Bipolar, Mania vs Burnout with General Gregg Martin

Bipolar, Mania vs Burnout with General Gregg Martin

We discuss Bipolar “Disorder”, the Condition of Mania vs Burnout, Seasonal Affective Disorder, and MORE

Gregg Martin, PhD, is a retired major general and a 36-year Army combat veteran, celebrated for his remarkable career commanding engineer units and holding prestigious roles such as president of the National Defense University, and commander of Fort Leonard Wood. An accomplished author, his book “BIPOLAR GENERAL: My Forever War with Mental Illness” candidly shares his journey. With advanced degrees from MIT, the Naval War College, and the Army War College, Gregg’s indomitable spirit offers hope and inspiration to others, while he finds strength and joy alongside his wife Maggie in Cocoa Beach, Florida.

QUOTE: “Maintain an attitude of gratitude in ALL circumstances!”

 Alongside his military achievements, Gregg is an accomplished author, known for his book “BIPOLAR GENERAL: My Forever War with Mental Illness,” where he candidly shares his personal struggles and triumphs. He holds advanced degrees from MIT (a PhD and two master’s degrees), the Naval War College, and the Army War College, in addition to his BS degree from West Point. Currently residing in Cocoa Beach, Florida, he finds strength and support in his loving wife, making the most of life’s simple joys together. Gregg Martin’s journey exemplifies the indomitable spirit, offering hope and inspiration to others facing adversity in their lives.

Today’s Top 3 Takeaways:

  1. Bipolar – Mania vs Burnout
  2. Lithium Therapy
  3. Seasonal Affective Disorder


Today’s Guest & Resource Links:


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Timestamped Show Notes:

05:00 – I wasn’t diagnosed until I was actually in my 50s. So the background on this is looking back now in working with experts, psychiatrists, I now know that I was living on the bipolar spectrum from teenage years. So in, I always had a, what they call a bipolar brain. But at first, it was a very low level of mania.

10:00 – Mania is really the opposite of burnout. Because with mania, you’re going continuously up, up, up until you blow up and come crashing down to earth. So the manic side of the cycle is up up more and more energy, less sleep, more grandiosity, etc. Then I would say, what goes up must come down. So when you reach a peak level, and your brain is over producing these key chemicals, when it’s time to go the other way, the brain stops producing as much, and it gets fewer and fewer of these chemicals. Then that’s when you hit the burnout, you fall into depression, and your brain essentially begins to shut down. I mean, no energy, withdrawn, confused, you can’t make a decision, can’t get out of bed, can’t go to work. That’s where I think the burnout comes in. It’s just the natural byproduct of the mania.

20:00 – Scott, you’ve actually given me a good idea, and something to think about. Maybe we have a little more specificity in who is my buddy, in what area I’ve given down here. You know, all my friends that, because I’ve written about 25 articles in close to 100 talks, everybody knows, Martin has a bipolar disorder. What I’ve done is I’ve given them these little cards that showed the symptoms of mania and depression. I’ve talked to them and said, okay, look, read this, do you understand it, if you see me displaying any of these symptoms, talk to me, talk to my wife, so we can address it. So that is ours, I’ve got my wife, who has a really good understanding. But I think having a more precise targeting system that you just alluded to, is really the way to go. So I’m gonna have to get busy and put that into effect. 

31:00 – There’s a thing called seasonal seasonal affective disorder. I’ve actually had it my whole life. When the days gets short in they fall into the dark, like a long winter, your mood sinks, and you go into kind of a natural depression. Then when the Spring time comes in, the sun’s high and the days are longer and brighter, your depression goes away, and you really get a low level of mania. 

41:00 – There are some other side benefits of lithium. There’s been some research done where lithium can help prevent dementia, and it can help prevent other chronic diseases that otherwise would come at a higher, more rapid pace. So there’s some side benefits as well that rise above the toxic concerns.

50:00 – The thing about mania, it’s really important to know that for much of my manic state, it actually helped me. It made me better, it boosted and enhanced my performance, made me smarter, funnier, more energetic, and it wasn’t until you get to a certain threshold and you go too high, that it becomes destructive. 

55:50 – Final Words


Our Final Words of the Show:

Bipolar disorder and other mental conditions, they can often be deadly and destructive. They could destroy marriages, families, careers, finances, lead to addictions, homelessness, incarceration, death, and even suicide. That’s the bad news. I mean, really, really devastating stuff. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that if you get diagnosed and get treated, and stick with your treatment plan, and you manage these chronic conditions, you can live a happy, healthy, purposeful life, which is a great story! It’s a great news story, and you just have to manage it the way people manage diabetes, or cancer or heart disease.

Now, why don’t people go get help? That’s the $100 question, when they’re sick, why don’t they get help? It’s because of the stigma. That drug leads people to shame and embarrassment. The stigma is just based on ignorance. People still have a notion that when it comes to mental health problems, or due to lack of character, or lack of willpower. Not true, it’s due to physiological conditions inside the wiring of the brain. So once you realize that, there should be no stigma, just like there’s no stigma against diabetes or cancer. So that’s kind of my message, arm yourself with knowledge. A great place to start is the Bipolar General book. Get the knowledge because that knowledge could save your life or the life of somebody that you love.


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About the author, Scott

Host of the LIVETHEFUEL Podcast | Public Speaker | Sales & Marketing Professional | Coach | Traveler | Consultant | Health Educator | Former Firefighter