October 24, 2023

The Unexpected Link Between Trauma & Your Messy Home

When I discovered Stacy Scott while scrolling through Instagram, I immediately knew I had to get her on the podcast. Stacy is an internationally known decluttering expert, feng shui practitioner, and occupational therapist with three wildly successful decluttering workshops. Unlike a lot of other organization and decluttering coaches, Stacy focuses on recognizing how trauma impacts your ability to clean so you can make your space your own.

As someone who grew up in an energetically chaotic environment, it took me years to realize the way this affected my interaction with my own space. It was really difficult for me to learn how to keep a home that felt good to me (read: not a perfectly organized home) — I felt like I was failing my family. A huge part of getting past this was unpacking my own trauma story and healing.

Unfortunately, this is something I hear from my clients all the time. “I don’t understand why they can keep a clean house and I can’t.” It feels like failure, but I promise you, it’s not.

In this podcast episode, Stacy talks about how her own trauma held her back. After spending years in denial, she decided to do the work herself. Through the process, she discovered that her past trauma would pop up in her mind as she thought about her possessions. Once she became aware of her triggers, she used her own methods to move through them.

For Stacy, the modality of inner child healing helps her clients identify what might be coming up for them through this work. They’ll often discover that their possessions represent past trauma in their lives, and, really, “It’s not really about the stuff. It’s about what the stuff means to you.”

For those of you with ADHD, trauma-informed decluttering can feel overwhelming. Know that you don’t have to clean up everything at once. Take it one step at a time. Throw away one possession at a time. It’s not too late to take back your space and your life.

To learn more about working with Stacy, you can find her on:

  1. Instagram
  2. TikTok
  3. YouTube *coming soon*
  4. Her website

If you’re doing the work to declutter your home and find you need some support to do your best work as someone with ADHD, I encourage you to check out my group coaching program FOCUSED. Inside this program, you’ll be able to get ADHD-specific coaching alongside an amazing and encouraging community.



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Kristen Carder 0:05
Welcome to the I have ADHD podcast, where it’s all about education, encouragement and coaching for adults with ADHD. I’m your host, Kristen Carter and I have ADHD. Let’s chat about the frustrations, humor and challenges of adulting relationships working and achieving with this neurodevelopmental disorder. I’ll help you understand your unique brain. Unlock your potential and move from point A to point B. Hey, what’s up? This is Kristen Carter and you’re listening to the I have ADHD podcast. I am medicated. I’m caffeinated. I am regulated and I am ready to roll.

Welcome to the show. So glad you are here. So glad that you press play on this podcast. You won’t be disappointed i Paramus you. I’ve got a treat for you today. For any of you who struggle to declutter and organize and clean your home. This episode is for you. On the podcast today I have Stacey Scott who is an internationally known decluttering expert, and a Fung Shui practitioner. And she also happens to be a doctor of occupational therapy. She is going to be talking to us today about how important it is to recognize how trauma impacts our ability to clean and declutter and make our spaces our own. She’s worked with 1000s of clients on healing trauma through the home, freeing women from the results of traumatic experiences so that they can declutter effortlessly succeed easily and live by their own rules. I just cannot recommend her work enough. I have been following her on Instagram at sanctuary with Stacy for quite some time, and just really seeing how, in my own story, growing up in an energetically chaotic environment really impacted the way that I began to interact with my own space. You know, when I moved out, and I had my own place, I I cannot explain to you how difficult it was for me to learn how to keep a home that felt good to me. Not a perfectly kept home. Not a perfectionistic home but a home that felt good to me.

And a huge part of this was me unpacking my own story, my own wounding and really healing and that’s what Stacy is here to talk to us about today. Do not be scared, okay, like, don’t just go ahead and turn this podcast off. Because we’re talking about healing and self development. And like inner child stuff, I am telling you this is worth listening to if you struggle with overwhelm, if you resist cleaning decluttering even just like dishes, if you feel like maybe even your body goes into some sort of trauma response when you interact with your stuff. If decluttering and getting rid of things makes you want to fight flight freeze fine. If you are just experiencing all kinds of negative resistance to your own space, and you look around at your friends and you’re like I don’t understand why they can keep a clean house and I can’t. This episode is for you. Okay, I promise you, you’re gonna love it. Please join me in welcoming my guest, Stacey Scott. Stacy. Hello, my dear. I am so glad that you are finally here. We’ve been trying to set this up for a while. It was my fault that it took so long. But I would love to just welcome you to the podcast. Thanks so much for being here.

Stacy Scott 4:01
Thank you for having me. I’m super excited,

Kristen Carder 4:04
so pumped to talk to you. I know that our listeners are just going to be so encouraged by what you have to offer. Can you just tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do?

Stacy Scott 4:15
Yeah, so my full name is Stacey Scott. But I’m a occupational therapist, a functional practitioner, and a decluttering expert who’s also a trauma survivor herself, which is kind of how this information and this wisdom kind of landed in my lap.

Kristen Carder 4:32
But when you say trauma survivor Do you recognize just like one acute event that happened or is the trauma that you’re referring to kind of more chronic complex over time type of trauma.

Stacy Scott 4:46
So what in my particular past I’m pertain mentioning complex and over time so parents were abusers, narcissistic abuse emotional abuse, immature parenting So definitely, I’m on the complex scale, but I work with people who have just, you know, those singular episodes all the way up to more of that chronic and complex.

