Signs of Bipolar in Women – Breaking Into My Life

Signs of Bipolar in Women – Breaking Into My Life

Video Transcript

good morning good evening good afternoon everybody out there in podcast land you are in team to another episode of intrinsic motivation from a homeys perspective this is Hamza and I am David and our guest today really excited to speak with her she is a fellow Jersey ight and the other thing is she is the author of breaking into my life growing up with a bipolar parent in my battle to reclaim myself those that have listened to previous podcasts know that as of next month it will be three years that I actually lost one of my sister’s to bipolar disease that she was dealing with so really interested to kind of dive right in learn how Michelle was able to reclaim herself and dealing with the bipolar parent out further ado I’d like to welcome Michelle Dickinson to the podcast thanks for having me thanks for being here Michelle and so yeah it’s not a happy topic that a lot of people will talk about but we cover it here for intrinsic motivation because there’s always something your contrast that you may go through in your life that you find some inner motivation to get you to where you are today and I’m thinking that just dealing with your mom that it was the impetus for writing the book I like for you to talk a little bit about before getting into your book what was it like growing up with your mom and did it happen all of a sudden it was something that you always dealt with yeah so thanks for asking and thanks for having me I’m actually really honored to be here and share this with your your community so my mom I think she pretty much demonstrated bipolar symptoms since I was probably like 4 or 5 so I have fuzzy recollection of what life was like before that which was pretty good and pretty awesome and stable and then she had her first episode when I was really little about four or five like I said and and that really set the tone for the rest of my youth because she was in and out of hospital she was medicated bipolar disorder you demonstrate those extreme highs and lows and she basically did that consistently and so I just you know as a child just hung on for the ride sometimes it was Disney because everything was great and then other times it was really really sad and really depressing and other times it was abusive so it’s pretty much a roller coaster from a whole childhood and we’re your parents married when you were coming up yeah yeah they were married and my father worked my mother didn’t work so he had you know a sense of responsibility and obligation that he needed to be at his job every day and you know there were times when she was just too fragile to be left alone but yet not to the point of needing hospitalization and so you know I would would really turn and have to play that role the child caregiver and stay home with her now are your only child or did you have to share these responsibilities with siblings so I had cousins that lives with me for a very brief time you know I guess they pretty much left the house when I was a teenager so the burden then really fell on my shoulders because I with age you get more responsibility in the home and they were gone at that point they they had left and so I shouldered a lot of it as I got older more so because it was just needed I’m also thinking you know when we’re learning about ourselves as a child right do you want that stability so what was it like publicly did she have a public face and then when we were home it was different I’m thinking more of like school events or if you did any extracurricular activities yeah she it was a secret so I kept it a secret she pretty much isolated herself in the house she had a few friends outside of the house but not too many so I tried really hard to not let anyone know it was a secret that I kept to myself because of the embarrassment and the shame I think I really just want people judging me and like saying shell has a crazy mother so I kept it you know as a secret you said look I want to focus on some of the positive things so what was it like where I’m sure you were always waiting or I don’t want to enter for you but there were some really high times what could you exhibit an example of that were maybe in the back of your mind you always thought I’m just waiting for the shoe to drop oh yeah absolutely like she would have her manic moments where she was just like on top of the world like literally on top of the roller coaster like life is great everything that I did was wonderful like she loved me I felt genuinely happy to be around her and then it’s like always in the back of my mind like you said I was like oh well this is so going to be short-lived like what when is it going to be that she crashes because I knew it was inevitable like she couldn’t maintain that media for so long I knew it was going to happen she was going to crash and she would so it was like just kind of grabbing on to those those moments where she was happy no I wouldn’t say stable because it was mania but it was so much better than the crying and the constant sadness and the depression so let me ask so those kinds of mania how long was in the last four was it just minutes hours days so it depends right so my mom is you know she’s no longer with us but her I think if you you know do some research with Nami the National Association for mental illness you could probably get more more specifics around the average but like for my mother I can speak to she would have mania and like it would cause her not to sleep so she would she would be in mania for like four days maybe and she but she wasn’t sleeping because she was so lit and she was so wound up and then she would crash so the mania never lasted like really long I would you know hang on to that and so you said earlier that your from your earliest recollections you thought your mom was starting to have problems around when you were four yeah yeah I don’t know what exactly triggered it I think you know if you do research they say that there’s a certain life event that could cause it to trigger I think you know I reflect on the age I was when my two cousins came to live with me and I’m not making an excuse for my mother by any stretch of the imagination but I could imagine having a family of five or four to look after may have caused stress that and stress is also associated with you know bipolar and having a breakdown yeah so just curious did you ever and we got older I don’t know I know that your your parents have you know have passed passed both your parents and I don’t know how old you were when your father passed but did you ever have any conversations with your father about because if your earliest memories were like at four I’m just curious yeah you know your father ever ever said anything about this him experiencing anything you know even before you were born or yeah it’s funny that you asked that question so I never asked my dad that question but I asked my godmother that question and she was very close to my parents and so I asked her that question