Updated: Jan 12
What would you do if, in the midst of the deepest, darkest depression of your life, plagued by several overlapping illnesses, you started planning out your suicide only to be interrupted by a dead relative telling you "Sorry, you can't die yet because your mission on Earth is not yet complete"? Would you embrace the absurdity of it all and start doing standup? You would if you were the incredible Court Rundell. Learn more at: courtrundell.com
5:54 - Not to be polarizing, but ghosts are forreal, okay?
14:35 - You can't call in sick from being a mom
18:25 - Love is always the answer
18:48 - That time Court's ghost brother-in-law saved her life
28:37 - "You've lived six lives in this lifetime. You have to get through this because you have a mission. You're here for a purpose. And if you kill yourself, you're just going to have to do it all over again."
33:25 - Postpartum can last way longer than you realize
36:35 - "Sleep deprivation is proven to make you insane."
44:18 - Laugher isn't just the best medicine, it's a great diagnostic tool, too
57:24 - The epiphany: "What if I took nothing seriously anymore?"
Adrienne MacIain 0:40 [Intro] Hi everyone, and welcome to the That's Aloud podcast. I'm your hostess, so let's have a toastess. It's Adrienne MacIain!
What would you do if a dead relative showed up to interrupt your suicide planning in the depths of the deepest, darkest depression of your life, and told you "Hey, guess what? You can't actually die yet because your mission on earth is not yet complete." Would you start doing stand-up [comedy]? Because that's what today's guest did, among many other things. Let's take a listen. Hi, everyone. I am here with the fucking amazing Court Rundell. I'm gonna read her badass bio here because it kicks ass. [laughter] And like I say, whenever it's a writer, like I feel like I have to read their bio because they--I *know* they slaved over that shit. Like that bio did not just spring out of nowhere. So Court Rundell's been speaking since 2001 about the lessons she's learned from surviving--are we ready for the list?--child abuse, bullying, and rape, AND living with six, count them, SIX chronic illnesses. Ladies and gentlemen, every challenge she's lived through, became her greatest teachers making her stronger and transforming her into the fucking Phoenix she is today. She's spoken at conventions, treatment centers and conferences. She is also and I can attest to this an award winning playwright with an MA in playwriting from UCSB. That, incidentally, is where we met. I was getting my PhD at that time. And she very graciously cast me in one of her shows, but we might talk about that later. Court Rundell 2:37 Ha! "Graciously." Adrienne MacIain 2:42 She's blogged for Web MD, Wego Health, the International bipolar Foundation (rad), her blog, "Reno is a Gateway Drug" is currently being adapted into a graphic novel and she's working on a memoir about surviving postpartum depression. Welcome Court. Court Rundell 2:59 Hey, babe. Adrienne MacIain 3:01 Hey babe. Court Rundell 3:03 Helloooo Ahhdrienne. Adrienne MacIain 3:05 It's been way too long. Court Rundell 3:07 It's been forever. And I love you. And I love your face. And I'm so happy that I get to actually see you while we talk. It's very exciting. Adrienne MacIain 3:14 I know. It is exciting. They don't get to see me though. It's just for you. Court Rundell 3:17 I know. It's sad for them. I'm so sad for you guys right now. Adrienne MacIain 3:21 Big bummer. [laughter] So obviously, you have about a million stories. And, like 1,000,001 themes and amazing things that we could talk about. So I just want to start with, what do you want to talk about today? Court Rundell 3:38 Well, when I listened to your podcast, it what I grabbed from it was more like: what story are you NOT telling? Adrienne MacIain 3:45 Yeah, exactly. Court Rundell 3:47 So I was thinking about it. And since I am currently battling Lyme disease and kicking it's ass most days, Adrienne MacIain 3:57 Most days. Court Rundell 3:58 Yeah, it's very challenging. Don't get me wrong. But since I am in bed a lot, I have no excuse not to write. And as a fellow writer, you know that the hardest thing is actually sitting down to do it. Adrienne MacIain 4:15 Heck yeah. Court Rundell 4:16 Once I'm there, I'm golden, you know, the gym and writing, right? I just have to get there. So, I'm there. And I've been wanting to write a memoir about, you know, I say postpartum depression, because I'm being economical. But really it was prenatal depression. And then it was postpartum psychosis, mania, OCD, and then depression. So it was a lot of insanity, and it was four years long. It was high school, right. It was freshman, sophomore, junior, senior year of high school. And I was hospitalized twice and you know, I had three really good years after that. And I did stand up, and I had a great time. And I just really didn't take myself seriously. And now that Lyme has come to say, "What's up?" I want to tell my story. Now, I've told a lot of this story, what I haven't told, and this is what I'm kind of struggling with? Because first and foremost, my goal, as a writer, as a speaker, as a storyteller, as a human on this planet, my purpose is to serve other humans who are in pain. Adrienne MacIain 5:39 Hear, hear. Court Rundell 5:40 So I don't--Yeah, exactly. So I don't want to be too polarizing. Like I never discuss politics or anything like that. I don't do that because I don't want to be polarizing. Right? Adrienne MacIain 5:54 Right. Court Rundell 5:54 Because I want to serve as many people as possible. But I also like to have the gory details. So what happened was one of the things that saved my life--several things saved my life--when, I mean, the last two years, were just straight black depression, like the worst depression I've ever had. And what saved my life, one of the things, was a