Advocating for Better Mental Health Awareness
Ep. 325 Steven Wilson
“Bipolar doesn’t mean you have it bad every day. It goes like a rollercoaster.”
Steven Wilson, a retiree in Scottsdale, Arizona, reflects on over fifty years of marriage and a family with three daughters and two granddaughters. His mental health journey, marked by a bipolar disorder diagnosis in 1978 after years of misdiagnosis and ineffective treatments, includes a challenging post-college period with suicidal thoughts and a significant stay in a mental institution. His story chronicled in his 2022 memoir “Teetering On a Tightrope: My Bipolar Journey,” began as a therapeutic endeavor during trauma therapy, offering insight into his struggles and serving as an inspiration to others.
Initially working as a sports writer, Wilson leveraged his writing skills to narrate his experiences, aiming to guide and inspire those facing similar mental health challenges. Apart from writing, he dedicates himself to leading two mental health support groups, offering hope and understanding to others on their mental health journeys.
Dive into Steve Wilson’s life story, from a traumatic childhood event to his struggles with bipolar disorder. Learn about the challenges in obtaining a correct diagnosis and the transformative impact of appropriate medication. Gain insights into the mental health system’s shortcomings and Steve’s advocacy work.
If you have any questions about this episode or want to get some of the resources we mentioned, head over to LesleyLogan.co/podcast. If you have any comments or questions about the Be It pod shoot us a message at [email protected].
And as always, if you’re enjoying the show please share it with someone who you think would enjoy it as well. It is your continued support that will help us continue to help others. Thank you so much! Never miss another show by subscribing at LesleyLogan.co/subscribe.
In this episode you will learn about:
- Key differences between bipolar I and II, enhancing mental health understanding.
- How childhood trauma can shape mental health challenges.
- The system’s shortcomings and Steven’s advocacy efforts.
- The vital role of medication and therapy in mental health management.
- The complexities and rewards of providing support.
- Valuable advice on monitoring and supporting children’s mental health effectively.
- Steven Wilson’s Website – https://www.authorstevewwilson.com/
- Teetering on a Tightrope by Steven Wilson – https://a.co/d/3VC42c4
- Steven Wilson’s Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/stevewilson4990/
- Steven Wilson’s Facebook – https://www.facebook.comstevewilson4990
- NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness – Link – https://www.nami.org/Home
Steve Wilson: And it became apparent to me that it’s not, it’s not just because automatically you become bipolar or depressed. There’s a lot of reasons to go through it. And I have experienced one of those reasons.
Welcome to the Be It Till You See It podcast where we talk about taking messy action, knowing that perfect is boring. I’m Lesley Logan, Pilates instructor and fitness business coach. I’ve trained thousands of people around the world and the number one thing I see stopping people from achieving anything is self-doubt. My friends, action brings clarity and it’s the antidote to fear. Each week, my guest will bring bold, executable, intrinsic and targeted steps that you can use to put yourself first and Be It Till You See It. It’s a practice, not a perfect. Let’s get started.
All right, Be It babe, I’ve got a different kind of episode this week. And I want to just shout, well not shout, shout out, I just want to say at the beginning, we are going to talk about mental health issues we will, my guest today is going to share a story about being assaulted as a child, suicidal thoughts. And I say it at the top because if that is something that might affect you negatively in this moment, then please save this episode for a different day. But I would really love for you to listen. This guest reached out to me and shared their vulnerable story, I’m gonna cry. It’s such a beautiful episode, this person’s life and journey in their mental health and then helping others with theirs, I’m gonna get it together, is nothing short of amazing. And it is something that I think is really important. I think it’s really easy. I know too many of you listeners have mental health problems that you’re going through, and you suffer in silence and I bet it hurts my soul. Because it can be so difficult to get help. It can be so difficult to get the help that you need, there’s gonna be so much bureaucracy and tape to go through and then you may not have the financial means, energy or support to get it. And so I wanted to do this episode because I don’t, I don’t want to brush off that we have a mental health problem in this world. And some of you might have someone in your life who’s going through something and it’s affecting you as well. And you might be struggling with how to support them and yourself and protect yourself and but support them and love them and have kindness and graces.
