The Bledsoe Show

The Power Of Strategic Quitting with Dr. Lynn Marie Morski

The Power Of Strategic Quitting with Dr. Lynn Marie Morski

Dr. Lynn Marie Morski is a physician, attorney, and life-long quitting enthusiast. She practices medicine at the Veterans Administration and shares her love of strategic quitting through speaking, coaching, and her podcast Quit Happens. Her goal is to pass on the strategic quitting skills she's developed to help people go from settling to succeeding. When she's not doctoring, lawyering, or evangelizing quitting, Dr. Morski is also a certified yoga instructor, trains the Brazilian martial art of capoeira, plays guitar and bass, and dances like everyone is watching.

In this episode, we talk about strategic quitting, her various careers, her book Quitting By Design, and her upcoming podcast on plant medicine

Table Of Contents

Strategic Quitting: An Introduction

Strategic Quitting: An Introduction
Photographer: Samuel Zeller | Source: Unsplash

Mike: All right. No more at the VA and no more capoeira. Why did you quit the VA?

Lynn Marie: Oh boy, there's quite the place to start. The VA was supposed to … so, I worked in compensation and pension. So, I wasn't ever making anybody better, just richer. So, as they were getting out of the service, I would see them … Mike, you've gone through this process, right? I'd see the vet or the vet to be, I would write down what they got in the service, and then they would get money. And it was the least medical thing I could do because there was no call, there was no writing prescriptions, I made my own schedule. It was 10-hours a week because there was a government pay ceiling that you would hit.

But it wasn't anything I ever wanted to do, there was no passion behind it. It was just that when I got out of … and this, I'm sure, will come up at some other point, but I had been a multimedia designer, and then I thought, this isn't working for me and I went on this soul searching thing of what's going to work for me. It's going to be a sports medicine doctor, that's my dream job. And so, it took me 10 years to get from multimedia designer to sports medicine doctor, and a quarter million dollars in loan money, and I got there, and I was miserable. And so, I was like, I have to figure out a way to make my medical degree pay the bills until I figure out what's next. And so, that's how I got into the VA nine years ago.

And I spent nine years, and god bless it that it was only 10 hours a week because that's what let me go to law school, and that's what let me to do a start-up, and I was able to teach law, and work in politics, and it had … when you've got 30 more hours a week than the average person, you can try other things on the side. But there was never a second where that was my calling. And when something's out of-

Getting a job as an M.D.

Mike: Is it hard to get a job as an M.D.? It sounds like it's fairly simple.

Lynn Marie: It's extremely hard to get into medical school. It is very easy to get a job after medical school.

Mike: Got it.

Lynn Marie: Yeah. Especially in family medicine or something that they need in every rural community everywhere. But even the specialists, it's easy for them because they're really sought after and there are not that many of them. So yeah, medicine is great for job security, but it's also great to burn you out before you've even started.

Mike: I've heard how residency works. It sounds like-

Lynn Marie: Or it doesn't.

Mike: … the worst way to learn anything.

Lynn Marie: Absolutely. It was … I was working at the Mayo Clinic, that's where I did residency, and they had what was called Q3 call, which means every third night you're working 30 hours in a row. Now, we're all into sleep these days, the bio-hacker set, right?

Mike: Right.

Lynn Marie: Imagine every third night you just don't get any of it. The next day your sleep schedule's going to be totally off, and then the day after that you might get regular sleep, and then you start it over because every third night you do that.

Mike: I think I was talking to … I think it was Dr. Kirk Parsley about this. Part of his career has-

Lynn Marie: Yes.

Mike: … been focused on sleep, he's a medical doctor. And I want to say it was the conversation with him where we were talking about how ridiculous it was because if you ask somebody in charge of why are we staying up for 30 hours at a time as we're trying to save lives and learn how to do our job? Tradition.

Lynn Marie: Tradition, yeah.

Mike: That's it.

Lynn Marie: Mm-hmm (affirmative). If I had to walk seven hills, uphill in the snow both directions, you're going to. And I'm like, yeah, people died then, mostly the doctors. I mean, I'm in a thousand doctor Facebook groups and every doctor … I mean, I'd say 70 percent of them have gone through at least a period of burn out, if not still currently feeling very burned out.

