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Bronson Christensen    

Bronson Christensen

BY MEADOWLARK MONAGHAN

Today, I am thrilled to welcome the founders of Lonely Ghost - Indy and Bronson. I am so grateful for their openness about mental health and how willing they were to get into the real stuff with us.

Bronson Christensen is the man behind the scenes. Half of the Lonely Ghost powerhouse, he has his own incredible mental health journey that we have gotten to know through his appearances on podcasts, like his wife's Woke With Weslie. Mysterious and cool, he's also one of the internet's favorite dads ever. We talked with him about his whole journey from getting married at 19, his accidental overdose and recovery, to how his work and family life looks like nowadays.

WHAT WAS IT LIKE GETTING MARRIED AT 19?! HOW WAS YOUR MENTAL HEALTH BACK THEN? NO INSINUATION WHATSOEVER! SIMPLY CURIOUS, WHAT WERE YOUR COPING MECHANISMS LIKE AT THE TIME?

To be honest, it was a blur! At the moment I can tell you with certainty that both my wife and I we’re sure we wanted to do it, even though we were scared out of our minds. It was years later when we finally realized what a disaster it all could have been. I think our decision was partially due to the fact that where we were raised in Utah it was actually somewhat normal, and even encouraged (as crazy as that sounds) to get married young. While we wouldn’t wish the struggle that marrying that early on in your life causes on our worst enemy, we also attribute some of our strong foundation and why we are the way we are today to starting off so early together. It was a flip of the coin type of risk, like a 50/50 chance it wasn't going to pan out, and thank goodness it worked out in favor. We've been married almost 13 years now, and have 3 beautiful children. Our coping mechanisms at the time was trial and error---and a whole lot of it! We know now what doesn’t work for us, only because we made a lot of mistakes and pushed through them. 

YOUR WIFE HAS A RAD PODCAST (I LOVE WOKE WITH WESLIE!) WHERE YOU SHARED A BIT ABOUT YOUR STORY AND JOURNEY HITTING YOUR "ROCK BOTTOM" AS YOU PUT IT, INCLUDING AN ACCIDENTAL OVERDOSE ON YOUR PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION. CAN YOU SHARE THAT JOURNEY WITH OUR READERS?

I was hired at one the nation's leading designs firms when I was 23 years old. I was completely self taught, and getting by with my natural gifts and my eye for design alone, but stepping into that space with the most talented creatives and architects in the world with years of experience made me feel as if I was an imposter. I saw men I’d admired using adderall with success and thought “if it’s helping them, it has to help me too.” And to be honest, it did...until it didn’t. Within a years time my dosage went up, and up, and up, but the effects stayed the same.  When I felt burnt out and realized the rat race I was in I decided to stop, but my body couldn’t function without the meds. It had become dependent. I had 2 kids and my wife was pregnant with our third at the time, and looking back, I felt I had no choice but to continue because I simply couldn’t slow down. My body finally tapped out one night when I mistakenly took my pills twice and I overdosed. It was exactly the wake up call I needed.

YOU SEEMED TO HAVE A SUPER SPEEDY RECOVERY PROCESS. DID YOU DETOX ON YOUR OWN OR WITH A PROGRAM? WHAT STEPS OR TIPS DID YOU LEARN IN THAT PROCESS YOU THINK COULD BENEFIT OTHERS?

I had no other choice but to do it on my own at that time. I think that you can do anything in life when you decide 100% that you’re ready and you want it bad enough. I decided wholeheartedly I wanted my body back no matter what. So, I tapered off the prescription meds-- and I won’t lie, It was brutal for about 3 straight weeks, but by the end of the 4th week I finally felt like myself again. It’s been the best decision I’ve ever made.

DO YOU FEEL IT WAS CRUCIAL TO HIT THAT DARK PLACE FIRST FOR YOUR CATALYST TOWARDS SELF GROWTH? WHY?

I do. I know for others they don’t have to hit that type of low, but for me it made things so perfectly clear. I left the major design firm, re-evaluated my life goals and how I truly wanted to spend my time, and created my own agency all within a few months after that low moment. The low was like jet fuel for me, it pushed me to do anything and everything to change my life and make it my own again.

"The low was like jet fuel for me, it pushed me to do anything and everything to change my life and make it my own again... When you feel everything has been taken from you, the things that matter most start shining really bright."

WHAT LESSONS DO YOU FEEL COME FROM OUR LOWEST MOMENTS?

Like I said earlier, but clarity. Clarity is invaluable. When you feel everything has been taken from you, the things that matter most start shining really bright. All the noise life continuously blares seems to fade away and a clear path is laid toward what really matters most to you. It is work and effort, but all the best things in life are.

