Welcome to the Join Up Dots business coaching podcast interview with Elizabeth Anderson
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Introducing Elizabeth Anderson
Todays guest on the Join Up Dots business coaching podcast interview is Elizabeth Anderson.
She is a lady with a fascinating but harrowing tale that could affect most of us during our lives.
She is a lady who has been forced to deal with an illness that is unseen, hard to diagnose for the majority of people, not least the patient, and one that can bring a family to their knees …..Mental Illness.
When our guest was a young lady at high school, she watched her mother’s dreams disintegrate around her, and unable to cope with the disappointment, her Mother picked up the bottle and descended into alcoholism, whilst she descended into her first bout with depression.
I suppose that is acceptable, and a perfectly reasonable response to seeing a love one in such distress and unable to reach out and help them as much as you would like.
However these feelings got worse and worse, until a few years later things got so bad that she couldn’t see a future and attempted suicide.
Fortunately, it didn’t work, and no matter how hard she battled to get her life back together, but attending and then dropping out of University, it was a battle that looked like she wasn’t going to win.
How The Dots Led To A Mission For Mental Health
It wasn’t until after she married her husband Wade, that her problems escalated to a point where she stopped going out, stopped eating, started throwing out the groceries, and stopped showering.
Danger seemed to lurk everywhere and strangers in the shadows seemed to pose a threat.
Her husband did everything he could to prevent potential break-ins and to ease her fears.
She says in her own words “At that time I didn’t know I was sick. It is a scary thought that I was so sick but I was completely unaware. “
Now as a speaker, author and owner of her own company bringing to the fore the subject of Mental Illness and Recovery, she is a lady on a mission.
And a mission that many fail to grasp they are in need of until hearing her powerful story first hand.
So how did she find a path that is so inspiring, from a position of total despair.
And, did she find the writing of her book Being Mentally Healthy (in spite of a mental iIlness) a challenge or a cathartic experience?
Well lets find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots, with the one and only Elizabeth Anderson.
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Elizabeth Anderson such as:
How she found escape in her life by throwing herself into the world of drama and improvisation at college, and loved the creativity of it all.
How she had a dream to get her book into one University in America, and now has the dream to change the whole world for the better.
Why she believes that she could got her desire to fight life, from her Boxing Hall of Fame Father, who taught her to keep swinging until you win.
When she loses hope she immediately goes out and searches for it, by reading books, listening to inspirational content or looking deep within herself.
How she can ses the irony that all her successes in life have come from the period since being diagnosed with schizophrenia
Products By Elizabeth Anderson
How To Connect With Elizabeth Anderson
If you want our whole collection of shows then jump over to the podcast archives here
Audio Transcription Of Elizabeth Anderson Interview
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK, David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:26]
Yes, hello, everybody, and welcome to Episode 239 of a Join Up Dots coming all the way from the UK. So wherever you are in the world and listening to this, hello, how are you hope you’re right. Let’s introduce today’s guest. She is a lady with a fascinating but harrowing tale that could affect most of us during our lives. He’s a lady who has been forced to deal with an illness that is unseen, hard to diagnose for the majority of people, not least a patient, and one that can bring a family to their knees, mental illness. When our guest was a young lady a high school she watched her mother’s dreams disintegrate around her and I’m able to cut with the disappointment. A mother picked up the bottle and descended into alcoholism while she descended into her first bout with depression. And I suppose that is acceptable and perfectly reasonable response to seeing a loved one in such distress and unable to reach out and help them as much as you would like. However, these beatings got worse and worse until a few days later, things got so bad that she couldn’t see a future and attempted suicide. Now fortunately, it didn’t work. And no matter how hard she battled to get her life back together, attending and Ben dropping out of university, it was a battle that looked like she wasn’t going to win. It wasn’t until after she married her husband, Wade, but her problems escalated to a point where she stopped going out, stopped eating, started throwing out the groceries and stop sharing dangerous seem to lurk everywhere and strangers in the shadows seem to pose a threat. Her husband did everything he could to prevent the potential break ins and ease her fears. She says in her own words. Last time I didn’t know I was sick is a scary thought that I was so sick, but I was completely unaware. Now as a speaker, author and owner of our own company bringing to the fore of a subject of mental illness and recovery. She’s a lady on a mission and a mission, but many fail to grasp they are in need of until hearing her powerful storey first hand. So how did she find a path that is so inspiring from a position of total despair? And did she find the writing of a book being mentally healthy in spite of a mental illness? A challenge or a cathartic experience? Well, let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start Join Up Dots. The one and only Elizabeth Anderson. How are you, Elizabeth?
Elizabeth Anderson [2:40]
I’m fantastic. How are you?
David Ralph [2:42]
I am very well. You weren’t testicle moment ago. Well, you you’ve been. You’ve been a little bit stressed this morning, Elizabeth.
Elizabeth Anderson [2:48]
Yeah, we had a little trouble getting on today. But we’re here now.
David Ralph [2:53]
So that’s awesome, is awesome. We can relax and we can have a good time. It was one of those things that I I mentioned so many times on the beginning of shows that technology is wonderful until it doesn’t work. And we’ve had a little bit of an issue with morning where it didn’t work at all. But as you say that that’s what brought us closer. And that means that we’ve built a connexion already.
Elizabeth Anderson [3:13]
David Ralph [3:14]
he wasn’t sure where to go with that we’re here. It’s okay. So your storey is one of those ones. That is it is a difficult storey to read about when I first connected with you and I went back in, through your backstory, there was so many areas of it that I thought, wow, this, this lady was put into a situation that really so many of us could be in, and so many of us probably have been through without being aware. Is that something that still surprises you with your knowledge of mental illness? How many people out there might be struggling with this, but are unaware of it?