ghost. Adrienne MacIain 6:22 Okay! Court Rundell 6:23 And it's very matter of fact for me. Because it's just matter of fact. It's like: the sky is blue; I talk to dead people. Right? Adrienne MacIain 6:34 Right. Right. Court Rundell 6:35 But I'm not. I mean, I'm not a medium or anything like that. What happened was, right before my husband and I got married, his little brother died by suicide. Adrienne MacIain 6:47 Okay. Court Rundell 6:48 And he has been in contact with me since. Adrienne MacIain 6:52 Got it. Court Rundell 6:52 And it's been very obvious. I have had friends around who've seen it. He has turned up my car stereo at certain times, he has blasted my music in my house at certain times, he pops lightbulbs. He's very powerful. And because he died by suicide, he came in very strong. Two times I saw mediums when I was going through all of this, and said, "Don't do it. And here's why." And I don't know if I should tell that. I mean, I'm telling it now, obviously. [laughter] But when I--I've noticed a lot of times when I start to talk about ghosts and such, people get very, well, people are very matter of fact about it. And like I'm very matter of fact about it, I've had people be very matter of fact, in the opposite way and just say, "Well ghosts aren't real." You know? Adrienne MacIain 7:56 Right, right. It's just polarizing. It's like, ghosts are real, or they're not. The end. Court Rundell 8:01 And, I mean, I use the term ghost, but it's it's really, you know... I believe in "heaven." I believe we all go there. I believe in love. I believe that, you know, we go to this place and some of us can, you know, some of us are more connected to the earth, because he was only 30 years old. He's connected to so many of us who are alive. Yeah. You know, like, a lot of times, it's like, well, my 90 year old father hasn't come through to see me and it's like, well, because most of his friends and family were probably already crossed over. Yeah, so you know, maybe he didn't have a huge, you know, it's like, we take it personal or whatever. [laughter] And, yeah, like, I can't, I'm not a medium. I can't channel... I can't go, "Hey, Steve, Let's have a talk." I mean, I can but, it ain't gonna happen. You know what I mean? Adrienne MacIain 8:07 It's more like you're you're a phone booth, and they can call you, but you can't call out. Court Rundell 9:05 Yes. And generally, you know... I have, you know, a really good friend who's the medium that two times he went through at that time. And she's the phone booth, you know, like, I just get in the phone booth. Well, I don't get inside of her. [laughter] Although she's very attractive and I wouldn't mind. Adrienne MacIain 9:26 Totally different story. But yes, got it. Court Rundell 9:28 Yes. But I think, you know, I tend to have diseases that are very polarizing as well. I have bipolar, I have alcoholism, I have PTSD. And then I think the only one that is not would be the Hashimoto's thyroid disease that I have. And then I have chronic active epstein barr and lime. And lime is extraordinarily controversial. You know, most doctors still don't really buy it. It's a thing. That's all I'm gonna say is it's a thing. I'm not a conspiracy theorist, and I'm like, "Wow, the CDC has problems." It's proven and ugly, you know? It's very ugly. And so I guess it's: at what point do we shut the fuck up about certain beliefs that are going to be polarizing? Obviously, I'm not going to shut up about Lyme disease. It's very factual. Adrienne MacIain 10:03 Well and it's also... your health is dependent on people seeing it as a real thing. Court Rundell 10:34 Yes, and I'm and I'm a health advocate. So, like, I'm not going to leave out things about my health. You know? Adrienne MacIain 10:40 I mean, I would say the answer to that question, in my opinion, is: we shut the fuck up about things when it doesn't actually affect us or other people directly. It's an opinion, right? It's like, "I have this strong opinion about this!" Well, if nobody asked you, you know, opinions are like assholes. Everybody's got one, but that doesn't mean I want to see yours. Court Rundell 11:01 And most of them stink. Adrienne MacIain 11:02 Yeah. So I think that's the thing: when it's something that could be helpful to someone else when it's information that someone else might feel less alone if they had that information, then we should never shut up. We should keep talking, and if it polarizes people, so be it. People can not look at our shit if they don't want to see it. [laughter] Court Rundell 11:29 Yeah, I mean it is part of... When you have something that is not fixed with Western medicine... Like, basically what happened was, you know, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder before I ever got pregnant. And I treated it aggressively as I do with anything: you just tell me what to do and I'll fix it, right? Adrienne MacIain 11:55 ...and I'll fuckin' do it. Yeah. Court Rundell 11:56 Yeah. And I had three years of sanity that were like I'd never experienced before. And then we decided to have a baby. You know? And because I mean, I was 36. And you know, I wasn't getting any younger, and I'd had a miscarriage the year before. And I mean, I already had a bipolar diagnosis, but most of my friends who had bipolar disorder felt better when they got pregnant. Adrienne MacIain 12:27 Interesting... Court Rundell 12:28 I know! So it was a roll of the die. I didn't know. You know, so yes, it was... I had dealt with insanity most of my life. So it's not a typical postpartum story where... Adrienne MacIain 12:45 Suddenly, out of nowhere, I'm insane! [laughter] Court Rundell 12:47 Right? But, you know, most of the postpartum stories that I've heard have been like, you know: they go down the tubes, it's awful, and then they get put on a med. And they're golden. And it's good. And then you know if it's like a Wellbutrin or a Zoloft, you