so funny that you asked that question because when I started to do my research for my book it said you know there was a traumatic life event that could trigger someone to to have their first episode and so we had a long conversation and we think that there are some type of trauma that had happened to my mother long before she married my father then in some weird way all those years later so it’s speculation we don’t know but it’s something you know yeah and so what what about your mother does she have siblings brothers and sisters and what do you know about just in general about her life growing up I know she had a rough life growing up I know that she had lost her father very young she had a brother who was he kind of left the picture of the family and then like you he would like float back in now and then and like my mother loved it because she missed him so much so it was like a bit of dysfunction there her mother was someone she was very very close to and it literally devastated her when she lost her so much that she couldn’t even go to her funeral like she spoke to this woman every day I remember every day she’d be on the phone for hours with her mom and when she lost her was traumatic and it also contributed to her having another episode so she didn’t have the easiest life you know and for many many years I harbored a lot of anger and resentment and blame I put a lot of blame on her but then when I stopped to reflect and say you know our loved ones do the best they can based on what they’ve experienced then I was like I need to have a little bit more compassion and recognize that she came to the table with her own stuff yeah that’s a really good point it also makes me think of when my sister transitioned I went to a lot of community groups and in those groups not to make a generalization but one take away was a lot of women that was going through any type of bipolar issues or episodes their trigger was that relationship or lack of relationship with their father yeah that makes total sense to me total sense because my mom secretly was married and divorced very quickly before she met my father and she never spoke of that first relationship and no I don’t know you know it could have played into her her mental illness I’m not sure one thing also it’s kind of like you know something happens one thing that I learned was what you focus on expands right so if you focus on the positives or it’s partly sunny versus partly cloudy then that would be your outlook and after my sister transition three years ago I just started seeing in the news it just became part of my awareness you know of people deciding to take their own lives and so this recently last week you had a Kristoff st. John who was a young and the restless’ actor he had he was dealing with bipolar disorder and depression and he he had taken his life last week but his son who was 14 I taken his life a couple of years prior and so when that happened I was just like wow how often is it hereditary or is it more like you said environmental where there’s a trigger that brings it out yeah you know I it’s it’s interesting you know I have had the privilege of speaking all over since I released my book and you know I had an audience once when I was talking to them that I didn’t realize were largely physicians and in the neuroscience base and I remember like almost not realizing I was doing it but saying hey you know that was my mom but guess what I’m adopted so I’m good and they quickly reminded me nurture versus nature right like I grew up in a very depressed household and it impacted me and I’m quite sure you know it has it it would you know if I if I had been my mother’s natural child it probably would have affected me differently but I also now can see how even though I wasn’t I grew up in that space and it does affect me I mean I deal with my own seasonal depression every winter so you know you can’t you can’t say you know I’m adopted I’m free I’m good because it’s all in our environment you know yeah so I read one of the excerpts from your book and you were talking about that one day were you really looking forward to going to school and seeing some your friends and some of the things that you were looking forward to in that particular day and then your father asked you if you could stay home and you ended up staying home did you miss a lot of school when you were growing up I did I did you know I mean I would it was easy to mask bekken right like social media and like teachers and parents weren’t nearly as connected as they are nowadays where like if your kids out there’s like this communication immediately all I had to do is show up with a note so if I was out it was fine to be out for two weeks and say oh I had the flu and and then I’d have the teachers help me get caught up again but then frequently because my dad couldn’t be out of work if he was out of work then we didn’t have an income so he couldn’t jeopardize his job for my mother so I was the one that was asked to be home with her because she was too fragile yeah yeah so how do you think I mean obviously you wrote a book and and we’re getting like your experience but and maybe you didn’t think of it at the time because you’re you know you’re a kid you’re growing up but maybe in hindsight he looked back how was it that all this affect your father and what you know he I get people to write a book what do you think he would be saying in it my father was the most loyal and caring man he wasn’t he wasn’t affectionate and he wasn’t super like like he didn’t like demonstrate his love but he was the most loving and responsible man and the most loyal my mom put him through a lot with her emotional imbalance and I mean I witnessed some of it what he endured he he just was very very committed to her and when she passed away he honored her and and then had this beautiful opportunity to have a new chapter in his life with a wonderful woman that he married and you know I don’t think he would say that he has any regrets for caring and loving my mom because he did above all but it was not easy it’s not easy for caregivers of someone with mental illness at all it can be very punishing and he experienced it but yet he never left her mm-hmm so it was like his side of the family I don’t know if he had like you know siblings other sisters when his parents would were they aware what was going on absolutely they were they were very big support system for me because at that point my mother had lost her mother her brother had had passed away so my father’s family was the family that was there when mom had to go to the hospital my grandmother stepped in and watched took care of me looked after me made sure I was going to school my aunt was a nurse so she understood what was sort of going on with my mom she served as a very important support mechanism for my dad and and for us like she would ask me how are you doing if it wasn’t for my aunt and my grandmother we wouldn’t have weathered it as well as we did yeah and so you had mentioned earlier that you for the most part you kept it a secret so