The insanity genes, so to speak, are rooted in my family tree quite literally. I was raised by a mom who was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic and then later I ended up as caregiver to my little sister who also was a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenia. From the age of about 10 and pretty much throughout my entire existence on this earth, I’ve been navigating crazy and all that comes with it and for the bulk of that time it’s been in shame and silence because of the stigma society has attached to anything outside of acceptable norms. So this podcast is for others who might be experiencing some of the same madness I have in my life and I hope to help give others a chance to sound off, to let off some steam, to commiserate, to know they’re not alone.
Mental Health Caregivers Podcast (Ep1) I’m with Crazy: A Love StorySubscribe on iTunes Listen on Soundcloud
Hi and welcome to Madness To Magic and my podcast, I’m With Crazy: A Love Story. I’m your host, Paolina Milana, author of “The S Word”. This show is for those of us who find ourselves surrounded by madness and wanting to find the magic within. We’re going to come together here as caregivers to those who have been diagnosed with a mental illness. Maybe it’s someone in the family we’ve been born into. Maybe it’s someone we love. Maybe it’s someone we work with, maybe even it’s ourselves. Whether we’ve been thrust into this caregiver role or taken it on by choice, this podcast is where we’re going to share our stories and learn to realize the magic in all the madness we may have been experiencing. I promise you it can be done. So let’s get to it.
Okay, so here we are, episode one. Welcome again to Madness To Magic and my podcast, I’m With Crazy: A Love Story. If you’re joining me today, then I have to believe that something in you is experiencing some sort of madness and yet you have faith in the possibility of turning whatever that madness might be into something magical. If you’re anything like me, you are or have been a caregiver to someone who has a mental illness. It could be a family member, a friend, a colleague, or even you yourself and just like me, you’ve got a story to share and some insights and some questions. Now, this first episode I thought I would just explain a bit about who I am, how I got here, and why I created this podcast. The long and short of it is that madness has been tracking me or I it my entire life.
The insanity genes, so to speak, are rooted in my family tree quite literally. I was raised by a mom who was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic and then later I ended up as caregiver to my little sister who also was a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenia. From the age of about 10 and pretty much throughout my entire existence on this earth, I’ve been navigating crazy and all that comes with it and for the bulk of that time it’s been in shame and silence because of the stigma society has attached to anything outside of acceptable norms. In my next episode, I’m going to share with you a very special story related to Christmas and crazy, but for now let’s just say that there were times in my life when A) I was no longer sure who was sane and who was crazy and B) when I was pretty much ready to wave the white flag, throw in the towel and either check myself into a psych ward or check out permanently.
What I just said is a big part of why I decided to start this podcast. I’m pretty much an A type personality and very much a high performing person. In my professional life I’m a published author and I’ve risen to the level of a chief marketing officer. From the outside looking in throughout my entire career really, I’ve been considered a success with many accomplishments and awards. What the outside world didn’t know really was that inside I was dying. I silenced what was really going on with my mom and my sister and myself, stuffing myself with food ballooning to 365 pounds and actually putting a plan in motion to end it all for me and for them. And it still amazes me that someone like me could have gotten to that point, seeing no other way out, but getting out permanently.
So this podcast is for others who might be experiencing some of the same madness I have in my life and I hope to help give others a chance to sound off, to let off some steam, to commiserate, to know they’re not alone and just to have a place that’s much more constructive and beneficial in so many ways by someone who not only has been there but someone who actually has done the research, has done the homework, has done the self-work really that I think others might benefit from as well. The second reason why I started this podcast and that’s because of what I have seen in the news now for decades. Someone does something terrible and the media shares something about how the person has had a mental illness and then once again everyone jumps on that bandwagon and they point fingers, they assign blame and more often than not they fault family members and loved ones for not having known or not having stopped whatever tragedy has resulted.
I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be accountability, right? I’m not saying that it is indeed tragic whenever something happens regardless, but what I am saying is that there are too many people out there who haven’t walked in my shoes, maybe in your shoes and they’re full of advice and Monday morning quarterbacking on the topic of dealing with madness and the truth of it is that unless you’ve experienced it firsthand, there’s no way you could know all there is to know and even if you have experienced it, there’s no way because there is no rule book, no playbook to go by. I’ll even go as far as to say that in my experience, a great majority of so-called medical professionals, they don’t have the answers either and that not much has changed since the late ’70s when my mom first showed signs of of mental illness.
I also know that not only do people not have the answers, but nobody has a crystal ball, right? And when it comes to crazy, that kind of magic of expecting people to foreshadow, know the future, that’s not realistic. It’s not reality. I’m living proof of the toll that pretending to be okay when you’re not can have on a person and on those who are connected to that person. I’m also living proof of how to rise time and again. Yes, more weathered definitely, but also stronger, wiser and much more compassion and able to to manage without going crazy yourself. I know that silence is not the answer. I’ve seen the good that shining a light on seemingly unspeakable things can do. I’ve also come to a place in my life where I embrace the fact that we all are not either or folks. We’re both in and. So in other words, inside of us, every one of us is both good and evil, both victim and victor, both virgin and whore, both prey and predator. This is not a black and white world and rarely if ever are we black or white.
This podcast I really, really hope is where we can stop running or hiding from madness and start embracing it, caring for it, and realizing it’s part of the whole of who we are. So why not start showing it, showing others and showing ourselves the care we all deserve. It’s my belief that by doing so, we’ll find the magic within the madness. And that is when we really tap into our full power and are able to not only survive but thrive and do great things despite whatever may come our way. I hope that gives you just a glimpse into what this podcast intends to be about. If you have others with whom this podcast might resonate, please do share it. And if you have any comments, good or bad, write them down, ask them now or on a future session, posts them, and I will try to respond. If you have any questions, feel free to let me know. You can also shoot me an email if you like. You can go onto my website madnesstomagic.com, I’ll answer whatever I can, what I can’t I will research and find the answers.
I want this podcast to be yours as much as it is mine, so I welcome any and all input and I really am excited to be here. This means a lot to me and I think for myself it’s been a gap I have not found anywhere else to have this kind of environment, this kind of opportunities. So I’m grateful to be able to offer it to others. I hope you’re as excited as I am and I really look forward to what unfolds together. Thanks so much for listening to Madness To Magic and my podcast I’m With Crazy: A Love Story. I believe we’re all here for a purpose and I know that this is part of mine. Please share this with anyone you think might benefit or might even have a story of their own to share. You also can visit me at MadnessToMagic.com or check out more of my stories, including info on my book, “The S Word” at paolinamilanawrites.com.
I hope to hear from you and to join forces with what I consider a unique caregiver tribe. As we all learn to embrace all of ourselves, to have compassion for others and to come into our full power by the grace that is both madness and magic. Until we meet again, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite mantras, be bold and mighty forces shall come to your aid. Thank you.