ALPHA SHOT: One-minute Sample
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SOMETIMES WARRIORS GET NAKED
TAKING OFF YOUR EMOTIONAL ARMOR
Why is it so hard to ask for help? In this episode we discuss personal limitations and the bravery involved in seeking outside help.
Talking points in this episode:
How can a man know when he needs outside help?
Our own experiences in therapy and famous men who have been to therapy.
What prevents men from being willing to seek help?
Other topics discussed:
Pushing ego, pride and fear away in order to find the different available resources for help and self improvement.
Finding appropriate help and what to expect in a therapy setting. Also, how to get the most out of your experience.
Brad Singletary (00:01):
An alpha recognizes his limitations and asks for help when he needs it. He is resourceful, which means he knows how and where to get what he needs. He’s always seeking and accepting useful resources. He may need help with financial wisdom, medical problems, mechanical help, or sometimes he needs help to sort through his thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Today, we discuss why men can benefit from seeking professional help for mental and emotional and relationship troubles and how to make that a successful pursuit.
Brad Singletary (01:09):
Welcome back to the Alpha Quorum show. Brad Singletary here. I’m here with my friend Mike Olson, who joins us again. He’s been with us several times, I guess, on the show. He’s a contributor who’s with us often and is also a moderator in our Facebook group. By the way, while I’m talking about that, if you haven’t joined the Facebook group for men, it’s called Alpha Quorum tribe. It’s a closed private Facebook group where you can go there and kind of air out your, the situations that you’re dealing with. And there’s probably 13 or 1400 men from all around the world. They’re all just willing to share support and encouragement for guys who are just trying to make it through life and be stronger men. So if you haven’t joined us, please connect with us there on Facebook, Alpha Quorum tribe. Welcome back, Mike, it’s been a little while, man. We’ve been with this lockdown, this quarantine and everything. You live just one street over from me, like over my back wall and a couple of houses over his Mike’s house. And I haven’t seen you for a while, man. We don’t, we don’t even go to church or anything anymore. So
Mike Olsen (02:13):
I know. Yeah. Well, I appreciate you coming back. It’s it’s fun. I always love interacting with the guys on the Facebook group. I could throw rocks into your back pool, but I’ve not done that in case any rocks have ended up in your back pool. However, yeah, the quarantine it’s been kind of crazy and trying to just stay employed and do what you gotta do to, you know, to get by these days. I’ve been very fortunate. Some people aren’t as fortunate, but I really kind of enjoy peeking into the Facebook group and chatting with, you know, different men from across the world.
Brad Singletary (02:48):
Yeah. I appreciate what you’ve shared there, man. I see you busting people out and knocking some guys around when they, when they’re maybe not quite thinking as clearly as an alpha should. And so appreciate your leadership there.
Mike Olsen (03:00):
I don’t mind calling it as I see it. I am totally humble enough to be open to say, I might not see it that way, but this is kind of how I see it. And I think that’s a helpful essence of the Facebook group for the Alpha Quorum is for people to chime in and share something, ask if they see it that same way, express how they might be having a problem or even just say, Hey, I think I know this because I think as brothers, if you grew up in a house with boys or a house with siblings, people will call you on your crap, you know, pretty quickly in a loving way and am I’m hoping. That’s what I do if I come across and definitely those who I’ve noticed some people dealing with death and with grief and I want to express sympathy only at those particular times, because I think that’s what they probably need.
Mike Olsen (03:51):
And I I’m assuming, and they can call me out if I don’t do it, you know, accurately or correctly, I want to give them sympathy and understanding, let them know that, Hey, somebody is there and I don’t have any of the answers. There’s plenty of things with death that I haven’t gone through. And there’s no way that I could understand or even start to understand that at this point in my life, just because my experiences are completely different. So it’s a good group. And yet, you know, we do have to call some people out, sometimes.
Brad Singletary (04:21):
Appreciate what you’re doing there, man. So today we wanted to talk about being resourceful with your emotional and behavioral health. So, and if you’ve been following us, you, you know that we talk about the Red9 kind of some principles of masculinity, how to be a good man, how to be, what it takes to be an alpha. And one of those things is to be resourceful. And I remember, I think it was in 2004, I had just finished my graduate school program and was starting as an official therapist. I had been in the counseling realm a few years before that. And I think my first episode of psychology today, a magazine that therapist read it had on the cover about rock band goes to therapy or something like that. And it was an article about Metallica and how apparently over the last couple of years, they had had some trouble, you know, some bickering and some anger with the members of the band and how they went through a like two year intensive kind of group therapy.
Brad Singletary (05:28):
I almost want to say family therapy because they’re all there together. And it’s not a group of outside people, but just so imagine Metallica going through two years of therapy together. Okay. They, and then they produced a documentary about that. It’s called Metallica some kind of monster. And actually haven’t seen the documentary, just a few clips, but it’s amazing to me, what blew my mind at that time was here. Here’s this macho hard rock band, right in the early 2000s talking about therapy and maybe nowadays the, the idea of men attending counseling or reaching out for help isn’t as foreign as it was 20 years ago. But that was kind of a big idea. Metallica. These are drunken, you know, party animals and, and, and, and they’re filling stadiums with these big crowds in their, in their audience. And here they are in therapy.
