ALPHA SHOT: One-minute Sample
PLAY FULL EPISODE HERE
UNDERSTANDING MENTAL ILLNESS
One in five people have a diagnosable mental health disorder. Someone you love has a mental illness. Today we’re going to discuss common mental health disorders, how they look in everyday life, what causes them, and how men can respond to their own potential illnesses and support others so they can be successful in their treatment.
We interview Matt Marx, LCSW, who is working as a mental health clinician in the Las Vegas area. We describe four common mental health disorders including PTSD, Bipolar Disorder, Major Depression and various forms of anxiety. We teach men how they might recognize the need for further evaluation when the emotions or behaviors the see in themselves or their loved ones are cause for alarm. We discuss medical assessments, how to communicate with a prescriber who may evaluate you for medication, how to deal with loved ones who struggle, and other super helpful tips.
*While we feature professionals on our show, the content is intended informational entertainment purposes only.
Brad Singletary (00:00:02):
One in five people have a diagnosable mental health disorder. Someone you love has a mental illness. Today, we’re going to discuss common mental health disorders, how they look in everyday life, what causes them and how men can respond to their own potential illnesses and support others so they can be successful.
If you’re a man that controls his own destiny, a man that is always in the pursuit of being better. You are in the right place. You are responsible, you are strong, you are a leader. You are a force for good gentlemen. You are the alpha, and this is the Alpha Quorum
Brad Singletary (00:00:58):
Back to the Alpha Quorum show. Brad Singletary here, I’m the founder of the Alpha Quorum and the producer and host of the Alpha Quorum show. I’m here with a good friend of mine, a true soldier in the work that we’re going to be talking about today. My guest is a licensed clinical social worker who was working full in an agency, providing assessment diagnosis and treatment for mental health disorders. He was born and raised in Las Vegas has been married for 18 years. He has four children from the ages of eight to 16 and he enjoys spending time outdoors and he loves a good ginger joke. Welcome to my guest, Matt Marx longtime. No, see, but it’s good to, good to have you here, man. I feel like you’ve been avoiding me. I didn’t want you to know that that’s how I was feeling, but no, it’s been probably what a couple of years since we hung out.
Brad Singletary (00:01:47):
Is that maybe, probably so part of the problem is Matt lives on the other side of town clear on the it’s like he’s almost in California or Utah on the other side over there and I’m, and I’m way down in the Southern part of the city. And it’s like a 45 minute drive. And so I think we had a barbecue on the 4th of July or something. We did it a while back, but Matt and I worked together during his his clinical internship. And we talked about his cases and it’s just been great to see what he’s doing professionally. We’re going to take advantage of all that knowledge and wisdom that he has from his education, thousands of hours of practicum experience, internship, fully licensed at the highest level in his field right now, and is doing some good work. Appreciate you being here, Matt. Thanks brother.
Matt Marx (00:02:41):
Absolutely. Thanks for having me glad to see the mothership or the Alpha Quorum.
Brad Singletary (00:02:46):
Yeah, we got a nice place. I feel lucky to have this. I do men’s groups. And so right now I’m doing four men’s groups and some of those are online, but when we’re here in the, in the office outside of the Corona crap got to have a nice, nice place to meet here and also record this amazing show. So welcome everyone. We just want to encourage you to give us some feedback about what you think of our show. You know, we have about 15,000 downloads. I think we counted the other day. We’ve got listeners from 39 different countries and we try to mix it up with the content that we share with you. So what ideas you have, we’d love to hear that and the feedback about the things you’ve heard already. Thank you so much for being here.
Brad Singletary (00:03:33):
So today we’re going to be talking about mental health, mental illnesses, and how these things show up in everyday life. What they look like in relationships, what causes mental illness, how common these things are in our lives likely is it that someone that we’re we know is dealing with this? What should a man do if he suspects, he has some disorder and how to handle a loved one with a suspected illness. So let’s start with some of the most common types of mental illnesses. Now, there, there’s a, there’s a thick book. That’s about 800 pages that has all the criteria. We just wanted to hit a few of the common ones and things that people seem to talk about, and really just help you understand in plain terms about what that may be like for you and what you should do about it. So where do we start Matt?
Matt Marx (00:04:23):
One of the ones we see over and over again, and there’s a lot of misunderstanding about is probably PTSD.
Brad Singletary (00:04:29):
Okay. PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder. Okay.
Matt Marx (00:04:32):
When we talk about PTSD, PTSD really is there’s something really, it’s our brain’s way of dealing with really bad things that have happened to us and how we avoid consequences of those actions in the future, right?
Brad Singletary (00:04:47):
Say really bad things. Does that mean like what, what types of things we’re going to do a whole episode on trauma later, where we’re going to really go deep dive into this stuff, but just in a generic sense, what type of that things?
Matt Marx (00:04:58):
On the surface level, or looking at near death experiences for yourself, or a loved one that can be hearing about it that can be actually experiencing it can be witnessing it. It also can be watching something bad, happened to a family member or part of your job on television. Right? So really what we’re looking at is bad things that could have happened between you found a close family member or a really close friend near-death experiences, really bad car accidents sexual trauma, that kind of thing. So our brain’s way of dealing with, “Oh, this really horrible thing happened to me. And I don’t want to experience it again. So I’m going to give you reminders. I’m going to give you ways to avoid it, and I’m going to not let you forget what these bad things happens, because I never want to experience it again.”
Brad Singletary (00:05:52):
Yeah. So you don’t ever want to be caught off guard again. So here’s all this warning signal that’s happening in your body. So just circling back to the the types of things. So what about, you know, violence? You know, your mom and dad were physically abusive to each other. You fell out a tree, broke your leg. I mean, could that, does it have to be near death or can it be something where you, it was just a scary situation.
Matt Marx (00:06:15):
Everybody experiences trauma differently, and everybody has different coping mechanism. This is your brain’s coping mechanism, right? So maybe, maybe not. We have what we consider acute, which is a single car accident. For example, one thing that happened to you or we have chronic. So yeah, maybe your mom and dad fighting one time, wasn’t enough. But if you grew up in a household where they fought continuously and they never quit, and they kept throwing stuff at each other and the cops come coming all the time that might elevate, and you might develop some of those symptoms where your brain is trying to avoid that. And as an adult, it’s damaging to your relationships because, Oh, wait, I was modeled this behavior, how do I not do this in the future? How do I not experience this again?
Brad Singletary (00:07:06):
I had a really wild experience here probably a year and a half ago. I was at the gas station, just went to get gas. And as I go into the store to probably buy a monster energy drink I, there was, there were, these two kids are about 21 years old or so, you know, early twenties. And they were kicking this dude windows in, he was driving a Mercedes or BMW, nice car. And these guys were kicking the window. And I thought they were trying to break in. I thought I’m walking up on this violent situation. What happened was this guy was slumped over in the driver’s seat and the, his car was running, the doors were locked. And I think that they knew something was happening to him. So they were, it couldn’t get in the door handles. So they’re kicking the windows in they pull this guy out and they’re basically doing CPR on this guy who I, I don’t, I don’t ever know what actually happened to him.
Brad Singletary (00:07:57):
Paramedics came the fire, the fire truck came and all this stuff. And it was such a trip for me. Like for probably two weeks, I, it was hard to sleep. I felt strange being alone. I had this anxiety feeling and that was I think, a traumatic experience. So I was shaken up for a couple of weeks. It was just weird for me. I remember seeing this guy’s face. I remember hearing what the paramedics were saying. They’re frustrated. They can’t get, can’t get a pulse, you know, and I’m, I’m standing within like three feet from this whole situation. There was the th th th these vivid details to me, you know, the guy has this gray purple looking face and there’s, there’s like slobber. I mean, it was just, it was, it shook me up a little bit. So it lasted days and days, but it sort of went away.
Matt Marx (00:08:42):
The important part is you’re like, okay, this happened for a couple of weeks. So when we’re looking at the experience of PTSD, PTSD specifically is more than a month. And under the month, the over-under is a month. If it’s under a month, it’s acute stress it’s something that, okay, wait, this is something that we’re going to get over. And there’s very few, if any lasting long-term effects, next time you see somebody gray on TV, it might be like, Oh, wait, I remember this time. And it can bring up those memories, right. If it’s over the month and we’re still having problems after a month, then we might want to try to get some more help. Right.
Brad Singletary (00:09:22):
So the part of the criteria is that you’ve experienced something terrible. That could be all kinds of things. Some people talk about even things like infidelity, or just a very stressful traumatic, I think the criteria talks about a life-threatening situation. Correct? Sometimes we don’t know if it’s life-threatening or not. We don’t, we don’t know what’s going to happen. We may believe it’s life-threatening. But,
Matt Marx (00:09:44):
And kind of going back to your example a little bit. Yeah. That was, you know, a stranger, if that was your mom, right. If that was somebody who was close to you, that’s going to affect you infinitely more. Right. Right. And so, so that’s why we look at, you know, typically it’s stuff that people that we know, right. And these horrible events that happened to us. So then our brain wants to say, okay, this horrible stuff’s happened to us. How do we prevent it from happening to us in the future? Okay. We have symptoms where it comes in and reminds us when we’re not thinking of it. I’m walking down the street. Doo doo doo doo doo. Oh, wait. I saw that guy. That was so horrible. What if that happened again? What if I walk up? What would I do if I walked up to the 711 up the street right there, and I saw a guy in his car lumped over his steering wheel. Okay. Those are intrusive thoughts. Okay. Okay.
