Voted Top 10 Mental Health Podcasts for Women in 2022!
Feb. 2, 2022

Owning your health. Shelly and Nikhil's story of what it took to save Nikhil's life, when for 2 decades he suffered from undiagnosed bipolar disorder.


Nikhil Torsekar seemed to have it all: he had a loving wife and three kids, had attended a top university and business school, and had steadily climbed the career ladder at the world’s top corporations. One day it all came crashing down: he lost his job, found himself in a bitter divorce, and had nowhere to live. Further analysis revealed that Nikhil had been suffering from undiagnosed bipolar disorder, oscillating between staggering highs and incapacitating lows for 20 years.

After receiving the diagnosis at the age of 40, he began a journey of introspection and healing, and is now an excellent husband, dedicated parent, and thriving professional. He works in marketing with his wife Shelly at GIOSTAR, Global Institute of Stem Cell Therapy and Research, and they’ve written and a book and are working with Hollywood producers to modify the memoir for film.

Today, we’ll be speaking with Nikhil about what’s helped him on his road to recovery – medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, and meditation / mindfulness. He has immersed himself in the teaching of many authorities on holistic healing, including Dr. Deepak Chopra.
-----------
Six years ago, Shelly Sood had a picture-perfect marriage, lived in an upper-class neighborhood, was married to a banking executive, and had 3 beautiful children. She was suddenly yanked from this illusion: her loving husband – who had suffered from undiagnosed bipolar disorder for decades – suddenly transformed before her eyes, filed for divorce, and became hellbent on her destruction. Her sanity, physical health, faith in humanity, pocketbook, and welfare of her children and husband eroded before her eyes.

Today, she is an author, mother of 3, wife, and an entrepreneur who launched a health care company called GIOSTAR* Chicago, and wrote a book called Untethered on her personal journey after saving her husband’s life. She discovered that the fulfillment gained from diminishing the pain of others is like nothing else. She has over 2 decades of personal experience with mental health disorders and 20 years of work experience. She holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Rochester and an MS from DePaul University.

________________________________________________________________
Thank you to our sponsors:
BetterHelp - Visit https://betterhelp.com/brightsideoflife to join the over 500,000 people talking charge of their mental health with the help of an experienced professional.

Special offer for The Bright Side of Life listeners... get 10% off your first month at https://betterhelp.com/brightsideoflife

Visit our website:  https://www.thebrightsideoflifepodcast.com/

 

Support the show (https://www.thebrightsideoflifepodcast.com/support/)

Transcript

own your own health because nobody else is going to do that for you. Yes, we need our doctors, we need our psychiatrists, we need our nurses, everybody, we need them. But if we don't own our own health, that's when we get into our problems.

Melissa Bright: 

Welcome to The Bright Side of Life, a podcast where people share their personal stories of struggles, pain and grief. But through all of that, they are still able to find the joys in life. Hello, everyone, and welcome to this week's episode of the bright side of life. I am your host Melissa bright. If you have not yet subscribed to the podcast, please be sure to do so on your favorite listening platform so you never miss an episode. And if you just love, love, love the podcast so much. And you would like to support the show, you can do so by writing a review on the website, sharing your favorite episodes on social media and with friends and family. Or lastly, you can make donations by going to the donate page on the website. Whatever you choose to do, however you choose to support the podcast, I am very grateful. And also you can do all of that stuff right on the bright side of life. podcast.com. And today we have a very, very special episode because today I not only have one person as my guest, but I have two people as my guests. And it is husband and wife. And we have Shelly SWID and Nick Hill, I always butcher the last name. Can you say it for me?

Nikhil Torsekar: 

Torsekar.

Melissa Bright: 

Thank you. So sorry about that. Today we are going to be sharing their story. And I'm just going to read their bios that they sent me. And I want to do it because it's in their words instead of me picking stuff out. So first, I'm going to read Shelley's because the amazing thing about this is we are going to be getting two different perspectives from the same stories. So Shelly says six years ago, she had the picture. perfect marriage lived in an upper class neighborhood was married to a banking executive and had three beautiful children. She was suddenly yanked from the solution. My loving husband who had suffered from undiagnosed bipolar disorder, for decades, suddenly transformed before her eyes, filed for divorce and became hell bent on her destruction, her sanity, physical health, faith in humanity, pocketbook and welfare of her children and husband eroded before her eyes. But today, she is now an author, a mother of three, and an entrepreneur who launched a health care company called geo star Chicago and wrote a book called untethered on her personal journey after saving her husband's life. And she discovered that fulfillment gained from diminishing the pain of others is like nothing else. And she has over two decades personal experience with mental health disorders in 20 years of experience. So now I'm going to read Nick Hills story. And this is his biography. Nick Hill seemed to have it all. He had a loving wife and three kids and he attended a top university in business school and had steadily climbed the career ladder at the world's top corporations. One day, it all came crashing down, he lost his job, he found himself in a bitter divorce and nowhere to live. Further analysis revealed that Nick Hill had been suffering from undiagnosed bipolar disorder escalating between staggering highs and incapacitating lows for 20 years. After receiving this diagnosis at the age of 40. He began his journey of introspection, and healing and now is an excellent husband, dedicated parent and thriving professional. He too, also works in marketing. Well, he works in marketing with his wife, Shelley, a geo star, and has written the book along with her. And now they are working on a holiday with Hollywood producers to modify the memoir for the film. So today, we are going to be talking to both of them to get their stories of taking us through everything, what happened and how ultimately, as we know, came to The Bright Side of Life. And as we know, this is not just a one stop place. This is usually a continuous line of work and healing and things like that. I know that was long intros guys. Thank you. Welcome to the show. How are you guys both doing today? I'll start with you for Shelly.

Shelly Sood: 

Thank you for having us, Melissa. I'm so excited to be here. We're dying. Yeah. Yeah. Thank you. Awesome. introduction.

Melissa Bright: 

Thank you. And how about you

Nikhil Torsekar: 

Good to have good excited to be here. Thanks for having us.

Melissa Bright: 

Yes, absolutely. So as I said earlier, I am so excited to just have both of you guys on and to hear both of your guys's perspective because, obviously, you guys were on opposite ends of the spectrum, but dealing with this same thing. So I kind of want to go back to the beginning and whoever wants to take this question of whoever wants to answer. You know how long first, you know, have you guys been married? How you met? And I wanted to ask Shelly, when you you know, first we're together. Did you ever notice anything about your husband? Hope that's not too many questions at once, but I'll let you go.

Shelly Sood: 

We met when we were age nine. And we had a ping pong tournament. Yes, I remember it so vividly. It's one of my fondest memories. And we play ping pong back and forth in front of all of our friends and family. They were watching the game so intently to see who would win. Ultimately, he won by two points, I think what was the score and kill

Nikhil Torsekar: 

634 or something 630.

Melissa Bright: 

Credible memory

Nikhil Torsekar: 

supposed to go up to 21. But it was like sudden death like every if the wind by two. So be like one and one. So

Melissa Bright: 

yeah, that is awesome. So you guys had known each other for quite a long time? And how long have you guys been married? Now? 20 years? Two years. Okay. All right. But all of this stuff, in terms of the healing journey for you, has been about six years, is that correct?

Shelly Sood: 

Yes, that is correct. And we had, you know, our own healing journeys, completely separate of one another, you know, when he was diagnosed, it was we were focused mainly on him and his recovery, and healing to just really stabilize himself. And I was there for him, nurturing him through the process, giving him emotional love and support, a lot of unconditional love that he needed. And I waited a little bit longer to start thinking about my healing journey, because there was a lot of damage done to me emotionally and mentally, you know, almost sort of like a PTSD type of syndrome. So that is something that I addressed probably a couple years ago.

Melissa Bright: 

Yeah. And that's something that we will definitely get more into. But it's so important, because when these kinds of things happened, happen, I've experienced my mom was bipolar, there does not only for the person that has the disorder, but the people involved, do have to go on their own journey and and learn about these things. So if you could Nikhyl, if you could kind of what were some of the things that you would do? Or when did you notice that maybe? Things weren't right, like, let's talk about maybe 20 years at the beginning of the marriage? What were you like, on a good day? And then, you know, what would? How would you be on a bad day?