know, a lot of times you can take one of those for about a year and go off of it, and be cool and not have to be on medication your entire life, right? Adrienne MacIain 13:12 Yeah. Court Rundell 13:12 So my story's different because I already came in having known mental illness. But I didn't-- nobody knew what to expect. And, you know, what happened was, I went off my meds. And then when I tried to go back on them, they didn't work. And, actually... yeah, well, I had to go off my meds for the pregnancy, and when I tried to go back on them they didn't work and I was suicidal. And I was so sick. I was like, why am I taking these meds if they're not going to work? So I weaned off everything with my psychiatrist at the time. He's no longer my psychiatrist. And I was trying everything because he said if you exercise three hours a day, you don't need meds. And he very strongly believed in exercise. And so I did that until I got sick. And I got sick, right. I didn't know I had Lyme at the time. I didn't know I had chronic active Epstein Barr-- Adrienne MacIain 14:17 Right. You just knew, "I feel like crap." Court Rundell 14:20 Yeah. And it was like, well, that's depression, that's depression, that's depression. But when you get nailed, or I should say, when *I* get nailed with chronic illness, like *nailed*, it causes depression. Adrienne MacIain 14:33 Of course it does! Because you feel fucking crap all the time! Court Rundell 14:35 Well, you feel like crap. And it's not like, you know, your child is like, "No, it's cool. You can call in sick." You can't call in sick for being a mom. Adrienne MacIain 14:44 No, you cannot. Court Rundell 14:47 And I've been so... I've been like, *coma* fatigue, and dragged myself through the mud for that kiddo. Because he needed to eat, or he needed his diaper changed, you know? Adrienne MacIain 15:03 Of course Yeah. Court Rundell 15:04 But the point that I was getting to was when Western medicine, when it failed me, really because I was med-resistant at that point. I turned every stone. I did acupuncture. I did Reiki. I saw mediums. I saw a shaman I... there's just so much... crystals, and sound baths, and sound baths I actually still go to and they really, really, really helped me. Adrienne MacIain 15:34 Oh, cool! Court Rundell 15:35 I know. And it's so weird. And it's so weird because you never know what's going to help one person. Yeah, like, I swear, I'm the only human being who does not like acupuncture. Like I really tried and it just doesn't do it for me like I feel better for maybe an hour. Adrienne MacIain 15:52 It puts me to sleep, which at the time-- Court Rundell 15:54 Oh, that's nice! Adrienne MacIain 15:55 I really fucking needed. Like, just to have the excuse that like "Oh, you know I had this C-section I have all this back pain. I have to go to this acupuncture appointment for an hour every day. And so it was like the only time I got a nap was like Court Rundell 16:13 I hear that Adrienne MacIain 16:14 when I would go and get acupuncture. So it was honestly just an excuse to sleep, for me, but it was nice. Court Rundell 16:19 That's hilarious. But I mean, it's acupuncture is really effective for most humans that I know. Right? Right. But then like sound baths are totally really really effective for me. Not every single time. But you know, and other people run screaming out of the room, because they cannot stand the sound. Adrienne MacIain 16:39 Yeah, I'm so fascinated by the idea of being healed by sound. I'm like one of these, you know, like conspiracy nut cases who's like, "I think the pyramids were actually like sound devices to heal people and--" Court Rundell 16:53 Oh! Adrienne MacIain 16:53 Yeah, so like I've... [laughter] Court Rundell 16:54 Not aliens? Adrienne MacIain 16:56 Well, aliens obviously gave people the technology to create them, Court! Duh. I don't take this stuff super seriously I just love the idea of it. I just love the story of it. Like, I love the story of aliens giving ancient people technology that then we fucking ruined because we're fucking humans. Court Rundell 17:18 Seems right, but then see I have a highly scientific mathematical mind like my day job I work in finance, right? And I do analysis, because I love puzzles. And so I'm like, it's a simple lever and pulley system people. Like I even showed my husband because he's convinced... he loves aliens. And I love aliens too. But I don't necessarily believe that they've come on down here yet. I don't know. I'm just a huge I don't know there... I would say that I'm agnostic. I'm agnostic, but when it comes to aliens, Adrienne MacIain 17:57 Totally fair. Yeah. Court Rundell 17:58 We actually just went to Roswell, it was pretty funny. Adrienne MacIain 18:00 Nobody fucking knows. Okay, we weren't there. We don't know. I like the theories because the theories tie into a lot of ideas that I have just about the universe, and how things work. And so I just love the idea of one species helping another species along and things like that, and the whole, you know, Prime Directive and like, I like shit like that. You know? I just like the idea of it. Court Rundell 18:27 If it's love, I'm down. Like, if it's if it's love, it's right. I that's always my you know, that's what I teach my son. I'm like, love is always the right answer, babe. Adrienne MacIain 18:37 Exactly. Court Rundell 18:38 Love is always the right answer, you know? Yeah. Well, I want to do I want to hear more about your ghost brother-in-law. I'm really interested. My ghost brother-in-law [laughter] [sigh] Well his name's Steven. He was a classical guitarist, musician. And so it makes sense that he comes through in music a lot. But the first real... [sigh] We found out that he had died on a Sunday. And by that night, we were in Dallas. Because that's where my husband's family's from. And we just basically got on a plane and went, obviously this was before