EPI 3: WKNY Interview Part Two
Ken: Welcome to the Bipolar Excellence Podcast, Episode Three, the WKNY Interview Part Two. As I said, in part one or in Episode Two of the show, this interview was done many years ago. I was only a couple of years out from defeating bipolar. So I didn’t have bipolar anymore. But I had lingering mania to a certain degree.
It was really hard to control. I remember that. It used to make breathing a little tight and I was very easily excitable. And in this interview, even though it was a year after the first interview with Jody, I was in a pumped up way that day. I barely could contain my energy. I spoke about it more in the intro to this. That’s already part of the old file, which you’re about to hear.
So I’m not going to carry on too much cause it’d be repetitive.But I’ll tell you this much bipolar folks: you just got to go. Your stuff in the beginning is going to be raw. For us in particular, for bipolar people, you might be embarrassed by yourself. Initially.
You might. Cause as you continually get better or at least improve the way you do your work, you know, you’re going to just see where you could have done better. You’re going to see where, what you thought about yourself, wasn’t quite as true as you thought it was at the time. But really that’s anybody doing anything.
Don’t let it hinder you. Don’t let it slow you down. Just go, just start making something, just be okay with the fact that you’ll either be fantastically happy with it as you make it and just call it a day. Should you dislike it later, who cares? And if you weren’t quite so happy then, ultimately what’s it even going to matter?
This shit doesn’t matter that much in the overall scheme of things, if at all. The more important part is your intention and your ability to just go and create. Without having the right intention and without doing anything nothing’s happening, you’re dead in the water. Nothing’s going to change.
If anything, you’re going backwards with your inactivity, if your fear is directing that, if that’s what’s keeping you from hitting the go button. So I want to let the old file do the rest of the talking for me. And it’s humbling. Enjoy.
Original Review Starts Here
Hey everybody. This is Ken Jensen with the After Bipolar Podcast, Episode Three, my WKNY interview, the second one.
I just finished listening to that interview from about nine years ago. Man, that was hard. I got invited back to the studio, WKNY, to just do a, just touching base, I guess. See where I was at from when we did the first interview. And if you listen to the the first interview, which is episode two on the After Bipolar Podcast list, you’ll be able to hear the difference.
I was much calmer in the first one. In the second one, I was clearly having a bit of a manic… I wouldn’t call it an episode. I guess you could. Little mania was in my mind as I spoke. I was talking so fast. It was hard for me to listen to, partly for professional reasons. I just wished I’d had my composure, my shit together a little better.
But partly because I just remember how hard it was to… even then, even a couple of years into my wellness, it could still grab a hold of me. Mania to a certain degree, just seems to be inherent in my personality. It’s not like it was back then, but it can be there. And a little bit of anxiety. I do remember being unnaturally anxious going into that interview, for no reason other than that’s what bipolar can do to you.
Now, I wasn’t bipolar, so I should clarify. I’m kinda generalizing my memories and then how I present my thoughts here. Anxiety and even mania or just two small pieces of a massive bipolar pie of symptoms. I’m saying I got it down to just those two.
And the mania for further clarification. I didn’t really have mania. Like when you got decent mania, I’d go for three days with no sleep. Wouldn’t be closest thing to tired. I wouldn’t be able to go to sleep.
That was one of the ways I first knew I was becoming well. I got tired. And it wasn’t a depression based tiredness. It was just a natural “we’ve done a day and then let’s get some rest”. When I was able to experience that again, I knew I was good. I knew I was on my way to being well and staying well.
So when I did this interview, let’s see, nine years ago. It’s 17 now. So 2008. Yeah, that’s about right. I had had about two years of wellness under my belt, but there were just trailing after effects. I give Jody credit for keeping up. She’d sorta interrupt me here and there.
And I think it was to try to… there’s no way she didn’t realize what was going on. I think she was trying to moderate me and that would trip me up a little when I’d answer. Or I was just, my brain was firing fast and I was answering her faster than she could finish making questions. I do remember that back in the day. Cripes! My mind worked fast.
This wasn’t always a bad thing. I got a lot done. It’s partly how I came up with my wellness system. I was able to sift through and consider and make connections out of a ton of different pieces of information and perspectives. My mind was like a high-speed computer back then. Sometimes I miss it.
You could get to answers faster cause you could screw up faster, come to conclusions quicker, make sense of it, reset and go all over again. And in record time. I literally just got the answers quicker. But I don’t really miss those days. I don’t really miss that experience. It was just handy.
So the interview’s almost an hour. So I’m going to cut it off here. I’ll just reiterate that was hard to listen to it.
It almost made me a little sad in that it brought a little bit to the surface, how much pain I used to be in being that way. Now, again, I wasn’t sick or all messed up when that interview happened. This is just a little bit of mania, a little bit of anxiety. That’s just two things out have a huge stack of potential problems that make up the entirety of bipolar.
Yeah, it’s just rough. I wish I could have done a little better. But I do remember that was out of my hands. I remember being concerned about it before I went into the interview. I knew I was humming and there was nothing I could do about it. But I was in a good mood while I talked. You’ll hear I was laughing a lot and I was very passionate about what I was sharing.
I remember that too. I remember. What I talk about, I still bring them up in conversation with people, but I’ve learned to just whittle it down to one item or I’ve shaved down the associated stories to the points I make to where I don’t carry on, like I did in that interview.
But again, you’re seeing where my head was at two years into the wellness game.
10:00 Min Mark
And one of the points I make is that people, after fighting for years with mental illness, with bipolar disorder… if they do find a way to become well… many people revert back and get back on meds because even if it didn’t work for them and they didn’t like it, it’s a known. Being well is scary.
And I guess that’s part of what was happening to me this day. I know in general, I was in a pretty much, pretty much a good mood all the time back then. Not manically so. Just shit was going right after years of not going right. Things were going right.
And I was doing a lot interesting things. If you go over to outsiders journey.com to the outsiders journey podcast, one of the first episodes I made -I’ll link to it in the show notes for this episode- one of the first shows I talked about was something to do with madmen.