Nikhil Torsekar: 

Yeah, so going back, you know, as I don't know, if we talked about but both Shelley and I were the children of immigrants who came to the US in the mid 70s, from India. And so I bring that up, because the cultural aspect is so important here because, as children of immigrants, it's, it's a double edged sword. Because, you know, we're fortunate in that our parents, you know, both of our parents are doctors, very successful, but there was also not much time spent with them. And the time that was spent especially well, for me, in particular, it was pretty tumultuous, because I think my mother, she never got the diagnosis, per se, but she was showing a lot of symptoms of bipolar disorder, such as, you know, able to get through the day with very little energy, you know, if you'd sleep three or four hours a night highs and lows, you know, able to turn it on on a dime, and then sort of, you know, cool between really happy and bubbly to really sort of prickly and irritable so I'm bringing that up because, for me a lot of the behaviors that are associated with bipolar disorder. They weren't just excused, they were rewarded almost because it was like, you know, being able to work 15 hours a day, and then you know, take care of the kids and then have a social life and everything. It was kind of like this Superman. Ethos like I guess you could say that was really revered in the community. And so I kind of gravitated towards that. And I learned to, you know, if there was any sort of inkling of the word stress, it was like a, you know, bad, you know, bad Nikhyl there's no such thing. I mean, my mom one time said to my children, you know, when I was growing up, we didn't have stress, you know, it's almost like this thing that just sort of like, stresses, like the iPhone, it was like a, you know, something that was invented in a lab or something. Um, so I would say that, what I would characterize it as is just, you know, it was almost like, living a life that was written, you know, I was living a script that was written by someone else, because what would happen is, for the most part, I mean, you know, mileage may vary with people who have bipolar disorder. But typically what happens this was my experience is that most of the time, I would be in a very depressive phase, you know, I would be very down in the dumps, you know, really internalizing a lot of stuff beating myself up. And then one day, it was just like, you know, the light would turn on, and I would just have a lot of energy, I would, you know, a lot of creativity, I would just be able to, I say, it's kind of like, bipolar was almost like a bipolar was almost like an elixir. Like, I would just feel like, captivated and able to, and I'd say, the, the episode that really highlights the, you know, what I went through was business school, because I went to school at the University of Chicago, just really good school, very rigorous, very competitive. And I was also working at the time, and I say, taking care of, but really, it all fell on Shelley. But, you know, we also had two very young kids at the time, you know, we had a four year old and we had a, literally like a four month old. So you sort of add all that together? And that's, that's just like a recipe for disaster. You know, I mean, for anybody, I don't care how smart you are. Um, so So yeah, I mean, at the time, it was like, you know, bipolar was like a big party, it was just like, you know, I'm able to get all this stuff done. Life of the Party. And then, of course, you know, the, the day of reckoning comes, and then you're basically incapacitated for, you know, another, like, go from like, six, six months of high or maybe a year, and then, you know, a year or more of just sort of, you know, being laid laid flat.

Melissa Bright: 

Yeah. Before, okay. Before we go any further with that, because I don't know that I ever really knew what bipolar was, even when my mom I knew was diagnosed with it. I was so young that I wasn't looking into Hey, what is this thing that my mom has, like? I, I wasn't paying attention. So I don't care who takes this question. But I guess before we go any further can we can one of you explain what bipolar is just in case, you know, any of the listeners haven't picked up on what exactly that is? And then, you know, some I know, you talked already about some of the symptoms, or, you know, warning signs. But what is bipolar disorder.

Shelly Sood: 

So Bipolar disorder is a disease where patients go from crippling lows to you for archives, and this can be in a span of one to four days, or it can last several months. In the kills case, he had a manic episode that lasted 18 months. So you just never know. And usually when somebody hits a manic episode like that, their depression is going to be 10 times worse. Not always. But that's usually the case. And signs of depression would be you know, listlessness, not being able to get out of bed sometimes disinterested in what they're doing in the normal day to day life. Difficulty with their job, you know, having bouts of freezing, panic attacks that sometimes happen as well. You're just totally incapacitated, and you're not feeling like yourself. And of course, there's also suicidal thoughts. Because with bipolar disorder, you know, it's between 25 and 60% of patients will at least attempt suicide at least once in their lives, sadly. So it's a very, very devastating disease. And then there's the other side of the spectrum where there's mania where there's euphoric highs, you feel, you know, you have grandiose, grandiosity or you're feeling high, like you're on speeding your speed talking you. You think you're the best thing, you know, since sliced bread, and you have this sort of narcissistic tendency where everybody else is kind of below you. A lot of times there's tremendous amount of irritability. So, but do you want to add anything to that?

Nikhil Torsekar: 

That That sums it up? But I think the other thing is there's two forms of it. So there's bipolar one. And then there's bipolar two. So bipolar, it's not like one is better or worse than the other. But bipolar two is it's more, I guess you could say like rapid cycling. So people, it's almost like day to day, it's like one day there. And that's, you know, there's a lot of stigma against it. So like when someone's a little unpredictable, people say, Oh, that person's bipolar or whatever, they're, you know, they're acting bipolar. But I actually suffered from bipolar one, which is basically the, the manic phase would be a lot longer, and then the depression, you know, so it's a little bit more, I guess, you could say, it's almost like extending the accordion, where it's just sure kind of stretched out. So

Melissa Bright: 

okay, whenever so you talked about these, you know, in your job in your school that you went to very high stress, you're going all the time, you're obviously a very, very high achiever. Did you ever attribute that to? Like, did you ever just chalk it up as like, this is just school and it's stressful? And that's why I'm depressed? Because I have little kids at home, and I have all this stuff I'm trying to do? Or did you question like, What? Am I bipolar? Or did you just chalk it up and write it off as something else?

Nikhil Torsekar: 

I say both really. Because as I mentioned earlier, I grew up with with my mom was constantly on the go constantly, constantly. I mean, I don't think I've ever seen her sit. And so I sort of, you know, you absorb a lot of those behaviors, whether they're spoken or not, I mean, you know, you sort of, you see, the people who brought you onto this planet, you see the way they behave. And if you're not stacking up, you, you sort of feel inferior. So there were days when, you know, when I was depressed, I would be like, gosh, you know, my dad's a psychiatrist, my mom's a pediatrician, they're, you know, active social life, what's wrong with me? Why can't you know, why can't I get my, you know, my act together? Um, and so that's the thing is that when I would, when I would, when, as I said before, like the light would go on. That's that I felt like that was the real me the real, you know, the real Nikhyl, so to speak. And I would really embrace that. And, you know, a lot of times, I don't know if this is common with people with this disorder, but you, you kind of feel like you're in a movie. And so a lot of the times, like, there were characters that I would watch, I don't know, if you watch entourage, or if you've seen the show, but you know, you know, the the show.

Melissa Bright: 

I know the show, I don't know, I've seen it. I've met Jeremy

Nikhil Torsekar: 

Nice, nice. Tell him I say hi. Yeah, but but there's, you know, there was this kind of alpha male tendency that I had, which is work hard play hard. There movies like Wolf of Wall Street, there's movies, like, boiler room, just like for some reason, I was really drawn to financial services, because it had that very type A alpha male kind of ethic, I guess you could say, and I, you know, anytime there was conflict, like, I wouldn't try to manage it, I would, I would amplify it. And I would sort of sort of like, you know, hold it up as a trophy and a sign that, you know, I'm, you know, I'm, I'm conquering the room, or you know what I mean? So, but then there were times I mean, I do recall one specific and, you know, we talked about this in the book. I do recall when we were in India once and I said to Shelly, because I read an article in The New York Times are talking about people who go through these flights of creativity, they're, you know, very entrepreneurs. I think Henry Ford was one of the examples. And then, you know, they were talking more about bipolar too, but I thought to myself, that really resonates, you know, because I was like, That's me to a tee. It's just basically like, high performer for a while, then I just fell off the wagon got back on. But, again, going back to what I was saying, a lot of it is cultural, where it was always, you know, just just suck it up. And just do you know, what, you know, your parents came here with $8 in their pockets and some, you know, spices and herbs. What do you have to what do you have to whine about just, you know, keep your head down and do your job. So, right. We know, the we know the consequence of that kind of stoicism it's it's not good for anybody.

