This week on No Restraints with Rudy Caseres my guest is Melody Moezzi. Melody is an Iranian-American writer and attorney. She is also the author of Haldol and Hyacinths: A Bipolar Life and War on Error: Real Stories of American Muslims. I had the privilege of speaking with Melody in person which is always prefereed when I interview someone. I had been wanting to meet her for quite some time and after spending an afternoon with her (along with my wife and puppy) I can definitely say it was worth the wait. Watch as we talk bipolar, religion, hospitalization, suicide, human rights, and more.
You can learn more about Melody and her work at MelodyMoezzi.com.
Follow her on Twitter here and on Instagram here.
See you again next week for an all-new No Restraints with Rudy Caseres. Wednesdays 12pm PT/3pm ET. Watch live at Facebook.com/RudyCaseres and, of course, watch all past episodes at NoRestraints.net.
Because it's for your own good.
Rudy Caseres: 00:01 Hey everyone, welcome to episode 39 of No Restraints with Rudy Caseres. I'm Rudy Caseres, obviously. If it wasn't me, then I don't know what you'd be watching. My guest today. Melody Moezzi. Glad I got that right.
Melody Moezzi: 00:16 Yeah.
Rudy Caseres: 00:16 I've been saying other things forever, so I finally made sure. Um, People mispronounce all - my name all the time. So...
Melody Moezzi: 00:27 I've done it. So I know. (laughs)
Rudy Caseres: 00:27 Cool. So if you're watching this live, let us know you're here. If you're watching the first time because you're a fan of Melody like I am, please let us know. We've got people joining already. I appreciate that. Ask questions. Um, I have a little description below, um, in the post and I'm going to ask the question, the kind of question that I ask every single guest when I have them on, no matter who they are.
Melody Moezzi: 00:51 I know this question. (laughs) I've watched before so I know the question.
Rudy Caseres: 00:55 She's (points to Melody) - she's one of my
Melody Moezzi: 00:55 And I don't like talking about myself in third person!
Rudy Caseres: 00:58 She's one of my, she's one of my biggest fans. So she's watched every single episode every single week. Without further ado... Hi Paige. Paige has also read your book and said good things. So feel free to ask questions. Who is Melody Moezzi?
Melody Moezzi: 01:15 Again, she is somebody who doesn't like to talk herself in third person. So I am a proud Iranian American Muslim author, attorney and activist. The reason I bring all those identifiers in is because, uh, that's one partly what I write about and to where I see a lot of stigma, persecution, discrimination. So in an effort to fight them -
Rudy Caseres: 01:39 Now I'm going to try to ask questions that you haven't been asked a million times. So, but I want to get the obvious out of the way. Proud Muslim. Why in this day and age, this "Woke Era" where there's so much anti-religion, especially anti-Islam -
Melody Moezzi: 01:55 Yeah? Why would I say that or why am I a Muslim? (laughs).
Rudy Caseres: 01:59 Both. Go ahead.
Melody Moezzi: 02:00 Oh. Yeah. Um, well one, obviously it's important for me to say now that there's a ban as an Iranian Muslim, particularly, there's a ban on my people in this country, uh, that is the United States where we are right now. Uh, and yeah, I don't think there should be. I think it's unconstitutional. I'm a lawyer. I feel like I'm qualified to say that. Uh, so that's why partly it's important. I think the discrimination we faced a hate crimes are on the rise. So all of that. Uh, otherwise I think religion is something you should keep to yourself. Like I really like, I'm not trying to convert anybody. I just, I think it's, uh, something that the only reason that I would be public about my religion is if we're being persecuted. And we are being actively persecuted in this country more than any other religious minorities. So...
Rudy Caseres: 02:41 We got our first question from Paige Reitz, superfan. (Reads laptop screen) "Melody Moezzi, your Haldol & Hyacinths" uh, which I'm going to go pick up from the kitchen.
Melody Moezzi: 02:51 Um, I think it's right next to you.
Rudy Caseres: 02:51 (laughs) Oh, awesome. (holds up book) "Your book" Hopefully it doesn't come in backwards. "Haldol & Hyacinths book is my favorite mental health memoir."
Melody Moezzi: 02:59 Aw, you're sweet Paige.
Rudy Caseres: 03:00 (Continues reading) I love the way you weave in advocacy around race, ethnicity, and gender into the book. Intersectional representation is so important. Also, I'm beside a brick building, so signal is choppy. I'll rewatch later. That's totally fine.
Melody Moezzi: 03:14 (laughs) Thanks a lot, Paige. Uh, yeah. Well thank you. I, it's really nice to hear that cause there's plenty of people who have left bad reviews on Amazon (laughs) saying that "This was supposed to be a book about bipolar. I don't want to know you're Iranian or you're a Muslim." Like comes in the package, hence the intersectional part. Um, I can't really ignore, I guess I could, I could pretend that I was like a white guy, but I feel like that I wouldn't, I wouldn't like be able to pass. Right.
Rudy Caseres: 03:37 Yeah. You know, I mean, I've read probably 20 bipolar memoirs at this point. People even send them to my apartment. But it's great that your book is so different. It's funny. Yeah. And most people tend to think like, oh, it's about mental illness, so it's got to be serious and sad and you got to tell the whole dark days and all that stuff. And you do get there, but you never lose your sense of humor. I mean is that something, it's kind of sounds like a dumb question, but was that something that you were trying to go against - the typical, uh, bipolar mental health memoir type format?
Melody Moezzi: 04:13 Well, it's mainly because when I was in the hospital, too, a lot of, uh, mental health providers told me that I use humor as a defense mechanism. And I do like, I'm totally fine using humor as a defense mechanism. And I think like obviously at a certain point it could become an issue, but for me, like I have survived because of my sense of humor. So I don't, I think it's a very good coping strategy in some ways. Um, and I, I wouldn't like, and I do take humor very seriously in my writing. Like I don't, when I'm reading a book, I would like to laugh every few minutes. Like, I don't know if I'm reading a book for enjoyment and I'm hoping most of my books or something that you could read on the beach and not have to like consult 20 other books to be able to understand what I'm saying.
Rudy Caseres: 04:58 Yeah. You know, I, I consumed this book. Let me tell you, I'm the worst writer - reader in the world. I'm the worst (laughs) - That's a whole other story. But I'm, I'm the worst reader in the world. Like I, I mean I've had guests on this show where I skimmed through their books. (laughs)
Melody Moezzi: 05:12 Right?
Rudy Caseres: 05:12 I devoured this. Let's be honest.
Melody Moezzi: 05:13 The fact that you read books at all. Like I've, I've been a guest on shows where people have not even like skimmed the book, let alone read it.
Rudy Caseres: 05:19 I know. And I, this is, this is your copy of tha you're going to sign for me in a bit, But I had the soft cover. I don't know if you like soft covers. Those are hard to get the perfect grip on. So I was committed to this thing and so thank you for writing this and it's like, it's not even that big. I was like, and this is, this goes to show to like all the other bipolar writers, you don't need to have 500 600 pages.
Melody Moezzi: 05:40 Please don't. (laughs)
Rudy Caseres: 05:40 Trust. Trust us. Okay. I know your life is important. I know you want to get all your shit in but this, this is like perfect length because I could have read this on a flight to Boston or what have you. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I'm sure. I'm sure you're edit - you had to have a lot edited - cut out, right?
Melody Moezzi: 05:55 Not too much, but I don't, I'm not the kind of writer who writes like a thousand pages and then cuts it down. Uh, I write and edit at the same time, which any, I mean most writing teachers - and not including me - would say don't do that. Just write your first horrible draft and then go back. But I'm not really into writing the first formal draft. I just write, write and edit at the same time. Yeah. Maybe it takes longer, but then the draft ends up being closer to the finished product at the end. Yeah.
Rudy Caseres: 06:22 And I actually found a Typo in your book.
Melody Moezzi: 06:25 No, you did not.
Rudy Caseres: 06:26 I seriously did.
Melody Moezzi: 06:27 Oh, please tell me where it is.
Rudy Caseres: 06:28 Oh, I didn't I'll try to find it. No. I'm sorry.
Melody Moezzi: 06:32 The rest of you if you find typos (laughs) - please let me know where they are.
Rudy Caseres: 06:34 Yeah. (reads laptop screen) You got any more comments? Keely says, "This is one of my favorite books." Well, you have good taste there. And I didn't, I was surprised actually by how much is devoted to your pancreas in this book.
Melody Moezzi: 06:45 Oh my gosh. Well, I think mental health and physical health are not two separate things given that the, you know, our heads are attached to the rest of our bodies. Uh, and plenty of people think that bipolar is something that we have a hereditary predisposition towards a and a whole lot of other mental health conditions. Uh, so for me, I definitely have that predisposition, but no one in my family immediate family presents with it. Uh, so I don't, I think if I didn't have the issues with my pancreatic tumor, I had a tumor on my pancreas that was removed right in the middle of my pancreas. Any doctors out there, it was a mid pancreatectomy with a roux and y, um, also take out the gallbladder while they were there. Just, you know, good measure. So who needs a gallbladder? But I'm sure they'll find out. We do need gallbladders for something, but I don't -
Rudy Caseres: 07:35 Shout-out to all the gallbladders.
Melody Moezzi: 07:35 Yeah, I've been, I've been fine without it. Um, I'm doing all right. But yeah, obviously I don't think if I had the issues with - if I didn't have all of that. And I don't mean if I didn't have the physical, unless I wouldn't have mental illness, but I think if I didn't have the hospitalizations. Because those hospitalizations for the physical illness were deeply traumatizing in many ways. Uh, obviously I had no idea how bad it could get until I was in a psychiatric hospital at which obviously it was a lot. Not obviously, I mean we don't know. It was a lot worse. A Lot, lot worse.
Rudy Caseres: 08:06 Yeah. We'll, we'll get more in depth with that. Uh, thank you - people keep joining us. I appreciate that. This is No Restraints with Rudy Caseres. Episode 39. My guest, Melody Moezzi. We're talking about her book Haldol & Hyacinths. We also have our first book on hand, too. (holds up book) War on Terror cause we're going to sell a book today. Okay.
Melody Moezzi: 08:23 War on Error.
Rudy Caseres: 08:25 Yes. If you're watching this live and if you're not watching this live that's totally fine. People check these out - like, I've actually gotten speaking work booked because someone watched on my website, which I embed on like two or three months later on. So shout out to those people. Give me money.
Melody Moezzi: 08:40 I also do speaking.
Rudy Caseres: 08:41 Yeah, I know. Are you still on the, uh, this, the, uh,
Melody Moezzi: 08:46 I'm on the Penguin Speaker's Bureau and my literary agent has, is opening a speaker bureau. The (inaudible) literary manager lecture management.
