Episode 9: Greg Dicharry Speaks on Finding Purpose Through Mental Illness



                                                              

After college, Greg Dicharry aka “Greggy-D” moved from Arizona to LA to pursue filmmaking whilst battling then unrecognised mental illness. He self-medicated with drugs and alcohol throughout his high school and college years in an attempt to remain functional. He managed to land decent jobs in the industry but was sleeping erratically and began to experience hallucinations commanding him to give away possessions and walk naked down the highway casually telling policemen that he was going to find the Lord. He had lost control. A short stint in jail then led to a hospital admission with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder and substance abuse disorder. 

 

The road to recovery fluctuated between periods of mania, elevation and substance use, to periods of medicated depressions and suicidality. The next 10 years were marked with stays in mental health institutions, substance detox facilities and half-way housing. In a moment of desperation, he begged God for help and was met with the response: “Help yourself!”. This sparked a mind shift leading to Greg’s effective self-discovery and maintained recovery.

 

Greg discusses his experience of being given a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, and the stigma that came with it, and how he was able to help himself by helping others. Greg does this by filmmaking - his passion - to bring himself joy, raise global awareness surrounding mental health and substance abuse, and build support for those affected by it.

 

TOPICS WE DISCUSSED AND WHERE TO FIND THEM:

  • [1:42]: Sam summarises Greg’s story and how he was introduced to the world of mental health
  • [4:23]: Greg shares his story in more detail of how he came to crisis point
  • [7:03]: A strange experience that led Greg to give all his possessions away, including the clothes on his back
  • [8:45]: The moment Greg was arrested and taken to hospital where he was diagnosed with bipolar
  • [10:10]: A manic experience that brought him to crisis point, where he learned he needed to help himself
  • [11:45]: Greg’s initial feelings when he was diagnosed with bipolar and how he came to grips with the reality
  • [14:08]: The importance of helping other people
  • [16:57]: Finding your purpose, doing things that bring you joy and stepping outside yourself to help others
  • [18:29]: Stepping out of your comfort zone to try something new
  • [19:15]: Greg’s up and down experience in the film industry while battling mental illness
  • [20:40]: How Greg’s youth program is giving young people battling with mental illness the opportunity to help other people and turning their stories around for good
  • [22:29]: The difficulties of feeling alone
  • [23:57]: How Greg utilises self care and the tools he has learned to keep moving forward 
  • [25:01]: Self care is number 1 care
  • [26:13]: The staggering numbers of suicide in the United States every day and the great need for messaging around the issue
  • [30:00]: The importance of awareness around suicide prevention
  • [31:15]: Greg talks about his vision for his film, My Ascension, to bring awareness around the issue of suicide
  • [33:10]: Research shows that young people are more likely to talk to their peers as opposed to parents or teachers
  • [35:09]: The issues behind why some of the people in the film attempted suicide
  • [37:26]: Advice to people who are struggling now and the need to seek help
  • [39:40]: The outside doesn’t necessarily reflect what’s going on inside
  • [41:30]: The huge impact that suicide has on a community
  • [43:12]: Plans in the pipeline for how to get the message out
  • [45:35]: The power of helping yourself and taking small steps toward huge change

 

RESOURCES & LINKS:

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For any questions, feedback, and interview requests, please send us an email to: podcast@livin.org

Thanks for listening to another episode of It Ain’t Weak to Speak with Sam Webb.

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