So our guest today is Steve Wilson. He’s the author of an amazing book with his life story. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder two, in the 50s. And he’s 75 years old and dedicating his time to helping people who need help and access to support who are going through mental health stuff. And he has been doing this for many, many years in the 90s helping kids in high schools. And so it’s it’s an episode I hope you listen to and I hope it inspires you and helps it gives you resources if you need them for your own mental health or if you need them to help someone who’s going through something. And so let me know how this episode feels for you and share it with a friend who might need to know the information on how to help someone who’s going through something and I promise I don’t cry the whole time I’m just crying in the intro. It’s really cool. Nothing happens like, I don’t really believe in coincidences. I really do believe that people come into our lives for a reason, season or lifetime and there’s some there’s a reason why this guy applied and you guys with the process we have, he may not have applied, actually. And when I got to hear Mr. Tara story, and I got to hear about his life and his health right now. I made it a priority to get his episode recorded before our tour because I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss out on the opportunity to hear it, to share it with you. So Steve Wilson, thank you so much for being you. Thank you for your story. You all, again please take care of your mental health if it’s not the right time to listen to episode, but if you know someone who who needs support or you know you’ll need it in the future or need it in the past. This is a great episode and we can all make a change in this world when it comes to how wherever you live in this world supports mental health and those who need it. So here is the Be It Till You See It interview with Steve Wilson.
All right Be It babe. I’m just so excited when I met this man, I had immediately tried to figure out a time we can meet because he is a very special human. I feel so blessed and touched to get to know him and his life and he’s going to share an incredible story with you and also some things that we all can be considering. So Steve Wilson, thank you for being a guest of the Be It Till You See It podcast. Can you tell her who you are and what you do?
Steve Wilson 5:22
Hi, my name is Steve Wilson. I’m retired. I’ve been married for 51 years. I have three daughters and two granddaughters and I’m living in Scottsdale, Arizona. I recently wrote a book called Teetering On a Tightrope: My Bipolar Journey that outlines my entire life of 75 years suffering from bipolar disorder.
Lesley Logan 5:55
Wow. 51 years of marriage, 75 years of life, three kids and a book. What? You know, I don’t think a lot of people, I feel like bipolar disorder is something that people have heard about, but maybe if they haven’t met, if they don’t have anyone in their life who has it, they might not know exactly what it is, can you kind of explain that and then also how you got diagnosed there?
Steve Wilson 6:20
Well, bipolar disease, there’s actually two types of bipolar one, which is really highlighted by mania, you have depression. And then it goes into, out and out mania, which the person will think they’re superhuman, they’ll spend all their money, they’ll buy things, though, do things that ruin their family life, and it’s just all out terribleness when they crash, which they will, eventually, they look around, and their life has been ruined. Bipolar two is which I am is deep, deep depression, suicidal ideation. Sometimes suicidal attempts and sometimes suicidal, outright. The highest I ever got was called hypomania, which is a higher than what you normally would go through life with, but not as high as out out mania. Those are the two types that most people deal with.
Lesley Logan 7:36
So, you know, when were you diagnosed?
Steve Wilson 7:40
Well, I gotta start earlier.
Lesley Logan 7:42
Okay, let’s start earlier. Let’s start from the beginning.
Steve Wilson 7:45
Okay. When I was nine years old, in 1958, I went to a movie theater in my local town, was waiting to get a coke. And a guy came up to me and said, I thought he was an employee. And he said, do you think he could help me here in the theater? And I said,sure, I’ll be glad to that’d be cool. And, unfortunately, he took me back and put me in the restroom, and raped me. Now, at that time, there was very little help. I knew nothing about that anything like that could ever happen. I blame myself for some reason, although I didn’t know why. So I decided to keep it quiet. I’d never tell anybody. And I didn’t for 30 years. My parents had no idea and my siblings had no idea. My schoolmates, teachers, nobody knew what I had gone through. For a couple of months, it didn’t bother me too much. And then, one day, I fell into a deep depression at eight, nine or 10. And I didn’t want to socialize with anybody. I thought everybody hated me. I didn’t have any feelings toward anybody. It was just awful. And my schoolwork dropped like a rock. And I just barely got out of fourth grade. That was my first episode with depression. And it lasted though for a couple months. Because you got to realize that when you have Bipolar doesn’t mean you have it bad every day. It kind of like goes like a roller coaster. One day you’re up you might be up for two months and then you go down for a month or two months or whatever. So it’s very cyclical in its nature. Sure, I got out of that first depression and felt pretty good and I had some more and in Junior High in high school and college, but I was always able to fake it with everybody. Nobody knew what I was going through and I still had a lot of good times in college especially and only time things are really bad is when they were really bad and nobody there to help me.