Rudy Caseres: 08:55 And if you want to book us together, that's totally fine too. We'll take that money. So, and I'll, of course I'll put the links to both books as well. And you've got another book coming up, which I hopefully will get a chance to read in the not too distant future. Yeah, I know. I thought like, I would have to like track you down, like go to one of your book signing. So I'm glad that we're able to do this in person. Like this is, this is a high honor. Okay. Yeah. Show some love for Melody. You know, you're only like the fourth person that I've had on who's had a Wikipedia page.
Melody Moezzi: 09:25 Oh really?
Rudy Caseres: 09:25 Yeah.
Melody Moezzi: 09:26 Oh, sorry. Am I know it might be wrong. I haven't looked at it lately, so...
Rudy Caseres: 09:30 Yeah, that's, that's totally fine. And I'll leave more links down below in the comments. Go check that out. Uh, Jacque Christmas loves my tee shirt. Get your fucking dog fixed. That's not a statement. That is a way of life. Cool. I think we have like some kind of like weird filter on here. What the hell is going on that? So I was like a Christmas ornament. Yeah, I'll take that. Um, so I'm not even gonna touch this and ruin it. So Paige Reitz says," I super appreciate you linking trauma with so called hereditary mental illnesses. I think we only just, I'm beginning to understand the level of which trauma impacts our health and I can't wait to check out War on Error." There we go. We got one, we got one book sale there.
Melody Moezzi: 10:06 And the trauma and since you're great. Thank you so much for bringing that up. And I'm a big fan and I know you are as well of trauma-informed care. Um, and I - part of the trauma, obviously with a physical illness, but also I think being a minority in our life itself is dramatic. Uh, particularly right now. Uh, and there's plenty of data to show that if you are a minority, if you're facing discrimination, uh, our rates of mental health conditions that are induced, uh, and then like not supported by the society we live in our higher unfortunately, so that particularly among certain communities, uh, it's really important for me. I'm not native American, but the native American community, uh, it's been really bad. And the attention that gets paid to lots of different minorities, but I think particularly what's happening in the native American community that people are unaware of, uh, is incredibly disturbing. And I would hope that we could do something more about it. So I don't know if you've had any indigenous writers or advocates on yet. (crosstalk)
Rudy Caseres: 11:05 Hmm. That's actually good. I mean, I, I mean I have some indigenous blood in me. I'm an eighth Apache.
Melody Moezzi: 11:09 So that's you.
Rudy Caseres: 11:12 I feel like I feel like I have had someone on, but I don't want to like, I don't want to commit to that.
Melody Moezzi: 11:18 You gotta go to a reseveration, too.
Rudy Caseres: 11:19 I know. But yeah, no, definitely. I appreciate it. I appreciate that. Keep the questions coming, okay. It makes my job easier. Okay. Because I didn't prepare for this at all.
Melody Moezzi: 11:27 I have plenty of questions for you.
Rudy Caseres: 11:29 Okay. Um, before we get to that question, and I'll talk to you about mania because I'm bipolar as well, and I was reading your book and I was just blown away by the type of stuff that you did. Cause I was, it was fairly straight forward. Like I didn't want, I wasn't like psychotic or anything like that, but I was a lot of energy. I didn't think that I was a prophet. I didn't like, I wasn't like, I'm the second coming of Christ or anything like that, but i felt like I had it in me that the potential, I've always felt like I was meant for great things and in a way I am doing great things, but I never wanted to just like live in this little bubble and, and be this a shrinking violet. But I've always dealt with um, verbal abuse, bullying. So that was the part that caused me to depression. And for me the mania was a thing that like was the real me escaping and nobody got it. People were trying to box me in. Nobody. People want to label me sick and I would say out loud, "I'm not sick. You're sick, you're sick." And I want to get your take on mania because from reading that, that's very scary. Some of the things you do because you don't even remember a lot of it. Yeah.
Melody Moezzi: 12:34 Yeah. So I was what they would call floridly. I don't know if they still use that, but yeah, I had real psychosis, I had delusions, hallucinations. And that was the first time I only acute manic episode I've ever had. Um, thank God cause I didn't know I had bipolar disorder. I thought I was like so many other people. I was misdiagnosed with unipolar depression and put on medications that actually exacerbating my condition and helped push me into mania. So thank you. Um, I mean I don't want to be down on pharmaceutical companies, but let's be honest, they just want to make money from us and we're like lifetime supporters of that and I'm all for taking your medication. Please don't ask me that. Like I will tell you I take medication and thank God for whoever invented antipsychotics, um, because I'm able to take them just a few times a year and not be hospitalized year round. Uh, but if I didn't have access to that medication, uh, I would be fully disabled all the time. And thankfully I haven't been. So, uh, I am grateful to medication. I am very skeptical of big Pharma in terms of how much did they want to help us or how much they can. I think a lot of lifestyle, um, comes into play as well, just like it does with every illness that people get weird about it. When you talk about mental health and that like, oh, maybe you should change your lifestyle a little. I mean that's what you say to somebody who has, you know, I have high cholesterol, right? They're like exercise, eat better, all of that. Right. That's all good for your mental health too. Yeah. And I feel like when you start talking about those kinds of issues, people get a little nervous and I don't, I feel like whatever works for you, I'm all for that. So,
Rudy Caseres: 14:11 you know, I sometimes think that medication is a stop-gap that there's so much that we can do to really live our best life, but also not feel like we have this disease that necessarily needs to be cured. That we're these pariahs. What do you think that would look like?
Melody Moezzi: 14:26 Hmm. Yeah. So I have a friend, his name is [inaudible]. He has a lab at Duke University. He is doctor. He has his own lab. He's super young in a very smart, and he is working on finding treatments for bipolar that actually integrate, does like microchip in your brain and he puts it in the brain of mice. I forget what he calls an actuator, I think, I don't know, but go look him and learn more about them and he's doing amazing things. And every time I see him I'm like, cut. Have you cured me yet? No, not yet. But uh, they're brilliant people who are working on these things and I am so grateful to them. Uh, I am not somebody who believes that I need a cure and that I need to be cured. I would very much like depression to hey, but wouldn't everybody. I don't, I think whether you have a mental illness or not.
Rudy Caseres: 15:13 I wouldn't want it to go away completley. It's part of the human condition.
Melody Moezzi: 15:14 Yeah. Yeah. So there you go. Right? Like I think you don't recognize or appreciate joy if you haven't experienced sadness. So I think our ability as people with bipolar disorder is to go sort of farther on that spectrum. And that can be a curse. But I also think it can be a gift and it's not something if there were medication that would cure me of this entire condition, whatever it is, um, that we are now calling bipolar disorder or bipolar disorders and God knows what, we'll call it 10 years from now. But, uh, if there were better treatments for it, like I, I'm all for that. Uh, I don't, I don't think there is such a thing as a cure because I see, I also experienced it so much as a spiritual, uh, kind of conditioned to, uh, and I, I know that, uh, that hasn't always been accepted. So the mental health community has very much told me that, you know, I, when I... My first - I had a hypo manic episode and I had a manic episode and during the hypo manic episode I had, uh, and both a manic episode. I hadn't - The only two mystical experiences I've ever had in my life and they were extraordinary. Um, the second one was also ultimately developing a, and I think that that was a valuable experience that the mystical side of it, the spiritual side of it, whatever you want to call it, this understanding that how connected we are, that I got so deeply when I was hypomanic and when I was manic, uh, in a way that, you know, I've, I've pretty much like always believed in God, but I've never been confident of that belief until after my first mystical experience. I was just very, whatever, just a force that unites all of us in some way. I felt that really strongly to the point of what some people would describe like psychedelic experiences (inaudible). Uh, and I've never done any recreational drugs. So yeah. So I think the mental health community being like this is, you can't have a valid mystical experience and sort of the faith community being like, this isn't really an illness. And, uh, plenty of people telling me, you know, sister, like, you just need to pray more. And this is like jinn. This is, or this is like a, you're possessed. Right? Um, we have these, uh, exorcisms that some people can go as well. So, uh, yeah, and a little nervous about this stuff too. But I hope that I've made it sort of clear that I think the faith community and the mental health community need to get together on this and realize that some people very much experienced their mental health conditions as also spiritual conditions. Uh, and that doesn't need to be entirely dismissed. And for me, faith has been a huge part of my, uh, and the mental health community has, in terms of mental health providers have never been supportive of that. They've always seen it more as a delusion apart from one psychiatrist I have now. Uh, and something that needs to be dealt with store. Yeah.
Rudy Caseres: 18:04 Yeah. I mean, I'm not anti psychiatry, but I hate going to the psychiatrist. I mean, I've had good therapists. I don't have one right now, unfortunately. Yeah. But yeah, it's just, I always feel like I'm being talked down to like just be seen as a disease and it's just hard to talk to someone like that. Especially when you only get like 10 20 minutes tops. Yeah. I've had times where I feel like I have to really assert myself and even use big language because then the doctor will be like, "oh, this person actually knows what they're talking about. I can use big boy words with them now." So we've got a long way to go. But for me, I believe in the social model of disability. So for me it's not about being cured. It's obviously we want to feel our best, but I also feel like everyone needs an adversity no matter what it is. And we can have the suffering Olympics, compare our suffering to each other. But I truly believe in accessibility and accommodations. And like you had mentioned, like people get weirded out by mania, they get weirded out by psychosis and even severe depression, suicidality to a point. And I just want that to end and we're, we're both bipolar and we're both going to be manic at some point in the future and for me, personally, I want to get to a point where even if I'm manic, I don't want people to necessarily - I don't want people to box me into a hospital to inject meds into me against my will. I also don't want to be left alone. That's my personal decision.
Melody Moezzi: 19:29 Do you have a health care power of attorney?
Rudy Caseres: 19:31 No.
Melody Moezzi: 19:31 You don't? Do you have, um, they have psychiatric advanced directives -
Rudy Caseres: 19:36 I do know what those are. I do know that even if they're notarized, at least in the state of California, they can just totally be disregarded. I mean, I talked to my wife about it and yeah, and she shares similar views as me, so she's not just going to rush to put the, uh, 5150, 72 hour hold on me, which I really appreciate it. I mean, I couldn't marry someone and be like, "Oh yeah, like I don't get it at all. So I'm just gonna call the police." And I really, really hope that if I'm manic again, which I'm sure will happen again sometime maybe -
Melody Moezzi: 20:07 Are you sure? Acute - you've never been acutely manic, right?
Rudy Caseres: 20:09 Never to the point where like I thought I knew I was God or I tried to like jump out of the building cause I could fly.
Melody Moezzi: 20:14 Right.