Brad Singletary (06:21):
And I just thought that was, it was just very, I don’t know the story. What, what was their reason? What was their stated reason for doing therapy so that they could stay together as a band longer? Yeah, they were kind of dissolve and there was just infighting and there was one of the members, Jason Newstead, I don’t even know what his, I don’t know if he was maybe bass player, but one of the guys was going to be leaving the band and they just had all these differences of opinion. And there were, there were probably, you know, two, two of the guys the, the lead singer, James Hetfield, I think is his name and Lars Ulrich. They were kind of both alphas and were both trying to be the leader and push each other around. And they had differences in what they wanted to do.
Brad Singletary (07:01):
And so they, how did they had all this anger? And they realized that although they had been together, maybe at that point, I don’t know, 15 years or so, they didn’t know each other, they’d spend all this time. They didn’t know each other, they didn’t understand each other. And they really did some, some rough kind of work. Some of the clips from this documentary show them, you know, yelling at each other’s faces kind of facilitated by a professional who was kind of helping them work out their problems. And it was just resentments and all kinds of things in their relationship that caused them to almost kind of break up as a band. And they weren’t very effective as, as performers. Okay. So to me, that was just a great example of men handling their business. I think they spent a million dollars on that. It was like $40,000 a month for two years or something crazy investment, but they had it I’m sure.
Brad Singletary (07:55):
And it was just a good example of men taking care of their business. So today we want to talk about how can men know when they need outside help. We want to talk about some of our own therapy experiences, and some other famous people that have been to therapy and been open about their struggles and how they’ve worked through that. I want to talk about some of the things that prevent men from being willing to seek help, and then how to do it, where to go, what to look for and how to take the first step to finding a professional, to help you, whether it be in your relationship or your individual mental health. I saw a quote earlier today, and I’ve totally ripped this off of Facebook. I don’t, I don’t know where this came from, but it says, when I say, have you considered seeing a therapist? I’m not saying you’re so messed up that only a professional can help you. What I’m saying is “have you considered that you’re worthy of an unbiased, safe, and productive opportunity to process your experiences?” So some of you that this is my profession, this is my day job. I work as a therapist, counselor coach in the Las Vegas area. And I’ve done that for a total of over 20 years and really enjoy that. I don’t want to talk about, Mike, how can a man know when he needs outside help? What are the, what are the signs or the indicators that tell a guy, all right, maybe you, you need someone else to take a look at what you’re dealing with and get some, you know, an unbiased perspective.
Mike Olsen (09:23):
Well, to answer that question initially, I would have to say that I think when we are at peace in our life, when our relationships are going well, when we feel calm inside is probably the least likely time in our lives to want or need or, or think we need help. So I would say the first thing is assess how you feel. You know, just kind of look inside yourself and see there, there’s some people who, if they are using substances to, to escape rather than, you know, a glass of wine at dinner if they are using extramarital affairs to drown out the pain that they might be feeling at home, if they are using anger to express something. And they’re just, if they can sit in their own little world for, for some silence and just kind of reflect on how they really feel, I think they’ll kind of come to the answer, but that would be my first inclination is to say, how are you with yourself?
Brad Singletary (10:35):
Yeah. How are you feeling that takes some honesty and some awareness, you’ve got to really be able to say, how am I doing at life? How am I feeling in this relationship, whether it be work or home life or with your children. And that takes a lot of honest self reflection to even know, you know, to check your own temperature, how you’re doing
Mike Olsen (10:55):
Right. For me personally, I have gotten to this particular position in my life where I had to start a career over I was in the window covering business and realize that that was not going to take me to my goals at the end because the dynamics of the industry were changing and changing in a way that I wasn’t sad about it. I was actually kind of excited about it because e-commerce online. Digitization, that whole world was extremely interesting to me, even in my previous career. And so going through some of my struggles and trying to decide what it was that I wanted to do, I knew that setting goals for myself and figuring out what values do I have, first of all, the core values that have nothing to do with work, the core values that I had needed to be solid, whatever they might be.
Mike Olsen (11:48):
And that’s what I encourage other people to do. If you don’t know what your goals are, if you don’t know you’re going or what you want to do, then it’s less fulfilling because you don’t have a sense of, of where you’re going in a direction. And so that’s the one thing that I’ve always tried to say is find your values first. I don’t want to set values for people, but find out what yours are. God, the universe, Muhammad you’ll figure it out. You’ll you’ll know it because I think all of those things will tell you deep inside, this is what your goals are. Or maybe you ask a question, what are my values? And that journey will take you somewhere. And then as you have that set of values, what is it that you kind of want to do materialistically goal wise from a work standpoint?
Mike Olsen (12:38):
Are you there? Some men have achieved great success and yet still have a difficult time with fulfillment inside. And so that’s going to take some soul searching and some questioning. It also might take A, the right set, B, the right set of people that you trust. Maybe it’s some family members you trust deeply, to be honest with you and not sugar coat things go and get in that setting where you can kind of express this kind of thing. That might be a good solid friend that you have, and it might be a therapist that can help you talk through those things. That’s kind of my suggestion and the way I’ve dealt with things, I have done personal therapy, or I didn’t feel I was crazy. I didn’t feel I had huge problems, but I didn’t feel fulfilled. And I could tell similar to sports.