Mike: I've met very few doctors that seem to have their shit together.

Lynn Marie: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I figured out before I even graduated fellowship that this was not for me, and this was not a healthy lifestyle, but you don't know until you're there.

Mike: By the way, you're one of the doctors I think do have their shit together, just so you know. Didn't want to just leave that out there.

Lynn Marie: Right. I invited you on despite the fact that you're totally jacked up.

Mike: Yeah. You won't even notice the rest of the time I'm making fun of you.

Lynn Marie: For this one time that I'm not, let me point it out.

Mike: Right.

Lynn Marie: Awesome. So yeah, medicine, not great, in a nutshell.

Quitting The Medical Profession

Doctor with a stethoscope
Photographer: Online Marketing | Source: Unsplash

Mike: So, what caused you to leave medicine?

Lynn Marie: Well-

Mike: I guess you didn't leave medicine until recently, but.

Lynn Marie: … it was definitely a step wise process, okay? This is the thing, and this is what I love to talk … to illustrate to people who are … we haven't really talked about what I do, but quitting. So, if people are in something and they're thinking, gosh, I don't know if I should quit or not, maybe think back to the road up to it because the road for me when I got into deciding, okay, do I want to be a doctor, is this something I want to do, I had already had like three quasi-failed careers in my mind, even though I was 20. And I was, I better know exactly what part of medicine I want to go into. There are so many fields, right, I didn't want to just go in thinking I'll figure out a field that I like.

Most people do. Most people go straight out of high school, and they go to college, do pre-med, then they go and they're like, I'm going to figure it out in med school. I'll try the rotations. No, no, no, that was not an option for me. I wasn't going to "waste" more time. I was already … I was halfway through grad school for multimedia when I made this decision. So I was, okay, let's look at all the specialties. And the only specialty that even looked remotely interesting was sports medicine because I'm a dancer and I figured, sports medicine I could make it work in a dance medicine setting. I had never met a fully functioning and employed dance medicine doctor, I was going to be the first.

And it didn't occur to me that, gee, maybe you shouldn't spend 10 years of your life learning all this complex stuff and the only thing you ever want to do with it is hand out ice. That's essentially what sports medicine is, right? 90 percent of what I was doing was rest and ice, and I should have realized that. And then I get into med school, everybody in the third and fourth year when we're doing rotations, they're, oh my gosh, I can't decide on a residency, I love everything. And I was, oh my gosh, I loath everything. Thank god there's sports medicine. I didn't like any rotation, but sports medicine is not a residency, it's a fellowship. So, you have to do another residency beforehand.

So, I had to do family medicine for three years, that's when I was at Mayo. And it was easily the three worst years of my life. There was nothing resembling health or sanity by the end. I realized one day when I was in clinic that my heart is beating out of my chest. The second I get into clinic, the second I have to think about seeing a patient, I'm feeling thump, thump, thump, thump in my chest.

I was not doing all the right things. I was absolutely ignoring every signal that my … I had a panic attack the first year of med school. I had never had a panic attack before in my life. Didn't even notice it, I went to the ER, they said nothing wrong with you. They never used the word panic attack, and they just sent me home. And so, I never addressed any … oh, does this give me anxiety? It never occurred to me, not once.

So, I get four … I'm four years into being an actual M.D., I have a medical license, I have passed all the exams, at which point I start taking beta blockers because I cannot handle the fact that when I'm sitting in clinic trying to see patients I feel like I'm about the have a heart attack. And it was somewhere after I started taking beta blockers for my clinic induced tachycardia that I finally had the realization. Oh, and that's a painful moment when you realize you have spent a quarter million dollars of loan money and 10 years of your life to get to a thing that is not the dream job you thought it was going to be.

So, that was the beginning of the end for medicine. But at that point, I was going to have to start paying back these massive loans, I was going to have to start paying rent, what else was I going to do? I was going to have to find a way to make it work. And so, I looked at working in pharma, I looked at working for the companies that make the electronic medical records, I looked at doing anything that didn't involve me seeing patients. However, I found the VA job that only required me to see patients like 10 hours a week and I thought, okay, I can handle that. And so, that's how I ended up going down that route.