I imagine you never were able to or want it to ever bring like friends over to your house yeah there’s a chapter in the book where I talk about having a girlfriend over because I thought my mother was stable enough poor Robin my girlfriend in high school came over and like witness my mother just like having this like mania episode and I was mortified I was like never again will I bring my friends over she’s not stable enough this is embarrassing oh yeah I just didn’t after that ya know the reason I asked was when I was in high school I had a friend and he lived with his father and never really knew much about his mom and one day I was with them and we had to go you know he had to stop by his mom’s house and I laid I found out years later but and it’s kind of a similar experience where in his case his mother was alcohol and so he just didn’t want his friends being around that because he just never knew what what state she was going to be in and you hear that with what children who have alcoholic parents it’s like when I come home I have no idea what I’m walking into you know they’re going to be angry or literally you know we’re lovable whatever and he was so embarrassed by it he just never said the things about as a mom and just kept his friends away but he just didn’t yeah some of the shame and what not exactly I mean that that’s really what I did too and I didn’t even want anyone to know I was dealing with it and it wasn’t until probably like junior high that I found my my youth group in my church and it was like I found like I found a safe space to share with them I found myself telling them my story and I found myself instantly surrounded by supportive caring kids because in general general kids in school they are not they are not supportive they can be downright cruel so found my youth group it was like amen like I finally had people who who will support me and they get what I’m dealing with what was the difference when you were dealing with the youth group I would I would understand an overall support system but it’s kind of like well you really know what I’m going with I guess the next question is did you also I mean as an adult probably as a teenager you had limited resources just to get around but as an adult did you find other groups that you could actually share experiences with just for your overall well-being you know there when I first learned about you know my mom’s formal diagnosis and like you know that there is this understanding out there that caregivers just have it have a difficult time and they’re looking to help each other and support each other I I found a small group in my community that I that I remember talking to but I didn’t really click with them so I didn’t really stick around them too much my therapist was huge as a young adult because you know she was the one who I would really talk to you about how like my mom she was so good at manipulating me and like if I would spend time with her instead of being grateful that like I drove because she lived on the Jersey Shore instead of been grateful that I drove to the Jersey Shore and I spent the whole day with her and I took her out to lunch and took her for a manicure and like really took care of her she would cry and make me feel guilty because I wasn’t spending more time with her so my therapist would just be like listen Michelle for your own well-being as as someone who loves your mother you have to distance yourself and take care of yourself and I think for me you know learning about the importance of caring for myself as a caregiver even though I wasn’t living with her anymore that was invaluable for me because I learned to step away and nurture myself instead of being you know at her mercy of all of her emotions and called her wants and needs a good point the other thing for my personal story was after that happened with my sister it just didn’t it given me a heightened awareness with like just a dating pool and so if a girl would say something and I’m like oh my goodness is that a trigger for what I’m going to experience down the line and what today I would especially since you work and work with the company you work with we watched a lot of commercials and there’s a lot of side effects with things we take and what have you are you sometimes with people you run into highly aware of how they’re at their behavior and saying hey this could be a trigger of my mom or is it just you know the difference you know it’s interesting I mean I feel like I have this ability to read the energy of a room or read people just because that was what I had to do as a child I had they’re like like you were saying with the alcoholic parent like when I walked in the house I had to like observe okay so are we happy today are we sad today are we are we really in a bad mood so like I have this I feel like I have this like sight heightened sensitivity around other people’s moods and needs but I don’t necessarily like look for you know are they you know are they experiencing something is that a trigger like I just kind of try to listen from you know my space and see if there’s anything there for me to do in terms of support them the other side of that is with social media is such a it makes me think of when I went to school or when I went to college I had no ideas when my roommate was going to be and it turned out to be the best thing like you know they put two polar opposites together and I learned so much more about myself and versus like cousins and stuff that are going to college now you can see their profile from social media and such and you make the decision whether or not to actually even live with that person and one thing with bipolar disorder you’re talking about suffering and silence do you feel that there may be the potential word they may even retreat even further into their mania because they don’t want to be have that extra exposure yeah I mean I think we have so much to do I think we’ve made progress since my mom was alive but honestly I think we have much to do around creating an environment where people feel comfortable talking openly about their illness or about what they’re dealing with just like they would any other any other organ that was in need of additional support so I do I think you know their shame there’s fear there’s embarrassment because the general population might be ignorant or might relate to mental health as like you know a school shooting or something horrific instead of it being you know if you look at the statistics one in four will have a mental illness at some point in their life because you know what life shows up events it happened in our lives that take us out for for a few minutes because because it can be really hard so I just think we have a have such a good opportunity and a great responsibility especially for our youth to to really create a different kind of conversation around brain health and that’s what it is it’s an organ and it needs support just like a kidney just like a heart and you know then there will be less shame they’ll be less fear and they’ll be like a common