Episode 74 – Unstoppable Mental Health Advocate, and Successful Author with Randi-Lee Bowslaugh
On top of her accomplishments, as mentioned in this episode’s title, Randi-Lee Bowslaugh is also a cancer survivor. Randi began experiencing depression as a teenager due to family challenges. While she did have thoughts that could have sent her spiraling down into greater depression and worse, she began writing poetry. She credits putting down her thoughts to helping her advance. Randi-Lee went to college and has forged a quite successful life with a husband, two children, and now a grandchild.
Randi’s gay personality shines through this entire episode. You will hear from someone whose life story has presented challenges, but she crashes through everything that has been thrown at her. On top of everything else, by the way, Randi-Lee is an advanced kickboxer so don’t mess with her. Now Randi has published a number of books including that first book of poetry. She has written several nonfiction books as well as several children’s fiction books. One of her books has even been published on Audible, and Randi even tells us all how to get that done.
About the Guest:
Randi-Lee was born and raised in Ontario, Canada and from a young age, she had a passion for helping others. She attended Niagara College and graduated at the top of her class from Community and Justice Services, after completing her placement at a recovery house for alcohol and drug addictions. Post-graduation she worked at a Native Friendship Centre for two and a half years while pursuing a university education in psychology. Randi-Lee continued working in social services for another four years as an employment counselor until she left to pursue her other passions.
Randi-Lee is an author and outspoken advocate for mental health sharing her true story with honesty. From the age of 14, she struggled with depressive thoughts. There were times in her life when she wasn’t sure how she would continue. Depression continues to be a battle in her life but she is glad that she continues to live. She has spoken at events that promote wellness and compassionately shares her experiences with her own mental health. In 2021 she started a YouTube channel, Write or Die, Show, to spread awareness about various mental health issues and to end the stigma associated with mental health.
Growing up she never felt that she fit in, being the last to understand jokes and confused about many emotions that she saw on others. In 2021 she finally had answers to the questions about herself that had been nagging at her. She was diagnosed with moderate Autism.
Another of Randi-Lee’s passions is kickboxing, which she has been doing for about 10 years. She was a Canadian National Champion in kickboxing in 2015, competed at the World’s kickboxing tournament later that year, and in 2016 competed at the Pan-Am games where she received silver in her division. In 2020 she was chosen as one of the coaches for the Ontario Winter Games where she inspired and coached young athletes.
Randi is a mom to two, her youngest child has autism, and grandma to one. Randi encourages and supports her youngest child’s entrepreneurial spirit as he follows his dream of being an artist. When she can she incorporates his art into her stories.
Thoughts of a Wanderer
A Mother’s Truth
A Little Scare
Operation Deck the Halls
Diamond the Cat
Social Media Links:
Write or Die Show – YouTube
Tik Tok @writeordieshow
About the Host:
Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog.
Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children’s Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is an Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association’s 2012 Hero Dog Awards.
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Michael Hingson 00:00
Access Cast and accessiBe Initiative presents Unstoppable Mindset. The podcast where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. Hi, I’m Michael Hingson, Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe and the author of the number one New York Times bestselling book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man, his guide dog and the triumph of trust. Thanks for joining me on my podcast as we explore our own blinding fears of inclusion unacceptance and our resistance to change. We will discover the idea that no matter the situation, or the people we encounter, our own fears, and prejudices often are our strongest barriers to moving forward. The unstoppable mindset podcast is sponsored by accessiBe, that’s a c c e s s i capital B e. Visit www.accessibe.com to learn how you can make your website accessible for persons with disabilities. And to help make the internet fully inclusive by the year 2025. Glad you dropped by we’re happy to meet you and to have you here with us.
Michael Hingson 01:21
Hi there, I’m Mike Hingson. And welcome to another episode of unstoppable mindset. Randi-Lee Bowslaugh is our guest today and she is going to talk about her life and her stories. She has a lot to discuss regarding mental health and other similar things. And we in talking about mental health won’t even begin to talk about Washington because Washington DC we’re not sure how healthy any of them are down there. They’re fun to pick on. Anyway, Mark Twain did it. Will Rogers did it. So why can’t we write anyway, Randi, welcome to unstoppable mindset.
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 01:56
Thanks. I’m glad to be here.
Michael Hingson 01:58
Well, if you would, why don’t you start by telling us a little about your life kind of your your younger years and all that and we’ll go from there.
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 02:08
Alright, well, way back in 1987.
Michael Hingson 02:12
Long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 02:15
Exactly. Well, it feels like that. Right? So I’m in Canada. So it is a galaxy far, far away. Much. So I mean, as a child, as a small child, it was pretty good. Like, was it? But when I was about 14, that is when that’s when it happened. That’s when I had my first bout with depression. At the time, I didn’t know what to call it. Because I mean, I just thought that everybody felt the same way at that age, because why not? It’s normal to me. And it wasn’t until I became an adult and then looked back and went, Oh, yeah, I was depressed. Okay. So, yeah, that was my first my first time with it. High school was horrible. I skipped most days, which actually now there’s a term for that it’s not skipping. I mean, it is skipping, but it was school refusal, which I say that because school refusal isn’t just the I don’t want to go to school, because I just don’t want to go to school. School refusal is more to do with, I don’t want to go to school because there is an underlying reason. So mine was that I was depressed and knew that going to school made me more depressed. And I didn’t have really any friends there. And I just felt very out of place. And it was an awful time. So it wasn’t that I wanted to skip just to go hang out with my friends. In fact, most days, it just stayed home. So yeah, I don’t know how much more you want me to go into that early childhood time?