Elizabeth Anderson [3:52]
Yeah, there’s lots of people. And the thing is there stigma and misinformation. So you don’t, I didn’t know anything about skin colour before I got diagnosed. And it never occurred to me that it would be a mental illness if everything felt real to me. And so when I was diagnosed, it was a complete shock. I, I wasn’t sure if even if it was true, because it just was so far as for so far off the radar. And but once I got the diagnosis, I thought I did have my family had friends that had schizophrenia, their family, and they were pretty prominent family. And I thought, well, if they have it, it can’t be that bad. I had no idea how trying it would be. And
David Ralph [4:38]
I suppose most of us, the only sort of information that we have is gain from I suppose movies and stuff, I’ll put my hand up on that, where schizophrenia is always sort of linked somehow to people doing bad things, you’ve got the good part of the personality and the bad thing. So I’m sure that is totally inaccurate. So give us an understanding of actually what bad condition is.
Elizabeth Anderson [5:04]
So it’s schizophrenia is it means split mind. And so you can’t, it’s not, but it’s not a split in personality, that’s completely different disorder.
is a biological brain disease. And your there’s too much dope mean when you have schizophrenia, and it makes up messages that aren’t even there. So, because of that, you can everything that you experience feels real, all the feelings are real. And so your mind can’t discern that it’s not real, because all the feelings are real. And there’s active and passive symptoms are positive and negative symptoms. So the negative symptoms act like depression, like apathy, lack motivation, things like that flat expression. And then there’s positive symptoms, like they’re not putting in a good sense. They’re just positive as they’re added to the personality. So there’s delusions, voices, things like that. So a delusion is a fixed false belief. And that’s where you find people having these entrenched, you know, beliefs that you can’t talk about, oh, and hallucinations can happen on all five of the senses. So touch, taste, hearing, sight, and smell. And it’s so your, your senses react to the, to the input, even though it may not be there. In reality, because I
David Ralph [6:38]
thought it was, as I said, I thought it was like split personality. So well, what what disorder, am I thinking of it?
Elizabeth Anderson [6:44]
So that is caused by ritual abuse, and that’s my understanding. And it’s a psychological of the self shatters, because of the abuse, then you actually have different personalities, and I have known a couple of people is split personality. And they’re like, their eyes can change colour, when they change personalities, or they, they, you know, they have distinct ways of dressing and things like that. So So yeah.
David Ralph [7:11]
Well, I’m not an expert. So as you can imagine, because I made that statement at the beginning, but it’s, it’s fascinating, that part of it, but obviously, your side of it is. So in in simplistic terms, it’s a chemical imbalance, your body starts making too much of a certain chemical which causes these issues to occur.
Elizabeth Anderson [7:32]
Right? So the opposite of it is Parkinson’s, Parkinson’s is lack of domain. And so think of how we view those two different illnesses very differently. There’s no shame associated with Parkinson’s, but there’s lots of shame and blame associated with schizophrenia. And it’s, it’s not necessarily right. Well, what
David Ralph [7:52]
would you say about this sort of blame? Because I don’t think I know anyone, or I’m not aware, but I know anyone, but you feel about that people that have got this condition, but these no fault of their own. They were ashamed. But they’ve got it. Why do you feel that?
Elizabeth Anderson [8:07]
Yeah, well, because of the way people treat them. Like I’ve had my best friend, after I got diagnosed. I phoned her up and I said, I’ve got schizophrenia, she hung up on me and said, Don’t call me know, I’m sure his statement, she didn’t want to deal with it. She didn’t know what it was, she didn’t want to know she, she probably believed all the media messages that you’re violent, or you’re out of sorts. And the thing is, when you’re treated like well, you are you can be dangerous when you’re untreated. But when you’re treated non medication, you’re less likely to hurt anyone else, you’re more likely to hurt yourself with anything. And it’s your, the some of the people with schizophrenia, the gentlest, sweetest people I know. So
David Ralph [8:56]
you never get over it, you’ve always got it, then you just take my medication to bring the sort of the chemical imbalance into sort of a level playing field, is it?
Elizabeth Anderson [9:08]
Right, and you can have breakthrough symptoms, like I still have breakthrough symptoms, some people live symptom free, there’s a lot of the thirds, so a third of the people have many episodes and not really get better, a third of the people will have a couple of episodes and get really a lot better. And, and one third of the people will have one episode and get better. So two thirds of the people, you know, do quite well.
David Ralph [9:34]
Well, that that’s good news in it, but you can live a normal life, because that’s what we want for everyone. But um, if we go back in time, was it something for and we are going to go back in time? Because obviously we need to put more meat on the bones of the introduction that I gave you. But was it something that you always had? Or is it brought upon? Because of the situations you find yourself in? Is it you the way that your body reacts to certain situations causes this?
Elizabeth Anderson [10:04]
Yeah, they don’t know exactly what causes it. It’s not poor parenting, like not, not anything like that. They think it may have to do with hormonal changes. There’s lots of different theories. But what can bring it on is stress, extreme stress. And my wedding was extremely stressful. And because my mom was drinking, and I had a meltdown in front of the caterer two days before the wedding, and he misunderstood that we weren’t getting married. And so we arrived to the hall and nothing had been prepared for 120 guests for dinner. And my mom was furious with me. And it was just the breaking point. For me. I just felt so ashamed that I hadn’t been able to handle the stress better. And this didn’t, you know, the caterers managed to feed everyone at the end. They’re pretty professional, but it just kind of put a wrench in the works. And
came back from my honeymoon and started being paranoid, I started filling up my thank you cards for my wedding gifts. But some of my wedding guests were missing, which may or may not be true. I think it was true. And so I found the police, then the police said move. And we moved and moved and moved. We moved three times in one year. And then paranoid. paranoia just escalated.