kids. Well before kids, and we weren't even, we were engaged. We were in the middle of planning our wedding, two and a half months out, and we got on a plane and we finally got in bed at like, I don't know, 2am or something. And I'm holding my husband, and we hear music. And it kind of sounds like maybe Carnival music. It sounds like someone is having a party down the street. And it frightened my husband, but I immediately thought, "Oh, that's Steve. Hmm." And I don't know why, I just knew. Because it was music. I mean, at first we thought it was some someone having a party, but it was it was Sunday night. And it was about 2am in Dallas, you know, in Highland Park in a very fancy schmancy street, right. And so I went, we both went to investigate, finally. And we got up and walked down the scary hall--we're in a colonial mansion. And we pop down the stairs, and it stops. And we get back into the bedroom, and it starts again. And this goes on for a few times until we finally just decide to sleep to the music, because it keeps going and going and going. And it wasn't coming from outside. Although it sounded like it was. And that was the very first one. And then after, let's see, the next night... They had a chandelier in the dining room, and they're Episcopalian, the priest came to the house that evening, you know, everyone came with food and all of that, you know, you need food when you can't eat, right? And, you know, but but very sweet though, and you know, this is the south and, and, you know, it's a very, very different culture. And then I, I'm a Californian through and through total weirdo love avocados. So we said the Lord's Prayer in a circle. There were about 20 of us that night with the priest. And, you know, the boys had grown up with this priest, and he was a lovely man, just lovely. And so we're all holding hands. We're saying the Lord's Prayer. Toward the end of it, the chandelier goes completely bright. You know, it's on a dimmer switch, right? Adrienne MacIain 21:54 Yeah. Court Rundell 21:56 And it was about probably medium. It went full blast. Adrienne MacIain 21:59 Wow. Court Rundell 22:00 And this Dallas socialite--oh my god, she's a character; she is *a character*--and I lock eyes and look at each other. Everyone else's eyes were closed. But we saw it. And then one of the light bulbs popped. Adrienne MacIain 22:17 Wow. Court Rundell 22:18 And... but for some reason, Billie and I were the only ones who'd seen it. No one else noticed. And it was so obvious it was just so obvious, and I just knew. So cut to when I see the medium, the very, the most powerful one was I remember I I barely got myself there. It was a group reading. She was in town; she lives in the Bay Area. She was in town, in Los Angeles; I live in Los Angeles. And there were probably about 15 of us there. And she's not a professional medium, but she kind of does it on the side? [laughter] Adrienne MacIain 23:01 Sure! Court Rundell 23:02 She actually has a really like, high paying successful corporate job, right? Adrienne MacIain 23:06 I think if you're medium, like you kind of can't help being a medium, like you don't necessarily have to do anything with it, but like, you know, I feel like you should. Court Rundell 23:14 Well, that's what happened to her. That's what happened to her. She's like, she was like, I've been talking to dead people since I was a kid. And she basically got to the point where she was like, I can't keep crushing them. You know, I need to I need to do this and, and, and funnel it. Although, you know, it takes a lot out of a person to do that, and bring on that energy. Adrienne MacIain 23:34 So, short sidebar, my friend Maryann is also a medium. And she-- Court Rundell 23:40 Awesome Adrienne MacIain 23:40 Yeah, she's just surrounded by dead people. So she went to a psychic when she was pretty young, you know, I think early 20s. And this guy was like, so did you grow up like next to a graveyard or something? And she's like, "No," and he's like, "Maybe like, on top of one? Like an Indian burial site or something?" And she's like "Not that I'm aware of." And he's like, "That's pretty strange because I have never seen so many dead people on one person. Like they-- there's a whole graveyard on you. Right now." And she's like, "Yeah, I know." [laughter] Court Rundell 24:12 Oh, that's funny. Adrienne MacIain 24:13 Yeah. And he's just like, "Wow, okay, moving on." Court Rundell 24:16 So wait, so wait. But she saw you said psychic because she saw a medium. I'm going to clarify here just for the kids playing at home. So I see the difference between a psychic and a medium as a medium talks to dead people. A psychic is the one who liked will tell your future and stuff. There's a lot of different kinds of psychic gifts. There's clairvoyance, there's clairsentience, there's clairaudience. There's... Yeah. Adrienne MacIain 24:44 there's a whole... Court Rundell 24:45 it gets very detailed. Adrienne MacIain 24:46 ...fricken range. I don't know. This is a secondhand story. So I don't know the official title of this person that she went to. Court Rundell 24:53 Yeah, yeah. I mean, you can call it channeling, too. Like they're channeling. You know, there channeling but I mean, a lot of times if you go to a psychic, and I think that's what people think of, if you go to a fortune-- you know, they think of a psychic they think of Fortune Teller. They think of somebody you know, with a crystal ball, you know, Adrienne MacIain 25:11 Who's gonna tell them their future, yeah. Court Rundell 25:12 reading their hands, or doing Tarot. And that's not what a medium is. Like, this is a person that is in the room with you. And there's nothing. There's no gadgets, there's no gizmos, you know, and I've seen a lot of mediums. Really only since Steve died, I think. But since then... You know actually it was my mother in law, my mother in law sent me to my first