n honor of Mental Health Month, It’s time to get down to the nitty gritty of who I am, why this podcast really started or where the idea came from. The story behind That Mental Shit.
Who I am now was not an easy journey down some perfectly paved yellow brick road and I think it’s time we get to know each other really well because today I’m going to tell you my Bipol
Lauren Fritts 0:00
Hello and welcome to That Mental Shit!
Lauren Fritts 0:14
This is not your average mindset podcast. This is a No BS space for the woman who wants to master her mind, strengthen her mental health and gain confidence to be her best self by finding that bad bitch magic within. I’m your host Lauren, but you can call me Lo.
Lauren Fritts 0:29
Thank you so much for being so patient with me during this random month hiatus I did. I was actually going through a medication change. And if you have just found this podcast or maybe you don’t follow me on Instagram, then I guess you don’t really know my story. I know I’ve mentioned it like a few episodes, being bipolar and l was diagnosed 12 years ago. But it’s made me realize it’s it’s probably time to get down to the nitty gritty of who I am or why this podcast really started or where the idea of that Mental Shit came from. And like the story behind that. And May is also mental health awareness month. Yeah. Okay, so what a perfect time to segue into kinda like the upcoming episodes I want to do, which will be more geared toward, like mental health and mental illness, and motivation and things like that.
Lauren Fritts 1:21
So who I am now, this girl talking in the podcast, this mom married 10 years bubbly person who loves herself. This was not an easy journey to get here to build this person. And that’s pretty much what I did. I built me through lots of hard work and mental health and personal development. There was not some journey down this like perfectly paved the yellow brick road to mental wellness. And I think it’s time we get to know each other like really well, because today I’m going to tell you my bipolar story. I was diagnosed with rapid cycling, bipolar 1, 12 years ago. If you don’t know what bipolar one is, is defined by manic episodes that lasts at least seven days or by manic symptoms that are so severe that the person needs like immediate hospital care. Usually the depressive episodes occur as well. Typically lasting at least like two weeks, episodes of depression, mixed features having like depressive symptoms and manic symptoms at the same time, are kind of what I have. And I have a type of rapid cycling bipolar when I’m unmedicated my moods can fluctuate within hours, or within days. It’s a very, very fast roller coaster. I don’t have long cycles of long series of different mental states, it changes kind of all the time always keeps us on our toes that my husband was here. He’d be like, yeah, it does, um, but 12 years ago is not like where my journey started. My journey didn’t start getting diagnosed. It kind of started like way back in high school.
Lauren Fritts 3:01
So that was, so we’re talking like 2009 2008. Now, from the outsider perspective, I’m sure like, it was just like a movie. I look like the girl that had it all the bubbly outgoing girl. I was a competitive figure skater. I was varsity FastPitch player. I was captain of the varsity bowling team. Yeah, talk about a bipolar mentality. I was like, I’ve never done bowling, and then I ended up being really good. So that’s my claim to fame right there. But I drove this fancy new four runner my dad bought for me, I was never part of one friend group. I loved being friends with everybody. They called me the bopper. Because when I was like, at a baseball game, or a football game, I would bop around to like all the different friend groups because I wanted to talk to everybody. I was always smiling. I was always laughing, which to like an outsider. I get people from high school who like Follow me now we’re talking to me now. And you’re like, I had no idea. And like, I agree. I know you had no idea. That’s kind of exactly the point.