When I got out of college things changed. I fell into a deep suicidal ideation, depression that lasted quite a while. One evening I got in a fight with my father. And the next day I was in a mental institution in Columbus, Ohio, stayed there for three weeks. I would say that saved my life. Because after I was done with getting into psychiatrists, and going through all the group therapy and things, my suicidal ideations were gone, and never came back, really. The problem was, they diagnosed me as clinically depressed. And for six or seven years, they had me take medications designed for that diagnosis, and none of them helped. And I was bad, I couldn’t keep a job. They fired me or I had to sleep and couldn’t go to the job or I got mad and quit. All the things went wrong. And then in 1978, six years, seven years later, they said they made a mistake. My diagnosis should be bipolar. And they prescribed lithium for me, which was the wonder drug back then. Probably still is today. And it worked very well. Now it got me about 50% better. But that’s 50% I was then able to reenter the human race, get jobs and do everything. I still had some terrible things going on.
One of the worst is rumination, if you know what that means. It’s when your mind is completely overwritten by thoughts that just keep whirling and twirling and whirling around. And sometimes you can’t shut them off. And you just got to keep fighting it. Also, I was very impetuous, I would go out I bought a new car one time because my wife was buying one. I said, hey, I’ll take one too. So that kind of impulsiveness goes along with this. The ability to make smart decisions, kind of stops, you make decisions based on gotta do it now. Got to do it now. So that went on until about the year 2000. So that’s 22 years. My work was gone. But there was still a lot of Yes. And then in 2000, they put me on a medication called Paxil. And since that time, I’ve been 80-90% of the good.
Lesley Logan 13:02
Wow, 51 years of marriage, that means your you and your wife went through all this together with a kid. That’s a lot in life.
Steve Wilson 13:11
Yes. The worst time for her were the same times that were the worst times for me that period from getting out of the hospital till I got lithium.
Lesley Logan 13:23
Yeah, thank you for sharing your whole story. So I mean, like I’m sure, there’s more. But it’s one of the things that can be one of the things I want to talk about on this show is, you know, there’s certain we all we have these obstacles in our life, there’s things that happen to us, that are outside of our control. Your being raped, outside of your control, and your bipolar disorder out of all this. And you kept going, like you kept going in this world. And I since you were able to be on lithium and then have the Paxil, and like, start to feel more like yourself. What did that allow you to do? And and what it like? How has that been able to affect your life in the life you wanted to have? Do you feel do you feel bad for the years that you miss? Like, do you wish you had them back? I guess I just have so many questions about like, what it’s like to kind of feel like you don’t have control over how you’re feeling?
Steve Wilson 14:24
Well, it’s a strange thing. It’s, it’s like if you have a heart attack or you break a leg, when I was going through the worst years, it was terrible. But now, and during the last 20 or so years, I can’t remember how bad it was which is a blessing. Okay, because if I had to wake up every day going, oh, l I knew when I did that. I know it’d be terrible. So if a person who is bipolar or depressed, takes on the challenge of getting better, and it’s a lifelong challenge, there is no cure for depression, there is no cure for bipolar. But if you stick with the regimen, if you can get into serious psychiatrists, which we’ll talk about in a few minutes, and you follow what they say, and you get a therapist or psychiatrist who you can be in tune with, and are ready to work, and keep going, you can have a good life. You can be very productive.
Lesley Logan 15:43
I love hearing that. That gives me hope for people. You know, there’s a lot, there’s a lot of mental health issues out there and it feels like it feels like an uphill battle. And especially for the people around the loved ones who love the person who’s going through it, it can feel also helpless and hard. Since all of this has been going on What have you been wanting to do? Is it? Is it your do you have like a mission? Do you have something that you like, been, have you been using this diagnosis to to further what you’re doing in your life now? Like, can we talk about what what you’ve been doing these? I mean, you should be retired and enjoying life in the sunset. But you’re here on this podcast. So what what’s been one of what is what has this whole life done for you?