And there’s an exploding volcano image on that episode. It was during, the time of this interview that I was connected to the people I mentioned; the experiences and the people in general, that I mentioned in that episode. Interesting time. I had a lot of fun back then. Landed in a lot of situations you could not possibly foresee.
It was just too widespread, too many things not connected. Didn’t make sense how I ended up in a lot of these things. And they were all good with a lot of good people for the most part. And I found a few other people that were just as loosely wired as I was, and thing was, I knew it, they didn’t. And I had to get back out of those situations as fast as I got in them.
All right. On to the WKNY Interview.
Interview Starts Here
Bud: And we welcome you back to speak out with Jodie McTeague and friends, the program. You get a chance to call us and speak out what’s on your mind. And now once again, here’s the host to Speak Out Jody McTague.
Jody: Thank you very much, bud Fredericks. Our next guest is sitting here before me and Ken Jensen.
But with us this morning is Ken Jensen. Ken, you look absolutely gorgeous. The beard is gone, the cigars not there. And, and you look wonderful. Come on talk. I don’t have to ask you any questions.
Tell me how life has been for you, since this book went out. You know what you can do, and every time I read parts of it, I can’t help, but you know, weep, because of knowing you. So go ahead and tell us what is bipolar and how do you recognize it?
Ken: Well, bipolar. That’s interesting that you bring up, how do you recognize it? Because I did not recognize it for the first few years I had it. And also in retrospect, I realized it was probably plaguing me most of my life before it went into like full blown activity levels,
Jody: Why are you saying that? Because…
Ken: It has degrees of intensity. And it’s also only single parts of it might show up. It’s not as bad as what you might think a mental illness would be. So you, you mislabel it as other things.
Ken: That yeah. You chalk it up to youth. You chalk it up to the crowd you hang out with. Stress. Stress was a big one for me.
I thought all I was was stressed until my stress became virtually insurmountable. And then right about when that time of realization happened for me, the stress morphed into all the other fantastic symptoms that come with bipolar. And then I was on the ride. Then it was quite clear. It was not just stress messing with me.
It a mood disorder. It’s characterized by highs and lows, extreme highs and lows, you feel like you’re king of the world one moment, all your ideas are perfect, fantastic, and cannot possibly fail. You take a lot of unnecessary risks. A gambling kind of mindset can kick in. You just have no fear and you don’t question your logic. You’re dead right perfect and you’re sure of it.
On the other side is depression where you’re in the fetal position on the floor, not knowing how the next five seconds of your life could possibly work out, let alone the rest of your life and all your other responsibilities. That’s the mood swings. And there’s different severities of those.
Jody: When you say the severity of the mood swings, how deep, how high, how low?
Ken: Well, with the severity, you can be low-level bipolar, which is cyclothymic. You would be viewed in other people’s eyes like a character, an eccentric person. You’d just be interesting. Little crazy. You’d be the interesting one in the crowd, but wouldn’t really create much harm in anybody’s life, even your own.
And then it can go up to where your people are not sure what you might do next. Or they don’t know if they can depend on you because… For work say, because of depression might kick in and you can’t be talked to and they can go even further.
The high can go right on into complete psychosis and you have…
Jody: What is psychosis, in case somebody is wondering?
Ken: You don’t know what’s real anymore. You completely do not know what’s real and whatever your senses are telling you, it’s pretty far out. A movie is playing out in front of you instead of your real life. I’ve had that happen a few times.
Jody: What happens when reality is over there some place, but you know, it’s in front of you. How do you handle that?
Ken: All right. Now that’s actually more like dissociation, which played a big part in this illness for me as well. Psychosis is just a break. I mean, you’re Napoleon on your horse, riding into a candy cane land, do battle with the gremlins. I mean that that’s a complete break. And that can take whatever form.
Dissociation’s when you’re looking at reality, but you don’t feel a part of it. Your energy is not a part of the energy around you. You want desperately in with the rest of the world, but you don’t feel warmth from people, even though you can see it on their face. You are not sure what everything around you is, as far as a detailed definition within your own mind.
And then besides the mood swings and the dissociation, comes the panic. You get roaring panic. It reaches levels… mount Everest Heights of fear. When it hit me? When my first really good thick panic attack hit me? I had no idea a brain could conjure up that much fear. I didn’t know fear could get that big.
Jody: Where were you when this happened?
Ken: I was out west living in Denver when my first panic attack hit.
Jody: Now, how did you recognize this as a panic attack?
Ken: Oh, I didn’t. That makes it even worse. At this point I had not been diagnosed. I just knew my life was starting to get worse.
My marriage at that time was crumbling. I couldn’t hold any jobs. I was in the twenties on how many jobs I’d had, since I’d moved out west three years prior. And all I knew was I was just… life wasn’t working.
20:00 Min Mark
And when that first panic attack hit It felt like a black hole opened up into my chest that was impossibly deep. Infinitely deep. But it was in me somehow.
And I was falling into myself at a very rapid rate and I couldn’t make that sensation stop. Then I started losing connection with my body. Couldn’t feel my body. Hands and feet were tingling. And then I couldn’t feel them. I sank to the floor and I didn’t really feel the floor. And I didn’t know what was going wrong with me. I had no idea what was going wrong with me.
Jody: So you’re telling me that your particular attack was physical, as well as emotional and mental.
Ken: Yeah. Panic involves the whole body and much of the other symptoms do too. That’s the other, if you want to call it interesting part of bipolar, it’s not just ups and downs and those couple of critical things. I just shared.
I made a list once. I went to a bipolar forum online for curiosity’s sake, a long time ago. I spent eight hours and I developed a list from what people were writing. I came up with 100 distinct symptoms, all separate from one another. They were all terrible. And I had experienced almost every single one of them.
There was a few that were specific to women. So I got spared those, but that was about it. And, and,
Jody: I beg your pardon?
Ken: It’s… you don’t want more. I mean, in anyone that’s bipolar and depression, all of these things, it doesn’t matter how bad anyone might get with it. Your case is plenty bad enough for you. And you cannot imagine it getting any worse.