Lauren Fritts 4:03
Inside I was not as fun and games I was struggling like, but at 16. I kind of just assumed everybody was going through this. I just assumed everyone was the same way. And it was about kind of, let’s say my sophomore year, when I started to realize like, I think I feel different than the rest of my friends. I went to this private college prep school, which I absolutely loved. But if you were stupid, you were a loser. Normally is like the smart kids in school are losers, but the not at my school. Like if you were stupid, you were a loser. You wanted to be smart. The smart kids were like the most popular kids. And I actually liked school. I liked class. I loved my teachers, but I would study my ass off and fail every single time. All my friends were comparing their A’s and their B’s but like no matter how long or how hard I studied, the test was an F every time. So when I entered my junior year of high school I entered with my new diagnosis of ADHD attention deficit disorder for those who don’t know, and my best friend my bottle of Adderall and my report card my junior year of high school was straight fucking A’s bitch. See, I wasn’t stupid. I just have an attention disorder which you can tell on my podcast but if you know me or talk to me accurate absolute facts, my mind is like dug from up squirrel shiny things. You know, it’s yeah, that’s definitely actual facts. Life felt great. At that point, I had one appointment with a doctor, they were like Lauren, you have ADD, I was given meds and boom, my problems were fixed. But in 2008, Adderall was not a controlled substance yet. And they gave me a few different bottles. I had a bottle of 30 Count 15 milligram extended release, which means I would take it in the morning, and it would release slowly throughout the day. And I had those for school and then a 30 day supply of 180 pills a 10 milligram instant release when I needed a boost. Let me just give you a little perspective of how insane that sounds in 2022. I am still on Adderall. But there’s a whole legal approval process a doctor evaluation monthly, I have to see my doctor every 30 days. No one else can pick up my meds but me, you have to get approved for a 30 day count. I it’s an even harder process for me because I take two a day. And I get judged all the freakin time but not 2008 2008. They were like here, take all the drugs. And I popped that shit like it was water at 17 and 18. Like who needed sleep? Not me. Plus, it made me even bubbly. Or it was I was the life of the party. I was the hype girl. I was the one who’s down for anything and never said no. Life was mine for the taking. And I used every single second of that pitch. So I graduated high school in 2010. Having the best senior year of my life I started dating my longtime crush who spoiler alert is my now husband.
Lauren Fritts 7:04
I got accepted to Washington State University Go Cougs for my freshman year of college, nothing could stop me happy. Nothing can stop me. I’m all the way up. Doo, doo, doo. Okay, or so I thought. Okay, so in 2008 The other thing about just here take drugs was ATD and ADHD was being diagnosed left and right. There was no especially for like high school and grade school kids. If you had a problem paying attention. You were failing school. Your immediate diagnosis would ADD and ADHD. They didn’t care who they diagnosed. They didn’t care if you had something else. They were just like here, fix it go on. My parents. Yes. Talk to my doctor about my mood swings and my irritability during that whole like diagnosis process. But just like you would think it was brushed off as like normal adolescence, mood swings are normal at 16 It’s a phase. I mean, it mean you were like out having coffee. Right? And we were complaining about our children and I was like oh my 16 year old daughter cries when second is happy. The next screams that she hates me is also my best friend is failing school but is really a good student. It’s just a phase. They’ll grow out of it. Right? Period adolescent hormones, men, not menopause and menopause. Oh my God. Not Met a pause hormones. Jesus Christ Lauren. Hey, welcome to my brain. Um, so anyway, it’s just a phase, you would probably say she’ll grow out of it. But I didn’t. That’s the thing. That’s the thing is I didn’t grow out of it. And now knowing what I know, like yes, I have ADD, but add is a symptom of my bipolar. And as a non medicated bipolar person giving me Adderall. Let’s just say my college freshman year was like one long mania phase. No eating, no sleeping. Lots of money spent. I actually bought a dog. My dog Her name is Audi. We still have her. She’s 12. And she’s 11. She’s loving. She’s a Puggle. I got a financial aid check back from school because my parents paid too much money. And instead of giving my parents the $4,000, I bought a dog and I lived on the 11th floor of a dorm room at Washington State University and so did my dog. She was our like, floor dog.