medium, since my husband and I did our first medium, or my first medium, so we could talk to Steve because she said, "Oh, I've been talking to him, I've been talking to him." She sent us to a guy and that and it was so legit, for me, the experience, I was like, "Oh, cool. Okay, well, I want to talk to some other people." So then I started seeing mediums. Not on a regular basis, but I've talked to my dad twice and I've talked to my stepdad and a few others. Adrienne MacIain 26:05 What was your most, like, positive or like, you know, spine-tingly experience? Court Rundell 26:12 Well, okay, so it was it really was this. Adrienne MacIain 26:15 Then go on. Court Rundell 26:16 Yes. I'm sorry. My girlfriend came down, we had this group reading and she had already read me and she knew Steve. So she was like, "Steve's here!" Because he was about six feet tall. And she described, you know, in the initial one she described exactly what he looked like and everything and... he's him. And he essentially... I had dragged myself. And I was, I was at the point where I was completely, not eating. Had no appetite. I lost my appetite. I was trying meds again. I was not sleeping. Which... I am a sleeper. I've never had an issue with sleep, except for at this time. And I was desperately trying not to go through with my suicide plan. Adrienne MacIain 27:18 Right. Court Rundell 27:19 And my head was screaming at me constantly, "Kill yourself, you're a worthless piece of shit. You're evil. Nobody loves you. God is doing this to you." I had a lot of stuff going on with God. Right? But it's not true. But when you're at this point, there's no-- for me, there's no way to turn and do positive self talk. Adrienne MacIain 27:41 Right. There's no rational anything. Court Rundell 27:43 It doesn't work. I tried. Let me tell you how hard I tried. And so I was at this point where I was just minute by minute trying not to kill myself. Because I had this son. And I couldn't leave my son, and I couldn't leave him with the legacy of a mother who killed herself. Because I have two suicides in my family. And my husband has one. And it leaves a mark. Adrienne MacIain 28:14 It sure does. Court Rundell 28:15 Unlike no other, and I completely understand people dying by suicide, and I hope someday we'll actually call it just dying of depression. Because that's really what it is. Unless it's like, all of a sudden, you know, oh, you lost all your money in the stock market and you jump off a building, and it's like a very, very quick decision. Generally, it's from a long depression, Adrienne MacIain 28:36 Right, a long battle. Court Rundell 28:37 A long battle. And so I was sitting there, I had nothing. I had nothing. And he said, "I know you want to do it. I know you want to kill yourself. I know you have a plan." He said what the plan was. I'm not going to say what it was because I don't want to put any ideas into anybody's head. It was a darn good plan. And he, he said... See, now this is where it gets really polarizing, because he said, "You've lived six lives in this lifetime. You have to get through this because you have a mission. You're here for a purpose. And if you kill yourself, you're just gonna have to do it all over again.' Adrienne MacIain 29:33 Wow. Court Rundell 29:34 And, I mean, you guys heard my bio: I've had a lot of challenges in my life. But I'm also one of the most positive people you'll ever meet. Like, I'm a very happy go lucky fart kind of kid. Like I am... it takes a lot to tear me down, you know? Adrienne MacIain 29:52 Yeah, totally. Court Rundell 29:54 And it has. There's been a lot of stuff and I am now doing some astrology, I actually am working with an astrologer now who told me I'm in my last life. And I totally believe it. And she's like you have had karmic retribution. And I told her what Steve said. And she said, "Yep, that's all right here." And it verified it for me. And this astrologer is no joke. Like, she is no joke. We met, and I instantly knew, and I was like, "Oh, man," I mean, I was judging myself. I was like, "Really astrologers? Who are ya, Nancy Reagan? Come on, girl, what are we doing here?" But it just, you know, I go where my intuition pulls me and so Steve basically talked me out of killing myself. Because I-- for some reason, I knew that was true, that I would have to do this all over again. And the thought of having to do this all over again?? Adrienne MacIain 30:56 Right, right. Court Rundell 30:58 No! Adrienne MacIain 30:59 No, fuck no! Court Rundell 31:01 Llike, I really don't. And I do believe in reincarnation, and you know, and I do believe in past lives. And I do believe in all of that. And yes, those are all beliefs. You know, everything I'm talking about right now is belief. You know, it's my experience, but it comes from belief. It doesn't come from science. You know. So, that's what happened. Adrienne MacIain 31:26 That said, there is a lot of evidence for past lives. And that would be a whole other podcast. But there's been a lot of, you know, documented experiences that you just cannot explain in any other way. Court Rundell 31:40 There have been, I mean, for me, it's, it's just very real. For me, it's very, very real. And I've done past life regression with a shaman and all of that and, I mean, it's just funny. Like, I hear myself talk and I'm like, "Girl." Like, if you met me on the street, you'd never guess that I am so woo. I am so woowoo. Right? Adrienne MacIain 32:05 Yep, yep. I'm super woo. Court Rundell 32:07 Yeah. And sometimes it takes people knowing me for a few years, when all of a sudden they'll look at me and they'll go, "Oh my god, you're a hippy!" Adrienne MacIain 32:16 Surprise! Court Rundell 32:17 And I go, "Shhh. Don't tell anyone." I mean, cuz I really try to really throw off a punk rock vibe. I'm not wearing ankle skirts and bells and all that an I'm not judging those who do, and I have in the