Rudy Caseres: 20:15 It's more of...(crosstalk) it's more like -
Melody Moezzi: 20:17 Were you hypo manic? Are you bipolar 2 or bipolar 1?
Rudy Caseres: 20:19 I, you know, I've, I've never been formally diagnosed with either number. Like I think it still says catatonic schizophrenia because I, I've had catatonic episodes where it's completely freeze up.
Melody Moezzi: 20:28 Yeah.
Rudy Caseres: 20:29 And no, it's more, for me it's more about grandiose thinking, thinking I'm the shit basically like this. Like, like not like the second coming of Christ, but thinking like I'm the person who's going on like take the world into a higher level because like I'm just way smarter than everyone. And so that's just me and I can spend the money I want because other money will just appear. But yeah, I mean obviously like I don't want to be a dick to people. I don't want to be like, like the the guy who thinks like he's like a legend in his own mind, but I also want, I want to find meaning in that. I don't want to just erase it. I don't want people to like rush to put me in a hospital. I want to really explore it. Hey, Danielle Glick. Hey, Jennifer. Hey, Jacque. Again, I appreciate the - all of that as well. Um, what does ACES... Oh, advanced care or something?
Melody Moezzi: 21:15 Yeah.
Rudy Caseres: 21:15 Okay.
Melody Moezzi: 21:16 Yes. So ACE is their test for trauma. I think it's the, tell us what it is.
Rudy Caseres: 21:21 Yeah. Um, Jacque works in suicide prevention.
Melody Moezzi: 21:24 (crosstalk) Childhood - adverse childhood experiences assessment.
Rudy Caseres: 21:27 Oh, yes.
Melody Moezzi: 21:29 So people, whatever your ACEs score, I think my score is zero. Like I actually haven't no adverse childhood experiences and yet it's still here. Right?
Rudy Caseres: 21:37 Well, there you go. Cool.
Melody Moezzi: 21:37 But plenty of people there - their ACEs scores are higher. I think it goes from zero to 10. I'm not entirely sure, but maybe, um, Jack-kay? Jackie -
Rudy Caseres: 21:46 Jacque
Melody Moezzi: 21:46 Jacque?
Rudy Caseres: 21:46 Jacque, Jacque
Melody Moezzi: 21:47 Jacque Christmas. I'm not sure.
Rudy Caseres: 21:51 Jacque's a cool person. (Reading) Um, yes.
Melody Moezzi: 21:52 (Reading) Adverse Childhood Effects.
Rudy Caseres: 21:53 Yes, there we go. Um, but you are definitely aces in a different way. Hey Joel, how are you? So you had mentioned the word anosognosia in your book, which is very controversial. Like, I had DJ Jaffe on here a couple of months ago and that was quite the heated debate.
Melody Moezzi: 22:08 I'll have to check that one out.
Rudy Caseres: 22:08 Oh yeah, yeah. Because I mean, yeah, that's, that's, that's like an hour and a half plus like just tour de force. Um, but no, I mean I do recommend checking out. All the episodes are cool. What are you talking about? Um, but yeah, I mean I personally don't think that it's the same thing as what people say it is, such as like a person has a stroke and they don't notice that their arm is completely paralyzed. Um, I mean, one, one thing I like to say is that if that were the case, then why doesn't psychiatric drugs cure anosognosia in other people with other conditions.
Melody Moezzi: 22:42 Um, so I don't think anosognosia can be cured by anybody. I don't think there's any treatment for that. So, but the idea of lack of insight, lacking insight, I think having a big word for it. I don't know how useful that is, but I have definitely reached the point in my, uh, with mania that I lacked insight. I've even reached the point where in depression for sure, where I've lacked insight, I'm a suicide attempt survivors. So, um, yeah, I'm very much at that point where I lacked insight into my own condition and I'm of the, I'm against forced treatment, coerced treatment or what some people like to call it. What is the fancy fun word for it? Um, there is a label that the people who love it give it involuntary treatment. No, it's not even an involuntary, they call it like helpful. It's just like some sort of, yeah, it's like, it's a nice, remind me if you know what that's called. I'm trying to think of it, but I'll, I'll remember right when we're like off live. Um, but yeah, point being, I'm not like, so the Treatment Advocacy Center is a big group that promotes coerced care. And I'm very against that. I do, however, understand that families can have a very difficult time when somebody who has a mental health condition. Uh, and I personally have a psychiatric advanced directive that states what I want to happen. And I actually just moved to Massachusetts and I don't know if it's legal there. Thanks for that reminder to check that out. Do they have PADs in Massachusetts? Someone reply, uh, you know, uh, there's like a pad.org, uh, that I recommend you go to. And if you all don't have psychiatric advanced directive, I recommend it. Um, it's a way of making sure people you do not want or at least trying to make sure that people you do not want, uh, involved in your treatment, uh, are involved in your treatment. So the only bad part of this is I trust my family entirely. Most people do. Um, certain men, like my immediate family, I trusted entirely. Uh, not everyone is the same and not everyone's family has their best interest in mind necessarily. Uh, and that's what I really worry about just as an attorney when you're taking somebody's civil rights away, their freedom. Liberty is really big and I genuinely believe that it's, uh, at a point that some of the legislation around, uh, coerced treatment is straight up unconstitutional, uh, outpatient. Oh, I know what it's called. Something outpatient treatment.
Rudy Caseres: 25:04 Assisted Outpatient Treatment
Melody Moezzi: 25:06 Assisted Outpatient Treatment! AOT, that's what they call it. Thank you very much. I feel really good about remembering this (laughs).
Rudy Caseres: 25:10 No, awesome.
Melody Moezzi: 25:10 Um, yeah, but I'm not a huge fan of that at all. So...
Rudy Caseres: 25:16 And as, as you could tell by the name of the show, No Restraints. Neither am I. Um, Joel Schwartz who's a licensed psychologist, says "10 on the original. I think it's been expanded to 14."
Melody Moezzi: 25:26 Oh, the ACEs. The survey.
Rudy Caseres: 25:29 Yes. So I appreciate that. Like everyone and their mother is like commenting adverse childhood ... Okay. Well we appreciate that.
Melody Moezzi: 25:34 Oh, Hi Kathy. I'm a big Fan, Kathy Flatherty is here and she is amazing. She's a lawyer who also has bipolar um, Harvard Law Grad. Super Smart.
Rudy Caseres: 25:44 Oh, awesome.
Melody Moezzi: 25:44 I wrote about her in a New York Times op-ed I wrote a few years ago.
Rudy Caseres: 25:46 Okay. Yeah. I put pad.org.
Melody Moezzi: 25:51 Oh, thanks!
Rudy Caseres: 25:51 It gave us Phi Alpha Delta (inaudible) -
Melody Moezzi: 25:51 Oh, great. So maybe it's not. Maybe it's PADS.
Rudy Caseres: 25:56 PADS. Okay. We'll, we'll put that up later. Yeah. Um, Kathy says "involuntary outpatient commitment is what we should call it, not assisted outpatient treatment, which is way too nice." I agree. Um, Joelle Marie says "Mass doesn't have to legally honor them. I knew, but are things that I can do?" Um, Kathy Flatherty uh, "advanced directives are a great tool. I should have one but don't. I know they can be overwritten in an emergency and they..." It's like that's the time you would use it!
Melody Moezzi: 26:22 Yeah. So Kathy's I mean a lawyer in the number one, a public interest lawyer as well. And like who I would trust on this information. And uh, she works in Connecticut. I believe. So if y'all are in Connecticut, she is there.
Rudy Caseres: 26:36 Hi Kathy again. "That was still the funniest thing when you wrote about me and friends told me about it."
Melody Moezzi: 26:42 Yeah. When you wake up in the morning and they're like, you're on the New York Times, I feel like it's a fun day. It's never happened to me. Kathy, if you want to write about me, feel free/
Rudy Caseres: 26:51 I once got interviewed by a New York Times reporter because someone I went to the army committed a hate crime, so there's that.
Melody Moezzi: 26:56 Oh, nice. Yeah. And I take that back. I think New York Times Magazine wrote a one sentence review of my last book. That wasn't really a big review, but it was just the statement. There was no like, "I like it or don't like it." They were like "An Iranian American bipolar memoir." I was like "That's what I wrote." (laughs)
Rudy Caseres: 27:14 Hey, that's, that's better than most. Yeah.
Melody Moezzi: 27:15 They got rid of the one sentence review cause I think they realized it doesn't really, you know.
Rudy Caseres: 27:19 Yeah. I mean the book has been out for several years. How do you feel about now?
Melody Moezzi: 27:23 Um, well every book, both of my books and the book I've just written in, in the process of editing now. Um, I am not a fan of when I read them, I want to edit them. Yeah. Uh, and so every book I write, I think a lot of work still needs to be done on it. Um, but if I kept it and didn't publish it and, one, I wouldn't make living, but also I would, it would reach a point that I think there, it can get worse. Uh, so, and I don't, I haven't figured out where that point of diminishing returns to scale actually is, but I know it exists, which is somewhat comforting. And honestly, if I just waited until I was ready to publish something, I would just never publish anything ever. Uh, but there's plenty of things like the way that I wrote about certain things that I would have done differently. Um, or people... Don't ask me what (laughs) but I know you're going to.
Rudy Caseres: 28:15 No, I mean, I never know the next thing I'm gonna say until I say it sometimes. But um... (holds up book) Buy this damn book. Okay. Okay. Thanks. Haldol & Hyacinths. Okay. If you don't have the means, um, if it's not in your library,
Melody Moezzi: 28:30 Your libary should have it
Rudy Caseres: 28:31 Make sure they have it in your library as well. Okay. I appreciate that. And like I said, cool ass book. I need to read this one, too. War on Error.
