Speaker 1: Welcome to PurposeCity, stories of humanity in action. Sponsored by Executive Wealth Management. Guests on PurposeCity do not necessarily reflect an endorsement of Executive Wealth Management.
Ken: [00:00:30] Jackie, please tell me this is not true that people go to restaurants, they order their meals, they're talking to whoever they're with and their families, and they spot somebody like you. Somebody they recognize on TV, they know their voice. And they're like, "Oh, that's Jackie Paige and I wonder what she's eating." And they're looking at your plate, and then wondering if you have seconds or how much you ate of your potatoes, then [00:01:00] they go home, take the time to look up your contact information, find an email or whatever it is, Facebook and send you a message pro or con about how you chose and what you chose to eat. That doesn't really happen in our world, does it?
Jackie: Well, that's really funny that you say that because that actually did happen to me one time. Yeah, when I was working, you must have looked that up, but yes they did. "You must eat so [00:01:30] much food." Was the email that I received, yeah, at work.
Ken: Wow. So, that's living under a microscope, right? I mean, we judge ourselves. Sometimes we're pretty proud of ourselves, but most often than not, we see the flaws in ourselves. I see myself in a monitor right now and I have reading glasses on, which is great. So, I can't really see what I look like. And that's all the better, because that would distract me, thinking, oh my hairline's receding. And all of these kinds of things that go through my head. [00:02:00] But to add that to yourself, so a mirror can be your worst enemy. And when no one else may even be thinking these things, but you live in a pretty harsh industry for appearance and things like that. And then to go out and even have that happen one time has to compound in your psyche of those things, right? It magnifies it. How did that affect you and kind of, what's your [00:02:30] story before where you're at now on how that made you feel in the media spotlight?
Jackie: Well, so I've lost 140 pounds. I used to weigh a lot [crosstalk 00:02:43] and I was on, thank you very much. And I was on TV for and have been on TV now for almost 30 years. And during that period of time, this was subsequently, it was just a combination of things. I've always [00:03:00] struggled with my weight, but after I had my second child in particular, I could not lose get down to even a size 12 or a 10 was just impossible. And I had thyroid issues. I do have thyroid issues. I have Hashimoto's disease and worked through it. And I mean, ultimately ended up having some weight loss surgery. And that helped me lose about 60 pounds. And I got in, I became an avid fitness freak, which is what I am now. [00:03:30] And I've lost the further 70. So, I've lost and I'm addicted to fitness. I love it.
And I'm very healthy, but yes, the impact, the social impact of my job and the criticism and the fearfulness of losing the job as a result of not qualifying for the appearance contract that we all have or had, I think those are gone now. But [00:04:00] yeah, that was tough. That was really tough on me emotionally.
Ken: Emotionally, right. What is, I mean, at that time, that's a big decision to have that kind of surgery, life changing. And I mean, that's 80% of your stomach, is that right?
Jackie: Correct. Yeah.
Jackie: The gastric sleeve surgery is what I had. Yeah. And there are several different weight loss, surgeries out there. I had the one where they take out 80% of your stomach and they just get rid of it. And [00:04:30] it's basically, I needed to either I was at a point where I felt like my life was over and I might want to end my life to the point of starting over which is what I did.
Ken: So, you're an advocate, not only for fitness and health, but mental wellness as well, is that correct?
Jackie: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.
Ken: So, during that time, that all goes together. It's all intertwined, right? So, if you're not feeling [00:05:00] good about yourself or if physically, you're not where you want to be affects your mental state and I'm not an expert, I don't know how much you are, but just like, what's the difference between depression versus just feeling depressed? Because we all don't feel good about ourselves at times or we all have an event. Maybe I've had events in my life where I know my emotions went darker than normal, but it took time and I'm out of it. [00:05:30] So, then maybe that's not a mental condition, that's a normal state of life, but then I don't know if that's normal or just normal for me.