conversation about it like like you know you have a loved one is diagnosed with heart disease you know they’re on the phone with like their cousin who is diagnosed today like okay what are you doing what drugs are you taking and and what does your doctor say and as your doctor good like we don’t do that and I feel like we really should and we do ourselves a disservice by not I would just to compile and to that and so I would I would say our generation is better than the generations before generations before they didn’t they kept a lot to themselves and they didn’t talk versus our generation if it’s not the immediate family you do have social media where you can reach up to certain groups and such are you seeing a balance or greater communication today yeah you know I I have to take an opportunity to share what I feel is a wonderful example of creating a safe space for peer-to-peer conversations when people are diagnosed with a mental illness they just don’t feel comfortable talking to their family or their loved ones my very dear friends created a community online that’s free it’s on it’s at WWE teen the number and then the word % org and what it is is it’s a space where you can anonymously login create a profile and you can start to talk to someone who’s been diagnosed with the same thing you’ve been diagnosed with and you talk to each other like like all right like let’s get real what are you dealing with and how did you I’m here now like please tell me it gets better and what did you do to get where you are to be stable so I just can’t say enough about online communities like that because we all have phones in our pockets every day right so it’s a good resource to have and I think with technology we should be leaning into that and and having you know less violence and isolation agree and thanks for sharing that 18% org I’d also like to throw out there replicas are you familiar with the replica app now so it’s replicas with the K and so it’s a it’s funny because we we had a guest recently who was a software engineer so we’re just talking about everything that goes into creating this artificial intelligence and so anyway with this it’s a free app and so it’s kind of like your confidant you can kind of talk to it and in 2019 it’s just oh my goodness I mean it’s just so you can imagine Dragon NaturallySpeaking when did that come out in the early two thousands very robotic and now Texas speech is just phenomenal its kind of seamless and so replicas kind of the same way and it kind of checks in with you you know how you doing type of thing and one thing behind it because I like to break things I that I found behind it is if you get too dark they automatically connect to like they hop to hot lines for mental health so yeah so you know you start out what hey you know this is just my confidante I can share things but it’s also in the backend a resource just I guess kind of scary too because we have the human element but you have AI that’s kind of like your you’re giving off symptoms that we need we need to alert some professional help maybe that’s so important right especially if you if you have the same patterns over and over like that that could pick up on it is pretty incredible mm-hmm yeah I think it is the pattern I’ll be the other human element I guess we could say is I believe it was last year Facebook had to go into their algorithm and kind of do some do something similar because you had people with mental disorders and they were using Facebook live to take their lives and so you’re kind of like well how does that happen where do you get to that space where that can happen and so if someone’s exhibiting these patterns as you say I think there’s a button or something on Facebook where they can alert so they can reach out to them and get some professional help as well that’s awesome that’s great mmm Michelle this is on to asset and this is just me looking from the outside and outside in but it’s anything you know talk about this it seems like people with mental illness despite all the you know the problems associated with in some of the mental dysfunction there has to be or the swings to be maybe there’s moments and I mean obviously I didn’t know your mom but I imagine she was probably an intelligent woman tonight there probably be moments of genius that that might be exhibited that seems like the people that that are and you know maybe could be Heidi creative people did you ever yeah it’s so true mean I have a friend now who’s bipolar and like one of the most brilliant human beings I think I’ve ever met and well my mother was alive like she didn’t have school smarts because she didn’t finish high school but the one thing that she was very good at is she she would like be able to make any and a craft on the planet so like we would go to the craft store she’d see a finished item and she’d go home and replicate that with ease I was always blown away by that like she just didn’t she didn’t need instructions she would just like replicate it and it would be like better so absolutely she was incredibly intelligent and very talented in the face of her illness Wow yeah it’s completely makes sense I don’t know why but for me just it seems like I just you’ve seen people that are like that in some instances it can just be completely you know genius and then in the next you know struggling with what they’re struggling with it with their mental illness right right exactly you know yes yeah I think the other side of that is I kind of stick my toe in from time to time in the traumatic realm and so there’s always conversations with comedians that on the surface they’re brilliant right but then you may hear I mean they’re probably brilliant because it’s their form of therapy they’re kind of getting that out that kind of saved them but if someone would approach them about you know maybe you should seek help or or this is the medicine you need to take then you you also hear the argument that they lost their comedic edge and so yeah it compromises something huge in them I mean that makes sense I mean you think about someone like Robin Williams who like could have you laughing your butt off to know what pain he was in and I mean I mean that’s so scary you’re gonna want me to take a take a drug and like I lose that like that’s my that’s my claim to fame so I get it that’s terrifying I would think did you have to go through any of that at all as far as I don’t know when would your mother officially diagnosed and was there a battle to 1 accept it and then to you know hide the pills that C was playing in the take you know it’s it’s a known problem unfortunately with people who and my mother was no different like they would give her a drug to take she was diagnosed when I was fairly young so she always knew because I was very familiar with it I mean as a five six year old like I knew my mother had manic depressed manic depression like I knew it it was just something that rolled off my tongue like I’m adopted she’s got manic depression like whatever so she would be given a prescription of a drug and she would take