Kristen Carder 5:10
Sure. The reason why I ask is because, you know, I’ve identified a lot of trauma in my own life. And but I never recognized myself as a trauma survivor until a couple of years ago. And so I wonder if there’s a lot of people listening who would think to themselves, Bobby, I’m not a trauma survivor. I’m not sure if this applies to me. Do you have like a, this is so on the spot? Because I know it’s very difficult. But how do you define trauma? What is trauma to you?

Stacy Scott 5:41
So I think for me, it was something that was holding me back in my life, some sort of thought pattern that I had behavior, anxiety, jealousy, even, it was something that like would pop up in my mind, and I would feel intensely in my body. But I had no awareness or story around why that was occurring. So it was clearly something from my past, popping up into my my present. And I experienced quite a lot of this in my 20s, I was in deep denial, most of my life, I knew that I actually, you know, I had not come from a good family. And I was in deep, deep denial until I actually broke down in like the year leading up to my wedding. My wedding was like my major triggering trauma event, you could say, I’ve been married a couple of years now. But it there was no, there was no turning away from it at that point. But I think it’s possible to do this work, even if you don’t feel as intensely as what I’ve described. If there’s something in your life you wish to change, it’s changeable. And I often find that if you’re willing to look in the mirror, which I know is very hard to do. But if you’re willing to look at your past, you can isolate it and find it, I use the modality of inner child healing in my decluttering work, which I adore and love. And if you’re willing to look, you’ll find it and it can soften, and it can fully go away, depending on what it is.

Kristen Carder 7:16
Wow, that’s so amazing. How does trauma, or being a trauma survivor affect someone’s ability to keep a tidy house to function within the home, I have so many people that I talked to regularly who struggle with organization who struggle with just things piling up. And then there’s kind of the next level. And I just coached somebody last week who said that she has begun to recognize that her body goes into a flight response when she sees the dishes. So like there’s dishes in the sink, and her she literally has this like overwhelming flight response to that what is the connection between our bodies and the home.

Stacy Scott 8:03
So our homes are some of our first teachers not only what we experience in the home, the energy, the vibe, the tone of the home, so forgetting for a moment of just the other people that are in the home with us. I know from being an occupational therapist, when we’re babies, we are seeking out our environment. We’re learning about our environment. This is why babies crawl all over the place. This is why moms with young children say that, you know my baby is into everything. It’s because you’re learning to master and manipulate your environment. That’s very normal. But if you’re growing up in an environment, let’s say that physically is very cluttered, dusty, or is in some way, not set up for you to succeed, you carry that pattern with you throughout your young adulthood into your adulthood. And then when we add in the added mixture of other people in our space, our parents or caregivers, and what we experience in our relationship with them, will then also color our relationship that we have to our homes. So I always like to say that your relationship to your space, meaning how you’ve set it up the colors that you’ve chosen, which is more of the functional way side, but then also your behaviors, like your know your ability to do home chores, cleaning, decluttering organizing, all of that is really mirroring your relationship that you have to yourself, which is a really hard thing to hear. But I see this across the board because I work sometimes with folks that don’t identify as having trauma. They’re like, I don’t identify as having trauma, but I like what you’re saying let’s do this work. And it doesn’t mean that they had some some sort of deep repressed emotion or memory It just simply means that also something was modeled to them in their spaces that they’re now doing, especially women. So this is very multifaceted, but it’s so worth diving into. Because there’s so much here, whether you identify as having trauma or not, there is so much here to make your life better.

Kristen Carder 10:21
Everyone should go follow you right now. Tell us your handle.

Stacy Scott 10:25
So you can find me on Instagram, Tik Tok, and coming soon YouTube, at sanctuary with Stacey.

Kristen Carder 10:32
Okay. And that’s exactly where I found you. And I was like, we have got to get this woman on the podcast. Do you have a video about when our parents use chores, as punishment for us? We can often resist doing our own chores in adulthood, even when it’s to our own benefit. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Stacy Scott 10:56
Yeah, so I mean, who didn’t grow up to some degree with? Well, your room has to be cleaned before you, you know, go to go get to play across the street with your friend, or get to have dinner, or you know, do XYZ. So even the most well meaning of parents, I think, to some degree used chores, as a, I’m still going to use the word punishment, because that’s what comes to my mind. So as as punishment to get your child to do something, right, we want them to clean up, we want them to put their toys away. What happens though, and especially on the extreme end of that spectrum, if you were yelled at if you were forced to, if there was manipulation, or physical abuse involved, your body can develop a fight or flight response to that particular chore, it doesn’t matter what it is, I often see this with dishes and laundry, but it truly doesn’t matter. Because what’s happened is it’s been used against you so often, that you now will avoid that task. To protect yourself, you’ve created a coping mechanism to avoid it to protect yourself from that criticism, that fear that shame, whatever that experience brings up in your body in terms of emotions. So this is why people come to me all the time. They’re like, this is so silly, I just can’t do the laundry. I’m like, No, it’s not silly, because it’s never about the task itself. It’s about what the origin story is and the narrative your body has created, behind the task or around the task itself. And so this is when we do that deep dive into the past and say, Okay, well, how did this come about for you. So the first step is noticing, if you are somebody who really resists doing some of these tasks to the point where you’re shaming yourself, because then we also get societal pressure, especially as women to clean the house to make sure it looks good, do all the things, especially if you’re mom, that pressure is even greater. And so we have this perfect storm of shame, fear, and, you know, nervous system dysregulation that just keeps people in this spiral and this loop, that then they don’t know where to turn to, to really break it. Hmm.