Melody Moezzi: 28:42 So it's real stories of American Muslims. Uh, I talked to a lot of American Muslims and I ended up writing about just 11 of them and myself. So 12 total. And you're still young enough? I feel like I look the same, but yeah, no, that, um, that first book I wrote while I was in law school before I was diagnosed, um, and yeah, and I was, part of my trouble too with being hospitalized is, and I've said this before, that just my, one of the hospitals that I was at, I had just like maybe a week before I was hospital- I don't know, it was very recently before I was hospitalized. One, I was living in the state of Georgia and I won this Georgia Author of The Year award. Uh, and so I was pretty accomplished and I hadn't graduated law school, passed the Bar. Uh, I have a master's in public health from Emory, which is like one of the top 10 public. It's like right by the CDC, uh, public health schools in the country. So I'm not, you know, completely unaccomplished person. And what ended up happening in the hospital is in my records, and I figured this out when I wrote the book, uh, my medical records, they've written over and over "The patient has delusions that she's an author and a lawyer." And, uh, up until like the end of those records where they crossed out, um, "Patient believes she's an author and a lawyer" and they like cross out "believes" and then quickly, uh, let me out of the hospital because I was threatening to sue them the whole time and like in no uncertain terms. Like I was telling him exactly what I would sue them for, like giving them the torts, um, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional stress. Like it was very specific about what I would be suing him for. So once they realize that I was indeed a lawyer then they let me go. But I think that's a huge problem because what happens is in places like that and what happened to me during my exit interview, somebody, uh, who I have no idea what their qualifications were and I'd only met her this one time, I honestly don't even know if the file that she was holding in front of her was mine. Uh, but she did say my name and I sat down and she said, "You know, you need to lower your expectations for your life." Um, and in like probably the most fragile state of my life, I looked at our, uh, and I credit my parents for this more than anything. Uh, I looked at her and I said, "Girl, raise yours. Raise your expectations because I'm not about to lower mine. Uh, and I could tell she'd never heard anybody say that. And I thought then how many people have sit - sat - in this exact chair? Been told to lower their expectations, complied, and then God knows what, you know, cures for what diseases we don't have because that person thought they were incapable and they weren't. Not only were they not incapable, they were more capable than ordinary people whose minds don't reach the same places. Uh, that, those are the people who have different conditions that I think ends up making our minds quite literally extra-ordinary, uh, means that we, you know, we can see solutions where other people can't see them. And I think that's something to absolutely be celebrated. And society should be taking advantage of that. Right? We should be supported, uh, in terms of people who have mental health conditions and other conditions that make their brains work differently. I also have dyslexia and I, it's weird sometimes when people are like, "Oh, you're a writer or you know, you must read a lot." I do read a lot, but I read a lot. Really, really slowly. I don't like, for example, I almost never read books that are by so and so with so and so, so that are ghost-written. Almost never. Just because I don't really... Like, I really have to be specific about the books. I do read a, so I don't like to read books that aren't written by the people who were supposed to have written them. Sorry.
Rudy Caseres: 32:11 If I wrote a book, even if it was terrible, would you still finish it?
Melody Moezzi: 32:14 Absolutely.
Rudy Caseres: 32:17 There's, there's one customer there. Cool. Joel says, "Yes. Neurodiversity equals creativity. Chrissie Hodges says, "hello. Yay. She's such a bad ass." I think you and Chrissie are both, uh, um, A2A ambassadors.
Melody Moezzi: 32:31 Oh, cool. For bipolar as well? Or -
Rudy Caseres: 32:33 No, she's OCD.
Melody Moezzi: 32:34 OCD? Cool.
Rudy Caseres: 32:35 Yeah. Awesome person. I'm gonna see her in April at the American Association of Suicidology conference. So shout out to that. I'm actually on a panel for the first time. They actually trusted me to be on a panel. Yes.
Melody Moezzi: 32:49 (laughs) They are lucky to have you.
Rudy Caseres: 32:50 I appreciate that. I mean, I just found out that I'm going to be a co-presenting with my wife at the NAMI California conference as well.
Melody Moezzi: 32:56 Oh, fun. That's great.
Rudy Caseres: 32:57 I know. And then I get to do a keynote in June at the um, uh, Shedding Light on Mental Health conference in West Virginia.
Melody Moezzi: 33:04 Oh, fun. Have you been to West Virginia?
Rudy Caseres: 33:06 No, I haven't. I've been to Virginia at the edge, but I've never been to West Virginia.
Melody Moezzi: 33:10 I recommend it. I like it. I'm a fan.
Rudy Caseres: 33:12 Okay. I will have some time to check it out.
Melody Moezzi: 33:15 I grew up in Ohio so we know West Virginia.
Rudy Caseres: 33:16 Yes. Shout out to Ohio. Shout out to Carrie.
Melody Moezzi: 33:20 Dayton!
Rudy Caseres: 33:20 I appreciate you as well. Cool.
Melody Moezzi: 33:22 Hi, Carrie! How are you? That's one of my former students.
Rudy Caseres: 33:24 Oh, awesome.
New Speaker: 33:25 And they started a literary -, so I taught at UNC, UNC Wilmington, uh, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, by the beach, which is probably why (inaudible) but I taught there for a year last year. Uh, and Carrie was one of my students and amazing and has since started a literary magazine called Semicolon that hasn't started I think five out of six people who started it were my former students, so I'm incredibly proud of them. Um, I might be wrong on that number, but you can correct me if I'm wrong. Uh, and I'm so proud of them and if you all are writers and interested in contributing work to Semicolon, I highly recommend that you do. And if you don't, you're not writers, I recommend that you read it.
Rudy Caseres: 34:01 Yeah. And don't, and don't be shy. Post that link to any of your work, Carrie. And Kathy again, "Come to ... come to" What is this Connecticut? "In the fall for the NARPA conference? NARPA.org." Um, Paige says, "West Virginia. Tell me where." Um, it's somewhere in Greater Wheeling.
Melody Moezzi: 34:17 Wheeling? Yeah, it's always Wheeling (laughs). Or Morgantown! Uh, University of West Virginia? I love Morgantown. I had the best tortilla chips in my life in Morgantown, West Virginia.
Rudy Caseres: 34:28 Oh, I know a couple of places in SoCal that can give you a run for the money.
Melody Moezzi: 34:31 Yeah. You think?
Rudy Caseres: 34:32 Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.
Melody Moezzi: 34:32 Let me know.
Rudy Caseres: 34:33 Okay, cool. So what do you, I mean you, you said you hate speaking but you've done keynotes. You got to speak at the DBSA national conference -
Melody Moezzi: 34:39 Did I say I hate speaking? I hate traveling for speaking. I love speaking. I love the part of it where I get to talk, but the part of traveling -
Rudy Caseres: 34:45 I know. I tend to only get work out of Los Angeles. So -
Melody Moezzi: 34:49 Tell me about it. It's so funny too, after you leave a place, like after I left Atlanta, like suddenly I became so popular in Atlanta. And I'm hmm, it would have been nice when I was there (laughs) -
Rudy Caseres: 34:55 I mean, I recommend that to anyone. Do things outside of your inner circle and your, um, outside of your home town and people want you to come back. Don't come back home until people like, like need you back home. (laughs) Until they demand it. Okay? Make yourself famous in the real world. Uh, Tina says, "Hi Melody. Love you." If all you want to do is show some love to Melody. Ah, don't worry about me. I'm just some guy. This is No Restraints with Rudy Caseres, uh,
Melody Moezzi: 35:23 Oh, look! (points at screen) The semicolon lit. Sorry to interrupt you.
Rudy Caseres: 35:24 Oh, awesome.
Melody Moezzi: 35:26 Uh, the, uh, Carrie just posted the link to semicolonlit.org.
Rudy Caseres: 35:31 I will check that out. Is that because of the semicolon for suicide or -
Melody Moezzi: 35:34 Yes.
Rudy Caseres: 35:34 Okay, cool.
Melody Moezzi: 35:34 Yeah, suicide survivors.
Rudy Caseres: 35:36 You know, I actually got to, my first big speaking job was with Amy Bluel from Project Semicolon.
Melody Moezzi: 35:40 Oh, yeah! Cool.
Rudy Caseres: 35:40 So that was, that was an interesting experience. We spoke in a high school at Quincy, Illinois. Which is like -
Melody Moezzi: 35:49 Hmm, Is it outside of Chicago?
Rudy Caseres: 35:49 Yeah, it's the kind of, it's kind of town where you can walk from one end to the other in like an hour. Yeah. Yeah. It was, it was a very moving experience. So rest in peace to Amy, you are missed. Okay. So before I forget, back to back to forced treatment. You did a Facebook Live for The Mighty, which is I believe was your last one?
Melody Moezzi: 36:06 Yeah, yeah. It was my only one i had ever done. (laughs)
Rudy Caseres: 36:07 You mentioned, yeah, I think, I think I was, I think I was asking you about this, about restraints because obviously that's my whole thing. I've been placed in four point restraints. I've been forcibly catheterized - the whole nine yards. You said that you didn't support the leather restraints - the four point restraints, but you did chemical restraints.
Melody Moezzi: 36:22 Yeah. So chemical restraints. Uh, yeah. So I think that - because I was given haldol, uh, when I was in the hospital and uh, thank God I was given it when I was given it because I was, like I said, floridly psychotic and I had no insight. No way would I have had insight, uh, without that, that said, I understand everyone's situation is different and I'm not going to pretend to project mine on everyone else's. Uh, but I do know that for me, access to antipsychotics is really important. That said, the last time I was given forcibly given antipsychotics was the last time that I was ever forced ligament anything, uh, because once I got them, I knew what my condition was. So I don't anticipate, I anticipate I'll experience hypomania. I don't anticipate honestly experiencing acute mania again, because I know what the lead up to that looks like. Uh, and for me, this may sound weird, but I'm incredibly lucky. Uh, initially I thought I was incredibly unlucky for this reason, but I have, uh, visual hallucinations, which are actually somewhat uncommon. Uh, but I do have visual hallucinations and I had them early on. Uh, and I don't know if it's, I also have migraine with aura. I don't know if there's any connection with that, but in any case, uh, because of that, that's like a really, and I know that they're hallucinations at that time. Right. So really quickly, I take my medication and it's a very clear sign. Uh, and I have an amazing husband who also can tell me, uh, if I, you know, I'm talking really fast and people can't follow what I'm saying, that kind of thing. Uh, but for me, like a big incentive to continue taking my medication is the fact that I have other people who count on me. Uh, and, uh, I know that if I were manic again. I would make their lives miserable because that was very much like you, I thought I had the answers to everything. Um, like, like you said, I thought I was a profit. Uh, that's it. I will say, I think everybody is a profit. I think everybody has a message from God for you. I know that sounds like super hippie woo-woo but I genuinely believe everyone has a message, has a purpose. Uh, and in whether that message is just like, don't do what I'm doing or, you know, it can be anything. Uh, I have, there have been people placed into my life by what I am. So confident had to have been divine intervention. Yeah. So -
Rudy Caseres: 38:38 Now do you think your mania has a purpose?
