Growing up with a BiPolar Parent and using it to fuel your success! Interview with Dan Cahill

October 22, 2021

Growing up with a BiPolar Parent and using it to fuel your success! Interview with Dan Cahill
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My guest is Dan Cahill, who has a remarkable story of hardship and growing up with a mentally ill parent. His father has BiPolar, and Dan shares some revealing stories about how much of an effect a parent with a mental illness can have on a child/young adult. 

Although Dan has endured great hardship, he hasn't allowed it to hold him back, and he has built an extremely successful business using his past trauma as his fuel to success. If you're a fan of David Goggins, you will enjoy this episode.

 We talk about:

  •  Growing up with a BiPolar father
  • Dan's experiences growing up and trauma experienced. 
  • His hindsight on using his experiences to fuel his success
  • Using trauma to motivate you to live a better life
  • Why he owns a Jim's Mowing franchise
  • Employing family and helping others 


Big thanks to Dan for sharing his lived experience.

My website - www.livedexperiencepodcast.com

If you could please leave a review online, it helps the show to be discovered! Connect with me via the below links 

 

Transcript
Joel Kleber:

Hi, and welcome to the lived experience the show that interviews people about their lived experiences with mental illness issues and other related topics. If you're a first time listener, welcome to the lived experience family. And if you're a returning listener, thank you for your ongoing support, it's much appreciated. The best way to support the show is to leave a review online or follow me at lived experience podcast. I'd love to hear from you. I also have a website which is live experienced podcast.com. If you would like to know more, my name is Joel Kleber. I'll be your host for today. And on today's show, I'm interviewing the young man called Dan Cahill. Now, one of my favorite books on audio books is called heavy by David Goggins, you have heard, it's a fantastic audio book, I really, really recommend you download, I know, people get recommendations or complex one, it has definitely changed my life for the better. And when I was talking to Dan, you know, we have we both have a parent with bipolar and you started talking their experiences and hear his story is quite remarkable. where he is now would nice would know from speaking with them, if you just met him on the streets, very, very successful business owner, and to hear what he went through as a young man, it's very remarkable. So I thought I'd chat with Dan goes around 45 minutes. And I must warn you, there's some pretty strong sort of themes in here. So I just must warn you prior, but it's a great discussion. If you do want to hear more, please make sure you subscribe for the pages and even better, leave us review online. So that further ado, here is Dan. Hey, guys, so welcome to another episode of the lived experience. And with me today is a special guest called Dan k on a Dan Cale. How are you man, you're 2829 now 2727. So you're hanging out Phil. But Dan, Dan is a very, very successful business owner, the Lord and lawn and garden care space for Jim's mowing, I think you've got a massive crew working for you and you do extremely well for yourself. And we got talking in the office the other day, we obviously work there as well. And you just dropped that you had a I think a dad with bipolar as well. So when you when you mentioned that to me, you know, the show we do is all about sharing people's lived experiences with with parents, especially with mental health. And when you drop that I thought who better to ask because you're extremely successful at such a young age that you had a bowl of bipolar, apparently you have a bipolar parent in your life, Dan. So maybe you want to start off and give yourself a bit of an introduction in regards to that.

Dan Cahill:

Well, look, not a lot of people realize this about me. But part of the reason for my success is because of the mental health situations I've had around. And it's what drives me it's it's one of the main drivers that I have, as to why I do what I do. So as you said, I do have quite a successful business there. I'm operating right now within Jim's mine. And a lot of that is because of the drive that I've always had, especially from my childhood. It's kind of layered into, you know, going into business and being able to build such a such a strong, strong company.

Joel Kleber:

That's a great, great thing. And I really want to get into because I think it's a lot a lot of kids in our situation, you go one of two ways you can either go really use that as a motivator to get you going and do things in life or you can basically use it as a crutch or, you know, to play the victim and sort of not not do anything and go go the other way. So when did you identify that yourself growing up that you're going to go that way. Um, I think I

Dan Cahill:

identified it probably around the age of one to say, maybe eight or nine that I was kinda gonna push myself to go. A lot of people that struggle in broken homes and, you know, homes that are affected by mental health. You know, I can go one or two ways and I've seen personally a lot of a lot of friends of mine that have gone the opposite way and gone down and led to drugs or even worse suicide or anything like that. So I've always kind of opened up to that at an early age. And so that's where I kind of decided that I was going to I was going to push myself in the opposite direction.

Joel Kleber:

Well, it's very mature thing to realize at the age of eight or nine, I don't think I realized that till I was 24. So I don't know and like was it So what was your home situation like at the time.