it she wasn’t ever like I’m not going to take it unless the side effects started to get really a like upsetting for her like dry mouth or forgetfulness there would be things that would happen to her that she’d be like I just don’t feel like myself and actually I feel perfectly fine not not recognizing the drugs themselves were helping her feel fine and then she would take herself off which would cause her to relapse even harder and faster and ultimately be hospitalized you know nowadays treatment is so much better and I don’t just say that because I work for a drug company and full disclosure here I say it because compliance has always been a huge challenge with people dealing with a mental illness and like nowadays they have shots they’re going to come out with a nasal spray so there’s so many different ways if you take a shot for 30 days you don’t have to worry about the volatility of taking a pill at the same time every day it’s already in your system so there are advances that are helping to combat that lack of compliance so besides having to go to the hospital or if been in your hospital or just having to go see a doctor for any reason was your did your mom pretty much stay home there was like really no outing events or anything vacations anything like that oh no my mom my mom stayed home she worked at home she took care of the house that was her that was her you know house mom responsibility but no she hung on every vacation that we had scheduled my father definitely made sure that we would have these like escapes to st. Thomas and the Caribbean for example and she gets so excited I mean she was like that would contribute to her being very stable because she knew what was at stake that really served her afterward not so much she would go into her depression but she really looked forward to those trips and so did we because we got to see a fun and happy relaxed you know version of mom so during the trips like for whatever reason I mean not for everyone but for that duration she was fine if you went to think in the Caribbean for a week for that whole week she would be fine for the whole trip yeah exactly until it was like honestly until it was like the last day and then you can see her starting to get really sad and really depressed that we were having to leave and then that would start her unraveling you know once we got home yeah yeah interesting being in your professional positions that you made that disclaimer where do you see and I didn’t know about that nasal spray so that’s that’s interesting and where what what levels are you seeing personalized care because I guess I mean I don’t guess but I know that you can’t generalize for anyone are you seeing that we’re really closer and getting personalized care not just for mental health but as overall prevention and treatment yeah honestly that that seems to be the wave of the future because what works for you isn’t going to work for me so that makes the most sense that like that’s where we’re going to evolve to in terms of like patient care the thing that gets me so excited is we have so many people where I work and even like just in the industry as I get connected to different groups and different you know leaders in mental health there’s so many people who are deeply passionate about about brain health and are relentless with trying to find better ways to treat people because you have a population of people not willing to reach out because of the fear of treatment or the uncertainty of treatment but if they just gave it a try they just reached out and like and like raised their hand and said I need help and got treatment the quality of their lives would would change and you know it might not be the perfect dose at first but I will tell you like the quality of their lives will will definitely change it’s just getting over that hurdle to reach out and say hey I think I don’t think I can do this alone like just like what can I do to help myself because everybody in my opinion and I think you would agree deserves to have joy in their life and fundamentally if you don’t have joy it’s really hard to just get excited about your life I wholeheartedly agree and here in Atlanta I believe it was national news but there was a lady I think she was in the Carolinas and she had two dogs and she went into cardiac arrest and her house was locked but somehow the dogs got out and they went to next door and brought the neighbors over and ambulance came and no she’s living so I know you’re on your website you had this wonderful photo with the dogs and I didn’t know if you look at any influence that our our canine friends have on overall well-being yeah honestly you know I’ve had dogs all my life so I’m a huge advocate they are like they make me smile and I’m having the worst day so I know like you know pet therapy I know people who have pet therapy dogs I mean there’s a reason there are therapy dogs in the world if you think about it but yeah they’re amazing and I think anyone who it’s very easy to focus on internally what you’re dealing with and what your brain is saying to you but like if you have a dog your dog is going to force you to take a walk if you take a walk you’re going to get fresh air you’re going to feel better just because you’re moving your body there’s like so many reasons I believe that we should be connected in some way to to our free four-legged friends yeah like a Joe Rogan and you know he has a lot of comedy bits on Netflix and such and he was talking about I think it was Joe no it wasn’t Jill’s bill Burke but they’re both funny so it doesn’t matter so but anyway he was talked bill was talking about he had a Rottweiler and it was mirroring everything he did he was like why is my dog so hyper and then he realized it he went to a professional that he was the one that was making the dog hyper it isn’t the dog exhibiting what its masters exhibiting as well and that you think that could be a trigger of identifying you know this person is really down all the time yeah I mean that they do reflect us if I’m sad or something like my dog does if I’m if I’m like feeling a little bit down or blue like or or even if I’m happy or excited like if I had a tail my tail will be wagging like hers so yeah I could see that they do reflect us and they just want to you know be there with us no matter what so truth there for sure and I’m kind of scared because of the me to environment I would look around it at people to see if they were twisting behind their tails are wagging but I would get in trouble today you probably [Laughter] so you’re looking at doing a speaking career on the Ted stage have you had any experience yet and what’s it been like yeah my heart is with trying to help kids understand that the brain is nothing more than just an organ right so if we if we can reach our youth and shift how or even just shape how they how they relate to mental health and mental well-being I think we we do we do our future generations a great service so for me I’ve had this opportunity we have a private TEDx platform at Johnson & Johnson and I’ve had the