OYM Duncan MacLeod | Mental Health Challenges


As we acknowledge our vulnerabilities and open up about our personal struggles with mental health, we can transform the story and inspire others with a spark of hope and empathy that guides us toward healing together. Join us as we delve into the gripping and inspiring life of Duncan MacLeod, an acclaimed author, film director, and musician. Duncan leads us on a transformative path where he shares personal insights into his mental health struggles. He delves into the innermost complexities he faced and the remarkable resilience he demonstrated to overcome them. Duncan also shares the inspiration behind his artistic works such as the documentary “La Lucha, the Struggle” and his novel “5150”. He also shares a sneak peek at his ongoing project, the autobiographical memoir titled “When Everything Cracks.” Which offers a candid and profound exploration of his experiences within psychiatric hospitals. By openly discussing his struggles with mental health, Duncan passionately seeks to rewrite the narrative and bring about greater understanding and compassion. Join us and discover the transformative power of sharing our truth.


Where to find Duncan MacLeod online:

Website: http://www.duncanwritesbooks.com

Twitter: @DuncanMac

Facebook: Facebook profile

Blog: http://www.dunkablog.com

Check out Duncan MacLeod’s books here: https://www.duncanwritesbooks.com/

Watch the episode here


Listen to the podcast here


Duncan MacLeod Discusses Lived Experience With Mental Health Challenges

Duncan MacLeod is an author, film director and musician. This native Californian was transplanted to the East Coast to attend an Ivy League boarding school but he did not enjoy nor fare so well in such an environment. He soon returned to California to finish his education at San Francisco State University, where he majored in Film and Italian.

His diverse creative experiences include directing a featured documentary called La Lucha: The Struggle, performing as lead Autoharp in the band The Acres and writing the semi-autobiographical novel 5150. This quintessential novel depicts the raw and unforgettable tale of a young and gay Ethan Lloyd set in the 1980s. Duncan is enjoying his life as an author and living in Greater Los Angeles with his partner, Rafael and their dog, Pepper. He’s presently editing his autobiographical memoir of psychiatric hospitalization called When Everything Cracks.

Duncan, welcome. Thank you for being with us.

Thank you for having me. I’m excited to talk about my work.

In this show we’ve been doing with Journey’s Dream and trying to help rewrite the narrative on mental health, we appreciate when people are willing to share their stories and journeys. I was hoping you could tell us about your journey, your books and what makes you passionate about promoting them.

It’s probably easy to tell in a short format. I experienced what would be called a manic episode but at the time, they called it a psychotic break. In about 1987, I was nineteen years old. I didn’t know what was happening because it had never happened before. I believed everything that my brain was telling me. The process of recovering from it had many phases to it.

There was getting better, the kind where they give you medicine and your brain gets more organized. There was coming off the medicine so that I could live my life normally. There was depression and drug addiction and then recovery from that. That’s the cycle of the books that I have behind me here. Those are the story of what happened. The reason I felt compelled to tell the story was because I had such a hard time recovering from the last piece of mental illness that lasts.

That’s what some call stigma or you can call it ableism. It’s being treated differently because you have mental differences. I don’t know if the term neurodivergent applies in this case but it’s certainly a shortcut to saying that there are neurotypicals and the neurodivergent, living and conducting one’s life in a society that doesn’t fully understand it and also puts a lot of shame around it.

It is a very debilitating experience. I’ve lost jobs, quit jobs and done a lot of things that for someone who had started at an Ivy League school and had to drop out, I was having a downward trajectory that was hard to stop. I was unemployed for a long time on SSI and then I lost my job again in sales because I couldn’t do sales.

There was a lot of ups and downs in my life. I decided I needed to tell my story. I didn’t know why. I just had it in my heart. I knew I was a good writer. I had been told so since I was in third grade. I thought, “Why don’t I try telling the story?” Instead of telling it with a typical narrator telling it in the third person past tense or even the first person past tense, I chose first person present tense where you, the reader, are experiencing psychosis as it’s happening.