Lauren Fritts 9:18
Anyway, that’s and I still she I still have her. She’s amazing. I would stay up for weeks on end then and like crash and sleep through classes for like another week. I went through a couple different roommates because they were stupid. I’d scream and I would yell and I would lock them out of our room and throw their stuff in the hall. Bubbly, happy Lauren at that point was gone. I was always right at that point in my life. And if you did not agree with me, you couldn’t stay. I started to get very aggressive very. I just remember all the time saying people are stupid. They’re stupid. They’re stupid. I was irritated at everybody and that actually like When I’ve gone through some diagnosis with other friends of mine, I’ve noticed we all kind of say the same thing. In the beginning, we start getting really irritable because see uncontrolled mania, although is very euphoric, and the beginning can lead to agitation and irritation and when mania comes to a head is actually insane irritability, and everybody in my life was stupid. Everybody in my life was wrong. Everybody in my life was out to get me. Towards the end of my first year of college with obviously that mindset, I was failing out, and I would have to take my retake my freshman year. So I kind of just chalked it up to that college wasn’t for me, and I dropped out and I moved home. I mean, college wasn’t all that bad. So six months into college, Austin and I were engaged halfway through my freshman year. And obviously, that was amazing. Spoiler alert, we’re going to be celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary this year. But my I think I actually already said that. Did I already say that? Wow, welcome to my life. Hope I’m not going to just chop that part out. But my parents agreed it wasn’t my thing.
Lauren Fritts 11:04
So Austin, and I both moved into my mom’s house and got jobs back home. But what we were all kind of blind to was the fact that it obviously wasn’t about college. The entire year of my life. That entire year in my life, my freshman year should have been it was just a huge red flag. It was just a 12 month long red flag. And it was just the beginning and foreshadowing if like we were in a movie of the climax of the movie, what was about to happen, none of us knew that after bringing me home from college, it would all come crashing down just a few weeks later. And when I say crashing down, I mean, like playing into the Twin Towers crashing down. Like it wasn’t a small breakdown of me crying slowly in my bed. Like it was a bad so it all happened kind of in one night. And I call it the night I can’t remember. But the night I will also never forget and I I think I’m funny and you’ll see why I think I’m funny because that’s that’s true. So it was a dark, cold, rainy night. The air was heavy with despair. Okay, no, it wasn’t. But it sounds so much better dramatic. It was honestly like a random day, July or August maybe I don’t know. Seriously a normal day, nothing special. It was me honestly. And my three best friends. We were out at the beach all day. We were driving around, we were doing 18-19 year old shit nothing special. When we got ice cream at Dairy Queen, because their queens my favorite. Then we headed back to my mom’s for the rest of the night. So we walked into my mom’s house and her and my little brother who was eight at the time were around the island, the kitchen island and my mom is my best friend. All of us grew up together. So we all love hanging out with my mom and my little brother.
Lauren Fritts 12:57
So we’re eating around the island with our ice cream joking and laughing. And one minute I was eating ice cream. And then it feels like all I did was just blink really long. And when I opened my eyes, I wasn’t in the kitchen anymore. I was actually on the floor in my room resting my head against the foot of my bed. Though fuck. I remember opening my eyes and being like, how the fuck like I felt like I was in the matrix or like somebody time traveled me. Like I had I didn’t have my ice cream in my hand. I was on like what the literal fuck. I walked out of my room and the house was dead silent. I walked into the kitchen where I was supposed to be eating my ice cream with everybody. But when I turned the corner, the floor was covered with shattered dishes. The fuck?
Lauren Fritts 13:51
I ran in my mom’s room because I assumed like the house was frickin broken into and shit went down. And I don’t know yelling like, Mom, what the hell happened? Where did everybody go? And when I walked into her room, I actually found her sitting on her bed. And Austin was holding her and she was sobbing. And he was holding ice packs to her wrist and I was like oh my god, Mom, what what is wrong? What the hell happened?