Michael Hingson 03:51
Well, whatever you think is necessary? Well, let me ask you this. Sort of an overarching question. Do you have? Or is there any real way to know what caused the whole issue of depression for you?
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 04:07
That is a great question, actually. So I can’t say for certain, but there was a lot of various factors going on at the time. So my mum and dad had never been together from what I can remember, I used to go to my dad’s every other weekend. And he wasn’t necessarily a bad dad, but he also wasn’t a good dad. So I didn’t really feel any real connection with him. And so around that time, I also stopped going to see him. At that point. I was only going there because my sisters lived there as well. But because we have the same dad different moms, me and my sisters, but then when my dad and their mom broke up, I had no reason to see him. So I stopped going. So that was one factor. And then the other couple bigger factors were I mean Well, puberty But my mom’s ex husband. So my mom got married after grade eight. So I would have been 13, which is just before I realized I had depression. And he turned out to be a alcoholic. And he was very verbally abusive. And you never knew when you walked in the door, you never knew if you were going to get the good version of him the sober, nice version of him. Or if you were going to get the yelling, screaming, I need to go hide in my room version. And then you layer on top of that. My brother was in and out of jail at the time he my brother was getting into more and more drugs at the time. And so my mom had to focus a lot of her attention on him on what he needed, which as a parent, I’m like, Oh, I get that. Now, as a kid. I was like, What am I am I chopped liver. Now? What’s going on here? I didn’t understand why all of a sudden, my mom who when I grew up, right, when I was a smaller child, I was very close to my mom. And I’m very close to my mom again, now as an adult. But as a teenager, I thought that I was kind of the Forgotten child, which you know, doesn’t help your mental state. And then I just didn’t feel like I fit into high school, I felt always a little bit different than everybody else. And I didn’t know why. And so all of those different layers, one on top of the other just kind of compiled into, into hating myself.
Michael Hingson 06:43
It was a spiral. It was. So what did you do about all of that? Or how do you deal with that?
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 06:50
As a teenager, I definitely had some very bad thoughts very ill conceived notions of what I should do. But I didn’t do them. What I did as a teenager, actually, is I wrote poetry. So that was my first coping strategy, it was my thing that kind of got me through being being a teenager. Without that I don’t think I would have survived. So there was that I also went to my youth group at church. And that’s the only place that I really felt worthy that I felt like I fit in that people didn’t look at me like I was a weirdo. And then animals, my pets, pets are such good therapy, things I used to when my stepdad would be yelling and screaming, and I would be hiding my room I would have, I had two cats at the time, diamond and Tigger. And so I take them and I would just go hide in my room with them. That was that was the coping at the time it worked out well. And actually, that’s what got me into writing. That’s what I turned my first book into is those poems that I wrote,
Michael Hingson 07:56
well, with diamond and tinker, what what did they do? Or how did they help you? I agree with you that pets and animals really do help us a lot in so many different ways. But for you what was what was kind of the personal connection? How did they help,
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 08:12
and they were just, they would cuddle, there were very cuddly kitties. And a purring I loved the purring and they would lay on me and I would pet thumb and just tell them all my secrets because they couldn’t tell anybody else. Nobody was listening to their mouth.
Michael Hingson 08:28
And they probably wouldn’t tell anybody else anyway.
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 08:32
Now, they probably went and so they were my little babies.
Michael Hingson 08:36
So kind of the connection is that they were there. They accepted you for who you were no matter what, which is something that we just don’t find with a lot of people. They don’t deal with difference very well.
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 08:51
It’s so true. Yes. So you,
Michael Hingson 08:55
you cuddled with them? And you got you got through it. So when did you eventually graduate from high school? How did that all work out?
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 09:02
I graduated when I was 17. Because my mom’s rule, and I was skipping classes was I needed to know where you were. So I just stayed home and you couldn’t fail anything. So I didn’t I passed very poor marks. But I passed. So I graduated then I had applied to colleges and universities. I’d gotten into them, but I just I wasn’t emotionally ready to go. At the time. I was still very much depressed, didn’t know how I would be able to go far away from home to do that. So I took a year off. I got pregnant, and I met my now husband, and he was like I’m going to college in September. If you go then I’ll drive you because we didn’t live far from each other. He was like, I’ll pick you up. I’ll drive you so Okay, cool. So I ended up going to Niagara College after taking a year off and then by the time I started at the college, my baby was Oh Just a year old because he was born at the end of October. College was awesome. College was amazing. I am definitely not in the field anymore that I went to school for. But I loved the experience of college, I was on Student Council, I got the top marks in my classes because I got to pick the classes that interested me, which was all psychology. And it was I met real people like it high school, it felt like people were all like, you tried to find yourself right? In high school, you don’t know who you are in a lot of people, I fake it. I feel like at least in my high school. But at college people were more real people were adulting, because they had two adults, I met a lot of the other people that also had kids there, because I connected with the people that had the same sort of life, as I did, right being a parent going into college. So that was amazing. My depression kind of took a backseat during that time, which was awesome. But then I did graduate twice, from two different programs actually went, I did most of my university, I was paying for that out of pocket though. So I ended up not not getting my bachelor’s degree, because by the time I came to, I only have like a semester left to whatever, um, I was like, I don’t want to work in this field anymore. So I’m gonna not pay for school anymore. It doesn’t make sense to waste all my money, stuff I stopped. But I did work as an employment counselor for almost six years between the two places that I worked. But during that time, that’s when that’s when depression decided to come back. So again, it for me, it was an accumulation of many stressors. So at that time, I mean, social services, at least in Ontario, where I live, we have a very high turnover rate for social services, because it’s a really hard job to do. You got people coming in, and you have to listen to all of their, their life troubles and things. And it wasn’t that I had an issue doing that. But compiling down onto going home and not knowing how to help my kids. So at that time, my kid was having a lot of issues at school. He was bullied a lot kindergarten through grade one. He was having a lot of meltdowns. So this is, by the time he was in grade three, I was just so drained. I didn’t know what to do. We didn’t know why he was the way he was at the time. We’re trying to find answers. And it was just, it was a lot. And so something had to give. And at that time, I took time off of work, I got a doctor’s note, I took time off of work, I went to a therapist, because I had planned I had made a plan of how I was going to drive myself off of a bridge and just not be here anymore. So that was that was good times. We did end up finding out that my child does have autism. So when once he was finally diagnosed, we were able to get him the right help. He is now doing fabulously he is now 15 He’s doing fabulously. And therapy worked well for me. Medication worked well for me and I am doing mostly fabulously. To
Michael Hingson 13:16
show you, you yourself if I recall, were diagnosed as having some autism. Is that correct?