Matt Marx (00:10:42):
Other things that we’re looking for is you feel bad. Like, why couldn’t I help that person? What’s wrong with me that I didn’t see that guy. Home-Built yeah. So I have this guilt, this survivor’s guilt. They have a couple of different phrasing for it. Why would deny not have the wherewithal to bust that window open and pull that guy out? Why didn’t I call 911? Why didn’t I start CPR? Right. It’s not your fault. There’s nothing you could have done. Those guys are already a handle of it. Like every, all those steps is already being taken as not your fault.
Brad Singletary (00:11:17):
Right. But your brain, you’ll some sense of responsibility for it.
Matt Marx (00:11:21):
And being the way your brain is, it wants to feel bad about it. Okay. Another part about that too, is you change the change the way you feel about the situation. Right now. I can’t sleep. Now. I worry about it. It bring it up all the time. I have behaviors. Like it doesn’t really matter because you know, at the end of the day, are we even really safe, right? You have these weird thoughts that are contributing to that, that source of the trauma. Another important aspect of PTSD is we want to avoid people, places, and things associated with our trauma. So in our example, I don’t want to go to 711 because I’m gonna re I’m gonna walk up on this guy who is about to die. And I want to avoid that at all costs. I get feels horrible. So I don’t want to do it.
Brad Singletary (00:12:20):
Yeah. You’ve experienced something. You’re afraid that it’s going to happen again. Any, any things, TV shows, movies, stories, words. I mean, there’s endless numbers of stimulus that you want to stay away from because you’re afraid you’re going to feel those same things again. So avoidance behavior.
Matt Marx (00:12:37):
We have negative feelings. So in our example, we, don’t not only do we not want to go to 711 we used to enjoy going to seven 11. So we’re not going to go to the convenience store anymore, because what if this happens again, right. I feel bad. I don’t want to, I want to avoid it. It makes me feel sad. Whenever I see that 711 I’m always looking over my shoulder. When I show up the 711, all of these are the big clinical term is marked alterations and arousal. We experienced life differently now because of this event. Okay.
Brad Singletary (00:13:16):
Is that where you become anxious, you know, arousal, like you just, you get to, you get upset, you find emotion, you’re crying. You’re arousal, what does it mean then?
Matt Marx (00:13:25):
Absolutely. So we’re always looking over our shoulder. We freak out when we shouldn’t freak out. Like we have these heart rate, heart rate goes up. We, we don’t experience things. We don’t experience going to that store like we used to.
Brad Singletary (00:13:42):
Sort of, your physiology is all tweaked out and you’re breathing hard or you get tense or you’re.
Matt Marx (00:13:47):
And our brain is saying, Hey, and usually what I do, and I’m explaining this to my clients is I get a pencil and I flopped myself in the head and our brain says, “Hey, I don’t want you to do that anymore. I want you to, I want to avoid that. That was bad. I don’t, I don’t want to experience that anymore.” So it does that in several ways. And that’s where we find. And that’s how we develop that PTSD and how that, how that now reacts to us. Now, we kind of had this example of finding this guy lumped over in his car. And we’re freaked out about going to 711 now, now in our relationships, how much worse is that if we have a loved one or spouse, that’s a survivor of sexual trauma and we get in an intimate situation and she, and he, or she freaks out. And is that detrimental to our relationship now? And how do we, how do we better understand that going forward?
Brad Singletary (00:14:47):
Yeah. So you say your wife has dealt with you know, some sexual assault at some point in their life and all of a sudden out of the blue, or maybe as a chronic issue, there’s, she’s triggered by that. And she goes into this weird place, or she shuts down or begins to cry or has some reaction.
Matt Marx (00:15:05):
Triggers are, are amazing on, on how they affect us. If I go back, like I remember my dad worked in a construction field where he used a pipe machine and sometimes I can walk through home Depot. And there’s a section in the plumbing section where they have a pipe machine set up. And if I smell that pipe machine, I’m six years old again. Right. If I smell the perfume that my mom had when, when I was a kid and she hadn’t her master bedroom and, and you walked through a department store and you smell, they’re like, Oh yeah, my mom used to wear that. Right. Like, so smells bring us back. I like that. It just smells and touch and all those different things
Brad Singletary (00:15:48):
Read data that you’re something you see,
Matt Marx (00:15:52):
See like, yeah. So, so then it reminds our brain and we’re right back in the middle of that trauma, no matter how long it’s been sometimes.
Brad Singletary (00:15:59):
So the pain of the situation is so strong that your brain is kind of recording. Like, Oh, remember this, when you smell this, when you see that thing happen get far away, you know, fight or flight response shows up and you and your, the arousal is up. So there’s some anxiety you may become angry because your brain is saying, I know this is not good for you.
Matt Marx (00:16:21):
Right? And so back, you know what I, my visualization I use a lot is that the pencil smack myself in the forehead saying, Hey, remember, remember, I don’t want to go through that again. And it’s hard for us that didn’t experience that to help our partners through that. Right?
Brad Singletary (00:16:43):
So that seems protective though, if it’s your brain saying, I don’t want you to go through that. How does it become a problem? How do these symptoms like create issues where, you know, life is more difficult now because of this?
Matt Marx (00:16:56):
Let’s just roll back to 711, I, our convenience store. So it makes life more difficult now because your vehicle needs fuel. You need to be able to go to a gas station and fill up. So if you’ve developed this, this fight or flight response to going to fill up your gas tank and going in to get a soda that is now a problem, right. That we, we would call that clinical significance. And that is an activity that we need to be able to do.\.
Brad Singletary (00:17:26):
Can’t do it anymore. Can’t do it without serious repercussions.
Matt Marx (00:17:31):
Yeah. Now on the other hand, one of the, yeah, one of the examples I use, is a guy in hurt. I go to grocery store. The example I use is what if I get a really bad car accident and I take a big whiff of my air freshener, and it was a new car smell or another smell, let’s say, it’s a leather smell, take that big within. Right. And then I rolled my car three times and that was a traumatic, horrible experience. It was an acute, traumatic, horrible experience. Now I have no problem getting in and out of a car, but I tell you what, if I get that new car smell or that the other car smell I freak out. Now we can do a lot of work. We can do a lot of exposure, or when you’re rolling through the carwash, I’ll go ahead and get the cherry. Right. And how often does that really bother you to smell that smell? So, yeah, you can have a trauma response, but it depends on, on is it had, does it have that clinical significance where you want to work on it?
Brad Singletary (00:18:37):
So avoidance really kind of, that’s the natural, that’s the natural instinct. You want to avoid this stimulus, avoid the situations, avoid the things that remind you of that, but that kind of ironically perpetuates the anxiety. So exposure is one of the ways to do that. We talked about causes of PTSD. We get through the symptoms there. Yeah. Okay. We talked about what causes it, you’ve gone through something terrible. This is, this is affecting you beyond 30 days in ways that, you know, creating anxiety, you want to avoid this stuff. There may be anger. There could be re-experiencing, you know, nightmares. There could be just the random kind of flashbacks type of thing. What do we do about it? So I’ve had something happen to me and I can’t, I can’t live my life in a, in a normal, healthy, adaptive way with, with, with the stuff that’s going on inside me. What, what does the guy do?
Matt Marx (00:19:36):
Well, first and foremost, like don’t confuse this with treatment. It’s really important to get somebody who is qualified, who can help you develop a treatment plan and help you get and work on your defense mechanisms in your brain, right? Help you overcome some of these challenges as we’re going to mental health forever. And I was listening to like NPR or something, and I was coming home from lunch and they were interviewing Karen pants and they were talking something about PTSD and, and soldiers. And she just said, PTSD is a diagnosis of avoidance. And I’m like, why? I’ve never heard it said so plain. And so simply, right? Like that is like 20 minutes of me talking to somebody. If I, if, if I just cut that out and said, PTSD is a diagnosis of avoidance, what do we need to do to overcome our avoidance? And what do we need to do to grab those that by the horn, I’m a really big fan of identifying, talking describing and coming up with definitions. And so then when we talk about definitions, we can come, come away with cognitively ways of overcoming some of avoidance tendencies.
Brad Singletary (00:20:49):
Yeah. We’re going to do a we’ve got a whole episode plan. We’ve, we’re already setting this up to really go deep, deep dive into some of the treatment options for that. But basically you’re saying just, you know, get help, find someone that’s qualified. I’m a big fan of some people discouraged this, but I’m a big fan of, you know, you might begin with Googling it. Not because you’re trying to diagnose it or rule anything out, but just see what it says on the National Institute of Health website. See what the Mayo clinic has to say about it. Look at a few sources and say, they’re going to give you a list kind of similar to what we’ve gone through tonight and just see if it, if it fits at all, talk to some people, it may take building up some courage. One thing about men where our audience is mostly men, you know, we could have broken our leg, fall, fell off a cliff, there’s blood and it’s swollen, and we can’t even walk. And we don’t want to go to the doctor. So to go in and talk to a stranger about our emotions and our feelings. And, you know, I have nightmares at night. That seems like, I mean, you guys are afraid to look like a pussy. I don’t want to go talk to them about, I cry sometimes. I don’t want to go talk about how I can’t go to 711.