David Ralph [11:23]
So so that obviously was it gets to the sort of pinnacle of that. But you’ve been on a journey at that stage to get to that point of stress level. So when was your first awareness, but you were finding it difficult to cope, obviously a much younger lady.
Elizabeth Anderson [11:40]
Yeah. Are you talking about when I was a teenager? Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. So um, my normal reaction, what I’ve learned is a normal reaction for someone with an alcoholic parent is you don’t feel like you matter. And when you don’t feel like you matter, that can lead to suicidal ideation. So I had a normal reaction to an abnormal situation. And back in it was 1979, there was no medications back, then they didn’t really do anything for you, for aftercare. I would just was kind of let go from the hospital. And I thought, Well, I’m not fixed. And I thought if I’m going to be well, that has to be up to me. And that’s been coming a guiding truth in my life. I’ve always tried to do the thing that would make me well, and make decisions that would enhance my wellness.
David Ralph [12:38]
Now your mother had her own issues, as we touched on that she was sort of drinking, but she had an basically her dreams were crushed, which was a blow not just for her, but also for yourself. Can you give them a little bit more depth to that side of the storey? Because when I was reading your your background, that seemed to me me being one of your dots. That’s one of the moments in your timeline that really started the escalation of your own issues, seeing that your mom was in a state where you couldn’t reach out to her and help her.
Elizabeth Anderson [13:15]
Yeah, there was nothing I could do. She was denied a scholarship to go get her masters. And we’d spent the summer down in Boston, my head and lived outside of Boston, we’re going to Boston has a lot of universities in this state. And so we picked her up near her University over the summer, she came back to see how the money was going to be dispersed. She had the best marks, which in her mind was the only reason you’d pick someone for scholarship. And they picked a younger teacher. So she’s 53. And she just felt old.
so she gave up she she weren’t work like a good girl. But she didn’t. She drank at night. And one bottle, one glass of wine turned into two. And then she started having bottles and I was secretly secretly drinking and I was finding her like, I walk into her bedroom, and she’d put the bottle behind her. And I’d say what is that? You know, and so she, you know, she knew her and I knew that she was drinking. So I called a family meeting. And I told him what I saw. And they said, How could you say that about your mother? Because they were in denial too. And so I started to question my perception of everything. And
it was the start of my problems.
David Ralph [14:39]
So when when you are surrounded by people who are also in denial, and you’re saying, look, this is what I saw, this is what I know is happening. But the other people are saying Well, no, he quite obviously isn’t. We know your mother, we know the situation you’re in, that obviously has a lot of ramifications that will affect your self esteem. That was back to your competence. How were you getting on on your day to day life, knowing that you had this issue to come home to every day, but you still had to function as well as you could at college or university?
Elizabeth Anderson [15:14]
Yeah, so I found solace in drama. I love drama. And so that was my escape. And all through school, I took drama. And the world was as it should be, at least Well, I was in drama class. And so that kind of helped me cope.
David Ralph [15:36]
And was it like jazz hands and all big dancing? Or did you like the acting side of it? What? What part?
Elizabeth Anderson [15:44]
Yeah, the acting in the improv, I like the improv of it.
David Ralph [15:48]
That’s interesting, isn’t it? Because improvisation is very much about thinking of the full and a Top of Mind kind of thing. And a lot of it is reacting to a fantasy. He said, somebody will say something, and you’ve got to react back like it’s real. So it was interesting that later on, you had beliefs that things were real when they weren’t. And you were naturally good at doing that.
Elizabeth Anderson [16:12]
Yeah, it’s my imagination is very active. And it’s not that it’s not that schizophrenia is imagination. But it’s that I don’t know where I really want to go with this, except to say that a lot of people who have schizophrenia are creative, not everybody. But I think that a lot of people are creative. And I don’t know if that plays into it at all.
David Ralph [16:41]
But you certainly got a creativity that runs through you, haven’t you, the fact that you are able now to stand up in front of people, and we’ve storeys and inspire them. You’re an author, you’re a promoter, you’ve got a back storey, but you can you know, everyone’s got a backstory, but there’s backstory, always bad are the ones that people will want to listen to, even if they are harrowing. And there’s the back storeys that just don’t interest anyone at all. And so you have got that creativity that runs through you as that always been with you. Were you a little girl when you used to like drawing and creating storeys and things.
Elizabeth Anderson [17:18]
I did yeah, my favourite thing was to play school. I thought I wanted to be a teacher. And so I my mom brought home a desk from me, she’s a teacher, so she brought home a desk for me, I bought it from the school or something. And so I have a desk and I would invite someone over to play with me and they’d sit in a desk and I’d be the teacher. And they didn’t some people didn’t like coming over because I review what we did that day. And
they didn’t really want to work after school. So some people didn’t want to come over to my house. So after a while,
David Ralph [17:51]
what was it you just like using red pen and stuff teachers always you and, and it’s that controlling you as a kid, you fantasise being able to 10 other kids off.
Elizabeth Anderson [18:05]
Yeah, it was fun, we had my best. But the way I knew I wanted to be motivational speaker is I was in grade nine. And we had to do this class project on our grandparents, country of origin. So my, my grandparents were from Scotland. So I did this research Scotland, and I pastor shortbread, the students and, and did my spiel on on Scotland, and it was supposed to be 20 minutes, and I talked for 45.
David Ralph [18:37]
And did you enjoy when you were doing that?
Elizabeth Anderson [18:40]
I did. And I was I took over the whole class, it was awesome. And I thought I want to be like a teacher. And so what my dreams didn’t come true. I’m not a drama teacher, I’m not a not a teacher in the normal sense. But I get to teach people about schizophrenia, and get to talk to them, you know, do speeches, there’s an element of performance and what I do. So I really love that. And speaking isn’t hard for me, it’s not stressful. So
because of that, it’s fun.