That was one thing I tried on two different occasions to get committed at the VA. Once in Denver, cause I’m a Marine vet, and I tried to get committed in New York. They wouldn’t take me in either place, which in retrospect’s, probably a godsend.
But they told me, “as bad as you feel, and we know you feel bad, it’s worse inside there.”
And that blew my mind cause I could not fathom feeling worse than I did. Because it’s just an all out assault of yourself on yourself. It’s inside your head. You can’t turn it off. You can’t get away from it.
Jody: Now you’re talking reasonably about all of these things that happened to you. At that time, what did you consider reason?
Ken: I had no reason. I had no ability to make rational decisions. I had no sense of logic. I had no sense of time flow. I could not remember, literally, I could not remember if something happened five minutes ago or if I was 15.
Jody: Could you have people like your parents? Would they believe you, if you said that to them
Ken: Oh that they would believe me, but then that brings in another interesting symptom. You lie over things that don’t require a lie. You’d lie over if someone asked you what time it was. You’d tell them a lie.
You’re totally cognizant in your head and you can’t make yourself stop. You’re even asking yourself inside, “why am I lying?” And you don’t have an answer. It’s insanely bad. I used to get frequently upset.
I’d reach for a pen to write something. My hand would get halfway to the pen and I have no idea why my hand is where it’s at. I forgot all about the pen. Forgot all about the task. My hand is just out in front of me.
I know I was reaching for something. I don’t know what. And then I get mad about that, that I couldn’t remember what. And then I wouldn’t remember why I was mad. And I’d remember I had a reason for being mad. It just keeps backing up on itself with no answer. And it is so frustrating.
Jody: And this is why I was looking at the 14th annual Mid-Hudson Mental Health Conference, Faces Of Recovery.
Ken: That went very well.
Jody: And it snowed that day like crazy. Didn’t it?
Ken: I was worried.
Jody: It was awful.
Ken: And I was thinking on the ride over, I’m like, “Oh, come on. This is just a cliche. And 19 feet of snow on my big day!”
Jody: And well, a lot of people were praying that it would come off good with you in mind because I had them all up and I was going to get over there, but I figured I’d never get home. But we’re talking about the Annual Mental Health Conference And The Faces Of Recovery, and one of your faces was there. And talk about that, that it was a success and how it helped you.
Ken: Okay. There was a number of speakers.
Jody: And we’re talking about the Poughkeepsie right now.
Ken: Yes. At the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel. There were a number of speakers covering different aspects of mental health and advocacy work, people that help people with mental health issues.
And the whole point of the conference was to let people know. I should even make that clear. I’m in the minority. A guy like me, that gets as violent as I did, and as out of hand as I did, we’re in the very tiny minority. But we make such amount of noise. When a guy like me loses it, multiple cop units get involved. I mean, families are involved. Everyone in the world’s involved.
Jody: A whole Marine battalion got involved.
Ken: This is what the world remembers. So they mistakenly think everyone out there with bipolar was like I was. That’s not the case. But because I was like I was, I write to that for the people that need that because they need to know somebody understands just how bad and severe that kind of pain can get.
But the mental health conference that went really well. I had a lot of people showed up to hear me speak. And I made some friends out of it that worked into all business and advocacy connections to where we can pull resources and combine.
Make one plus one equal three, and spread our reach to help even more people. Using what I know, using what other people know.
And the whole conference was to let people know that mentally ill people are not… we’re not all just bonkers and completely inept and unable to lead a good life. It’s not like that. And there’s more and more stuff coming out, like my system, TORQUE BACK, and all kinds of other tools that I’m sure are fantastic. I just never got around to using.
There’s many sources of help out there to get people like me back on track and living life well and managing well. And we’re not all out of control, like I just simply happened to be.
Jody: Well, you were in the Marines,
Ken: Not everybody’s got that to pull from when they have a psychotic break. I had professional training in how to go crazy just right.
Jody: And you managed, how many years were you in the Marines
Ken: 5 years.
Jody: And you managed to get in, stay and get out.
Ken: Just barely. Kept my rank and kept out of the brig by the skin of my teeth.
Jody: While you were very close to the brig many times.
Ken: Bumped up against it. A number of times. Yes.
Jody: And now you’re in business. And what is your business?
Ken: I’m the Bipolar Eradicator LLC, and I, of course, sell my book and I’m designing other products.
Jody: The name of the book is “It Takes Guts To Be Me”.
And let me tell you a little story about that. I was talking about you last week to a young lady. Uncontrollable fears and tears. Afraid to go to work. Afraid and you know, you talk her into it and you go in and you can do it. And just give me a call when you, arrive.
Okay. Then I said, you know, I have to get you that book. You just signed it for her. And I said, It Takes Guts To Be Me. She said, let me write that down. And I’ll just put it in front of me all day.
I have to tell you that that night she had one of the best days she had in a long time.
Ken: I live for that. This is why, what I’m doing. I’ve tried to do build many businesses, cause I’m not an employee person. I’m very good at anything I ever put my mind to, but it has to be my gig. And then I tried a lot of gigs and none of them ever worked. Or if they work not very well.
Jody: Well, no, you didn’t stick to them.
Ken: What? No, it wasn’t that.
Jody: You weren’t able to.
Ken: No, it was more… when I dealt with the fact that that I had to find a way to help people, that’s when everything took off. There was other factors in earlier businesses. But when I applied the factor “I knew I should be helping people”, and I wanted to in a principled sort of a way, but really I just wanted to earn over the years.
When I figured out, I got to actually put my heart and soul into straightening people’s lives out, and caring that they get there, that’s when all my dreams started getting answered. My life just started knitting itself back together.
My first business out of many, finally it started experiencing positive growth. And the better I get at everything I do, the more of what I do, I’m able to give away for free. I’m constantly looking to better my situation, so that stuff I normally would have charged for… because I counsel people privately. I give seminars, I do all kinds of things. I have a membership on online.
And better I’m able to become as a business, the more of what I used to charge, I just give away because I can. And that is such a, I love it.
Jody: Well after many tears, who helped you the most? We have to give her and your dad credit.
