In today’s episode, Erin talks with Rob Spedden, USMC. Rob grew up in Omaha, NE and enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on October 26, 2004. He had a seemingly typical career – promoted on schedule, deployed, PCSd, took a special duty assignment as a recruiter, got married. For almost 17 years nothing seemed out of the ordinary.
That was until April 13, 2021. On an otherwise uneventful Tuesday afternoon, Rob experienced a full-on manic episode and was subsequently admitted to the hospital. After spending a week in the hospital, Rob was diagnosed with Bipolar 1.
April, 2021 was the beginning of the end of the life Rob had known. His wife filed for divorce. He was notified that he would be discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps after 17 years of service. He was going to need to find a place to live and a job, all while learning to navigate life as a civilian.
Today’s episode is not just about Rob’s diagnosis and transitioning out of the military. It's also about his hopes of destigmatizing the stigmas associated with a mental health diagnosis in the military by using comedy and social media to spread awareness. This episode is Rob's personal experience, but it is also the story of so many other military members, serving and retired.
Note on Mania and Manic episode: A manic episode is more than just a feeling of elation, high energy, or being distracted. During a manic episode, the mania is so intense that it can interfere with your daily activities. It’s difficult to redirect someone in a manic episode toward a calmer, more reasonable state. People who are in the manic phase of bipolar disorder can make very irrational decisions.
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