Melissa Bright: 

Yeah. And it's not sustainable. In its eventually gonna, gonna catch up to you. So surely I want to Yeah, I want to ask you, what was it like during these times? For you, how did you picture your husband? You know, cuz I know you like he obviously was successful, but as his wife, what? How did you see him? And did you notice these these differences in him? Did he communicate this stuff with you? Is it just something that you saw, but you're like, I'm not gonna say anything, I don't want him to get upset with me what did that look like for you as his wife,

Shelly Sood: 

it was kind of a combination. I loved him throughout the years I adored him, he was like a different person with me, he was such an amazing loving husband towards me. But with the outside world, you know, he was pretty belligerent he would fight with people, I there were a lot of things going on in his world that I did see, because he was away, a lot of the times he was traveling three to five days a week. So you know, I would see him when he came home. Yes, he was exhausted and tired. But we had our moments of joy, where I would cook for him. And we would have a great time together. So I embraced that, because I was more of let's look at the positive, however, within my own internal self, when it came to this disease. And he had come to me that day that he referenced, I was in a state of denial, I was selfish. And I was looking at my own internal self, and a reflection upon me. So how could I, you know, how could I make such a big mistake? How could I miss this 15 years into our marriage, you know what I'm saying, I couldn't face that reality. So I buried it, I buried it. And it was very easy to bury, because we had two little kids at the time. And life was so busy for me, because I had to do everything in the household, I was taking care of the bills, I was cooking, I was you know, trying to keep up my career, I was taking care of the children night and day. So it was very easy to come from that perspective. Plus our parents, you know, they came from a generation where, you know, mental illness was frowned upon, it was a huge stigma. And people would worry back in India, you know, my daughter or son is not going to get married, because you know, if they have a mental illness, they're going to be shunned from society. So when you come from that kind of background, you know, and it comes to the motherland, from the Motherland to where we were living in Chicago, Illinois, tend to be raised that way. And that's our belief system. So it's more of a subconscious thought. So it's very easy for this to happen to somebody.

Nikhil Torsekar: 

Remember, I mean, the irony of it is that my father, he's retired now, but he's a, he's a licen. He's a psychiatrist. You would think like, living and breathing this stuff every day. But what I would argue is that it almost was a detriment. Because, you know, the saying is always don't bring work home. And so with a lot of psychiatrist, and I'm sure the immigrant aspect heightens that it's a lot of clinical detachment. Because you see people at the office, you see people with these mental illnesses, you never want to believe that it's, you know, existing right underneath your roof. So right. That would be interesting to see. I mean, what other, you know, what other kids of Indian psychiatrist had to go through? Maybe I'll start a Facebook group? I don't know.

Melissa Bright: 

There you go. That's right. That's a good idea. So Shelly, I want to ask you, because I know that you said that you had your own personal experiences with mental disorders, and also professionally, so what what is your background in the mental health realm?

Shelly Sood: 

So my background on the mental health realm is mainly from a personal aspect, because I had lived through everything that Nick kill was dealing with through the disorder as a caregiver as a support system. And you know, during that time, when I really realized that he had bipolar disorder, I would surround myself with the experts surround myself with psychiatrist with therapists, anybody whose brain I could pick to learn more information about this disorder. And through the years, I developed, you know, stronger coping mechanisms and how to handle it, how to handle my own, you know, trauma as well as to help him but not be, you know, pushing him into doing anything, so he had to have his own healing type of journey.

Melissa Bright: 

Sure. Okay. That makes sense. I know you guys just said this. And I want to make sure that I understand. So who first said I think I have bipolar. I think you have bipolar. I know you talked about the day of reckoning rock bottom. So can you go back to that day? And what was that rock bottom moment in that that defining moment that really changed your life? Now as we know for the better,

Nikhil Torsekar: 

yeah. So it And I, you know, one thing I'm trying to do less of Melissa is just sort of make my career my focus, I want to be there for my kids, I want to be there for Shelley because as they say, Nobody ever says on their deathbed, I wish I spent more time at the office. But at the same time, I think it's important to bring that up, because I think that really sort of, that was kind of the straw that broke the camel's back, because I was when I, you know, when I was traveling, I would, it would, the excitement of sort of being in a big city, like New York, or London or wherever, would wear off quickly. And, you know, I would really be unable to perform, I would just be sort of feeling very inferior to everybody. And I think, you know, the interesting thing was, it was it, we I just as I was going through these experiences, I felt, I felt helpless. And I, you know, I actually was talking to therapists at the time. And the challenge is just that when, you know, when I was feeling down in the dumps, a lot of times, and this is a common practice for psychiatrists is they would see the symptoms, you know, listlessness, melancholy, inability to focus, and, you know, those seem like, checking the boxes for depression. And so I would listen to what, what these people were saying is just that, you know, it's depression, maybe, you know, to get on some SSRIs, maybe just get on something that's going to, you know, sort of plug in the missing pieces and make you a happy and productive person. And so that was the problem is that I was constantly going through that cycle where it was, you know, I was being told that it was depression. And then, of course, as I alluded to earlier, it's like, you would think, being a professional, sort of seeing that switch, go on that that's something you know, that's not, that's not normal, or that I don't want to say normal, but that there's something amiss there. Um, but that's the thing. I was listening to whatever was around me and saying, Okay, I don't, you know, I don't think it's, it's depression. I mean, I'm sorry, I don't think it's bipolar. It's just, you know, I need a pep talk, or I, you know, need to need another cup of coffee. But that all changed, I think, because I, you know, with this manic episode that we alluded to earlier, you know, I moved out of the house, I was living in an apartment, we were going through a very contentious divorce proceedings, and, you know, I don't, I got really offended whenever Shelly would suggest that it was bipolar disorder. And this isn't something she just went on to, like, WebMD. And, you know, sort of got her got her doctorate from, you know, University of Google, she actually did talk to professionals in the field, including, you know, my father, including some, you know, psychiatrists, family, friends, etc, are not fan but just, you know, just really did our homework. And, as I said, the main thing was, I didn't see it as someone trying to help me, I saw it as somebody trying to control me, because it's like, think about it, you know, you're, you're doing all this creative stuff. You're, you know, my big thing at that point was networking. You know, I was constantly chatting people up at conferences, I was speaking in, you know, conventions in New York. And, you know, I felt like I was, you know, the next, the next Elon Musk or whoever, you know, the next, Steve Jobs. And, you know, here's this person trying to, you know, who doesn't have a degree doesn't have qualifications, trying to try to, you know, pull me back because I'm, you know, I'm too awesome for her. And in my awesomeness and hills, nobody. Yeah, right. Um, but then, of course, I mean, eventually, it just the evidence is incontrovertibly, you know, you just have to see what's in plain sight. I mean, you know, you have you've been, you know, you've lost like, three or four jobs in as many years. You know, you've you've alienated this many friends, you, you know, you're you don't have a place to live. You have no relationship with your family. I mean, if if you think that's somehow salvageable, and then all you need is, you know, sort of to buck up. Now that's, that's, that's not sustainable. Right.

Melissa Bright: 

Can I go ahead?

Shelly Sood: 

Yeah, no, I just wanted to kind of add to that my perspective and when my real epiphany came about MCIL, having this disorder, that when that moment happened when I basically kicked him out of the house, he had been very mean and nasty towards me, and that was kind of my breaking point. And after that happen, I pulled back and I thought about What happened between us and how our marriage was crumbling. And I had that epiphany at that moment saying to him in a letter, I will never forget this letter. But you know, I have had to handle your manic and depressive phases for so long. And it just, it came out of me, it was almost like this subconscious thought that I knew, all along, probably deep within my soul, what was happening, but I just couldn't come to terms with it until our marriage and our whole family and world fell apart. And by that moment, it was just too late. Because, you know, I begged him for 18 months or so to get treatment to get help to see a doctor, I even told him, I will go to the therapist with you. And I will, you know, be supportive and be there for you. You know, I obtained his medical records when I wasn't supposed to, I was like little Nancy Drew. Making doctor's appointments and going there and trying to get, you know, confirmation on what I thought his diagnosis was from a doctor, you know, so I go into that information, I'd give it to him say, Look what I found. He would blow me off. Tell me he's got an amazing psychiatrist who, you know, didn't help matters either. She really did a number on the situation and destroyed our whole life in that regard. Because she ignored me. She ignored my pleas for help. I had a we had a 14 month old baby at the time. Yeah. Yeah.

Nikhil Torsekar: 

Well, I think that's an important point is just in our experience that I'm sure a lot of people go through this is psychiatrists are not gods. I mean, clinicians are not gods, I think it's really important for the family to be involved. Because think about it. I mean, when a psychiatrist is seeing somebody, especially with bipolar disorder, they're only seeing like a cross section of what that person goes through day to day. I would argue it's almost impossible to make a, you know, valid diagnosis. Based on that evidence. I mean, sure, there's doctor patient confidentiality, but day to day, I mean, you really need the family's insights. And that was what our situation was so messed up was that my psychiatrist, it's almost like she was egging me on saying that you're not crazy. It's your family. That's crazy. That's the only reason you have an issue. Here's your clean bill of health.