Lauren Fritts 14:16
And then she turned to look at me and just stared at me. And I will never forget the look in her face. She was petrified of me. She looked at me like I was going to kill her. Like you would look at a murderer. And I don’t remember anything. So, obviously, they’ve told me what’s happened since and they said it happened quick. I was laughing and joking when all of a sudden I just started screaming that what? Nobody freaking knows. But I wouldn’t stop and I started to throw dishes and when I started to throw dishes that’s when my friends took my little brother Who was eight at the time out for ice cream got him out of the house kept him safe because they didn’t know what the hell was happening and I don’t blame them. Austin and my mom attempted to calm me down. But my mom says it was like my soul was drained from my eyes. So I have like big brown eyes, a very large eyes. And she said it was almost like my pupil took over my entire eye. And there was no color left in my eye, but it was just black and it was almost like I was lifeless. And she walked forward to call me down. And that’s when I grabbed her. I grabbed her wrist and started to kind of like, twist her arms. And like giving her an Indian Radburn essentially, I was breaking blood vessels. I was bruising them. Which, obviously is why when I walked into her room, she looked at me freaking petrified, I would be petrified of me, too. Then they said it was like I was possessed. I had literally just randomly stopped, walked myself into my bedroom. And that’s where I came to and started to remember things again. I don’t remember anything about that night. It was my big blackout of what year? Was it? 2011 If you want to like have some big title for it. I don’t remember any of it. But I would never let it happen again. The look my mom gave me I remember it so well. It’s almost like I have a picture of it.
Lauren Fritts 16:24
After my mom gave me that, look, I didn’t even actually ask what I did. I didn’t need them to explain. She looked at me and fair, I asked what happened she kind of went like Do you not remember and I said, Take me to the hospital. No frickin hesitation, nothing. I knew something was wrong, and I needed to be fixed. And I would love to tell you, I immediately got help. And we all lived happily ever after. And now here I stand. A perfect example of successful bipolar. But in 2011, mental health wasn’t a thing yet. And mental health actually was not covered by insurance until 2016. So when my mom took me to the hospital, they asked me some questions. But the one thing they actually cared about was, Are you suicidal? I have been very blessed to have a mental illness that has not caused me to be suicidal. I never have been, I’ve never got inclinations. And I’m very, very blessed that my mind has not hurt me in that way. So I told them no. Well, if you weren’t suicidal, they didn’t give a shit. So they said, Okay, go home, find a doctor. If you’ve tried to find a doctor in 2022, it’s frickin hard, but not as hard as it was before even mental health was a condition. It took me seven months to get in anywhere, even to get like a miniscule amount of help. I went through a lot of therapy, I went through months of testing, a lot of questions. Bipolar is not a diagnosis they normally give to anybody, anybody under 26. And I was 19 at the time, so they wanted to make sure that that’s what it was. Because if you take bipolar medication and you are not bipolar, it causes suicidal ideations is a very dangerous mental illness to diagnose incorrectly. But after months later, there was an answer. I sat across from my doctor, and he announced you have bipolar one. I remember taking, like the biggest breath of relief. Thank fucking god, there’s a knee. I responded like, perfect. Now, what do I do? Now at the time, I did not realize how rare of a response that was. I mean, I get it, who the hell would be happy to get a bipolar diagnosis. But let me tell you the relief that comes from putting a name to the fucking shit show that’s happening in your mind. I’m not crazy. You mean there’s a name, which means like, there’s there. There’s a reason when you are going through a mental illness and your brain is attacking you.
Lauren Fritts 18:53
And you can’t tell because reality from life. It’s very frustrating because only bipolar people understand bipolar people. And nobody around me had it really. So nobody or no one like in my life at that moment had it so I couldn’t. No one understood what I was going through. I felt fucking nuts. So when the doctor was like, Lauren, you have something I’m like, Thank God, there’s a name, which means there’s, there’s skill, there’s solutions, there’s medication. And honestly, when you’ve hurt people that you didn’t mean to or want to hurt. I would have done anything to never do that again. When your mom looks at you, like you’re gonna kill her, and she’s actually scared of you. You and you don’t remember that’s the scary thing is not remembering hurting somebody. So what if I in my head at that time? What if I blacked out again? And I actually went farther. Because I decided not to do something about my mental illness. I couldn’t. How am I supposed to live with myself that I knew at the time I had a choice and if I didn’t take it, I could really hurt people. That’s almost like a civil responsibility not only to myself but to other people. And bipolar is actually a disease I am all too familiar with unforced so bipolar is hereditary. And I spent my life watching how the denial of a diagnosis destroyed somebody I loved. So, I already knew at that time what bipolar was capable of. And that is a story that’s not mine to tell. I just knew that their story wasn’t going to be that same plotline of my life. So I got the diagnosis. I said, Perfect, great. Now what do I do? My doctor was like, well, it’s so severe, we want to put you on state disability, you won’t be able to hold a job. Marriage isn’t a good idea. And motherhood probably isn’t for you.