Kristen Carder 13:22
Yeah, that resonates so deeply with me. And you speak also about how growing up in an energetically chaotic environment can really impact your own relationship with the home and remembering my own childhood, and how chaotic it was, and thinking about how ADHD is hereditary. And whether it’s ADHD, or generational trauma doesn’t really matter, because energetically chaotic spaces. Like I think every listener would say like, yeah, that was probably the norm for me. How does that affect our ability to interact in a healthy way with our spaces?

Stacy Scott 14:05
Yeah, so I just want to define energetically chaotic a little bit, because that’s certainly not a clinical term. Sure. So when I say that, I mean, it could be both but either or a home that has a lot of possessions in it. So it felt very, very cluttered to the point where you felt like you had no control over the home and the space, that’s totally something there. Or it could also be, you know, there was a lot of screaming, yelling, door slamming, things like that. So it could be both it could be either or so that’s really what I mean by energetically chaotic. But so what that teaches you in your body, and again, a lot of this is not conscious, but it teaches your body to really crave that level of drama and chaos. And so in a lot of my videos, I even you know, go so far as to use the word addiction, because it can become that that cortisol stress response. We actually do have research on it now. that says, you can become, you know, so used to that stress response in your body, that slowing down and trying to then revert back to more peace and calm both at home and in your body makes you feel very uncomfortable. And it makes you feel like something’s wrong and can actually make your anxiety worse. So when you grow up like that, it’s hard to see life outside of this chaos. And so we do recreate these patterns in our lives as young adults and adults in our homes in in a plethora of ways.

Kristen Carder 15:39
So I talk about it with my clients, and I use the term setpoint. We have like this setpoint, that feels really comfortable to us. It might be maladaptive. It might not be like serving us, but it’s what our nervous system is wired to feel like it’s just comfortable. And this is so often why I think we see it with money, I think we see it with weight, I think we see it in our homes, where, for example, we can save a bunch of money, but because our nervous system is not wired to actually be able to tolerate money being in in our account, we get rid of it. Or we lose a bunch of weight or gain a bunch of weight, but the setpoint it feels so uncomfortable. And so we go back to our normal, like what is more regulated for our nervous system. And I think it’s the same with the home where we can do this, like massive cleaning, but it always just seems to go back to where it used to be. And one of the things that you say in a video is you’re not lazy. Your body is just resisting the peace and ease that comes with an organized home.

Stacy Scott 16:44
Yeah, yeah. So I think there’s two different facets here. And I thank you for bringing this up. This is like one of my favorite things to tell people is you are not lazy. You are not unorganized. Because that is what everybody says. They have the sometimes the meanest inner critic, and I’m like, Look, that that voice is not yours, that is society. That is grandma, that is mom, that is generational rolling down the hill, that is not your voice. So when it comes to that point, there’s two distinctions I like to make here is that one, it is very much a societal construct that tells us that home should be clean, neat and organized at all times, or you are failing. Because what do we do we look at shows like orders. And then we have shows like The Home addict. Everybody watches shows like orders with disgust with oh my god, I’m so glad I’m not that person. But then we look at shows like The Home edit, and I’m not hating on anybody there those women know what they’re doing. But we look at those shows and say, Oh, why isn’t my home look like that? Right? And we’ve built this triangle shaped pyramid that says if your home doesn’t look like something all the home at it, you are failing. When I know as a Fung Shui practitioner, our homes go through expansive times, where you’re just going to have more stuff, and times where you are going to naturally go more into minimalism. And there’s nothing wrong with living in both of those worlds. But going back to your point more when it comes to, you know the healing of trauma. I often hear from folks, hey, look, I spent, you know, so much money on an Interior Home organizer. Yeah. Then six months later, my home went right back. And I’m like, I get that. And here’s why. It’s because that your body like exactly what you said, is not yet wired to really find peace and ease in the open space. Because what I find is definitely folks who are on the side of the spectrum with more difficulty decluttering they use the possessions as a way to feel safe and secure in their body. It’s a security blanket. We are not going to dismantle that with five easy steps. No one else is going to dismantle that process with you or for you. That’s the process. I mean, somebody can help you throw it but work you have to do yourself if you feel like those possessions keep you safe.

Kristen Carder 19:11
So you don’t have just like a five easy step downloadable PDF that we can all just grab and like be healed from this forever. Because that’s what we all want. We want them. Right.

Stacy Scott 19:24
If I could bottle this, like I would like I don’t want people going through what I had to go through completely by myself. And I am somebody who identifies as both being an over minimalist at one point in my life, which is something else that’s possible, which is nobody likes to hear somebody who grew up in an extremely cluttered environment and was yelled at constantly for not cleaning my room the right way. So I would just make piles of things, like just piles of papers and piles of my toys and piles of whatever it was was, but that was the only way for me to feel safe and in control of my environment and an energetically chaotic home.

Kristen Carder 20:08
Do you think that the minimalistic maybe like far end of the spectrum is a reaction to growing up in a home that was super cluttered? Yeah, I think I’ve got that that’s that’s me. 100% is growing up where my, like the playroom floor was. So it was just like you couldn’t even see the floor. And I would get yelled at for not for it being messy. But I was like six, like, what am I supposed to do about it? Yeah, I was a kid. And so not knowing what to do with it. And then that just perpetuated. Like, as a teenager, my floor was covered, as well. And I just remember having like, bags and bags, like when I would clean my room once in a while, just bags of stuff. And now I have very few things. Very few things.