Melissa Bright: 

Right. Wow. Yeah. Now that's sitting moment. Yeah, that that's, um, it's a very good point that you bring up, I have a psychiatrist that I actually had to crazy, crazy story. But I had a cannabis induced psychosis in April of last year, that made me suicidal. Nothing that I've ever thought of before ever. And it was the scariest moment of my life. And I went to the hospital because I was having these thoughts like uncontrolled thoughts that I never have ever had. And I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, that moment, which totally made sense after losing my mom, 1010 years prior. But the psychiatrist when I met with her, it was very, very interesting. It was a very quick 15 minute phone call. At that point, I didn't know obviously, I wanted to be medicated. But it was very interesting. Like, she just asked a couple of questions, and here's your script and be on your way, which at that point, I was thankful. But at some times, like in your situation, you need a lot more than just an SSRI or whatever, you know, and like you said, hearing from family members of what they're experiencing also. So that's, that's a really good point to make. I wanted to ask you, Nikhyl what? What did it mean to you? If this was before you knew? What did it mean to you if you had bipolar disorder, thank you to better health for being our sponsor. If you guys think you might need to see a therapist better help is amazing. They are online, you can do it from the comfort of your own home, you have the options to message them, you can do a phone call, you can do a video chat, whatever you feel comfortable with doing. They have several different types of therapists if you need couples or for marriage and family therapy, it's also available to individuals worldwide. Better help is a monthly subscription. So you're not paying per session and financial aid is available for those who qualify. So visit better help.com/bright side of life that's better help.com/bright side of life, join over 500,000 people taking charge of their mental health with the help of an experienced professional. And for your first month you're going to receive 10% off bye bye A listener have the bright side of life. So let them know that I sent you by using the link better help.com forward slash Bright Side of Life, the link will also be in the description section of this episode. Does that question make sense? You?

Nikhil Torsekar: 

Yeah, it does. It does. Okay. So. So again, and, again, I mean, being the being the child of a psychiatrist. I mean, I think, there, I sort of inherited that clinical detachment where it's just like, you know, I know better than all these other people who have these labels. So I know, I sort of know that the tricks of the trade. And so what does it what did it mean to be bipolar? What it meant was, I'll say what it means to me now, because I was thinking about this this morning, I would make the analogy to somebody who's driving around in the boonies in the sticks, and doesn't have a clue where they're going, they just know, you know, it's raining, it's dark, they're, you know, they're running low on gas. And they don't know what's going on there. They're just trying to maintain and go about their business. Think about the anxiety that causes and then all of a sudden, you have a roadmap, you have some kind of direction, on where you need to go, you're not going to get there overnight, but you you basically you have some hope. Okay. And so, at the time, I was thinking to myself, I mean, it was it was very, it produced a lot of anxiety, because it was just like, you know, why can't I just get back to, as I said, the real me, you know, the, the bipolar me. And so when I was in, in that bipolar state, I, I didn't want it to end. So that's the thing I didn't I thought basically be getting that label was like waving the white flag, and letting go of that creativity, and letting go of that, that DNA, you know, inheriting that because whatever, you know, my parents, they're not perfect people, they have issues, but at the end of the day, I mean, they're very intelligent people very creative. You know, just the the kind of stuff they've done. I mean, is in incredible, a very, you know, personable people. And I thought that was basically like neutralizing those strands of my DNA, I guess you could say. But as I said, I mean, it's, uh, you know, it takes a lot of humility, it takes a lot of awareness. And then, you know, I think once you're able to sort of, it's not surrender, it's just basically like, realizing your limitations. And I think, again, to bring the cultural aspect into it is something I wish more of my fellow South Asians would, would just sort of Shelly likes to say, Wake up and smell the cappuccino, and just just just acknowledge their acknowledge that they're human beings and have limitations.

Melissa Bright: 

Yeah, that's a very, very good description. Did you ever think that? If I accept and admit that I have bipolar that I am, I'm weak, I'm a failure, or any of those kinds of thoughts.

Nikhil Torsekar: 

Yeah. And then the other thing is, it's just because I did go to a therapist in college. And you know, one of the things I'm seeing a therapist right now who's just incredible. It's more about, you know, finding solutions, looking forward, not sweeping things under the rug. But just saying, Okay, well, this is what I'm dealing with day to day, like, how do I What are the techniques I can use? But for me, like, when I was in college, I, I got very frustrated, because it seemed like every therapist I talked to, they wanted to blame my parents for everything. And so that was sort of the that was sort of the how do I say this? That was sort of the brush that I painted therapy with all aspects of it, because I just thought it was like, Okay, let's go talk to a therapist, they're gonna say, Oh, your mommy and daddy didn't take you to a Cubs game or whatever. And that's why you're having problems and, you know, just come to me, and I'll give you the participation award and you're, you're a good person and whatever. So that's the thing is that I felt that getting that diagnosis was just basically, again, accepting defeat and saying that it was, you know, this was all brought on by my parents and sort of renouncing that accountability and renouncing that ownership of, of my of my issues.

Melissa Bright: 

Yeah. Yep. Okay, that makes that makes a lot of sense. And, you know, to kind of point this out, of course, a lot of I'm assuming Please one of you correct me if I'm wrong, bipolar does a lot of times come from childhood trauma. However, as me that has been through childhood trauma and adult trauma, we, at some point, have to take responsibility for ourselves, whether it was our parents that did the thing. When we start to become self aware, that is when our whole world can change. And we're like, Okay, I'm done. Living either this way, I'm done dealing with myself, like, I mean, I have anger issues, and everything else that I'm like, I'm sick of my own BS, like plenty of people have told me now I want to do something about it. So I'm not wanting to play the blame game for our parents. Yes, it could have came from them. But now it's our turn to take the responsibility. And that is a good point to bring up. Like, if therapists do want to at least give you the answers of like, where it came from cool. But now tell me how me as an individual, give me the tools that I need to fix this, you know that that's not an answer. Yeah. So I just wanted, I just wanted to note that, um, okay, so, at what point? I know, your book, and we're going to talk about your book later. But you one of the things that you say, Shelley, is that you saved your husband's life? If so, I want you to kind of tell me, how did your save your husband's life.

Shelly Sood: 

So as I alluded to earlier, for 18 months, I was begging him to see a doctor to see a psychiatrist to get a proper diagnosis. And I would come to him with, you know, you have XYZ symptoms, I'm so sorry, I didn't see it sooner and try to coerce him into going to see the doctor. Um, you know, 18 1718 months had passed, you know, I had started to slowly kind of let go, and realize the moment I relinquish that control was really the moment that his evolution would happen, his changes would happen, and he would just come to me naturally. And that's kind of exactly what happened. You know, it happens so quickly. And so overnight, he was willing to at that point, you know, realize that this is what has to be done kind of thing. So I'll never forget that day. What happened was that I had a conversation with the kills father, and I wanted to stage an intervention. And so I knew we needed the emotional support of the parents to really make this happen. I talked to a social worker or at work, or I talked to a therapist, and I was trying to get a whole group together to really stage this intervention. And, you know, his father, unfortunately, was so fed up at the time, and had had enough of this whole situation, he pretty much pushed back and retreated, and said, I'm not going to help, you know, it's just not worth it. You know, he, he is a great actor, Academy Award winning actor, and, you know, this was his plan kind of all along. And you're just such a sweet, beautiful person that, you know, you're willing to take this and everything. So, I was so concerned with what my father in law was saying at the time. And now obviously, I don't care about what anybody thinks. But at the time, I was trying to convince him the credibility of my marriage, and you know, that I had this beautiful loving marriage for so many years. And it was this disease that took over, it was a disease that took over his entire being, you know, I was a victim of his disorder, not his abuse. And that is the one thing that really, really kept me going. So, you know, long story short, you know, when I tried to say that intervention, his father kind of slammed the door in my face, and I was left to my own, you know, devices to be able to help him. And when I told him what had happened, he actually transpired with his father and everything that was pretty much his breaking point. At that point. He had lost his job. He, you know, had lost his apartment, he didn't have any money. He was in debt, he had nowhere to live, there was just nothing to really live for. He lost his family, his parents just completely kind of gave up on him. You know, so that was the point. And he really needed to come to that low point. And when I was living through this, I had so much anxiety because it was like a roller coaster. And I couldn't predict. It was like, I was psychic or something, but I really wasn't. I couldn't predict exactly what was gonna happen. You know, and so I would go to these doctors, this is going to happen, this is going to happen, this is going to happen. So lose his job. He's going to, you know, become suicidal. That'll happen. That all happened and it just had to take its course unfortunately. So, you know, at that point, he came to me and you know, he said, Okay, fine. Let's go. Let's get help. And in that moment, I was so conflicted, because we were in the middle of a divorce still. So I had to protect the children, I had to protect myself. So I froze, I froze, and I let him leave after making suicidal remarks to me. Because I was thinking to myself, I have to protect myself, I have to protect my babies. You know, this divorce is still proceeding. We were at the point where we were talking between lawyers for so long, we were totally detached from one another. So I closed the door, and he left, he went back to his hotel, and I panicked, I completely panicked. And I said, what, what am I doing here? How can I do this after I have begged him for months and months to go see somebody and now I'm closing the door on him. I called his apartment calm, or and I called the building, hotel guys went up to go check on him. And, you know, kill can kind of take the story from there. But that's basically where I was at. And when I, you know, was able to help them?

