How does a woman keep her sanity while helping her partner recover from mental illness? You’ll be hearing all about this today from guest Shelly Sood. She is a mother, wife, author, and entrepreneur who has had a unique experience of navigating mental struggles with her husband.
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Shelly will tell us all about her husband’s diagnosis, how bipolar disorder can go unrecognized in a relationship, and how they overcame this experience together to build an even stronger marriage. She also talks about the exciting projects she’s working on now and shares details about her book “Untethered.”
On this episode of the Live. Love. Engage. podcast:
- How the changes in her husband first appeared.
- Why her husband thought divorce was the solution for happiness.
- What bipolar disorder looks like and the ways in which it presents itself.
- How her husband’s family reacted when Shelly reached out for support.
- What prompted her husband to finally get help.
- How Shelly used writing in her healing process.
- How she came to realize she needed to find support for herself too.
- The good that has come from this difficult time in her life.
- Why you need to trust your intuition when it comes to mental health.
- What Shelly wished she had done sooner with her husband.
- The project she’s working on with Hollywood producers right now.
- The work Shelly is doing through GIOSTAR* Chicago.
- What Shelly is working on internally right now.
- Shelly’s number one question for listeners to consider.
Connect with Shelly
Shelly’s website: www.shellysood.com
Shelly’s company: giostarchicago.com
- Join the Live. Love. Engage. Community
- Intuitive Business Coaching
- The Live. Love. Engage. Book
- Support the Podcast with BuyMeACoffee.com
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You’re listening to the live love engage podcast. on today’s show how one woman kept her sanity while helping her husband recover from mental illness. Stay tuned. I am Gloria Grace Rand, founder of the love method and author of the number one, Amazon Best seller live love, engage how to stop doubting yourself and start being yourself.
In this podcast, we share practical advice from a spiritual perspective on how to live fully love, deeply and engage authentically. So you can create a life and business with. Impact influence and income. Welcome to live love, engage
Namaste and welcome to another addition of live love, engage. And I am looking forward to this discussion today because I’ve got a guest here who is, she’s an author, she’s a mother of three, a wife and an entrepreneur.
And life is, is pretty good for her right now, but it wasn’t always the case, but we’re gonna get more into that in a moment. But first I want to welcome Shelly Sood to live love, engage. Thank you, Gloria. Thanks for having me. Well, I’m really happy to have you on the show because we’re gonna be talking about some stuff that was not so nice, I guess that happened in your life and how you’ve managed to turn things around.
So let me, let me set the stage for our listeners and viewers on YouTube. So six years ago, Shelly had a picture perfect marriage lived in an upper class neighborhood, married to a high powered banking executive. And as I mentioned, she had three awesome kids. And when suddenly her world changed and her loving husband who turns out, had suffered from undiagnosed bipolar disorder for decades, suddenly transformed before her eyes; filed for divorce and became hell bent on her destruction.
Just not anything that you want to have to go through in your life. So I thought what we’d do is, is start off with the, you know, what, what did that look like? I mean, what was, what was really happening in, in your life and in your marriage and with your husband, that all of a sudden, you know, things, things so radically changed for you.
It, it was quite a long journey. I mean, when we, when he had filed for divorce, I mean, just the rug was pulled out from underneath me, basically. you know, I kind of had an idea that he was struggling with a little bit of, you know, anxiety, or maybe some things like. Maybe potentially depression, but nothing that was official or diagnosed or anything like that.
So, you know, he, every time he would, you know, lose a job or something would happen, that was life changing in his life or our, our lives. I was his number one supporter, and I would just prop him up and I’d say, it’s okay. You know, get back on the horse and do it again because you know, you have to repeat mistakes and failures and you learn from them.
And succeed eventually, it’s just that one fine moment where, you know, you cannot succeed without enduring some failure in life because that’s how you really learn. Exactly. So that was kind of my position. And I think deep down, maybe I subconsciously kind of knew there was something more going on, but that real revelation.
Didn’t come to me until it was too late to the point where it had trickled into our personal relationship, because you know, the bipolar disorder we didn’t know was there officially, but it definitely had, you know, come out in other parts of his life with travel. And when he was talking to colleagues or when he was, you know, breaking relationships or lashing out at people or whatever it may be, there was that volatility that I didn’t see.