Jackie: Right. Well, I think that, first of all, I think that everybody has their stuff, right? I think we all have our challenges in life and we have adversity. Some people are extraordinarily blessed and have very few incidents in their lives, which my, I had the memory of losing my sister at a very young age. [00:06:00] She was two and a half. I was five. She drowned in a really bizarre accident and I was with her at the time. And I think that that became sort of a precursor for me to be depressed and to deal with those kinds of issues. And I wasn't the only one in my family that I think suffered the consequences of that death. And [00:06:30] as a result, I have through periods in my life, sought counseling. At certain times in my life, I think I'd taken medication. I did take medication, which I no longer do and that, but was clinically depressed for many years.
And had two brothers who also suffered from that and they are no longer here. One actually [00:07:00] did commit suicide and the other one died as a result of drug addiction. And so, I think it is certainly familial, probably hereditary. But also I think certain life experiences can lead you in that direction. So, I think I went to food which made it worse.
Ken: Is there [crosstalk 00:07:28], oh, I'm sorry. Is there a line, do you [00:07:30] think you're talking about a terrible tragedy. What was your sister's name?
Jackie: Her name was Katie.
Ken: So, Katie's incident, where's the dividing line between grief and depression or is there, or does one lead to the other? Because like you mentioned hereditary, but then you've had these things that any normal human being wouldn't feel depressed over and grieve over.
Jackie: Right. Well, and I think that, I think if you don't grieve properly, [00:08:00] I think that that leads to depression, right? So, if you're not allowed to grieve in terms of the way that, however, that manifests itself when you're five years old, I'm not really sure. But I think that the, it wasn't so much that she died, it was the, she died, but I think it was also the reaction that what I saw my parents going through as a result of that and sort of what the turmoil that sort of, the [00:08:30] evolution of turmoil, perhaps for not being able to perhaps deal with that properly with some members of my family. So, and I think the loss or some type of incident that happens, I think it's absolutely true that people can become depressed. I mean, I think there's what five stages of grief. And I think if you don't process stages properly, that can lead to a depression.
Ken: Right. With your brothers [00:09:00] more past childhood more recently, is that right?
Jackie: Mm-hmm. Yes. My oldest brother, there were six of us kids and my oldest brother, John, he committed suicide in 2017.
Ken: Wow. Very recent.
Jackie: Yes. But he had years and years struggled with addiction for years and years and years. And [00:09:30] again, was he self-medicating? Probably. And it's something that I've become very, a huge advocate of and would like to do more. And everybody says, "Oh, we need to bring it out in the open. We'd have to have conversations." But really, what actions can be done to improve people who really suffer from this overwhelming feeling of anxiety [00:10:00] and feeling that you don't matter, or that you're not good enough?
Ken: Isn't that the difference between really depression as a mental state, something to be treated versus feeling low is self-worth?
Ken: Isn't that kind of, I mean, that's very simplistic. I'm sure if a doctor had me say that, but basically it's a feeling of self-worth that you cover or [00:10:30] it's just a constant [inaudible 00:10:33], I guess, that you don't see an end to?
Jackie: Right. And I mean, if I can be honest with you, I got a lot, as I told you, I no longer am on any meds. I don't take any medication for depression. I don't. I do use fitness, but I also have a very strong faith. And people, "Oh, that's just gobbledygook, whatever." [00:11:00] It's actually not and for me, it's not. I think when you know that is as hard as your life is or can be, and you look to the fact that it can be worse because as much sorrow that I've had in my family, I look around me and there are people who are dealing with things that are far worse than I've ever had. And I think that the allowance for gratitude and humility [00:11:30] brings you a great deal of happiness.
Ken: Absolutely. And this isn't an answer for why there's a darkness in the world per se. But if some of us didn't suffer things beyond what normal people do or just grieve in terrible ways and then get past it or learn to cope, who would be helping others? You have the empathy and the compassion [00:12:00] and the understanding to help so many people and be an advocate for areas that is more than just putting a TV radio name face on.
Ken: It means something to you. And I think those are the most important and probably powerful advocates. So, I mean, that's how I view my life a little bit as a little simplified, but I can do a lot more and have more compassion for people because if you know what pain feels [00:12:30] like.