Lauren Fritts 20:58
I’m sorry. Come on again. So I was right. Still 19 Stubborn, wasn’t medicated yet. So I’m still in that, like everybody’s stupid phase. And nobody was going to tell me what the fuck I couldn’t couldn’t do. You’re telling me at 19 years old, I have to give up my life because of something that’s going on in my head. So I actually did this. And I think people think I’m joking. No, I actually fucking did this. I pushed my chair back. I stood up, I looked at him in the face. I said, fucking watch me. And I walked out. Yeah, I walked out. And it did take me a couple more months to find another doctor. But I knew from the beginning, I needed somebody in my corner that would help me and not silence me. I think a lot of people the fear they have with getting a mental health diagnosis is being numbed of their motion. And that’s not what I have. I have become so self aware over the years that I actually have agreements with my doctor that they can’t give me. Now this is 12 years into my diagnosis. If you are in the beginning, you listen to the fucking doctors, but I’m so aware and stable, that I’m actually not on the amount of milligrams of my medication I should be on, I’m on a little bit less, because I know how to control myself. And I know my signs, symptoms and triggers so I can still feel. And I needed someone who was going to listen to me and let me have a say, in my treatment plan. Nobody was going to numb me and put me in the loony bin. I may have only been 19. But I had dreams and goals for my life. And I was I wasn’t going to let anybody take that away from me without a fight. I was on a mission for the rest of my life to prove that doctor wrong. So I guess you can say my stubbornness kind of came in handy at that point. So bipolar is a lifelong illness. For those of you who don’t know there is not a cure yet for bipolar. So technically, this isn’t my full bipolar story because there’s no end. i My life is my bipolar story. In 12 years, I have seen 14 Different doctors. I’ve tried 36 different medications to find what I call my cocktail. I am on Latuda I’m on 100 milligrams of Latuda at night. I am on 40 milligrams of Lamictal right, so this is my right now what I’m taking Latuda Lamictal Trazadone for sleep Vyvanse for attention deficit, and Depakote. I tried 36 different medications to find the right cocktail. But here’s kind of my biggest lesson. I never gave up. I still don’t give up as hard as it got. as dark as it got. I knew my life was gonna be exactly what the fuck I wanted it to be no matter how long it took me. No matter how many medications I needed to find the right one. I had a life I wanted.
Lauren Fritts 23:53
I had a fiance that I wanted. I wanted to be a mom. I’m a very ambitious person. I was going to do it. And no one was going to stop me. Here I am today. I’ve done everything that that doctor told me. I’d never do anymore. I am celebrating my 10 year wedding anniversary this year with my amazing husband. We’re taking a three week long vacation in Europe. I have two beautiful babies. I have won multiple awards in my corporate industry. I’ve done it. I’ve broken the stigma. I am a I love this term. My friend called this to me and I’m like yes, bitch. I’m a stigma disrupter. They were like, you can’t and I’m like I will bitch and that’s been my mindset. You can’t Why not? You shouldn’t why not? You won’t why not? Why fucking not?