Steve Wilson 16:42
My mission, as you call it really started when I still had my clothing store in Ohio, in the late 90s or mid 90s. And every Christmas, we had a big store and very busy. And so we would hire young ladies, Junior High, High School to come in and run errands and wrap packages, get things for us. And this one year, I hired this one young lady, she was very bubbly, cute, vivacious, everything about her. She was a good student starter on the basketball team in high school, and had everything going for. I thought this girl was going to go somewhere. One Saturday morning, her best friend who also worked for us, came in the store sobbing and crying and came up to me and said, and she killed herself last night. And just before that, maybe a few months before that. I had a friend who lived 100 miles from me who we went to college together. And we talked quite frequently. And he told me his son had been having problems and his son was about 16. And one day they get a phone call from the local police saying that they caught their son breaking into a house. And would they come down to the police station and get him and so they did, the kid got out of the car. He said Mom, Dad, I love you, but I can’t take it anymore. shot himself in the head. Those two incidents made me realize that teenagers and remember this was 25 years ago, so think about how bad it is today, that teenagers had a lot of emotional problems. And basically, for sure back then nobody was paying any attention to them. So I decided I would offer myself the high schools and give talks about teenage depression and suicide. And at the end of each talk, I would ask the any one of the kids to come down and talk to me about what they’re going through. And this one girl came down and she was the top student the top athlete pretty had everything going for him. She says Mr. Wilson, I can’t take it anymore. Everybody thinks I have to be the best. My parents just driving me nuts because they want me to get into the best schools and of course I gotta get a scholarship form and she’s I can’t take any more. Heartbreaking. So all I could do was give her information of where she could get help. And I hope she did. I never saw her again. The next little girl who came up was same age, just an ordinary student, you’d think she’s fine. She says, Mr. Wilson, I’ve got no friends. Everybody hates me. They bully me, they make fun of me, my parents don’t like me, I want to die. I told her the same things about getting help. And again, I never got to see him again. But that really opened a door and a window for me to realize that this is really some serious stuff.
And I continue to talk to classes until my wife and I moved out to Arizona in 2008. And I wanted to pursue pursue those talks I was giving to people in school. And out here, they said, you’re too old. I was 60 at the time. And they wouldn’t let me do it. So I decided there’s got to be something else I can do. So I got in touch with a group that has mental health support groups. And I went through their training program and got selected as a facilitator. And I’ve been facilitating to support groups for the last eight years. It’s amazing what I have found out from those people, many of them, and I do the age 18 to 80, many of them that are still suffering today are suffering because their parents or a friend of a parent, sexually abused him. Somebody else beat him up. Somebody told them how worthless they were all the time, I had kids who were locked in closets with nothing but a bottle of water for hours on end. And it became apparent to me that it’s not, it’s not just because automatically you become bipolar or depressed, there’s a lot of reasons to go through it. And I have experienced one of those reasons. We spend a lot of time in our groups learning about each other. And in these groups, they are able to tell their story. Now it may take a month, it may take six months, or they tell their story or don’t and never come back because they’re scared. But one of the big things now, most of my groups are made up of people who don’t have a lot of money. They may be on disability.
Lesley Logan 23:01
What are the ages? What are the ages? Obviously like you’re not doing in schools anymore. So like, is it as the age is just range? Are you finding that people
Steve Wilson 23:11
Yes, big range ages. Now, I gotta say that two thirds of my, my groups and I can do, I did 16 people last night. So I could do about 30 people a week. And I’ve seen well over a thousand people in these years. Most of them are middle income to lower income. Struck by the inflation for today. And you know, it’s really tough. Well, what’s happened to our system? Well, our system never did anything. And it does less today, because they set up these what you call group homes and clinics that these people can go to, but they’re woefully inadequate. It might take you a long time to get an appointment, it might take you, you might take an appointment for one week, and then you have another appointment a month later. And it’s a different guy.
Lesley Logan 24:17
You know, when I, so sorry to cut you off, Steve, when I, I remember I was having some really, like I was going through something in 2013 I was quite depressed in my life and like I’ve just been flipped over. And I had insurance I had great insurance at the time. And I was trying to find, like a therapist, and I wanted to go by a referral. Because, you know, I wanted someone that like had some someone could say that they weren’t good. And everyone had a waitlist months long, or they didn’t take my insurance or are like, oh, they could take me but not what like all of a sudden, like, what if I was actually like, I’m depressed but I’m not willing to leave this planet right now. What if I was you know, like, and also I had the means to I had the means to pay for it or the means to, to go to it. And not everyone has that. So I, you know, when you bring up like this system, it’s really, I feel it’s awful because like the people who are in who are working in those places, it’s not that they don’t want to help people. It’s just that the system is broken. And so even if they want to help people, they’re not able to help as many people as it will help them the way they want to.