David Ralph [19:14]
And when you’re standing up in front of people, and obviously, you’re doing very well for yourself and bringing a message out to the masses that needs to be told, is there is a lot of surprise in the audience. Are you preaching to people that have requested you to go? Or are you speaking to like corporate gigs, where the people are herded into the boardroom, and there’s an element of surprise about what they’re listening to?
Elizabeth Anderson [19:39]
Yeah, a lot of my my, the things that I’ve done are
medical professionals. And I’ve done a few for teachers, teachers associations.
And then schizophrenia conferences.
also talked to university students, which I really like, I do the, they’re the psychiatric nurses have me in to speak to them just before they go on their psychiatric rotation. So right before they go into the psych wards, treat patients. And I get comments back saying we’re so glad you came, because we’re afraid before and now we’re not afraid?
David Ralph [20:19]
And what would I afraid of
Elizabeth Anderson [20:22]
just the there’s a real fear associated with schizophrenia. And not knowing what the person is going to do to you or not knowing how the person is going to act. And
David Ralph [20:36]
so the nurses nurses are basically fearful for their own safety, LA.
Elizabeth Anderson [20:40]
Yeah. And it’s unnecessary. It’s unnecessary. And so they see me and they think, oh, that’s what it is. And they I’ve been told that they keep the vision of my wellness in mind when interacting with patients, so that they can keep, you know, the idea of recovery in mind when when treating with the greatest respect vo
David Ralph [21:01]
Elizabeth, I find it hard that nurses are relying on you. Surely they should be aware of this through the own organisation that they’re working for surely?
Elizabeth Anderson [21:12]
Well, the thing is, everyone comes with their own context, right. And what we’ve been told through the media is that people are scary, they’re unpredictable, and all of that. And because you have that grain of grain of belief in your mind, because that’s what you’ve seen on TV, or that’s what you’ve seen on the movies. And if something bad happens, it’s all over the news for weeks and weeks. And if you don’t know that people can recover. Like some people don’t know that you can recover from mental illness like this. And it is possible and it’s with the right support, and some a bit of luck, you can recover.
David Ralph [21:58]
To the only thing that shocks me this whole storey and it’s not just your storey this is you know, out there all the time, it was the introduction. in your own words, at the time, I didn’t know I was sick is a scary thought. But I was so sick, but I was completely unaware. What kind of statistics are there statistics back? So many percentage of people might be dealing with this, but totally unaware. Who is it just no one really knows?
Elizabeth Anderson [22:24]
Well, there’s statistics in Canada anyway. Well, 1% of the population has schizophrenia worldwide, doesn’t care about how much money you make doesn’t care what socio economic class you’re in, doesn’t matter. Any, you know, any, any reason.
So 1% of the population habit.
And with the statistics we have in Canada, is that about one out of five
Unknown Speaker [22:53]
have a mental illness.
David Ralph [22:55]
Which is a lot, isn’t it?
Elizabeth Anderson [22:57]
It is and then you consider the four people around them, the family members, we’re all affected, right? But nobody really wants to talk about it. And that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing is so that people start talking. It there’s nothing to be ashamed of you just take a pill. Why? Why is it any different than taking an aspirin for a headache, or insulin for diabetes? There’s no it should be no shame in taking medication for until unless you never talk someone out of taking their high blood pressure medication. But people are told all the time, Oh, you don’t need that medication for a mental illness. You don’t need it. And you know, it just puts people back because they wonder if they should take it. And with schizophrenia, my understanding is that you you need medication to deal with it because the medication blocks that don’t mean receptor and there’s no other way to do that, besides the science of a pill.
David Ralph [23:52]
So when your husband come along, and your husband sounds a remarkable man, he is a husband Wait, salute you just that I spent 20 minutes listening to him trying to get Skype working for you. And he was he was so calm. While I could hear there was a slight different attitude from yourself. I’ll be honest, but Wade was in the background, unplugging things and moving things around. How did you meet him? Because it’s it seemed to me there was many, many times in your storey about many men would have said enough is enough. I’m out of this. But he didn’t. He kept on supporting you all the way through.
Elizabeth Anderson [24:31]
Yeah, so I met him. It was actually kind of a bar joke, we think, because I was I just failed my university exams. And some friends of mine said some girlfriend and said, you want to come over for a drink? And I said, No, that’s the last thing I want to do. They said, Let’s go to a little pub and just have a drink. And I thought, Okay, so this guy came over to our table and said that guy over there wants to meet you and pointed a dark haired fellow across the room. And then he went over to weights table, but our hair fellows his head, those girls over there want to meet you. So wave came over. And he didn’t want to appear rude by not acknowledging us. So he sat beside me. And we were fast friends, I trust him right away. And I even told him that that night I said, I I can’t believe this, but I trust you. And he’s like, oh, nobody’s ever told me that before. And so we were really good friends from the right had a real strong connexion from the very beginning. And so he I told him that I was working on stuff and I wasn’t sure that I wanted a boyfriend. And he thought it was so cool that I was working on my problems, not just ignoring them. And he he said I knew he had baggage, I didn’t know he had a full set of luggage. And so when he when I got diagnosed he he was kind of shocked at my that with the way the medication reacted to me because I was heavily medicated I was sleeping 18 hours a day after hospital it all, and he came to me and said I’m not sure I’m cut out for this. And he said that it was the hardest thing you ever said to me. But I’m Will
David Ralph [26:09]
you romantically sort of intertwined about stage or were you still friends?
Elizabeth Anderson [26:14]
No, we were married by that. Okay. Okay. Yeah. So he got married. And two years later, I was diagnosed.