privilege of being on that stage that was actually the catalyst for saying you know what I’m going to write this book I think what I have to say is important and can help people because it was confirmed after I stood there and told my story and people came up to me afterward so I would love to use my story as this vehicle to to reach people and have them understand mental health in a different way and not in a clinical way but in a less threatening way in a way where let me tell you my story and maybe you’re connected to this some way and you can find a way to help your loved one or yourself if you’re a caregiver and then together we just elevate the whole conversation about so it’s less of a thing that’s really where my heart is and really what I’m going for I love it and I do want to stay sorry about that David I do want to stay with the clinical versus left less threatening aspect because what as a former teacher I know that there was a stigma with some children that put them on a tee you know Ritalin or something because they’re acting out and then you find out that this person has been on prescriptions their whole life are they are they pre determining these four children and what’s a way to be less threatening where they don’t feel that they will be on prescriptions their whole life yeah it’s that whole thing is a little scary for me and I don’t want to go down that road really because I think every child is different and every every diagnosis and treatment of a drug is should be unique to the child I guess you know a lifetime of drugs I think we have this this stigma that you know I have a young girl that I mentor who I just adore and she’s like I don’t want to be on drugs the rest of my life and I’m like well sweetie you have five diagnosis of mental health concerns and the goal shouldn’t be to get off the drugs the goal should be to live a happy joyful fulfilling life and if you need them to stabilize your brain because your brain needs support you shouldn’t be so focused on I’m going to get off the drugs I’m going to get off the drugs that’s like you know in my opinion I’m more concerned about her having a fulfilling happy life so I think you know it depends I mean there’s so many components nowadays like you look at you could look at diet and exercise like what are you eating and how is that contributing to your stress like there’s so many other ways that we can look at our health as well and not you know feel like you know pills are the only way but it also requires ownership like okay I’ve been diagnosed with this what can I do in addition to that that can really support my overall well-being so I think it’s um I think it’s a complicated thing to just flat-out say but I do believe you know there has to be some level of ownership in your in your body as an individual yeah a friend of mine she was she was distraught because her her son was in private school and they were threatening to kick him out because of behavioral issues I think he was like seven six or seven and you know cici was trying everything and then ultimately they found out that he had too much gluten in his diet and when they removed it that behavioral issue in a way and I didn’t know from your side if you’re running across alternative therapies as well to compare versus the clinical side yeah absolutely I mean that’s a great example I mean even like sugar and kids diets like this just a mountain of information about what we should be eating as humans you know if we want to have good good bodies and healthy brains so yeah Michelle would ask so when did you first get the idea that you wanted to write a book with the kind of yours of this world people telling you you know you should write about this so how did it come about and what was that experience like yeah so I guess it was a Ted stage even though I had always toyed around in my mind like oh I would love to tell my story because like I made it out I made it out I got you know I’m stable I don’t I don’t I’m not riddled with a lot of challenges as an adult and I feel like my stories is worthy of sharing but I always struggle with self confidence right so one of the challenges with putting your mother first and having your own feelings and needs put on the Shelf is you know you don’t think that you’re worthy or that you’re good enough or that you have what it takes to make a difference so that warm response that I received to my TED talk really gave me the confidence that what I had to share could help someone even if it just helped like one or two people lighten their load or make them more educated and things that they could do I was like I said I’m going to do it I have the confidence I’m going to do it and that was pretty much it and then I just started down the writing process not I’ve never written anything in my life except for like a couple papers for school and I got a writing coach who guided me and I was a four year writing journey that proved to be very cathartic but also you know really captured my story and I felt I felt really good about being able to share that with everyone yeah that’s awesome and during that four years at unison that is catharsis what made you keep going I’m sure at year three or like is it really worth it maybe I’ll just put it down yeah oh if you only knew Saturday isn’t I was sitting in my in my dining room as a table bawling my eyes out because my writing coach was like that’s a great example of what you want to write but you really got to get into the moment you got to remember what it the room smelt like and what you were feeling and I was like oh my goodness so that like reliving those moments so that I could articulate it in the book was like was like painful but you know cathartic and I did have times when I was totally stopped I was like I’m not doing this this is just but then I got really connected to the fact that I wanted to use this story as a vehicle to make a difference with the stigma you know that was what was at stake it wasn’t like Oh Michelle you know has this glorious little book and good for you it was no that’s my vehicle to get me in front of audiences to talk to people and shift how we deal with mental health and that kept me going let me ask you that two-part question oh that is a crying versus laughing they both seem to be very therapeutic and just reliving that you had the opportunity to like you mentioned get out or move through that process but would you encourage other people because it’s you know there when you peel back the onion with a lot of people but that they’re holding on to something maybe from childhood or teenage years and they’re 50 67 years old what would you say to them as far as your experience with crying and laughing and moving through this episode totally worth it as much as people like to press down like push down their emotions like forget about what happened move and pretend like they can step over those experiences that shaped them they’re still being impacted by them no matter what they say I mean a couple of dear friends who claim that they’re fine but they went