past, and I do like Birkenstocks they fit great but, you know, I mean, I'm a pretty like punk rock rebel kind of girl. You know, I've got the tattoos and I've got the pink hair and I love being a rebel and, you know, it's just... Adrienne MacIain 32:50 But that's the thing about being a rebel. It's like, you believe whatever the fuck you believe, and like, fuck you for trying to put me in a box. Court Rundell 32:56 Totally. But here's the deal. With a memoir about postpartum, you know, it's like now we're gonna go back to-- it's not even the business side. It's the serving side of who am I writing this for? Adrienne MacIain 33:15 Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Court Rundell 33:17 And am I going to lose them? Adrienne MacIain 33:19 Yeah, I mean and the question is: Who needs to hear this? Who needs to hear this story? Court Rundell 33:25 Who needs to hear this is someone having an experience like me, a lot of times I have, people don't realize how long postpartum can last. And the older you are, the longer it can take. If you have a child in your 40s. You can have postpartum for up to 10 years. Adrienne MacIain 33:44 Wow. Court Rundell 33:45 Yes. And in your 30s it's up to five and in your 20s is around--I don't remember, maybe one or two. So I have told my story before in-- I've told my story in a 12-step meeting when I was taking a cake for, you know, an anniversary of, you know, recovery years, we celebrate our years of recovery. And I told my story, and a woman came up to me that I was able to serve so beautifully for a few years until she got out of it. Just with my experience, obviously, I'm not a doctor. But I was-- because she had toddlers, and she thought, "I can't have postpartum with toddlers." Because you look at postpartum I'm not saying you I'm saying society on a whole tends to look at postpartum as the maybe six, six months to maybe a year after giving birth. Adrienne MacIain 34:49 Mine definitely lasted for about two years. About two years after she was born. I said this before... Court Rundell 34:56 I never realized you had postpartum! Adrienne MacIain 34:57 Hey, surprise Court Rundell 34:58 Have we talked about this? Adrienne MacIain 34:59 I don't think we have we haven't talked like, seriously, since grad school. I don't think. Yeah, Aria is amazing. And she's like a little gem. Court Rundell 35:11 I met her! Adrienne MacIain 35:11 But she was her. She was a terrible sleeper. And so the first two years I was constantly sleep deprived. And I got pretty psycho. [laughter] You know, I did some crazy shit. And I had some, you know, thoughts that were just like, "Where does that thought even come from?" Like, you know, I'd have to work at having a thought like that now, and they were just bombarding me at the time. And, you know, I don't want to get into all the details, but definitely those two years were the hardest of my life. Honestly. Court Rundell 35:48 Yes. Yes. Adrienne MacIain 35:49 The hardest. And it's not that I don't fucking adore my my baby girl. I do. But yeah, I mean, I was... The other thing was I had really low milk supply. So I was constantly hooked up to this like pumping machine like a cow, Court Rundell 36:06 Like a cow. Yes. Adrienne MacIain 36:07 Like a really low producing cow. [laughter] Court Rundell 36:11 And your nipples get so big and weird and gross. And you do, you feel like a cow. I remember that. I was like, I'm a cow. And that is a point, is that they use sleep deprivation as a torture device. Adrienne MacIain 36:15 And sore! Yeah. And it's really effective. Court Rundell 36:35 Sleep deprivation is proven to make you insane. It will make you insane. And you can I mean, even it can just take a few days. And part of the problem with me is I have bipolar disorder. And I have to sleep. And so I flipped manic because I wasn't sleeping, and my psychiatrist was like, "You have to sleep." And it wasn't because... he was actually a really good sleeper. But when he was a newborn, you know, they have to eat every two or three hours. And my husband is an insomniac. So that's when we started sleeping in separate bedrooms, because I said "You sleep." Because he was working. He's a film editor. And we needed, you know, money and insurance and stuff. So I was like, okay, let's take care of him. So he can sleep and you know, bring in formula money, after I had to stop breastfeeding. Tragically, quickly, it was horrible. But oh, my God, you know, and I was the one in charge. So then we started hiring night nurses. I mean, the money just went out the door, and there were no amount of night nurses that could bring me back. You know? In that first in that first like week or two, I was psychotic, and I was manic, and my breast pump started talking to me. And that time was very dramatic. And it'll be really fun to write about. But I think one of the... for six months I had postpartum OCD, which is something that I don't hear talked about either and I believe can really serve. Because I had non stop thoughts that I was going to kill my child. And they were violent, graphic, looping thoughts, and they would not stop. And it was horrifying. And they lasted six months. And-- Adrienne MacIain 38:46 Was it you who duct taped all the windows? Court Rundell 38:49 Yes, yes. Adrienne MacIain 38:50 I have another friend who had postpartum psychosis and OCD. So I get these two mixed sometimes. [laughter] Court Rundell 38:56 You get us mixed up. Yeah, that's actually that's how I'm opening the book. Was when I was duct taping the windows shut and it did really help me. Because we lived in a three story townhouse. So, for you playing at home, I duct taped our sliding glass door, and every window that could be opened shut while my husband was gone, because I knew if he saw me doing it, he would pull the crazy card and be like, and it would flip him out. You know. I just wanted him to see it after