David Ralph [26:24]
And so he went through the sort of the it sounds like a nightmare wedding when the catering or when all over the shop. But yeah, so he went through all that. And he was still comfortable enough to think Hang on. This is This is bad. Because that’s that’s the worst day. I can imagine my wife would divorce me personally, if that had happened on her wedding day. How was he so calm when that was all going on around him on that day and your mother wasn’t happy and you wasn’t happy?
Elizabeth Anderson [26:52]
You know, he’s a he’s a stand up guy. And he said, you know, the wedding really doesn’t matter. What’s mattered is the world married.
David Ralph [27:01]
Elizabeth Anderson [27:04]
So it kind of set it to rest. And we had a fabulous honeymoon in in Barbados. A little Gecko came down from the coconut tree and sat on the rail washes eat our first dinner there. And there was a guy, there was a cab driver that kept was there cover over the entire time we were there. And he sounded like Nat King Cole, and he sang our wedding song as we drove along the coast. We just had a fabulous time. He called way calls, it is two weeks of happiness. Because he got back and I stood things started to unravel. And when
David Ralph [27:39]
how quickly did it start to unravel? Because obviously, we touched on the attempted suicide that was before the wedding. That was a long time before was it a long time? Yeah, right. Okay. So we kind of moved on from that. And you was already aware that you was, I suppose, quote, using the word unstable at that stage?
Elizabeth Anderson [27:58]
Yeah. And he he knew I was unstable. And he said, you think about committing suicide, are you? And I said, Yes. I was honest, though, isn’t it? How
David Ralph [28:07]
did you bring that up?
Elizabeth Anderson [28:09]
Yeah, he says he’s an artist, sky. He he faces things. So did you
David Ralph [28:17]
need that kind of character? Do you think the Wade is perfect for you? Because he’s so head on. Calm, thoughtful, and all those kind of things that I seem to have picked up? Do you think that he is the character that makes you who you are?
Elizabeth Anderson [28:33]
It definitely, definitely I’ve grown into the person I am. Because he loved me into that.
David Ralph [28:40]
He completes you, as I said, in that film, whatever film that was,
Elizabeth Anderson [28:43]
yeah, you know, it’s
you don’t know. When you’re marrying, you don’t know who you’re marrying. And I liked I taught promise way that I’d be something fabulous. I just didn’t know what. And so I think I’m filling that.
David Ralph [28:58]
Well, you all know, this is the amazing thing about Join Up Dots. But so many people find their path from horrible stuff, bits bits in their life that you wouldn’t want to go through or take your worst enemies true. But they find something magical because of it. And you feel like that now you feel like you’re making him proud on a daily basis?
Elizabeth Anderson [29:21]
Yes, definitely. And it’s better than I dreamed when I started thinking about doing this. This is it’s gone way further than I ever imagined. And it’s only been two years.
David Ralph [29:37]
Only. What What did you imagine at the beginning when when you fall? Right? Okay, I’m going to create my company, which is quite brave decision anyway. Because obviously, you’re battling with issues and starting any business is is hard at the beginning to get your name out there. So what did you imagine at that stage? At the early stage
Elizabeth Anderson [29:56]
I wanted, I wanted my book as recommended reading at one university. That’s all I wanted. And what is it now it’s recommended reading at two universities and required reading at universities. And the Betty Ford centre is putting it on their Bibliography for resources. I’ve spoken at a dozen conferences, including some medical conferences that I got invited to speak by other doctors. I got to stay where I’m an international speaker, I spoke in Chicago for the forum for behavioural science and family medicine and about a standing ovation. I was just in September, and excited what I’m doing.
David Ralph [30:41]
Did you feel like crying because I did when you said that there was a standing ovation. I can imagine there’s points in your life, where you think, Oh my God, I’ve achieved so much but emotionally that must be that must rip you to shreds when they’re standing up and cheering.
Elizabeth Anderson [30:57]
Yeah, it was really a special moment. And Wade was with me, I negotiated for him to come down with me. And so they met him as well. And, you know, God, like he got along famously with everybody as well. And it just was such an affirming thing for us as a couple. You know, they said good for you to hang in there and good for you to you know, they gave him a lot of credit for sticking around and, and being a support and, and he’s a he’s a fabulous guy. And so it’s really neat for me to share that with him.
David Ralph [31:33]
I think we all need a wade in our life. Even me, that’s what I want. I’m gonna share him with you, Elizabeth. Okay, he’s the first man to ever turn me somehow I don’t know what it is. But I feel I feel protected when Wade is around.
Elizabeth Anderson [31:50]
Yeah, I know. He’s, and so just that experience alone is been worth it.
David Ralph [32:00]
The thing is, though, isn’t it?
Elizabeth Anderson [32:02]
Yeah, it is. It’s but that’s the kind of thing that I didn’t expect when I started. And it’s turned out to be this kind of magical experience.
David Ralph [32:14]
You fighter by character. Are you somebody that and I’m gonna play a speech in a moment cuz I’m leading up to it, but he feels right to play at this moment. Are you a fighter, but we’ll we’ll just keep on battling.
Elizabeth Anderson [32:28]
You know, I I am I?
My dad’s in the Boxing Hall of Fame. Isn’t it? Yeah, in Alberta, he box for the Navy. And then he ran a boxing club for a number of years for youth to keep them off the street. And he got recognised before he died. And in he he’s in the sport Hall of Fame. So yeah, he any that I think that tenacity. And you know, my dad was in the war and, and Second World War. And he taught us to fight for what we believe in and that kind of thing, like, have that tenacity and have that bravery.