Mike Olsen (13:30):
Cause I grew up playing division one, baseball. I was a good golfer. But I knew from golf, you could not fix your swing from looking on the inside of your head. It took either a coach watching you. Now we have the awesome ability of the smartphone take a video. And that video will show you the reality of what you’re actually doing. I pitched in college and we would watch film of ourselves pitching high speed film that would break down where your release point was. You couldn’t quite figure out why is that fastball tailing in a direction I don’t want it to go.
Brad Singletary (14:03):
Yeah, let’s look at your fingers on the threads of the ball. Like all of that,
Mike Olsen (14:07):
Everything. Exactly. And with a, with a, with a video camera or with a smartphone or something like that, you can see all of the components in a finite amount of time. Stop, slow motion, go through it again. It’s the same way with a friend or a therapist. They can sometimes see things that you can’t.
Brad Singletary (14:26):
Yeah. We have blind spots. And you mentioned earlier about you, you may even be very successful back to that Metallica example. They were probably in 2000, they were probably the biggest worldwide band that existed at the time. I don’t know, but they had huge success and yet they were unfulfilled, unhappy. They were being destructive, abusing substances, angry at each other. And those are some of the things that I would add to that list about what, you know, might indicate that a man needs help if someone is suggesting it. So if someone is telling you, you need therapy, not just, you know, in a pissy conversation where somebody is throwing, you know, that’s just some underhanded dig, but often someone’s saying, have you considered that you, maybe you should talk to someone they’re seeing something that you might not be seeing. Yeah. Take that as feedback.
Brad Singletary (15:14):
When people give you feedback, you want feedback, that’s data for your life. And so if someone is suggesting that you do that, maybe you should if you’re continually continuously frustrated or irritable, you’ve mentioned anger and addictions disturbing thoughts. Sometimes people have difficulty, you know, they’re intrusive thoughts, things that come along with like OCD and different things. You do not want to think things that you can’t stop thinking about. You can work through that, but it may take professional help to do that. Any kind of unhealthy pattern that you’re having a difficult time breaking. That may be an indicator that you need some help also apathy. You don’t give a shit anymore, right? You’re not doing the things that matter. You’re not enjoying the things in life that you once did. You feel hopeless? The fire is out. Yeah. The fires burned out.
Brad Singletary (16:04):
It’s just a smoldering, smoky bunch of ashes. If you’re withdrawing socially, you just don’t want to spend time with people. You feel empty unfulfilled. You mentioned that before. I know some people who get into squabbles everywhere they go, you know, target you’re on the street. There’s road rage. You’re, every place you visit. And every situation you’re in, you’re getting in a little, a little TIFF with someone that might indicate that you got something going on.
Mike Olsen (16:33):
If everyone is always an idiot, that’s self reflection time, maybe you’re the idiot. Right?
Brad Singletary (16:39):
Right. So the thing about the difference between maybe talking to a professional versus a friend, I think some friends can be objective and tell you the truth and shoot you straight. But sometimes they have a, they, they want to pick a side there. They just want to be your cheerleader and be, be positive.
Brad Singletary (16:56):
And, and they won’t say the things that you need to hear where a professional has no emotional investment in that care, whether you get divorced or stay married, they don’t really, it doesn’t really matter to them. They’re not invested in that. They just want to reflect back what they’re seeing and give you some, some objective feedback. I want to talk about our own experiences. We both have shared some of our struggles in past episodes. And I want to talk a little bit about what we experienced with that. So after after my divorce over 10 years ago, I was having a difficult time with anxiety addiction. I’d kinda, I’d been sober for years and kind of returned to drug and alcohol use. I was having a hard time sleeping. I had some extreme fears and almost to a paranoid state that things that I had experienced in the past were going to happen again and actually ended up in a psych hospital.
Brad Singletary (17:52):
Okay. I was really, really in a bad, in a bad, in a bad way. And as part of the kind of required, you know, a follow up planning after, after leaving the hospital you have to, you have to do some outpatient therapy. And I thought, listen, I’m, I’m in the profession. There’s no reason that I shouldn’t do this for myself. Right. Shameful that I took that long. If I had done some therapy before, maybe I would have been okay. But it was a, it was a great experience. I ended up working with two different therapists at two different times. Both were older than me. One was a male, one was a female. I kind of, I knew that I needed someone who was just smarter than me and knew more and wouldn’t let me manipulate the situation, but it was, it was warm and it was, I was confronted, I was challenged. I was given, you know, things to help me stay accountable to what my goals were. And it just did not take very long. And I felt better. My anxiety was pretty much gone. Some of the things that I’ve dealt with that I dealt with have never returned to my life. And I feel like it was just a huge success. I very grateful to the two professionals that I saw here in Las Vegas that helped me with that. And so
Mike Olsen (19:05):
Did you go into that situation willingly or dragged in kicking and screaming?
