Jarred Madison Frey is a thirty-two-year-old podcaster diagnosed with bipolar disorder at only eighteen years of age. He started his podcast broadcasting and shedding light on his journey with bipolar disorder, covering all its layers, with the purpose of letting even one person relate, feel seen, and think of themselves as less lonely on their journey with mental illness. Frey did not let bipolar disorder define him nor limit him in life, even with all the disadvantages that have come across him.
When asked how he described himself, Frey portrayed himself as outgoing, passionate, fun, with an entrepreneurial mind. But that’s just at first glance, he says. There’s more to what meets the eye with him, with most people even, Frey argues. There’s always a different side that people do not see at first, the darker one.
When talking about bipolar disorder, the disability that shaped him, Jarred admitted that it is a mood disorder and has its highs and its lows, but it’s in fact also a lot more complicated than it sounds. He shares that people with bipolar disorder can go from being manic, a phase in which they experience very little sleep with things not making much sense as they might talk a mile a minute, spend money feverishly, and engage in an accent that can normally be strange, to a phase where they feel depressed, a crushing depression, as Frey describes it. It’s a struggle.
So, when asked about what he thought were the biggest stigmas for mental health, Frey emphasized that it was not what people made it to be; “People take it so loosely. They do not understand the meaning behind what bipolar really is.”
Going more in-depth, Frey was asked if he had been perceived differently because of this mental health condition, in which he strongly acknowledged that he had. He has lost a lot of friends, or people whom he thought were his friends, to this disorder.
His family was the support system through all this, they have been through hell and back with him, and for him, in this, as he claims, even with the uncontrollable states of mania.
He admits to knowing when he’s gone psychotic, it’s when you lose touch with reality, describing it as a state where you can’t even reason with. “It’s a state where you’re gone, you’re off to see the wizard.” Jarred then stresses the importance of medication in cases like this, powerful medication at times, and how they are the only option to getting through these episodes.
Frey acknowledges how much of a nightmare it was at times, to lose jobs because of it, to go psychotic over one simple mistake at a place where he thought was nothing but stable.
“I’ve found myself on this downward spiral, every time. And every time, I would lose a different group of people.”
Even with all the things and the people, some whom he’d considered as quite important, that he had lost, Frey climbed his way back up again, staying sober, with neither alcohol nor drugs for almost two years now. Working at a new company, he sees himself there for the long run.
Focusing on the bright side of the mayhem that Frey had been going through all his life, he was asked to talk about some of the positives that have come of it, and if understanding this disability that is part of him had obtained him with new acquaintances, in which he replied, “absolutely. This interview here is a testament to that.”
Jarred signals how he has gained so many positive friends than he’d ever lost. He has made so many relationships, invaluable amounts of support since starting the podcast that has reached over 40 countries, in which he shares his journey with bipolar disorder.
He was then asked to share his thoughts on the portrayal of mental issues in the media, in which Jarred stated how he doesn’t think mainstream media do the people who struggle with mental health justice. He sheds light on the fact that so many more people struggle with mental health nowadays, as opposed to when he was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder fourteen years ago.
At the time, he had never heard of it, he states. He didn’t know what it was and anyone who had it.
Frey believes that people need to educate themselves on this, especially those with huge platforms on social media. He focuses on the fact that these platforms can increase awareness if used correctly, which most are currently not. He emphasizes however that the message he is trying to deliver does in no way take a knock at these influencers nor at people with huge platforms, “they do not know any better,” he says, “I do not blame them.”
This virtual world nowadays lessens the human side of people, Frey believes. He thinks that people forget that others are human too, with different characters that can and probably will make different decisions which will sometimes cause a mess. This can still be an area where we’re changing for the positive, as he assures, for the people with mental illnesses to feel more at ease, at home.
Jarred was later asked about his podcast and what it was, or whom, envisioned him to start, in which he excitedly shared how he first began recording the first four episodes of the podcast in February last year (2021). What inspired him to start was his naturopathic doctor whom he’d been working with for eight or nine years, his longest relationship in the mental health world, as he describes it.
He talked about how being a guest on her podcast was “a seed that was planted in me to start my own thing.”
Almost a year later, Jarred started buying the equipment and building his own little studio.
He sat down one night and wrote episode 1 of the podcast, got together with his director, who’s his grandmother. He reveals then they set up the entire studio in her living room and recorded episode 1: Who am I?
The episode was broken down into paragraphs, and after being recorded, paragraph by paragraph was edited and reassembled back together, with specific music, and shown to Jarred’s parents. “My mom was shook, this brought back so many memories, my mom was visibly shook.”
And that was episode 1. Fast forward to episode 4 where he had his first guest, Dylan Labarre.
After finally being shared as a small series with all the recorded episodes at once on April 7th, the podcast took off almost overnight. It was a success. It reached a lot of different countries and lots of people.
Whilst talking about the podcast, he was asked what his plans for the upcoming season were, in which Jarred proclaims that he hasn’t started preparing for it yet.
He has been thinking about season 2, he confirms and assures that so many people are also interested in being part of his next phase in this, and so many will be.
Season 2 is definitely going to be bigger and better, Jarred promises.
He wants to step up, interview-wise, ensuring that he still wants to do pre-recorded episodes, scripted episodes where he can provide his side of the story about his life dealing with bipolar disorder.
That’ll be his first step though, his second step will be to level up his social media platforms and help spread more awareness.
At the end of the interview, Jarred was asked what he thought was good advice to the ones struggling, he therefore, ended the talk with a quite interesting view of life, that is how there will always be hope. “Even in one’s darkest hour, even at rock bottom, there’s always hope.” And that is the thing that Jarred has admitted to living by for the past fourteen years of his ups and downs in this life, through the deepest, darkest depressions, the drug-induced psychotic episodes, the near-suicidal events, and even the multiple firings from various companies. That was what he thinks got him through all of them, to know that there is always going to be hope, even when people can’t see it.
He believes that people need to hold on, remember who they are, and stay strong.
People don’t know where to turn sometimes, with all the bad things happening in life. So, the idea of always holding on to the hope and that it will all turn out okay is what Frey advises them to do, it’s what he wanted to leave them with.
Written by Sarah El Hajj