It never trickled into our marriage. And so when this happened and he thought his road to happiness was to leave the marriage because you know, a lot of people, they have the midlife crisis. They have things that they go through in their forties, in their middle of their career, where they make huge changes in life.
And think that that is the road to happiness. Whether it is coming from something internally or they’re listening to their therapist or their friends or their family. Those kinds of things happen all the time. So that’s kind of where we were at, at that point. Now, for those of who are listening, who maybe don’t really know exactly, they’ve maybe heard about bipolar disorder, but they don’t really know what it is.
Can you explain a little bit about, I guess maybe how it manifests, you know, how, how, how. How do people act? I guess one might be a good way to say that. So a lot of times bipolar disorder manifests in your late teens or early twenties, typically early twenties. And, you know, it can manifest in a number of different ways.
There’s several different types of bipolar disorder, but if we’re gonna talk very basic general terms. It’s somebody who is cycling from manic highs, meaning they have feelings of grandiosity. They have feelings of potential narcissism. They’re irritable. They’re they’re not sleeping. They have huge bouts of creativity and they think that they’re invincible.
Like they could become the next president. Just things that are not realistic to the general world. Right. They could go on spending sprees and, and they’re just so elated. And this is not always a long term thing. Now with my husband, it lasted 18 long months. During our separation, that manic episode, which went unrecognized. Then you have the other set of coin, which is depression and depression can manifest with, you know, just listlessness, sleeping all the time, not wanting to get out of bed, high rates of suicide between 20 and 40% of bipolar patients attempt suicide at least once in their lives.
So there’s a high percentage of that. And so it, it’s such a drastic shift from mania to depression, that it’s very hard to figure out. You know, if somebody’s cycling for years, who is this person like, who is the real, you know, person that you see underneath all this? Now you, you wrote a book about this journey and, and, and it’s called untethered.
How… well, tell us a little bit about that. How did that, what, what is that book about? And cuz I, I really want, you know, I’ve read your bio, but I want you to tell a little bit more about your story. So what, what is the focus of that? Cuz I, there is a good outcome to this story, right? The focus really is on my life journey and how I was able to untether my own life.
And how my husband had his own journey as well with mental illness. And what kind of impact that has when you don’t diagnose a disorder like this for nearly two decades. And what happens to the family? What kind of devastation can happen? And we’re talking not even just one generation, but multiple generations to come.
So, you know, we were able to each one of us in our own ways, professionally, personally, untether. Our, our beings untether our souls to the point where we were able to come for a full circle in our lives for a better, more stronger marriage, a stronger family life, children who are thriving now at this point, you know, and we were able to really face our demons as well as we were able to untether our lives professionally.
How, how did you do that? I mean, did you intervene, you know, specifically with him, because especially, you know, if he’s, he’s wanting to, you know, be separated from you and, and everything. So what did you do? That was the biggest fight of my entire life. Mm. I, you know, when you’re manic, most people, they don’t wanna get treatment.
And so that’s the challenge with bipolar disorder. They don’t wanna be on medication. They don’t like the way it makes them feel. They don’t think they need help. I mean, why would anybody want help when you’re so creative and you don’t have to sleep and you know what I mean? Right. Yeah. so that was kinda where, what was very difficult is because he would not.
Believe me at that point. And prior to that point, I was not seen as the enemy and he was willing to potentially talk to a therapist or do marriage counseling or whatever it may be. you know, I, I was, he adored me for 15 years. And, and so I had kind of my own version of a breakdown when this happened and I turned to therapists, I turned to psychiatrists.
I turned to his father who was a psychiatrist, ironically. Wow. I, I turned to, you know, every therapist, my children were seeing therapists at the time as well, DCFS. I mean, you name it. Lawyers. Nobody believed me and nobody supported me. And they made it out to be that I was the one who needed help because I, I became, I became somewhat in unhinged because I knew the outcome of what could happen, knew what could happen to him.
I knew he could, he would probably become suicidal, which happened. I knew he would loss, lose his job. I, I was worried about my children. We had, you know, something would happen to them. Not because he would intentionally do anything, but because out of neglect or being in a different state of mind or unaware, I mean, we had a 14-month-old baby at the time.