Ken: Yeah, I burned all my bridges right down to my folks and they almost threw in the towel at the end. My parents didn’t… nobody knows what to make it as disease if you haven’t had it yourself. There is no way to make sense of it if you’re healthy or just hadn’t had this particular disease.
Jody: Ken, when did it start to show and where did you go to school? Because some people said, I didn’t ask you last time. And I thought I did.
Ken: I went to school in Tillson. And actually I was just speaking about this the other night. And I don’t like to go in a lot of detail about this, but my home life, in particular with my mom was not the best situation.
And now we know, years later, she was up against something as well, and didn’t have half the help than I had. However, she took out a lot of her frustrations on me. I then acted out in school. And I just remembered, I used to get taken a psychiatrist for different things, I’d say and whatnot. And I never knew why.
I always found the psychiatrist very interesting. And I liked the tests, but I didn’t know what… And nothing ever came of it.
Jody: You probably analyzed him while he was there!
Ken: I just thought they were interesting. I didn’t know, till decades later I’m like, why did nobody ever look into what it was like at my house? Why was I always, “W hat’s wrong with this kid?” Nobody took it another step farther.
30:00 Min Mark
So now that I have a family… and I didn’t do so hot because I gained my new family when I was becoming my sickest. My whole thing is to make sure that that string gets broken.
Jody: And you went to high school where?
Ken: I went to Kingston High.
Jody: And you graduated.
Ken: I graduated. Yup.
Jody: And then?
Ken: Well, I went right into the Marines. By the time I got to Kingston, I had already learned from most of my family tree, that drinking is the sport of men and champions. And I got quite good at it. I was known as a pretty decent alcoholic already in high school.
And then I needed to go to the service because I had no options. I didn’t really pick for love of country or patriotism. A lot of guys in don’t. We just had to do something. So I ended up going to the Marines, sort of as a fluke.
I went with a friend and actually, when I went in, honestly, I was limited in vision. I didn’t know much anything about life. I wanted to see if I was tough enough to clear bootcamp. And I was, I graduated top 10%.
Jody: And where’d you go to bootcamp? Lejeune?
Ken: Well, bootcamp is Parris Island. if you’re in this side of the Mississippi. And it’s San Diego, if you’re on the other side of the Mississippi. There’s only two places. They train Marines. So, I aced bootcamp, basically. I graduated in the top 10%.
And the physical portions and everything about bootcamp. It’s a lot of work and it was hard, but I was up for it. And I rather enjoyed bootcamp. Very happy to get off the island! They always hang that threat over your head. You’re not getting off my island til I let you off my island.
I wanted off, but I had made it through bootcamp and I had done well. And it wasn’t that hard for me to do. It was painful and everything, but I did it. So not until my next base, which was in Memphis Tennessee, did I realize I had four and three quarter more years to serve on my contract.
And the reality of that hit me. This is where the part of me that does not like to be an employee hit. Hit big time.
Jody: You don’t like to be told what to do.
Ken: I don’t like to be told what to do. And being in the Marine Corps is a very bad place to have that kind of attitude. And then some really big adventures began from there.
Cause I fought. I fought their system tooth and nail, while becoming excellent at what it was I did for them. So I was a dichotomy that frustrated commanding officers to no end.
Jody: That’s why you didn’t get thrown out.
Ken: Yeah. I can remember just them looking at me and they just, they don’t know what to do cause they needed me for what I did and I did it so well. And they were like, but why, why can’t you just behave a little bit better? I just, I couldn’t
Jody: Now, when did you get what I’ll call diagnosed so that we understand.
Ken: I was about 30. From 28 to 30, as far as I could tell my stress levels just kept climbing and climbing and climbing. And I started job hopping.
Ken: I was very unhappy with life. I did not like any of the jobs I had. I was not making enough money for the kind of dreams I want. One thing the Marine Corps put into me was a love for travel. That takes a lot of money, or as I would learn later in life, you have to find a way to let someone else help you travel.
But anyway, I wanted to travel and no job paid me enough to have the kind of money I wanted to travel and see the world. I wanted to get back out there desperately. And there was a number of other…
Jody: Did you think that might emancipate you? Do you know, actually, what you were really looking for at that time outside of…
Ken: No, no. I just, I simply wanted to see the world in all its wonders and other cultures. Cause, in the five years I was in the Marines, I changed bases 19 times. I went overseas three times. And I moved around a lot more than even a lot of guys do, especially inside of one enlistment. It just kind of worked out that way.
So I knew the world has so much to offer. And I had a very adventuresome spirit. That ties into a lot of bipolar people, too. It later becomes massive risk taking. But for there I was just adventuresome. And I was very physical. I was always in the woods, testing my limits, testing myself against the weather.
I wanted to go see the world. And none of these jobs were ever going to pay me. I was starting to realize I should have gone to college. Couldn’t do college. Same thing. I’m an OJT kind of guy. I can’t learn from a book. I can, but I’d rather just put me in it and I’ll learn it as I go. That’s how I learned.
So I couldn’t do college either. So here I am in a pickle, I started realizing I’m never going to have what I want, not at this rate. So my answer was to start trying new jobs.
I also became an expert resume rebuilder. That was a complete fabrication based on whatever I thought each place wanted to hear. And I thought I might become a professional resume writer cause I was so good. And I’d always got hired. And it was turning out none of these jobs are keeping me happy.
Jody: My jaw dropped that you could get through and they took your resume. As it, as it was.
Ken: It’s a dance. If you know how to do it, it’s not hard. And I was forced to learn how to do it.
I also was forced to learn what level my Jack of all Tradesman was, buried in my DNA. Because I lied my way into so many jobs, many of them technical. I fixed a lot of factory equipment. I worked at a concrete plant where like we had machinery that would roll over this building and I’d have to climb up on scaffolding and repair repaired all kinds of hydraulics and mechanical problems.
And I repaired gas stations for awhile, which are ridiculously packed with technology. It’s unbelievable how much technology is required to get a tank of gas into your car.