Melody Moezzi: 38:40 Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. I think, well, the mystical experiences I had with the manic episode and the hypomanic episodes, uh, were extraordinary and I wouldn't trade them in for anything. I would prefer that the second one didn't get to the point of acute mania. Uh, but my next book is about, um, it's called "The Rumi Prescription." That's coming out at spring 2020, uh, from another imprint of Penguin Random House and God willing, and we're in the process of editing that right now. Uh, and that book was very much inspired by my mystical experiences. So Rumi is an ancient, actually medieval, technically a Sufi poet. A person, Sufi poet. And He, uh, his poetry is pretty extraordinary and it's my own culture, my own history, which I was unfortunately never taught about in school and never taught that, you know, you come from a great it home. I was definitely taught this. Uh, but I never read an Iranian author for example, until I chose a, and I read Firoozeh Dumas' "Funny in Farsi" which I absolutely loved. And reading that for me was groundbreaking because I was able to see myself on the page in a way that I had never seen myself. And I was like, I can do this. Somebody will read this, you know, somebody will be interested in my experience, which before that I was like, nobody's never want to publish it. No one's ever going to be interested. And even with my first book about young Muslim Americans had an agent who was trying to sell that book and she, uh, was the wrong agent for me. And I now have an amazing literary agent who I'm very happy with, who has a lot of other minority clients. And uh, that agent came back to me that more than one of the publishing houses that she was trying to, big publishing houses that she was trying to sell the book to had said, "This is a great book about young Muslim Americans, but we need you to interview a terrorist and get back to us. And then we would be interested in purchasing it." If there was an interview with a terrorist, then it, cause their assumption was if you're going to interview a dozen people, one of them has to be a terrorist if they're all Muslim, which is not true. Uh, and honestly, the whole point is a book with to say that we're not fucking terrorists. Right? So, uh, I was horrified when she came back with me thinking that I would even do that, given that was the whole point of the book. And then I said, "Of course, no way am I going to do that." And I ended up publishing it with a small academic press, uh, and being proud of the product that came out, uh, but also making no money from it whatsoever. So I wasn't able to make a living as a writer until I published Haldol & Hyacinths. Uh, so I'm really grateful to the agent I have now who recognizes that our stories, whether they be stories of minorities, whether it's because you have a mental health condition or because you're a Muslim or Middle Eastern or black or Latinx or whatever, your stories are relatable. Your stories are relatable. Do not let anybody ever tell you your stories are not fucking relatable. They are relatable. Um, and I'm so sick of that word. I'm so sorry. It's code. It's code for "Your story is not white enough for me." Uh, and I was so blessed to find somebody who was willing to champion my work in a way that I had never experienced before having this agent. So you gotta find the right people to work with, uh, and to work for you in the world, uh, and not compromise your own vision as an artist. And as a human being. So...
Rudy Caseres: 42:01 Yeah. And I mean that's the, that's the reason why your book stands out so much. I mean like, uh, An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison. That's like for better or worse -
Melody Moezzi: 42:11 I love! I did love -
Rudy Caseres: 42:11 That's the gold standard. Like that's what people consider, like The Bipolar Memoir. So like you got to really stand out, you've got to do something different. Otherwise you're just going to be compared to that book. So I'm, I'm glad that your book is out there and a lot of other cool people as well. I mean there's -
Melody Moezzi: 42:26 Have you interviewed Elyn Saks yet?
Rudy Caseres: 42:28 No, I actually saw her on Monday.
Melody Moezzi: 42:30 I love her book.
Rudy Caseres: 42:31 Yeah. I went to -
Melody Moezzi: 42:33 I love -I'm such a big fan of hers.
Rudy Caseres: 42:33 And Ellen Forney, I know you have interviewed her.
Rudy Caseres: 42:37 Yes. She's awesome and you interviewed her for BP Magazine
Melody Moezzi: 42:40 That's my favorite bipolar memoir is, um, I think if you put Marbles and Rock Steady together that's my favorite bipolar memoir. If y'all are interested.
Rudy Caseres: 42:46 She's awesome. And that was, uh, that was, that was hard to get on. Yeah. And you as well, like I've been trying to get you on since like last fall. Well first I had to like work up the courage. I had to be doing this for long enough so I'm not just some random guy, so I appreciate that. Um, yeah. Elyn Saks. Cool person.
Melody Moezzi: 43:02 Yeah. You should have her on. I think...
Rudy Caseres: 43:05 That's going to be hard. Yeah.
Melody Moezzi: 43:07 I tried to invite her when I was at law school at Emory, I tried to invite her to come speak there. Uh, and I was really impressed with her. Um, just like self awareness of it and she was just like, "I don't know if I can be traveling right now, but I'll let you know."
Rudy Caseres: 43:18 Yeah, I would, I would want to do it in person. She lives in LA. She works at USC.
Melody Moezzi: 43:23 Yeah, I know. She lives real close to you. (laughs) That's why I asked.
Rudy Caseres: 43:23 Like if you live in Southern California, like even if I have to go to San Diego, like we're, we're going to do it in person. Okay. Yeah. There's no, there's no way around it because I much appreciate doing this. Yeah, um, then doing it over the internet. Um, no disrespect to the people who I've done interviews with across the Internet. Those have been amazing as well. But there's something to be said for talking to someone like this. You bump shoulders.
Melody Moezzi: 43:44 Yeah. (Rudy pretends to be knocked over. Melody laughs.) Really? I'm that strong.
Rudy Caseres: 43:48 I mean, you're probably stronger than me. I'm, I'm so weak. Like I look at these arms like that's... Whatever.
Melody Moezzi: 43:54 But your spiritual and your emotional fortitude is very impressive. I'll say that. That's what really counts.
Rudy Caseres: 44:00 Well thank you very much. Okay. We could probably talk for like nine hours straight, but I want to make sure that we start bringing it home because like Melody and I we're probably gonna hang out for awhile anyway. So we have to end the stream and start, (laughs) start the real fun, I guess. Uh, but I'm gonna let you have the final words. If you want to give any shout outs. Uh, if you're, uh, if, uh, your husband's watching -
Melody Moezzi: 44:25 (laughs) He should be reading! He should be studying.
Rudy Caseres: 44:25 Uh, we have, we have Jean Lenard.
Melody Moezzi: 44:28 Oh, that's my mother-in-law.
Rudy Caseres: 44:29 Oh, awesome.
Melody Moezzi: 44:30 (Waves) Hi, Jean!
Rudy Caseres: 44:30 (Reading) "Just want to hi. Hope to see you soon."
Melody Moezzi: 44:32 Oh, likewise. I think I will be seeing you soon. Actually.
Rudy Caseres: 44:34 She's probably talking to you.
Melody Moezzi: 44:35 (laughs) Yeah. Inshallah. Hopefully in April I'll be able to see you.
Rudy Caseres: 44:40 Awesome. So the floor is yours. The couch is yours.
Melody Moezzi: 44:44 The couch is mine!
Rudy Caseres: 44:44 Anything you want to say? Soapbox time! Promote that Twitter account.
Melody Moezzi: 44:50 Um, yes. So I'm on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram. I just started Instagram. If anybody wants to give me a full Instagram tutorial and you live in Boston, uh, I would love that because I don't fully understand it yet. I don't know how to do Stories. (Rudy holds up Melody's books) You are so funny. Put those down. Um, please buy my books. Uh, but more importantly, like I was saying earlier, uh, if you have a mind that works differently, uh, and I say this a lot, but it's because I really, really mean it and it's because I think it's so important because we're so often told that we can't do things. Um, there is something hugely valuable about having a brain that works differently and don't ever let anybody tell you that there isn't. Um, there's something valuable about having an experience that isn't the norm. Uh, that isn't, uh, the white male, heterosexual, cisgender, able bodied. My God, there's so many other ways to say this. Um, but, uh, there's something extraordinary about that experience, right? And I think we deserve to have our stories told and that there is power in sharing your story. Uh, and that more of us need to do it without shame. Uh, and that's not easy, but the more of us that start doing that, the easier it will be for other people after us. So my dream is that there is another Iranian Muslim writer out there. Iranian, Bahai, Zorastrian, whatever. Like there's another author who's like hh, you know who actually looks, oh there is actually a Muslim mental health memoir. Cause they told me when I published that book, it was the first mental - muslim mental health memoir, uh, to be published. Which ... I don't know if that's true because... Also you only speak English (laughs). How do you know it's been published in other languages? But whatever they promoted it as the first Muslim mental health memoir. Oh. Which is great, but I don't want it to be the last muslim mental health memoir (laughs). So I am really, I strongly encourage people who are from different backgrounds to go ahead and do it, even though, and I, and I would've said like, if there were already a Muslim mental health memoir, I might not have written my book, but I don't want you to not write that book if you are Muslim, if you are Iranian. Like if you are from that background, we need more representation, not less. Uh, and your story is different than mine, so please tell it and please know that there are people who want to listen to it, uh, and can learn from it. So, uh, I think that's my final message. Don't be dissuaded. Don't be disheartened.
Rudy Caseres: 47:20 Before I forget, I need you to sign me a copy.
Melody Moezzi: 47:22 Oh, yeah yeah. Happily.
Rudy Caseres: 47:26 And just feel free to write anything. Don't even tell me what you're writing. I will read it.
Melody Moezzi: 47:30 Oh my God. Okay.
Rudy Caseres: 47:32 I appreciate that Melody. Letting me come to your layer. Um, I, I broke my rear view mirror coming here.
Melody Moezzi: 47:39 Oh, I'm sorry.
Rudy Caseres: 47:41 That's, that's, well, that's not your fault. So... That's me like not knowing what I'm doing with a car. (Reading) Carrie says, "Becca and I may visit Boston soon. We can show you-
Melody Moezzi: 47:50 Really?!
Rudy Caseres: 47:50 They'll show you Instagram.
Melody Moezzi: 47:51 Yeah, yeah. When you come to the Boston and you can stay with us and come show me how to do this. All right. Uh, we're in Cambridge, technically. Yes. Yes. (Signs book) And solidarity. Signed!
Rudy Caseres: 48:09 This reminds me I need a guest for next Wednesday.
Melody Moezzi: 48:12 Oh, do you? (Rudy laughs) I have lots - Have you interview interviewed Jessica Gimeno yet?
Rudy Caseres: 48:15 Uh, she, she's, she's a friend. I, I, it's, it's hard to, it's hard to get her on, but she's an awesome person. I've been featured on her website. (Reads signed book copy) "To Rudy with hope, love, respect, solidarity." Thank you so much. I appreciate that. Thank you. Until next time.
Melody Moezzi: 48:34 Yeah.
Rudy Caseres: 48:35 You've been watching No Restraints with Rudy Caseres. My guest this week was an Melody Moezzi. (To viewers) I appreciate all of you. If you're watching this later on the day, later on the week, later on the month, if you're watching this on norestraints.net - where you can see all past episodes- I appreciate you as well. Thank you everyone again. I'll see you next Wednesday. (Pauses) Because it's for your own good. Now, let me end the livestream. Um, how awkward that looks. (Sings) Dododo do, do No Restraints, No Restraints, blah, blah, blah, blah. Okay.