Stacy Scott 20:56
Let’s unpack the minimalism a little bit at least from where I see it. Sure. Minimalism, really, in its modern form, busted on the scene in around 2008 2010. Murray condos book was actually published in 2010. And there’s a lot of chatter now and thought that, you know, it became a reaction to the financial crisis, which if you’re younger, you might not remember it, but I was certainly in college and living through it. And it became this reaction. And then what happened was, we all felt like we had to get rid of everything, because there wasn’t enough to go around. And it became this kind of flip way that our brains were trying to make sense of this world where there wasn’t maybe enough, quote, unquote, money to go around, we couldn’t buy things anymore. We had been a very materialistic society leading up to that, especially coming out of the 90s in the early 2000s. And then what happened is it also on top of it, we got this kind of moral illness attached to it. Well, if you’re a minimalist, you’re saving the environment. And I think even that, to some degree has been debunked that we know that some of the largest polluters are actually companies, and not individual people. And of course, individual people can do their fair share. But that was to your part, your station to be had there. And so when we have this idea of minimalism, I noticed amongst myself especially like with the story you just shared, and I see this amongst my clients, it becomes an overreaction to maybe how we grew up. This was me in college, I could not have a damn thing anywhere. Or my body went into overload. I went to overwhelm. And what this did was this protected my perfectionistic response, I was in college, this was how I needed to survive. This protected me. But then we also had this societal positivity, I guess that then said, Oh, my gosh, you know, they’d say, Stacy, your room is fabulous. Look at this, everybody’s parents would say, Why can’t your room look like this? And I was really applauded for it. So I never needed to look at it. Until it became a real problem as an adult. And my husband, who actually has ADD, would say to me, like, why are you getting rid of everything? What are you doing? What are you doing? And I’m like, what, what, what? So there’s a, there’s so much more to be discussed when it comes to minimalism, and whether that’s the right approach for you.

Kristen Carder 23:32
I so appreciate this. And it is really getting my wheels turning because one of the things that I tell my clients often is like, it’s really hard to organize a lot of stuff. And so if we can get rid of some of that, then there’s like, the math just kind of works out a little bit better, where there’s like, a lot less to deal with. And so getting rid of it can be great. But also I do agree that I think I inadvertently attach a little bit of morality to people or myself with less stuff is like that’s, that’s obviously just the better way to live. And it’s so interesting, because what that reminds me of is the way that we look at weight. And you know, somebody with an eating disorder or who’s over exercising or who is struggling with food can be applauded for like, Oh, you’ve lost weight, blah, blah. And meanwhile, we don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes. It’s just not it’s not a healthy way to approach it.

Stacy Scott 24:34
I mean, look at how we talk about hoarding in this country. We talk about it with disgust. Yeah. I always ask my folks, you know, on my on my socials to like, I want you to turn on the show. I think it’s on Netflix now and I want you just to notice what your mind says, what your body does, and there’s there doesn’t have to be shame in this. We have absolutely been conditioned and trained in this country. See, hoarders is dirty, nasty, disgusting. They don’t deserve to live in the community people. And as an occupational therapist, I was going into people’s homes for a very long time. I’ve been in 1000s of homes. And some of those were hoarding situations, I would go into homes working with Habitat for Humanity, I made ask me to go in and evaluate people’s homes for various reasons. And I can tell you, on one hand, how many times I’ve seen an actual hoarding situation. But hoarding has become this great big boogeyman in our society, where we say if you even put one little toe over the line of having too many possessions, which by the way, what’s too many? How do you live your life and possessions? That’s one of the worst ways to quantify your joy. By the way. We say if you put one little toe over the line, you’re a hoarder and we use it as this Boogeyman. I must admit most of my clients when they come to me, my one to one clients call themselves hoarders like, well, that’s the first thing we’re breaking. Because, hoarder, we have been told that and I can imagine that a lot of folks in your audience too, who identify as being on the abd ADHD spectrum might have a similar inner monologue.

Kristen Carder 26:21
I’m so beautiful. I’m so glad that you’re here to kind of dispel some of that, because I love that you question like, where is that line anyway? And what is what is too much? And by whose standards? And how do we know like, those are all such good questions. And now a word from our sponsor. Hey, Kristen here, I’m the host of this podcast, an ADHD expert and a certified life coach, who’s helped hundreds of adults with ADHD understand their unique brains and make real changes in their lives. If you’re not sure what a life coach is, let me tell you, a life coach is someone who helps you achieve your goals like a personal trainer for your life. A life coach is a guide who holds your hand along the way as you take baby step after baby step to accomplish the things that you want to accomplish. A good life coach is a trained expert, who knows how to look at situations or situations with non judgmental neutrality, and offer you solutions that you’ve probably never even considered before. If you’re being treated for your ADHD, and maybe even you’ve done some work in therapy, and you want to add to your scaffolding of support, you’ve got to join my group coaching, program focused focused is where functional adults with ADHD surround each other with encouragement and support. And I lead the way with innovative and creative solutions to help you fully accept yourself, understand your ADHD, and create the life that you’ve always wanted to create. Even with ADHD. Go to I have adhd.com/focused to join. And I hope to see you in our community today. You mentioned overwhelm, and that is the number one piece of feedback that I get when I am teaching a class on organization or when I’m doing a podcast on it is it’s just very overwhelming. What are your thoughts on overwhelm and how we can kind of navigate through that big barrier?