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 13:23
Yes. So last year, I finally figured out remember how I was saying in high school, I always felt different. But like, you know, people looked at me like I was the weirdo. Turns out I have autism. And once I found that out last year, I’m like, oh my goodness, my whole life makes sense now. And I I only did it because that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to know why I always felt different. Why? When other people got a joke, I had no idea what it was, what the joke was about why other people could be in a situation and show certain emotions. And I’m like, I don’t get it. What Why are we all upset right now is doesn’t make sense. I just wanted to know why. And so when I got finally got my diagnosis last year, I’m like, everything makes sense.
Michael Hingson 14:08
How did that come about? You weren’t looking to be diagnosed as having autism. So how did that oh,
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 14:16
so I was bothering my kid in the one day and you know, parents be like father a kid. So I was doing a weird random dance to bother him. And he looked at me and he goes, Mom, if I have autism, I got it from you. And I go, maybe you did. And I started thinking about all the times when I was when people would say whatever about love, and I go oh, he’s just like his mom. It’s fine. He’s just like his mom. And I’m like, wait a minute, if he is just like his mom, maybe I do have it. And so that’s kind of when I was like, oh, you know, let’s let’s go find out.
Michael Hingson 14:54
There we are. So you you have autism you have a child with autism is that your only child
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 15:00
The only one I birthed I do have a stepdaughter and a grant BB
Michael Hingson 15:04
dare you go? Yes, so Does Grandma spoil granddaughter?
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 15:10
It’s a grandson grandson. And I spoil him so much. It’s part of it is it is so part of the roles and grandmas his favorite, so it’s fun.
Michael Hingson 15:22
Well, you gotta if you’re gonna be a grandma, you got to spoil grandkids. It’s a rule.
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 15:27
Oh, yeah. I spoil him so much. We whenever he’s over, we are non stop playing toys, always Paw Patrols, you know, God do paparazzi has only two. He loves. He loves ice cream and popsicles. Like he also likes bananas and apples too. So he has a nice combination with the junk food and the good food.
Michael Hingson 15:49
Well, cool. So when did you really start writing professionally or seriously, you You talked earlier about writing your poems into a book. And when did that get published?
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 16:01
I published that in 2017. Okay, and that kind of gave me the author itch, and I’m like, this is fine, I want to do it again. So I published my next book in 2018, I did have to take a little bit of time off, because that was around the time that my son was, for lack of a better term going crazy. And I also had been diagnosed with cancer. So that was, you know, I had some stuff to deal with at the time. But since then, since 2020, I have released a whole bunch more books, I got into kids books into some scary stuff. Because before that, it was all about the nonfiction, which I still write, I love my nonfiction. Love mental health, I have to talk about it. But sometimes it’s fun to write kids books and scary stuff.
Michael Hingson 16:51
Well, tell me a little bit about some of the discussions of mental health you’ve, you’ve put into books. Tell me about some of your fiction, if you would.
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 16:59
Sure. So, um, the biggest topic that I talk about is depression, because that is my personal experience. So in like the first book, thoughts of a wanderer that’s poetry, and I’m actually going to be revamping that and re releasing it now that I, you know, when you do something, the first time you do, it’s never as good as the 20th time you do it. So I’m gonna revamp that book. So it’s a good book, but it could be better. I’m gonna be releasing.
Michael Hingson 17:27
But now you also have a lot more understanding of why you wrote what you wrote when you were doing those
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 17:34
poems. Exactly. So I would just, I want to rerelease it, there’s kind of some new poems added to it when I get when I do release it. And it’s just going to be a nice, fresh, fresh kind of book, fresh eyes on it. And then the other one that I wrote about depression, it’s an actual book, it’s not poetry. I put poems in Excel of poems. But it’s, it’s a book and it goes through more the coping strategies that I’ve learned over the course of of my life, so that other people might be able to pick and choose some of the things that might work for them. And then at the end of that book, there’s worksheets people can use. So that correspond which with every chapter of the book, so each chapter talks about something specific. So it might be therapy, it might be writing a letter to yourself, whatever it is, here’s a corresponding worksheet that people can use so that you can actually implement things right away. And that was actually my first is my only book right now. But that was my first one I put on Audible, so people can get an audio version of that one, and I’m the one reading it. So it’s fun. What’s the title of it? embracing me. Okay. And then the other nonfiction that’s published right now, it’s called a mother’s truth. And that’s about raising my kid with autism and what it was from conception, like, it starts right when I was pregnant, up until grade six, I think it was. And we’re currently living what will become part two, because eventually I’ll release the teenage years version. And that one was co authored with my best friend, who her son is very similar. He wasn’t diagnosed with autism, but he has very similar issues. And he does have extreme anxiety. So it’s both of our stories in that book. And again, worksheets, we love worksheets. There’s some in there the things that we learned as we went to a million doctor’s appointments, what doctors are asking from us, so those worksheets are in there, so parents can already be prepared for them before the appointment. And then what I’m working on right now is another nonfiction. So this will be my fourth nonfiction coming out. And this one, this one’s very emotional. I’m not an emotional person, but this one’s about me very emotional. So last year, my brother died from a drug overdose. And so he always as much as he did have an addiction. He always still wanted to help people. And so I’m taking Get some of his story. I don’t know all of his story because I’m the little sister. But I’m taking what I do know about historian about addictions, and about coping strategies, and I’m putting it into a book right now I’m on the second draft of it. So it’s coming. And hoping that will help other families who are going through kind of something similar. And hopefully, hopefully, maybe they don’t have to go through the funeral part of it, but at least they’ll have some information ahead of time.