This week on No Restraints with Rudy Caseres my guest is Eleni Gogos. Eleni is a 4th year student at Rochester Institute of Technology and is studying to become a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. After struggling with her mental health, Eleni started volunteering for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and became an “Ending the Silence” presenter to share her story with others. This past June, she received the 2018 National Young Leader Award at the NAMI Convention for “outstanding work to ensure that young people living with mental illness live full lives in their communities”. She serves on the Board of Directors for NAMI Rochester in New York, being the youngest to be nominated and elected at 20 years old. Eleni, now 22, is also involved with legislative advocacy and suicide prevention, and has spoken at many events, panels, radio shows and more. Eleni was the youngest guest I've had on No Restraints so far. At 31, I'm glad I didn't come off (much) as an old crufter.
You can learn more about Eleni Gogos at egogos.com.
See you again next week for an all-new No Restraints with Rudy Caseres. Wednesdays 12pm PT/3pm ET.. Watch live at Facebook.com/RudyCaseres and, of course, watch all past episodes at NoRestraints.net.
Because it's for your own good.
Rudy: 00:01 Hey everyone, welcome to a brand new episode of No Restraints with Rudy Caseres, I'm Rudy Caseres, duh. It's great to be back home in my apartment and I have a guest on Eleni Gogos. Eleni Gogos, I appreciate you coming on because this is the first time we've ever met virtually and that is amazing. And if you're watching this live, show some support for Eleni because like I said, this is her first Facebook live interview and she deserves some love and appreciation and let us know where you're from. If you know Eleni, if you're in the NAMI Rochester family, let us know that you're here and it's glad to be back. Like I said, past few weeks I've been out and about doing on location Facebook Lives. Uh, last week I wasn't able to do one because of the Great Facebook Outage of 2019. So sorry about that. I got to do a Facebook Live for The Mighty that's even no longer even there, but that's totally fine. Without further adieu, tell the whole world the whole No Restraints universe... Who is Eleni Gogos?
Eleni: 01:15 All right. Uh, I'm Eleni Gogos. I am a fourth year student at Rochester Institute of Technology. Uh, that's in Rochester, New York. I am studying to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner. That's my end goal. And last a year I was awarded the NAMI National Young Leader Award, which is kind of my, my best thing that I've kind of accomplished so far, which really means a lot to me. And so far, um, the most thing that I enjoyed doing and sitting on the board of directors for NAMI, Rochester. And that's been, um, kind of a very, I think integral part of the youth moving forward. I'm having board members that are youth, so I think that's very important. So that's, that's what I've been focusing on.
Rudy: 02:10 Yeah. You know, I actually discovered you because I was nominated for that same youth award and I was trying to find out if they had announced it because I was like really, really thought I got, I had this on lockdown, no one could touch me. And I just happened to be searching through it on Facebook and I saw something about you and I was like, "who is this person that's stole my award?"
Eleni: 02:37 (Laughs) That's really, that's really funny.
Rudy: 02:38 Yeah. I actually, I actually did go to the NAMI national convention just for one day just to snoop around. I didn't get to meet you. So it's glad to finally see you and get the chat for a while.
Eleni: 02:50 Yeah, that's really awesome. I know . it was really interesting to me all the other people who got different sorts of awards and to see the variety of awards. But it's interesting to see all the youth. I wish there was more youth presence there. Um, but I know it's growing slowly, so that's kind of what I've been focusing on as the youth presence with, uh...
Rudy: 03:15 Yeah. I've been to the NAMI national convention three years in a row. I won't be able to go this year. I've been to the state conference for two or three of them as well. And every time I go, it's just, I can count the number of young people under 30 on
Eleni: 03:31 (holds up left hand) One hand (laughs)
Rudy: 03:32 Maybe it's maybe one hand
Eleni: 03:35 Me as well. Yes. (laughs)
Rudy: 03:37 Yeah. I mean, I, I'm, I'm surprised people aren't there pinching my cheeks and patting me on the head. So how are you, how are you going to change that?
Eleni: 03:49 Well, we have tried to, I know NAMI On Campus has been a big thing that we have been trying to kind of raise the bar, but um, I've been trying to do this for two years now, at least in my current campus. Um, but it has been on hold. Um, NAMI national has placed a hold on the process, so that's kind of left us with a, a little bump in the road. So whatever we can do kind of outside of that realm of college students, uh, pretty much anything else we can do to get them to get involved with these state conferences or just any events in general. Um, come to the walks. And make, you know, college teams for the walks, things like that. Um, to get them engaged because we don't have a platform for, you know, a campus affiliation. Um, things like that. It's slow, it's very slow and very limited in numbers. But I would really like to see more engagement because I really am one of the many few people that I see there. And I'd really like it to grow. Um, cause I think it's really beneficial. That's how I kind of got involved with all of this. So I think it would, it would skyrocket.
Rudy: 05:09 Yeah. NAMI is pretty much known and it started out this way as a support group and resource group for parents. Yeah. And it's very much that today. I mean you got the NAMI Family to Family, they have those like every single week of the year, at least where I am at in Los Angeles and Peer to Peer is just kind of just there and it's just, it's, it's kind of sad. I mean because you have peers on the national board. And on my state board as well, but it seems often that we're just the token member and we're just really not treated seriously. And that's why you have other groups that spread out like Mental Health America and even more radical groups and recovery groups, groups that they don't even identify with the mental health movement because they feel so alienated by it. And I can totally understand that. So if someone comes up to you and says, you know what, screw NAMI, like they don't represent me. What do you as a peer who's on a state board and who's got to like fly the flag proudly, what do you say to them?
Eleni: 06:12 Right. I've actually had this conversation before and it's, it's on my mind, um, that, you know, I'm not me at least NAMI Rochester was founded unlike these, we call them "NAMI Mommies," the familes. So we obviously don't want to discredit them, or, you know, for their work and their time and efforts. But at the same time, you know, most of, at least my Rochester Board is compiled of family members and other professionals and things like that. And here I am this very, very young person who is total lived experience. And that's about it. I'm like the only person pretty much. And to me, I think that's very essential. You know, I came in and I'm, I'm saying like, there's a piece missing here. I understand family is a very essential, but you're missing an, a very important piece that we try to address is the, you're, you're relating to someone with that lived experience and I think that person needs to be involved, you know, um, that's kind of how I started connecting to people with reaching out to my story and people were disclosing to me and you know, asking for an many resources because I was a relatable here. So I think that's the piece that was missing. And over the summer I was approached by NAMI New York State. I was already on the NAMI Rochester Board. NAMI New York State approached me for a state board application. So that was another step in the road. Um, because again, you know, they kind of saw what NAMI Rochester was doing with, you know, the youth and the peer, um, lived experience and they thought, you know, that's going on the right direction. Um, and they kind of know we're looking to follow that. Um, I was away in Europe so I couldn't complete the application in time. Nonetheless, but I did think that was a really good idea. So I think it could be kind of like a chain reaction for other affiliates. Um, and state affiliates of NAMI if they keep on kind of doing the same thing because it's a new thing, you know, not a lot of affiliates are doing that right now. Um, but I think it's essential to have that cause it's kind of what part of our mission, you know?
Rudy: 08:33 Yeah. Me Personally, I don't think I can be on a board. I just don't like getting involved with the politics. I like to just go out there, do my own thing. I partner with organizations, but not necessarily having to be an apologist or having to fly any one flag. That's just me. Um, let's get to comments. Let's see, Joelle Marie says, "how did the family members you work with feel about the term "NAMImommy? [Which is a term I'm very familiar with, by the way. haha.]" And feel free anyone watching this to ask questions, even if it's not live. I totally get it. People got things to do during the day. I see you people in the, in the (inaudible) who are just watching. I call them "lurkers." Uh, I see Natasha as well. Natasha West. Big shout out to you, former guest on No Restraints with Rudy Caseres. This is I believe episode 38 if you count the two bonus episodes with Gabe Howard and Zima Creason. Answer that (laughs). Let's put it back up just so it's been so long. Family members feel about the term "NAMI Mommy."
Eleni: 09:38 Okay. Yeah. Um, it's not definitely like a term that we use quite often. It's just kind of a slang, you know, jokingly term that we use for the people that initially, you know, built the foundation of the organization back then. Um, cause I know sometimes once we introduced some, when we introduce someone who is young and who is a peer and wants to bring these new ideas to the table, um, the other people who have like founded these, um, ideas who are, you know, um, family members or I guess as you could say as they would say, NAMI Mommies might get a little offended because they feel as if their work has been almost, I dunno, discredited or not respected. Or I've had this conversation with other board members and to me I kind of, you know, try to keep it like respectful as if, no, I'm not discrediting and like all the work you've done to grow this organization, but you know, we are trying to bring in change from youth and lived experience as well. So, um, I don't know exactly how they would feel about that term, but in particular, but I think that, um, those particular grassroots people have family, um, definitely have some sort of.. umm I don't know if I would call it a bias, but, um ... Definitely feel a different sort of way towards the new peers youth kind of jumping in, I believe. At least that's how I felt initially when I joined the board. Yeah.
Rudy: 11:30 Right. And before my next question, I want to make sure to give a shout out to Deanna Ruston who is coming from Canada. "You are studying to become a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner." Thank you for paying attention to the caption. "As your, as your goal, what is your planned educational pathway to get there?"
Eleni: 11:48 Well, interesting question. Um, so it took me a long way to get to that point and figure that out. As many of us have stumbled in our mental health areas to get there. Um, so right now I'm finishing my bachelor's in psychology and then I will be doing hopefully a 12 month fast track program to get my RN, uh, hopefully at the University of Rochester and then followed by a, uh, a psychiatric nurse practitioner program. I'll start at the University of Rochester hoping to open up my own practice.
Rudy: 12:29 Now you mentioned your lived experience and some people might be watching this thinking like, "oh, everyone's got lived experience. What makes you so special now?" As comfortable as you are? Um, would you mind sharing that?
Eleni: 12:41 Yeah, of course. This is something that I quite often share very publicly, so it's, to me it's really not anything much special. Um, my lived experience is, um, the variety of things. I guess in a nutshell, I would say to keep it short. Um, I struggle with bipolar two disorder. Um, I have been through, you know, various treatments, various medications, very, very low points, very, very high points, a lot of turmoil, struggles, emotional rollercoasters. Um, anything that I'm sure someone with bipolar could very much so relate to, um, that kind of twist and turn, um, that could bring turmoil to myself, family members, friends, loved ones, um, things like that. Um, so it's kind of the lived experience that I would, um, say. I've also lost, um, three people to suicide, uh, quite recently. So that's also something that I would consider close to me regarding mental health. Um, that would be it in a nutshell. You know, keeping it short.
Rudy: 14:02 Now say you were just to wake up tomorrow and have a manic episode, what would that look like? How would you react to that?