Melissa Bright: 

Yeah. I'm gonna take it from there.

Nikhil Torsekar: 

Yeah, walk down memory lane here. Um, I don't really, I mean, there's not really much to add there. But I mean, yeah, I did want to bring up that comment. And again, I was telling you before, I mean, this is not about blaming anyone. And I, you know, I'm sure this is a very difficult thing if my parents do hear this, but I do have to say that, you know, when you have someone who you've done nothing but be abusive to for 18 months, and you've, you know, you've made their life miserable. And, I mean, at one point, literally, like I worked with my lawyers to, you know, file a contempt of court order about something really stupid, but basically, she could have gone to jail. You have someone who's in your corner, and really helping you even though you don't deserve them. And then they try to get help from somebody who, you know, is supposed to be with you through thick and thin, who knows you who, you know, has seen you from when you were a little kid, or, you know, to what you are now, not only that, but they literally are trained in this stuff, when they, you know, toss you out like trash, and they you know, call you a sociopath and say that you have a plan. And then just not only that, I again, violating my rule here, but, you know, after Shelley had asked for help, you know, it's almost like, you know, to hear that slamming slamming of the phone. I mean, that's, that's, that's pretty messed up right there. But it's like, literally after, like, 10 minutes, you got an alert, there was a text message saying, Hey, I thought you might find this interesting. And he sent her a link to this review of this book. It's called the sociopath tech store. It was basically like, hey, remember what I was telling you about? You know, your, your husband and the father of your kids here. So I'm not the only one who thinks so here, here is this author. And I mean, I laugh about it now. But I was just like, at that moment, I mean, just think about your like, which way is up? Like, well, you know, what, what is reality? So it's just like, Yeah, at that point, you know, what I was like, you know, game over, let's, I've tried it my way. Let's, you know, let's try it Shelley's way and what do I have to lose? So

Melissa Bright: 

yeah, yeah. And that's usually like, I feel how some of the stories go is your that you're literally left with no other options, except for this one. Yeah. And you're so resistant against it, but there's nothing else like, let's just see what happens. So can you tell me? Yeah, can you tell me from there? You know, we're going to now get into like, the good part and the bright side. But, you know, did you go immediately to? How long did it take you to get diagnosed? would be one of my first questions. I'll actually ask that one and then I'll do a follow up question. Sure.

Nikhil Torsekar: 

Yeah, so you know, the way the way mental health works. Celli done all kinds of research on this. I'm just going by what you know, my experience was, but I think the issue is with the intake process, it's really hard to get an appointment with a psychiatrist, especially when you're in this critical state. And you literally, you know, time is of the essence. So we didn't, we didn't mess around, shall I basically took me to the emergency room. They, you know, they took me in. I mean, if I'm being honest, I mean, it was a very demoralizing experience. I mean, they're the I had to go to an inpatient facility and I, you know, I know people out there they hear about this, they think of like one floor or the Cuckoo's Nest, they think of, you know, really grim images. And it was nothing like that. But it was I mean, it's just you think about going from in your head, you're the master of the universe, you're, you know, speaking at conferences, you're being approached by headhunters at top firms. I mean, you think you're the center of the world? And then, you know, here you are, you know, I mean, they let you wear normal clothes, but like, you know, I was during the intake, I'm wearing like, a medical gown. And, yeah, it was, it was very tough, but, you know, they kept me there for a week. And, you know, they, you know, we would have therapy sessions. And here's the scary thing is, and actually, I don't think I think Shelley just recently I told her this, or maybe she forgot, but, um, it's exactly what I was telling you before is that they saw this person who's very despondent, who's very, you know, low energy very, just not there. And they're like, Yeah, this is depression, you know, and just think about that, like, after 18 months of mania, we're literally like, I destroyed not just my own life, but like my entire family's life. They're literally like, going to get into this, what I call the lather, rinse, repeat cycle, again, it's just, here's, here's some medication, here's an antidepressant, you know, have fun, maybe it'll be, you know, 24 months this time. But and that's what I alluded to earlier. It's just, it's so important to have the family there to provide the context and provide the color because she talked to them, and she gave them more information. And after that, they came to the conclusion, okay, they said, Okay, this, you know, we're going with the bipolar disorder route. And so we tried some mood stabilizers, still still takes on the medication, but I had to go through AECT electro convulsive therapy, you know, and it was, it was no picnic. Um, this was what I think, yeah. Now, five, five and a half years ago. And I mean, it was not just, it was not just like a snap your fingers and everything's hunky dory. I mean, it took it took a long time. But, you know, and I might be jumping the gun here with the questions, but actually, I'll let you ask your next question. Because I don't want to steal your thunder. It's, you're,

Melissa Bright: 

no, you're you're fine. Now, let me think of my question. What was I going to say? Well, I don't know. I did want to ask, depression is part of bipolar. Is that correct? Like whenever you are in that low state, so I'm just so confused on why doctors wouldn't even consider that because it that, obviously you're going to be depressed, like that is what happens when you're in the low state. But hey, did you hear about all the craziness that has also happened? Like, why are you not paying attention to that part?

Shelly Sood: 

That is so true. So the problem is that most of these patients, they're going to go see the doctor, when they're obviously depressed, they're not going to see the psychiatrist, when they're manic and they're high, you know, but when they're depressed, if they are diagnosed with depression, that is the most devastating thing that can happen to the patient and the family. The reason being, is that they're administered an antidepressant which is usually not paired with a mood stabilizer. So when you do not peer a mood stabiliser with an antidepressant, a lot of times depending on the dosage, depending on you know, the patient or whatnot, it can trigger a manic episode. So the cycle continues, the nightmare continues, which is why, you know, for a decade, people, 69% of patients are misdiagnosed, you know, so that is the biggest concern. So if I just learned actually that Nikhil got this diagnosis at the hospital literally a month ago, I had no idea. The saving grace that He indicated was that I was giving clinical history to the doctor, and I will never forget this day because I was on the phone. And I was pacing back and forth. And I knew if I screwed up, or I slipped up, or I said anything that was not consistent, you know, with a proper diagnosis, anything that was skewed a bit that made it any question in the doctor's mind, she was slapped a diagnosis of depression, and then our nightmare would have never ended.

Melissa Bright: 

Right? Oh my gosh. That's it. It's just crazy to like, hear this. And to think of like, what, what can happen and what does happen? More times than we can probably even count. So you were going to go on you said what? You continue with what You were gonna say, if you remember what you were gonna say, yeah.

Nikhil Torsekar: 

No, so what I was gonna say was, you know what I would tell people who are going through this or who have a loved one who is, you know, medication is really just one piece of the puzzle. And that's something that I really didn't. Honestly, I mean, it, it took me a while to, to acknowledge that and that's why I'm, you know, recently, I started doing more meditation. I mean, I was always I'd say, like, it's, I'm a firm believer in the whole mind body connection, and I tie soul into that, but that, you know, I don't want to be too new agey here, but it's the mind body connection, because it's just like, garbage in garbage out. I mean, if you're, you know, eating a lot of sugar, if you're sitting in front of the TV, if you're constantly scrolling on your on your iPhone, I mean, your your mind, what do you expect, you know, you're not going to be tip top. And I was always aware of that. But I would say like, especially in the last year, what I've been doing more of is meditation, like every morning, for about 15 minutes, that's just my time where I listened to some guided meditation. Whether it's on an app, like calm, or I think I'd mentioned earlier, I'm a big, big believer in Deepak Chopra. Yeah, just is, you know, is able to bring such complex topics like mindfulness to, to the to the layman, to the average Joe. And just really simple things, like being more being aware of your breath, and just how much impact that can have just taking a deep breath for four seconds holding it and then breathing out, you know? Yeah, you know, we, we've really gotten into meditation with Deepak Chopra, we actually went to his retreat. Actually, last week, Shelly interviewed the chief medical officer from from their organization, we're going to be putting that interview on our website not to be to promo he here, but I just I'm gonna put the, you know, our website, and I just want people to know that it's just like, you know, meditate, just don't don't just sort of take a such a limited view of, you know, mental health and the solutions, just saying, like, you know, I'm taking medications, I'm seeing my therapist, you know, look for other ways to manage it, because that's the flip side of it. Because medication, yes, it did save my life. But, you know, if you just keep throwing pills at things, and that's what unfortunately, what our current healthcare profession does is just, you know, let's it's called stacking, where it's just like, Okay, well, you're feeling depressed. Here's this SSRI, and then it's like, you know, you're having addiction, here's another medication or your blood pressure, Shelley had this problem, you know, your blood pressure goes up, here's something that causes all kinds of side effects. So it's like, you know, if you want to get off that merry go round of dysfunction, I guess, you know, just really just be creative. Just really look at the resources that are out there. download an app like calm or headspace. Just just really just take take it into your own hands. Don't Don't, don't rely on therapists or psychiatrist to, you know, be in control of your mental health and your your, your mental wellness, your brain health.