through hell as young people and they never worked through it so it’s definitely impacting them because it was impacting me and then I had a dear friend of mine tell me to go and do this program called the Landmark Forum it’s like a three day program and that was when I started to peel back the onion and really get like like why am i angry and resentful of my mother she did the best job that she could write like had compassion for someone who was trying to raise a family and navigate mental health like and then recognize the story that I made up in my head was you know she’s deliberately trying to sabotage my entire life by manipulating me as a child well that’s a story that I completely made up and so that journey to self-discovery and really understanding the experience for what it was and finding finding compassion and forgiveness and really setting myself free from the pain that I was carrying has gave me the ability to write a very different book that I would have written even like three years before I started because I was angry so you know if you Harbor those painful experiences I say this to people all the time my story yes we talk about mental health and bipolar disorder but my story is no different than your story we all have something in our past that shaped us we all have had experiences that have you know maybe impacted us in a negative way but my story is the story of perseverance and triumph that you can work through that and what’s on the other side is totally worth it so I kind of opened the candle arms a little bit so as from a credibility standpoint we have some people that were clinicians or doctors and that was their life and then they had some experience and then they became a very spiritual it kind of they lost their original community and up to this point or up until your last response it was kind of linear as far as hey I work with a pharmaceutical company and this has been my experience but then you mentioned the Landmark Forum so how would you credential that because it’s seen as a it’s not a mainstream and it’s my understanding that Tony Robbins and T Harv Eker they both got their start at Landmark what has been your experience to legitimise both being in your it’s kind of like you’re living in two worlds you have your your day job and most people in your day job wouldn’t associate with the Landmark Forum well actually that’s not entirely true I know a lot of people at J&J; that have done the Landmark Forum believe it or no yeah I mean I did it at the recommendation of a dear friend of mine and mentor who she saw me suffering and my own stuff and was like you got to get that out of your way so you can move in the direction of your dreams so like I did that and I did Tony Robbins I mean I just got back in December from date with destiny with Tony Robbins because I’m on this constant evolution to just be a better version of me and the only way to do that is to really continue to unpack who you are and why you are the way you are and then create a better direction for your future so I don’t see them as separate because they think the better you become as an individual the bigger contribution you can be in your personal and your private life I’m sorry your personal and your professional life so I just I think it’s um I think it’s a misunderstanding that like and I don’t see landmark is spiritual by the way at all I see it as an evolution in who you are and why you are the way you are so that’s just that’s just my perspective no that’s great and that’s why I wanted you to speak on that because there’s just some stigmas and I just wanted you to clear the air for that yeah sure sure I mean as with everything you know people it’s hard to look at your life for three days it’s not comfortable and that’s what the limb work forum has you do so it’s definitely a space for folks who are really committed to to building the best life for themselves that they want and freeing themselves as like any past pains that still riddle them and compromise their their joy in any way so when you just stay here for two seconds so with that with that three days you were at a point where the lightest is like you just need to do this I think that when we hold things back that we fill our lives with other distractions TVs movies whatever so we don’t have to address that and then you’re saying that you really need to spend time with yourself and that’s how you can start unravel or peeling back the onion if you will yeah I mean because we go with your life and we get triggered so the thing the things that I’ve learned through all the years I’ve been with landmark and Tony Robbins is life is going to come at you right things are going to come at you people are going to treat you a certain way it has nothing to do with how they treat you it has everything to do with what it triggers within you and why so at the time I had a boss who is being very much like my mother and I didn’t realize it but because of that the way she was treating me it evolved all of these emotions and feelings that I had from my mother it has nothing to do with her had I reacted toward her in a way that I wanted to because it was natural and comfortable for me it probably wouldn’t have been the best thing so the whole idea of looking at your life and looking at who you are is to help you understand why you’re triggered when you’re triggered and and really just get that you can you can deal with that in a different way once you see us I’m feeling this because it’s familiar because guys like that’s what I know but because that’s my emotional home and I don’t have to I can choose to not feel this way so it’s very empowering to understand how you know that’s just one example of you know how you get triggered because people are going to come at you you know throughout your life that you have no control over now no I actually learned when you focus on expands I know it’s universal but I learned it through a TR vector and I know he was a protege of 20 Robbins and so the other side of that is mirrors from a spiritual aspect and that since we’re all connected you have mirrors basically bringing out what you’re going through so if you didn’t have those experiences and you would never learn more about yourself right that’s the whole past is learning more about ourselves and so that was the beginning and so now you’ve done date with destiny you’ve done this for a couple of years are you seeing different mirrors being reflected in your life now absolutely I mean absolutely still happens every day absolutely and it’s just like you start to learn what they are you start to it’s like a muscle right muscle the more you flex it the stronger you’re able to deal with it so yeah I would be foolish to think that I figured it all out and I’m fine I’m constantly looking in the mirror and saying you know oh that’s why that’s showing up I didn’t get it the first time gotta get it this time so yeah I think that’s the part where they say that the universe or the Creator go to median because well we think we have to figure it out it’s like are you sure