Oh, wow. Yeah. I was gonna ask how old were your kids at this time? So, yeah, that’s hard dealing with that? yeah. So what happened? I mean, did he, he finally then, you know, agreed to get some help? Is that then what was that? You were able to finally convince him, is that what? he did. when? Yeah. So when the road to destruction happened and you know, all these things that I predicted actually did happen.
that was when he fell into a deep, deep, dark untreatable depression. I mean the most horrid depression I had ever seen, you know, I mean, he was, you know, in debt, he lost his job. He lost the support of his parents and his family. he lost me basically by pushing me away. He lost the respect of his children.
I mean, anybody probably in his shoes, would’ve probably been suicidal at the time. Right. So at that point in time was when he caved in and he said, okay, I’m gonna, I’m gonna get treatment. What, what do I need to do? Oh, thankfully he did that. And thankfully you were there to be able to help him out. So tell us a little bit more about then your, the impact on you and then how you were able to finally pull yourself together and really go on to, you know, not only to write a book, but I understand you’ve, you’ve launched a career in, in healthcare.
And, and so how did, how did all that come about? You know what happened to me personally, it, it broke me. It, it broke me into 8,000 pieces and, you know, I always saw myself as the strong one and supporting of him. But then I realized when this happened to me, what about me? You know, what about, you know, that feeling that I’m gonna get with being able to change people’s lives and help.
Humanity. And, and what about me? What can I contribute? We have one life. So it, it really was a rude awakening that I could really do something fulfilling with my life, you know, after helping save his life. I thought, you know, that was the biggest epiphany. The moment of epiphany that I can do, I can do that.
I can contribute to society. I think it gave me that confidence. It gave me that confidence and that awareness that This is something that I can do. And so, you know, when the book started, the book started before the company and when the book started, I sat down and it was more of a cathartic healing. So I was using my writing to heal Cathartically.
It wasn’t that I intended to write a book. It was that I just wanted to get it out on paper. Sure. And so slowly it, it just started to come together. And I worked with a lot of different editors to help me one of which, helped Steven King out. So I had some top editors input on how to structure it and, and slowly it became this beautiful thing that I could offer the world in how to handle and deal with these kinds of mental health issues.
Well, what would you say, was the biggest challenge you faced? You know, in that aspect, you know, once, once you know, your husband’s starting to get some help. And, but now you are, you know, you were having to deal with your own mental health and, and keeping yourself going, especially when you’re, you’re a mom, you know, you wanna be able to still take care of your kids.
So what was one of maybe one or two of the biggest challenges you faced in during that time? I think one of the biggest challenges as a mother and mothers do this all the time. I, I forgot to put myself first still. I wanted to do all these things with my life. I wanted to make up for lost time and, you know, launch a book, a company, this, that, but I forgot to look within myself that I needed my own healing, that I was still broken, that I needed, you know, it’s okay.
I needed some therapy. I needed some support. I, I was in this, you know, continuous fight flight mode. Mentality. And my body was getting exhausted and my body was so worn out. My adrenals were fatigued and I, I realized that I just can’t be this way either. You know, I have to love myself. I have to work on myself internally before I can give that love to my husband and to my children and give them everything that they need.
I’m glad you were able to have that realization because it is so important. We, we do tend to just want to fix everybody else and, and then, you know, we leave ourselves for last and then suddenly it’s like, oh, now, now I’m sick or something. And it’s like, oh, okay. And because the body will tell you if, if that, you know, Hey, you need to take care of me as well.
Mm-hmm What, what’s been a, something good that’s come out of all this. What, what would you think is your, you know, I have so much gratitude now and I, I don’t take anything for granted anymore. You know, I, I enjoy the present moment. The present time I have with my children. I come to the realization that, you know, we want our kids to stay young and stay in the house forever.
I have an 18-year-old that’s off to college in the fall. And so I’m really enjoying every single bit of moment I have with them. And I’m, I’m stopping myself from trying to please other people or the outside world, or keep up with the Joneses. You know, if I, if I don’t make, I don’t know one event or if I don’t, you know, if I disappoint my child, it, it’s not a reflection of me that I’m a bad mother, because as long as my children are healthy, happy, and live their dreams, then I should be secure enough to know that I’m doing the best I can.