Shelly Sood: 

And that's the biggest thing, as we feel like, you know, we tell our patients even because we run a regenerative medicine center, to own your own health, because nobody else is going to do that for you. Yes, we need our doctors, we need our psychiatrists, we need our nurses, everybody, we need that. But if we don't own our own health, that's when we get into our

Melissa Bright: 

problems. Absolutely. And you have to advocate for yourself, just like you guys, did. You guys could have been going through this whole depression cycle again, when, you know, you put your foot down and you're like, No, this is not what's happening. And you did so much research. And it is so important. And I love because that was Michela was going to be one of my questions of you know, what, what does your daily routines look like to help with this and I totally agree with you besides just just the medication of doing you know, the mindfulness, I just bought a mindfulness journey, Journey Journal a couple days ago, and it literally has a morning one where you check in with your body, a middle of the day one and then an end of the night one, you know, and you just jot down like one or two sentences. What else was I gonna say to that but also, you know, practicing gratitude and things like that keeping a gratitude journal but Meditation I have I suck at it first of all, but I, every person I talked to you that has been through any kind of big, crazy mental health healing journey has said meditation, and I really need to do it more, because I know that it creates new pathways in your brain which I need new pathways in my brain. Yeah. So thank you for that. I do have a couple more questions for you guys. Because I do want to talk about geo star and how that even came to be and what it is. So whoever wants to answer the question on that, please.

Shelly Sood: 

Okay. So after I helped save the kills life, you know, I had my own epiphany, first and foremost, you know, no offense to kill, but I had decided, in my mind, as a woman, I was never going to be want to rely on a man in terms of income in terms of stability. You know, I wanted my own life and my own career. So I pursued what I wanted to do. The reason I wanted to healthcare and I launched to start Chicago location is because like I said, I had that epiphany after helping my husband, after nurturing him back to health. And that was the most incredible feeling that a human being can ever experience in my eyes. So I, you know, the stars aligned, whatever you want to call it, you know, the CEO of the company was put in my path, and be connected, and we hit it off. And he gave me a chance to launch a launch one of the Chicago lots of Chicago center for geo star global institute of stem cell therapy and research. And we have been around in the research realm for over 25 years. We're doing absolutely incredible mind blowing science. And we can go into that a little bit more. But, you know, some of the things are for COVID-19 clinical trials, you know, we want to go into long COVID clinical trials as well. We have, we're working on a universal blood donor program, and trying to launch that as well, which means that we'd be able to actually create red blood cells from stem cells in a laboratory and eradicate the need for any donor matching whatsoever. So these kinds of technologies are what we have been able to be exposed to. And so we're surrounding ourselves, with the CEO, with our PhDs and our scientists to really embrace this field and learn from them. And it's the most beautiful gift.

Melissa Bright: 

Yeah, that is absolutely incredible. And thank you so much for all the work you do that is in credible, I wanted to ask both of you as as yourselves. And I know, you had already given a little bit of advice, Nikhil, but if somebody has either they might think now after hearing this story, that they could potentially have Bipolar, they were just diagnosed with bipolar, or they've maybe lived with it for years. Doesn't really matter where they are in their journey. But what would be your one piece of advice that you could give them? To give them some kind of hope? If you know if they're struggling?

Nikhil Torsekar: 

Yeah, it's a, it's a tough question. Because being on the outside, it's easy for me to, you know, I always say like, play Monday morning quarterback, you know, it's always easy for me to say, well, you know, if you listen to Shelly, when she said, you know, think back here are some of the symptoms, you know, what do these seem to line up with, you know, what, you're what you're experiencing? Or, you know, look at the pattern of, you know, job loss or disruptive relationships. I mean, I guess the only the word, the word I would use is humility. And I use that word very deliberately, because bipolar disorder, I would say, the most destructive component of that is the grandiosity, its disbelief that you've cracked the code, its disbelief that you know, better than everybody else. You don't I mean, the thing is, you need to, you need, you need to just sort of shatter that looking glass mirror and that funhouse mirror that's showing you that, you know, you're, you're the master of the universe, when in fact, you know, you're, you're a you're a human being, I don't want to say you're, you know, when I think about myself, I mean, it's like I think of you know, job losses, I think of all the you know, bridges I burn and stuff so, but I would say in a general sense, you know, you're a human being so just really as Heart as it is as intoxicating as it is to be seeing yourself in this glow in this you know feeling like you have this invent you know forcefield this invincibility. Just be humble and listen to let's listen to people around you. Because if and don't don't get swayed by these fairweather friends that and these groupies, I would say that are sort of flocking to you because I mean, I don't know if you've ever seen, I'd say like, and I guess you know, if they haven't seen it go see the movie Limitless? Have you seen that movie with

Melissa Bright: 

Bradley Cooper? I've heard of it. I want to say yes, but I don't remember.

Nikhil Torsekar: 

Okay, well, I would highly recommend that because it's, it's so spot on. Because in the movie, he takes a pill and he becomes you know, he has this invincibility. And then the side effect is that you know, what goes up must come down. It's the same thing with bipolar disorder. You know, take things with a grain of salt, you know, you might have like, you know, your dance card might be full you, you might be going out on the town every night and meeting new friends and having all these new adventures. But take it with a grain of salt, because you know, that it's the people who are in your corner, those are the ones you need to listen to, not these people who, you know, you just sort of became best friends with overnight. Just, you know, take that all in perspective. And, you know, really, at the end of the day, just just remember that there's hope. I mean, don't do nothing is as black and white as it seems when you're bipolar. Because when you're depressed, when you're bipolar, and you're looking at that depressive phase, you're sort of like I always say I mentioned already gold earlier from entourage, and then there's the flip side, which is he or from Winnie the Pooh, you know, that really downtrodden donkey? That dichotomy. And that's the thing is, it's just like, everyone has ups and downs. But you know, don't don't sort of subscribe to that dichotomy, that black and white thinking of, you're either master the universe, or you're this, you know, pathetic, downtrodden donkey, you know, it's just, just be more realistic, don't you know, just, I wouldn't say don't just get rid of that funhouse mirror, don't look through, you know, looking glass be realistic in your views.

Melissa Bright: 

Yeah. And I think it is so, so important about what you said, and your story in general. I mean, I, I, this is literally the first time I've ever met you. But based on your background, and who you were in this huge banking executive, and I'm assuming an ego as big as the world because of the mania, that for you to publicly come out and to share your story, I really think is going to do a lot for a lot of people, because there are a lot of people that are still in your situation that are probably bipolar, that they need to hear from somebody that has been a big shot and been the most successful. But he had to humble himself to be to get healthy. And I think that's one of the most important parts, you know, of your story. Not saying that, you know, if you're not a business executive, that doesn't matter. It's just this takes a lot of humility for you to one even admit, in the first place to your wife, let alone coming now on you know, to the world and telling the world about it. I just think it's very admirable and courageous of you. And so I think that's very, very great advice for people. Definitely. Thank you. Yeah. Now, Shelly, I'm going to ask you, on the flip side, as a spouse and a loved one of your husband, what advice can you give to people that are dealing? I don't want to say dealing but with loved ones that have Bipolar, they might not be diagnosed yet, what would you tell them?