It’s like a document of what happened and what I thought happened, as you know from having read what you’ve read and listened to what you’ve listened to on the podcast When Everything Cracks. There’s a lot of unreality or magical realism mixed in with my narrative because I’m an unreliable narrator. I didn’t know what was happening.

When I go back to that time and tell it from that perspective, it’s a treat for psychiatrists and psychologists. Anyone I know in that field, even psychiatric nurses who’ve read it, say that they’ve never had such a powerful insight into why their patients are behaving the way they are when this is going on. I will warn you that I get emotional sometimes talking about this so it’s up to you if you want to include my tears when they happen.

I have an HMO with a psychiatrist who read the book. She was the first of the people that treated me that read the book. She was gushing, saying, “This should be required reading for every first-year intern at Kaiser. They should have to read this to understand why their patients are behaving the way they are.” Some of it is so universal. There are features of a psychotic break or a manic episode that are universal.

I tell the story from the inside, which mostly it’s told by doctors from the outside who’ve witnessed the behavior. Instead, I’m someone who was inside, pushing out this bizarre information and weird understanding, knowing where it is at. I thought that the phone company was At, AT&T. It was crazy neurological and linguistic breakdown. I shouldn’t use the word crazy because that’s a bad word but it comes out sometimes because it’s the only way to express what was happening.

You asked why I was passionate about it or at least I think you did. I’m passionate because this book can help families, friends, doctors and even patients or people suffering or people who have suffered and are living with stigma. They’ll connect to the story and understand that they weren’t the only ones who have been through something like this.

They know they’re not. They’ve been in a hospital probably with other people going through it but they haven’t been able to break inside those people’s minds and understand that their thought processes and mine were very similar in a lot of ways. The disorganization had an order to it that wasn’t comprehensible to the outside world.

If you would, can you take us back to the levels or stages of recovery that you talk about and explain each of them a little more, please?

The first phase of recovery, which is where stigma first appears, is talking to doctors until they believe that you are getting better. You learn to suppress some of the information that you feel compelled to share until they believe that you’re getting better. You may or may not be getting better in their minds but you’re better. You appear more rational. At that point, in San Francisco, in the ‘80s, I don’t know if this is still true, they move you from the hospital to what’s called a three-quarters-of-the-way house. It’s not a halfway house. It’s much more structured. They had an occupational therapist. I cooked. This is one of those emotional moments. Sorry.

OYM Duncan MacLeod | Mental Health Challenges

Mental Health Challenges: The first phase of recovery, which is where stigma first appears, is talking to doctors until they believe that you are getting better. You learn to suppress some of the information that you feel compelled to share until they believe that you’re getting better.


Cooking was this bizarrely grounding way of reconnecting to the earth. It made me better. To believe that I couldn’t even chop strawberries when I first started. I thought, “I can’t do this. I can’t tie my shoes. How can I chop strawberries?” I was so disorganized and yet she gave me this big bowl. It’s in the book. I got all the way through it, which seems like nothing, probably to a neurotypical person but to somebody who’s been through such a break from reality, it was incredible to me.

That was the beginning of the healing process. That was when I started to reconnect and ground. I had been so ungrounded. Gradually, things started to make sense. I did some stupid things. I smoked some pot and I immediately went back into a psychotic state. It wasn’t nearly as bad as what I was before but I was so paranoid and afraid. My breathing was shallow.

I said, “I cannot ever smoke this stuff again.” It was true. I couldn’t. I moved from the three-quarters-of-the-way house to the halfway house and that was much less structured. That’s when I started to heal. I got a job. I was a barista before they called it that at a sweet shop called Sweet Inspirations in San Francisco.

I was living in a very nice neighborhood in San Francisco in a mansion that they had turned into a halfway house called Conard House. It was called the country club of the mental health system. I lucked out when I got in there. The counselors were great and they kept telling me, “You’re fine. You think differently than other people but that’s okay.” That was a good message.