Michael Hingson 20:30
So I’m a little curious, how did you get one of your books? And is it the only one but how did you get your book into audible? How did all that work out? Or did you make that happen?
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 20:41
It’s actually a pretty easy process, if you’re technically savvy, so I had to get some help on that end of things. But you go through ACX is like the audible platform that you upload it all to. And so you can either find your own narrator and there are people on like, Fiverr, or like, on the ACX website, or me, I will do it too, because I love narrating. Anyways, I thought my story I’m going to I’m going to narrate my own book. And I love talking clearly. So I’ve recorded everything I went through, and I edited out all of the mistakes. And then I sent it to somebody who adjusted the sound volume on it, because it has certain standards that it has to actually meet in order to be able to be uploaded to ACX. And all of that requirements is on the ACX website. So I sent him all of those, he sent them all back to me. With the right qualities, I just put them all in and they all have to be by chapters, you can’t just put in one big long thing, if you have chapters that has to be done by chapters. And then it gets uploaded, they approve it. Or they’ll come back and say hey, whatever, whatever with my book, because there are those worksheets, you actually get a PDF copy of the worksheets, which was pretty cool as well, I didn’t even know that that was something you could get. But they emailed me back and said, Hey, after reviewing your submission, it looks like there’s worksheets in your book. Can we have them and they can actually put PDFs as an attachment when somebody buys your, your books? So that’s pretty cool.
Michael Hingson 22:18
Cool. Does it cost you to do that?
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 22:21
No, as the author, it does not cost you anything to put it up there. Now if you are getting people to narrate it for you, or do the sound quality, that’s that’s separate, right? Like you would have to pay them.
Michael Hingson 22:32
Charge. That’s not an audible charge.
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 22:34
No, from an audible standpoint, you are not charged. It’s very much like if you publish on Amazon, if you’re on the KDP publishing, if you’re if you do itself. It doesn’t cost you anything up front, they just take a percentage and then they give you your royalty as well.
Michael Hingson 22:51
Cool, because I’ve talked to a number of people who have thought about doing audiobooks. And I have suggested that they explore audible, but never knew exactly what the process was. So I appreciate you telling us that. And yeah, it took a lot of research. Well, maybe other authors who are listening will find it now more relevant to go ahead and put their books into audible.
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 23:12
Yeah, feel free to reach out to me guys. I’m here to tell you what I did.
Michael Hingson 23:17
And your contact information is going to be in the notes. And we’ll get to you give me some of that a little bit later on. But tell me about your children’s books, if you will.
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 23:25
Yeah, so I have a couple of them. My first one was called Diamond, the cat. If you recall, Diamond was my cat. And so she I had her for 19 years before she passed away and I cried and cried and cried uncontrollably. So I wanted to make a kid’s book about her and it’s for like the younger group because it’s the first pages I am a cat. I lay on a mat. So it’s all rhyming and cute little pictures. It’s all cartoon pictures of diamond. And at the very last page where it says the end, there’s a collage of all the real life pictures of diamond. You can see the real life kitty. I love her. And I always used to say a diamond is a girl’s best friend. That’s my cat was a diamond. And then I also have Wolfie. So what he is, he’s going to have multiple books. If my kid will ever finish drawing the pictures. My kid is the illustrator for the workbooks. And so the workbook that’s out right now it’s called wapis trip to the hospital. And so he is a little stuffed dog that lives in a classroom with kids and he goes home with the kid different kids every week so we can have lots of adventures. And in this adventure, he goes with one of the boys to the hospital to get his tonsils removed. And so when he helps him be very brave during it. And so it’s it’s not rhyming it’s a little bit for a little bit older than the diamond, the cat book and there wouldn’t be more of a few books. I have another movie book written, but my kid has not drawn the pictures yet. And then I also have a kid’s Christmas book, which was actually the first kid’s book that I did. I know it’s not Christmas time, but it’s called Operation Christmas. And it’s about a little girl who can’t fall asleep. And so magic has to happen. I don’t want to give the whole book away, but magic has to happen. And so Christmas can Santa can still come even though she won’t fall asleep. And that was actually based on a real life experience where Santa had to come into my basement. Because my kid will not sleep. And then I have a few I’ve started a learn to read series for early readers where they draw their own pictures for the book. So they’re very simple stories. So it’s like this is a cat. And then they would draw a cat. This is a bat and then they would draw the bat. So they get to draw along their own picture with that. The final zero Yep. Yeah, no, go ahead. I was just to see the final series that I have. I’ve gotten three social stories. And so social stories are for usually used for kids with autism, things that I wish as a parent I had, but my kid was younger. And it’s cleaning up your toys, going to the bathroom and conversations. It just teaches a very specific skill in a very in very simplistic terms and step by step.