Dan Cahill:

So my home situation I grew up in in dufton, which is close to Daniel. So we were in a, we were in a government funded housing. And a lot of the houses around me were government funded as well, our family didn't have a lot of money by any means at all. And a lot of the stress came, came across from my father's bipolar that he had. And so that led on to that affected my mother and the way that her personality was and her demeanor that affected mine and my sisters and my brothers, effective everyone around us from growing up in that kind of demeanor. And so people with mental health issues, from my from my perspective, the thinking is a little bit it's it's Quite a Reddit from my father's thinking was quite erratic. And he couldn't really filter out what he wanted to say. And he had, it's kind of like he had a million thoughts going on at once. And he couldn't really grasp the right one. So he would kind of just do it all. And so the, as I said, I grew up in quite a very, very poor household, where we struggled quite a fair bit. And the money that did come in, my father would go and spend it on music equipment for himself for computer equipment, and me and I would be left with not a lot of food in the cupboards and you know, no, not a lot of presents for Christmas and things like that. And because my mom was because she was surrounded by my dad the whole time, and she was she felt like she had no escape. It ultimately changed the way that she was thinking as well.

Joel Kleber:

Now with the with your dad, was he is he bipolar? One bipolar? Two? What is he? What is what's his condition?

Dan Cahill:

Look, I'm not sure. So I'm no expert in mental health, all I can talk about is the situation that I was that I was around. So I do know that he had been diagnosed with bipolar when I was when I was younger. But I didn't find out

Joel Kleber:

that maybe bipolar one if he's more manic and stuff, and lots of thoughts going and all that sort of stuff. And

Dan Cahill:

yeah, maybe he was Yeah, he was. Unfortunately, when he was in his manic stage. He was actually, you know, quite a funny person to be around. You know, he would make people laugh, and he would, you know, he would he would try and be, you know, the jokester in the room. But then when he was down on his, when he was on the other slip on the other side of it, it was very violent. And just not a great atmosphere to be around at all. Sorry, you would be walking on eggshells. Basically, you wouldn't know what to expect from him because, you know, he could come home from work and if he's had a bad day at work, because he doesn't really have anyone to talk to work because he didn't have friends or anyone to really talk to a work because no one to be around. He would come come home and take it out on us.

Joel Kleber:

Are you dead? But you dad did work though. He was working? Yes, he was working.

Dan Cahill:

Yeah. So he did he did indeed have a job. And you know, he he was helping helping pay the bills. My mom, my mom took care of most of that because she was working at the time author. Yeah. One of these money went towards music equipment and computers.

Joel Kleber:

Now growing up was it did you When did you first realize maybe your dad was a bit different? Or was it something that was ever explained to you? or How did you how did you come about that? Well,

Dan Cahill:

I think I kind of learn to when I went to print when all my school friends were talking about how to calculate their dads were and they were talking about you know, presence, so they might go get more holidays, they might go on. And I had school friends that would constantly ask me why I had so many bruises on me. And I my mom would always have to tell me to say I fell off my bike or you know, and it was, this was something that I would have to say non stop. And so other kids didn't rock up to school with bruises. Sorry, that's where I kind of realized that my dad wasn't you know, he wasn't like other fathers. And my mum wasn't like other mothers as well because of what she went through. And so when you're at a young age, you kind of you've got a high loyalty to your family and so you want to kind of keep them keep their name to be something to be respected and you're kind of shamed if anyone thinks down on your family or yourself and you've come quite embarrassed and so you keep it to yourself a fair bit but I did notice a young age especially when friends would you know told me that my dad was only if you take or even family

Joel Kleber:

yeah and I completely empathize with him and I'm just gonna make that point so your your your father and your mother were together for most of your childhood was uh

Dan Cahill:

they broke up I think when I was about 11 maybe 11 years old or 12 years old. Yeah. And so I think that was the best decision my mom could do I I personally don't i don't think that she I don't think she would be around today if she didn't leave that's how bad it was. So

Joel Kleber:

yeah, I think a lot of people don't realize but yeah you most people let's say they've got kids with an open mind is like a lot of the time they go be a single parent pretty quickly because of the intense toll that someone with the schizophrenia bipolar can have on the family unit as well you know, it's a very rare that I that I've ever heard that someone will stay together the whole time you know, and support the other person with that condition. It's very rare.

Dan Cahill:

Yes, yeah. Yeah.

Joel Kleber:

Now now with now with your, um, you know, your exposure to this. Did you ever get any support from the government or what was done? Because you're, you're you're you're probably six years younger than maybe back. Do you ever get any help because you wouldn't. You're in government housing. Government has anything you would have been they would have identified you as a social worker or some community worker or something.

Dan Cahill:

Now back then there was I didn't even realize that was helpful I didn't realize sorry. I was told when I was at school I wasn't surprised I wasn't allowed to tell anyone the teachers or the principal or because the teachers and principal would actually ask me about the bruises come from as well. And it wasn't just me I had my brother going to that school for the first year in prep in the last couple of weeks and then he came to school with bruises as well which is where they kind of like started asking quite a few questions and so we actually started covering up so you know even on hot days would be wearing jumpers to hide the bruises and yeah,

Joel Kleber:

so I'm just very surprised that no one identified it at all I was gonna say the Did you did you learn much about your dad's condition or Was this something you actively learned about was just like you go right this is this he axes why we label it as this and that's it was there any sort of education you tried to do so fine well,

Dan Cahill:

Mum later on with this is when after mother broken up with my father she had explained to me why it is that he acts the way he does. And so look I think at a young age because of mental health and look my brother or my brother also of course my brothers always struggle with mental health as well so one of them has a DD and the other has ADHD and so I I kind of learned how to how to read people very well from it. So even though I did not fully understand what dad's condition was, or my brothers I could I could read how they were going to be and I can kind of tell from their demeanor or facial expressions that you could pull or just the what the way that he would trade the way that he would talk whether or not it was going to be a good situation or a bad situation and what kind of situation

Joel Kleber:

how did you deal with as a kid because it's a highly stressful situation to be you know, your parents supposed to be one you know your kids with you and stuff and you you're constantly having to second guess even talk to me you know what mood they're going to be in you know, it's a very tough kid as a kid.