That was when I stopped taking my medicine. They gave me something called Prolixin that they’ve since taken off the market because it had so many nasty side effects. I was so stiff. It was hard to move. You can talk about your opinion of medicine yourself when you want but I know that that was the wrong medicine. It brought me back to earth but it did it in such a horrible way. Lithium might have been gentler.

I got off the medicine and felt a little buzzy but I was okay. A friend of mine was going to Mexico and he said, “You should come with me.” I asked at the halfway house, “Can I go to Mexico?” They were like, “You’re going to miss out on the cooperative apartments and all these other things that we have but if that’s what you want to do, we can’t stop you.” I said, “You can’t stop me. I’m going.” I hopped on a plane to San Diego, caught a bus to Mexicali and we got on this train called The Burro.

It’s this slow train that stops at every station between Mexicali and Guadalajara. We experienced Mexico in a way I never had. I learned Spanish in high school and while I was on that train, I learned to speak Spanish and understand it. It was an interesting journey. I wrote my third book, M3X1(0, about that trip. It has elements of magical realism in it.

OYM Duncan MacLeod | Mental Health Challenges

M3X1(0: Book 3 of the Psychotic Series

That’s much more like a novel because some of the stuff happened to me or it happened on a different trip to Mexico, these coincidences where I met a priest and then everyone I met after that asked me if I knew that priest. They were like, “He’s my cousin,” that kind of thing. I put that into the book because it made sense, even if it was on a different trip from the one I took in 1988.

When I got back from Mexico, I met some people who were into drugs. I tried a lot of drugs with them. Speed was great for the first hour and then I wanted to go to sleep and couldn’t. Heroin was better than any mental health drug I’d ever had. It made everything okay. I’ve done a lot of exploration as to why that might be. I know that I had a lot of trauma as a child and it quieted all of that part of my nervous system where I have no balance. I couldn’t do a lot of physical activity because I jumped too much and was afraid of the ball.

It quieted all of that so that I could skateboard around San Francisco. I felt great around people but as everybody knows, there is a problem with heroin, which is you get more and more dependent on it and need more and more. What ended up happening was that through some miracle, I didn’t get HIV but I did get Hepatitis C from sharing needles.

I got very sick and my mom asked me, “What’s wrong?” I said, “I think I have hepatitis.” She was like, “How did you get that?” I finally told her, “I’m doing heroin.” She jumped in and got me into a five-day detox that was free in San Rafael called Center Point. That place was great. They saved my life. I started going to Twelve-Step meetings after that. I did that for about twenty years until I thought, “You’re done. You’re not going to go back to heroin,” and I haven’t.

That recovery process took a while but that was when the stigma and the shame hit home. Part of the recovery process was that I ended up back at the same halfway house with a whole different set of people and friends but it had changed its focus from mental health to dual diagnosis. It was the perfect place for me to live while I was going to school. I was getting SSI. I moved into their cooperative apartments afterwards and then I moved out onto my own. The whole time I was going to college, I was learning my third language.

I learned French and Spanish in high school and then I learned Italian in college. I haven’t written about this part yet. When I was in college, there were times when I was desperately ashamed of what was going on with my living situation. People would say, “Can we come over to your house for a study group?” I’d say no. I didn’t want to explain why. I would say, “My roommates won’t let me have any guests.” They’re like, “F*** your roommates.” I would say, “Trust me, you don’t want to come there.”

I tried to drop the subject. I didn’t want anyone to know that I was living with mental illness and that I was recovering from heroin addiction. I did not want that out there because I was so ashamed. These books undo all of that. Even though I wrote them with a character named Ethan, who wasn’t Duncan, they were my way of reconciling all these healing processes that I had to go through and work on the last one, the stigma, shame and dealing with other people’s ableism or neurotypical behavior.

I haven’t written about that yet. That’s another book that I’m working on called The Mental Health First Aid Kit. I’m sending out proposals for that because it’s non-fiction and I’m going to be getting in touch with people like you. I already have quite a list going of therapists, psychiatrists and others who are willing to talk about how to deal with ableism and what someone recovering from a mental illness can expect in terms of reception. How open is it that you can be without repercussions?