the fact, you know, it made sense at the time. [laughter] I was like, you know, having them already duct tape, not as crazy as actually duct taping them. I don't know why. That's my, yeah. That's the way I thought back then. And, you know, and it did it really, really brought me a feeling of safety because I just thought that I would have a knee jerk reaction just like you do when you stand on top of a building. You know, most people I think when you stand on top of a very high building, you think "I could just jump!" It's just a thought. Adrienne MacIain 39:58 It's just a weird little... Yeah. Court Rundell 40:00 It's just a weird little thought, right? But if you have anxiety disorder, or OCD or something like that, that thought says hello, over and over and over and over and over again. So you need to get off that roof. So I needed to basically get off the roof and the duct tape got me off the roof. But you know, another thing that's really interesting is a lot of people... I've been battling Lyme for over a year now, and a lot of people are like, "Man, that sucks. How are you getting through it?" And I'm like, if I'm okay upstairs, I'm fine. I can handle the physical. I don't--I'm not good at a lot of pain. I'm not. But most of the physical that I have is not severe pain. And I have a lot of fatigue. But nothing compares... the only thing that compares, and you know, I would say comparing tragedies doesn't really do anything, but the only thing that compares is my childhood. I don't know which was worse like, my childhood, the first eight years of my life, or the four years of postpartum. Adrienne MacIain 41:03 Yeah, kind of a toss-up. Court Rundell 41:03 Both horrific. But Lyme disease, I'm not going to say it's nothing because it's not nothing. It's definitely a challenge. But compared to that, I feel like I've actually, I feel like postpartum gave me... Well, what it did was it made me be strong. And it made me see my strength, because I don't think that we really know how strong we are until we face a challenge. Adrienne MacIain 41:16 Absolutely. Court Rundell 41:18 And what I learned from that is that my strength is limitless. And so I know that, it's a deep knowing inside of me. So even when the Lyme is horrid, I know that my strength is limitless because I've proven that to myself before. Adrienne MacIain 41:49 Yeah. So I know that you did stand up, after-- Court Rundell 41:53 I did, for three years. It really helped me heal. Adrienne MacIain 41:56 Yeah. So I found that too, that turning tragedy into comedy, for myself, was one of the most healing things that I've ever done. Court Rundell 42:06 Absolutely, absolutely. Adrienne MacIain 42:07 While I was in the pit of you know postpartum depression, I created a character called Mrs. Fishbaum which you can find on my website. Court Rundell 42:13 I know Mrs. Fishbaum! I love Mrs. Fishbaum. Adrienne MacIain 42:16 Yes. So that's a real tool that people don't use as much as they could and should. Court Rundell 42:24 Well and one of the biggest tools too, and it started when I had prenatal depression because it was horrid and I couldn't get out of bed I was in the dark dark dark and I started reading a blog called Hyperbole And a Half. Adrienne MacIain 42:36 Oh! The best. Court Rundell 42:38 Allie Brosh? She's the most amazing human being, Adrienne MacIain 42:42 Huge fan, huge fan. Court Rundell 42:42 She's also struggled with depression very very badly after her book deal! You know, you think man I got my book deal. Everything's peaches and-- What?? Who shows up? Depression. What?? Low self-worth, all of that. But I love her. I discovered her blog, and so what I do now is, when I start to sink, I'll put on Pete Holmes or Mike Birbiglia, or you know just some of my favorite comics or I'll just throw on a Netflix, you know throw on any female who's got a special on Netflix. I always want to support female comics because we were so rare still. But oh my god, so many shows I was the only chick, I swear. Anyway, crazy. But yeah, comedy doing stand up. And I'm not saying go out and do stand up because that's insane. But because I was an actor for 16 years in my youth, I still like being on stage and you know, I speak now, I do a lot of public speaking. And I love that too. I've been doing that for almost 20 years. So it was like kind of an It was kind of nuts. And I didn't have any fear anymore because I almost died. So I was like, "What they're not gonna laugh at my joke? Who cares?" And you know, so I took a class and started doing open mics and you know, instead of like sitting in the greenroom with the other jaded comics, I would sit in the audience once I was done with my set, and I would *laugh*. I would just laugh. I would just laugh my balls off, you know? [laughter] Adrienne MacIain 42:45 Laughter is such great medicine. Court Rundell 44:20 It really, truly is. I mean, medicine's great medicine, too. But laughter really is medicine like it really it really can... I mean, when my depression was so horrid, I remember using laughter as a measurement tool, because... or using my sense of humor as a measurement tool, because when I was in the absolute darkness, the darkest of the dark, I would listen to comedy, because I would still use it as a tool. I would listen to comedy, and I would go, "I don't understand why that's funny." But when I was in, let's say, the 75% depression, I would go "That's funny." But I wouldn't laugh. You know what I mean? But when I was-- Adrienne MacIain 45:01 It's a good yardstick. Court Rundell 45:03 Yeah, it really is a measuring stick for depression and, you know, and then but when I'm in, like, kinda that 25% zone, I can pull... a lot of times the comedy can pull me out, you know, because I will start laughing. And that laughing... You know, there's, um, I don't know if you've read the book anatomy of an illness.? Adrienne MacIain 45:25 I have