Lauren Fritts 24:54
No one was going to tell me shit and they still can’t tell me shit. Why the fuck not? I hadn’t No one to look up to. It wasn’t an easy road, it’s still not an easy road people. It’s gotten easier to manage. But that comes with time and experience. I’ve learned my triggers, I know my symptoms, I’ve worked on myself and I continue to challenge my mind, my bipolar, I have bipolar, it does not have me, it was never going to be my disadvantage. No matter how many people told me it would be, I have worked my ass off, to turn that shit into the biggest advantage in my life. When I was diagnosed, nobody talked about mental illness, there was no celebrity mental health advocates. There was no book thought there’s books, but like Chicken Soup for the mental health, solar, your kids are going through hormone, you know, nothing good, nothing of substance, no one to be like, Bitch, they did it, I can do it too. I’ve only done the hard mindset work and learn what I have for my life.
Lauren Fritts 25:58
out of pure desperation for survival. I started working on myself, and going through everything to lead me to where I am not to. At the time when I did it, it wasn’t to help people. It was literally to make sure I wasn’t going to die. It was literally to make sure I was not going to hurt people. I was doing it out of pure survival for an act like just a life. And that’s exactly why I started this podcast. I know my story isn’t typical. I know that my mindset and my opinion on mental illness is rare. Every single doctor says I’m this weird unicorn that they wish I could talk to their patients. But you know I can’t. Because I have such this positive and optimistic outlook on mental illness. I believe that God blessed me with bipolar disorder. Because he also gave me the mind and the heart. As well as the fucking voice and personality to speak up. There is a reason I’ve gone through what I’ve gone through. And there’s a reason I think the way I think. And that’s exactly what I’m trying to do. I’m using what I’ve learned in my life through my diagnosis in hopes of normalizing mental health. Whether or not you have a mental illness, you have mental health, everybody has mental health and everyone’s mental health is important. We have to end the stigma by normalizing the everyday mental shit that happens to all of us. I want to encourage you to get help if you need it. I want to inspire you to never settle for less than you know you deserve. And I want to urge you to turn whatever disadvantage you think you have and spin that shit to be the biggest advantage of your life. But mostly, mostly, I’m just here to be your friend who fucking gets it. I get the fact that your mind isn’t always nice to you. I get the anxiety you feel. I get the random sadness. I get the random intrusive thoughts and the postpartum depression after having a baby. I get the fact you don’t know how to verbalize what the fuck is going on in your head. I’m just your friend that gets the fact we all have fucking shit we’re going through. Because girls, so do I. My mental illness is my advantage. 110% backs, whatever shit you’re going through as to and everybody can champion WHAT THE FUCK life has given them.
Lauren Fritts 28:35
My goal in life is to inspire enough people to not be shameful to ask for help. I want people to feel hope when they receive their diagnosis and not shame. I want them I want to show them like a happy, stable fulfilled life is fucking possible. That’s why I’m so excited for what’s about to happen here on the podcast, because it’s time that we start opening the doors on mental illness on mental health, and have some of the most honest yet fucking amazing conversations together. And we will get in to all of that in the next few episodes. That was a lot guys. I hope you found something from that. If not just understand who I am and where I’m coming from. Although I am not bipolar, I do have it. And it’s a big part of my life. And the reason I am who I am. I was asked once if I had a cure if they had a cure for bipolar would I take it and I honestly think my answer is no. I still think it was I said a couple years ago. I think my answer would be no. Because you know what? What if they took away my bipolar and it took away my absolute favorite parts of me. I’m bubbly. I’m talkative, I’m outgoing. I’m empathetic. And what if you took that away and it just What if you took away my favorite parts of me Because although I’m not bipolar, I do have it and it does affect my personality. Right? Mental illness isn’t a bad thing. Everybody has something. This is just mine.
Lauren Fritts 30:15
So let me end by saying this. I love you. I am proud of you and I believe in you. And I know you might have trouble loving yourself being proud of yourself for believing in yourself right now. And that’s okay. So until you can do this alone, use my love and believe in you to get up. Go out and kill it today. So don’t forget to hit follow and subscribe. Follow me on Instagram at the Lauren Fritts because next week is spring clean our mental health week. I’m going to do a podcast episode about it. I got freebies and workbooks but we are going to spring clean our mental health to go into the summer with a fresh mindset. I’m excited to talk to you next week. Have a good one.