Michael Hingson 26:28
So you have a diamond book, but you don’t have a ticker book.
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 26:32
Not yet. But I will. Sure already said that.
Michael Hingson 26:39
We don’t want to leave Tigger out.
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 26:41
No, no, no, I cannot leave my ticker out. He was he was my first kitty and I he was he was around 18 or 19. Two, but at the time he passed away, I think two
Michael Hingson 26:52
how do you how do you come up with your ideas?
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 26:55
Well, the nonfiction is really easy because it’s just my life. But the other ones, the nonfiction ones come up with just like random random things in life. So even though the kids books are not they’re not necessarily real life, they can’t stemmed from real life, right. Like I was saying, the chill the Christmas book was something that happened. Diamond was a cat actually had the first what the book was actually an idea for my aunt, because her son had tonsil surgery before. But the the scary story is, don’t have any kind of part of real life, let’s say because everything is monsters with me and scary stories. So it’s called a little scary. It’s a collection of 10 short, scary stories. And we’ll be coming out with another one. Eventually, I already have a list of a whole bunch of other scary stories. And those ones just come from like, completely random ideas. Like the one story I was walking down the street was walking my dogs, I have two dogs. And well, now I have three dogs, actually, at the time I had two but now I have three. And so I was walking my three dogs, and I saw this tree. And this tree look like it had like a face in it. And then one of the stories just popped into my head and I wrote a whole short scary story about the about nature and how nature can sometimes do some payback if we don’t take care of it.
Michael Hingson 28:27
So when you get ideas, do you just immediately write them down? Or how do you make sure you don’t forget them?
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 28:34
I usually if I’m at home, I will write them down on my whiteboard if I text them to myself.
Michael Hingson 28:40
So you, you get them down and they’ll come out at some point.
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 28:45
Exactly, yeah. If I don’t write them down, you’re right, I will totally forget them. But so in some way, they have to get written down well, whether it’s a text and myself are actually written down, you have to get written down.
Michael Hingson 28:58
It is nice that today we have a lot of different technological ways to get information written down. So we don’t forget it. I, for example, use my Amazon echo a lot to remind me of things even though I might have something on a calendar. If I’m not right in front of the computer, I want to see the calendar. So I use technology to remind me all over the house, as well as writing down ideas and doing other sorts of things. So yeah, we do live in a wonderful era where it’s a lot easier to get ideas down where we can go back and then address them later.
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 29:30
Yeah, exactly. It’s very nice.
Michael Hingson 29:33
So for you, writing about your life and so on. Well, because you happen to be able to write it does turn out to be fairly easy for you. But this whole concept of mental health and being a person with mental health issues, has a lot of stigmas about it and it’s something that we don’t understand. How do we start to do Without and how do we change people’s perceptions of that?
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 30:04
We talk, we talk a lot. That’s a really simple answer. But really, it comes down to being able to be open with other people. Because since there is so much stigma around, it often shuts us up. We don’t want to talk about it. Because we don’t want people to look at us. Like, we’re weird. Like, we’re crazy, like, we’re whatever. But the bottom line is, is where people like anybody else, no matter what your mental health is, whether it’s depression, anxiety, bipolar, schizophrenia, it doesn’t matter, you’re just, you’re just a person who maybe our brain chemistry is a little bit off. Like for me, I take my antidepressants every day, I went off for them, it didn’t go so well. So I’m back on them. But that’s because my brain chemistry is a little bit off, and I just, I need that extra little help, which is totally fine. But people don’t want to talk about it. And my husband put it best to me. So when he found out that I had went off of my antidepressants, because I didn’t tell him or the doctor, anything, I just did it. I do not recommend please don’t do this. But when he found that out, and my husband is type one diabetic, which means he has an insulin pump. So he says to me, Well, do you want me to stop taking my insulin? No, I don’t want you to die. Because exactly, I don’t want you to die either. Why would you do that? I was like, oh, sorry, Honey, I love you. So it’s, we have to start looking at mental health the same way we look at physical health. And that is that sometimes we need help. And that’s okay. Recently, I’ve been dealing with a lot of chronic pain. And I realized that that has a lot of stigma around it as well. And actually, on Monday, I was just at the pain clinic and I had a complete breakdown with the doctor. And I am not an emotional person. I am not a crier, but I was crying so much in his office, not just because I was in immense pain, but because I was so frustrated about the lack of help around it and the lack of not knowing what’s happening. And that all ages kept being told this, Oh, you’re too young for this. That’s great that I’m too young for this, I’m in my 30s. But I’m still in such pain that I have had to change my life, I can no longer do kickboxing right now I can no longer take my dogs for a 45 minute walk, they’re lucky if I can get around two blocks before I have to lay down. And so I was just totally crying in his office and so emotionally spent, that our mental health and our physical health are very much interrelated. And so we need to talk about both of them in the same way and give both of them the same kind of respect as like one in the other.
Michael Hingson 32:57
So I think that you raised some some valid and very good points. The reality is, maybe this is an oversimplification. But talking and dealing with the so called stigma of mental health issues, is, in a lot of ways, not really much different than talking about having or being a person who happens to have a disability. Because it’s all about being different. And people not wanting to deal with difference, no matter what we say.
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 33:32
That is 100%. What it is, is differences are scary. If you’re different. You’re scary.
Michael Hingson 33:39
Well, why is that?