Matt Marx (00:21:58):
How about this? If you don’t go tight, talk about it. You and you’re never going to go to seven 11, and you’re always going to cry and you’re never going to be able to sleep. And you’re just spend the next 20 years. Why live with that right back to if you broke your leg. Yeah. You’d go see a doctor and he let him put three pins in it. And you’d give you a couple of pain pills and you and your walk with a limp for a little bit, and then you’ll figure it out and then you’ll be fine. You have diabetes. So you go to the doctor, he gives you some Metformin, gives you insulin insulin injections if you need it and you learn to live with it and you move on with life, why do we think of mental health any differently? Like, dude, I just want you to be better. We have 80 trips around the sun. You’re going to be affected by this for 40 of them are, you know, wait until you’re sick. You’ve done 60 trips around the sun to, to deal with this. In the meantime we exhibit anger. In the meantime we get agitated. In the meantime, we can’t go to 711. I love Slurpees. Like it would be horrible if I couldn’t go to 711 and get a Slurpee.
Brad Singletary (00:23:02):
Sleep at night, have sexual issues. Don’t want to be around crowds of people. Don’t like the 4th of July. Can’t, you know, experience life in the way that you want to.
Matt Marx (00:23:12):
Yeah. So we can work on it. We can, or you can work on it and get through it now and not put yourself through that exercise for the next however many years.
Brad Singletary (00:23:25):
So one of the things that we described there and we talked about PTSD is anxiety. That’s one of those arousal things, but I find that it’s one of the most common mental illnesses, anxiety. I want to break that down a little bit. I find a lot of people don’t really know what that means. You know, they, some people, you hear the word I’m anxious and they think that means I’m eager. I’m ready to go. I’m ready for my vacation. I’m anxious to go on vacation. And that’s, there’s a whole misunderstanding. I think with a lot of people, if you haven’t looked into this and done some reading, or you haven’t talked about it in your family or never been really exposed to it. And so I know that for example early in my career, I was working with this couple Matt on some couples counseling and I worked together for six or seven weeks with them. I’ve got homework assignments here. You’re going to go on dates. And you’re going to do these, all these lovey-dovey couple, you know, marriage things to improve their relationship. And I realized six or seven weeks into it. This is, this dude has anxiety.
Brad Singletary (00:24:31):
And I hadn’t properly assessed for that in the beginning. And so the problem was he had become an angry jerk, but that was stemming from anxiety. So let’s talk about what is anxiety? How was it experienced? What causes it, how do people deal with that? So anxiety let’s go for it.
Matt Marx (00:24:46):
So anxiety is more than just fear. Like anxiety is typically overwhelming and we don’t know how to experience it. And we’re always on edge. We’re always keyed up. We’re always muscle tension irritable, right? So the irritability with that is I’m scared to go do this. I want to avoid it. Therefore it’s easier for me to yell at my significant other, and I won’t have to go do this again, or they’ll leave me alone about it.
Brad Singletary (00:25:21):
So irritability is just fresh. You’re F you’re easily frustrated. It’s easy for someone to get under your skin. You you’re, you’re barking at them. You’re snapping at people and you’re being,
Matt Marx (00:25:32):
You know, you might be rude or do one of my favorite movies and this is going to sound goofy. I love inside out. Oh, I love inside out. Yeah, too. That is probably the best. Like sometimes I want to have it as required watching before I even sit down with like the oldest graph has person, bill heater does an amazing job expressing what anxiety is. Anxiety is our is our warning system. So with generalized anxiety disorder, right? Or just having general anxiety, our protection is over overwhelming. Now we kind of talked about that a little bit in PTSD, but there’s not that trauma component where we’re scared of that. It, you know, anxiety comes from trying to protect us from the craziness of the wild before we had houses and we’re sleeping outside on the ground all the time. Like, Oh yeah, we’re scared of snakes because they can come and they can hurt us. Oh yeah. We’re scared of big animals. Cause they can come and get us, except for now that we are domesticated and now we’re living in houses. We, we can’t turn that, turn that off. Right. So always on edge. We’re always looking for that next shoe to drop. We don’t feel like we’re doing a good enough job at work. Even though our boss is like, Hey, you’re doing awesome. I want to give you a promotion like Ali, when we, for the other shoe to drop, it’s not bound in reality. Sometimes
Brad Singletary (00:26:57):
That move, you talked about inside out, by the way, that’s an animated movie. And I have six kids. And so we would often go to the movies before COVID of course. And I usually will just sit on my phone and, you know, zone out while we’re in the cartoon while we’re in these, these animated movies. But this one was about it’s about emotions. My favorite part in that movie. It’s so funny. I think the fear was the green guy, the little skinny green guy. And he S so it’s the first thing.
Matt Marx (00:27:25):
No, there was purple, fierce. Purple. Okay.
Brad Singletary (00:27:28):
Purple but skinny kind of dorky looking thing. And it’s the first day of school and they’re like, Hey, you’re running late. What are you doing? And he’s got this big stack of papers. And he says, Oh, I’m just mad.
Matt Marx (00:27:39):
You can list of everything that could go wrong. How do you spell meteor? Hold on. The followup to that joke though, is she gets up to, to introduce herself and she totally bombs at any takes this big stack of all the horrible things that could have been done. And he’s like, how could I first seen this and throws it up in the air, that big stack of papers.
Brad Singletary (00:28:01):
One way that I describe anxiety is, you know, it comes you’re right. It’s a, it’s a warning system. And it’s a, and it’s kind of a fear response and it comes into form. So you can have these body sensations. So you’re sweaty, your muscles are tense, your stomach hurts. Your heart is pounding. Those, those kind of physical symptoms, and some people only have that. They just get this anxious feeling in their body here. I I’m defining it with the word. You’re not supposed to do that. But
Matt Marx (00:28:32):
Times like, for me, it’s difficult to remember concentrating difficulty remembering, and my mind goes blank. It doesn’t matter how many times I said this. Right. I’m like, hold on. Yeah.
Brad Singletary (00:28:45):
So you’re it. You’re feeling it in your body? When I was in, I don’t know, seventh to eighth grade, I had this serious sweating problem. Like I literally would have to wear two t-shirts to school because even that didn’t help my whole arm pit all the way down to like middle of my waist, just this huge sweaty mess. And I didn’t know it at the time. I had no idea that that was some, some anxiety, so it can be in your body. And it could also be in your thoughts, you’re worried. You’re, you’re afraid. Anticipating things, you, you, you just expect bad things to happen. What’s the word in there? A sense of impending doom. So you just, or you can have all of that. The thing about anxiety is yes, it is protective. So we have the fight or flight response. Some potential threat shows up and in, and in our ancestors’ past, that may be, that was a bear. Let’s say, bear shows up and you’re living your family in a cave. And the fight or flight response is your body’s energizing system. To say, you need to fight this bear, or you’re going to die or flight, which means run away. They’ve also added freeze. We’re going to talk about this more in the, in the trauma episode. So this is good. We need that, but we can be
Matt Marx (00:29:59):
Hacked. We can be tripped, tripped out. We can
Brad Singletary (00:30:01):
Be. You ever seen a scary movie? Yeah. My wife loves scary movies. I can’t, I don’t know why you would be entertained by getting too scared out of you, but
Matt Marx (00:30:11):
Wire you’re entertained by this my heart. So I crazy. I, I try to,
Brad Singletary (00:30:18):
I sit there with her sometimes and keep my eyes closed. And I think the most reason why we watched, I asked her to, I told her I couldn’t do it anyway. I have this sensitive sensitivity to anxiety so we can be triggered. We know this is a fake, we know this is a Hollywood film done with CGI and this isn’t, there’s no real threat, but our body doesn’t know the difference sometimes between these threats. And so we can imagine the worst thing happening. We’re we’re creating this scenario that doesn’t even exist. So we have this mental cognitive, these, these thoughts or images, so thinking anxiety, and then we can feel it in our bodies as well.
Matt Marx (00:30:59):
One of my favorite things to kind of point out to people sometimes is like, look, these are automatic responses, right? They’re automatic. Do you think about having your heartbeat? No. Okay. Then that’s something that your brain controls. Do you think about your breath? Well, sometimes can you control your breath a little bit? Okay. Can you, what about your fist? Can you ball up a fist? Can you move your arm? Well, absolutely. But your brain controls all that your brain is what controls your body. Sometimes it does it on purpose. Sometimes it’s your subconscious saying, okay, we’ve got to beat. We gotta beat. We gotta beat, Oh, you know what? This is scary right now. We need to move. We need to up the beats, hope we need to open up the blood vessels so that we need to breathe heavier so that we can either run bite or, you know, just kind of hide. What are we going to do? Our pupils dilate. Like there’s a whole bunch of physical reactions that our brain tells our bodies to. Do
Brad Singletary (00:31:54):
You remember fear factors that show still on fear factor? No. Remember that show where they would eat the bugs and they would win prizes or whatever fear factor. Anyway, one of them was, there was a they had this crane or this big tower thing over like a Lake. And it was maybe, I don’t know, a hundred feet up to whatever the distance was, way up in the air. And there were strapped to this, to this pole thing. And they had had a heart rate monitor on them. And you think this is going to scare the out of you, and it’s going to make your heart race. But you could see in the camera’s kind of zoomed up in the person, way up in the air, on this tower. And if their heart rate went over, whatever number 120 or whatever it is, they were going to drop hundreds of feet down into this water.