Jody: Can you elaborate on that? Because like now, with the other day, the machine said, turn the card the other way you turn…
Ken: The machines are so smart, they almost revert back to stupid. They’ve got so much technology in them to tell you when something’s going wrong and why. And if that piece of the equipment gets a headache or gets confused? Now, you’re not only trying to find the problem with the machine. You’re trying to see if the computer’s telling you the truth.
Jody: Or if you’re wrong, if I’m wrong, you know.
Ken: So yeah, I did a lot of stuff like that. And I worked in factories. A number of different factories where… in a factory the machinery is usually specialized. A lot of cases, it only exists right there in a factory. And I learned, I was able to just go in and I could troubleshoot my way and figure out just about anything.
And I had a very gregarious nature. I would make friends easy. I’d get the senior guys, or whoever, to teach me and they’d be happy to do it. They had to anyway, unless they wanted to work harder. But it wasn’t that. I enjoyed working with people. It was one of the things that led to what I do now. I did have a love for talking and hanging out with people. Just couldn’t figure out a job that would pay me to do that.
So all these jobs are failing and my life’s not panning out. And my first marriage is tanking because we fought like oil and water. We were very two strong-willed individuals
Jody: Did your wife recognize though, your first wife, that you had a problem? Or that you would just a nasty SOB.
Ken: Exactly. We just were too sporting folks and we didn’t realize how bad I was becoming. Because she just enjoyed the fight and neither one of us would give. And it never got physical or anything.
Jody: No, no. But I know what you’re saying.
Ken: We just would argue things out to death. And it didn’t get noticeable until I started drinking again. After seven years of sobriety, I fell off the wagon because my depressions were getting very strong. And what I was terming stress was becoming… it’s this huge energy inside your head and your body, and it’s driving to get out.
It’s eating at you and I needed that to stop. And at that point, I thought it was only stress. And I started secretly drinking again. And then not so secretly. And I do not belong with my lips to alcohol ever. And my world started crumbling rapidly from that point. And in that area is when my first panic attack hit.
They shot me up with a bunch of tranquilizers on the ambulance ride, twice. By the time I hit the hospital, my heart rate was 200 plus over 200 plus and climbing rapidly on both numbers. I was witnessing my heart about to explode and I was begging God to let me pass out and I could not pass out.
I did not want to be conscious of my… clearly my death was about five seconds out. I didn’t want to witness it. I have no idea what my heart rate was when it got me into the E.R. They injected me as soon as we got into the ER and then injected me on the table, I don’t even know what they were putting into me, but it did nothing to slow my heart down.
Nobody knows what’s wrong with me. And then I told the doc, I said, “Doc I’m freaking out!” I threw in some other colorful language. But I was totally cognizant. I said, “Make this stop!” And he said, “I can’t, if I put one more ounce of anything in you, you’re going to die.” I’m like, “I’m dying anyway!” And I remember a text saying, “Doc, his heart’s going to explode. What’s the difference? ”
And the doc said, “Screw it. I’ll give him this.” And whatever they stuck in me last finally knocked me out. And we never learned what had happened to me. Never knew. It took months later before we realized about bipolar.
Jody: Hold that thought. You’re listening to WKNY 1490 on your dial here in Kingston, New York.
40:00 Min Mark
And with us this morning is Ken Jensen. And I don’t know what thought we left there, but what business are you in besides writing your book? You have medication, not medications, but vitamins too. As part of what… Finish up your first story as being in the hospital and doc helped me and he shot you up with, okay. You don’t know what it
Ken: Knocked me out. I woke up four hours later. And nobody could tell me what happened to me and I left the hospital.
And it happened again.
So I had been smoking weed that day because I smoked weed for a number of years to fight the stress and insane boredom I felt. I just seem to be more bored than most people with life. And that was my answer for too many years.
Jody: And they just called you a spoiled brat or, you know…
Ken: Well, no. They just figured I was like a drug addict, kind of a thing, even though I didn’t really look the part just, they knew I had smoked weed. Cause I thought maybe somebody had dosed my weed with something. I I just assumed maybe that might be the thing. Cause what had happened with me is so fantastically, bizarre and bad.
I thought maybe… I had been slipped, unbeknownst to me once in the past, PCP, when I thought I was getting something else. So I knew what that was like. And I that’s why there was only one time that that happened. And I thought maybe this had happened again. Cause there were some similarities, PCP. I have no clue why anybody goes out of the way to put that in them.
Jody: Ken, why do, and when did drugs become something of an issue with you? Not because of the bipolar, but as a youngster. You know, because the schools at one time they were nightmare between alcohol and. drugs
Ken: And it’s amazing because when it comes to drugs and drinking, everybody always assumes it’s not their kid or whatever.
Even if you’re doing it, you don’t think you’re that bad. And then one day you are it’s unbelievable. But no, I drank like a fish starting from about 15. But I didn’t get into drugs until I was in the Marines. I was always anti-drug. To me, men drank. I came from some kind of lumberjack background and men drank. Drugs were for losers. That’s how I looked at it.
Jody: And alcohol was legal.
Ken: Right. When I got into the Marines, I met guys from all over the country from all kinds of backgrounds. I got introduced to drugs eventually. And at that point it was just fun. I didn’t get too deep into drugs right away. But about my second to last year left, I started looking into a lot of different things hard.
And then I was in California. I was right near LA. Anywhere you went, drugs just were like, it was like right there next to the bowl of potato chips. It just really was no big deal.
Jody: Well they called it the drug capital of the world.
Ken: Yeah. I mean, it was everywhere and I just fell into it. And the angrier I got about not wanting my enlistment date to finally come, so I could get on with my life… And with the kind of person I was, and a lot of bipolar people are like this, though, we’re creative.
We have to be in charge of our day and we have to be making something whenever you give us a task to do every day, which is most jobs, it’s crushing us. And I started doing drugs as an escape because the Marine Corps really bored me to tears.
I did my job fine and everything, but it didn’t hold my interest. Not really. I just enjoyed it. And I took a pride in it, but in that respect, it was no different than any other job. And I didn’t want to be in charge of anybody. I just wanted to do my own thing.
Jody: Well, self-will is, is a big part of bipolar. But there was a lady that has to leave the house in a few minutes and would like to know if you could announce some contact information, a telephone number or a web.
