Guests: Justin Peck
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Justin is a professional, Lucas Oil Series off-road race car driver and team owner. He is also a firsthand expert in the world of mental health, as he has learned to use his Class 1 Bipolar Disorder to his advantage, sidestepped suicide, and overcome addiction.
Segment overview: In this segment (SEG 3), Justin Peck talks about the impact of Bipolar Disorder on family members and caregivers. He also shares advice to help others who battles the same mental health issue.
Health Professional Radio – Bipolar Disorder Affects Family and Friends
Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard, thank you for joining us today. Our guest in studio is Mr. Justin Peck. He is a championship off-road racer, he’s also an author of the brand new memoir, ‘Bulletproof’ it’s available now. And in addition, he is a public speaker as he celebrates his life with bipolar disease. Welcome back to Health Professional Radio Justin Peck.
Justin Peck: Thanks Neal. How are you today?
N: I’m doing well. Thank you so much for returning and talking with us.
N: Now your book ‘Bulletproof’ is doing pretty good. Where is it available?
J: It’s available on website at justinpeck.com. You can also get in on Amazon as well and we just hit the ‘Amazon Best-Seller List’. Yes, we’re pretty excited of how it’s turning out.
N: Now many of our listeners, well most of our listeners are healthcare professionals. But talk a bit about bipolar disease, you suffer from bipolar disease as a mental health issue in addition to recovering addict and some more struggles that you outline and talk about in detail, in your book ‘Bulletproof’.
J: Yes. Living with bipolar for me, it’s a day to day thing. For me, I don’t know any other way of living by no means. There’s benediction involved, there’s been crazy mania stages, and there’s been depressive state. But for me, I don’t know life any different. Yes, that’s just kind of where I’m at right now. I still wake up every morning just like the next guy. My pants go in on one leg at a time like everybody else. My shoes tied the same ways, everybody else’s as well. To me, like I don’t think of it as a disease or disorder, I like to call it a mental blessing. Because at the end of the day, I would not be the man I am today without having a struggles that I’ve had.
N: Now you’re an author, a speaker, you’re an off-road champion racer with the Lucas Oil Series, also the owner of a race team, Racepro Tech. Now, that’s what you’re doing now, but your book talks about you feeling different growing up when you were young. What do you remember most about those early days, some of the early signs when you were diagnosed with bipolar?
J: At a real young age, I do remember just having different thoughts. My friends would be thinking about frogs and baseball, right? And I would be thinking more along the lines of like life and feeling sad and almost wanting to die and we’re talking at the ages of like 7 and 8 years old. When you have those type of feelings and emotions, and you try to convey those to your friends, your friends are going to think that you’re weird. I did it for a little while, I’d talk about it with some buddies. I realized really, really fast that it was best that I just kind of kept it to myself because I knew that it would just, they weren’t thinking the same way that I was thinking and do I kind of pushed away from everybody. I became kind of an outcast and then when you’re an outcast in school, you end up becoming picked on quite a bit. I went through the bullying stages from roughly 3rd and 4th grade up until I graduated high school. I still had no on kind of what was going on, but it didn’t take and tell. I think I was probably 32 or 33 years old before I actually went in and have the test done. I’ve had the mental blessing, the mental disorder for probably 35 or 36 years.
N: In other segments, when we were talking here before, you talked about how your colleagues in the racing community have received you and your book so far. Also, we’ve been here talking about some of the ways that your friends and schoolmates treated you at a very early age and on into your teens. Talk a little bit about how your family members reacted to you. What were some of the ways that your Bipolar affected your family? We’ve talked about how affecting it in your friends, as your try talk about it. What about family?
J: Well the family end of it, that was always quite interesting because I learned that you don’t talk to your friends and you hide it with your friends, you must have to hide it with your family as well. Kind of the irony behind this whole thing is the book was released January of this year. My mother read it for the first time and she looked at me with tears in her eyes saying, ‘I had no idea’. I lived with my mother until I was 7 years old. My family they didn’t know, what ended up happening is I became a master at hiding the disorder. If I was in a depressive state, I could act like I was sick. I could force myself to throw-up, I could do whatever to make where I didn’t have to go to school. When I was in the mania stage, it’s a little harder to hide when you’re in mania. But I also understood that when I was in that stage, I could go away. I can go be by myself, and I could be creative and do the things by myself. So with family, I hid it really well.
N: When did your drug use begin?
J: Drug use began probably mid-2000. I had a really bad crash on a dirt bike at a big national race and it hurt myself pretty bad so I had to get surgery. After the surgery, I kind of started with the pain meds. Of course to kind keep the pain down from the surgery, but as time went on, I didn’t stop the pain meds. I always started having the excuse of my arm hurt or I have a headache, or whatever and that lasted for about a year, a year and a half.
N: And we hear of so much about celebrities hurting themselves and becoming addicted to pain meds. It’s a huge and it’s an epidemic in the United States right now and I’m sure other parts of the world where opioids are available. Now of course, you’re started as the result of an accident, horrific accident, and I think you described it in your book as blowing up your arm and having to put it back together, things were kind of discombobulated for quite a while. As you say these excuses, you started using these excuses to just use the drugs not just for the pain. Was there anything else involved? Are you just battling with these pain meds? You’re a race car driver, did you drink as well or was that a problem for you?
J: No. I’ve actually been quite fortunate enough to not be a drinker. I don’t drink to this day, I’ve never really done any of the other drugs. For me it was more the opiates and it was because the opiates, they turned my brain off.
N: Now why did you decide that now was the time to actually write a book about your life? ‘Bulletproof’ is a very intriguing title and when you read the book, you find out why you had such a nickname. But why did you feel that now is the time to do this?
J: For me, I read in the news and I listen to the stigma that’s portrayed all the way thru the country about mental health and mental disorder. I finally got to the point where I just, for me I’m sick of it. I think that there’s no tolerance for people who struggle like I do. My main focus now was to bring a voice to the illness and end the stigma that a mental health disorder is something that you need to be locked up for or that you need to be chastised about. That’s where I am at now. And that’s why I speak and that’s why I stand in front of thousands of people, and tell my story even though it may be embarrassing, it maybe raw, maybe whatever. But for me, I want to end the stigma because it’s not necessary.
N: And where can we get, I know talked about it at the opening of this interview’s conversation but where can our listeners once again, get a copy of your brand new memoir entitled ‘Bulletproof’?
J: You can get it at the website at justinepeck.com. We have several varieties that you can get. We also have our blog posts and stuff that you can get some information. My email is there as well and I urge your listeners to even reach out if they have questions and stuff. And for me, I answer. I like to hear the struggles of other people and help the best way that I can.
N: Great. Well, it’s been a pleasure as always talking with you today Justin.
J: Thanks Neal, I appreciate the opportunity.
N: Thank you. You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard in studio with Justin Peck. And we’ve been talking about his book, ‘Bulletproof’. Transcripts and audio of this program are available at healthprofessionalradio.com.au and also at hpr.fm. You can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes, and listen in and download at SoundCloud.