basically. Okay, so then the third, I guess we'll call it tactic that you have been using is meditation. So talk about how that has fit into your healing process and the benefits that you get from meditation.

Matt Diggity (37:35): Yeah, thanks. Meditation as a tool for this only came onto the picture recently. I've been meditating for years and years and years and haven't missed a day in seven years, but it wasn't till about two months ago where I really got serious about it. I kind of just had this realization like, well, I go to the gym and I've used a trainer and I got results that were twice as fast as if I try to figure out by myself, like, why don't I do the same thing with a meditation teacher? So I really stepped up my game there. And the reason I wanted to do that is because after doing all this work, right, I figured out that there's monsters in the closet, mom actually loves me, I'm lovable, I'm best friends with myself. I felt like I had to somehow keep this all in my head at all times and like repeat it over and over again. Because if I forget this stuff, I'm going to go right back to the anxiety and stuff like that. What I learned from meditation is that it's not really about like keeping it like this mantra and like storing the stuff on your brain, that's going to take a lot of resources to keep all that in there all the time. It's more about catching yourself when you're having thoughts or a mental state that are not conducive. And so you realize that's happening, you break the thought pattern and then you decide, well, how would I rather feel? Well, right now I've realized I'm really bored and wanting to get out of this particular situation. Well, let's notice that and say, boredom, that's cute. You come up from time to time, but we don't need you right now. I'd rather feel inspired. So then, well, how do I feel inspired? I do things that are inspiring. So let's change the situation. Let's engage with it. Let's have a conversation that's inspiring. And so that's really what I've gotten out of meditation. All the other work has got the framework and meditation helped me keep it.

Kelly Berry (39:46): Okay, yeah, I like that description. And I think, you know, my understanding of what you just said is, you know, it really allows you to call on what you need when you need it instead of, you know, like trying to carry it all with you all the time. So you basically have it, it's just how can you access it?

Matt Diggity (40:04): Yeah. Yeah, it's like a radar for catching what you don't want. And then you can replace that.

Kelly Berry (40:16): Mm-hmm. Yeah. Yeah, okay. So those were the three strategies, tools, tactics that you used. There's three of them. You mentioned that things got worse before they got better. So talk a little bit about what that felt like. And I know that you mentioned you're just coming out of it. So you may not even be all the way on the other side. So yeah. What has that been like?

Matt Diggity (40:48): Yeah. So this journey has been about 12 months and I'd say it started coming out of it about a month, month and a half ago. And I think what was going on, this is my understanding of it is like I mentioned before, there's the uncovering phase where you figure out, here's how I feel. Here's where it came from. But then there's the release part. And I think what happens, at least the way I did it in the beginning, I was like stacking up all this uncovered stuff, but I wasn't releasing it. So it's just getting worse. Like now, okay, great. Now I know why I'm so messed up, but the stuff still exists. So it wasn't until I really started learning how to release it. And that was learning from the therapist and doing more psychedelic sessions, talking more about the stuff with friends. I mean, one of the main reasons I'm talking to you right now, other than just wanting to share my story and hopefully help another person is because this becomes more real to me. This becomes therapy in itself to kind of sound this out.

Kelly Berry (41:28): Mm-hmm. Yeah, I love that. So what is this better feeling? What does that feel like?

Matt Diggity (41:57): It's kind of like... It's not like I'm blissed out. So I definitely have moments of bliss. And most days are just normal days, but there's no bad days anymore. I think that's the key thing. I don't really have anxiety. I don't beat myself up. I don't pressure myself to do work. The brain tries, but it usually stops in its tracks.

Kelly Berry (42:24): Yeah, no bad days anymore. That's inspiring. I guess, how do you... How would you say you reached the point where you felt control over your emotions and became best friends with yourself?

Matt Diggity (42:43): Yeah, that was the breakthrough with the bully situation. I don't know why, but that particular visualization of going back there and sitting down with my young self and making that promise, it just stuck. I'm not sure why. I even tried stuff like that before on different topics, but it didn't stick. But this one just really stuck. As for control over emotions, I used to think that emotions are these products of the subconscious that just surface. All of a sudden, I'm feeling anxious. Great. I don't know where that came from, but I got to ride this one out. And then hopefully the next emotion I feel is happiness or something like that. I thought there's no control over them. And it wasn't really until I got into meditation that I realized you could change your state, which shouldn't have been surprising to me. Obviously, you can have a shot of tequila and change your state. You can watch a good movie and change your state. I just didn't make the connection that I could do it manually with my own brain.

Kelly Berry (43:40): Yeah, which is empowering, right? Powerful. Yeah, for sure. So what have you noticed changes in relationships you have, like with your friends, as a parent?