David Ralph [33:13]
That’s a key thing, isn’t it? That’s the key thing, having the bravery of going for something. And you don’t even know it’s the right thing. But you’re going for something and that so many of our listeners out there and I, I almost want to scream on a daily basis. They can do so much more than what they’re doing, or what they’re allowing themselves to do. Even if you haven’t got all the answers once you start trying stuff. As you said you wanted your book in one university. And now you’ve got it into universities, and it’s in the Betty Ford and all that kind of stuff. That’s only come about because you’ve started doing stuff.
Elizabeth Anderson [33:48]
Right? You got to take the first step. And I think then, you know, your intention is set and things around you move in that direction. You don’t have to see market lose King Jr. said you don’t have to see the whole staircase just the first step.
David Ralph [34:04]
Which is good, isn’t it? I like that kind of statement. Because it is it is true. We can all deal with one step. We can just go up one step. And then maybe what do we do now we have over got a chance of going back down or go another step. And everything that I have created previous show has just been a series of one step. And I’m kind of halfway up the stairs now I think somewhere along those lines. So I’m, I’m on on the first landing. But once you get to that landing, and you look around, you suddenly think oh, there’s another staircase where let’s keep on going up there. And I imagine all successful people must do that all these actors and these Hollywood a listers, unless they’re the luckiest person alive, which I don’t believe anyone is. They’ve all taken that first step on the staircase overnight. And I’ve kept on climbing, climbing, climbing to whatever point that they wanted to get to.
Elizabeth Anderson [34:51]
Yeah, exactly. And it’s just a matter of a little bit of, you don’t have to know all the answers, the answers will come when you enter, you’ll figure it out when you get there. You just have to go. You gotta take a risk on it.
David Ralph [35:05]
I’m gonna play the words of Hollywood a Lister. And he talks quite eloquently about taking a risk on something you love. This is Jim Carrey,
Unknown Speaker [35:14]
my father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love. Well,
David Ralph [35:42]
have you taken a chance on doing what you love? Or have you gone into something and then found that you love it?
Elizabeth Anderson [35:50]
No, you know, I, I took into I graduated from university and took a in November of 2010. And then I’d took a kind of a retreat between Christmas and New Year’s. And I thought what do I want to do with my life? I took some inspirational books went to bed and breakfast by myself some friends of mine own this bed and breakfast, and just stayed there for three days and just thought about it and and I did a strength identifying tested came back with writer researcher learner responsibility. Was the Strengths Finder. 2.0.
Yes, it was
David Ralph [36:28]
good. And proud of you again. Yes. That’s the book that we push big time on the show.
Elizabeth Anderson [36:33]
Yeah, so I did I did that strength Finder. And so I thought, well, I’m good at these things. Why don’t I do that?
David Ralph [36:42]
is simple, isn’t it? when that comes to you? I was having a conversation with a chap just before young recording with you today. And I’m looking down at my notes. And he said, we should do something that we can do simple as fat. If you can do something, then why don’t you do it?
Elizabeth Anderson [36:59]
Right, you’ll probably enjoy yourself like life is too short to be stuck in something you don’t like doing. Get your life arranged, so that you are like what your day is like. And if you have like your day, then you’re going to like your week, you’re going to like your month you’re going to like your life. You like your life, don’t you? I do. Yeah, it is a little different.
David Ralph [37:22]
And if you could go back in time, I’m going to ask an awful question. But I’m going to ask it anyway. And you could remove your the issues that you’ve had, but it wouldn’t lead you to now would you
Elizabeth Anderson [37:37]
know, it’s made me what I am today. And I’ve heard people say that, and I thought it was kind of trite. But the truth is, the problems that I’ve had has strengthened me and made me into the person I am. And I think that’s the way you develop is through struggle, and perseverance through that struggle. And everybody has problems, and everybody has a different set of problems. But I think if you put them all in the middle, you take your own back, right? So my life problems, suit me in a way. And I’ve overcome a lot. You know why schizophrenia isn’t cured. But it’s okay.
David Ralph [38:28]
Your problems suit you. That’s that’s kind of what I was actually jotting that down as the title of this show. Because you’re somebody who’s got problems. You work on your problems every day, you believe that they’ve made you better are made you who you are today. And ultimately, we’ve all got problems anyway. And some of us will claim to be victims of those problems, and others will work on those problems, and others will beat those problems. And you say they suit you, which is the perfect way of thinking about it.
Unknown Speaker [39:01]
Elizabeth Anderson [39:04]
you know, I’m not I’m sorry, this could have happened to me, but I’m not sorry, the way I’ve reacted. And the way that I’ve, you know, had the opportunity to meet different people and share their journey and give them hope. My big thing is hope you need hope to survive. And so many people live without hope. And what I do, what I do when I lose hope is I stop everything, and I get it back. I read inspirational books, I talked to people I listened to, you know, podcasts I listened to, you know, I, I make sure that I have hope I you know, believe in higher power. So I make sure that my hope is there. And I think that’s my rocket fuel to go forward.
David Ralph [39:56]
Often one of the best things that you did, obviously marrying YU was a was a genius move. So yeah, absolutely. I think that free days, when you went into bed and breakfast, and you separated yourself, that seems a common trait as well, I keep hearing this over and over again, when people are looking for their thing. They take themselves away from everything that’s going around in their life. And they book them in themselves into a room with a bit of paper. And they jot down everything that they love doing everything that I hate doing. And they just keep working on it. And it might take two or three days and three days seems to be the magic number. So many people said to me, I locked myself away for three days. And when I came out, I knew what I wanted. And you know, I suppose it’s almost goes back to the Bible and all about people always wandering off into the desert and coming back with that then latest path or whatever. And it just separates you from your issues puts you in a different place, doesn’t it?