Shelly Sood: 

I'd say one of the biggest things is to separate the disease from the individual. So many times in society today, we become the illness, and we're unable to separate the two and when we can separate the two, we can love unconditionally, we can have that connection with that other human being and remember, that our loved one is out there, you know, he or she may not be present may be acting differently may be, you know, irritable or angry or whatever it may be. But that person that we remember and that we love for so many years will come back to us if we hold on. And one of the other things that is just so so important is that I would tell people, if you have a loved one that is suffering from whatever type of mental illness, make sure that you're involved with some of their therapy sessions. What's going on with them clinically? And everything? What, what the doctor is saying what the therapists are saying. And I'm not talking about micromanaging and being invasive, but look at it as a physical illness, you know, the when we have a loved one who is suffering from cancer, are we going to their oncologist we chances are, we probably are, and we're involved with their healing with their treatment. So we need to look at mental illness in the same light, and show that love and support because the biggest mistake I made is that I was so uninvolved that by the time that you know, it came to, you know, dealing with illness, it was too late. And I didn't have that connection with his high interest or his therapist, I had no, you know, legal access to them. So I would definitely say make sure you get that legal access, and with your loved one support to be able to talk to those people that are going to shape and help, you know, treat your loved one.

Melissa Bright: 

I love that such great advice. I do want to ask a follow up question. And this is probably a loaded question. How can you separate your loved one from the disease? Like, what does that look like on a day to day? basis? How did you I guess is the best way I can ask that.

Shelly Sood: 

So you know, what we've tried to do is, and this may sound kind of silly, but this is what something that an art therapist told us is to kind of have this alter ego, you know, just kind of different names for when that situation occurs. So my husband's my husband's name in the book is j. So for example, you know, if j is acting in a certain way, you know, I can equate that to the old ham kind of thing. You know that that is something that they would do what is not necessarily something that minor kill would do at this present time. And so that helps me separate the two as two different people, two different energies. And when you do that, you have more empathy, and you have more understanding, it sounds really silly, but it really works for me.

Melissa Bright: 

That's great that seriously is that's why I'm like, I want to give somebody like these people, listeners a tangible thing that like, what does that look like? Because lady, I'm not being able to do that. Right. What would you say I love?

Nikhil Torsekar: 

I don't know. I mean, I think I'm sort of looking at it from a different angle. I mean, yeah, and I guess, same thing, I guess, with? I don't really know, I don't I don't really think you said sort of, well, just sort of separate and I mean, I guess for me, I have a lot of I have a regret, because I'm just like, you know, I really wish there was a way I could have helped my mother, you know, who, because of shame, because of stigma, you know, chooses to sort of be stuck in this Merry Go Round of, you know, denial and sort of just seeing this problem, as, you know, not seeing it as a problem seeing it as like some kind of thing that doesn't need to be fixed that needs to be encouraged. So, right, maybe, you know, there maybe one day maybe we'll we'll figure out a way but as of now, I would say it's it's it. It does saddened me a little bit. I wish we could help help her.

Melissa Bright: 

Right. Yeah, that's, that's understandable. But like you said, maybe one day, you know, and you could be that that model that she sees and sees you living this fulfilled life, but not working 18 hours a day and then coming home, so you never know.

Nikhil Torsekar: 

Yeah, yeah. And that's Yeah. And that's part of the other thing is just with this book, and you know, the movie and everything. I don't know if we had touched on it, but

Melissa Bright: 

yeah, we're gonna tell me about it. We didn't

Nikhil Torsekar: 

even we, we didn't even think about it. But you know, as we were, you know, as we were talking about this, we're thinking not just for bipolar people with bipolar disorder, but people in our demographic because there is such a stigma against mental health in the South Asian community, because, you know, going back to that, you know, that that sort of grit, grit grin and bear it type of mentality, just keep your keep your nose to the grindstone. You know, just just power through it. You have everything you want, you know, we had it so much rougher. And it's interesting because, as, as we're talking, I came across this amazing article in Psychology Today. It's so interesting, because it was actually written by someone that I went to undergrad with, and I hadn't, I mean, I, we you know, it's one of those things. Indians, everyone knows everyone. So I mean, we weren't friends per se, but you know, we, we knew of anyways. But bottom line is the fact that this article came out, as we're working on this book, it just sort of opened my eyes to this thing like, Hey, why are we, you know, why don't we really use this to mobilize change in our community? So we're in the early phases of that, in fact, I'm going to be talking to her later this week on a podcast similar to this. But yeah, I mean, I really want people to sort of see this book and, you know, all all a, you know, all cultures, all demographics, but, you know, I really think there needs to be there needs to be a light shone on this disorder in our community, just because there are so many people who are suffering in silence. And so, you know, well, let's, we have our fingers crossed that we can we can be part of that change. It's the there's that Gandhi quote, be the change, you want to see. And so that's kind of where we're at. I hate using quotes, because I think they're cheap. Oh, I didn't even see your shirt. Okay. Perfect. There you go. Synergy. Yeah.

Melissa Bright: 

Exactly, exactly. Okay, so the book is called untethered. Right? Yeah. Okay, and it's this story, right? This story? Have you saving your husband's life? Is there anything else you like? When does it come out? Do you have a set date yet? Or when it comes out?

Shelly Sood: 

Not yet, roughly six to 12 months? Okay,

Melissa Bright: 

perfect. Well, when it does come out, I can absolutely add it back in the show notes of this episode. So when people go to listen to it, it'll be there and people can buy the book. Um, do you guys have anything else you want to add? Before? My last question, it can be about anything that you, you want to say if there's anything that we haven't covered, that you wanted to make sure that you said on here, now is the opportunity.

Shelly Sood: 

So So I think you know, a lot of times the media portrays mental illness in you know, such a negative light, it's from one extreme to the other, it's usually a very sad story, or, you know, there's a lot of violence, bipolar people, they claim have a, you know, tend to be more violent, which is not necessarily the case. So with our, with our movie, and with our book, and us talking about this illness, I want people to understand that there is a tremendous amount of hope to come full circle. And that when I say full circle, I mean, not just as a couple, and we rebuilt our marriage, we rebuilt our family or children are doing well, but as individuals. And so this is a beautiful story of how we were able to do that, and literally untether ourselves, you know, I broke myself down to my core being and, you know, trying to heal that inner child use meditation as an outlet. And, you know, got away from those panic attacks that I was having after we got back together, you know, so I came full circle myself, and changed my whole being. So there was a lot of humility from my end as well. So you know, Nikhil has his own separate story of, you know, triumph, triumph over tragedy. So I want people to really remember that there is hope. And you can both do it as well. Other people can do it.

Melissa Bright: 

I love that. I love that. Do you have any last words? MCIL? Before I asked my question,

Nikhil Torsekar: 

I don't I don't really think so. I mean, I think I think we've covered everything that that was kind of racing. That was kind of racing through my brain. I mean, yeah, I don't think I don't think I do. I just I'm really, really hopeful. And, you know, I appreciate the, you know, affirmations that you gave me for, you know, sharing my story, and I will say it has not been easy. I will say because. And that's that's something that it's been a journey, because initially this book when Shelley wrote it, it was it was going to be just her story because she started writing it when we were apart. And it sort of was this outgrowth of, sort of like a laundry list. It was like a timeline of all the, you know, all of our marriage just basically like, Okay, well, he was acting like this at this time. And, you know, this is how the kids reacted and it was more just kind of like a it was almost like information for the for the attorneys. And then obviously, when we reconciled, she had all this data. I think it was like 600 pages of text messages. No joke. I mean, it was we probably destroyed a rainforest in Brazil. Text messages. You know, it's been really difficult for me, Melissa, because it's just like, there is still that pressure. And I know that, you know, I know that there's this, it's almost like mental health chic type thing. Where there is, it tends to, there is like, a lot of corporations are talking about wellness and this and that, but they're not really like practicing what they preach, because they'll put out these feel good messages, I don't want to name specific companies shut. You know, I've worked at these companies, and I know that I know what the reality is. So because there's still that temptation to sort of, have this selfie ready lifestyle, where it's just, you know, on Instagram, you know, you have the best life and you know, you just have this amazing vacation. And then there's the extreme where it's just like, you know, you're baring all your scars, and, you know, you're going to get another book, or whatever. So it's just like, it's hard for me to try to find that middle ground. And that's why like, we're in the initial phases of this, of this journey. And I really appreciate you having us on. And, like I said, I mean, I'm just hoping that just by being real, being authentic, we can, you know, we can help people who don't have to go through what we went through, and they can, you know, either find recovery of themselves or help a loved one who's going through something like this.