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 33:41
That’s a great question that I don’t have a scientific answer for but I’ll tell you what, I think on it. So I think it’s just because the unknown is very scary. And I actually I just wrote an article for a magazine, I don’t think it’s published out but about, and this goes back to writing scary stories, but it’s very relevant. So about how in a horror movie or in a scary story book, The unknown is what scares you the most when you see the masked killer coming towards you. It’s not nearly as scary as when you hear something downstairs and you’re like, Oh, what is that? Is that a burglar? Is that just my cat? It’s more scary because we don’t know. So I think that’s the same kind of concept, to a difference to somebody with a disability, whether it be physical, mental, whatever it is, when you don’t understand it, and it’s different. It’s scary because you don’t know how to maybe talk to that person. You don’t know how to address them. You don’t know what it is that you shouldn’t be doing. It ultimately my answer to that is ask the person they will tell you. Yeah, I get that a lot with with my kid I’m especially because he’s 15 Now, and he can, he can talk, which is great. He’s verbal. Sometimes he never shuts up. But sometimes I’ll have people and teachers in the school system are kind of the worst for this is that they’ll ask me all of these questions, I go great. Let me ask him, they’re like, well, can’t you just tell us? This is his life? These are his school courses, I’m not just going to give you an answer, I’m going to ask him, he is more than capable of telling you why he hasn’t finished homework or why he wants to take one class over a different class, whatever it is, we are capable of speaking for itself. Same with somebody say in a wheelchair, if you don’t know, maybe what they need help with. Ask them. So I, I used to have a part time job working in a market and I would just help the farmer sell the fruits and vegetables. And then there was this one guy in a wheelchair, and he would come around every Saturday, he was a very loyal customer. And so the very first time He came, though, I didn’t treat him any different as any other customer, because he’s not any different. And so I said, Okay, what can I get you? And he told me, I said, Great. Would you like another bag? I said, Yeah, so great. And then he asked, Can you put it on the back of my wheelchair? Yep, I could totally do that for you. Because I’m gonna say we because I’m part of the community of mental health and disability. So whatever, we are very capable of telling you what it is that we need. Now, some disabilities might be more severe. If it’s a developmental disability, maybe where they don’t have that capacity. And then you might need to talk to the support person that’s with them. But I would always talk to the person first, I don’t care what their disability is, what age they are, I would talk to that person first. If then you realize that they are not capable of explaining it to you, then the support for they would have a support person with them. And you can ask them, but they’re capable.
Michael Hingson 37:10
The extrapolation of what you just said, though, is that we’re afraid of the unknown, because it is unknown. And we don’t try to make it known. So when we’re dealing with mental health, whether we’re dealing with disabilities, or whatever, we, as we’re growing up, don’t get taught to deal with it, to understand it to communicate about it. Yeah. And as adults, we don’t talk about it, we don’t get it, we don’t understand it. And as a result, we just continue to promote the same unknowns that have always been there. I think there are definitely issues with the whole concept of mental health, it is something that we need to address. There are reasons that that people are as they are, we should learn to understand them, we should learn to help with them. Yeah. But we also should be spending a lot more time talking to people, we being all of us should be spending more time talking to people and learning to understand it, which is of course, maybe in part what unstoppable mindset as a podcast is all about. Exactly.
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 38:25
And that’s the nice thing about technology right now is there are so many different podcasts out there. And a lot of them talk about disabilities or mental health or different things like that. I have a podcast guys, you can listen to it. It’s called writer die show mental health. But no, you’re totally right. If we’re not taught at a young age, and I think I was I was very spoiled at a young age, because of the school that I went to. We had a class for kids with disabilities when they used to be. They don’t have as many separate classes anymore in our school district. They try to integrate more now, which hopefully that’s working the way that they want it to. I don’t know, that’s a different story. Anyways, but I was lucky because we had that class there. We also had a class of deaf students. And so when I was younger, I was exposed to all of that from a very early age. And I think like you were saying, if you aren’t taught about it at a young age, then you’re not going to know about it as an adult. So I was spoiled that way that I got to experience that. And I used to help out in the different classes and play with the kids. They’re like they were they were kids, right. So we all played together. So I was spoiled. But maybe that’s something that as parents, we can start thinking about more to help our kids with that. And to not single other kids out.
Michael Hingson 39:53
Yeah, that’s, of course, part of it is that although a kid might be the A friend or an adult may be different. There’s no need to single them out, there is a need or ought to be a need to make sure that they are empowered to be able to contribute and be a part, which may very well mean, as you pointed out with the person who came to your market in the wheelchair, they’re going to come in a wheelchair, big deal. You do what’s necessary to make it possible for that person to be involved at the store, go around the store, shop like anyone else. And when you say you don’t treat them differently, you know, the reality is, in a technical sense, yeah, you did, because you hung the bag on the back of the wheelchair. But the reality is big deal. That’s all part of making it an inclusive environment. It’s not really treating someone differently. It’s being inclusive.
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 40:56
Yes, I like the way you put that.
Michael Hingson 41:00
And that’s something that we really need to do a lot more of is learn about inclusion. Well, a couple of other things that come to mind. I’m going to Save one for last, even though you mentioned even though you just mentioned it, but tell me about you and kickboxing and all that you you have been very much in the past involved with that.
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 41:20
Yes. So I was kickboxing for about 10 years, once I became an adult and my mom couldn’t tell me I couldn’t anymore. And in 2015, I was the Canadian national champion my division, I was, I’ve been to the worlds tournament in Ireland. I’ve also been to the Pan American Games that was in Mexico, where I got to silver. And I just before COVID, I was one of our Ontario coaches at our Ontario winter games with the kids. So I was I’ve been very involved in it. And I was thinking about taking the roughing course. But right now my body is saying no, it’s, it’s kind of breaking my heart a little bit. It’s been a very difficult road. But no, Kickboxing was amazing. It’s such a good outlet. It’s such good exercise, everybody should do it if you’re capable of doing it.