Elizabeth Anderson [40:56]
It does. And you know, the people that I stayed with, you know, kept bringing me TE and kept bringing me hot chocolate. And you know, just for so kind to me. And I just was not sure that I should do this because he was alone during those three days. But he believes in me and he said, You know if you have to do this, you have to do this.
David Ralph [41:14]
So he went out on he went out drinking and playing Polo. Brilliant three days.
Elizabeth Anderson [41:22]
I don’t know what he did. But yeah, it’s just a gift I gave to myself.
Unknown Speaker [41:31]
Did you remember the first
David Ralph [41:32]
night when you were there, and you’re sort of lying there. And you know you obviously on your own because that is a moment when you must have thought or imagine you thought I’m taking control here. This is a firm action. I’ve got three days about two days. But this is my chance to change things did didn’t feel like that. Did it build liberating?
Elizabeth Anderson [41:53]
It really didn’t feel like that at all. It’s like, what the hell am I gonna do? I don’t know what I’m gonna do now.
David Ralph [42:01]
So why do it? Why did you do it them? What if you were unsure? And you hadn’t quite nailed in your head? Why were you separating yourself to go on your own for three days.
Elizabeth Anderson [42:14]
Because I needed a change. I was at the point where I needed a change. I’d finished university, it was a huge goal for me 25 years to get a three year degree if you count the failed attempts. It was just such a I thought what’s possible now if that’s possible, what’s possible?
David Ralph [42:35]
And what you think is possible now?
Elizabeth Anderson [42:40]
I don’t know. It’s it’s a journey. It’s an exciting thing happening every day. Somebody will say do you want to speak here? Or do you want to do this? Or I’m trying to take every opportunity and just see where it leads? And yeah, it’s it’s there. You don’t? It’s the unexpected that I love. Probably because I love the improv, right? I love the expected. I’m surprised phone caller surprise email. You know, do you want to do this?
Unknown Speaker [43:17]
And what was
David Ralph [43:18]
scares you Bo? Because when we used to listen to the Jim Carrey speech, you might as well take a chance on doing something you love. And it’s all about a chance its risk. And reason it’s chanting risky is because it’s something new. And that’s normally where the fear comes in the fear that route so many people to the spot. So when you get these new opportunities come to you Do you kind of go Yep, brilliant. I’m going to do that. Or do you kind of go oh, my God, this is this is a bit scary.
Elizabeth Anderson [43:47]
Oh, you know what? I say? Yes, yes, yes. And then 10 minutes before I’m like, What the heck did I do this for? But I do it anyway. Right? You I’m committed. And, you know, it’s, it always turns out, we always have those butterflies, I tell them to fly in formation.
David Ralph [44:04]
Perfect. And you do don’t you you always work in the house. And that’s that’s the brilliance about life, you go into every situation. And generally, you make it work or you you you make stupid decisions, but when you can make good decisions afterwards. And and I know our listeners out there, they’re in situations that they’ve created, but they don’t quite grasp but by you can take the situation on the make the decisions to come out of that situation, and move on to something better. And it may not even be right first go. But if you take another decision and another decision, ultimately you’re taking control on you and you’re moving to a better position.
Elizabeth Anderson [44:44]
Yeah, you have to, you have to do it yourself. Nobody else is going to arrange your life for you. And so you, you know, just do it for yourself, do it as a gift to yourself.
David Ralph [44:59]
God bless totally, but it is a gift.
Elizabeth Anderson [45:03]
Looking back, I can see it as a gift. When I was starting out, it’s it was it was scary. And I wasn’t sure but I had a small goal. What seemed like an insurmountable goal at the time. But it turned out to be a smaller goal of getting my book into the one university. Um, but work towards it, right? Just you don’t have to, you don’t have to know how you’re going to get there, you’ll figure that out along the way. You just have to have the end target in mind, when you’re so pick a direction and, and go.
David Ralph [45:41]
Because what I like about it, and I’m gonna play the words of Steve Jobs in a moment, cuz it really ties into the theme of the show and the the moment and where we’re at in the conversation. But I like the fact when when you start taking momentum towards a goal, when you get towards that goal, you kind of think that was a small goal. I could go bigger than this. And when you start working towards that one, and then you get near that one, and you go, Wow, I’ve built up such momentum here. I could go even bigger dream big and bigger still.
Elizabeth Anderson [46:09]
Yes, exactly. Exactly.
David Ralph [46:13]
So if I set the question to you, what’s the biggest dream you could have? What would you buy in for, you might have had this full pop into your head every now and again and go no is too big. It’s too big. But what’s the ultimate dream that you would love?
Elizabeth Anderson [46:30]
I want to change worldwide practices and mental health. in different countries, people are treated very poorly. Here jail because there’s no medication available, things like that. And I want kind of an equal playing field so that everybody has medication, and everybody has a chance to do what they love. And we you know, we complain in Canada about our medical system. It’s pretty good.
David Ralph [46:59]
When you can you’ve already put despite working all the way Yeah.
Elizabeth Anderson [47:05]
Yeah, it’s, um, no, because I want to change worldwide practices. It’s a lofty goal. I don’t know if I’ll get there. But I’m gaining the experience to to add credibility to do that.
David Ralph [47:23]
I can you do it, I was reading and I’ve been reading it for about a year and a half. To be honest, I keep dropping off and I’m reading it. But But Barack Obama’s book dreams of my father. And it’s fascinating that he just didn’t know that he was going to end up as as president, he just, it was wasn’t on his radar. And I kind of thought that to become president, you would be a little five year old walking around in a suit, doing little speeches, having that kind of presidential vibe about yourself. But he’s about 25 year old and he’s still drinking, he still smoking stuff he shouldn’t and he just hasn’t found his path. Now look what he’s doing, whether you like him or not, he’s he’s achieved a lot in his life. And the fact that you years back, he couldn’t even see where he was going. I think that’s really positive for all of us.