Absolutely. Yeah. Cause that’s pretty much what we all want anyway is for our kids to be happy and healthy. Yeah. And, you know, doing something that they love to do. And, and that’s also a good lesson for us because we are also entitled to do that as well, to be happy, healthy. So, what would you, well, actually, let, let me, before I go onto that, let me back up a little bit from all, everything that you’ve gone through now with your husband and, and, and him being, you know, undiagnosed.
And, and I was doing an interview, actually the other day, also talking with someone about mental health and, and he talked about the fact that so much, as you mentioned, goes undiagnosed for so long. Are there signs that we should be looking for? you know, if, if in a loved one and that could be things, you know, kind of like little warning signs that maybe we need to start paying even closer retention, and then hopefully see if we can intervene before things get to the point where you have them happen.
Yeah, I, I think so for sure. I think one of the biggest things is sometimes parents, mothers, parents, fathers, they don’t trust their intuition. The parent knows the child the bestm be above and beyond any clinician, any doctor, any therapist whatsoever. So if they have a gut feeling that something isn’t right, or that their child is behaving out of the norm.
Whether they’re 18 years old, 20 years old, 30 years old, doesn’t even matter if you love that person, go out there and seek the help that they need. You know, whether that is finding the appropriate therapist, you know, finding an appropriate psychiatrist, whoever it may be. Because sometimes I think in this world, we trust the voice of others too much over our own internal voice.
And so that’s one of the things I did with my husband. I, had trusted my internal voice, but it was too late at that point. So my point is just never be too late and always act early because this can happen to anybody. And especially with bipolar disorder, a lot of times it’s misdiagnosed as depression. And when that happens, that is the most devastating thing, because what psychiatrists will do is they will give prescription medications to treat depression only without any sort of mood stabilizer.
When that happens to a patient who’s been misdiagnosed with bipolar dis not bipolar disorder with depression, but is actually bipolar, that triggers manic episodes. Oh. And that can happen for decades and it can go unrecognized. So. Be nosy. Put it that way as a parent. well, and as a spouse too. Yeah. Not even just as a parent, but you know, as a, I think for anyone, even in your life that you care about, that you love that, you should be willing to do that cuz what’s, what’s the worst that can happen.
What, what would you say, you know, is, is that they’re fine and maybe they get mad at you for a little bit, but if it’s turns out to be. That you overreacted it’s much better that you overreacted than underreacting. Exactly. So I don’t think we, I think sometimes we don’t trust our relationships or the strength of our relationships.
You know, we don’t trust that our child is gonna bounce back. We don’t trust that our spouse is gonna bounce back and see us in a different light when they are in a stable point in their mind. Let’s let’s step gears a little bit now. So what are you doing now? And what do you enjoy most about it? Doing a lot of different things I have to say.
Okay. in the process of launching my book, I’m working with Hollywood producers, on a film adaptation of my book. So that’s been really fun to do. And also thank you. And also running a geo star, Chicago vocation. So geo star Chicago. Okay. So what is that, what does that company do? Is it something you, right.
So we, we work with patients who are suffering from degenerative conditions like arthritis or some neurological conditions and, autoimmune conditions, things like that. And we help patients through stem cell therapy through their own cells. Wonderful. Wonderful. So, Now that you’ve written a book and getting it made into hopefully made into a film.
That’s exciting. Do you have any plans for any more writing in your, in your life or are you staying busy enough with the, with the business? I would love to do a second book. I really would. I, I find so much joy in writing and I, I find it to be such a cathartic healing process and it enlightens my creative being so I can see myself writing another book.
That would be excellent. And I look forward to hearing more about them. Thank you. what are you curious about right now in your life? what am I curious about? you know, I’m just, I think I’m at a crossroads in my life and, you know, I, I would love to see what the future holds for me and, and for my children.
And, and I guess that’s a really typical thing for anybody because there there’s sometimes a lot of times looking forward. So, you know, when I feel those moments in time, I try to pull myself back into the present, like right now, you know, it’s wonderful, I’m talking to Gloria and it’s been a great podcast.
So I, I, there’s so many things going on in my mind that, you know, we all struggle with kind of quieting that mind. So I started really meditating and looking towards, just quiet, peace of mind and mindfulness, over getting distracted by all the noise. So yes, I try to look forward, but I also pull myself back.