Brad Singletary (19:10):
Probably 80%? I wanted to feel better. I knew I was in bad shape. 20% was like, this is probably the responsible thing to do. You know, I’m, I’m, I’m, I’m drinking in front of my kids and I’m doing these things that are just made me feel shameful. And I just knew I couldn’t continue that way, but I didn’t really, it wasn’t a hundred percent. I was 80% willing to 80% motivated, 80% invested to begin with. And in the first 15 minutes I was just so thankful. I remember after the first time I left, I probably cried on the way home and just thought I felt so relieved that I had someone who could just sit with me and hear whatever I had to say without judgment and commit that they would help me work through it. Okay. How about you Mike?
Mike Olsen (19:59):
I, my experience was similar from the standpoint. I definitely don’t put myself above others. I didn’t have drug addictions. I didn’t have alcohol addictions. I didn’t have those issues. I didn’t need to find a girl to mess around with, I guess the reason that I didn’t need to go down that route, the experiences that I had in my life, I had a father who abused alcohol. I had a wonderful mother and they’re still both great parents and they’re closer to each other and to us than ever before. But I had just already witnessed that those types of things weren’t going to help, not even temporarily. It’s just not something that I’ve, I’ve gotten into. I would say an arrogance is probably the biggest thing that I’ve had to overcome in my life. And just probably like a lot of men thinking I should be able to handle this.
Mike Olsen (21:01):
I think a lot of this phobia that we have as, as a, as a male culture in our current society, which is, is quickly changing, is I should be able to help take care of this myself. I’m, I’m an alpha, I should be able to do this on my own. It’s a cultural teaching that has, has happened. And the problem is when we look back at, if we want to talk about the fifties and sixties in the family, I’ve talked to a couple of grandmas. Who’ve lived through the fifties and sixties and ask them, Oh, it must have been such a wonderful time. And they would give me that chuckle, like you don’t know the half of a kid. And I think that was part of the problem. It was hidden. A lot of the things that have been gone through, yes, had some good parts, but it didn’t, it wasn’t all roses.
Mike Olsen (21:49):
All of the problems were buried. You, you didn’t talk about things. You didn’t openly discuss them. If you, if you were a man and you had gay tendencies and that was shameful to you, you didn’t talk about them because it was kind of dangerous. It’s much more, it’s a much more friendly environment. If you feel a certain way, that’s not of the cultural norm. It’s much easier to talk about now. And I think as we look at talking about race, gender, and what, what people, how people actually feel, it becomes an easier topic to discuss putting someone in the box of what they should be or what they should be doing becomes less important because love them as they are, who they are, as long as their actions are appropriate and not harmful. And that’s some of the things that I think men should look at as well is how are my behaviors affecting my relationships in the home? And there’s that, that opens up Pandora’s box of opportunities. And you can look at them as problems if you want. But I think when you look in the mirror, how am I affecting people in the home?
Brad Singletary (22:58):
Yeah. There’s you mentioned the, the times that we live and there’s never been a more friendly, you know, welcoming cultural environment for something like therapy than there is right now. It is just much more acceptable to do that. I love to hear about these celebrities and so forth, but you, you mentioned you were talking about arrogance. Talk about just the process of that. What was it like to go in where you’re afraid? Were you resistant? How did you kind of, how did, what was the outcome and the end of it?
Mike Olsen (23:27):
I, for me I think it stems back one. I, I I’ve mentioned this before and most people don’t know it, even when they’re kind of around me. Cause I’m good at letting you notice or keeping you from noticing the fact, I have two fingers on my left hand. So as a young man growing, if you were good in sports, you became popular and genetically I’ve been blessed with, with good athletic ability. And even though I have two fingers on my left hand, I was able to earn a scholarship play ball. I’ve been a good player in my earlier days and I still ride a bike. And even at 52 I’m I have good genetics, but I always had to work a little bit harder. And so telling myself I was better or becoming better or Oh, you do, you know a great job.
Mike Olsen (24:17):
The first time I really reflected on that. This was St. George Utah, 1985 golf high school, state championship. And I was walking down the final playoff hole. I’ll skip the part I did end up winning, but a gentleman in the crowd was kind of following us. Cause there was just two of us in the, in the playoff. And he said, you swing the club pretty good for a handicap. Oh my God. I thought, Oh, do I say thank you. Or do I punch you in the face? I wasn’t quite sure of how to take that. But I, for some reason, because I guess I’m so experienced with saying stupid stuff myself. I recognized he didn’t mean anything mean by it. Yeah. I think he was actually, you know, just, and it was a guy I don’t think you would have ever heard a woman say, something like that.
Mike Olsen (25:06):
Oh, you walk pretty, you know, you walk pretty good for a Mongoloid child. That sounds like something a guy would say. So I think as I became proficient and as I became good I started drinking my own Koolaid and I also developed a intolerance for people who would not try and people who would not succeed because I knew I was really not all that special. I had to work a little harder to, to play. I had to develop my own golf glove. I had to develop my own baseball glove and modify it. I still have to modify my bike and my shoes when I ride today because I just, I have some differences. But in that I, I developed an intolerance for people who would not put forth their best effort. And it’s taken me almost 50 years to learn that my best job with me does not mean I get to judge someone else’s best job with them in their life.