Dan Cahill:

However I do with the way that I dealt with on the oldest brother in the family and I think the way that I dealt with it was my brothers didn't really have anyone to anyone anything to grasp onto it they didn't have any sort of wide to grasp on to everything you know such a dark situation and I didn't either and I realized that what I'm going through they're going through as well and then they jump to the model and and so I started realizing that I needed to help them out and you know, hopefully that would help me out as well so I actually started when when dead wood pellets into hitting to us or even mom would hit into us I started taking the taking the cuttings from my younger brothers as well and I became a lot more I found that if I was more positive within the family and I beat and I made other people happy even though I didn't like doing the things that they did but I found that if I if I if I pleased my dad with he's he's kind of expressions was music if I pleased him with that then he would leave everyone else alone. So I would sit there and listen to him play the guitar for hours and hours on end and that would keep him away from the rest of the family for the whole night.

Joel Kleber:

That's why

Dan Cahill:

I stepped up and I kind of I realized that I needed to be the positive one in the family at a very young age. And you know we'd wait it was almost like in such a negative environment, that positivity that I I kind of brought brought around inside of making other people happy kind of became a little bit infectious and so people started my brother sorry and my mom and my sister started to kind of be around me a bit more often and they I could start to say that they became a lot more positive as well

Joel Kleber:

it's very very moving hearing that sort of stuff I was gonna say as well did you dad ever like did you ever get hospitalized because his condition or was there any incidents where you had to get a hospital remember that growing up at all No, he never got hospitalized

Dan Cahill:

because of his condition he got hospitalized because of what he would do it all the people because of these conditions okay. which is which is the issue especially with the family or the family knew that you know, my mum was getting beaten nightly I was getting beaten lightly. My brothers were too and so my uncle for several times came over and he would he would get into my dad but it never ever really stopped him because my uncle lives a bit too far away. Now the

Joel Kleber:

now when your parents eventually separated How did that come about? Was it just your mom who said this is enough on everyone and we just sort of have to get get away from it and how was the period like after that because I can't imagine would have been easy just would have been a clean break. Well,

Dan Cahill:

my my dad nearly killed my mom. In one of these, the board cup. I think it was at like 3am in the morning, one night and all I remember was were getting woken up from my uncle but what I heard was that my dad had broken up. And they were going through troubles. They've gone through troubles the whole time. And he's actually working out well, she was asleep, she was going to sleep. And he put his hands around her neck and started strangling her. So that she couldn't breathe, associate to try and try and hit him off and get him off her. And then she had to rush out of the house call her brother. And then he came around and you know, got us kids out of that situation. So that's kind of what led to my mom leaving either

Joel Kleber:

Yeah. Now what happened off of that? Was this something where you guys were safe? Still? Was there still issues or what what happened with your dad after that?

Dan Cahill:

So what happened after that was mom left dad and she found the family partner, she moved to Belarus. And she asked all us kids who we wanted to stay with, in all my siblings said that they wanted to stay with my mom, except for me. So what I what I was saying before about the whole positivity, I was the positive robot in my in my dad's life. And that kind of kept him away from the rest of my family. And I realized that he didn't have any one at the time. He was completely left alone. And I was the only positive, light positive person in his life or the only person who really had And so that kind of made me feel guilty into the fact that I, I needed to stay with him because otherwise who else was he got? So they all went to Ballarat and I stayed. I stayed with my darling bear two points for

Joel Kleber:

the hell is that time that was just showing your dad? Was it something? How was that?

Dan Cahill:

That was odd. I I strongly regret regret doing that now. Because I don't know where I know now, I definitely wouldn't have put myself in that situation because dad was dealing with a lot of grief from from losing his family. And that made his his condition a lot worse. It amplified quite a bit in my dad wasn't the sort of person that would that would deal with his emotion very well. He as I said he was very violent. So I ended up getting taken the normal beatings everyday, but they became worse. And so I ended up with more bruises and fractured ribs that were at one time. It was it wasn't a pretty environment to get to been to. And I think the reason that I ended up leaving in the end was because one of the burdens that my dad gave me was he was sitting down on the couch playing my Xbox, because the the Xbox original was out of that time when I was playing San Andreas, and eating white that I hadn't gotten dinner ready at this point, because I always had to make dinner because there was no one else to make dinner. I made breakfast for him and me, I made lunch for me and him and I would pack his lunch and put it in his lunchbox container. And he will take

Joel Kleber:

How are we doing this? From what I taught. I was about 12 years old. You're essentially a young an unpaid young care, which is what I'd call you now that young young carer

Dan Cahill:

Yeah, yeah, sorry for this probably about from the age of 12 to 14 and a half, I reckon. But this went on to go live with that. And the reason I got out was because he'd beaten me this one time so bad that I could no longer walk because he punched me in the legs. I can't remember how many times he punched me in the legs or sitting on the couch and I couldn't move. And he kept on punch me in each leg. And I recommend at least punching the legs 10 times in each leg. And my legs, I couldn't feel them. And I couldn't even get up. I couldn't get away from him. And I remember him walked in walked upstairs for some reason. And I realized I needed to get out because of what had happened to my mom, when she left, I realized that this is something that it's leading up to. And so I ended up crawling outside of the house. After he punched my laces, I could no longer walk and I crawled outside the house. This is about what I say six o'clock at night. And I'm crawling across the ground and I get out the front door and I crawl across the front lawn and the nature strip and I start screaming out to my friend who lives next door to me, for someone to help me. And I'm screaming in the middle of street and no one had come out and dad heard me scream from upstairs and he quickly ran down the stairs, grabbed me and dragged me back into the house. And he didn't hit me after that, which I was thankful for. But it was it was kind of one of those. I'd wake up and I realize I can't be here. back with my mom again.

Joel Kleber:

Yeah. Now why did you did you ever decide Do you ever think about calling the cops or did you ever go and bet telling anyone or

Dan Cahill:

as I said I was very embarrassed for anyone to know about what my personal life was because I've been going through for such a long time now. It wasn't a thing you didn't you didn't call the cops. You didn't ask For help, and that was the first time that actually been told, or willing to come to the shrine actually asked for help from my neighbors because I was worried about my wife at that point. That was the first time I'd actually ever, you know, tried to tell anyone about what was happening. Didn't happen. But no, I didn't I didn't go to anyone who just for whatever reason, it's kind of like it was a it was kind of like a brainwashing. You don't go to the police. You don't tell anyone about the items in this house. What happens is in this house as a family metal

Joel Kleber:

it's crazy hearing this sort of stuff. But did you um, did you chalk it down to his mental illness and sort of go that's just him? Because he's gonna mentally Oh, yeah. Just, you know, how you how you reconcile that in your own head?

Dan Cahill:

Yeah, absolutely. So I really, I knew that there was a part of him that was still this funny guy, that one of the best people that, you know, when he flipped a switch, you know, it wasn't there. And so that's unreal. I, I knew that it wasn't really like his fault. And that's kind of how I dealt with it. Yeah. So every, every morning that I would wake up in that house, I would, I had a routine. And so every, every morning, I'd wake up and I'd make his breakfast for him, I put the toast in the toaster, and I'd start making the lunches for the day. This is a 430 in the morning, because he's getting ready for work before serving the morning. And I had to get ready for school. And I've washed the clothes the night before. And I put them on the ironing board that morning. So they were nice and fresh and hot, ready to go. And then he would head off to work and he would take me down to this care. Or they would look after me in the morning until about 730 until it's time to go to school. And then I come home from school when he would finish school around six o'clock at night. He would finish work about six o'clock, and I wouldn't be back for quite some school for about 330. And I would go around and I'd clean the whole house and prepare dinner. And if there wasn't enough items for dinner at that time in the pantry, I would go off to the local Kohl's and I would shop list the items that were needed to be able to cook dinner so that he wasn't irate when he came back home because he didn't want dinner to not be made. And then I'd have dinner ready. And then after we finished dinner, I would put the washing on. And then I would go into his studio and listen to him play music for hours on end. And most nights it was some nights it could be as late as 2am that we were he was playing music and some nights it could be as early as 11pm. And I would sit there in this room for hours on end after school hours and hours in this one room. And if I fell asleep, which I always did, because every night I would get you know, three, four hours sleep a night. He would every time I would knock not off in this chair, he would slap me across the face to wake me up and tell me that I was being disrespectful. And I'd fall asleep every every 20 minutes, half an hour. And then I'd get another slap in the face to be woken up again. And then when he felt tired, he would go to bed and then I can go to bed as well. And I was kind of like in a weird way I was his counsel because I was the only person who got these problems and about his feelings and his emotions. He needed some way to escape his own reality. And I was scared to him, he would go into that music room and shut everything out. And I was that person I would help him

Joel Kleber:

now. Yeah, it's actually the terms I think I've been looking at. They're called emotional incest, where the child is the emotional support for the parent, whereas the parent should be the emotional support for the child. And you find a lot of people with bipolar use their kids as their emotional support. And it's not healthy, right? You got you know, if you're 810 years old, 12 years old, and you're the emotional. Well, they view you as their emotional support and, and that sort of thing, right where it's supposed to be the other way around. You notice it's a very hard situation deals as a kid you don't really know any better. Now, how did you say Did you ever get a mic test and sort of compare it to yourself and what the hell's going on? Like, there must have been a stage where you're sort of looking at you might have went to I just happen to Mila when I was a kid I used to go to a friend's house and got the mother and dad there as a pretty normal job like nope, this is pretty nice. You know? Did you ever go you know, why can I have this? Or did you ever cross your mind that it wasn't the situation which you should be in.