Matt Diggity (43:55): Yeah, sure. Yeah, with the family, I would say I'm much more present. I'm in a good mood. There's not as many days where I lock myself in my office and just work because I'm feeling anxious or something. So I'm just more available, more present. With my friends, I'm not saying this is because of me. This is coincidence, just the movement of the community. Everyone's on this journey around me right now, or a lot of people are at least. And so it's really, really fun to seeing other people have breakthroughs and, you know, we're all SEO professionals. Usually we talk about what's latest going on with Google and all that kind of stuff. Now 90% of the conversations are about personal growth, which is really fun.

Kelly Berry (44:42): That is a big shift. But you know, you are the sum of the people around you. And so I feel like if everybody's on that same journey, it just helps everyone commit to it more, hold each other accountable in a way. Yeah. And grow together, which is neat. And I don't imagine that there are many adults you know, situations like that where you're going through these things that are, I'll say hard, but like really hard, you know?

Matt Diggity (45:09): Yeah. Yeah. That's why I think it's just pure luck. And if I could bottle this up and figure out how to give it out to people on scale, I would. I just, it's just kind of shocking to me that there's a knowledge is just out there already, which makes me feel like it just doesn't percolate. Well, I think it needs to be almost in a like one-on-one conversation or, or, you know, hopefully, hopefully this podcast does its work.

Kelly Berry (45:41): Yeah, part of your tweet was, you know, like, if this resonates with you, reach out to me. I'll share, like, my resources and tools. So I guess in a different kind of way, like, what are some of the biggest lessons that you've learned from this experience and what would you like to share from it?

Matt Diggity (46:03): I mean, the biggest thing is we have control over our feelings and thoughts. The brain is really, really powerful. And I think there's a lot to learning how to use it and train it to do amazing things. I mean, our bodies can do amazing things if you train it. So why wouldn't the brain be any different? It's a billion times more complex. You know, it's, there's a lot to it and you've trained yourself to learn amazing things already, why not train it to learn how to be good to yourself? So I think that's one of the biggest lessons. But also just like some, there's some context, I always want to say that, you know, like anything with like classic psychedelics or stuff like that, like, you know, if this is your first journey, don't go into it just thinking, I'm gonna take a hero dose of LSD or mushrooms and not tell anybody, you know, like you go into it with a guide, like do everything safely, because these are powerful medicines. Like I mentioned before, it's like they're nuclear missiles.

Kelly Berry (47:01): Yeah. And how would you suggest somebody gets started if this story and kind of your journey resonates with them?

Matt Diggity (47:11): I would say start with the talk therapy, the trauma therapy. Yeah, like I'm not talking about the war trauma again, I'm talking about the little t trauma, which in my experience had been weighing me down my whole life. And how to find a good trauma-based therapist, I would say, you know, ask for recommendations. You know how it is with life as soon as you start looking for something, you know, that you realize that there's people around you that have access to that kind of thing or know someone. But yeah, definitely ask for recommendations.

Kelly Berry (47:40): Yeah, and I think, you know, just from my, I'll say, you know, not extensive understanding of trauma and like little t trauma, and maybe you can add to this, but I think that it affects far more people than realize it.

Matt Diggity (47:59): Yeah. I mean, if a monster in the closet can get you, you know, I mean, I have plenty more. I don't want to bore your listeners with all these little trivial things, but, I mean, that's nothing. I heard on the Joe Rogan podcast once, he said it quite well. The worst thing that's ever happened to you is the worst thing that's ever happened to you, whether that be your abuse as a child or someone scratched your car in the parking lot, you're going to make that the worst thing that ever happened to you. And when you're a child, that's a big thing. When someone says offhand, don't eat candy, it's gonna make you die. Like your kid's gonna freak out.

Kelly Berry (48:45): That's a really good quote. A lot to think about and consider in a lot of ways. But, you know, I've read, too, you know, you're almost, your psyche is almost completely formed by the time that you're seven years old. So it is those things that you have experienced as a young child that contribute to who you are as an adult. And if you are in these experiences and then your brain, you know, blocks them out, you really have no idea unless you seek out some further understanding or therapy or anything like that. So I guess having talked through that, it probably affects everybody, right?

Matt Diggity (49:24): I'd be shocked if it didn't.

Kelly Berry (49:25): Yeah, yeah. Well, we're at time. This has been awesome. I just wanted to give you a minute, like if there's anything that you wanted to say or share or leave listeners with that we didn't go over, I'd love if you have something to share it.

Matt Diggity (49:44): Yeah, I mean, like I said, at the end of the day, I'm a marketing professional and I have a Twitter and YouTube you can follow if you're interested in that and entrepreneurship stuff. But I'll start dripping in more of this kind of content on those places as well. So yeah, if anything, just follow me on YouTube, Matt Diggity.

Kelly Berry (50:02): Yeah, I'll link all of Matt's links in the show notes, but Matt has a really big YouTube channel with a lot of really good content on there. So definitely check that out. And thank you so much. This has been amazing. I appreciate you sharing your story, accepting my invitation, and can't wait to get this out and hear what people think about it.

Matt Diggity (50:28): Thanks for the opportunity.

Kelly Berry (50:29): Thank you and we will talk to you all later.