Stacy Scott 28:33
Yeah, a couple of things here. So first, I think reestablishing mind body connection through conscious awareness is like 90% of the work because if you don’t know you’re in overwhelm, you will just keep doing the same things over and over. So really noticing what your experience of overwhelm is in your body. What are the thoughts that arise? What are the bodily sensations because we’re all going to our experience of overwhelm might be different between all of us. So first noticing that you’re in overwhelmed noticing maybe sometimes the more negative inner critic that you might have if you open up a drawer and you’re like, Oh, this is you know, a freakin disaster. What are we saying to ourselves? Those might be your triggers that then put your body into overwhelm. Notice then if you then shut the cabinet door and say, Nope, can’t do it, not today. And then you’re hitting your phone to be on Tik Tok for three hours or you’re hitting the fridge or you’re hitting the shot that you’re hitting Amazon. Just notice because we all have different triggers. I’m always very open mind is the fridge I will immediately reach for some toasts and I have to be like, Oh, I’m doing it again because I love me some toast. Yeah,

Kristen Carder 29:51
I’m feeling a feeling is that what that is? Like? When I’m reaching for the toast? It’s an indicator that like I think I might be feeling something that I’m trying to avoid.

Stacy Scott 30:01
Exactly, exactly, yeah. And then I think especially for an ABD ADHD audience, the best way to then once you become aware of what your triggers are, I call them space triggers is using your own methods to move through it. I find a lot of times my husband, I don’t personally identify as being on the ATD ADHD spectrum, but my husband does. And I think he tries to contort from what I’ve seen himself into all these knots, to try and fix or fit into a structure. That is really not how his brain works. I always say to him, I love when you’re relaxed, because I get to see the full beauty of your brain. You just pull things out of the ether, and you put them together and it makes me laugh, and I love watching his brain work and all of its like, add glory. And it’s I can tell when he’s trying to fit himself, round peg square hole style into some sort of structure. So as an example of this, I was talking to somebody the other day on Instagram, they identified as having ADHD, and they said, Oh, what do I do? I can’t declutter a whole closet in a sitting. And I’m like, well, there’s your problem. Why are you trying to declutter a whole closet in a sitting? If, if that just puts your body into such a state of overwhelm into fight or flight? Why are we forcing that? Yeah, that alone, I mean, her eyes went big. She was like, Oh, my God, I’m like, do half of it, do a quarter of it, do one possession, it doesn’t matter, strip all the BS, and all of the rules away. And your natural ability, as somebody with ADD will just shine through. I don’t think this is something you can’t do. I think this is something that society has told you you can’t do. Because we’re trying to fit you into some sort of box.

Kristen Carder 31:56
preach, preach, preach, preach, I love it so much. This is why when Marie Kondo came out with her method, or like published her book, and then she had that show on Netflix, and step number one is like dump everything out of the closet, dump everything out of the drawers and like that, for somebody with ADHD, you dump everything out. And then you just see this mountain, and it’s like, my brain, my body reacts to that, like, No, thank you. I’m out goodbye. And now I’m just left with a mess instead of figuring out what’s the best way for me to tackle this in a way that feels good to me. And makes sense for my brain?

Stacy Scott 32:36
Exactly, exactly. We’re just all reacting to a whole bunch of rules that we think because they came from an expert that that we’re meant to follow. Rather than following really our own intuition. We’re burying our intuition, we’re burying our natural problem solving on how to get from A to B.

Kristen Carder 32:56
Yeah, and that’s across the board with us ADHD is this is not just for for our homes or for our spaces. It’s like we do that. So naturally, because we’ve been told that we’re a problem, the way that we show up in the world is a problem, the way that we interact with people the way that we even like, are doing our schoolwork or whatever, it’s it’s always a problem.

Stacy Scott 33:16
And I think Case in point, right, there is a decent argument for why a lot of folks who identify as being on the abd ADHD spectrum would benefit from some trauma work, rather than constantly looking for a solution. If we slow down, and we turn inward, and we turn around, we can find all the ways that society in its modern form has failed us. And that’s not because your brain is broken. You’re like, I just think about my husband, his brain is beautiful, I love it. But we’re trying to tell you all folks to live a certain way that just doesn’t work for you. And I think that’s so wrong. A lot of it comes I, you know, at least is my own opinion. I don’t have research on this. But I think a lot of it starts in school, where you’re told to sit for long periods of time teach to the test, which came out you know, that’s No Child Left Behind, which I certainly grew up under. And it’s creating generations of folks who not only with ADD, but also with trauma because I found for me, having trauma, having a narcissistic mother actually turned me over perfectionist and so I was like, I must get that A or I am worthless. Whereas I know for my husband, the traditional educational system for him, made him feel just dumb all the time. And he’s one of the smartest people I know. So you know, you just you have this dichotomy and I think it’s just important to maybe look back and think about some of the ways where maybe you were not supported in your beautiful add Enos.

Kristen Carder 34:58
Yeah, that’s so beautiful. All and I just want to, to add to that to say even if you are not someone who identifies as having trauma in your family, even if you’re like I come from a perfect family, my parents are perfect. Okay, great. Did you grow up as a neurodivergent person in a neurotypical world? The answer if you’re listening to this podcast is likely yes. And that in itself can be so traumatic. How often how much more often are we rejected by our peers, by our teachers, by our coaches, the rejection, the being told that we’re just not doing it, right, how our brains are just like not functioning in the way that everyone else’s is. It can be so traumatic, and to your point about perfectionism. Dr. Russell Ramsey, out of UPenn did a bunch of research and found that perfectionism is the number one thought distortion for adults with ADHD. We struggle with it hardcore. I would argue that a lot of us grew up with emotionally immature, narcissistic parents, but I cannot prove that and so. But what we can prove is that we are perfectionists and so that, how does that reflect in your home when you walk into a space? And it’s not what you would consider perfect? Does your body react to it? And then how does that impact your ability to just function within your own space?