Eleni: 14:09 Uh (laughs) yeah, I, uh, sometimes when I, uh, I'm doing these presentations for, um, the kids, the youth, uh, with NAMI in schools, I try to explain, you know, what a manic episode would look like, but in lighter terms, you know, sometimes I tried to make it funny like laughable, you know, so they kind of understand, but it's not too serious. And, you know, I'll tell them about the time where like, I would rearrange my basement or like attic at like three in the morning and I'm like, yeah, this is what I did. Or, um, just like the idea of like that instant, um, that instant need. If the instant gratification I'm like, needs to be done now, there's no other way, um, at least that's how it would be for me. Um, excessive drinking, definitely for me, very excessive spending or you get them to a lot of trouble with that. Credit cards are not good for me. (Laughs) uh, let's see what else? Um, very, uh... Before psychology I used to be a design student. Um, so I, I tend to be very on the creative spectrum. Um, I do a lot of things at once, so I would just never ever, ever sleep. And I would just have scribbles like everywhere and papers all over the room. And it was just very overwhelming and I would have maybe like six different projects going on at once and I would never finish them, but I would just, I'd wake up one one day with this amazing, brilliant idea. I was like, this is going to save the world. And I would start writing and writing and then I would get depressed and I wouldn't finish it. And then I'd get more depressed because I didn't finish it. And it would just, you know, kind of cycle through back again and again and again. So that's kind of how would explain to people and the easiest terms.
Rudy: 16:22 Yeah. Yeah. And I'm bipolar too. So. So a lot of what you say I can relate to, I haven't had a manic episode in over two years now. As for you, do you fear being manic again or do you think you have this, you think you could take it on?
Eleni: 16:39 That's a good question. I like that question. Well, I don't, I don't fear it. Um, I don't think that obviously causes me a lot of turmoil and distress, but I don't, I haven't seen myself, um, gone to such an extreme that it has been so completely like terrible that I have, you know, like landed myself in jail, you know, so I'm like, I'm not fearing it, but I, I'm, I feel like I might be able to handle it, but I want to be a stable level, you know, so I'm not trying to put that fear in myself. I'm trying to, you know, take it one day at a time and, you know, keep going with my treatment and not try not to be fearful of what's to come and just take it one day at a time and... yes.
Rudy: 17:41 Yeah. I mean, I deal with mostly depression and anxiety and every now and then I wish like, "Oh, if I could just have one day of hypomania where I'm just like -
Eleni: 17:51 (Laughs) I have thought that. Oh yes. (Crosstalk) Especially, yeah, in the midst of the depression, you do kind of, I do feel, I feel guilty sometimes for thinking, you know, you know, if only I had some yypomania, you know, this would really be a lot better. But -
Rudy: 18:07 Yeah, I do think that even hypomania can be managed. I mean, if you're not hurting anyone, if you are hyper productive and you're creative and you just got a lot of positive energy going on, you feel euphoria. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. As long as it's not negatively affecting others. I know other people, even if they're not being hurt, they can still be weirded out by that and think it's like, "oh, you're sick. You need to be locked up, blah, blah, blah." So I hope in the future, less and less people will not be so afraid or weirded out by people who are hypomanic, who are doing their best to live their best life.
Eleni: 18:47 Oh yeah. And that's why I was misdiagnosed. I did not see a problem with hypomania. I didn't know what it was. I thought I was just like being so productive and I was doing so well, so I totally missed that whole part of it. Um, and that's kind of where the problems came in with wrong treatment, wrong medication, you know, things like that. Um, so that's kind of where I went wrong there.
Rudy: 19:16 Yeah. Joelle Marie says "At some point it can get exhausting." That's why it's good that we have like a one day mania.
Eleni: 19:22 I wrote that actually in a paper I wrote about um, bipolar highs and lows. And I wrote about how great it was for productivity. But my last point was that I can get, you know, it can be a burnout after all, at the end and it can get exhausting and that's where it can be problematic.
Rudy: 19:40 Yeah. Like we all want to be hypomanic until we're hypomanic.
Eleni: 19:43 Yes, yes, yes.
Rudy: 19:47 So Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Nurse, like I - some of my best experiences have been with psychiatric nurses. I've had almost all bad experiences with psychiatrists. And even therapists, like I had to -
Eleni: 19:59 I've heard this, I'm surprised because I, I've only had experiences with nurse practitioners. I've just started seeing a psychiatrist now for the first time and I'm just skeptical. (Laughs)
Rudy: 20:13 Yeah. I mean, I (crosstalk) I had one nurse who was like, basically he's my therapist. I think he actually got in trouble because we would be like speaking for like an hour and all he had to do was give me a shot. (Laughs) But yeah. And it's, it's funny how that works out. Like was that your first goal of being a nurse practitioner? Did you think about becoming a psych psychiatrist or a therapist or anything else?
Eleni: 20:37 Um, I wasn't looking to be a therapist. I definitely, I love the biological aspect of it. Um, my tracks in psychology are, um, bio and clinical psychology, so I love that whole realm. I love pharmacology. Um, I love how the brain works. Um, so I definitely was geared towards that way. But between, you know, nurse practitioner and psychiatry, I definitely felt more compelled towards nurse practitioner. I know there's a need for them and I definitely also would be less schooling and less loans. That would be a plus side, but I just, I feel more compelled. But I've had better experiences with nurse practitioners and I feel like that's the right thing for me.
Rudy: 21:31 Yeah. My main question that I wanted to ask you, we talk about the youth. The Youth Revolution. And like changing the world. But say, say, there was a NAMI board that was all young people. What would that look like? What would you actually want to accomplish?
Eleni: 21:48 Hmm. That's a great question.
Rudy: 21:51 So two good questions in one interview, that's all I ask for.
Eleni: 21:56 Oh, let's see. What would I want to accomplish? What, are you talking like nationally. Are you talking like per affiliate?
Rudy: 22:07 I would, I would say nationally. Let's, let's say like -
Eleni: 22:11 Wow!
Rudy: 22:12 All NAMI boards were just taken over by youth, people with lived experience and you all band together in saying, "We're going to change the world for the better." What does that look like?
Eleni: 22:23 Okay. All right. Um, well, anytime I talked to really anybody who has struggled the first thing they tell me, it's the one thing that helps them is hearing from someone. Um, and it's usually the youth. Uh... At least I know when I do the presentations, I always get the evaluation forms back and I go through them and I read them and you know, I see what they have to say. And they're all like, we don't care about the slideshows. We don't care about the presentation. We don't care about the lady who spoke up there. You know, we don't care about this. We care about the woman who sat up there and like gave us her real and raw experience. Like she went through chronologically what happened in her life and she told us what happened to her, how she got through it, her recovery and her hope afterwards. And like, that's what they wanted to listen to. And I see it, you know, in the classroom, you know, they don't really pay attention to what the presenter is saying. You know, the slides and statistics. Um, and like even like educational parts of, you know, suicide prevention and mental health. But as soon as like me or another partner, we'll go and introduce themselves as like, not even including like a diagnosis. I'll say, you know, I like to paint, I like to do this. And then I'll go into saying, um, my story and then I'll tell them like some really like interesting in graphic and the broad details and there's literally like looking at me like this and like they can't like it. Not a sound, you don't hear a pin drop and it's amazing. So I think that is like one of the most powerful things that any youth could bring to any, any program, any board, anywhere you go. I really like recommend doing that.
Rudy: 24:31 Yeah, I agree. One of the most rewarding experiences of my speaking career, I was actually doing an Ending The Silence presentation and the parent she was doing her PowerPoint slide show and they were brutal to her. Like I thought she was going to give up and this was like only the first of like four presentations we had to give that day. Just completely, completely rude. And then I get up, I do my thing. I'm only speaking for 10 minutes. Boom, boom, boom. They all shut up, they all listen, and they all give good evaluations. Some people are writing the evaluations like, "You inspired me to talk about my own eating disorder or my own self harm. (Crosstalk) I'm going to see a therapist now. Yeah. That was amazing.
Eleni: 25:13 Yes. It's wonderful to see that for kids actually write like "You inspired me to have confidence to talk about my mental health." It's like boom, you just saw change right there. Or I'll stay after class and the teacher will tell me like "this student right here, he has bipolar disorder and that's why she was asking you so many questions and that's why she wants to talk to you after class." I'm like, "this is wonderful." You know? So I think that's like a really important aspect of making any sort of change. Yeah.
Rudy: 25:47 Yeah. No, I agree. And I'm glad you mentioned that. Deiann - Deanna says, "Do you identify with lived and living experience when describing yourself." I believe you did. You did say that. Um, but just for the benefit of Deanna, who is a loyal viewer, do you agree with that? You identify with lived experience?
Eleni: 26:07 Oh yes.
Rudy: 26:09 Do you prefer any better term?
Eleni: 26:11 100 percent.
Rudy: 26:11 Do you have any other ways of identifying as?
Eleni: 26:14 Uh, I usually say "lived experience" or "live with a mental health condition." That's pretty much how I would say it. Yeah.
Rudy: 26:23 Now, do you ever go somewhere and scream from the rooftops, "I have a mental illness!?"
Eleni: 26:28 You cut off there. I couldn't hear you.
Eleni: 26:31 Do you ever like just go say out loud to people, "I have a mental illness?"
Eleni: 26:36 I've said it sometimes. Yeah. I mean, uh, in my speech, uh, at the NAMI national convention, it's like all over YouTube. I said in front of, uh, the CEO, the board, a couple of thousand people. It's online everywhere. I was just like, "Hey, I'm bipolar." (laughs) You know. And I'm just like, you know, like I shouldn't have to be like hiding that I'm saying that, you know. I think it's perfectly okay. That describes my lived experience. So.
Rudy: 27:09 Cool. Um, one more question from the audience and then we'll bring it home. Joelle Marie again says "When doing psych courses, I had similar reactions when sharing my own experiences. People would pay attention instead of screwing around on their phones -
Eleni: 27:22 Oh, yes. (giggles)
Rudy: 27:23 [like during presentations?]. I mean, I've done presentations in front of doctors and they're all on their phones too. So it's not just the kids.
Eleni: 27:32 It's true. People are naturally drawn to the more personal and raw and emotional pieces that they're going to listen to other than the textbook. The - those are things that you can't really hear anywhere else. Um, they're more valuable. Uh, so I definitely agree with that and I've had the same experiences.
Rudy: 27:54 Yeah. I mean, that's one of my number one goals when speaking is to get people off their phones.
Eleni: 27:58 Yes.