How She Got A Law Degree

An old book store from the city of Bilbao.
Photographer: Iñaki del Olmo | Source: Unsplash

Mike: Got it, got it. You have a law degree as well?

Lynn Marie: I do.

Mike: How did that happen?

Lynn Marie: So, over the years I got better at following my intuition, after completely medicating out of it on the tachycardia side. So, I finish fellowship and I get the job at the VA in Phoenix, and I end up moving out to San Diego. They had the same job out here and I got hot in Phoenix, so moved to San Diego. And I ended up moving downtown next to a law school that they're building.

And as I'm sitting in my condo, I kept feeling very envious of the people who got to go to that law school. If you think that's insane, it's because I had already tutored people on how to take the LSAT because I had read the How to Take the LSAT book in seventh grade because it was lying around. And I was, oh my god, I love the way this test tests you. I took the GRE, which had one of the same sections as the LSAT, and I got a perfect score on that section. And I was like, this is how my brain works.

And so, I tutored my law school and I tutored my salsa partner, and they both both into law school. And I was, I want to take the LSAT, I want to go to that law school. And so, I finally was just like, man, if I feel that strongly about it, I should just do it. I'm working 10 hours a week. And I said to myself, "If I can get in and go for free, because I clearly cannot pay another cent in loan money."

Mike: But what was the reason you wanted to go?

Lynn Marie: Oh. Because I felt like … I didn't have a what.

Lynn Marie: … I just wanted to do the stuff that I saw in this LSAT book. I felt like the LSAT was what law school was going to be like and it was. I loved it. It was so much fun. I was the only person who was like, the best day of the year was exam day because I was going to get to do law. I loved it. I could just tell.

Finally I listened to my intuition, this is what I want to do. There's reasoning and rationale. In medicine it was, do you have diabetes, are you over 50, are you male? Then you take this medicine. It was algorithmic based, there was no creativity, there was no thinking out of … I'm like, now I can't even use whatever part of the brain would have been used in law. There's no rational thought. There is not, okay, I'm going to problem solve this thing. It was, oh, you'll be sued if you don't use this algorithm because medicine-

Mike: Really.

Lynn Marie: … oh yeah, because medicine is all about … there's malpractice. Most doctors are just running around afraid of being sued because there's such a litigious thing going on. In California it's not that bad because California has caps to what you can make in a lawsuit, but I was in Arizona, and I did medical school in St. Louis. And so people are just, okay, I'm going to only do evidence based things that we're told that we can do because I don't want to get sued. I mean, patients would even kind of threaten. Oh, I'm going to tell my lawyer if you don't order this test. I mean, it's not a great time to be a doctor. I'm not sure there was, maybe back in the '50s, but definitely not now.

And so, yeah, there was no … the art of medicine was not really an art to me. But law, that's just how my brain works. I could tell, I knew. Finally, after ignoring my intuition for forever, I just looked at that law school, I want to go there so badly. I didn't care what I did with it, it didn't matter, I just wanted to go. And I did, and I loved it. Now I have a law degree.

Mike: And this is all … have you read the book Mastery-

Lynn Marie: No.

Quitting By Design and Quit Happens Podcast

finding the right sound with some killer gear, a vintage Shure SM7 vs The Flea … which won? I have no idea, both amazing microphones.
Photographer: neil godding | Source: Unsplash

Mike: Let's talk about quitting real quick, let's just do it real quick. So, what caused you to write the book? You've got the Quitting by Design podcast … or Quit Happens is the podcast.

Lynn Marie: Yes.

Mike: Quitting by Design is the book.

Lynn Marie: Exactly. I was about 38. At this point I had done multimedia, medicine, gone to law school. I had been Chief Medical Officer, and House Legal Counsel, and co-founder of a start-up, then I had taught law, then I worked in politics. And after that point I was, oh my god, I've done nearly every career out there. You can switch careers at any point.

About three years ago I woke up one day and I … well, I didn't so much wake up. I mean, I woke up and I listened to a podcast. Seth Godin was on the Tim Ferriss podcast, and he was talking about finding your calling. And as I'm listening to it, I thought, my gosh, I clearly haven't found it. But you hear about these people who wake up and they love doing what they get to do, and I've worked so hard, why can't I be one of those people? This is ridiculous. Let's figure out my calling.