You can certainly be open among your friends, which I found out later. All those college friends that didn’t know why I was being so cagey, they know now and they’re fine with it. Employers are not so forgiving or understanding. A lot of employers have unwritten policies that if somebody is found to be dealing with a mental illness, they’ve got a limited amount of time before the next round of layoffs. They’re top of the list. That happened to me. I even said it to her face.

Is that the operational definition that you would use for the term ableism that you’re using?

It’s an unwritten policy. It’s against the law. At the company I worked at that shall go unnamed, I had a friend who had an episode and she went to the hospital. When she came back, she said, “I’m so afraid they’re going to fire me.” I said, “It’s against the law. They can’t.” One day, exactly two years to the day after she got out of the hospital, they let her go. No explanation. They said, “We’re doing layoffs,” but she was the only one laid off.

She was doing a perfectly fine job. She had to take more sick days than the average person because of mental health days but they’re supposed to accommodate that and they didn’t. I had hypomania but I was under so much pressure and stress. I was getting my MBA. I was working for the C-suite at that company, the executives and was under a lot of pressure.

I started to yell at people or go off with too much energy. My psychiatrist at Kaiser noticed it and said, “I’m putting you in partial hospitalization. It’s like a day treatment where you’re with therapists and psychiatrists all day long.” I had to leave work and I didn’t want to tell them why but they kept pressing the issue, “Why are you doing this? We can’t just let you go.”

I said, “It’s for bipolar disorder.” They got quiet and scribbled some notes. They’re like, “You got the time off. Go. We would never stop you.” Two years later, they let me go. Luckily, I landed on my feet because they had put me as what they call an implant at a major studio. I was working in entertainment and I was there. They needed me so when they let me go, that company said, “We’ll pick up the tab. We’ll start paying for him.”

They gave me a huge pay cut but I got to stay there. I got put into sales again. I was doing IT and they moved me back into sales, which I am not good at. You don’t put somebody like me in sales. I have a hard enough time understanding myself so trying to understand the needs of another person is a lot of work for me.

It’s not just that. It takes a certain personality to be good at sales and there are very few artists and creatives that are good at sales.

I’m doing my best to be good at it. I had my MBA but it didn’t translate to sales support. Luckily, I got put on an IT project for a while. I’m giving you my career, which is not that interesting. The important part is understanding that neurotypical people ableists are out there who don’t understand the needs. It’s written in the laws, what our needs are but they still think, “They’re just faking it. We don’t have time for this nonsense.”

Ableists out there don't understand the needs of mentally challenged people. It's written in the laws what their needs are, but they still think they're just faking it or that they don't have time for this nonsense. Share on X

These are what I imagine is going through their head. They’re supposed to be thinking, “This is great. We’re able to support this guy.” Honestly, the studio that I worked at was able to support me. They’re such a big company and are publicly traded. All eyes are on them. I don’t think they do it out of the goodness of their heart. They do it out of the concerns of the stockholders but at least there’s support. They had a disability support group that I joined and I felt like an imposter. That’s something that a lot of people with mental illnesses have.

I wasn’t in a wheelchair. I didn’t have a disability that was visible except for my behavior. People take the behavior and assume that I’m neurotypical and acting like an asshole or something, which I was. I don’t think I was that bad but I think differently. I was in data analysis and I’m very intuitive, like off the charts on the Myers-Briggs, 100% N. They don’t like that in the left-brained world of IT because I know the answer right away.

They spend days and days and then they get the answer that I got. Somehow, they conveniently forget that I already told them this. I say, “That’s what I told you.” “No, it’s not because you didn’t do this and this.” I said, “I didn’t need to.” I looked at the data. It’s almost like another color, like a shimmering where the data is off. I see it and I say, “That’s your problem right there.” They go, “How do you know?” I say, “It’s because it’s a different color.”