HAVING BEEN IN A SPACE WHERE YOU WERE SO OVERWORKED BEFORE, HOW DO YOU HOLD HEALTHY BOUNDARIES NOW? WHAT'S YOUR WORK-LIFE BALANCE LOOKING LIKE NOWADAYS? MAYBE PRE AND POST QUARANTINE?

I work smarter, not harder these days. And a light bulb moment I had during my low was when I realized I was literally killing myself and sacrificing my family life for a company that would replace me in three days if I died. So, now I still work at an intense pace because that's just how I’m made-I love it, but I make sure to work for me and mine. For the people I love. I keep my A-team small and trusted, and we make work a very enjoyable place to spend your time. We push ourselves and each other because we believe in each other and truly care about the progression of one another's life. To be honest, since quarantine, our work has only sped up! We’re going full steam ahead and I couldn’t be happier about it.

YOU AND WESLIE HAVE SOME REAL HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP MODELING GOING ON AND IT IS SO COOL. WHAT ARE THE WAYS (I'M TALKING TANGIBLE ACTION ITEMS HERE) IN WHICH YOU HAVE LET YOUR WIFE BE HER AUTHENTIC SELF AND HOW HAS SHE LET YOU DO THE SAME?

This part has come naturally for us. For one, she’s the boss. Haha. There’s no “let” in our daily conversations. She tells me what she’s doing—and doesn’t really ever ask. And I do the same because in the end we trust each other's judgement undoubtedly.  We talk about the things that light us up individually, and then become each other’s biggest supporters. With every crazy venture I’ve started Weslie has been by my side cheering me on, even if the prospects were bleak. And I make sure to do the same for her. Seeing her now succeed as a podcaster after years of being a stay at home mom doesn’t surprise me at all. I actually feel like now the world gets to see what I’ve seen in her all along, and it makes me happy to share her with the world. And she celebrates my own personal successes as if they’re her own. We’re a really good pair.

WHAT TIPS DO YOU HAVE FOR MAINTAINING A SENSE OF SELF AND INDIVIDUALITY, AND STILL TRYING TO GROW ON YOUR OWN, WHILE ALSO IN A RELATIONSHIP?

I do me, and Wes does her. She’s into meditation and I’m into motorcycles, and those two things don’t seem to mix, but she pointed out to me that my bike rides are actually my form of meditation. And she’s right. We have the same end goals, just different ways of getting there and I think that’s all that matters. Same end goals. We always come together with the kids and with our friends and family., and we make sure to keep our life fun, adventurous, and interesting.

WHAT IS ONE SUPER CRUCIAL SELF CARE ROUTINE OR BOUNDARY THAT YOU HAVE FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH?

Have fun! Do the things in life that light you up, and don’t forget to get out of the house to take a walk every now and then. And when life starts to feel heavy, remember to keep it light and refocus on things that truly matter to you. Try not to take little things too seriously.

TO TOUCH ON LONELY GHOST, WHAT DOES THE BRAND REPRESENT FOR YOU? WITH SUCH A STRONG COMMUNITY AROUND IT, HOW DO YOU WANT TO GROW WITH THAT LOYAL FOLLOWING?

LG is a brand fueled by its community. That’s actually what it actually represents to me: community. It's all about being inclusive and nice. Indy (my partner) and I have always been into service projects and giving back to people who need it most. We have talked about how cool it would be if we could get our ghost community involved and begin to take other people with us on service projects around the world. Whether it’s bringing clean drinking water to those who don't have it, or building a school for a village, we would love to create something bigger together than just a clothing brand, and we’re well on our way! Our private Facebook group is growing by the thousands everyday, and it’s bringing people together. People from the group are meeting up in person now and traveling around the world, making real connections. Real friendships. It is so awesome to see and be a part of. Lonely Ghost is something we both are so extremely proud of now, and really, the sky's the limit. We’re just getting started.

Artwork by FISK

SPEED ROUND

FAVORITE QUARANTINE ACTIVITY

Definitely nightly walks down to the lake with my family.

FAVORITE RECENT BOOK OR PODCAST

Podcast - Woke With Weslie

LAST MEAL YOU COOKED AT HOME

I actually don't cook. I would rather not eat than to cook food for myself, and yes, i know its weird. My family gives me crap for it all the time, but it's true! I’d rather go out to eat.

ADMIT A GUILTY PLEASURE

A bowl full of frozen chocolate covered raspberries and a nightly game of Mario Kart on the nintendo switch.

LAST THING YOU SAID YES TO

My kids asking me to take them to get in-n-out.

LAST THING YOU SAID NO TO

My kids asking me if we can upgrade our hedgehogs cage with the neighbors hamster cage.