This was not a passive thing, this was like Calling Figure Out Day 101. And so, Seth Godin had said, ask your friends. So, I went on Facebook and I was, hey friends, what's my calling? Here are some options. Do you want me to write a book, do you think I should go into politics, what? So, plenty of comments.

Having self-limiting beliefs

Mike: You don't have very many self-limiting beliefs, right?

Lynn Marie: … imposter syndrome is the only one because I can't actually be good at all these things. So, a friend of mine was, okay, I'm going to meet with you and we're going to discuss your calling. And I was, oh, what a generous offer. So, we're going to meet at the aforementioned Starbucks. And I'm sitting in my car, and I'm waiting for him, and I brought a little journal. I'm going to write down what we discuss. And I'm like, well, I got here first, let's just see if I can start this on my own. So, on one piece of paper I wrote, what am I good at? And the other piece of paper I wrote, things I like to do.

On the things I like to do piece of paper I put public speaking and giving advice. And when I put pen to paper on the things I'm good at side, it just said quitting. And this is probably forefront of my mind because I had given a speech at law school graduation about strategic quitting. I had heard it on Freakonomics a long time ago. Not necessarily that term, but-

Mike: Good. I hadn't even thought about Freakonomics in a long … that was-

Lynn Marie: Right, old school.

Mike: … so much fun.

Lynn Marie: It was great. And they had an episode in 2011 called The Upside of Quitting. And when I listened to it I was, that's everything I've ever thought about quitting because I've never had any of these quitting limiting beliefs. I've never had a problem quitting. And so, when I got to give the speech at graduation I was, what's the most useful thing I can tell a bunch of people who are going to go out and be lawyers? Lawyers are always miserable. Let me tell them before they even start they can quit.

Yeah, exactly. So, I just saw that and so I gave that speech. And so I think I had kind of, through that, realized quitting was my superpower. And so I thought, all right, if I want to give public talks, and do public speaking, and give advice, let's make it on quitting. And so, that's why I was, well, to be a true public speaker, I think you have to write a book first. And so, I wrote a book. And then, once that was off to a publisher, the publisher said-

Mike: I love how you identify the next thing that has to happen and you go, well, I guess I have to do that, so I'll do that. So you do it. Most people don't do that.

Let go of these beliefs

Mike: So, what are the beliefs that people have about quitting that have them hang onto things that they should otherwise let go?

Lynn Marie: Sum cost fallacy is a big one. I've already dedicated this much time, or this much money, or this much energies to a thing, so that means I should keep going. And you hear this in relationships so often. Well, we're not doing really well, but we've been together three years. If the last three years aren't great, what makes you think the next 23 are going to be great? And what about having put three years into a thing makes you somehow have to stay there?

If you think about food. If you just went to a restaurant and you got a ton of sushi … something you can't take home, right … and you eat half of it, and you've already spent $100 on the sushi. Well, if you say okay, I'm going to throw half of it away, you've still spent $100. If you eat all of the sushi, you've spent $100. That $100 isn't coming back to you whether or not you eat the sushi. But if you're really sick after you've had half of it, and you just keep eating because you're spent the money, you're just going to get sicker. And that's really how it is with everything in life.

If you're at this law firm and you're, but I spent five years, and if I spend five more I could get partner. Oh, so that you're more miserable now that your name is on the letterhead and you're legally bound and responsible things. Do you think more responsibility is going to make this a less painful job? It is never a good reason to stay. Let those costs go.

And I think another way to reframe that for people, if they're struggling with that, is look at my own situation. If I had said I'm going to spend a quarter million dollars in loan money, that I am still paying back, let's be honest, if I was going to spend that and 10 years of my life to become a sports medicine doctor, then that is one certain feeling.

If I get to sports medicine and I don't love it, I think it's going to feel like a ball and chain. Well, I spent this to get here. But I was actually investing that time and that money ina career I would love, I just happened to think sports medicine was going to be it. And when I got to sports medicine and it wasn't it, because I've already invested so much, I owe it to myself to keep looking until I find that true dream career.