I don’t know what to say. “It’s because it feels different. I feel differently than you. You think it should be right but it’s not.” I often wondered if there was a way where I could parlay this into a fun job where I look at people’s data and go, “Abracadabra. Do this and you’ll have money coming in the door like you wouldn’t believe. All of the people you were about to lay off get to stay because you weren’t looking at this one thing.” What a fun job that would be.

Sadly, most of the jobs are looking at the numbers so that you can find out how many people we can lay off, which is bonkers to me. That’s not the right way to do it. You have infinite revenue when you’re a movie studio. You can realize that you do not recognize it correctly. There was this revenue recognition problem that I had dealt with at post-production houses and movie studios where money was falling through the cracks because they weren’t billing it.

People who are neurodivergent in any way often have these skills. If only employers understood how valuable that was. CEOs, operations and the executive office didn’t get where they were because they had no intuition. They didn’t get there making logical decisions. They took leaps of faith and understand my type of thinking better than a middle manager, someone who’s trying to say safe and secure in their job as opposed to taking risks. It is a risk to believe what I have to say sometimes.

They don’t have to believe it to check it out. They have to be willing to check it out. Let me ask you, when did you start writing? Did you start with 5150? The period you’re talking about, where you’re out of the hospital and the halfway houses and you’re working, how long after that did you decide to start writing?

OYM Duncan MacLeod | Mental Health Challenges

5150: A Transfer

It was about ten years after. I moved to Los Angeles. This city is such a creative place and there’s so much creative energy out there to grab. It’s like when you’re in New York and you feel that money vibe in the air because that’s a money town. This is a creative town. It woke up my musical ability, writing and filmmaking. All of those things came to life. I started a band and I started writing the novel.

The process of writing your first novel is a big learning curve. I did luck out and meet up with some people who were like a group that supported each other in their writing. I was able to read scenes to them and they were rolling on the floors, laughing at some of the funny scenes in 5150. It was very helpful. I go, “Great. I’m going to keep this.” I was reading another scene and they said, “I don’t think you need that.”

I had originally written the book thinking it would be too cruel to make somebody read it just as I had written it. I needed to put these interstitial chapters from someone normal’s point of view for them not to have a panic attack or something. That group said, “No, don’t do that,” so I didn’t. There were more emotions from left field. I don’t know where they’re coming from.

The process of writing your first novel is a big learning curve. Share on X

It sounds like related to the support you were getting from that group and the validation of who you are and your story was plenty good.

It felt good. Also, one of the members of the group passed away during the pandemic and I didn’t get to grieve her properly so it’s probably a little of that. There was a funeral that we all found out about a month after it happened. A lot of us were left in shock that this relatively young woman had passed away from cancer and I didn’t even know she had it. That’s where the tears might be coming from. The support too. I hadn’t put the book out yet so I hadn’t shared it with anyone.

I shared my story in Twelve-Steps. That’s a good place to tell your story. I would often break down crying. I would ask, “Please don’t ask me to share because I don’t feel like crying in front of a room full of people.” Getting it written and then having all this positive feedback from not just friends but I’ve gotten a few strangers that have posted reviews that are like, “This is a magnificent work of art.” It doesn’t take too many people saying that to make you feel good.

There are no negative reviews on Amazon. 4 stars maybe but no 1 star. That feels good. There’s validation in that. This is a valid story that needs to be told. When the writer’s strike is over, maybe I will work on finding a way to get When Everything Cracks, the new book, published right. I started to talk about this earlier but it was my first book and I didn’t know how to release it. I wanted a major publishing house to do that for me. I found out you have to have an agent.

I wrote to 125 agents and I got 125 rejections, even from 1 friend or 2 who was an agent saying, “I don’t know what to do with this. I don’t know where this book could go on the shelf.” I said, “Put it next to William Burroughs. I don’t know. It’s a work of beat literature.” The covers, you might notice, are borrowed from the book Howl and Other Poems, which was this itty bitty poem that was written a long time ago by Allen Ginsberg.