Elizabeth Anderson [48:12]
Yeah, you know, all my successes happened after I got diagnosed. Before that, I had all you University failed attempts, I went from job to job, I, you know, couldn’t find myself. I felt invalid. And. And then once I got diagnosed and started just working on small goals, my goals were beginning, were very humble, make my bed, do my dishes for my mom out of hospital. And then my goals got better, like, save my marriage, get a part time job, find the schizophrenia society. And then when I, I would took the bed breakfast, I thought, okay, I want a website, I want to speak for a living. And
I want my, I want to write a book.
David Ralph [49:03]
And you’ve done it. Oh,
Unknown Speaker [49:05]
David Ralph [49:07]
And so this global domination, you can do that as well, Elizabeth, Tanya,
Elizabeth Anderson [49:12]
I just, I want to have the influence, you know, so that, so that people, people are treated fairly,
David Ralph [49:21]
you’re doing this, you’re doing this, I’m going to play the words of somebody that has had also huge influence on so many of us, he’s no longer here, but his words are, and I’m gonna play these, and then we’re going to just talk about them. This is Steve Jobs.
Unknown Speaker [49:35]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards, 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future, you have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference
David Ralph [50:10]
to buy into those words.
Elizabeth Anderson [50:12]
I do. You can’t see it. You can’t see the the joining up of the dots from anything but the but having gone through it, right.
David Ralph [50:26]
I agree with it totally. Yeah,
Elizabeth Anderson [50:27]
it’s that’s how it works. You don’t you can’t see the pattern until you look back. And so
David Ralph [50:36]
create your own dot spoken, you know, can you can you make those into stepping stones,
Elizabeth Anderson [50:43]
I believe that you can
have your dream, and then take the next step and then take the next step after that. And the next step after that. And those are the dots.
David Ralph [50:56]
And what what is your big word on that because I always think it’s faith, when I listen to those words, it’s actually faith that something is going to happen. And that makes you move on. Now, this show that I’m doing now, when I started, I don’t believe you know, it’s as worthwhile as your goal in any shape or form. But it’s a goal that I wanted to achieve. And when I began, I had total faith, the word, now I’ve got total faith, it’s going to go anywhere, which is really sort of inspiring. So of his words, what was the word that sort of jumped out of you?
Unknown Speaker [51:35]
Elizabeth Anderson [51:40]
have to sorry, there’s a symptom called the OSHA, where you literally don’t have a thought in your head to think, and I just had that.
It’s, it’s the joining the joining of the dots, I think the dots are there, you have to join them up.
David Ralph [52:01]
So it’s the it’s the creative part. Again, it’s like when you’re a kid, and you have those doctor doc pictures, and you can’t see what they are. But then you start a dot one and join that. And then you have Oh, it’s a horse, and then you suddenly can see your path, you feel that it’s the actual actions that I made to join those dots up.
Elizabeth Anderson [52:21]
Yes, the the.
And it seemed between like you’ve got the steps, right, and what you do in between, to prepare and to
Unknown Speaker [52:34]
Elizabeth Anderson [52:37]
dream and act. So you you’ve got to act and take the next step, you’ve also got a dream and and believe and plan. And I think it’s both and so that there’s the dots, and then the space between the dots. And both are important.
David Ralph [52:53]
Absolutely. I agree with her. This is the end of the show, Elizabeth. And this is the part when we send you back in time to actually joined up your dots. And we’re going to send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could go back in time and speak to the younger Elizabeth, what age would you choose? And what advice would you give? Well, we’re going to find out, because I’m going to play the theme tune now. And when it fades, you’re up. This is a sermon on the mic.
Unknown Speaker [53:22]
Here we go with the best beer on the show.
Elizabeth Anderson [53:40]
Hello, Elizabeth, you’re just about to be married. I want to give you some advice. Don’t worry about success, you are a success. Just have a vague idea of what you want to do and start working toward it. Don’t worry, plan instead, but how you’re going to make it work. You can’t plan for serendipity. So believe in the power of your dreams. And if you keep taking the next step, you’ll end up where you want to be. And serendipity will show up in the most opportune times. Take the problem and see if you can see the blessing in it and save yourself. This is the fun part, the solving of the problem. Believe in your higher power. Who can take care of all the things you can’t control. Give yourself grace. We’re all human. You’re human. you’re prone to making mistakes. Forgive yourself. Don’t try to be perfect. Excellence is for sure. But not perfect. It’s too stressful. And give other people lots of grace. We’re all just trying to get what we where we think we should go. People have their own history and context. So don’t let them earn anything if they hurt you.
David Ralph [54:48]
Elizabeth, how can our audience connect with you?
Elizabeth Anderson [54:52]
So being mentally healthy.com BMH? Twitter BMH, Elizabeth, Twitter. I’m on LinkedIn. Yeah, just a cactus me. I’m,
I’m happy it is. I’m happy to connect,
David Ralph [55:08]
we will have all the links on the show notes will also have the links to your amazing book that you can get from Amazon as well, which is a fascinating read. Elizabeth, thank you so much for spending time with us today. joining up those dots. And thank you for being so honest, and so open about your life. Please come back again when you have more dots to join up. Because I do believe that by joining the dots and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures. Elizabeth Anderson, thank you so much.
Elizabeth Anderson [55:35]
Thank you, David. Ralph. Thank you for having me on the show.
David doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the brilliant self you are wants to become. So he’s put together an amazing guide for you called the eight pieces of advice that every successful entrepreneur practices, including the two that changed his life. Head over to Join Up dots.com to download this amazing guide for free and we’ll see you tomorrow on join up dots.