Opportunity Cost

Lynn Marie: Yeah. That's another thing they talked about in that Freakonomics episode is opportunity cost. There are only so many hours in the day, there's only so many 9:00 to 5:00 jobs you can have at once, one. For most people, present company excluded maybe, you can only be in one relationship at once.

So, there are opportunities that if you're in the wrong relationship you're missing out on the opportunity to be in a better one. If you're in the wrong job, you … and here's the thing that … what I couldn't have even … I could say it theoretically, but until I recently experienced it when I quit the VA with no backup job, I did not know it in my bones. You do not know the opportunities you're missing out on when you're in that job, or that relationship, until you get out because you can't even necessarily sometimes see and open yourself up to the possibilities when you're in that stressful situation.

Lynn Marie's Purpose

Mike: So, that was a beginning conversation that got me thinking about purpose a little bit differently because I actually avoided answering that question a lot. I was, yeah. People go, oh, it looks like you found your purpose. That's why I'm asking you, you seem like you're doing well, it seems like you're doing something truly unique and so on and so forth.

Lynn Marie: Well, this is the … the answer I have is that the purpose that I thought I had when I started the quitting thing has expanded. And so, when I started the quitting thing I thought, I'm going to help de-stigmatize quitting, teach other people how to have my superpower, and get them free, and unstuck, and unsettling. And then, recently when I quit the VA and became very passionate about de-stigmatizing plant medicine, I realized my purpose in life, overarching, is just to de-stigmatize things. Just to be kind of like a filter-less way of saying, hey, all the things you want are probably okay.

Do you want to quit your job at 72? You can do that. Do you want to do some psychedelics? You should do that. I mean, it … so, I think my purpose is just super broad and there's a lot of ways I can take that. But it's not my only purpose. I think there are other things that people look at me for inspiration for that have nothing to do with de-stigmatizing. Maybe so. Actually, since I'm kidless by choice and they could look at me and be, oh, you're de-stigmatizing kidlessness. Maybe everything is a de-stigmatization. So, I just have a very general purpose.

Lynn Marie's Upcoming Plant Medicine Podcast

Lynn Marie: Yes. I am starting something called the Plant Medicine podcast. And by plant medicine, most of your listeners are going to know what I mean, but my colleagues are all like, tumeric? Ginkgo biloba?

Mike: Yes.

Lynn Marie: And yeah. All except they're going to have to … they actually mostly think I'm talking about veganism. No, I'm definitely eating a steak while recording this. What I'm talking about is psychedelic, entheogenic medicines, but I called it Plant Medicine because I wanted to keep CBD and marijuana in there. And psychedelic obviously has … I was just reading Michael Pollan's book and he's talking about there's so much weight around that word, that I'm trying to get to the medical community and patients. I'm not trying to talk to the psychonauts that are already doing this. I'm trying to talk to the guy who's got PTSD and his regular prescription medications and therapy have not made a dent, and he's, please tell me there are other options out there.

I'm trying to talk to the physicians who are, ma'am, my patients aren't getting better. I wish there were another therapy, even for just they're on opioids. Gosh, CBD can get people to decrease their opioid use or cancel it out completely, but your average doctor doesn't know this because we're not taught this in medical school. Why are we not taught it in medical school? Because obviously it was illegal to do any research on most of these for most of the past century. So, by the time that something … you would only get into the medical school curriculum after you're evidence based for years, and then you work your way into the curriculum, right? I mean, medical school doesn't even cover the endocannabinoid system. The whole system they just don't talk about.

And so, I've offered many companies, let me help you do your medical outreach. That's what I wanted to be part of. And that's when I realized, man, if nobody's taking me up on this, maybe that's not the way to go. And that's when I came up with the let me do a plant medicine podcast. It's a little harder task because reaching out to doctors, you're going to … that's a little more active. I can just, at this point, hope that doctors share this podcast and hear this podcast.

But the reason that it's for me the intersection of medicine and law is that on this podcast, each substance we discuss … CBD, marijuana, psilocybin, ketamine, MDMA, all the way through ayahausca, ibogaine. I'm doing four episodes. The first episode is going to be a patient experience. Second episode is the scientific research, so I'll have a researcher on who's doing the research on these drugs. The third is a practitioner episode. So, maybe it's a doctor that's recommending marijuana, maybe it's a shaman that's doing ayahausca ceremonies, maybe it's somebody who's running a ketamine clinic.