Brad Singletary (00:32:35):
And I guess that they knew that, you know, this wasn’t going to harm anyone, but they didn’t want to fall and they wanted to win the prize. They wanted to win the contest. And so you see people in there talking to themselves and it’s like, Oh, I’m calming down now. Now it’s now it’s an 89. Okay. I’m feeling better now. Now, now I’ve got my, my pulse rate down to 85 or here we go, I’m calm. And another person would just be freaking out. I gotta find it. I bet there’s a clip of that somewhere on YouTube, but we can control the pace of our heart. We control our breath.
Matt Marx (00:33:05):
Yeah. Don’t look down. Just look up. You won’t realize that you’re hundreds of feet in the air. If you just look up
Brad Singletary (00:33:11):
Also another cool movie thing was from American sniper, Chris Kyle was there. He’s got somebody in his scope or he’s training. I don’t remember what part of the movie was, but he’s, I ended up as target and you can barely hear it in the movie. You kind of miss it if you don’t pay attention. But he says, if you control your breathing, you control your brain. And that’s one of the things that happens when we’re anxious, we start eating fast. And then our body is like, Oh no, see, look, you feel this, this must mean there’s something bad going on. And so we misinterpret all that and we get more scared and more freaked out unless we know what it is. So. All right. So we’ve talked about how we experiences in daily life. How does it affect us? You know, in relationships or what’s the, we talked about like symptoms, but why does it suck? Why, why, why does it, you know, because I am too scared to leave my house. Can’t leave my house. I, the sky is falling.
Matt Marx (00:34:09):
Yes. Something bad is going to happen to me. If I don’t do this, then this is what’s going to happen.
Brad Singletary (00:34:16):
Yeah. There’s also that with this could, there could be avoidance and it’s not necessarily related to trauma like PTSD, but I’m scared of judgment from people. I’m scared of looking like a fool. So I don’t want to go to the event. I’m skipping out on things. I’m missing life. I avoid the, the job interview because I’m afraid I’ll, you know,
Matt Marx (00:34:36):
Oh, the foolish. I don’t want to speak in public because I’m going to trip over my words and I’m going to forget what I’m saying. And by the way, when we talk about memory loss and, and clarity thought, like that’s a symptom of anxiety. So now we’re freaked out that we’re going to stand up in front of a room full of our peers. We’re going to stand up for a rueful people. And we’re going to stand up there and say even though you’ve prepared, even though you’ve written a beautiful speech, even though you’ve had speech writers help you out, that fear comes across. And then you forget how to like, read, like shut down. Like you’re up there, like hooked on phonics, trying to learn how to read all over
Brad Singletary (00:35:16):
Again, graduate school. Oh my
Matt Marx (00:35:19):
Gosh. All right. You stand up there. Like I know this, but so that’s how anxiety affects our daily life. Now, now take that very specific example that a lot of people have experienced. And now we, we ratchet it up three more points and that’s our daily experience driving our car home from work. We may not have ever been in a car accident, but we understand, or you know what? I would love to catch that flight to Tahiti. I love to do it. It’d be awesome, et cetera. I’m not getting on a plane. You’re going to tell me you’re going to get in a tube full of the people and hurdle yourself through the air at how many miles an hour pass. Okay, well, hold on air travel, exceedingly safe there’s websites. You can go on and see the odds. Like how long does that plane flight have to fly back and forth before there’s a problem, right?
Matt Marx (00:36:21):
But you had that fear. And by the way, it may not be fear of flight. These are very specific things, but generalize over so many different things. I don’t want my kids to go to play sports because what if they break their leg and they walk with a limp, the rest of their life. I don’t want my kids to play outside because the sun beats down on them. It’s too hot. I don’t want my kids to. And why aren’t I, by the way, you and I experienced all this stuff. Why aren’t we well, cause I have this anxiety. I have this fear. Whether or not it’s fair, whether or not it is accurate, I don’t want to experience it.
Brad Singletary (00:37:01):
Great. So the very common thing, generalizing anxiety disorder, the most common diagnosis out there, as far as the last, I heard different forms of anxiety, things like OCD. We won’t get into all that, but what do we do about it? So we, we recognize is happening. We know I’ve got sweaty hands and you know, and I’m, and I’m tense and I’ve got muscle aches and I have, you know, my stomach cramps up every day. There’s a staff meeting, or I believe that they’re going to fire me every time. There’s a conference call. You know, I understand this is a problem for me.
Matt Marx (00:37:36):
All right. So one of my favorite, one of the things I’ve learned the most in graduate school was this answer. It depends. Okay. So, and when we talk about it depends like it depends on severity. It depends on what it is, if you’re to the point and have you waited so long and narrow to the point where you can’t leave the house and you can’t do any of this other things, and you know what, maybe we might suggest talking with the prescriber to get that under the control so that we can then treat other, treat it. If you know what I’ve got this very specific thing that I’m scared of, and I need, need to overcome, then we’re going to do some insight. We’re going to work it out. I know that there’s that website on statistics on airborne travel, because I had to work that through with somebody just a couple of weeks ago. And okay, well, let’s look up the flight between United Las Vegas and lax would have to fly for 472 years before they had a fatal accident. That’s a statistic. Wow. Right. I
Brad Singletary (00:38:36):
Did that before. I had a real fear of flying. And what I did was I actually went through the FAA website. I think it is. And I read every incident report for every American, you know, airliner air travel company and all the way back to nine 11. And every single one was like the food cart, you know, ran over someone’s toe. And they wrote an incident report. You know, there, there was turbulence and the flight attendant twisted her knee and it was all this mild, mild stuff that, that kind of helped me that did help me.
Matt Marx (00:39:10):
And then that fear of flying. And then I wrote, then I was reading some of this stuff like, cause I kind of did that same, same exercise. And the runway was IC. They made a turn and the one tire went a little bit wide and it fell off the runway, right? Like no harm, no foul, except for, we’ve got to write everything up.
Brad Singletary (00:39:33):
One of the things I recommend that people do with this and anything, any, anything they come to me with really is look at, let’s go check out your medical health. You know, when’s the last time you had blood work done. I just had a whole extensive blood panel done on myself. They did this whole panel and everything was everything checked out, but there’s all kinds of things. You may have some deficiency in some minerals, something, you know, and that kind of tells them what, if there’s any medical treatment they might do. You know, if you’ve got blood sugar problems that can affect how you feel emotionally, that can affect what’s happening in your body. And then you’re like, Oh no, I’m sweating terribly just as anxiety. And so I’m afraid, no, this is, this is a blood sugar issue you’re having, this is something that you got to Hartford
Matt Marx (00:40:17):
And you got blood that Snickers commercial. Right? Like I love that. And I point that out to some of my clients all the time. Okay. Hey, look, you know, that, that thing I hear have a snake, like there, Sasquatch running around there. I hear how the Snickers and then it’s your girlfriend all nice and sweet again. You’re you? And you’re hungry. Yeah. You’re not, you’re not the same. Right? Like, okay. So that is a physical effect that affects some of our emotions. So your thyroid, if your hormones are out of whack, then your emotions are going to be out of whack. So sometimes we have to have these rule outs. Is it part of a medical condition? Substance abuse gets kicked out when we talk about mental health health a lot. But if you’re in the middle of substance abuse, of course, that’s going to amp your anxiety.
Brad Singletary (00:41:02):
Yeah. They say a while I got a drink just to, just to calm down. Well, no, you’re just chasing withdrawal. And so by the end of the day, end of the Workday, you’re anxious because you’re, you’re chasing this cycle.
Matt Marx (00:41:12):
We’re out of Nevada and in Nevada, marijuana is illegal and I don’t have a plus or minus. I don’t care. What I care about is we’re not honest about marijuana use. And one of the things with marijuana use is it helps with, they say that, Oh, I have anxiety. Therefore I need to smoke weed. What I’ve kind of found is that exacerbates some of that anxiety. And when we never talk about it and it’s never open, weed was taboo for so long. And so, but now we don’t have this social construct to say, Oh, well maybe we shouldn’t use it here. And we shouldn’t use it. They’re
Matt Marx (00:41:50):
Not all my anxiety. People smoke weed. But 95% of my weed smokers have anxiety. Oh, interesting. And that’s not a formal thing, but that describes it fairly well. And one of the things I love to tell him, he’s like, Hey, remember when you were a kid. Yeah. Remember when you wanted to go out and play. Oh yeah. And your mom said, no. They’re like, well, yeah. And they’re like, not till you get your laundry done. They’re like, Oh yeah, yeah. I did that. And you know, that happened to you all the time. Like, remember when you’d pull the sheets back and you dump all your clothes underneath your sheets and then for the sheets back over all your clean clothes and then take their dirty clothes hamper to your mom and be like, Hey, I got to go down with the laundry. Right. And you never did the laundry. You just masked the problem. Just moved it. Yeah. So, so I mean, that’s my soap box on that is like, Hey, listen, we just mask this problem. We’re going to put the sheets over it. We’re not going to deal with it. It’s still there. We still need to overcome it. We still need to deal with it. Put your feet in the dragon with a bit of water.