Mike Olsen (26:08):
And it’s, it’s something that from a therapy standpoint that helped me come to that realization. And I kept saying, I just, this is what I’m struggling with. I’m struggling with employees that don’t listen, I’m struggling with employees that don’t do this and don’t do that. Don’t do the other things. And then as I got towards the end of raising my five sons, I’m realizing it’s all about creating an expectation that people on the other end, who have to buy in, they have to willingly buy into that expectation or they’re going to be forced. And then they don’t have to live up even to their own agreements. There just has to be consequences. And I don’t get to tell you in your own life, what your consequences are because you didn’t make an agreement with me. And so if you kind of don’t succeed to my expectations, then that should not bother me. If it bothers me, then I’m the one who has a problem. I should just be available to you. If we’re friends to be there, if you need help, if you ask me, but it took therapy to get that.
Brad Singletary (27:10):
Wow. So man, that, it sounds like one of your, one of your strengths kind of became a weakness. I think that often is the case because of this birth defect. I don’t know if that’s the proper terminology or whatever with your hand you, you develop this toughness and this expectation of yourself to push harder, try harder, find a way, make it work, fix your glove up, make it, you know, do what you have to do to handle your business. Right?
Mike Olsen (27:36):
Yep. In fact, in baseball, when people would notice that I had a two fingers on one hand, they would test me. So for example, on the mound, if they didn’t know who I was, they would try to bunt on me. It’s the first thing baseball players do. They’re really, really lazy as a group baseball players we’re lazy, but we’re the funniest group you’ve ever met because that’s all we do is have time to sit around and make jokes. So they would cat call. They would, but they would also test you. So they would test me. And then the first couple of batters during one particular game, the guy got too close to the, it was the first batter of the first ending. And instead of being in the, on deck circle, taking his practice wings, he got almost up to the plate in college. And that is like, you are ultimately insulting a pitcher if you try that.
Mike Olsen (28:22):
So the first pitch or about two pitches before the start of the game, I unloaded one right at his head. And he the game hadn’t even started. And the dugout, obviously the cat calls ensued. And so the next pitch I threw into the dugout and the base, the baseball game hadn’t even started yet. And I picked a fight and that was my way of letting you know, you’re not going to get at me. And you know, so as, as the game and as the game goes on, your you either suck and they knock you out of the park or you do well. And I’ve had both, but that was like you said, that strength of mine, the toughness also became a weakness because I used it as a crutch.
Brad Singletary (29:02):
And as a way of judging other people too, you’re saying that that affected relationships because you expected everyone to perform it. Like no excuses, man, you, you, that was the, that became maybe something that you lived by. And then you expected that from other people too. And that probably caused problems.
Mike Olsen (29:17):
You practice till your hands bleed. Why? Cause I did. And that everybody should want to do that. That’s where I went wrong. I was projecting my expectation of someone else’s best work on them. And that wasn’t, that wasn’t fair. That was not right.
Brad Singletary (29:31):
You just think you’re being a good dad or a good coach or a good teammate or a good boss or whatever the situation was. You just, you thought that’s what you’re supposed to do. And that’s, I’m guessing that’s the kind of thing that therapy helped with is just to see into your pattern. Yeah. To see what here’s, here’s what it looks like is happening. You know, and often it’s a guess, you know, on the part of the professional, but it seems to me like this thing keeps coming up. I wonder if it’s connected to this thing in your past, it’s just, there’s some insight that you can gain about what you may be doing. Yeah. So we talked about the example of Metallica. I found some other examples of some other men out there, maybe alpha types who were struggling with things. One of the first ones that I saw recently was a, was a Ryan Reynolds movie star Marvel character.
Brad Singletary (30:23):
Deadpool said that he’s been played with anxiety, his whole life and his used professional. Use some professional, get professional help for that. I love it when people talk about that stuff, because we think that we’re going to go down this black hole of mystery. If men think, if they’re going to go to therapy, it’s going to be this inescapable suffocation or something that’s going to happen. And when people talk about that, it’s just like, to me, it’s no different than to say, Oh, this guy went to the doctor, this person, you know went talk to a financial advisor, this guy took his truck to the mechanic. There’s just no shame in it. And I love when these guys do that, another one was Brandon Marshall, the NFL football player. I read a little bit of his story. Apparently he’s writing some of his own blog articles and stuff, but he said in 2009, “During my last season in Denver, I was depressed.
Brad Singletary (31:16):
There were days when I would just sit at home in my theater room, in the dark, in a catatonic state. I never wanted to leave my house. And if I did, I wore a hoodie up over my head because I didn’t want anybody to recognize me. I didn’t want to talk to anybody at this at the time. I didn’t know I was depressed and I had no idea how to deal with it. So I hid from the world. And when the Broncos traded me to the dolphins in 2010, he said he signed a five year $50 million contract, the richest ever for a wide receiver.” He thought that everything was going to be okay, thought he had money and security and stability. And so what reason would he have to be miserable? But his depression followed him to the new team and the new city. He said, sometimes he would go days without talking to anybody. And his brother and sister would come to his house and he, and he would say hi to them. And then just kind of sit there and they would stare at him and kind of look like what’s wrong with you. I love it. When these, when these men are doing that.