And the fourth episode is a history/legality episode because if you're thinking, I'm curious to do these drugs, I don't know where I can do them legally, I don't know where they stand. Is marijuana in my state, is CBD legal, is ketamine legal, where can I get MDMA legally? These kinds of questions, I want you to be able to come to this podcast and feel safe knowing, from start to finish, where you can do this drug, how to find a good practitioner to do it, what it's going to feel like when you do it, and the science behind it.

But yeah, I made, and there's a drop down of all the substances. And I believe firmly in the Tim Ferriss method of you can only really recommend … and I'm not recommending these drugs to anybody. I'm just putting out information. But as a practitioner/advocate, I want to know what these are like. And so, it's part of my mission to experience all of these medicines.

What made her interested in plant medicine

Mike: So, how long have you been interested in plant medicine, what got you interested in that in the first place?

Lynn Marie: Again, I was super conservative, Catholic upbringing. And then I … I didn't drink until I was 26. Then I started working on the VA and they told me they could drug test me at any time, and so I didn't touch marijuana until I was 35. And it's still not necessarily my medication of choice, but that was the first time I tried anything. And then, about a month later I went to my first Burn, and somebody gave me some LSD and I had my first ever complete like therapeutic experience through a psychedelic, even though I wasn't in a ceremonial setting.

Lynn Marie: … it is, it is, yeah. But I had my first major therapeutic … I mean, I had gone to therapy on and off. I think by that time I had gone once or twice, never had any massive revelations. I remember saying to a prospective therapist at some point in time, I was, "If you just tell me to love myself more, we are not going to go very far," because that's all any therapist had ever said. You just need to love yourself. This, you can say it at me all the time, it needs to come from a different place.

Mike: It's like saying you don't feel like you're good enough, right?

Lynn Marie: Right. I was like, oh my god, there are memes more effective than this. So, yeah.

Mike: You don't need a therapist, you just need to subscribe to the right hashtags on Instagram.

Lynn Marie: Exactly. So, yeah, once I was turned on to what LSD could do, then later I tried psilocybin. And my first real kind of ceremony was the day the podcast launched, actually, in 2018, I did my first ayahausca ceremony. And I think you were probably fairly similar because I just talked to you on my episode about this, but I also have extremely cohesive downloads from, okay, this is what you need to write. I'm being told by ayahausca, here are the seven lessons you've gotten. It's so clear to me. And when I do almost any type of substance, I get these very clear, here are the messages you're supposed to receive.

And to go for years of therapy and have nothing even resembling a message that was useful. I found ways to forgive my father, and basically everybody else on earth, through my first ayahausca journey. I never have to work on forgiveness again, that's just checked off the list.

Lynn's ayahausca experiences

Lynn Marie: I had my first … and it's always just kind of sat in the back of my head. And my first ayahausca experience, I all of a sudden see myself, in my brain … it's like a room, but it's brain shaped … and there's a little bench in there and my parents are sitting on the bench. And there was nothing else in the brain. And the voice says to me, there's nothing here to fear, go about your business. And it was like the definitive answer, there's nothing that your brain is repressing from you, nothing is holding you back. No abuse is keeping you back. No, go about your business. I now … there's not even a question. It's like I've seen the inside of my brain and it has confirmed to me that there's nothing there.

No. I recently did an ayahausca/wachuma ceremony. And going in I was like, I'm not really … because I had just done some psilocybin that was like life-changing. And I really thought naively, comically naively at this point, I don't know what else … I don't know what I'm going to ask, kind of use as an intention for the ayahausca thing. I just got shown my whole life in the psilocybin ceremony. And the person who offered me the ceremony out of nowhere says, "Yeah, we had somebody come about six months ago and put it out to find her beloved," and she did. And I was, that's a random thing to say, but also that is a total spot that I would love to find my person, right? And so I'm, okay, I'll make that my intention.