Stacy Scott 36:22
Yeah, I think we don’t appreciate enough that your home is truly supposed to be your sacred ground. And we’ve ended up with homes that are all cookie cutters of one another, we all have the same couch, the same rug the same, everything, instead of really asking ourselves, which is impossible to do. So we certainly don’t do this when we’re children. But as an adult, now you have this power to ask yourself, well, what do I really need? What does my nervous system need, from my space? To heal, to thrive to feel good, because we’re all going to need varying levels of not only possessions, but colors, design decor, we all need different things like, Christian, I know you would not be comfortable in my home, and I might not be comfortable in yours. And that is, that’s perfect. That’s how we should be. Yeah, that’s like, but yet we, you know, we come back to the societal moral majority of your home should look like this, or you don’t have a nice home, you don’t have a good looking home. You don’t have a whatever, you know, adjective home, you want it. And so

Kristen Carder 37:39
do you think that we struggle with that? Because we didn’t grow up with power in our spaces? When we were little? Is that a thing? Or is it just I have no idea how to finish that question. But

Stacy Scott 37:52
yeah, no, I see what you’re saying. I think it’s a couple of things. I think, yes, we did not grow up with potentially, I mean, I’m talking now myself as a trauma survivor, but like, not growing up with the power of control over the environment, the power to make my own design choices, which of course, Money plays a role in that which I won’t get into. That’s a whole show in worms. Sure. But then I think then as we grow up, we also have this societal conversation that to be had around how we discuss home, the things that are even on the market to purchase. Right? I know, a lot of times, we just we all ended up with these all white all grey homes, especially as millennials, because there was nothing else to buy, you could find color, it was like we were allergic to color. Yours. So I think that’s really multifaceted. And there’s a lot more we could talk about there.

Kristen Carder 38:44
Sure, sure. What is trauma informed? decluttering? And why does it matter?

Stacy Scott 38:51
Exactly what I’ve been talking about this whole time. So trauma informed decluttering in my world, which is, by the way, this is not a thing. This is something that was born of my research as an occupational therapist, being in 1000s of homes, and then my own personal experience being a trauma survivor. It’s really just this peering beneath the surface. That difficulty decluttering is not a moral failure. It is a trauma response. The same way that over decluttering is a trauma response. And it all comes back to not only your subconscious narratives around who you are and what you get to have in this life, but also some of the experiences and those energetic patterns they created in your body. So we just we just go deeper, that’s why there is no five step plan or anything. But this is also why my clients once they declutter, they declutter for good, there’s no going back it’s it’s just gone. That pile that they that that’s that’s been sitting there for six years in the corner of their bedroom, it’s gone. because we got to the root of why it was there in the first place. And I can tell you, it almost never has anything to do. At least in my travel world. It never has anything to do with I didn’t know where to put the possessions. I didn’t have enough room I wasn’t organized enough. There’s always meaning. Right? Same with cleaning and the chores and whatever it is, it’s never about that stuff.

Kristen Carder 40:23
So what is the process that you go through with your clients? Like walk? If I’m a brand new client? What do I expect the process to look like with you?

Stacy Scott 40:33
So I use the modality of inner child healing. So that is kind of like a guided inward journey. You close your eyes, I and I ask you just basically a whole bunch of questions, what’s happening in your body right now what’s really bothering you and your life, we don’t even start talking about possessions or clutter because it that’s so heavily triggering, we start somewhere else. And you really then get to build an internal compass and an internal intuition around, hey, I trust what my body’s doing in every moment. And I know how to talk to my my parts that are within me, these prior versions of myself whether that was when I was 616 2636 46. And I get to talk to these versions of myself and give her him what they needed, that they maybe didn’t get from the caregivers in their life, it’s re parenting in a lot of ways. And then that always somehow gets connected to things in their environments. And some of my favorite messages from my clients are, I don’t know, I just woke up today, and I just today was the day I got rid of all of it. And it’s because that stuck emotion in their body, I didn’t need to tell you how to declutter, I don’t need to go over your head and over your natural intuition. I just need you to open up and trust yourself. And once you do that, the black trash bags are in the back of your car, and you’re happily driving them wherever they’re gonna go. And you’re free of it, because you’re free of the trapped emotion that has been hanging out in your body for however long.

Kristen Carder 42:11
So that is so similar to my approach with clients. And I just want to highlight that like decluttering as Google bubble. Like, we all know how to do that. And it’s the same with all of the tips and tricks that people want for me in the ADHD space. Like, just give me the tips and tricks. And I’m like, That’s what Google’s for. You don’t need me for that. Right? It’s like, what we need is someone to hold our hand and walk us through the deeper process. And that is the value that you bring to the table. I can google how to declutter a house in five easy steps and watch a YouTube video on that. We all know how to do that we know how to. But this is not a problem of not knowing how it’s a problem of my body is literally resisting the process. And I don’t know how to get my body to cooperate with this process.