Mike Olsen (32:19):
So did he explain, I kind of have my own theories about Ryan Reynolds, in that situation in Brandon Marshall, because growing up around sports, my dad was a good college player and also played in Canada in the professional leagues. I’m wondering if it was where I, and I’ve seen this with mothers they tie up their identity. What they’re currently doing and being a mother is NFL type focus. Yeah. If you’re an NFL player or a professional athlete, it’s focused and it’s nonstop. And so when you start thinking of what am I going to be when this is done or when the kids start leaving home and they break down because they haven’t even thought of, and they sometimes feel bad about thinking, what am I going to do after then? They don’t know how to handle that. And the depression sets in. Did he say how he got out of it?
Brad Singletary (33:06):
He didn’t say that it just, that he went to therapy, went to groups. Apparently he may have been in a psych hospital at one time. He, he talks about his diagnosis, borderline personality, personality disorder, which is, it does have to do with identity the, in the, in kind of an empty identity formation or something there. But I didn’t, I didn’t read too much about that, but just impressed with the vulnerability of him talking about that. And I don’t think anybody looks at nobody’s sold their branded Marshall Jersey because he said he’d been to therapy or that he had mental health issues that he was working. I don’t think anyone chose another team. Right. Like to, for most people that makes you respect them even more. Right. Another one I saw recently was Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson who came out and talked about depression and that he, I mean, he, to me, he’s kind of the rock. I mean, he’s kind of the epitome of masculinity in the world today. If you asked me, I mean, he’s just charismatic. I mean, he’s just got this big energy and he you know, got the muscles and he’s,
Mike Olsen (34:04):
He seemed to humble as all get out
Brad Singletary (34:07):
So many good qualities, right? I mean, he’s just shredded. All the ladies love him. Apparently he was my wife’s a teenage crush, the rock. So she really lost out
Mike Olsen (34:19):
Husbands wives, teenage crush.
Brad Singletary (34:22):
But he, he came out recently on Instagram and he talked about depression doesn’t discriminate. He said, regardless of who you are or what you do for a living and where you come from, it doesn’t discriminate. Right. And we all kind of go through it. He said, this is interesting about males. He said, there’s just a DNA, a wiring in us and a constitution that oftentimes doesn’t let us talk about when we’re scared of vulnerable or things like that. He talked about his own mother who attempted suicide got out of the car on the freeway and started walking into traffic on the freeway. And he was 15 years old and he witnessed that and some of the trauma that he went through, but I love it when these guys talk about their, their their stories of this.
Mike Olsen (35:06):
Yeah. I have seen Michael Phelps and, and obviously there’s a lot of these athletes who go through a struggle. I think it’s, it’s easy to find on the internet what Michael Phelps struggles were. And again, I, I just kind of go back to when your identity is because in order to be the best at what you’re doing, it, it takes 100, a hundred percent, a hundred percent focus. And to think of, this is what I might be thinking of later on down the road, the guy’s not even worried about, he’s not going anywhere outside of the pool, eating or sleeping. Those are his comments that I remember seeing. So it’s, the whole world is shut out, but us, especially a professional athlete, your, your professional, athletic competition life isn’t forever. It’s a very, very short window in comparison to the rest of your life.
Mike Olsen (35:59):
And so to have that balance is not easy. And I think it would take a very good upbringing. I, I like cycling. And so I look at some of the best athletes in the cycling arena. And you look at Lance Armstrong, he had a very difficult childhood when it came to his father and dealing with that. And these athletes, it takes the ability to suffer alone. If you’re going to do well, suffering alone will help create one of the best athletes in the world, man, or woman, but suffering alone can also be a very negative thing. If you don’t realize that suffering alone, from a standpoint of an emotional standpoint, doesn’t have to be that way. Suffering alone is not going to make you the best healthiest person. Whereas learning how to suffer alone in your athletic endeavor could make you a world class athlete. Yeah.
Brad Singletary (36:52):
It’s just like Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian in history, you know, he’s probably got all kinds of endorsements and deals and things that he’s doing. He says, this is a quote that he said that I found. He said after years and years and years of just shoving every negative, bad feeling down to the point where I just didn’t even feel it anymore. He said it was a long, long, long road and it just, and I just never wanted to deal with it. And for me, that sent me down a spiraling staircase real quick. And he said, he found himself in a spot where he didn’t even want to be alive anymore. Right. So this amazing athlete, most decorated Olympian ever. And he felt like he didn’t want to be alive anymore. You’re talking about identity. I just think like the rock says, you know, there’s, maybe there’s no discriminate.
Brad Singletary (37:39):
It doesn’t discriminate. One in four people at any given time have a diagnosable mental illness. And when you look at relationship troubles, how many people, I mean, how long does it take to be in a relationship before you start having a hard time, a high number of people struggle, right? And so this is for mental health or relationship stress or whatever may come along. Another one that I found here was a Prince Harry. This is the son of Princess, Diana, right, who died in ’97. And he said, “I can safely say that losing my mom at the age of 12 and therefore shutting down All of my emotions for the last 20 years has had quite a serious effect on not only my personal life, but also my work as well.” He said “My way of dealing with it was sticking my head in the sand refusing to ever think about my mom because she was, cause why would that help?” He reached a tipping point when bearing his feelings caused total chaos in his twenties. And he finally reached out to a therapist with some support from his brother, Prince William. He said, “Because of the process that I’ve been through over the last two and a half to three years, I’ve now been able to take my work seriously, be able to take my private life seriously as well, and be able to put blood, sweat, and tears into the things that really make a difference.”