not. Court Rundell 45:25 It's from like, maybe 1982 It's, um, and his name... I'm spacing on his name right now. But I'm sure Adrienne will put it in the show notes. [NOTE: the author is Norman Cousins] It might come to me. He's, he's just so beautiful. He was diagnosed with this horrible, horribly painful, arthritic, horrible, there's-no-cure-for-you're-gonna-die-in-pain thing. I don't remember what the spondalyokis something-something... right, I'm so medical. [NOTE: it's called ankylosing spondylitis] Adrienne MacIain 45:34 That does not sound fun. Court Rundell 46:01 Yeah, let's just say he was diagnosed with The Land Of Suck. Adrienne MacIain 46:06 Okay. Court Rundell 46:07 So what he did was... He was wealthy. And he was he was the editor of a huge like, huge, huge newspaper. And he-- and I might be getting this wrong. It could have been a magazine, but he he was big time, right? And he had a very close personal relationship with a doctor. So he pushed his doctor, pushed him pushed him to do IV vitamin C. And that's actually one of my big tools for Lyme. But he also prescribed himself belly laughter. And what he did was he brought in like old Abbott and Costello, and you know, what he found funny. He had a projector brought into his hospital room. And he watched them, and what he discovered, because he couldn't sleep because he was in so much pain. And what he discovered is he would belly laugh, if he would belly laugh, really, really deep for a certain amount of time, he could sleep for two hours. Adrienne MacIain 47:11 That's gorgeous. Court Rundell 47:12 And he actually cured himself with vitamin C and belly laughter. Adrienne MacIain 47:18 Amazing. Court Rundell 47:19 Yeah. It's an amazing story, like, amazing. And so, yeah, laughter is curative. But. When we're in a certain spot, we're beyond laughter. You know, and I think that's something else I'd like to convey. You know, I mean, this is just this is for mothers who are suffering. And don't know what it is. I remember writing a blog for the North Hollywood patch about postpartum OCD. And I had one woman in particular who wrote me for maybe up to a year after that. And she was like, I haven't heard anybody talk about this. And this is exactly what I have. And she was suffering. And... Adrienne MacIain 48:12 I mean, I think that's one of the worst things about the postpartum era. Is just the isolation that you're just Court Rundell 48:20 Oh my god, oh my god! Adrienne MacIain 48:21 stuck at home with this You're STUCK. being that needs you constantly. Like, you can't even set them down without them screaming sometimes. And so, yeah, it really can feel like you're all alone. And there is no reason in this day and age to feel so alone. There are so many ways to reach out even from home. Court Rundell 48:45 There are Yeah. Facebook is an amazing tool. And I'm not talking about I didn't know about groups back then. Adrienne MacIain 48:56 I created Parents Party--I created a group, Court Rundell 48:58 Yes, you did. Adrienne MacIain 49:00 and that's why I created it. Because, I was like, "I'm so alone! I need people, please!" And also it was just like, I didn't want to bombard all my Facebook friends with like pictures and talk about babies because like, not everybody cares, and I wanted a place to do that. But it also was just so that I could be real with people and be like, "Is anyone else just feeling like fucking shit right now?" Court Rundell 49:24 Exactly. Adrienne MacIain 49:25 And surprise! Yeah, a lot of them were. [laughter] Court Rundell 49:28 Especially when you create your own group you can make it private if you know other pregnant people or people, you know struggling you can make it private and make it a safe space. That's right. Yeah. And, you know, but but there are a lot of groups that you can join, you know, like I've, I'm in a few Lyme groups, and those people have saved my butt because any chronic illness, you know, like, it's really isolating again, I find myself isolated. Again, I find myself losing friends. Again, I find myself losing family. But you know, but I also knew, "Oh, this is what's gonna happen." Because I've already been through it, but the shock, the shock of just the shock of having a child, your whole life changes the shock of being a mother the shock of the responsibility, the shock of not sleeping, and you know, and so often we go see male doctors who are so dismissive because they're like, well, you're just a tired new mom. And it's like yeah, there's tired new mom and there's postpartum mental illness. Do you know what I mean? And there's a difference and I think that we know. Like I know that I knew something was not right, but I went to my OB... Adrienne MacIain 50:50 Yeah, I mean yourself and you know your your normal kind of baseline and you know, me I'm a fucking sunshine-rainbows-coming-out-my-ass-unicorn-cheerleader most of the time. Court Rundell 50:59 Yeah, we're really similar in that respect, like we really are happy kids. Adrienne MacIain 51:06 And so, you know, when it is just such a struggle to even like sit up or carry on a conversation or do any of the things that I normally love to do. You know something's fucking wrong! You know that's not fucking normal. Court Rundell 51:24 Yeah, like even talking on the phone. I mean, it's like, getting up, like literally just standing up. Like, you know, I mean, the fatigue was so heavy it was crushing and I-- Adrienne MacIain 51:36 It feels like your whole body is just like covered in weights. Like you're just... dragging yourself. And yeah, like, I had some weight on me from the pregnancy, too. So some of the weight was literal. But no, it's this feeling of like, you cannot lift yourself up. It's just... Court Rundell 51:40 Yeah, and I think what a lot of people don't know too is that depression is physical. It's not just mental. It is physical. It will Adrienne MacIain 5