Melissa Bright: 

Yeah, and I have no doubt that that's going to happen in your story is seriously going to touch more people than you even begin to realize, because I started my like, mental health journey when I started my podcast two years ago, and the people that have reached out to me, never in a million years did I think, whatever reach out to me, and I always use as an example. I mean, I've had men in their 40s and 50s, reaching out to me telling me their mental health struggles. And as we know, that's not easy for men to do. And it's because I shared my story and my openness and my vulnerability. And, yeah, you're just going to be such a great example. And, and you're going to surprise yourself every day, and there's going to be new opportunities, and it's going to be awesome. So I know, it's definitely hard. But I know for sure it's, it's gonna be worth it. And this is just the beginning of what you guys are doing. And I just think it's gonna be amazing for you guys. Definitely. Yeah. And

Nikhil Torsekar: 

we've just been amazed by the people we're meeting, you know, present company included. Through this through this thing. I mean, Shelley kind of did this scorched earth campaign where she was reaching out to hosts and journalists and you know, really just kind of pounding the pavement. Yeah. Again, it's early days, but I'm just amazed at how it's kind of like, it's caught on like this. So wildfire, you know, and it's, it's, it's pretty invigorating, a little bit scary sometimes. But it's also very, you know, I'm sure you can relate.

Melissa Bright: 

Yeah, yes, I absolutely. Can. I absolutely can. Okay, so I don't know if you guys know this, but at the end of all of my episodes, I always ask my guests this. And yes, you guys both have to answer because I want to hear both of your individual answers. So, Nikhil, I'm going to start with you. But in your own words, can you tell me what does the bright side of life mean to you?

Nikhil Torsekar: 

Can we cue the Jeopardy music? Yeah. Right side of life,

Melissa Bright: 

huh? Now, Shelly gets to think of her answer.

Nikhil Torsekar: 

I guess I drew the short straw before the show started. What does the point that is such a hard question to answer, but I will, I will do my best.

Melissa Bright: 

If you want to take a moment you absolutely can. You know, I edit this. So even if it takes you a minute, I can edit it down to 10 seconds. Okay.

Nikhil Torsekar: 

I hate to do this, but is it okay, if Shelly goes first? Or of course you go first. She's not prepared.

Shelly Sood: 

For life, I would say in one word is abundance. And when I say abundance, I don't mean financial prosperity. I mean, a life filled with things that bring me as a human being happiness. Whether that is you know, for me, it's my family. It's my marriage. It's the ability to come back not even just survive through trauma, but thrive. It's the gratitude within my heart and my soul that we were able to come this far.

Melissa Bright: 

Yeah, I love that. I love that. It doesn't have to be one word. It can be whatever. Did God Oh man. All right.

Nikhil Torsekar: 

So I would say the word is awareness. And when I say that, I just mean that, you know, you're, it's what I alluded to earlier about humility. It's just about taking stock of who you are as a person, what your strengths or what your weaknesses are. Finding that finding that finding basically, what, what suits you and who you are. You know, it's interesting, I mentioned, you know, Deepak Chopra, earlier, there's a lot of, I don't know, if you're familiar with iron VEDA, it's, it's a, it's a type of, I want to call it medicine, but it's an approach to healthcare, where it just looks at different body types. Okay, and I'm bringing that up, because it's just like, there's no, there's no one size fits all. Product or, you know, offering for happiness, you know, some someone might have a very big house and a Tesla and have all the riches in the world and be totally miserable. Whereas the next person, you know, lives in a modest home, you know, has a decent job, but, but their content, and I'm bringing that up, because I think, for me, what this, what this whole journey taught me is his awareness of just being cognizant of, you know, of who you are, and what's in your DNA, and what's you know, what's in your whole being, and making the choices around that, to sort of align with what makes you happy, or what gets you to abundance, as Shelley mentioned, because, as I mentioned earlier, I mean, I think for me, a lot of my life was just dictated by getting to that next step of getting to that next, you know, tier and the corporate food chain, you know, going from manager to director to principal or whatever. But it, not only did it not lead me to happiness, I mean, it, it led me to misery, because I was just trying to sort of, you know, level up as they say, get to that next rung of, of what the, you know, that happiness journey is. Same thing with social relationships. I mean, I needed to have an entourage around me, I needed to have a group of friends and I needed to get like hundreds and hundreds of likes on on Facebook or Instagram. And I'm at the point now, where I'm just like, you know, career wise, I'm very happy, you know, working in this role that I am at geo star just because I believe in the science, I believe in the founders, I obviously believe in Shell, I believe in kind of what we're doing. Because, you know, 510 years ago, I mean, I was working in consulting for, for banks, working in anti money laundering, which, you know, basically just helping the bad guys stay out of the penalty pucks just basically, like, if you know, nothing against people who are in this industry, I mean, I, you know, they're there. It's it, it is a, it does serve a purpose, but I'm saying for me personally, it was just, it was a very strong, it was not aligned with, you know, what, what I'm, what, who I am as a person, so. And that all goes back to awareness. It's just about sort of understanding what makes you tick, what you can contribute. And, and as I said, just the sort of guiding your actions around that. And then the bay, the main way to encourage that is through, like I said, earlier mind, mindfulness meditation, and just, you know, just just being just listening to your body and listening to the universe.

Melissa Bright: 

Yes, that is beautiful. That is awesome. Shelly Nikhyl. Thank you guys. So so much for coming on here to share both of your guys's story, you are both doing amazing things. So thank you very, very much. Thank you. Great being here. Thank you guys for listening to this episode. Oh, my gosh, this episode was great. At least I thought it was in my eyes. I just have so much admiration for Nikhyl for coming on here to share his story publicly. As you guys heard, he said that, you know, it's still not easy. And he's right. Anybody that suffers from a mental illness or a mental disorder. It's not like you get diagnosed and you get medicine and it's just all perfect. That is not the way it works. It is constant, constant, constant work. And it probably will be for the rest of his life practicing things like meditation, and mindfulness and so on and so forth. But I just think it's incredible what him and Shelly are doing with their book and their movie. It's awesome. And you know, I they definitely gave some great things that people can learn, you know about bipolar and if they have a loved one if they themselves, I just think they grave gate. I cannot talk today gave great advice. So thank you guys again for listening. Also, you guys know, if you have not signed up for emails yet you guys should do that so you guys can be notified when an episode drops. And so you guys can get all the new freebies. And by the way, my email has changed in terms of the new the freebie that's on there when you sign up now you will get a week's worth of journal prompts on there when you guys sign up for those emails. So thank you. Thank you again for listening. And guys, as always, if you know someone that may need to hear their story, please please share it with them, because we never know if this is the one that puts hope back in their heart.

Shelly Sood and Nikhil Torsekar Profile Photo

Shelly Sood and Nikhil Torsekar

Entrepreneur/Author/Mother of 3/Mental Health Advocate

Six years ago, I had a picture-perfect marriage, lived in an upper-class neighborhood, was married to a banking executive, and had 3 beautiful children. I was suddenly yanked from this illusion: my loving husband – who had suffered from undiagnosed bipolar disorder for decades – suddenly transformed before my eyes, filed for divorce, and became hellbent on my destruction. My sanity, physical health, faith in humanity, pocketbook, and welfare of my children and husband eroded before my eyes.

Today, I am an author, mother of 3, wife, and an entrepreneur who launched a health care company called GIOSTAR* Chicago, and wrote a book called Untethered on my personal journey after saving my husband’s life. I discovered that the fulfillment gained from diminishing the pain of others is like nothing else. I have over 2 decades of personal experience with mental health disorders and 20 years of work experience. I hold a BA in Political Science from the University of Rochester and an MS from DePaul University.

Nikhil Torsekar Profile Photo

Nikhil Torsekar

Marketing

Nikhil Torsekar seemed to have it all: he had a loving wife and three kids, had attended a top university and business school, and had steadily climbed the career ladder at the world’s top corporations. One day it all came crashing down: he lost his job, found himself in a bitter divorce, and had nowhere to live. Further analysis revealed that Nikhil had been suffering from undiagnosed bipolar disorder, oscillating between staggering highs and incapacitating lows for 20 years.

After receiving the diagnosis at the age of 40, he began a journey of introspection and healing, and is now an excellent husband, dedicated parent, and thriving professional. He works in marketing with his wife Shelly at GIOSTAR, Global Institute of Stem Cell Therapy and Research, and they’ve written and a book and are working with Hollywood producers to modify the memoir for film.

Today, we’ll be speaking with Nikhil about what’s helped him on his road to recovery – medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, and meditation / mindfulness. He has immersed himself in the teaching of many authorities on holistic healing, including Dr. Deepak Chopra.