Steve Wilson 25:30
It’s a sad situation, the number of therapists and psychiatrists is dropping around the world. The reasons are clear to me, some of them drop out because they get burnout or whatever. But the real reasons are kind of like two-fold. The insurance companies have waged war on mental health by excluding many millions of people. I want to tell you something, there are 60 million people who suffer from mental illness in this country alone. So, and it’s worldwide at about that percentage so there’s, it is much more prevalent than people who get serious diseases and it’s just as dramatic or worse. So the insurance companies have blocked everything. Oh, yeah, you can get insurance if you pay a premium of $300 or $400 a month, and then you pay $200. You might get covered all of it, but you might not. But that’s still 300 bucks a month, you take people in my group, $300 a month is whether you eat or not. And then you throw in the government. Government has virtually no desire to get involved in much of a way with mental illness. They look at people and they go are you jarring? (inaudible) They’re not broken, bud.
Lesley Logan 27:17
That’s the thing about mental illness, it’s so hard it’s like, or any sort of condition that’s like, hidden, you know? It’s really people, if they’ve never experienced it, they kind of go can’t you just like, can just take a pill to feel better? And it’s not the it’s not how it works. Even, even if you’re on the right medication, even the right medication for you. It’s just that doesn’t fix the problem doesn’t solve the issue. And it doesn’t at all help the people who who may not even have access to get the diagnosis to get the medication. Are you, like, so your groups, I have a question for you in case someone’s listening going, oh, my gosh, I wish I had a group. Is this like something people can just Google or are there people like you everywhere who are holding groups like this? Or is there like a facility like what, where can they search for, what do they need to search for to find a group like yours?
Steve Wilson 28:12
Well, they can search for mental health support groups, Phoenix or wherever they live. They can go to major mental health resource, which is called NAMI, National Alliance for Mental Illness, it’s N-A-M-I is most commonly referred to. But everything you’re going to need to find out is online. The problem is that doesn’t change the situation these people face. And I, as we talked about the government again, they’re not doing much. And these people can’t afford us. So what happens to them? Oh, I want to say one other thing. You talked about medication a minute ago. Only 50% of mental ill mentally ill people respond to the medications. So if you’ve got 100 people, 50 of them don’t get any help from medication. So they struggle on their own. And especially if they don’t have a therapist or someone to tell them. They don’t realize that there are things they can do in a therapies that often is covered by insurance, such as EMDR, which is an eye movement exercise, and behavioral therapy, and intensive outpatient therapy. All these things can help if if you need them, they’re there. Problem is. Most people don’t know anything about them.
Lesley Logan 29:59
Yeah. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to have you on because I feel like anyone listening to this podcast can hear that these things exist. And whether they’re the person who is going through something right now, or they know someone who is, it doesn’t have to feel like you don’t have to help them. We, there, we have to just find, we have to be able to use the resources that are out there. So that’s really promising, because I’ll be really honest, Steve, I was like, is there? Is there any hope? Is there? Is there hope for people suffering with mental health issues that, you know, don’t have the means, you know, but it sounds like there’s some groups.
Steve Wilson 30:40
Support that is most important is from your friends, family, teachers, and anybody you feel compelled to tell them what’s going on that you think will they will understand. The support is what they’re giving you not answers.
Lesley Logan 30:59
Okay, I like that.
Steve Wilson 31:01
You want them to want to know that they’re there. And if you need them, they’re always going to help you. Problem is most people don’t know how to interact in a mental health situation. So you have got to let the people you’re talking to know, what you would like them to do what you can what they can do most. And again, as I say, it’s just love them and make sure that they got housing and all that kind of stuff.
Lesley Logan 31:37
Yeah, that’s a thing, right? Sometimes I’ll be having, I have clients who like, though, you know, they’ll just be talking like the complaint about something that’s going on. And this is going on, and like, you know, the person that you’re upset about, they are overwhelmed. You know, like, they’re, they too are overwhelmed. And I feel like we’re in this place where most people want to love, and they want to be generous with time and, and resources. And yet, you know, we’re living in a time, that is exhausting. And there’s something going on everywhere. And it can just feel, you know, overwhelming to help the people around you. But I do think that it’s important to know that it can be enough just to be there for someone and listen, and it can also be enough to love them. And, and, and let them know that that that they have support, you know, it doesn’t have to be that you’re, you’re, you know, I had someone on many, many years ago about being like a patient advocate. And she said, you can advocate for someone as much as you have the ability to so there’s a Venn diagram. And if you were to advocate more than you have time for or the ability for and means for, you’re actually doing a disservice to both people. So you have to be really conscious of that. And I think for some people that can feel like they’re being selfish, but like, it’s really being honorable, like I have this much time or this much money or this much this. And then to give that and then you know, doing their doing your own due diligence around what’s around you to help support people beyond what you can do.