Stacy Scott 43:08
Well said well said and I, I say all the time, hey, if decluttering was easy, we’d have it figured out. And I wouldn’t be here, I would not have gotten so terribly angry at how we discussed decluttering in this country. And the way that I would sit across the table from somebody when I was doing Fung Shui consults. I wasn’t even doing decluttering work yet. And I they would open up the door, their home would be lovely. And they’d be like, Oh, ignore the mess. Or oh, it’s so bad in here today. It’s laundry day, and I’m looking at what I believe to be a perfect home. And that really sent me down this rabbit hole of why is everybody saying this to me? Why is everybody referencing that they want a Kardashian home? What is happening here with this intersection of this idea of hoarding and minimalism, and our nervous systems and trauma. And this was just me synthesizing all of that in it, but it started with me getting really, really really angry.

Kristen Carder 44:11
I love it. Love the holding back on the phone. That’s so funny. Can you tell me what Fung Shui is? I don’t even know what it is. I’m sorry. I’m so ignorant in this area that

Stacy Scott 44:22
you are not ignorant at all. Because when it popped into my mind completely out of the blue, I actually said back to my conscious mind. What is that? Yeah. As I was on my spiritual journey, I started doing a lot of my healing work, which I had mentioned before my wedding was one of was was my break down moments. And so I was really, really burnt out from being an occupational therapist for over a decade. And I just took a little spiritual sabbatical. I needed some time off. And I very clearly heard in my head, you’re a Fung Shui practitioner, and I said what is that and I definitely had some few choice words in there. Exactly. Right. And, you know, when I started Googling it, it actually became the answer to all the questions I had been asking myself my entire life, it helped me quantify this unknowable relationship that I had to my home and why I felt so broken. And how I carried that brokenness into every single home I then lived in and while I was repeating the same patterns. And so just as an easier reference, without all of that, it’s really the both the art and science of ensuring that the energy is flowing through your home in a way that really works for you and not against you. So we use tangible things to shift energy flow, color, artwork, design, decor, furniture placement, and that is actually enough to really shift somebody’s narrative, and how they view themselves in relationship to their space. So even Fung Shui in this deeper way, but in a nutshell, that’s what it is.

Kristen Carder 45:59
So is that paired with your decluttering work? So is it kind of like a two step process where we are working on healing the inner child and nervous system work and helping people to have a home then that like, reflects their own energy?

Stacy Scott 46:16
Yes, exactly. So I use that in Fung Shui kind of on the back end. Because what we do is we literally, as we’re changing the narrative of who they believe themselves to be in their bodies, we’re then also shifting the narrative of their home in this tangible way. So for example, I find probably too many people have a home that’s a little too white and gray. In feng shui that’s actually linked to the elements of metal. And metal energy is fabulous. We want a little mental energy in our homes. But when we have too much, it actually can turn the dial up on your inner critic on your perfectionism on that kind of just, I’m wearing a shirt that’s too small, somebody rip it off of me feeling. And I was going into homes as a new functionary practitioner doing consults and everybody, millennials, you know, because those were my people at the time. They’d be like, I just bought This turnkey home. It’s fabulous. Why do I hate it? It’s all white and gray. And they’re like, I know, but that’s what everybody that’s what everybody wants right now. And I have it I have the perfect home. I’m like I but is it the perfect home, if it doesn’t work for you? Know, we have that’s just how I bring it in, we shift the narrative from being something that is connected to an old version of you to really something that helps you manifest and pull in the who you believe yourself to be and what you’re calling into your life. Now.

Kristen Carder 47:42
I think that was really important, what you just said, our possessions can be representative of the old version of us. Totally. Yeah. And I remember when we so I lived in this like, cute little row home in West Redding, Pennsylvania, I loved it so much. But we had zero money, and I was a very low functioning ADHD or so at the time I was working, so part time, maybe 10 hours a week, married to a youth pastor. So you can imagine the income from both of us very low. And I grew up with parents who are intentionally poor, like poor on purpose, was a very spiritual thing to do to be poor. And so I was very used to getting like hand me downs and things from other people. And so we got hand me down couches, they were white and green, checkered couches. And like, they were perfectly fine couches, right. But I had a full body reaction to them every time I saw them. And we also had hand me down furniture from my husband’s parents, which is very generous of them. But still, it was not representative of me and who I was. And I just remember being so triggered in my own home, by the stuff that we had, but then being judgmental of myself, because who was I to be like, I, I live in a safe home, I live in a nice home, this stuff is perfectly fine. And yet I am so triggered by it, I would have full body reactions. And I would start fights with my husband about it. And he would be like, I am not sure what is happening right now. The gentle soul that he is and it took me so long and it was a big part of my healing journey. When we moved homes, I did not allow any of that stuff to come with us. And we lived without for a long time. Not a long time. But like there there were like two years that went by with like nothing on the walls because I wanted to figure out what I wanted and and I didn’t want my mom’s stuff you know, I didn’t want somebody else’s stuff and it took forever but it was a very conscious choice. And now my home doesn’t trigger me anymore.

Stacy Scott 49:57
Well what you just described as the healing journey and consciously becoming aware of that couch don’t like it don’t know why doesn’t matter. Let’s get it out of here. Yeah, I don’t want anything from this home. That didn’t make me feel good. Yeah. And then even if it took two years long it took not shaming yourself for the time that it took. And really going through the process of okay, well, what do I want? We never ask ourselves, what do I want? What do I need from my space?

Kristen Carder 50:31
And the answer to that is, I don’t know. That’s the problem. Right? How do you help somebody answer that question? Well, I chuckling 30 seconds or less. Usually, I

Stacy Scott 50:43
start with with colors I like to go through okay, well, what colors do you have in your home right now? What colors make your body go ick? Because I can tell you, it ain’t the color. It’s the experience that you had around the color. We don’t hate color. Color exists in the natural world, we often have an experience around a specific color. For a lot of women, I find it’s the color red, we have an experience around a specific color that makes our bodies again, go into overwhelm or some fight or flight state fight flight font, or I’m gonna forget the the top of my head, that then we then consciously say, Oh, well, I hate that color. But really, what’s happening is a nervous system response.