Brad Singletary (00:42:56):
Yeah. You might get some haters on that I’ve had, in some ways I think something like that, we got to do a whole nother show. I don’t care. But yeah, I do. You do you, but be honest about it. Yeah. Be honest about it and make sure that there aren’t other things in general, we’re talking about like with medication and stuff like that maybe is a good place. There are plenty of chemicals that could help you with these things. Sometimes it might be cannabis products. Sometimes it might be benzodiazepine. Sometimes it’s an SSRI or some other, you know, medication, beta blockers I’ve even seen prescribed for this stuff. So in general, when we’re talking about medications, so somebody says, I’ve got a problem with one of these disorders we’re talking about. They go to the doctor, they say, okay, I recommend you take this medicine. Here’s this SSRI, here’s some Lexapro or whatever it may be. How should a guy be reasonable about looking at that? Some people reject it completely and say, there’s no way in hell. I’m taking a psychotropic med. Others would say, yeah, I need more double it up. Can I get three of them? You know, and they maybe want to overuse it. So what’s for the person who’s just beginning to treat their symptoms with medication. They go to the doctor and they’re given something, how might they reasonably and rationally approach that?
Matt Marx (00:44:14):
So medication super tricky because back to my favorite grad school answer, it depends, right. It depends on what the, what the underlying cause of that, that it needs to be treated by the psychotropic medication. Right. So if, and what, we’re going to go to the diagnosis that we’re going to go to here and I’ll go to bed is bipolar. Okay. That’s going to be a longterm treatment. Something that is anxiety, especially in anxiety that is it’s popped up very recently. It is conceivable that you might only be on it for short term. However, I do know several people that have been on psychotropic medication for depression and anxiety for a very long time. And so I’m a big fan because it works. I’m a big fan because if you’re so anxious, you can’t leave the house. It helps you get to the point where we can work on it. It gets you out of the house. It gets you to where, where we can then explore and figure out what’s going on. Yes,
Brad Singletary (00:45:20):
You may just need a little bit of help. Ultimately, this is, this may mean a whole change in all areas of your life. You know, spirituality, relationships, what, how you’re thinking. But if your physiology is out of whack, your heart’s racing and you can’t, you can’t slow down that arousal. We talked about earlier, it’s going to be hard to think through the cognitive behavioral therapy that you’re going to. And so the medication can just kind of help stabilize, you know, equalize some of your chemistry a little bit and, and it may be temporary. Maybe long-term
Matt Marx (00:45:51):
Acute. You break your leg. Yeah. You, you might have something going on just for a little bit. Right? Same thing with mental health. Sometimes it’s acute. Sometimes it’s chronic, right? Sometimes we have chronic diseases and we have acute diseases, acute diseases like breaking your leg, chronic disease like diabetes. And so same thing with mental health, we have stuff that’s super short-term and we can deal with it fairly quickly. And then we have stuff that you might take a little bit. We might have to look at it a little bit longer, and it kind of depends on you, your prescriber, your, your, your team, your prescriber, your therapist, your family, and you.
Brad Singletary (00:46:32):
So when it comes to working with the doctor, I’m a fan of, of medic medical intervention in general. I just think science is amazing. Medicine is a beautiful thing that we’ve figured out so much, and it’s not a fix all for everything, but I think it should have, it has its merit and it should be considered respectfully and really looked at with some, with a rational mind. It may take people. Sometimes I took three different medications for anxiety. After my divorce really had a hard time and I ended, I took three different ones. What helped me was to F I talked to my family and I found out my sister had been taking Lexapro. I had no idea. Well, knowing that that works so well for her. She’s my sister. We share some chemistry. We share, share some genetics here. So I went to that one and it was the, it was the magic trick.
Brad Singletary (00:47:20):
And I probably took that. Maybe it was probably like five years. And I finally got to the point where I felt like I didn’t need that, but it may take some time for them to get to that to get to, you know, figure out what it is you want. One really cool thing that I learned is so in like medical shorthand, there’s all these little abbreviations. And you know, if you’re talking about treatment, you might write it like TX talking about symptom. You might write S X, well, RX, we’re talking about prescription or medication. Why do they write RX? Do you know the answer to that?
Matt Marx (00:47:55):
I know history is HX history,
Brad Singletary (00:47:58):
X yeah. Behavior BX, or there’s a lot of different things. So recipe it’s from recipe. So it’s the Latin or whatever, whatever the language is, but it, but it comes from about it’s about recipe. And, you know, literally used to mix it up in that little crucible thing and crush up the medicines and whatever. And they had, would kind of identified this recipe. Well, how do you have a recipe when we’re such complex chemical beings that, you know, I mean, if you look at female chemistry, for example, there are different every day with hormones and whatever you, if a guy, you know, you put on some weight, you lose some weight. Now your chemistry is different. You’re three years older than when you started, your chemistry is different than the recipe might need to change. And so this is not something that you’re going to, they’re going to give it to you.
Brad Singletary (00:48:46):
It’s not like, Oh, you have, you got a toothache. Here’s some medicine. And you know, as soon as you’re done just quit, this may be a long-term thing. So when one of my clients has gone to a doctor and has some kind of psych med, I tell them, give it at least a year. Not that particular medication, but talk to your doctor every time they want you to come in every month or whatever it is for a year. By that time, they might have something figured out. And it just gives people a reasonable expectation about this. Could you could take the fourth pill before they really know, or am I taking it in the morning or am I taking it at night? You know, so
Matt Marx (00:49:27):
I’ve seen miracles happen. Yeah. Seriously, just with a little white or blue or green or whatever color you take the blue pills, mind your business. No, I think that’s a great answer though.
Brad Singletary (00:49:45):
So right. We talked about medication. People are going to probably want to do some, some therapy. You know, there’s some, there’s so many cool things that you can do to learn to deal with this. We won’t get into them now, but you got to talk to some professionals. If this is getting in the way of your relationships, your parenting, you can’t do your job. You’re afraid to go to the mall. You know, you in your pants sometimes when something scary happens. Oh, one thing we missed on the PTSD, maybe I’ll paste this in later. Another symptom of PTSD is the startle response, you know, an exaggerated startle response. So you get spooked and you and your jolt and you’re, you know, it’s, it’s more than just something scary really happened, but it’s exaggerated. And it happens all the time that start over. Yeah. Hypervigilance that’s w
Matt Marx (00:50:36):
So just kind of a bookend on the medication. It works because it works. Conversation is an honesty with your prescriber are key. Don’t think just because you’re doing better, you should stop. Because one of the reasons you’re doing better is because it might be because of the medication. A lot of medications take a while to build up, like more than just a day or two, like a week, two weeks, three weeks, and they need to be titrated or they need to be taking, I need to ramp up and they also need to ramp down and you need to do that with your prescriber, the dangers, especially with something as chronic, it was like bipolar. I’ve seen several times with several different clients where you know what I’m doing. Awesome. Woo. I’m good to go. I don’t need to take this pill anymore. Why should I have to take this pill? I’m doing great. Yeah. I was, I was a mess three weeks ago, but I’m doing awesome now. And then they take the pill or they stopped taking the pill and they crash and the dangers of hospitalizations kind of go up. So be it.
Brad Singletary (00:51:44):
Yeah. That’s, he’s so right about that, that you can, there’s all kinds of like rashes with some of these medications. You can put your body into shock if you suddenly stop, but like, you totally have to be to begin and end this stuff with the, with consultation, with your doctor. Now, one thing, I guess I’m a fan of too, you mentioned communication is you, you need to learn some language, you know, that your doctor’s visit is going to be quick. You know, some of these are 15 minutes. If you’re lucky to sit with your prescriber, so you need to know the language and you might prepare for those with some bullet points. Maybe you’ve done some reading about anxiety. And so you have racing thoughts, for example, or whatever. If you say racing thoughts, the doctor knows exactly what you’re talking about. If you say, I’m have this perspiration, you know, the sweating issue, or I’m having be able to describe heart palpitations and know that that’s the name for it. Because if you just go in there, I don’t feel well. And I’m, I’m scared. And I, and they don’t know if this is in your mind. And so you got to learn some of the buzz words, I guess, for how to describe what it is you’re feeling. And those things are out there. Just do a little reading on it.