Ken: Yes. Please go to my website, www dot. It takes guts to be me all one word.com. It takes guts to be me.com. There’s a process that starts there. That’ll lead you to all my information. And for now, this is only going to be for a few more days. Right now you can get my entire system laid out if a PDF format for free. That’s not going to last.
Jody: There’s no telephone number to call.
Ken: It’s all on there. I don’t have it handy. The process will take everybody to absolutely everything there is to know about me.
What’d you do it again, please? www.ittakesgutstobeme.com.
Jody: Okay. All right. I hope the lady got it. And I’m going to write it down here. So that if anybody should call, Bud they can give it to…
Ken: Everything about me starts there.
Jody: Now what about some of the other things besides the book that you have, which is an incredible story.
I mean, you go back to certain chapters time and time again. And some people it’s a revelation to the Gentiles when they read the book. Because they begin to understand who they are and they start liking themselves.
Because someone with bipolar gets very angry with themselves and they don’t know what to do. They become self accusatory, but of course the other guy’s to blame anyhow, and it’s really a mind situation.
Ken: Yeah. You have a whole universe of badness, right between your ears. And that’s your day to day life.
Jody: I wish people could see you now.
Ken: I’m much happier to be this way. And I think we should get back to the before we run out of time, the nutrition. I found nutrition was the number one thing to address.
And when I started that look into my situation. My mind almost did not function. I had been given basically my death sentence by my psychiatrist. I have a file that thick at home of all the medication they pushed through me in six years, did nothing to the illness, but my health failed.
And then when the doctor was like, “You know what? It’s really pointless to give you any more meds. They just don’t do anything to you, except the side effects are adding to your problems.” So I started thinking about it. When I went home, I knew I was going to die in a jail, in a lockdown ward somewhere, or I was going to meet the bigger meaner version of me, upset him, and he was going to take me out. And that’s how these things go.
Jody: Well, also, you had a probation officer that loved you and tried to make you better.
Ken: That came a little bit later. But I had already been doing my plan before she met me. But when they met me, it had just begun. And it took me about a year to turn around from the mess I was, the train load of pain and woe and chaos, into any kind of normal.
It took about a year for that transformation
Jody: You’re even laughing at yourself now.
Ken: I laugh and it’s not out of disrespect.
Ken: And I have a dark sense of humor that even applies to my own self. I can appreciate it, but I laugh because it’s relief.
I’m out, I’m out. And I want people to know, I don’t promise a cure. I don’t consider myself cured. But I manage this beast to where it just doesn’t exist. But I have to maintain that management and I’ll be all right. If I let up on anything, I do. I know it’ll come back probably in a couple of days or so, but it’s not hard to maintain what I do.
And I’m just glad, not only do I have my life back, I gained direction in life, which is what I had been looking for all the time.
Jody: And you have love for people. You would’ve never, never have sat down and written that book about yourself, if you didn’t love people.
Ken: No, I always got along with people. Right. But I didn’t, I didn’t care about all y’all that much. I just enjoyed interacting with you. But yeah, when it come down to this, I poured it all out.
But that’s a big part of the illness too. Why medicine can’t touch much of this illness. There’s parts of you spiritually, and I don’t mean based on whatever religion you are, I mean, you being in touch with the flow of life. That kind of spiritually. You have to get right with what you’re supposed to be doing.
I don’t care if you’re an atheist or what religion you have to get right with what your plan is to be here and what your job is. Until you find it? One of the ways it’ll go wrong is you get a Kenny. You’ll get a mad man on bipolar or not even a mad man. You get someone who’s just at home, just a recluse and just deeply distressed and has no life.
And a big, big chunk of that is simply because you’re going about your life all wrong.
50:00 Min Mark
And then stepping back before that, which is what I had to do. I looked at my body like a mechanic, like I had been for so many years. I troubleshot myself.
I had learned from an old German man that was one of my first big time mechanic mentors. He was like, “it’s simple.” I was looking at, where my eyes boggled, at some kind of factory equipment. I’m like, “I got to fix that? I don’t even know what it is!”
And he said, “It’s very simple. What’s happening that shouldn’t be. And what ain’t happening that should.”
So that’s how I looked at it. And when I came across an article about this one nutritional company, I knew the company could not risk its reputation on snake oil. And then as I read it, from my years of weightlifting, and I was always good at biology and chemistry, made sense.
I’m like, “Yeah, that is how the body works. I think I got some holes in me, nutritionally.” When I first took the supplement, there was no miraculous improvement but there was relief. And there had been no relief for six years.
Jody: And what do you mean by relief?
Ken: The symptoms got weaker. They were still there. They were still very strong and I was a mess, but I detected them losing a little of their strength. Some of the steam was coming out of them.
Jody: So, the devil, became an imp.
Ken: Yeah. I still had a big problem on my hands, but he was losing his breath. The hill was getting steeper for him and I was just hanging in there and I started getting better. My family started telling me like, “You’re starting to look a little better.”
People that knew me out in the neighborhood, but didn’t know me know me. They were like, “Geez, you kind of look good these days.”
Jody: “You have rosy cheeks. You have a smile in your eyes. And your laugh is easy.”
Ken: Well, I feel good cause so much of my life is working out so well. And I have such a joy to bring my information to people. And it’s bringing other people like me into my sphere of influence, which, like I said, I don’t have all the answers. These are just the answers I’ve found and they worked, but I know there’s other answers, more answers and for different people, better answers that I just didn’t use.
And I can lead people to my new friends as well. And the biggest thing for me is if I can just do a personal thing here for 10 seconds, I think the thing that drives me now, more than anything… I got my health back. I got my finances fixed. I got the law off my back. I mean, if there was a problem to have in life, I had it and it had to be fixed beyond my mental illness.
Now everything I do is aimed at improving the quality of life for my wife Setaki and my kids Elijah, Bebe, Dyquan and Christian. And they are it. And when I got to a position where I realized I can do for them, things that nobody else can.
Jody: Or should.
Ken: It doubled up on the mission I was already on. Or “should.” Exactly.