Dan Cahill:

I used to actually work school a fair bit because I couldn't really I would fall asleep at my desk at school. And I would play up I wasn't the best of kids because what I was going through at home and I kind of like I went and released my anger at school. So I was the sort of kid that was in a was in a lot of punchlines at school. I was always doing the wrong thing. And I was always lagging school. So I got I been suspended in detention and that you know, obviously whenever I would get suspended, I would get funding from that again. But I my that was kind of my escape it you know, I was acting out quite a fair bit and I was working school and I was going over to my friend's house for the whole day. And you know, just enjoying the life of my friends. That kind of the heat their their parents weren't home but it was kind of nice to have like some sort of normality Yeah, yeah. So as I said, going through that stage that two and a half, three years, where I was a one with him, I wasn't I wasn't a great I wasn't a great kid. And it was because of a lot of the things that I was going through. And as I said, I was shoplifting and at school I was I was selling smokes at school for adulteration. You know, buying more packs and make more money to buy more things. So that was, it wasn't a great time.

Joel Kleber:

Yeah, now you've gone through. Well, thanks for sharing all that. Because I think it's important to share that and that's, that's the reality of what goes on in these houses, right. And people don't know and the one turned a blind eye to, but that's the reality of it. I'm sure there's people who can hear your sort of stuff and empathize with it as well. But I was going to say the, because you've gone through a heap of a heap of childhood trauma right now of childhood. Yeah, look, chart, as we said, At the start of this thing, you know, you can go two ways with this sort of thing, you can either go and use it as a real motivating thing to get, you know, to really build a good life, or you can sort of just use as your crushing fonder sort of so all sorts of things which drugs and alcohol and use it as an excuse to get past that pain. So what did you do? Have you done anything to work on that sort of these, these, these experiences? Or to get past this sort of heavy traumatic events?

Dan Cahill:

Yeah, well, what I found is that, so the way that I dealt with it, back when I was younger, before my brothers and sister left, was I found that by helping them, it made me feel better. And so one of the ways that I've been dealing with my own personal way of dealing with, you know, the traumatic things that have happened in my life is, for whatever reason, I don't know what it is. But if I find that if I help people in things that I've already experienced, then for whatever reason, it helps me out a bit more with what I've experienced, I would like to see other people getting through their things, and it kind of helps me get through my thing as well. So yeah, that's, that's, that's one of the ways that I've kind of, look, I went and seen a counselor, I think, later on in high school, I think, a counselor, and it wasn't really my thing. And then later on in life, I when I went to see a therapist as well, and but it's it still wasn't my still wasn't my thing. And I found that my thing to get me through this, as you know, is helping people. And that's one of my drive.

Joel Kleber:

It's good to hear that. But I think with casting and casting is an interesting one, you know, I gotta unlock psychiatrists or psychologists that all that information is it would be very a lot of things, a lot of bad memories going to be even near psychologists or psychiatry. So you know, when I went to go see when I had to try probably a couple as well. Try it, try three or four, I think it's counseling as well, people think the first one is going to work for them. It's like dating, you've got to try, you might have to try 10 before you find someone you connect with, and now get on with the DOM. Yes, I hate behavior of heavy trauma. And you've done extremely well to be to get where you are today, not let that hold you back in any way. And I just wanted standing that at the age of I don't know, and you can basically have that perspective. To look at it things that way, I think a lot of people, you know, might be in their 20s or even 30s, or never even resolve that they always just keep relying on the victim mentality from their experiences.

Dan Cahill:

Yeah, look of the people of people who've had it worse than me. And that kind of, in a way, it humbles me a little bit, because I can say that people have had it worse than me. And that helps me, you know, get get through what I went through a lot of the things in my childhood didn't go My dad was only one part of it, but because obviously we're talking about mental health or keep it on that, but a lot of the things that I went through, it kind of made me stronger. So and that's, I for whatever reason, now in my life, I have this mentality. Now, the reason is, is because of because of what I went through, I have this mentality that I'm able to get through anything because of what I've already gotten through. And I've found that you know, anything's possible especially after you know, after what I went through, I realized that if I can get through it, I can get through anything.

Joel Kleber:

What do you think if you had a cushy life let's say you had the traditional let's say two parents, you know, both work a job or maybe one works a job and a billion. How do you think you'd be in the same position where you were now?

Dan Cahill:

No, no, not not not even close. So the reason that I have the personality that I have is because of what I went through because I had to grow up a lot earlier than what most people need to or should. I was basically at a young age raising, raising my brothers I was a father figure. And sorry, I continued that still to this day, I still I still might a father figure to my siblings, where I helped them out in life and you know, part of the big part of the reason that I bought the the Jim's mowing franchise when I bought it was because my brothers struggled with ADHD and a DD. They, they couldn't find a job. And no one even though I knew they were hard workers, no one was willing to take them on because of the mental health and because of that, because with mental health I went to a like a special a special school for special needs children and they didn't get the same education that I was able to get or you know, anyone else was able to get and so they were put back quite a fair bit and so that that kind of said to me Hey, I'm still that person that's got a raise raised my brothers. So buying the business I instantly decided to take on my brother as an employee as soon as I possibly could and then my other brother as well along with that, to help them out in life.