And going into the ceremony I'm waiting for the medicine to kick in. And I was, maybe I'll just start picturing this person so I can … and I realized I couldn't picture the person or any of their characteristics. And I was, maybe this was my blind spot. Real hard to find a person you do not know what they look like, right?

And it was so funny because things in that journey … I didn't end up purging, so I ended up having a really tough journey. And the journey shows me that I'm so tired of trying to care for the rest of the world and myself, like I had been a doctor for so long and that's just taking other people's energy in for 14 years. And then I live alone and I'm the only person to protect myself from this house, and I've been paying my own bills and my student loans for years and years, there's not been any help.

And I was, oh my gosh, what I'm looking for is a protector. Just somebody to help me feel a little bit more safe so that I can do what I need to do, but not do all of the things. And I even said, like it said to me in that journey, I'm not one of these women who's going to say I don't need a man, I want a man. I'm going to say I need a man. I've now realized this duality here. It's not serving me to do it all.

Let me be in my feminine, and let somebody who wants to be a protector come in. And that became so clear. And it was never like, oh show me what my beloved's characteristics are supposed to be, but that's … it somehow just knew. And it works in its mysterious ways, but I just felt like gosh, that was just such a beautiful lesson. It took a kind of quasi-painful night to get through, but I'm never going to forget that and it's completely changed my dating life. Now I know what I'm looking for and it's things a lot easier.

Odd Random Jobs Like Herpalert

Lynn Marie: What's funny, that you don't know and I don't think anybody else knows, but I might as well say it, one of the jobs I have now that I've quit medicine and I have a lot of random jobs, one is I work for Herpalert, which an app … you've probably heard this story because I was their spokesperson at some point during Herpageddon 2019 at Coachella. Did you hear this story?

Mike: No. Please, this sounds like an amazing story. We've got Herpageddon, Herpalert.

Lynn Marie: Okay. So, a friend of mine, I called him to help me with my finances. I am bad with my finances, I have all these student loans. And he was telling me different ways he makes money. He was, oh, I'm working for this app that my neighbor started, I'm just doing it to help him out, and it's called Herpalert. I guess you can tell what that does. And I'm, no, I have no idea what that does. And he's, oh, you send pictures to it and we diagnose herpes or not, and then we give medication. And I was like, oh my god.

I don't know how much time you want to take on the everybody has herpes talk, but everybody has herpes. You can get Herpes Type I on your lip or genitally, and you can get Type II genitally or on your lip. It does not matter anymore because oral sex has mixed everything up.

Mike: Damn that oral sex.

Lynn Marie: P.S. everybody has herpes. And it's very hard to protect yourself. Do yourself, but it happens. Stop having stigma about it, everybody has herpes. So, because everybody has herpes, I was, I want to be on this app, I want to … it was you get paid a certain amount of dollars per every patient you see and it takes a minute, two at the most to see. So I was, can I work for Herpalert? And he was, actually they're looking for a spokesperson. Yay! I get to be Dr. Herpes. And so-

Mike: No shame in your game.

Lynn Marie: … none. Everybody Google Lynn Marie Morski Herpes right now, you will see what I'm talking about because I in People and Newsweek. You didn't know this is heaven and Paleo Effects. So, what happens is I say, sure, I'd love to be your spokesperson. They say to me, okay, we'll work on getting you a contract. That was the beginning of April. I hear nothing from them for weeks and I'm also not working for them on the app because I was thinking I was going to be their spokesperson, and hired or something.

I get down to Paleo Effects, I land in Austin, I am hitting the Whole Foods for the week's worth of stock up, and I get a call from Dr. Will Kirby, who is, you might recognize, the winner of Big Brother at some point and was on Doctor 90210, one of these plastic surgeons of Beverly Hills who started Herpalert. And he's, we need you. And I was, well, I'm at a Whole Foods in Austin, what's going on? He's, well it go out to TMZ that there was a herpes outbreak at Coachella and we need you to talk about it. And I was like, what is happening? And so, I've never been more confused by a phone call in my life.

Yeah. So, I was like, what do you mean? And they're, yeah, TMZ got this story that a bunch more people had gone to Herpalert during Coachella and from the Coachella Valley area because it's geo-tagged, it's an app, so they want … since it was in TMZ today, all of these … like the LA Times, People, Newsweek, they all want a quote about it. I was, oh my god, are you serious? Again, I'm at a Whole Foods.