That’s the affinity I felt. He was homosexual or gay like I am. He grabbed madness and put it on paper and that’s what I was doing. I thought I would go to City Lights Books and say, “You need to publish me,” but you can’t do that. Maybe you can but I didn’t. At the time I wrote the book, it was only about San Francisco several years ago but now it’s about San Francisco many years ago. It’s a work of historical fiction or memoir.

I’ve been able to rebrand it and get people who are nostalgic for the way San Francisco was when there were still payphones and bus transfers. It was a very different city back then. There was no dot-com or internet. That was all down the peninsula in San Jose and Santa Clara, Mountain View. That’s the period that these books are written. It was right at the turn because the book ends in 1990 and that’s when I got my first CompuServe account which was the very beginning of people getting on the internet. I don’t even talk about it in that book because it happened right after I got clean. The book ends with me getting clean.

I like to ask people who’ve been through this. To what would you attribute the core factors that helped you improve, get more functional, make your way back or however you’d like to talk about it?

I survived different kinds of accidents, abuse and things when I was a kid. I went to a good boarding school. I got myself in on a scholarship. It was my way of running away from home. It’s the best boarding school ever. It’s called Concord Academy in Massachusetts. It’s a Liberal Arts school that was the very first one to have a Gay-Straight Alliance about three years after I graduated. It was a very progressive school and I learned a lot of skills there, including writing. With that foundation, the ability to get away from a not-so-good home to a good living situation as a boarding student was the skillset that I used to recover.

It was the same energy that I’m in this awful town, living in an awful living situation with my mother and nobody else. I need to protect myself. I saw boarding school as a way out and I took it. I had a moment of realization, which is in chapter sixteen or something of the book, where I realized I wasn’t on a spaceship. I was in San Francisco because I broke out of the hospital. That’s the scene that I read where they were falling on the floor laughing because it’s funny. I broke out of the hospital but only for 100 yards and then I got tackled by a cop.

Landing on the ground so hard in San Francisco and seeing San Francisco and not a window of San Francisco, which I said was a screen, I said, “You’re just projecting that. That’s not San Francisco.” They would not let us go outside. When they did, it was on the roof that had high walls because they didn’t want us jumping off. I didn’t have any proof that I wasn’t on a spaceship. Why would I get better? I thought they were messing with me. When you get to the end of the book, you’ll understand my frustration with all that. I’m answering a question that was asked a while ago so I’m not sure if that strayed.

One of the factors was that you left home, which wasn’t so good and got into that wonderful boarding school. The question was about what primary factors you would think you would attribute your improvement to, your ability to come back from that disorganized state, as you called it or that psychosis. The other question implied in there is what gave you the strength or what other sources did you tap into to get the strength to overcome the stigma, be able to talk about this and write about it?

It’s an instinct that I deserve better than what I have when things have fallen into a state. When I was depressed, which was much of my adulthood, I knew that I deserved not to be depressed. I sought out therapists and psychiatrists to help me not be depressed. That medicine worked for a long time and then it didn’t.

“It's an instinct that I deserve better than what I have. When things had fallen into a state, when I was depressed, I knew that I deserved not to be depressed.” – Duncan MacLeod Share on X

A lot of people have the desire to move up Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs if you’re familiar with that, where food, shelter and water are at the bottom and self-actualization is at the top. I wanted that self-actualization. I met so many people in boarding school who were going there and their parents were there for sure. I wanted to be there.

I wanted to be the best me that I could be. Strung out on heroin was probably among the worst me’s that I could be. I was trying to make myself feel better enough to move forward in life but I made a dumb decision because it felt so good that maybe this was the way that I get ahead in life, which it certainly wasn’t.

I found that out getting hepatitis and falling in with a crowd of thieves. I was living like The Thief’s Journal, Jean Genet’s book that I loved in high school. I don’t know why. I guess we all have a self-destructive part of ourselves that pushes back against our internal protection and our forward movement. Sometimes that won out.