let me give it to you in this package and see how you handle it so true I had a friend say to me the other day they said alright first you’re going to get gently tapped for you to get the message and if you don’t get that message then a brick is going to hit you over the head and if that message doesn’t resonate then there’s going to be a truck that shows up and slaps you okay got it has to pay attention is that is another you universal version of tough love yes miss I’ll get it and I guess I’m laughing a little too hard goodbye experiment we all experience it so you have to laugh at some point funny yes so what so what’s next you know you’re you’re you’ve had some beginnings with you had there the J and J TEDx stage and then that led you to writing the book and are you going to do a tour you got to make a movie out of the book what’s next for Michele oh my god I would love to see the book become a movie out first of all like hands down I would love to see the book cover movie because if it did then it could hit more people and it could cause it would just it would just hit more people and people would understand mental health in a different way so that would be a dream not sure how to go about that but I’m keeping in the back of my mind immediately what I’d love to do is just more more speaking to groups more conversations with Bianca young people high school kids junior high kids you know women’s groups small community groups I would love that just to to really just elevate the conversation and have you know everyone start to relate to this in a different way and reach out for resources and know that they’re not alone and they can share tools like 18% with their loved ones if they’re not ready to talk about it so yeah just just trying to make a difference you know that’s what makes my heart sing absolutely one thing that you’re speaking to the units and speaking of teenagers it made me reflect back being an athlete and as an athlete in school bill Duran hi that’s you’re in Jersey we had access to everything you know good and bad and so with teenagers you’re introduced to binging and so they’re binging with you know alcohol they’re they’re they’re getting introduced to different drugs and as every generation says it’s worse than it was the generation before I don’t know what those kids are doing today right so would some of those be triggers of mental-health issues with a bending behavior yeah I mean I would think so I think the kids will gravitate to what to whatever is going to help them feel numb right he’ll feel less of what they’re dealing with so so yeah so one of the things that I love to do when I talk to the kids is to talk about having each other’s back and really like looking out for each other so if you see a friend who’s like not quite right or who’s doing what you just said like binging on the weekends or whatever they like they have each other’s back and they talk to them openly and they connect them to someone that they could talk to if they were interested but that there are community and that they should I mean care for each other and watch out for each other so you know I think if they if they did that more you would have less teen suicide and it’s really scary how high teen suicide is now we got to do better around that why do you think I guess that’s the quagmire today I mean why is it higher with we had the most information that our fingertips than ever before yeah I don’t know it’s like we’re connected but yet we’re so disconnected I think you know I mean you know growing up my generation probably yours as well like there was more face-to-face interaction now people just like you hide behind your technology so you’re you’re really disconnected as much as you think you’re connected you’re not looking in people’s eyes anymore you’re not talking to them having a conversation so I think that and then there’s this you know the solution that you know so-and-so has a perfect life on social media when really like you have no clue because it’s like this curated representation of their life and you’re measuring yourself up against them so it’s really you know it’s not a good recipe for self-esteem I think that’s that’s the heart of it right like with filters and stuff you know people appear different than they are in reality so I think good old-fashioned communication and face-to-face dialogue is something that you know we need to make sure it’s still happening right yeah we are at the top of the hour but I did have David do you have any other questions and we covered a lot okay so I did have one last question because we’re talking about the kids and I didn’t want to get on the soapbox these young whippersnappers but since we’re speaking with someone in the corporate eye and you just talked about the difference with not being having that human element I’ll actually to talk a little bit about the importance of eye contact in communication because that is something that is lacking with this New York younger generation oh my goodness it’s so important it’s I mean I know for me I work so I work on a virtual team and I know what that means is I work from home so I can interact with people all the time on the phone and it’s super easy you don’t have to really see anyone you can just like you know go on go on you know teleconference you know and just be comfortable in your pajamas if you really wanted to but it takes away something as well so we also have something called Skype I’m sure you’ve heard of where we can we can get into these conference calls and see each other and I’m telling you just the connection I – I – see people’s demeanors and their reactions and their smiles creates such a different vibe and sense of connection with one another so I echoed what you say because we connect with human beings so much better in person than virtually so you know I can’t say enough about it I totally agree with you so you’re with us that they won’t be overrun by the robots good all fees – fees and a smile a smile can say so much so you know so important heartedly agree so where could they find out about your book in your website and your social media so they can stay in touch with you Michelle awesome so yeah so I have a website you could go to its breaking into my life calm like you mentioned you can you can get a free excerpt of the book and I have a blog where I have a lot of great tools and resources or you know different different tools people can learn you can learn more about 18% there you can learn about open minds I’m sorry active minds which is all about bringing clubs to schools high schools and colleges for youth there’s all kinds of information resources for caregivers there and then you can find my book at Barnes & Noble calm or on amazon.com in both Kindle and hardcopy fantastic well you have just been in tuned to another episode of intrinsic motivation from a homeys perspective this is Hamza and I am David Michele it was definitely a pleasure let’s be in touch awesome thank you for having me yeah you [Music]


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