So, I go to Josh Trent's hotel, the first place I could get to, and I start having conversations with the LA Times and all these other news outlets. And by 5:00 that day, by the time I finally … things settle down for five minutes, I go to Barton Springs, I just start getting texts. And there I am in, and there I am in

And the pinnacle of it was when I got an email, an angry email, but then herpes advocates because that's also a thing, started getting real mad that we were making it seem like an outbreak. It was not an outbreak. In fact, when People wrote it as an outbreak, I called back and said, Dear People Magazine, please fix this. It was just a lot of … because you can come to Herpalert to get refills of your cold sore medicine. So, not everybody that's coming to Herpalert is a brand new case of herpes.

Or I feel a cold sore breaking out on my lip, I don't want it to be exploding during Coachella, please send me the medication. Any of these things it could have been, but it got oh my god, it's a herpes outbreak. Coachella's so dirty. That's not it. Oh my god, the Coachella local newspaper was the most livid. I was on the phone for hours with them, and they were, how would you even know, herpes takes so many days to show up? I'm, because that's not what's happening.

But anyway, the most angry one I get was an email from Rolling Stone. I was, oh my god, me from four weeks ago would have never thought, Rolling Stone is emailing me for a quote. And also, me from today is not going to answer this email. I can't take it anymore because it had gotten so heated. And just the story just like spiraled out of control, so much that I was telling you I was on Kris Gethin's show, Knowledge and Mileage, body builder Kris Gethin. And he was, what are you going to do now that you've quit the VA? And I was, well, I'm going to work on de-stigmatizing other things like plant medicine or maybe herpes. And he was, did you hear about this herpes outbreak at Coachella? I heard nothing else for days.

Lynn Marie: So, the reason that we got into this story is that now, once I decided to not be their spokesperson after that, I decided to actually be a doctor who works on the app. And so, I get dick pics sent to me all day long.

Mike: You're just … is there a swipe function? Are you swiping dick pics?

Lynn Marie: There is not. There is a yes, this is herpes or no, this is not herpes. Though if it were to swipe left and right, that would be comical.

Mike: Oh my gosh, I've played around on dating apps before, pure curiosity. Just curious. Just curious.

Lynn Marie: That's amazing. So yeah, if I got sent a dick pic I would just start diagnosing it, sending it acyclovir.

Mike: I've got all sorts of things running through my head I'm not going to say.

De-stigmatizing Herpes

Lynn Marie: Right. This is not a question. You get it when your parents kiss you as a baby, that's just what happens. I have a friend of mine, he's like my son has it because I have it, it's hereditary. And I was, no, it's because you kissed him, it's a virus. You don't pass that on.

Mike: It's not hereditary.

Lynn Marie: Yeah. But he also didn't know it was a herpes. A lot of people don't know that the cold sores are herpes. But here's the thing, is that anybody who has oral cold sores, when they go down on a person, can transmit those. And like I just said, two out of three or nine out of 10 people have that virus. So, anybody who has had oral sex with anybody is at risk of herpes. It's not like, oh, I had sex with a dirty person, now I have a risk of herpes. No. If you've had oral sex ever, you're probably at risk of herpes. That's just the facts.

So, there's no point making … the only reason that it keeps being so hidden is because there's a stigma that nobody wants to talk about. Let me tell you how many times a day I see people with herpes, it's out there. And those are the statistics. I'm just seeing the people who don't want to go to their doctor. There's still more people. It's out there. There's things you can do to protect yourself, but I mean who … let's be very honest, I don't know anybody who's using a dental dam or a condom during oral sex on a guy. These are just not things that happen. Of course, everybody puts a condom on when there's intercourse because there could be pregnancy or there could be other STDs, but man any oral thing onto any genital thing can pass a very common type of herpes.

So, let's just de-stigmatize it. Everybody has herpes. Some people show it, some people are going to get it, some people are not going to get and not going to show it. But just assume everybody has it so we can just get on with our lives because it's a very minor skin condition that makes almost no dent in your life.

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