Jackie: I agree. And I think actually, you talked about what's happening in today's society and we are just such a divided culture right now. People say, "Well, we've been like this as a country before." I don't know if we have. It certainly hasn't been this way in my lifetime, but I do feel that a lot of people who have, maybe I shouldn't say a lot of people, I shouldn't say that many that I've come to know who've had very little tragedy [00:13:00] or who've had, who have a lot to be grateful for, look at, they turned to politics to be their sort of anger and to be their, where they... When you don't have anything at home to worry about and you're one of these people that wants, you're one of those people that maybe doesn't have focus or that doesn't, or is depressed or is defined by your emotions, or has that hereditary thing that I was talking about earlier, that [00:13:30] you look to the situation that's happening in the world right now and you sort of glam on to that and it's unfortunate.
Ken: Yeah. Or you're looking at other people's plates at restaurants if you don't have enough going on in your own life. I mean, wouldn't you love to have so little going on in your life that that's something that takes up your time?
Jackie: Well, isn't it funny? I mean, I never thought about it like that. At that time I think I was so [inaudible 00:13:57], I was like, "Oh my gosh. [00:14:00] I really need to be careful about what I eat when I go out."
Ken: Eat what you want for sure.
Jackie: Now I do.
Ken: Yeah. Who cares?
Ken: So, I think for one thing, if people haven't been touched by such serious issues as, I mean, we've all had down times, but severe depression in their families, drug addictions, suicides, it can kind of seem an off, [00:14:30] if that's the nightliner, 2020 show for the night, they might skip it and watch something happier later. But the fact is we should all take pause and look at the people around us, isn't that right? Because when things do happen, it's too late. And then you're asking the questions, were there signs? So, I think we all have a responsibility just to not be Debbie Downers, but to look at our loved ones around [00:15:00] us and just make sure they're okay.
Jackie: Yeah. I agree. I think that one of our sort of being our brother's keeper, I think that it's so important. I know my mother-in-law is someone who has said before that she doesn't need anyone. And I think that she meant that in a very positive way. "I don't need anyone. I'm very self secure." But I feel that, [00:15:30] I think we all need people and that it's imperative that we recognize that. And when we don't reach out to people actively, and we expect people to actively reach out to us, I think that that's ego and sometimes ego gets in the way of and allows depression to set [00:16:00] in. When you've got the voice in your mind that's saying, "Nobody cares about you. Nobody loves you.
Nobody wants to talk to you." Well, first of all, I think that's evil, but I also think that not like, and I'm not talking like a spirit or whatever, but I do think that it is, we all have this person inside of us that wants us to do well. I think we also have a person inside of us that maybe doesn't want us to do well. And I think you have to give the voice inside of you that wants you to do well a much larger space.
Ken: Yeah. And [00:16:30] I found in The Times, I think the first step is, if you can identify yourself loathing that I'm feeling sorry for myself, or I'm focused too much on myself, no matter how low your, or whatever your life circumstances, it could be totally unfair and harsh and all these things. But I found the hardest thing to do but the best thing to do is if even in those states, you're looking towards other people. And how could I use, what little I know how to do or what self-worth [00:17:00] I know I haven't helped somebody else with it. And that really begins to turn your mental state around and to open up and there's always somebody that cares about us even if we don't feel like it. And if you allow people to care for you and begin to look at others, and those are like maybe too simplistic things, but they can at least start steering in the right direction.
And any tips on, or any thoughts from an experience [00:17:30] or your advocacy on just whether it's depression or if it's substance abuse or maybe someone not everyone's voicing that they're having end of life thoughts and things, but maybe just little signs or things you could see whether you have teenagers or you have someone in your family that lost a job and you assume they're handling, or they say they're handling it okay and they may not be? Because from what I've read, it seems [00:18:00] like the highest rate of death by suicide comes from white or Caucasian middle-aged men over finances. Something has hit them. They've lost a job, but they lost a job and there isn't the padding. They're not going to pay their mortgage. They're not going to be able to take care of their kids. And they're just so overwhelmed and when they don't see a financial way out. You'd think it's [00:18:30] some kind of inner city misery. But when you look at the stats, it's not, it's suburbia. It's your people next door.