Michael Hingson 42:21
Tell me a little bit more about what it is exactly and how it works.
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 42:25
Um, so kickboxing, it’s while you get to hit people with your hands and your feet. So there’s there’s different styles of kickboxing. So I’ve been training in Muay Thai, but I competed in kickboxing it. So my Thai is, it’s slightly different. The rules are slightly different. There’s knees, there’s elbows, so I’ve trained I can do those, but I’ve never competed with those. So I’ve competed in both low kick and full contact. There’s also another one called leg contact and k one. So the ones that I have fought in with low kick, you can kick anybody from the knees up. So the head is okay, you You never kick anybody in the back. That’s not okay. But you can kick anybody from the knees up, there’s no No elbows and no knees in that style, but you can kick them or punch them as hard as you want. Where as full contact, which is a little bit of a deceiving name, I feel like so full contact, you have to kick and punch them from the waist up. And you have to kick at least seven times around, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but can be a lot depending on your style of fighting. I love kicking, kicking is my favorite part of it. So it wasn’t hard for me to hit to kick seven times around. But yeah, you can hit you can kick or push them as hard as you want from the waist up in full contact. When you do k one, that’s when you can also do clench, you can do knees, it’s more violent, I guess of the styles.
Michael Hingson 43:57
So in in doing that, do you think any of that contributed to the pain you have today?
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 44:04
It could be um, we don’t know what the pain is being caused by yet. There is rumors of fibromyalgia potentially there is a some osteo arthritis in my spine. So there’s no definitive answer yet. I’m still doing tests. But it there’s a good chance that you know wear and tear on the body is not doesn’t always do good things but I’m just really tired of hearing you’re too young for it.
Michael Hingson 44:34
Yeah. My, my wife in well, we got married in 1982. And she pushed her own wheelchair bound. She’s been in the chair her whole life. But as we got into the later 1990s It started to be more painful for her. But she kept doing it. She said I need the exercise. I have to push myself and that was the only answer that she would give, she didn’t want to go into a power chair or anything. But in 2002, going into 2003, we had moved to California. And up, she went to a doctor saying, Look, this is hurting more and more. And he had what I think is maybe even a better answer for you. In her case, it was her shoulders that were hurting. And he said, Look, your shoulders don’t come with a lifetime warranty, and they do wear out. And you know, it does. And it’s different for different people. I’ve told that to other people in chairs since and I’ve met people in their 20s and 30s, who are experiencing a lot of shoulder pain. And they said, you know, you’re absolutely right. That’s exactly what’s probably happening. And they go off and they look at it. But the reality is, you’re too young. Is such a blanket statement that may or may not be relevant at all.
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 45:55
Yeah, I like what you say better.
Michael Hingson 45:58
You’ve also been very active. You’ve also been very active.
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 46:02
Yeah, exactly. So I like I don’t have a lifetime warranty.
Michael Hingson 46:08
Yeah, well, that’s what her doctor said. And it makes perfect sense. So she actually did translate, transfer over into in graduate to using a power chair. And in the last five years, she’s been diagnosed with having some arthritis in her shoulders, and also some rheumatoid arthritis, which is a whole different animal. But the arthritis is there. And it’s all because shoulders don’t come with a lifetime warranty from God. That’s all there is to it.
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 46:37
What about great if a body’s actually dead, though?
Michael Hingson 46:40
Well, yeah. Always a lot to do.
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 46:44
Yeah, I know. But I can still go swimming. So that’s good. Summertime, you might,
Michael Hingson 46:51
you might find that there are ways to get it improved, as long as you keep pushing for them to figure out what’s really going on.
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 46:57
Yes, that’s what I’m doing. I have an MRI scheduled for August. And Ontario. We have to wait a bajillion months before we can get one
Michael Hingson 47:06
coming. Well, I think I know what really is going on. And you may not want to hear it. But Tigger is extremely unhappy that diamond got written up and Tigger did not. So Tigger is dealing with you just just keep that in mind.
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 47:21
The funniest part of you saying that is that Tigger was the kind of cat that did always give you payback. So when I was because we had him since I was like little, little little, I would chase him around the house because I was, you know, three, four years old. So I chased them around the house and grab them and just love him so much. And give him all the kisses and then at nighttime, I’d go to sleep. And he pounce on me and try to get me because haha, now you’re sleeping. So that is actually the kind of personality that he would have to do that
Michael Hingson 47:55
cats can be very strategic, and they can be very patient.
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 47:59
Yes. So you know, it made? Maybe you’re right. Yep.
Michael Hingson 48:05
Tear is definitely sending you a message. Yeah,
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 48:10
if you want to tell us about
Michael Hingson 48:13
your podcasts. You mentioned that earlier. And I said I was gonna save it. And I wanted to get to it. But tell us about your podcast.
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 48:19
So my podcast, it’s also on YouTube, if you prefer watching. It is called the right or die show. So right, like you’re writing something, not author. And I interview other authors and we talk about mental health.
Michael Hingson 48:35
Tell us about maybe some of your episodes. I’m curious to learn more about it.