Matt Marx (00:52:53):
A really great resource is if you’re seeing a therapist and say, Hey, how can I accurately describe this to my prescriber so that I can get some of the best medication Brad and I can rattle off? Oh yeah, the heart palpitations. I’m experiencing cold sweats. I’m experiencing night sweats. I’m experienced so we can help. We as clinicians and we, as trained professionals can help you accurately articulate. I’m a big fan. I don’t care if you’ve been seeing therapists for 10, 15 years. Okay. My first two or three sessions, we’re going to go over definitions. We’re going to go over. This is what this is like, this is how our body reacts so that we have that vocabulary so that when we talk to, okay, you know what, this time for me to go to prescriber, I’m going to go to my nurse practice, psychiatric nurse practitioner, my psychiatric per PA physician’s assistant. I’m going to go to my psychiatrist and I’m going to say, this is how I’m experiencing things. This is how my body’s reacting. I need help with these five major symptoms.
Brad Singletary (00:54:01):
Yeah. So being able to do that really starts with educating yourself. You can do that with a professional. There’s tons of great material out there. We’ll post some links to some good websites we can read about symptoms and mental health. And again, the point is not to circumvent the medical or professional world it’s to prepare yourself for it, to be able to go in there and explain what’s happening. Think of how complex your emotions are and your thinking patterns. And what’s going on with your body. Boy. That’s if you can, if you can just be prepared with some of that. So educating yourself really important. Some people are really nervous about medication or starting their kid on, or they don’t want to start taking something heavy or whatever. I saw a good little, I dunno, comic strip or something one time. And it’s this guy sitting in his doctor’s office.
Brad Singletary (00:54:46):
And he says, you know, I don’t feel well. And the doctor says, well, you need to drink more water. You need to get more physical activity, get more sunshine talk to more of the people that you love, give some service in your community. And, and come talk to me in two weeks. And so there’s so many things. If you’re not ready to do that, yet, there may be plenty of other things while you’re eating and drinking. I swear to you, if I eat a bowl of spaghetti, I’m going to be off in about an hour. It’s great. Does this thing to my blood sugar, what happens? You know, if I eat a big old thing of like Panda express, like fried rice, if I eat a bunch of carbs, I turn, I get, I turned into the Hulk, man. I don’t know what it is, but what you eat, what you drink, sugar does that for some people, I’m not a dietician.
Brad Singletary (00:55:29):
I’m just saying those things matter. If you, if you haven’t been outside in three weeks, there’s no fresh air. You’re smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. You know, you might not need psych meds. You might need to quit freaking smoking. You ha you, you know, you’re eating, you eat potato chips and haven’t showered in three weeks. Those things might help you feel better if you, if you change that up a little bit. So if you’re not ready to jump into medication, understandable, I get the controversy. I get the fears. You may end up with that, but make those decisions with some people that you trust, you know, a professional’s going to shoot you straight family members sometimes don’t know what they’re, you know, that they don’t have a lot of knowledge about this stuff to to share, but open it up to someone and, and hopefully people that you trust, do some research on your own and consider talking to a professional and they can guide you to, you need to check this doctor, Oh, maybe you a sleep study, ask your primary care physician about that.
Brad Singletary (00:56:26):
So what’s going on with your body is going to affect what’s happening with your mood and your behaviors and so forth. So, all right. So another super commonly misunderstood disorder is bipolar disorder. What’s funny to me is people just throw this term out there. Like you’re, you know, somebody has a mood, somebody gets angry, you know, you’re pissy at the family event, a family barbecue. And you’re like, Oh, they’re so bipolar. They think they’re describing behavior. But w what we want to do is break it down. I’ve even heard of people that have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and given medication. And they don’t even know what it is. I talked to a person when I was at another clinic that I worked at, who had medication, had been doing treatment therapy for a couple of years, and didn’t even really know what it was.
Brad Singletary (00:57:14):
So I busted out the DSM and kind of went through the criteria. And they were like, thank you. I had no idea. That’s what this is I had to, there was some parts of that. I had no idea, you know, there’s no, their mood is kind of weird and they, and they have these problems maintaining stability. But so we’re going to go through some of this because it’s, it’s common. It’s also commonly misunderstood. If you get off at something, doesn’t mean you’re bipolar. We hear that stuff a lot. And or if someone is, is a, is a little different now, or they’re, you know, they’re going through something. And we, we want to throw that out there at the same time. Other people clearly have the symptoms of that, and it’s just missed it. I’ve seen 50 year olds. They live their whole life, maybe with this, their whole adult life anyway. And no one ever knew it, no one ever suspected it. They never got checked out. They’ve had problems that we couldn’t go. We could go back and say, see this one, see what happened there. What happened in this event, in your life and all these, this pattern. So we want to talk about the patterns and take it away, man.
Matt Marx (00:58:13):
Okay. So I went to break it down to its simplest explanation. I usually take my hand and I make a wave that goes up. It goes down. Now the waves about six inches tall. And we as human beings normally go through this type of emotion, right? We have highs. We have lows. We might go dip down just a little bit. We might dip up just a little bit. We win the lottery. We dip up on a background of dies. We dip down a little bit. That’s normal. That is normal behavior. What I’m looking at, and I’ll raise my hand as high as I can. We typically call that mania. So we, we, we live life super high. And then all of a sudden something happens, something clicks. And then I make my hand go as low as I can. And I say, as low as I can, I guess and say, okay, now we can’t get out of bed.
Matt Marx (00:59:07):
So we went from being super awesome spending money that we don’t have. We went from having difficulty concentrating. We, we went from doing things all night long, staying for days at a time we go from, from all those symptoms and, and criteria, what we call mania. We go from those emotional highs to the deepest, dark, as love as a depression. I can’t get out of bed. I have feelings of worthlessness. I’m super sad. We’re going to talk a little bit more about depression as its own on its own, but just understand like depression is a symptom and it is a diagnosis. So we can have depression associated with PTSD. We can have associate depression associated with anxiety. We can have depression associated with bipolar. So bipolar is really that mood and stability, where we have super highs and super lows. We can re cycle rapidly, like within a day, or we can set up a cycle more long-term it can take two or three, a couple of weeks, but we’re experiencing super highs and super abnormally, super high as an abnormally, super lows. And it is affecting our behavior, our relationships, our jobs, every aspect of our life. We don’t just see it. Oh, you know, when I’m at home, I get super happy at home. I get super sad. No, when I’m at work, I take unnecessary risks. When I’m in a good mood. When I’m in a bad mood, I can’t open up my door and I just cry in my office.
Brad Singletary (01:00:47):
Unnecessary risks. Like what kinds of things like your, Oh, it can be taking could mean and not necessarily at work, but in general, what does that mean? Risk-Taking
Matt Marx (01:00:55):
Okay. Sorry. I touched on it just a little bit. So risk taping, spending money. You don’t have gambling with money. You don’t have, and we’re not talking about a gambling disorder by, you know what? I’m so awesome. I can’t lose elevated. Self-Esteem I’m so awesome. I do everything right. I’m Bulletproof. Oh my gosh. And you know what? I do everything perfect. Nobody else does anything near as well as I do, dude, you just took, you just took a vacation for a month and the company’s still here. Yeah. But I’m awesome. So this elevated self sense of self-worth
Brad Singletary (01:01:30):
Is that different from just say a narcissist. So he’s always, you know, narcissist always thinks that about himself, but this is different with like bipolar, because it kind of comes and goes. Right.
Matt Marx (01:01:40):
Well, yeah. So, so that’s the peak, right? So we had these awesome peaks in behavior. We have these awesome peaks of narcissism and then, Oh, wait, everything falls apart. And I go crash and back to the deepest, darkest lovers of depression. So how can somebody have the dichotomy of I’m super awesome. I I’m the most important person ever. And then, Oh, wait, I’m worse. And then like a week later, I’m worthless. The week later I can’t get out of bed. It doesn’t matter what I do. I’m I’m done. There’s a very highest suicide rate associated with bipolar. The scary part. Is it the depression part? That’s not where we worry about added bipolars with suicide suicidality. It’s when they’re at the top and Oh, I’m feeling awesome. Oh, wait, I feel myself going down and I don’t want to experience that again, dude, is it feels great to be up. Yep.
Brad Singletary (01:02:43):
People describe it. Just like euphoria, like you’re on a drug you’re just super productive. You’re creative. And I’ve heard people I’m going to stay up all weekend and write a book. You know, my mind is just popping with all this potential and all these things and I feel so good. I’m getting it done. And my garage is clean and everything’s wonderful,
Matt Marx (01:03:03):
Which is great. But then you go to read the book and it’s super tangental. It’s got word salad. Oh yeah. I was going to clean that up and post and you’re like, Oh, okay. Like, like people brought in these things that they’ve, they’ve written and I’m just like, I have a really good imagination, but I can’t follow this. And then I start questioning my ability to read. So, so we’re just kind of all over the place and yeah, we’re doing tons of stuff for not getting anything done. Yes.
Brad Singletary (01:03:33):
There seems to be some similarities with like hyperactivity and ADHD, some of those symptoms and whatever. And apparently a lot of, a lot of children are diagnosed with ADHD when it’s really something more like a pediatric bipolar. But so can’t not sustaining attention. You’re, you’re, you’re sped up. You know, you’re really talking really fast. So that looks like the hyperactive ADHD kid talking really fast, but this is February. This is happening. This is, this is only this, this 10 day period or this several days or something that’s happening. This is not who they are all the time. So they go through these uncharacteristic changes. They become super different.