Kristen Carder 51:27
Wow. Wow.

Stacy Scott 51:29
That’s how I move. I just start with color. But then we go, we go through Africa shot through all the furniture, placement, everything. But you actually made a point earlier that I wanted to circle back around to as part of your question earlier about, can possessions become stand-in for emotions? Yes, yes. Yes. It’s never about the possession. It’s about how the possession makes you feel what is the story or the narrative that you’ve crafted around this possession? So for you with your couches, I’m going to do a little conjecture. This might not be can totally accurate for it. But you know, this couch made you feel poor, it made you maybe your mind Did you have some not so great times in your home. And so without really recognizing it, your body just went? Nope, that cow can’t come in with me. And it just it always kind of just made your body feel icky off weird. But you listened to that. And so you didn’t even need more, you just were able to listen to it. But that’s a very clear cut example of your of a physical possession. It’s not the couches fault. Something about the rights. I mean, the couch may have had some bad energy or due to wherever it came from. Brand new couch, damn couch. It’s an inanimate object, right? It’s about what the couch means to you. And this is when there’s specific pieces of furniture, or possessions in people’s homes where they’re like, I just can’t, my body just goes into convulsions. When I look at this, I’m like, Okay, what does that piece of furniture represent to you? Is it a time in your life? Is it a memory? Is it an experience? Is it something that happened? Is it something that didn’t happen that was supposed to happen? So it can even have grief around something that was supposed to happen? And so let’s get to let’s get down to business and figure out what that is. Because it’s not about the possession, no matter how expensive it is, what it is, I had the same thing happened to me with an Ikea dresser, a $40. I could not get rid of not an expensive piece of furniture y’all could not get rid of it until I did this work myself. And my subconscious. My one of my inner children popped up it was actually an inner college student of me, popped up and said, this was the you’re hanging on to the stressor, because it’s the only time your mother let you choose and have choice in your life in the store and IKEA without telling you that was too expensive or you couldn’t have that or criticizing your choices. I got to point and say I want that one. And she said okay, I had never had that in my life. And so I was clinging to that dresser drawer I know.

Kristen Carder 54:12
Oh my god, guys. And as you’re talking about it, so much story about the couch is coming up like I can, I can pinpoint it exactly. It was a hand me down, which I was always embarrassed about when my family got hand me downs. Not only that, but it was a hand me down from someone who was going to be a missionary, and I’ve got lots of missionary trauma connected to that. So it was an I mean, it was, I think, pretty much objectively ugly.

But is that are we allowed to say that I’m not sure for anybody listening? It was a great

it was ugly, but it didn’t need to have a body response. I could have just been like, oh, that’s an ugly couch. But instead I was like, I cannot handle it. That’s so fascinating. I’m sure so many people are resonating. I wish we could talk all day. I No, we can’t. So tell people where to find you how to reach out to you give us all the details about working with you.

Stacy Scott 55:07
Yes. So again, you can find me any of my socials Instagram Tik Tok, and coming soon to YouTube at sanctuary with Stacy, my website is Stacey scott.co. And if you’re interested in starting to do some of this work yourself, I have three different workshops that take you through the whole process that I do with my one to one clients. And there is a link in my bio, if you’re interested in one to one work, I am going on maternity leave. But I’ll be coming back in spring of 2024 Oh my god, oh my God, but you can hop on my waitlist for one to one clients. And that’s what I have right now. Because basically, the start of this year, I had a little niche business doing this. And I went viral a couple of times on both Tiktok and Instagram. And I was like, Oh my God, what I’m saying really resonates. I was just working with a really niche audience. And it turns out I’m not. Yeah, I talked to so many different populations, add trauma, just people interested in the home. And they all take something away from what I’m saying. So there’s a lot more here. And I’m just thank you for having me. I’m thrilled to be able to share this wisdom.

Kristen Carder 56:18
That’s amazing. I’m so glad to have my listeners exposed to your work. And I just really appreciate the work that you’ve done in your own life, to set you up to be able to help other people I know that comes at a very high price. So I appreciate that.

Stacy Scott 56:34
Yeah, thank you. It’s it. I’ll do it again. Well, I don’t really want to do it again.

Kristen Carder 56:41
Make me do it again.

Stacy Scott 56:42
Please don’t make me do it. Again. It’s not it’s not the funnest, but you know what I didn’t, I did it absolutely completely alone. With no one else but my husband to support me who you know, he’s not a therapist, like it’s not his job to know how to guide me through this journey. And so I guided myself, and I don’t want anybody else to have to go through that because it’s it took me longer than it needed to Yeah, but I think that was just the path I had to walk in life and now I get to help others walk it much faster.

Kristen Carder 57:12
Thanks for being here. A few years ago, I went looking for help. I wanted to find someone to teach me how to feel better about myself and to help me improve my organization productivity time management, emotional regulation. You know, all the things that we adults with ADHD struggle with, I couldn’t find anything. So I researched and I studied and I hired coaches and I figured it out. Then I created focused for you. Focus is my monthly coaching membership where I teach educated professional adults how to accept their ADHD brain and hijack their ability to get stuff done. Hundreds of people from all over the world are already benefiting from this program and I’m confident that you will to go to Ihaveadhd.com/focused for all details.

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