Joel Kleber:

And we went and we just say go to small biz you got a pretty big business so you've done really well for yourself in this in a short space of time. And you know, I think that I think maybe you know, as well if for some reason you're such a traumatic part, you've got so much courage to do these things, right to take that step in a business at a young age and to take on all this work to pull on six employees. What do you got, you know what I mean? Like it's such a, it's so good that you've been able to harness that it for a really positive thing. There's a book I don't have you ever heard of by a guy called David Goggins called can't hurt me. And the way you're describing your child is very similar to yours. And he, you know, he used that as a fuel as well to go on and do all these great things as well. But I highly recommend that if anyone's if you ever get a chance to talk to me about David Goggins, you reckon you really really connect with it? But um, I was gonna say, what about your relationship with your dad now? Is it something that exists or what was to go there?

Dan Cahill:

So at the age of 15, I moved out of his house and I'd moved in with mum and Mum Mum was living in hell over this point, which was kind of close to where I grew up and Dustin and I remember that mum wanted us to go and have gone visit our dad every two weeks on the on the weekend so Saturday and Sunday we'd spend at least

Joel Kleber:

after all that stuff you will still know I would have been if it's pretty clear he knows what could happen in those two weeks you know, the whole of beget someone and

Dan Cahill:

I didn't go back there. It took me about three months to go and finally see him again on that weekend. And the first time that I went back there dad his house was a mess because I was doing all the cleaning and cooking and everything was living then because he's not that person mom was always that person. And so I went I went through the house was a complete bomb. It looked like nothing had been done pretty much since I've left and he came to me and he said, right Daniel, I want you to get in there and get all that Washington was something along the lines of that so all the washing the clothes and all supposed to go over there to spend a weekend with him and try and enjoy five nights said look I'm not here for that I'm not I'm not here to wash your washing clothes. I'm not here to clean your house. That's your role as there I'm here to spend time with you as your son and you know, which was a quite a hard thing to do at that age to stand up and say no, I'm not doing it. It was the first time I ever really told him no. And he didn't like that I'd say no I'm not here for that because it was disrespectful in his eyes. And so I remember he ended up he punched me across the jaw and I was a was quite alright. I had a lot of a lot of hate towards him. And as I told you

Joel Kleber:

understandable very understandable.

Dan Cahill:

I had a lot of small controls even after I'd left living with him and I was around the sorts of people that would you know hang out with the hanging out of the station and you know the undesirables and so he

Joel Kleber:

shows now I think they call it shows

Dan Cahill:

but you know I would I would go to parties and we're getting punch ons and so I became I got quite confident in my ability to fight at this point. I kind of needed that ability as well in the in the atmosphere I was with my dad so the reason I pushed myself to learn how to fly so well was because I knew that I would have to work against that and so at this point, he punched me across the jaw and I lost it I seen the red I have quite bad anger issues because of my childhood as well. That was one of the first times I've seen myself on leash I couldn't I meant tunnel vision at the time I couldn't I couldn't see here and all I could see was his face and it was kind of like he became like this distant figure even though he was sitting right next to me it was very distant. It was like a it was kind of like a little I was a little bit dizzy, but I can't explain the feeling it was this mad rush. And I just launched a launch for him like I would any other kid that got in any any other punch on with an eye. I I remember I said to him, I said, I'm going to I said I said I'm going to kill you and I started throwing throwing my Studying, I hit him quite a few times. And I dazed him because I cracked him in the jaw. And he went down to the ground. I was 15. At this point, he said, Please, please stop hitting me, please stop hitting me. And I couldn't stop. I couldn't stop because of how angry I was. And I kept on hitting him, I ended up actually, I ended up breaking these ribs that day. Because I couldn't stop myself. And I ended up having, he had boys living in his house, and one of them actually had to run out and try and pull me off him. Because I just lost it. And so after that age of 15, it's never really been the same with him, I need to speak to him for about seven years after that. And it's, I let him back into my life about seven years later. And I think this is maybe a little bit, yeah, probably about seven when I when I had my first child, because I thought, you know what, maybe it's changed, maybe I'll give you an opportunity with my, with my, with my daughter. And I gave him that opportunity. And he was still the same person. And he was still doing the same thing. And when he found out where I lived, he started stalking our house. And so I think we started to go to my cars, and you would open my cars, over my car doors, and they would send me a message and say, Hey, Dan, I just want to let you know, just going past your house, the car doors are open. And so this was it wasn't just once that he did this several times. And so he had this go past my house nearly every night. And which is where I realized that he's a very, very dangerous sort of person. And I don't want anyone like him around my family. Because Because of what I know what he's capable of, and that scares me, because I know that I'm strong enough to stop him from my wife's not and my kids. And so that's the scariest thing is not knowing when he's going to, you know, when he's going to be there.