Matt Marx (01:04:10):
It’s an it’s untypical characteristics. It becomes typical for them. It becomes characteristic of them. And so when you’re suffering from this, you go for the, all these highs, you talk super fast. You don’t let anybody, I can tell people on the phone when they’re being manic. Like I can’t say, hi, my name is Matt. Like they’ve wrote a whole conversation and they don’t come up for air. You. And I might call that pressured speech when we’re getting educated. And we talk about, okay, you know, go to your provider and say, listen, I talked with my therapist. I talked with this professional. He identified several symptoms that I’m experiencing and said, medication might be advantageous. And you hand them this list. And they’re like, Oh yeah. Oh, and there’s the F 31.9, like, okay. And I know exactly what to have in that 10 minute consultation you have with that provider.
Matt Marx (01:05:07):
They know immediately that this person is suffering from, from this disorder. They have the, the coding for it. And by the way, you, as a layman might not understand the code, you know, have the access to coding. So that comes up here like, Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. Let me verify these symptoms that this person’s feeling a good clinician will say, okay, well, let me verify these symptoms. And that may do a couple of handful of rule. Lots of things that, but okay. Yeah, you’re right. I’ll we’ll, we’ll go with that. One thing I find that
Brad Singletary (01:05:42):
A lot of people are mistaken about is they, they think it’s, you know, you’re always up or you’re always down, but there could be long periods of kind of baseline stuff in between. I mean, you could, you could be totally normal for the year and have a depressive episode, you know, November, December and be fine in January, February, and then March and April, you go manic again. Is that, is that correct? So you’re constantly up constantly down. It’s not only the extremes. There could be some range in between.
Matt Marx (01:06:12):
So when I’m making that motion with my hand where I’m going all the way up, and then I go all the way down and everybody else kind of rolls in the six inch area. What I try to tell my, my clients is, look, your mood can be a lot like a hot air balloon. You’re going to do something. You’re going to add some heat on your way down. You’re gonna add some heat. And then a few minutes later, you’re going to rise up and you’re going to be cool for a little bit. And then that hot air is going to cools off. What do I need to do to heat that air back up? And you’re constantly riding this wave and what are we got to do to normalize behavior? What do we have to do to, and by the way, we can start feeling manic.
Matt Marx (01:06:53):
Okay, well, you know what? I start feel manic. Maybe I need to not go on Amazon right now. Right? Because in that main you’re like, Ooh, I need this, I need this, I need this, I need this. I need this spending sprees. Okay. You know what I’m feeling manic right now, or I’m filling all my way up trusted, loved one can use change the password on Amazon, right? Like I feel common. I’ll go ahead and browse. I’ll put a whole bunch of stuff in my wishlist and work it through. And then a week later, you know what? I didn’t need any of that stuff. Awesome. Sweet.
Brad Singletary (01:07:31):
Yeah. Impulsivity is one of those things. I, one of my clients this very, soft-spoken kind of gentle. I don’t know. She might’ve been 50 or 60 years old, just this Midwestern gal with these conservative values or whatever. She, on a manic episode, one time went and got her entire back tattooed. I mean, this is not this, I mean, we’re talking, this looks like some Tommy Lee stuff or something. She put on her back. And she came in and brought pictures to the group and it was like super bizarre for her normal way. Super out of character, very impulsive dropped, you know, I don’t know, $1,500 to get her whole back tattoo, took her the whole weekend. And that’s a little,
Matt Marx (01:08:10):
But that’s a little bit crazy. It’s outside the norm. Other people do things like,
Brad Singletary (01:08:16):
You know, the blow and a bunch of money. We talked about that, but just like, I’m going to buy some real estate. I’m going to drop some money on a down payment, on a house this weekend. And they haven’t really thought it through. So impulsivity is really bad in that mania.
Matt Marx (01:08:29):
One of the really bad parts about the mania is, and it’s hard. It’s hard to tease out, but risky sexual behavior. You know what? I should be able to have as many partners as I want. That’s fine. And dandy. That’s a choice. Are you being, are you each having safe sex with all these random partners? Like, cause if you want to have a whole bunch of partners, that’s fine, but you need to be safe about it and make that conscious choice. Well, no, I just, I, you know, that’s outside of character. Okay. Then that’s outside the character then. And so how do you T it takes professional to help you kind of tease out what’s a choice and what’s mania and what’s impulsivity. And then how do we like a hot air balloon? Do we need a lot of cool offs who don’t raise so high? Do we need to heat it up? So we don’t raise so low talking with your prescriber, making sure your medications on point talking with your therapist to make sure, Oh, you know what, I feel my way. Sometimes it’s rapid. Sometimes it’s slow. What do we got to do to kind of keep it even keeled?
Brad Singletary (01:09:33):
Yeah. So the one, I think the phrase in there in the criteria about this is like pleasure seeking. So you talked about sexual things. Definitely. That’s a common thing. You know, it could be other forms of that pleasure seeking one, one of my clients you know, he was masturbating like 20 times a day to the point he’s, you know, damaging the tissues on his, on his junk down there because he, he, he just couldn’t, he would just go into these deep places of just seeking pleasure, just physical stimulation to the point that he was like, literally damaging his body. And he wasn’t normally doing that. And so you do that 20 times a day for a week and you’re in bad shape. You know, that that’s really not good. People have gotten infections. And you know, they’re often with, with you know, some anonymous partner and that’s not how they normally roll.
Brad Singletary (01:10:21):
Now, they’ve got an STD pleasure seeking risk taking what are some other things there impulsivity, the rapid speech arrogance. That’s something that I see almost always with, with mania is just arrogance. Like I’m a such a bad, you know? And it’s, it’s, it’s more than just confidence. It’s more than just self-assuredness. It’s like, you really think you’re cool. There’s this? What is it? Talk about a sense of self-importance I think is how it’s worded in there, like an inflated sense of self-esteem or inflated. I had a client one time, this guy was like 75 years old, retired. How does, you know, Toyota Camry just lived in the retirement community and he got in a car accident because he was racing these teenagers. So that’s an example of that, you know, risk-taking kind of behavior, he’s at a red light. He sees these kids he’s manic and he he hits the gas on his Camry and I don’t know the balls it up. Yeah, totally crashed into the light pole or whatever. And so risk-taking
Matt Marx (01:11:27):
So w and when we talk about painful harm activities, like I know people that have been in that manic state spend a lot of money and then digging themselves out of that financial turmoil is pain is really hard to do sometimes. But the other side of that is catching the major depressive episode. And when we talk about depression, again, depression is a symptom, but it’s also its own diagnosis. When it is in conjunction with, with that mania, then we’re going to look at bipolar depression States. We’re having, we feel awesome. And then we had, we don’t have any diminished in our interest in pleasure. Right. I have zero sex drive. I have
Brad Singletary (01:12:13):
Nothing’s nothing feels good, no fun anywhere. Yeah.
Matt Marx (01:12:16):
Significant weight loss. When you’re not dieting, depressed mood, not being able to sleep or sleeping way too much. You go from goal-directed activity. I’m going to write a book in a weekend, too. I’m not getting out of bed for two weeks, right? I’m not getting out of bed. I don’t want to get out of bed. Other people noticing that your feelings are, are, are, are up and down. Anybody that’s lived with somebody with bipolar or has been around them, seek can see those mood swings. They can see them in text messages and they can see them. They can hear them in phone calls and they can see them when they’re right in front of them, right in front of them. Because I really liked the person when your baseline. You’re a lot of fun when you’re up, but then you crash. So you have that fatigue. When you’re down, you have the feelings of loneliness. We go from feeling, I have those narcissistic type qualities all the way down to, I’m not smart enough to get out of bed. Right. I can’t do this. I can’t get up. I can’t do any of this diminished ability to think. We kind of covered that a little bit with anxiety, but I’ve got this mental fog. And I can’t recall my, this information. I know it inside and out. I just, I just want to go back to bed. I just want to lay back down.
Brad Singletary (01:13:32):
Can’t put it all together and concentrate, stay focused,
Matt Marx (01:13:36):
Recurrent thoughts of death. And when we talk about just thinking about it over and over again, sometimes it’s, we’re going to hurt ourselves. Sometimes we can’t get away from this. Like that’s when we need to really talk with somebody and help work out. Some of those, some of those emotions and thoughts
Brad Singletary (01:13:53):
I’ve been there, you know, I’ve, I’ve definitely been there for sure, with depression. You can kind of creep up, you know, you look at everything around you, you just, everything is negative. Nothing’s working out. There’s just, I think what a lot of men don’t necessarily connect with with depression is the sadness part. You know, some guys will sit and cry all day and that happens, but maybe that’s rarer than things like fatigue, lack of motivation. Just can’t do the things I gotta do. I can’t get up and crashing. Oh, okay.
Matt Marx (01:14:27):
Yeah. Like a lot of my, a lot of my guys in, in practice, I see a lot of, a lot of guys, they get angry and I don’t know how to express this. Therefore I’m mad at my boss. And so I kicked my dog coming home. Like, it’s not okay to do that, but I can’t kick my boss. I can’t yell at my boss. I’ll get fired. Therefore there’s the dog. And it just lays there. And East Bay eats food, right?