Rudy: 28:00 Get people off their phones, uh, inspire to share their own story, and, um, not leaving early. (Laughs)
Eleni: 28:09 Yes (laughs)
Rudy: 28:10 Those are, those are my three goals. So the next, next speech I'm going to do like, as long as I can accomplish those three things, or at least two of them, at least people don't walk out. That's all I care about. So and I will link to your speech. I'll go look that up on Youtube and I'll post that in the comments. I appreciate everyone who asked questions or just said, hi, I see you, Barbara. I appreciate you. I see you Shirley as well. If you're watching this later on the day, later on the week, later on in the month, I appreciate that as well. Feel free to share because that's what gives us a bigger audience and inspires me. There goes that word, inspiration, to do more of these, this is already episode 38. This is going on year two. So thank you for all the support and I appreciate you, Eleni. So feel free to talk about whatever you want to promote, anything you want. So final words, words of wisdom. The floor is yours. I'll give you the whole screen.
Eleni: 29:10 All right, very cool. Well, I would just say that, let's see, reading some of the comments back here. Uh, greetings from Barbara. Alright. Hello Joelle. All right, so I would just say emphasizing the lived experience. I would put that anywhere I possibly could. Uh, engaging youth. So, so important. I have lost, um, all the people I've lost to suicide have been youth. Uh, so I think that is extremely important. Um, youth intervention and suicide prevention is extremely important. Um, and it's a chain reaction. You might be a little hesitant to speak up. I've had people telling me that they're nervous to speak up and so I kind of pull my strings a little bit and they start speaking and then they'll start speaking and it just allows a more comfortable doorway for someone to open up to you. And you'd be surprised how much they're going to come back and start openly speaking and having a conversation. So I encourage you to speak whenever you can or just, you know, check up on someone. So if anyone has any questions about NAMI or anything else, feel (inaudible) feel free to contact me and... (laughs) Got a little, a little mess up there. But yeah, this is wonderful and Rudy is wonderful, wonderful resource and I'm really glad to have been here on the show today.
Rudy: 30:49 Thank you. I appreciate you. And like I mentioned before, you are the, you're the youngest guest I've had on No Restraints. Um, I appreciate that for coming on. Like we'd never met each other. I could have been a complete weirdo and thank you for sticking with me. Like we actually started about 12 minutes late because we could not, I could not get my camera and mic set up. So thank you for hanging in there. I appreciate it. I appreciate all of you (the viewers). And I'd love to have you on like a year from now, five years from now. I'm, I know you're not going anywhere. Sometimes I have guests on and then like two months later they disappear off the face of the earth. So please hang in there. Self Care, self care, self care.
Eleni: 31:29 Oh, yeah!
Rudy: 31:29 I hope you keep sharing your story. I hope you keep leading the way even when you're an old crufter like me and you look on the youth the Generation like Z Minus Plus and look at them like, "Oh those kids don't know anything." I hope you hang in there. Hope you keep sharing your story and I hope you keep being a mental health advocate. And as for next week, you know, I hate announcing guests ahead of time, but I feel so confident about this. My next guest, I'm actually traveling again to San Diego, California to interview mental health advocate extraordinaire Melody Moezzi. That'll be amazing because I've been following her for quite some time. She has also bipolar as well, and wrote the book Haldols and Hyacinths, which is a memoir talking about her experience as a Muslim woman as well. So look out for that next Wednesday, 12:00 PM Pacific. 3:00 PM Eastern Time. (Pauses) Because it's for your own good.
This week on No Restraints with Rudy Caseres my guest is Suzanne Sagmeister. Suzanne Sagmeister is a Canadian portrait & music photographer. She is also the author of Life After Dark - The Book: 100 Stories of Hope from Survivors of Suicide which includes her own personal story of being a survivor. I've followed Suzanne for a few years thanks to a blogger friend who was featured in the book. I was hoping Suzanne and I would hit it off swell and I'm glad my intuition was spot on.
You can follow Suzanne's work and buy a copy of Life After Dark at SuzanneSagmeister.com. She is also active on Instagram at @SuzanneSagmeister.
See you next week for an all-new No Restraints with Rudy Caseres. New day, same time. Wednesdays 12pm PT at Facebook.com/RudyCaseres. And, of course, you can watch all past episodes and more at NoRestraints.net.
Because it's for your own good.
This week on No Restraints with Rudy Caseres my guest is Kerry Osborn. Kerry is a blogger and founder of The Obsessive Outsiders which is a movement that specializes in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and works to create a new outlook for the media and the average person on mental health. I first interviewed Kerry last March for The Mighty which was a positive experience for both of us. We recently reconnected so when I was looking for a guest this week I knew I wanted to reintroduce her to my viewers. Kerry is an up-and-coming advocate who will certainly be an influential voice in the years to come. She took a hiatus late-2018 but I'm glad she's back doing what she loves. I look forward to having her on again in 2020 and seeing how far she's come since 2019.
See you next week for an all-new No Restraints with Rudy Caseres. New day, same time. Wednesdays 12pm PT. Watch live at Facebook.com/RudyCaseres and, of course, watch all past episodes and more at NoRestraints.net.
Because it's for your own good.
Today I interviewed Keris Myrick for The Mighty. Keris is the Chief of Peer Services for the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. She also has a long, storied history of being a leader in the peer advocate movement. Topics discussed include the mental healthcare system, peer support, patient’s rights, and even Keris's love for cosplay which you can see for yourself towards the end of the video. I've been wanting to work with Keris for quite some time. I first discovered her because she was featured in the NAMI In Our Own Voice video which I presented alongside my own story well over one hundred times. I've heard so many positives stories about her whether it was her role in launching Project Return Peer Support Network in LA County, as a participant in Dese'Rae L. Stage's Live Through This suicide attempt survivor photography project, and her previous job as head of peer services at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Hopefully, this is only the beginning of our work together.
Every month I host aFacebook Live interview for The Mighty straight from their Burbank, California office. This is a nice change of pace from No Restraints with Rudy Caseres because I get to interview some of the leading mental health advocates in Southern California face-to-face. I hope you'll check them all out.
This week on No Restraints with Rudy Caseres my guest is Lisa Morgan. Lisa is the co-chair of the Autism and Suicide Committee for the American Association of Suicidology and the author of Living Through Suicide Loss with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Due to some technical difficulties the interview had to be cut short but I wanted to post it here anyway because we did cover some important (and unfortunately overlooked) issues when it comes to autism and suicide including creating guidelines for crisis centers when communicating with autistic callers who in a suicidal state. Hopefully, someday I'll be able to have Lisa on the show again to have a more in-depth discussion. I do look forward to seeing her at this year'sAmerican Association of Suicidology Conference this year, though.
See you next week for an all-new No Restraints with Rudy Caseres. New day, same time. Wednesdays at 12pm PT. Watch live at Facebook.com/RudyCaseres and, of course, watch all past episodes and more at NoRestraints.net.
Because it's for your own good.
No Restraints with Rudy Caseres Episode 33: Chrissie Hodges, Melissa Hunter, and Joelle Marie NourseRead Now
This week on No Restraints with Rudy Caseres my guests are Chrissie Hodges, Melissa Hunter, and Joelle Marie Nourse. Chrissie, Melissa, and Joelle all work inpeer support in the mental healthcare system. When I had DJ Jaffe on the show two weeks ago and expressed his skepticism of peer support, Chrissie (who was apast guest on No Restraints) messaged me right away wanting to come on to defend what is basically her professional livelihood. Melissa (who is Chrissie's business partner based in Denver, Colorado) and Joelle (who is my wife and lives and works with me in Los Angeles) agreed to come on soon after. I think these three individuals provide a great counterbalance to Mr. Jaffe's statements and will, hopefully, provide viewers with a better understanding of what peer support is and isn't. Plus, this allowed me to test out the four person talk show format!
See you again next week for an all-new No Restraints with Rudy Caseres. New day, same time. Wednesdays 12pm PT. Watch live at Facebook.com/RudyCaseres and, of course, watch all past episodes at NoRestraints.net.
Because it's for your own good.
This week on No Restraints with Rudy Caseres my guest is Linea Johnson. Linea is the co-author (along with Cinda Johnson) of the memoir Perfect Chaos: A Daughter's Journey to Survive Bipolar, a Mother's Struggle to Save Her. But she has much more to offer than that. I've been following Linea on social media for a couple years because I admire anyone who can write a full book about their life with bipolar. It can be a lonely journey so it's reassuring for me to read other people's experience and know that I'm far from alone in my struggles to make meaning out of it all. Since the book came out in 2012 Linea has used her platform to advocate for better mental healthcare for all, highlight other mental health advocates as well as offering tips on how to live a productive life and ask for workplace accommodations through her work with BPhope, GirlBoss, and Hello Giggles. Throughout the years she has accomplished so much and worn many different hats but I'm glad she still has a passion for helping make the world more accessible and welcoming for people with disabilities.
You can follow Linea Johnson and purchase your own copy of Perfect Chaos at the links below.
No Restraints with Rudy Caseres will be back next week.
Because it's for your own good.
No Restraints with Rudy Caseres is back! And, boy, did I make an impact on my return or what?! This was easily the hardest interview I've had to do. My guest this week is DJ Jaffe, founder of Mental Illness Policy Org and author of Insane Consequences: How the Mental Health Industry Fails the Mentally Ill. DJ and I disagree on almost everything related to mental health/illness. But I knew that going in. If I was to return then I needed to find a guest that would challenge me and get people talking like they've never before. I was extremely nervous beforehand because I was afraid of letting down my peers and falling into DJ's circular logic debate tactics. Even though we could have gone on for several hours and I could have addressed more viewer comments I'm satisfied with how it turned out. My intention was not to persuade DJ to believe in what I believe in but rather to offer a completely different perspective than my own to my viewers and let them make up their own minds on where they stand on these issues. My hope is that I was able to persuade a few individuals who were on the fence but, in the end, all I can do is speak my truth and not back down. And I will never back down.
No Restraints with Rudy Caseres is back! If this is your first time watching I hope you'll check out other episodes as well. I've interviewed some of the leading mental health advocates in the world and I'm only getting started. You can watch live at Facebook.com/RudyCaseres and on-demand anytime at NoRestraints.net. You can also follow me on Instagram and Twitter @RudyCaseres. See you again next week for an all new episode with a brand new guest.
Because it's for your own good.
Today I interviewed filmmaker Natalie Rodriguez for The Mighty. Natalie is the director of the upcoming film The Extraordinary Ordinary which is about three college students who find solace and healing in the arts, overcoming their personal history with mental health. We also discussed how the media can tell more responsible and effective stories about mental health without resorting to stereotypes and sensationalism. It was great to great live feedback from viewers about their opinions on which movies portray mental health accurately or completely miss the mark.
I host a monthly Facebook Live for The Mighty every month straight from their office in Burbank, California. It's a nice departure from No Restraints with Rudy Caseres because I get the opportunity to interview mental health advocates face-to-face. I hope you'll check out those as well.