Joel Kleber:

But I think this is like, you know, I'm not saying it's anyone else to be as serious as what you're describing. But you know, I think this thing with kids with parents and men is I always have this guilt towards them. And they'll always give him another chances, or they'll never prioritize themselves, but it's always the parent over themselves. I think that's really got to change. I think a lot of kids with parents have been honest, we always feel guilty towards them, when it shouldn't be that case. And we need to really, you know, start prioritizing ourselves, you know, don't it's sort of like you pay your dues, or you've definitely paid your dues, but like, you pay your dues and and that from from, you know, let's say from 19 onwards, or whenever your priority should really be you first and if that other person affects you in any way, you just have nothing to do nothing to do with them. That's the way it's got to be looked at. Yeah, well, I

Dan Cahill:

didn't realize that and then I look I regret listening back into the life into my wife because of how dangerous he is. And you know, I've set up cameras in the front of my house and, you know, make sure I lock my goals every night and watch all the cars and you know, because he's just not someone that you would ever want to get on their bedside because you don't know what he's going to do when you're not watching

Joel Kleber:

now you're getting treatment or something like because obviously with bipolar, your brain tends to deteriorate as you get older, like is he getting treatment?

Dan Cahill:

The he was on treatment for a little while, and then he decided to take himself off treatment because he just for some reason he he thought that he'd done research on whatever website

Joel Kleber:

the case studies these days, a lot of topics here

Dan Cahill:

told him that he didn't need to take the medication anymore to mellow himself down to balance himself. Instead of he ate a healthy diet and

Joel Kleber:

fix a chemical imbalance in the brain. Yeah,

Dan Cahill:

yeah, what more vegetables than that? bought out his mental health. So we went in and started eating very healthy, and he thought that it was helping his mental health But clearly, clearly wasn't

Joel Kleber:

quite common. Daniel, my mom was the same. You know, I think a lot of people bipolar, they think they think they're all better. And they'll just stop taking their medication, which they've got to take every day. And then they relapse in a you know, in a way they go. It's a massive cycle. So yeah, yeah, we've

Dan Cahill:

got a look since like, when I left when I was 15, he no longer had anyone to confide in no one that was his counsel, or punching bag, as I like to call it. But he became a warm, and he didn't have anyone around because no one wants to be around him. And from that, he ended up he sold his house, and he spent all the money on stupid items, because they can't filter out what is a good idea. And what's a bad idea? Yeah, he just buys things. buy things rationally. So you need all the money you made from selling his house, he lost. And the look I haven't spoken to him in over a year now since all this happened. So it's been seven years and now I haven't spoken to him for a year. The last time I was talking to him, he was actually homeless. And so I was living in his van. And I think from from what I'm from what I'm gathering now is I reckon he's probably still in that same situation. In the econ econ escapees, and look at, that's the sad thing about it, if he was these normal person, if he was the person, that funny person that I seen that you know that that character that you could get along with at any party when he was around, if they call a manic state when he was happy, he would be fine, because that's the real, that's the real break. But unfortunately, because of this mental health issue that he's got, he's lost everything. He's lost everyone. And you know, he's now struggling in life quite substantially because of because of the mental health just because he hasn't got health for he hasn't taken the right medication.

Joel Kleber:

Yeah, I think yeah, I think managing the condition is very, very important. You know, you can have two people with pretty similar, you know, let's say bipolar, the spectrum, and one person manage their condition properly might have a lot of support, and the other person doesn't, it's just a complete worlds apart, you know, one can probably function a lot better one obviously will count will function a lot better. And then the other one, as you said, there's a lot of homeless people with untreated mental health conditions. And unfortunately, if they don't want help, or they can't get help, that's what ends up happening, unfortunately.

Dan Cahill:

Yeah, that's exactly. Yeah, going back to what I was saying about how, because you would ask, do you think that I would still be the same if I grew up in a normal job to to loving, caring parents what a big thing that I got from that is my father, he never liked mistakes, he believes that any mistake shouldn't happen. And if he made a mistake, it was because you weren't thinking about what you were doing, where you weren't thinking ahead. And it was it was stupidity. And so mistakes weren't acceptable in his eyes. And so I grew up always knowing in the back of my head that I can't make a mistake because if I make a mistake I'm gonna get belted for it doesn't matter how small a mistake was. And so because of that sort of mindset that was drilled into me at a young age where I can't make mistakes my whole life now and even though I'm mistakes are okay to make, I still kind of consciously don't want everyone to make mistakes because of what I went through my childhood. And because of that, I've become a bit of a perfectionist, which is, believe it or not, actually helped me towards growing my business. But I never want to make a mistake I always want to do everything perfect. I want to always do everything always want to be active in doing the best decision or the best time and so that's a big reason that that factor there's a big reason as to why you know, my business is the way it is and part of my culture.

Joel Kleber:

Yeah, well, we're definitely all shaped by our childhoods, whether people want to like it or not, you know, and then, you know, if when you give it all you might give him a you know, you get to be mature and go, Well, why do I do this certain thing? Or where do I get this habit from? And it's always from the childhood, something there, you know, it's great to hear you've harnessed or you're appreciative of those really hard, extremely hard lessons, but you've been able to apply them and making a massive success, because so let's talk real quickly about your businesses started at the age of how old are you? 2424 when you start a franchise,

Dan Cahill:

I would have been 20, probably 24, or I would have been 24.