Excellent. Yeah. It’s, I’ve definitely over the years have learned that being in the present moment. It’s a lot easier actually, to, to be focused on what’s going on right now than to, than to worrying. I, I, I knew someone who, who tends to worry a lot and, oh, I remember hearing sometime it was not like borrowing trouble, but it was something, something along those lines that it, that worry doesn’t really do you any good.
So there’s really no point in it. Just focus in on the here and now and be happy. So it sounds like you’ve been able to, been able to do that now and to focus on yourself and, you know, and continue focusing on absolutely. And your family and all of that. So that’s great. Thank you. Is there anything else that I haven’t asked you about that you think would be beneficial for our listeners and to know about your journey or, or, you know, either or mental illness or any of that?
well, I would say, you know, I think it’s really important for your audience to find their own happiness, whatever that happiness is. I mean, for me, my happiness was launching a healthcare company, writing a book, working on a movie, rebuilding my life, going out and talking about it. You know, but everybody has kind of their own happiness.
And so it’s really critical to step back, move away from all the noise and look within yourself and, and just think about, you know, what do you do day to day? Are you, I mean, you could be a housewife, you could be an entrepreneur, or you could be working in the corporate world, whatever it may be. Is that bringing you joy?
That’s the number one question. Does it bring you joy and whatever doesn’t bring you joy, as much as you can, I mean, I know people have financial constraints, all other things to worry about, but if there’s something that just doesn’t bring you joy that you can outsource and you can afford to outsource, definitely do it.
And then that’s gonna clear your mind and clear your way for spending time by yourself, reflecting on what your purpose is in this world. What, what you wanna do. We only have one life and, you know, we have to make every moment the most fulfilling possible, and surround ourselves with people that love and care for us, that are not going to put negative ideas in our head, that are not gonna tell us we can’t do this and this and this because of this, you know, sometimes, sometimes logic when you’re looking from the heart and you look within your soul, goes out the window and that’s ok.
I, I love that advice and, and it’s definitely, I mean, for one thing, it’s, it’s good for entrepreneurs to know that it’s important for them to be able to focus in on your zone of genius and to let go of the other things. But I think even if you’re not an entrepreneur, I think it’s also good advice to find, to be able to outsource the things that you’re not fond of.
Like, if you don’t like cleaning your house and you can afford it, get someone to clean your house, because that is, as you say, it’s gonna free up your, your, your soul, frankly, as well as just your mental capacity, to be able to find some other outlets that you can have fun at, or to spend more time with your family or mm-hmm, if that’s what you like doing.
So I, I like that you recommend that. So I think that’s awesome. If someone, is interested in getting your book and reading more about your story, where, where is that available? So the book should be available next year. Okay. So it’s not yet available. However they can learn about us and our email@example.com, S H E L L Y S O O D.com.
And they can learn more about the company and our offerings. Geo star G I O S T A R chicago.com. That’s geo star, Chicago dot Com. Right. Excellent. I will be sure to have all of that information in the show notes, so you can go to liveloveengagepodcast.com and you’ll be able to get all that information.
And I’m so glad that we had a chance to connect. I know we met, I think at the national publicity summit a while back. Yeah. And, so I’m glad it was able to have you on the show and, I look forward to reading your book when it comes out. So that’ll be exciting. Thank you. Thank you so much for having me, Gloria.
This has been great. I really appreciate it. And to all of you, who’ve been out there listening and who are watching on YouTube, I appreciate you as well and encourage you if you enjoyed this episode to share it with a friend, so you can let other people know about our episodes. And, and there’s more, if you happen to miss one, go back and, and check it out.
Cuz we’ve had lots of awesome people on and I think that’s gonna do it for today. So until next time, as always, I encourage you to go out and live fully love, deeply and engage authentically.
Did you know that a majority of entrepreneurs tend to discount the importance of their work and a good number feel their success is simply due to luck? I know from personal experience, that self doubt can keep you from having the kind of life and business you desire that. I’ve created a free guide called uniquely you how to move from self doubt to self love in four simple steps to claim your free guide. Go to live love, engage.gift that’s live love, engage dot g-i-f-t.