Mike Olsen (38:59):
Hmm. That’s good. I didn’t know that. Yeah.
Brad Singletary (39:01):
I love these examples. We’ve got rappers on here, comedians. The rapper logic had a song called +1 800-273-8255. And that’s named after the suicide prevention hotline. All kinds of all kinds of, you know, big, big name, people that we would recognize who have admitted that they’ve had struggles and have gone seeking help for that. I want to ask what keeps men from seeking help? Why do, why do we not do it?
Mike Olsen (39:33):
I think it’s just a fear of judgment of others where term we’re too worried about what others are going to think of us, period. I can say, that’s almost a period. You can attach lots of little ancillary things along with that, but I think that’s, that’s ultimately what it is. If you, if you’d give a crap too much about what other people think of you and you don’t understand that, for example, you went to therapy and you, like, I probably still care too much about what people think of us. That’s just an, it’s a natural thing. But because you were in the industry, it wasn’t nearly as big of an obstacle for you to overcome, for a lot of people it is. They don’t know where to start. They, they, what does that say to me? And this fear of control and controlling their life is more powerful than getting rid of the pain and getting rid of the anxiety, getting at least being open and humble enough to say, yeah, I’m going to, maybe somebody can see things, something I can’t.
Brad Singletary (40:36):
Yeah. You talk about fear. I, I think that you know, in the typical masculine experience, you know, we kind of have this warrior mentality and I think a lot of men are afraid to take off their armor or think of you’re a Knight or you’re someone who’s fighting in a battle or a war, and you’ve got this armor and you got a helmet and whatever, but you know, when you come home, you gotta take that shit off. You got. If you’re going to sleep, you don’t sleep with your, with your, with your vest on and for heaven sakes, if you’re trying to make love, you better take off your suit, you know? And I just thought,
Mike Olsen (41:09):
Oh, you know, Hey, some people might wear a suit, but
Brad Singletary (41:11):
Stuff happened. The good stuff happens when you’re, when you’re naked sometimes in therapy it’s like get naked. And so you’re asking a, a warrior, someone who’s kind of wired for conflict is wired for these rough things, especially in our, our historical past. We’re saying be vulnerable, be exposed, take off your, take off your armor and your, in your helmet and put down your sword for a little bit and go let someone look at you, go let someone, you know, kind of get close to you. And so that’s against our nature because of this warrior mentality. But you gotta, you gotta undress. Sometimes you gotta take off.
Mike Olsen (41:49):
I look at it. I look at this also in the leadership positions that I’ve had in work, when you can be appropriately vulnerable with people in the workplace and let them know that you are willing to be open to them again, it’s situationally appropriate. They trust you more. And I think at home, or are in relationships when you can be appropriately vulnerable then I think that tends to build trust. It also probably adds a level of humility into your own life where someone is able to maybe say something to you and you are more receptive to receiving feedback that might not be the most positive, but yet it doesn’t bother you as much. I think appropriate vulnerability is, is necessary in building good relationships with friends, with spouses, with our kids. I think we just have to be kind of cognizant of what vulnerability is and then what spilling your guts in a public forum where it’s not appropriate is, is not helpful. I’m not here to assign what appropriate is or it isn’t. I think we can all kind of make our own judgments of what is and what isn’t appropriate, but for thought would probably need to go into that.
Brad Singletary (43:12):
Think about when you take your car into the shop, you know, you got to pop the hood. That’s kind of vulnerable, you know, like, Oh man, they’re looking up under there, they’re seeing, or they’re pulling out the oil to look at how dirty your oil is. You know, there, you might have to leave your vehicle overnight. I mean, that’s, that’s, that’s kind of a powerlessness like, Oh, I got to leave it with you. Like, it’s like, you’re leaving your girlfriend with another dude or something, you know, so therapy is, it can be very, it can be scary. And the next little bit we want to talk about how do you go about that? And what does it really look like if you’ve never been alright. So let’s say that you’ve decided to work with someone and you’ve never done this before. I’m just going to give you some thoughts about how you may go about selecting a professional to work with.
Brad Singletary (43:59):
I think the first thing that I would recommend is that you share with some people in your life that you trust, that you are considering seeing a therapist or a counselor and ask if they have any recommendations. One of the most effective things about the outcomes when it comes to therapy is the relationship that you have with the therapist. So it’s not so important how many years they’ve been in practice, where they went to school, even what kind of techniques or methodologies that they use the most important thing will be whether or not you can understand this person and whether or not you trust them. And if they can understand you, and if you have a good sense of rapport with them, so you may get some recommendations from a friend or family member, and it would also be good for you to share that with other people that you’re planning to do this. And it kind of helps you move forward in the process of commitment towards some change.