And it gave me a sense of purpose and power and strength to get me through my fatigue and the frustration that… I’ve never felt anything like this before. Cause every day is new, which is what I want for the kind of person I am. But every day I’m faced with something I have never seen before.
And I’m working with other people who are in the same boat with me as we try to move forward. And we have to figure out answers and stuff. It’s draining. It’s a huge energy drain and it’s a lot of stress to do what I do and still maintain my good health. And I’m doing it. And every time anything gets kinda like, “Geez, I don’t feel good. I’m tired. I can’t take much more of this, as far as…” I’m not breaking down, but I’m like I got to stop.
But if there’s something that really has to be done, I think of them. And I’m like, all right, if nothing else, let me just put in five or 10 more minutes just for them. And you find the strength.They deserve it.
Jody: Now you talked about supplements a minute ago. Can you tell us what they are? Should they call you on…
Ken: Yeah, go to go to my website. There’s so many details and it’s all there. And as I said right now, if you go to my website, you’ll get a highly detailed… my program, my whole program… on a 48- page document with pictures, details on what to do, how to do it with action sheets, all the possible links I can lead you to.
And that’s not going to last, that’s going to be up there maybe another week or two, depending on how fast my webmaster gets done with what he’s doing. I give away the whole ball of wax right now for just a short more time
Jody: All right now. And that number is…
Ken: website www dot. It takes guts to be me.com
Jody: And his picture is on the front cover, but he’s not the same man I’m talking to right now.
Ken: No. And that was the point. I didn’t want to be that guy anymore. I view bipolar as a blessing. And if you’re in it, I totally understand how that’s a bunch of hogwash..
Jody: Oh yeah. I’m glad you used that word.
Ken: I’m looking right at you as I said it, my friend. It took bipolar in all its awful glory to burn the old Kenny straight down to the ground to where there was nothing left but ashes because he was not getting it done right.
The new me that exists now grew up out out of those ashes, like a Phoenix. And I would never have been capable of doing anything I do now, if I was still that old guy. He had it all wrong. And he had to go. And he didn’t go easy. Cause there was parts about me that I dug. I liked being me. There was some rough edges to me that I really got off on.
And I just, I loved a lot of different pieces of my life, not taking me to my goal or I should have been going, that I deeply wanted inside me. And at one point I had to give him up but I couldn’t.
So it took bipolar to beat him out of me. And I view it as a gift. But it’s a gift nobody should linger or dawdle about it. You should get it out of your life as quick as you possibly can.
Jody: Right. Well, I mean, as, so anything that they need in the line of a supplement, especially… When you say also, you know, your diet. Would you eliminate things from your diet that might make things worse?
Ken: Definitely. What I’m fond of sharing is: all the things that most people know they should be doing for good health? If you’re bipolar or depressed or have ADD, or schizophrenia, any of these things… you’re no longer at should. You’re at half to.
You’re no longer at “should take care of myself.” It’s “I have to take care of myself.” Anyone with a mental illness, you now have a defective machine. Anything you do to the machine to hurt its quality of operation is going to add to your mental illness.
People make the mistake… this is another problem I have with medication and that whole approach. They deal with just the mind. The mind is just a component inside a larger machine. Your body. Your body and your mind are not two separate pieces. They’re deeply intertwined.
So if you just try to deal with what’s going on in the mind without taking care of the body? A very important point.: The dopamine, I’m pretty sure it’s dopamine. I don’t always remember all these details but they can be looked up. I’m pretty sure it’s dopamine, if not serotonin The bulk of it that makes you happy, this is your happy juice that makes you naturally happy, the bulk of it is produced in your intestines.
If you’re a person that’s eaten Tums or Rolaids all the time, drinking a lot of soda, eating a lot of bad food, taking in artificial sweeteners. All those energy drinks? If you’re bipolar, depressed and drinking an energy drink, when you’re feeling depressed, you are pouring kerosene on our already large fire.
Now all of these things go in and they damage the lining of the intestines and cause the intestines to start not functioning right. Your dopamine levels go down from that. What happens? You get depressed. What happens? They give you an antidepressant. That wasn’t the problem. You have to fix the lining in your intestines. You will naturally become happy again.
But you’re never going to find that out with the traditional approach. You have to look at the whole body and you have to look at your views on life. Cause I also deal with a meditation. And I found a way to meditate for a guy like me. Think of what you’ve heard of me up to this point.
I don’t want to give a tree a hug. I don’t want to stare into a candle and experienced a great nothingness. I want some kind of scientific something, something tactical, to address my mind and meditate. I found it. And since then I do kind of dig into what’s the big nothingness, I think some pretty heavy stuff. I’m all into this stuff I first hated and avoided. It comes full circle, but it was not an effort that’s part of it.
Jody: So in other words, the only part about food that you’re mentioning is that sugars, fake sugars, and some of the other things that we fill ourselves up with, they’re not the right things to do. If we do have any notion that we might have…
Ken: Right. If your life’s not going good, for any reason, anything, start improving the parts of it you have control over.
Jody: But people don’t always know and they’re not in control, Ken. You know that right?
Ken: I mean, I’m just saying, if somebody does know that there’s a problem and… like sometimes people get this information put in front of them and they won’t act on it and they get hung up in their ways.
And they’re still waiting for that one magical pill that’s going write all the wrongs. And it’s natural. I’m not even berating people. I did it for years. As I did my system, as I got better steadily across a year, I still lived in fear that maybe what I was doing isn’t going to work. And my first thought for a whole year was, “I’ll have to go back to the doctor and get a pill.”
And then right after that is, “No pill works on you. We’ve proven that extensively, there is no pill for you.” So it put me in a very scary position to have to have faith in what I was doing. And thankfully it worked.
Jody: So basically what you were saying, a solid meal of vegetables, whatever, without an overdose on anything and especially your dessert, right? Can you have a dessert?
Ken: Yeah. Just for sanity purposes. There is the fact that once in a while, if you want a cupcake have the cupcake. Because the pain from missing it is eventually going to become so large, you’re gonna throw the whole program out the window with eating.