Steve Wilson 33:26
Now, I want to tell you something that isn’t going to be easy for someone to give support, because some of these people, if they’re manic, especially, they can be out of control. They can say things to you that hurt. And you want to just say shut up but you can’t. And it’s a very tough job to be a supporter.
Lesley Logan 33:51
How do you protect yourself, Steve? Because like you are taking on so many people’s stories and these groups, how do you protect your energy?
Steve Wilson 34:00
I get energized by it. Because I’m out there, helping people and seeing I have done this for so long. That I have seen people, many people come from the darkest depths to having their life back. And it is really cool. Now, out of the 30 people I see how many might that be? Three, 10%? But it is really cool when they respond. On the other thing before I forget we were talking about support. I would suggest that everybody who is in a position of supporting somebody go to NAMI N-A-M-I’s website and look up where you can find a class devoted especially to those caring for mentally ill people. It will open your eyes. Not only one, what you’re in for. Two, how to react.
Lesley Logan 35:03
That’s wonderful. Thank you for that. That thank you for that tip. Because it’s kind of like, you know, there’s when you are someone who’s been with someone’s an addict in your family, there’s options for help. There’s groups for people who are friends or families of addicts, because it you’ve mentioned it, like people can say some really harsh mean things. And it’s, you know, you, it’s hard not to take it personally, even though it’s not, you know, because words hurt. So yeah.
Steve Wilson 35:38
Yeah, it can be really tough.
Lesley Logan 35:41
So you are doing these groups twice a week, you are being this resource for people who are going through this. What? You know, I know, I don’t, I would love to say that we could somehow help people with mental health issues sometime in my lifetime, it would be really great. But I’m also not going to hold my breath. For, we have a lot of people who have children who listen to this show. I’m wondering if you have any advice for parents of kids, because as you mentioned, the 90s those things were happening. And now we’ve got social media, there’s all these pressures to get into all the Ivy League schools, and you have to get into the best ones. And you know, there’s just there’s a lot of pressure to be, I don’t know, I feel like I’m so grateful. I went through high school without social media, I’m so glad no one has pictures of what I looked like then. To be really honest, I didn’t have but I used to, when I was a Pilates instructor in Los Angeles, I taught a lot of teenage girls, and the things that were coming into their phones, just bullying, bullying nonstop. And the suicidal thoughts that my 11-year-old girls that I was helping were having, I can only imagine what it’s like to be a parent right now. So is NAMI the only resource for them? Or do you have any, any tips for them, because you used to do all these talks for young kids?
Steve Wilson 37:08
The big thing, I think, is to watch your child. Try to notice, not probing and probing and all that stuff. But try to notice if there’s been changes in his life, his mood, his actions, the first telltale signs that your child might be having problems, is his overall attitude. Is he now watching one home, now they’re doing these games? Does he sit there and do the games all day, every day? Have his grades dropped? Have he, is he moping around the house? Didn’t none of his friends ever come over anymore? Because he never go out. You got to be cognizant of what he’s doing. That’s the first step. Then you’ve got to somehow figure out how to get him help. You can’t go to him and say, son, something’s wrong with you. Let’s go to a psychiatrist. That’d be a lot easier. A lot of being more gentle than that. But I would say I would. Nobody watched me back then. My parents didn’t have a clue. My sister didn’t have a clue. And even though I wasn’t sleeping in the nights and all the other things I was going through, nobody had a clue. And that’s the same today. But there are just as many children with mental illness as there are adults. And the pressures, as you say, are profound.
Lesley Logan 38:54
Yeah, I liked that. You mentioned those signs, because I think it’s true, like kids inherently want to hang out with their friends. They don’t want to hang out with their parents and if they’re hanging around your house all the time. And it’s hard. I love that you also said like, don’t go probing and like, tell them what you’re gonna do. Because it’s also that’s just more pressure. You know? One of my, one of my client’s mom, she was just like, I know, it was so hard for her, watching her daughter go through these things and have these thoughts and continue to be an open space of support. You know, she was definitely going through her own therapy to figure out like how to say what to say how to react to things so that she wasn’t adding to all the things that were going on with her daughter and it was just it takes it’s a lot and if you are if you also have a job. You also you might even have your own mental health stuff, it can be even more exhausting. I think we have to just continue to have kindness and space and grace for ourselves and also for others and and I think the more we recognize that mental health is a real, is a real thing we’d be paying attention to and it’s actually like, very precious, you know, I think that can actually help, you know, the more we realize that like, because I think sometimes people just like they blame themselves. Why do I feel so tired? Why do I feel so down? Why am I so hard? But why am I so negative? And then they just pile on more stuff with themselves, when it might be, you know, an imbalance in their bodies that has nothing to do with with them. It’s everything to do with them, but it’s not their fault.