Like in Hollywood, where the good guy always wins, I believed that I could get better and I moved forward with that belief. Some people may not get better. I don’t want to give false hope to someone who’s getting an advanced case of schizophrenia that’s getting worse. There are certainly ways to live a full life in spite of that but it is so much harder than what happened with me. I was lucky I got better but not everybody does.

I met people who later committed suicide or who had to be put in a permanent hospital because they were a danger to themselves because they couldn’t feed themselves, work or do anything. I don’t want to say, “Everybody can do this,” but I would like to say that people who have a foundation, if you can remember when you were happy as a child and try to strive to get that happiness back, that’s the road to recovery.

People who have a foundation where they remember when they were happy and try to strive to get that happiness back, that's the road to recovery. Share on X

We’re getting close to the end of time. Not the end of all time but the end of the time I have for this interview. If you would get centered, take a breath and think about where you’ve taken on this journey so far as you’ve described it and either tell us something you’ve already mentioned you want to go back and highlight or something you haven’t mentioned yet. It’s either about this process you went through in your recovery or the books. Give it a thought for a minute. What do you want to leave us with?

I haven’t mentioned the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic, which was their drug detox program. I was in it for five years as an outpatient, like everybody, attending therapy initially five days a week, even while going to school and then twice a week, once a week. That therapy was a strong foundation for getting better. At that time, the trend was cognitive behavioral therapy, which is still very strong. It was a great way of recovering in a lot of ways but there were some things that they couldn’t address because they didn’t have the tools.

The tools are becoming available now through the work of some therapists and psychiatrists. It’s trauma and somatic therapy. I lived with a lot of body pain for a long time. I’ve been working on mostly hypnosis and some other ways of getting in touch with the trauma that’s living in my nerves and letting that go or asking my lizard brain to stop listening to it so much. There are all these different approaches you can take but I’m trying to get physically active enough to stop feeling sedentary and then the pain comes because of not moving.

In a more cohesive way, I can say that there are many therapies available where if I was pushing from below with the foundation that I talked about, they were pulling me up. These were people that wanted to help and wanted me to be better. They told me I was a good person and I probably was. I believe I was now but I didn’t believe it at the time.

They said, “No, Duncan. You’re a great person and you’re going to get better. You’re going to do great things in the world.” I feel like these books are my contribution to the world. I hope people will read them. They’re on Amazon. If you type in 5150, you’ll get a lot of Van Halen stuff so you have to type in my name too. 5150 Duncan will get you the book, for people who want to read it who are reading this.

I appreciate, at many levels, your willingness to share this and the potential it has to do for people who might take advantage of it, read your story and be inspired by it. I look forward to the finished product if you’re combining these books in that new format.

OYM Duncan MacLeod | Mental Health Challenges

When Everything Cracks


When Everything Cracks, if you want to start hearing how it sounds, there’s a podcast. If you type this in on any of the major hubs for podcasts, it’ll pop up. You may have to add my name on some of them but it’s coming into being. Through the magic of the internet and voice, I can share this story personally. There will be a book for people to buy.

Thank you so much for sharing and the best of luck with the publishing of that. I look forward to reading it when it’s finished.

Thank you. Thanks for having me on the show.


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About Duncan MacLeod

OYM Duncan MacLeod | Mental Health ChallengesDuncan MacLeod is an author, film director, and musician. This native Californian was transplanted to the East Coast to attend an Ivy League boarding school but did not enjoy nor fare so well in such an environment. He soon returned to California to finish his education at San Francisco State University, where he majored in Film and Italian.

His diverse creative experiences include directing a feature documentary called La Lucha/The Struggle, performing as lead Autoharp in the band “The Acres,” and writing the semi-autobiographical novel 5150. This quintessential novel depicts the raw and unforgettable tale of young and gay Ethan Lloyd, set in the 1980s. Duncan is enjoying his life as an author and living in Greater Los Angeles with his partner, Rafael, and their dog, Pepper. He is presently editing his autobiographical memoir of psychiatric hospitalization called When Everything Cracks.


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Journey's Dream

Journey's Dream

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