But one of my secrets is the meditation. It’s a service that I use. The tools? They allow you to put these things in place in your life and they make it effortless. The things you want to accomplish, you don’t have to strive to make them happen. If you’re trying to get rid of a bad habit, you don’t have to strive to make it happen.
If you stick to the meditation and read what the gentleman writes that comes with it, which is extensive, these things you want to do, and these things you want to stop, they just kind of magically come into play.
You’ll realize one day, you haven’t done something that you needed to quit a long time ago. And you won’t remember when you stopped doing it. Or some part of your life got better.
This gentleman, Bill Harris he also speaks about how to look at life. And reality is what you make of it. It’s why two people can witness an accident and have a completely different accident report report.
It is what we see, what we think we see. When you learn to look at life differently, and this has happened for me, you start to see connections. And you start to see options and you start to see resources that have always been right smack in front of you.
You just weren’t in the right frame of mind to see them. It’s like a magical door opened. And in reality, nothing changed, except how you see life. And it is fascinating when you realize it’s happening to you.
Jody: You know, who I think was bipolar. And this of course is St. Francis of Assisi. Because his prayer of serenity is just really what could be applied to being bipolar.
And he was the one that finally went out in the woods in the animals, and he became the beginning of the Franciscan order. And he, you know, he had a very strange, his father and mother could never understand him. And this was when he was growing up. And this is back, I think 16, 1700.
Ken: A lot of your bipolar folks… Or over the years, a lot of your people that were successful at something and usually creative: inventors, painters… we get all the artist types. That’s who falls into my crowd.
And then the disease has so many different faces to it and it can be mislabeled and you know, you just don’t know,
Jody: But, and you love yourself again.
Ken: I’m fantastic, Jody! A little joke for you. But yeah, I’m happy. I’m happy in my skin.
Jody: Yes! And you know, many people, quote, unquote, who are normal are not happy in their skin because whatever they have is never enough.
Ken: No. And I should also add there’s there’s still a lot of things about me I want to change. And I keep working on it. I still have problems in life. Don’t think everything… I’m talking to the audience… I didn’t magically repair. Absolutely not!
I got things that still cause me a lot of pain. And there’s things I wanna repair. But, once you got the bipolar out of the way, you can start addressing these other things from a healthy perspective, a healthy viewpoint, stable mind.
Your problems don’t all magically go away, but I’ll help you knock your bipolar right down to just about nothing. Or get it quieted down to where you can think straight. And maybe you got to take a slightly different turn than I took in a couple areas.
Maybe you got to go, you know, acupuncture or massage. You maybe have to throw in things like that. Or some other spiritual person/teacher has to help you find… But if you try some of my key components at the very least, it should knock the illness down enough to where you can get your head about you to think out…
Maybe you go from a completely different direction than I did. But I’ll give you the foundation. Or you might do my program and you’ll rock right up to where I am, because it fits you perfectly. Either way I just want to help.
Jody: All right, we have about three and a half minutes and give that again where it gets you, where to get information.
Ken: Go to www.ittakesgutstobeme.com and everything about me starts from that point.
Jody: Good morning. You’re on with Ken Jensen. Good morning.
Fitzy: Hi. I’m a long time family friend. I know the old Kenny. I think what he’s done with himself is just magnificent, magnificent. And GodSpeed to him. And Kenny, keep up the good work.
Jody: Kenny, did you hear what the person said?
Ken: Like a bad boy. I didn’t have my headphones on. I think that was a friend of my fathers.
Jody: Are you still there?
Jody: Would you please tell him again?
Fitzy: I said that I’m a long time family friend. His father was actually in the military with me for a long time. He was my boss. He was my first Sergeant. I know the old Kenny. I think what he’s done with his life is magnificent. Kenny, keep up the good work. I think you’re going to be an inspiration to a lot of people that need the help. And GodSpeed to you.
Ken: Thanks a million Fitzy. I appreciate that.
Fitzy: All right, buddy.
Ken: Fitzy knows the whole story.
Jody: Well, he obviously was. Where? You know..
Ken: He was in the army reserves with my dad. My dad was absolutely adored and revered by his men. And rightly so. My dad was a fantastic leader. And Fitzy, and all my dad’s friends that worked under him… I call them friends now, but they were under him then.. nothing but just the best batch of guys.
And they, a lot of them, they were tight family. So they know my story. That makes me very happy when someone knew me from then and can say something like that. It’s a nice validation.
Jody: Well I like to say, because I recognize certain things .The change in you. When were you here last time?
Ken: Oh, it’s been a few months.
Jody: Four or five months. And you are the same person, the same body. But your mind and who you are, are very different. And I know this relapses that do happen no matter what or how, but that happens to anybody, with without what you have. The bipolar. And, you know, you have managed to overcome. And every time I see that picture of you on the front page of your book, It Takes Guts To Be Me.
I had a person to ask me last week, “What do you mean? It takes guts?”
Ken: Yeah. I need to clarify about that somewhere. But yeah, it’s It Took Guts because I cannot believe I survived being who I was. Because…
Jody: He says that because someone was giving him the guts. And I said, I think it was his spirit.
Ken: Yeah. I, I wouldn’t quit. I wouldn’t quit. I felt lost endlessly.
Jody: Okay. All right, Kenny. Lots of love and everything gets a lot better.
Ken: I love you to pieces, Jody. Thanks for having me.
Jody: Oh, I know you spoiled me with all the wonderful stories. Be safe, be happy.
So. See what I’m saying? I was wired for sound in that interview. It is what it is. That’s where I was at then. But again, two problems from, from a list of almost a hundred and got it down to two. And other than being, you know, too amped up for certain settings, there were no more bipolar problems in my life.
Somebody might just have to tell me once in a while to calm down. That’s that’s it. No handcuffs, no drunken tirades, no fights, no psychosis, no depressions, no dissociation, no endless lists of symptoms. Just,”Hey Ken. Cool it!” Way more acceptable set of problems. So I hope you found that interesting. I hope you found it useful and I hope if you are in the fight or taking care of someone who’s in the fight, you’ll see…