Steve Wilson 40:32
Yeah, they’re gonna people gonna realize that. It’s kind of like, Why do I have diabetes? You didn’t create the diabetes, your genetics created the diabetes, your diet, all these things created it. Well, with mental illness. It’s a chemical imbalance in your brain. It is genetics. Definitely. It runs big time in my family. And you can’t blame yourself. You just got to spend your time working on yourself and getting through this and enjoying life. If I had to live for 75 years the way I did in the 20 I mean when I was in my 20s, I wouldn’t be here. It’s no way. Show I got the help I needed. And I stuck with it.
Lesley Logan 41:26
Yeah, Steve, I’m so glad you’re here. Before we get close to the end. Is there anything else that you wanted to share with our listeners today?
Steve Wilson 41:37
Well, of course, I want to talk about my book.
Lesley Logan 41:38
Let’s talk about your book.
Where can people, can people buy it anywhere?
Steve Wilson 41:44
Lesley Logan 41:44
Where can people buy it?
Steve Wilson 41:46
Amazon, Barnes and Noble, it’s available someplace I never even heard of. So I can’t even know what they are. I don’t know any of this stuff.
Lesley Logan 41:55
Remind me the name of it again.
Steve Wilson 41:58
Teetering On a Tight Rope: My Bipolar Journey. It actually came about because just about four years ago, I still had some lingering things that troubled me, even though I was feeling pretty good. So I went to a trauma therapist. Now they’re different than just everyday therapy. And what she did for me, was took me back to my first memory. And then over several months, went through my life in chronological order, all the way up until the we were at four years ago, we got done. She said she’s gonna write a book about it, look at all this stuff in there. And so I had been a sports writer for a little while. And so I knew something about writing. So I said, what the hell do it. Now it was easy, because I had everything in my mind. I didn’t have to research anything or anything. Still, it took about a year and a half to write it, not working all day, every day. And then the publishing process is very long and tiresome. It finally came out in 2022. I have not heard how it’s doing. Which means leads me to believe it’s lingering. So why I wrote the book was for so many people to get an idea of how someone can suffer with mental illness.
Lesley Logan 43:40
Yeah. I think it’s something we need to know so that we can have grace for people who are suffering. It’s really hard to help people whose stories you don’t understand if you’ve never experienced it.
Steve Wilson 43:55
Stigma against mental health in the world is terrible. They think it’s mean somebody’s got a lock up and put him in a straitjacket. And that’s the only way he should live. But even though those thoughts were more prevalent, 50 years ago, they’re still with us today.
Lesley Logan 44:10
Yeah. They are. I’m glad you wrote your book. And I’m really grateful that we met. Because I think it’s these are conversations they’re not this is not and there’s nothing sexy about this episode, guys. You know, like, it’s but it to me, it was just so important to have this conversation because the longer we decide to ignore that mental health is an issue in our societies, no matter where you live on this planet, more people will suffer. And their suffering isn’t only for the it’s not just themselves it affects everyone around them. And sometimes people come into the crosshairs of someone who has mental health issues that didn’t even know them, you know. So I just think it’s really, really important.
So we’re gonna take a brief break, I’m going to then ask, make sure we get all the links for where your book is and how people can find you. And then I have one more question for you at the end.
All right, Steve. So you have your book. And that is available on Amazon. Barnes and Noble, you just search for it. Is there anywhere else you want people to connect with you?
Steve Wilson 45:25
On my website. I’m on Instagram.
Lesley Logan 45:31
Check you out.
Steve Wilson 45:35
Lesley Logan 45:36
Well, you you are older than my dad, and he’s on none of those things.
Steve Wilson 45:42
Tell you the reason I’m on it is because I had to hire somebody to tell me how to do all this.
Lesley Logan 45:48
Okay, so Steve, your website. What’s your website? And then is your Instagram account on there? We can put all this in the shownotes.
Steve Wilson 45:56
Okay. My website. Do you have it? Did I send it? Oh, I did send it to you?
Lesley Logan 46:02
Yeah, you probably did. We can put it on there.
Steve Wilson 46:04
Yeah, I sent them all to you.
Lesley Logan 46:05
Okay. Well, we’ll put it all in the show notes. Okay, my last amazing question for you is this. You’ve given us so many action items already told us about NAMI and things like that. But if you have anything else, that’s I like to leave people with an action step at the end, if they’ve been inspired by your story, a bold, executable, intrinsic or targeted step people can take to be it till they see it. Do you have any advice for us?