Jackie: Yeah. Well, and as you, as someone who's in Wealth Management, you understand that this society, many of us live beyond our means. And I think when a man wants to provide for his wife and his kids and he wants to give them everything and he has hard time saying no, because he feels like he's less of a man. [00:19:00] And in society right now, I think it's, things are changing fortunately in that aspect that people are starting to say, "Okay, this stuff is not important." But I think it's hard for men and I think for men that are at least my age, weren't told they could express their feelings and felt that they're inadequate if they're not doing those things that you said, so they didn't tell anybody. And I actually, my husband, [00:19:30] he works in your industry as well. And he knows several men who have unfortunately done that and it's very scary. So, I try not to put all that pressure on my husband to be giving me all those wonderful days.
But yeah, it's a very real financial issues for men are very, that's it. And I would encourage them, [00:20:00] if you can't talk to your wife about feeling overwhelmed and that you're not going to be able to manage it and that she's going to have to get a job, then I would seek counseling to maybe, or marriage counseling and tell your wife, "Maybe we should go talk to someone just about some things I'm feeling," rather than say it's not marriage trouble, but so that he can at least have some sort of safe avenue or safe, maybe call it a safe space, [00:20:30] a true safe space to actually expose his feelings to his wife maybe for the first time. Maybe to have somebody there to sort of hold his hand. I mean, because I do think that men feel emasculated sometimes if they're open. I mean, don't you?
Ken: Yeah, for sure. Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Ken: Yeah. And you don't want to admit failures. You don't want to admit weakness. And you're looking at the social media world where it seems like everyone's life is perfect. [00:21:00] They don't have one bad angle on their face or their body or whatever and they're on the best vacations all the time. And we know that's not reality, but then we look at our day to day and then especially if you slip and fall in a pit for a while, and then that's your constant feed is everyone's so great and I'm worthless. You get back to the worst list thing. So, that's one thing I really appreciate about you and is, you work kind [00:21:30] of in a, I wouldn't say news is glam, but it's entertainment, right?
And it's informative, but you have expectations of looks and things. You live in that universe kind of a work Facebook world, social media world sort of. But you're very open that you have a real life, real hearts like everybody else. And so, you're showing the side of that we don't show on social media sometimes that we're not posting and that helps people. And I'd like to [00:22:00] give, I'm sorry, go ahead. I like to give [inaudible 00:22:03] to your husband. You mentioned them, obviously I've done a little homework, but I've seen where you've stated that as far as your insecurities of your former weight issues and things, is he never, it never came from him or from family?
Jackie: Never. I can't even tell you. I talk about my faith and it actually kind of, I get teared up a little bit. I don't know what I [00:22:30] did to earn the man that I'm married to right now, but, or what I did, because if he wasn't in my life, I would not be here. And God does put people in your life and they are there to help you. And again, I just have to give God the credit. And I just, as I said, I wouldn't be here. He's just an amazing, incredible human being. [00:23:00] I'm blessed.
Ken: Very good. And unless you can think of something better, I'd like to end this conversation just on if it's somebody listening to themselves or somebody they know that seems to be struggling, that people just talk. Just be open of how you're feeling. And if you feel like you can't do it to somebody that's close to you, or you don't have someone, there's so many people to talk to or to call. And I don't know, do you have any specific organizations along those lines? If not, [00:23:30] I can put them in just in the program notes.
Jackie: I don't really. That's the funny thing. We talk about this, how we really, other than Suicide Prevention, people aren't going to call that. They should, but they're not going. I would say, honestly, I would reach out to maybe your pastor at your church, maybe that might be a first step. Go volunteer maybe at [00:24:00] something that is important to you where a hospital or something like that where you feel that you can, or homeless shelter where you feel that you can be a part of something and do good for others. I often find that starting out healing on your own is when you start showing up for others, then you can start taking care of yourself too.
Ken: Yeah. And I think when you're giving to others in your own hurt time, you feel like [00:24:30] you did something for somebody and you're building up your own self-worth.
Ken: Isn't that right?
Jackie: A 100%.
Ken: All right. Thank you, Jackie.
Jackie: Thank you very much.
Ken: Sure. And the purpose of the podcast, stories of humanity in action is presented by Executive Wealth Management and it exemplifies our core values of trust community and compassion.
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