Brad Singletary (01:14:55):
Yeah. Maybe there’s a, just a feeling of powerlessness and everything. And then when there’s an opportunity to lash out at somebody, it shows up as aggression or anger that could, that could be depression.
Matt Marx (01:15:08):
Yeah. I don’t know how to express. I feel in a certain kind of way. I don’t know how to express it. Can’t you just leave me alone. If you can hear that, like you can hear and feel that. And people sometimes so many
Brad Singletary (01:15:20):
Is your you’re just kind of too high. That feels really good for most people. They don’t, they don’t want to medicate that because it’s like great. They, they clean their house and, you know, write a book and create a YouTube channel and do all these kinds of cool creative things, or, you know, detailed the refrigerator. And it’s all productive. And they like that energy. But it can become destructive. You’re doing irrational things. You’re taking risks. You’re pleasure seeking you’re out there being ridiculous in sleep all weekend. That’s where an extreme is. That’s where you can have psychosis. You know, you, you really, there could be paranoia or hallucinations, all kinds of different things can come out of that. When you, when you’re not sleeping, depression is not enough. It’s not enough energy, not enough motivation, not enough. Hope there’s just, you feel hopeless, maybe sad. People do cry. People do cry sometimes for no reason, they just can’t stop. Suicidal. Thoughts is probably, of course the most alarming one. We’ve done a couple episodes on, on, on suicidal things. And of course, if you’ve, if you or anyone, you know, is feeling that way ever, you must talk about it. You gotta, you gotta get help immediately.
Matt Marx (01:16:32):
So depression we’ve already covered a lot. And all those feelings. The difference when we have major depressive disorder is when it stands alone. Or maybe when it’s with anxiety. So when we don’t have trauma where we don’t have excessive mood swings, when we don’t have medical things going on with us, kind of as a diagnosis of exclusion, but we have all those other symptoms, then we’re going to go ahead and talk to you about depression. Again, medication helps talking about it, getting out. Sometimes we need to change your CIR circumstances. Okay? So what’s your lifestyle like right now, if you’re sitting on the couch and you haven’t gotten dressed in three weeks and you don’t know why, well, let’s start there and see how that improves. That’s, let’s start with low hanging fruit and go from there as conditions. We usually like to start with the least restrictive first. So if we can fig figure out ways that we can help you overcome before we get to some of the more drastic intervention.
Brad Singletary (01:17:35):
Yeah. We’re not going to start with electroconvulsive shock therapy. We’re not going to, we’re not going to start there. No, let’s, let’s talk about this and see, see what’s happening.
Matt Marx (01:17:43):
As fun as Peter Bankman is like, that’s not where we start.
Brad Singletary (01:17:47):
So timeframe. So everyone experiences a down period a down day. I very often, for example, we’ll have like, just, just a down day, man. I don’t, I’m just, I’m not feeling it. I don’t want to work. I don’t wanna, I don’t want to talk to anybody. I just want to isolate. I want to listen to all my sad songs. I just want to kind of be by myself. I don’t feel motivated. And I just, blah, and it’s, you know, a day, sometimes, maybe two in a row where we’re talking about this is like major depressive episode is we’re talking about most of the day, every day for like two weeks. So everyone has this down period of time, this down days, or a down hour, a down afternoon, a down weekend, that’s just pretty normal. But when you’re, this is day after day and it’s affecting your life and it’s affecting your ability to function in all your roles as a, as a parent or a husband or an employee is getting in the way.
Brad Singletary (01:18:49):
Now we’re talking major depression, right? So we’ve kind of been presenting this as if this is the demand, the guy in our audience right now, who’s listening to this who may be having some of these problems in his life and how he might consider it could be a mental health problem. What about if it’s your wife? You know, you’re, you’re a person you live with a loved one, a friend, someone close to you, you see these patterns, you heard this podcast and you’ve read some articles. You kind of know this looks like this is mental health, they’re unaware, or they’re resistant. You know what, how can a man be, you know, take the role of leadership and positive supporting kind of energy towards so many loves when they may have a mental health problem.
Matt Marx (01:19:33):
My favorite education, sometimes we fear what we don’t know. And we, we fear, Oh, this is going to cost me a lot of money. This is going to cost me a lot of this. Oh, wait, I don’t know how to deal with this. I don’t know how to handle this. So education really points a big, a big shining light on it. Now I’m not saying that you go get a degree in it, but maybe you show up to a therapist, say, you know what? I need help with dealing with my wife who suffering from a, B and C or this person in my has all these erratic behaviors. I don’t even know how to deal with it. So I go, you know what? I’ve never laid eyes on your wife, but I tell you what, here’s a diagnosis that matches some of the things we’re experiencing.
Matt Marx (01:20:19):
When we deal with people that have that diagnosis, here’s how they’re experiencing things. And we give them some insight. Like, I don’t know that’s what your wife’s got going on. However, when we have these drastic moves, she’s way up and way down. Maybe when she’s on her way up, we help support her in this way. And then when she’s on her way down, we supported this way and say, you know what? I’ve talked to this great guy. Maybe you should, maybe you should think about talking with somebody and see if they can help you out and get you out of your funk. Maybe when we S when we notice, or our partner discloses this trauma and they freak out and we notice trauma responses, maybe we should get educated on PTSD. I think we’ve covered a lot of that stuff, but if you go talk with a professional and say I need help navigating this.
Matt Marx (01:21:10):
Like one of my favorite phrases is, you know what? As, as a therapist, as a social worker, I take people that are in bad positions and I help them figure out a way to be in a better place, no matter what that is. Now, if you’re a better places I need to have, I need to have to learn to live with my significant other awesome. That’s where we go. If you’re better places, I don’t know how to deal with these mood swings. I don’t know how to help her get, get you help. That’s may helping you get to a better place.
Brad Singletary (01:21:42):
I heard some statistics one time about in a, in like a marriage or a significant relationship. If the man has mental health problems, the woman is more likely than average to stay with him. She’s more likely to stick around more than the guy without mental health problems. When a woman has mental health problems, the man is more likely to leave than the outfit than someone who doesn’t have mental health problems. That’s weak. If you ask me, that’s a matter of stubbornness, it’s a matter of being disagreeable like men, are we just we don’t want to be inconvenience. There’s some self absorption. And so one of the red nine, a couple of the red nine things that I think of that come into this is resourcefulness. Educate yourself, figure out what the figure it out. You can do that. That’s what a man does. He figures out what needs to happen.
Brad Singletary (01:22:33):
And if your wife had epilepsy and she fell down on the ground and has seizures every other day, you wouldn’t say to her, well, you don’t love me anymore. You know, why do you keep doing this? You wouldn’t be, you wouldn’t have that attitude. You would, you would take care of her, you know, and you would, it would be her hero and you would protect her the best she could. What if she’s angry and pissy and yelling, and she’s being weird in whatever way, consider that this could be, this. This could be medical issue could be mental health problem. This could be something that can be improved, but it may take, you’re really stepping up. So be engaged, be involved, go to the appointments, encourage it. You might have to pull up the phone number. You might have to make the appointment. You might have to go with her lovingly. Just prompt her along, go to the appointment with her, give your perspective. I always no matter who I’m working with, I want to talk to the parent, the spouse. I want, I want some collateral information because they may go there and say, I’m great, doctor. Everything’s good for me. You know, I feel good all the time. I’m, you know, I’m, I’m on top of my game. I’m on top of the world. I don’t know why my husband said to come down here.
Matt Marx (01:23:46):
I don’t even know what I’m doing here.
Brad Singletary (01:23:48):
So yes, you have perspective. So be engaged, be involved, be patient recognize that this, these hardly ever are just character problems. So many times the negative things that show up in our behavior and stuff like that, this is somebody dealing with something. They don’t even understand what’s happening within themselves. I look forward to an episode here soon, we’re going to talk about trauma and how that may be at the core of so much of what we’ve talked about tonight. But guys, this topic is important because there’s a high likelihood that you or someone you love does now, or will in the future deal with a mental health episode or some illness, some chronic situation. If you’re prepared, you won’t be afraid if you’re prepared. And if you’re understanding and you have good vision, and you can have a sense of discernment about what this, what could be going on, what’s normal, what’s risky.
Brad Singletary (01:24:39):
You know, this things are looking really strange with myself or this person. I’m doing these weird things. They’re doing these weird things. This is getting the way of my life. Reach out to someone. If you have nowhere to go, if you have nothing, no one to talk to. You can get in touch with me. I’ll also put Matt marks his information out there. If you want to reach out to us. And you know, we’re licensed here in Nevada, but we can get you set up wherever you are to help you know, how to find who you might need. So we appreciate you being with us tonight, Matt, any final words, how would you summarize our message tonight? What are we saying? Let’s wrap it up here.
Matt Marx (01:25:16):
Nothing that we discussed tonight as a character flaw. Yeah. All the, everything that we discussed tonight is the way people experience their life. And we’re just trying to help you live your best, best life.
Brad Singletary (01:25:33):
Once again, we appreciate you being with us reach out to us. If you would like some direction about where to go from here, appreciate you being with us Alpha up. Gentlemen you are the alpha is the Alpha Quorum.