Steve Wilson 46:30
Yes, it’s a terribly long journey ahead to get mental health drawn out of the dark ages. But if we don’t start now, it’s never gonna happen. The government isn’t going to do it without some beating on ’em. Insurance companies are gonna fight like hell not to do it. But you know, there’s so many people in this country who are suffering, if they all just did something, wrote their congressman or fought with their insurance companies. And we’d learn how to do it as a group, we could start getting some things done, it will not conclude and get a lot better in my lifetime. I doubt if it gets really good in your lifetime. This is mainly for those kids coming back, back of us. The last thing I’d like to point out is that if you are suffering from mental illness, don’t give up. There’s always hope. There’s always a chance, you’re gonna have a better life. But you can’t do it alone. And you can’t give up at any time.
Lesley Logan 47:52
Yeah. Steve, I’m blessed to know you. Thank you so much for being here. Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for encouraging us to act. You guys. We’ll put the U.S. phone number for Congress in the show notes because Brad and I actually know it by heart. But if you are outside the U.S., you know you do have representation, you should let them know what you would like them to be representing you on.
Thank you so much, Steve. And everyone, please share this with someone who needs to hear it. The more people who hear this, the more people we can put pressure on them. The more ways they can get help where it’s needed, mental health is not going to go away and we all need to be doing it together. And so let us know how this episode affected your life. And until next time, Be It Till You See It.
That’s all I’ve got for this episode of the Be It Till You See It podcast. One thing that would help both myself and future listeners is for you to rate this show and leave a review. And, follow or subscribe for free wherever you listen to podcasts. Also, make sure to introduce yourself over on IG at the @be_it_pod on Instagram. I would love to know more about you. Share this episode with whoever you think needs to hear it. Help us help others to BE IT TILL YOU SEE IT. Have an awesome day!
‘Be It Till You See It’ is a production of The Bloom Podcast Network. If you want to leave us a message or a question that we might read on another episode, you can text us at +1-310-905-5534 or send a DM on Instagram @be_it_pod.
It’s written, filmed and recorded by your host, Lesley Logan and me, Brad Crowell.
It is transcribed, produced and edited by the epic team at Disenyo.co.
Our theme music is by Ali at APEX Production Music and our branding by designer and artist Gianfranco Cioffi.
Special thanks to Melissa Solomon for creating our visuals.
Also to Angelina Herico for adding all of our content to our website. And finally to Meridith Root for keeping us all on point and on time.
Pod Social Media
Explore the transformative power of acknowledging every achievement as Lesley presents an episode about Ainsley’s intuitive teaching breakthroughs and her focused presence in her professional...
In today’s recap episode, dive into the complexities of aligning your real-life personality with your online presence. Discover the power of individuality in social media, the challenges of s...
Chelsea Peitz, a former real estate professional, shares her journey with Lesley to becoming a social media and marketing expert. She discusses the importance of aligning your online persona with y...
Lesley brings to light the stories of resilience and growth among her listeners. She emphasizes the crucial role of boundary-setting in personal and professional life. The episode is infused with m...
This episode revisits the earnest conversation with the author of Teetering on a Tightrope, Steven Wilson, and his lifelong journey with bipolar disorder. Brad and Lesley explore the critical role ...
Dive into Steve Wilson’s life story, from a traumatic childhood event to his struggles with bipolar disorder. Learn about the challenges in obtaining a correct diagnosis and the transformativ...
Discover how changes in career or daily routines can lead to significant improvements as Lesley shares the impact of starting new traditions focused on gratitude and joy. This episode offers insigh...
Lesley and Brad unpack the powerful story of Sandy Joy Weston, whose life exemplifies the effectiveness of maintaining a joyful spirit. Discover how Sandy’s blend of joy and visualization tec...
Sandy Joy Weston explains how she transitioned from owning a gym to becoming a renowned speaker and author, emphasizing the importance of mindset and positive thinking. She shares her journey of di...
Celebrate Lesley’s 41st birthday where she talks about growth intersects with candid reflections on age, experiences, and aspirations. Join Lesley and recognize the depth of connections you can c...
Brad and Lesley dive into ‘pastor turned stripper’ Nikole Mitchell’s insights to becoming a successful entrepreneur. Discover how she overcame financial hardships and how to harne...
Dive into the world of manifestation with Nikole Mitchell, who narrates her transition from living on food stamps to achieving a seven-figure income. This episode breaks down the practical strategi...