Joel Kleber:

Yeah. 24 now at the age of 27, you ages can tell everyone how much you're turning over if you can,

Dan Cahill:

yet so in the last in the last financial year, we got hit with COVID. As you guys know, I think we were locked down for about three and a half months, within the last financial year for my mind was anyways and we, you know, we weren't allowed to do and I was still able to make a bit over $600,000 in sales to the year, three and a half

Joel Kleber:

months. And that's in revenue. And you've got you've got six staff, Danny, this is six,

Dan Cahill:

six staff and it all sort of started from when I when I first started the business by myself in that in that first 12 months, I was able to make a bit over 300,000 because of the drive I have because I never wanted to make the same and I always wanted to strive for perfection. And so you know, I was I was up at the break of dawn and stayed up late and did everything work seven days a week and barely took any days off at all.

Joel Kleber:

Yeah, even the same work that you've got to but you're a fantastic example of those really tough body experiences and you just really you've just taken so much positives out of it you know, I don't have that. Do you think it's a nice thing that you've just had in your let's say your genetic makeup or who you get it from your mom or something or your mom so where do you get that from?

Dan Cahill:

I don't think I get no definitely not from my mom's side. Definitely not from my dad's side either. It's something that I think was learnt along the way. And sorry, no, I didn't really have anyone to teach me something along the way. And when I when I first started at McDonald's, which was my first job, I learned a lot about business within McDonald's and I you know, the drive that I had I brought into McDonald's I remember I used to go into into McDonald's and try and get as many shifts as I could because I wanted to make as much money as I possibly can. What I ended up working for free every day, seven days a week to get to be able to become better so I could get more shifts. And then they started giving me more shifts and when my now wife who was my restaurant manager at the time came to the store she realized the devotion that I had towards the business and she she helped me out quite a fair bit and so I think that I kind of clicked with her very well because she was still she's she's the smartest person I've ever met and she helped me learn a lot of the things that I've learned now so I wouldn't be anywhere close to where I am without without my wife. And so I don't think it was from the family side. I definitely think it was because of the experiences that I've had.

Joel Kleber:

Now what advice would you give to any young kid going through? or hopefully in this day and age? No, it wouldn't be anyone going this is obviously things in place but what what advice would you give would have given to yourself or maybe someone else who's got a really unstable parent

Dan Cahill:

Look, I would say get help. And look it doesn't always need to be a counselor because I wasn't ever good at talking to the school counselors because you get quite embarrassed and something as simple as talking to a friend of yours or might be you know, and they can help talk to their parents or even like a close relative. So I'm looking at it now I had my uncle that I could have went and spoken to as I told you my uncle had been begging to my dad quite a few times when I was younger, I couldn't went to him because he would have been someone that would have supported me through because he hated what we were going through. So I just think go and get support from anywhere that you possibly can and yeah, don't don't hide don't hide away from it and don't be ashamed of because it's not your fault what's happening to

Joel Kleber:

absolutely well let me leave you there because it's been a very intense 45 minutes to be listening to this appreciate you I'm telling all this openness then like we obviously knew each other through work through work but um you know you had this sort of situation and it's absolutely astounding to even not to know this now to where you are or I thought a lot really high your for you before the nominee sort of stuff a lot more high now because you just as I said at the start I'll say it again some people you can only go two ways with this sort of childhood you can either go you know alcohol drugs to get over your pain and just use it as an excuse your whole life, which a lot of people do, or you can really use it as a driver to have the courage to go and do all these things will be business or go for your goals and make a really good bloody life for yourself making sure you use those lessons of what not to do. So you're absolutely credit to yourself and a champion mate um you know someone your age you know being successful you are and not using that as a crutch in any way is absolutely fantastic I'm really really happy to hear that thanks for sharing it because I think made more people who might have had similar experiences need to you need to start you know, sharing much things to what great way to create awareness and give hope to others.

Dan Cahill:

No thanks so appreciate you having me

Joel Kleber:

on. Thanks, man. No worries. Thanks for listening to the episode of the lived experience podcast and big thank you to my guests Dan kale for just being so honest and open about about his childhood experiences and having a parent with bipolar. The stories to share a really really important because, you know, even though it sounds like it's an uncommon thing, a more common thing. If you are interested in content sort of like and I really recommend you check out David Goggins calm, fantastic order book things like top 20 ever or something like that, too. He sort of more stories like that if you can relate right? Like, please share the podcast might or even better leave me a review as well which really helps as well. You want to find out more you're always experienced podcast, I'd love to hear from you. So if you are just want to reach out to me for a reason. Please send me a message or an email. But until next time, I'm trying to get these a bit more regular. So hopefully, next week, there'll be another episode will it be a solid etc interview. I don't know yet. But you will have another episode. Hopefully

Dan Cahill Profile Photo

Dan Cahill

Business Owner

Dan Cahill is a very successful Jim's Mowing franchise owner and business owner. He grew up with a mentally ill parent with BiPolar and experienced a great deal of trauma growing up. However, he didn't let this hold him back and his gone on to build a widely successful business that supports local families and his community.