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 48:38
Sure. Yeah. So I have tons of different episodes. So what I do, at least on the YouTube channel, is I’m on YouTube, you’re able to make playlists of them. So I’ve played listed all of the different mental health discussions into their category. So I’ve had people on that talk about depression, that’s probably the biggest one. So depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar. I’ve had eating disorders on the show. I’ve also talked to people about autism, not that it’s a mental health disorder, but because it’s close to my heart, so people can still come on and talk about that one. But yeah, so just a wide variety of different topics and a wide variety of amazing authors. I love talking to the other self published authors, not that you have to be self published. I’ve also had other authors that weren’t that were with, like actual publishers, or and I say author, but it’s really anybody who writes I’ve even had somebody who’s written screenplays come on the show. So he’s never written a book, but he wrote screenplays. So anybody who’s written anything song writers, I’ve had some songwriters Come on. So just a lot of fun to talk about it and It’s all about personal experience. So everybody on the show is talking from their own personal experience. Because I think in this was my answer about how we ended the stigma, right? We talk about it. So by, I have over 100 episodes now. So by over 100 people talking about their different experiences, and there are different coping strategies, we can open up that line of communication with others that don’t understand it, like we’re talking about, and try to get them to understand these different things. Get them to understand that you know, somebody with schizophrenia is just a person, that somebody with Bipolar is just a person and kind of shed light on that. And also, I like when they share their coping strategy, because I take little bits from other people and try them out. And hopefully, the audience is taking little bits from everybody and trying it out. Because not every coping strategy works for every person. There’s tons of them out there.
Michael Hingson 50:57
How do you find your guests?
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 50:59
Um, so when I first started the show, I put out a call to what’s that thing or radio guestlist.com? And I put it out there, I got 80 responses, like almost immediately, which was insane to me, because I was like, how am I gonna find gas, and then I didn’t really need to look hard. And once you kind of that got going, I’ve met some really good people that helped. So actually, the publicist that I just signed on with creative edge here, I have a deal with him, I always tell him, Hey, these slots are open, what authors do you have, because he always has very good high quality guests. Come on the show. So it’s been really easy now to actually find people, which I was surprised because I thought I was going to have trouble with it.
Michael Hingson 51:47
Everyone has a story to tell. And sometimes it’s hard to get people to tell stories. But everyone does have a story to tell them. It’s great to be able to have the opportunity to get people to come on and tell their stories. And I’m sure that’s what you’re encountering as well.
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 52:04
Yes, exactly. And most people who have written things, well, most of us authors struggle with self publicity and marketing. Like it’s one of the hardest things, and to go on lots of different podcasts to tell different audiences about you. So by interviewing authors, I think that has really helped because first off, they’re storytellers, even like I said, Some writers, whatever writers are storytellers, and then they need to market out their product to people. So kind of worked out well.
Michael Hingson 52:36
Right. Well, this has been fun. And I want to thank you very much for being a guest on our podcast. I appreciate it. And I know we we met each other through the same publicists, which is really cool. But tell me how can people get in touch with you if they’d like to reach out if they’d like to learn more about what you’re doing? Or ask you questions and connect? How do they do that?
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 53:00
Sure. So my website is rbwriting.ca. I’m also on Facebook at RB writing and then of course my YouTube
Michael Hingson 53:10
the letter R and the letter B.
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 53:11
Yes for my name Randi Bowslaugh.
Michael Hingson 53:14
So RBwriting? Yep.
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 53:17
and.ca Because I’m in Canada, and then Facebook, I’m on Instagram I’m on Instagram though it’s Randy be writing because somebody already had RB so Randi be writing let’s Randi with an I and tick tock I am on tick tock at the right or die show.
Michael Hingson 53:35
Cool. So to say your website once more
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 53:40
Michael Hingson 53:43
Great. Well, I’ve enjoyed it and learned a lot and I really appreciate you coming on today and talking with us. And I hope that everyone listening appreciates and maybe he has a little bit more understanding about some of the topics that you’ve discussed.
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 54:00
I hope so too and I had so much fun
Michael Hingson 54:02
well and we definitely would love to have you come back as you’re getting more books and tell us about the books and let me know when you publish about ticker because I’m sure the pain is gonna go away then.
Randi-Lee Bowslaugh 54:15
I will definitely do that. And you know what, maybe I’ll call it even I’ll call it about ticker.
Michael Hingson 54:21
Go. Well, thanks very, Randi. And I want to thank all of you wherever you are for listening today. I’d love to hear from you and get your comments so please feel free to email me at Michaelhi at accessibe.com or visit Michael Hingson .com slash podcast where you can visit more episodes although you can get them wherever podcast episodes are available. And as always, I sure would appreciate a five star rating from you to help us we appreciate when you make comments and rate the program and rate podcasts. So please do that. And again, Randi one last time, thank you very much for being here. We really appreciate it very much. You take care
Michael Hingson 55:13
You have been listening to the Unstoppable Mindset podcast. Thanks for dropping by. I hope that you’ll join us again next week, and in future weeks for upcoming episodes. To subscribe to our podcast and to learn about upcoming episodes, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com slash podcast. Michael Hingson is spelled m i c h a e l h i n g s o n. While you’re on the site., please use the form there to recommend people who we ought to interview in upcoming editions of the show. And also, we ask you and urge you to invite your friends to join us in the future. If you know of any one or any organization needing a speaker for an event, please email me at speaker at Michael hingson.com. I appreciate it very much. To learn more about the concept of blinded by fear, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com forward slash blinded by fear and while you’re there, feel free to pick up a copy of my free eBook entitled blinded by fear. The unstoppable mindset podcast is provided by access cast an initiative of accessiBe and is sponsored by accessiBe. Please visit www.accessibe.com. accessiBe is spelled a c c e s s i b e. There you can learn all about how you can make your website inclusive for all persons with disabilities and how you can help make the internet fully inclusive by 2025. Thanks again for listening. Please come back and visit us again next week.