Brad Singletary (45:05):
A good resource that’s available is on the Psychology Today website, you can put in your zip code and look through profiles of therapists who have listed themselves there. And you can see their picture. I think recently they’ve even added an option for a little short video clips where the therapist introduces themselves and they talk about their experiences and their expertise. So that’s a good way to sort through some of the options available in your area. Another question that’s important is how are you going to pay for this? So many health insurance plans will pay for psychotherapy. So you can on the Psychology Today website you can sort through the therapists that live in your area within five miles or 10 miles or whatever, and also put in your insurance company. And it just kind of helps you sort, those that may have the expertise that you need that take your insurance and also live within a certain range or a certain distance from you.
Brad Singletary (46:06):
What I’m finding right now is that all of my colleagues are super busy. I’ve been super busy and ever since the COVID stuff hit, it just seems like mental health professionals are very busy right now, but there should be plenty who have availability in your area. So you may reach out to them through the Psychology Today website you can send them an email, call the phone number that’s listed on their profile. And you may ask them a few questions. You might just see kind of how the chemistry of your conversation. If you have a chance to talk to them and go from there. Sometimes people think that they need to see a psychiatrist, and they’re not really sure of the terminology of those different roles. And so a psychiatrist often is only prescribing medication. They’re usually a medical doctor who is most often concerned with psychiatric symptoms and prescribing you medication for that.
Brad Singletary (47:04):
And you may need that as well, but just know the difference when you’re looking for someone to work with you. Many of the folks who do therapy are master’s level. So either like a licensed clinical social worker, that’s what I am, a marriage and family therapist. I think it’s a licensed professional counselor, LPC. There’s some other different disciplines out there. Psychologists also do therapy many times though. They are mostly suited for testing. And so they would do like IQ testing or testing children for autism and those kinds of things. But many of them also do a therapy. If you’re looking for help with your relationship, you may, you probably we’re going to run into some trouble having your insurance pay for that. So insurance or health plans are interested in treating things that have medical necessity attached to those. So if you have depression or bipolar disorder, or PTSD, or those kinds of things and anxiety disorder, they’re usually happy to pick up the tab for that.
Brad Singletary (48:10):
But if you’re talking about a marriage or relationship issue with your children or whatever the case may be, they often are not gonna come over that. So you may be paying out of pocket. So depending on, on your needs and the availability that you have to pay for for the services, you may find that it can be very expensive. Most professionals doing therapy are gonna charge around a hundred dollars an hour or, you know, somewhere from at the low end, maybe $60 for a 50 minute session, up to a hundred or $150 per session. So that can get pricey. Even if you are looking at a needing some help with a relationship issue, your provider may also discover that one or both of you are dealing with depression or anxiety, and they may be able to kind of slide it in under that. And so although that’s probably frowned upon by insurance companies, I know that some professionals do when you start working with your therapist, you need to understand that it takes a little time to warm up.
Brad Singletary (49:21):
It takes a little time for them to understand your situation, to kind of feel each other’s personalities out. And these people are not robots, and they’re not specialists about your life, they’re not experts on your life. And so it’s going to take a little time to build some trust and put yourself in this, the situation where you can find it beneficial. Some people go and they have the first session, which is usually kind of an assessment or an evaluation. And that usually includes just tons of questions. So they’re going to ask you lots of questions and you may leave that first session thinking, well, that didn’t help at all. I didn’t get anything out of that. Well, it’s going to take several visits for you to even really get started. I usually tell my clients that we don’t even begin until the third session.
Brad Singletary (50:10):
There’s some research out there that indicates that from the time that people have made their first appointment until the day of their appointment, they’ve already improved. And I think that has to do with the fact that you, you have a plan and you’ve got a direction, got something on the calendar and you can already feel better because you know that you’re going to get the help that you need. And so you may find that that helps you feel better before you even begin. Some professionals do homework assignments and they have you read things. They’re going to want you to do some work outside of the session. And I think that’s something that you need to embrace and welcome because the work isn’t just contained within what happens in your little 45 to 50 minute talk with this person. So those are just a few thoughts that I have about getting started.
Brad Singletary (51:07):
If any of you have any questions for me or would like to get help, getting yourself set up with someone who lives in your area or have questions about how to select the person that you may choose to work with. Just let me know, shoot me a message on the on social media. Or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . We’re talking about this topic because men need to understand their limitations and they need to have the humility to accept help when it’s needed. Things are failing in your life. If you don’t feel well, if you’re not performing well, if things are falling off and you just can’t hold things together, it may really benefit your life to reach out to someone it’s no different, really it’s honestly no different than what it would take to take your vehicle or your motorcycle to a, to an expert, to kind of help you diagnose what’s going on and give you some help with making a repair.
Brad Singletary (52:16):
You may need to repair things in your behavior, things in your emotional life, you might need to repair some of your thinking. You might need to repair some of the things that have happened to you in the past trauma and other things that have diminished the quality of your life. I’m obviously believer I’ve chosen this as my profession, but I’ve also benefited greatly from it. As a client. I myself have seen professionals in the past. I’ve taken medication and those things have been extremely helpful in helping me get myself squared away. And that’s what I hope for all of you. If you have that need again, reach out to me. If you have questions or if I can help you get started on this whole journey until next time, Alpha Up.
Speaker 3 (53:02):
Gentlemen, you are the Alpha is the Alpha Quorum.