Glenn interviews Ty Pennington

Good Design Can Change Your Life: Beautiful Rooms, Inspiring Stories

GLENN: From Radio City in Midtown Manhattan, third most listened to show in all of America. Hello, you sick twisted freak. Welcome to the program. My name is Glenn Beck. Last night I filled in for Larry King and had Michael Savage on. And he has said some things about autism that I want to get into here in just a little while, but I think his point is that we are an overmedicated, overdiagnosed society. Now, this is something that I wrestle with in my own family and with my friends because as you know if you listen to this program for more than 10 minutes, I’m riddled with ADD and in fact, when I first was diagnosed, the doctor said, so do you think I — and he just laughed and he said, are you kidding me? Ask the people you work with.

Now, I have tried different medications, et cetera, et cetera, and don’t like most of them and it is really an odd thing to mess with, especially at my age, mess with what a lot of — I believe a lot of my ADD has led to my success. But to be able to regulate it in such a way to where you don’t drive everybody out of their mind crazy around you, I started taking something called Vyvanse. It’s a new drug, and it has — if I may point out my staff knows when I’m not on ADD medicine. True or false? I called Chris Balfe when I was on tour and he was — and he’s our president of our company and I said, you know what, I just realized something, I’m off my medication and that’s why all of this stuff is going on in my head. And he said, Glenn, you’re telling me like this is a surprise? I was on the other side of the country. I hadn’t seen him in a week. And he said, Glenn, day one every member of the staff called and said, could you please get Glenn back on his medication? Because I was keeping people up at 3:00 in the morning going, no, no, wait, wait, wait, I got a better idea.

Ty Pennington also riddled with ADD. He’s the star of Extreme Home Makeover and yada, yada, yada. Welcome to the program.

PENNINGTON: Just from listening to you, I can definitely tell you’re riddled, my friend.

GLENN: See, that’s just not necessary. This isn’t — I mean, this isn’t necessary. I didn’t know you — I didn’t know you had ADD.

PENNINGTON: Are you kidding? Wow, what are some of the signs? Maybe erratic behavior. No, honestly I’m kind of the poster child, man. It’s funny because a lot of parents come to me and say thanks for coming out and, like, saying that you have it. Because a lot of people are embarrassed or whatever kind of, you know, not proud of the fact that they might have some type of disorder, you know. But as you obviously know, you know, it does affect your work, it does affect your whole life and, you know, if it’s not treated early, it can really affect, you know, the whole outcome of your life. I mean, I –

GLENN: Are you at all — sorry to cut you off.

PENNINGTON: No.

GLENN: But, you know, you understand more than most. Are you at all torn? Because I believe that my success in business is because I can process a million things at a time and move very rapidly but my failure at home is because of ADD. Are you at all torn by ADD or do you only see it as a bad thing?

PENNINGTON: You know, that’s the thing. It’s like — well, here’s what I will say. And you keep calling it ADD. Now, what I have is ADHD. That’s the hyperactivity disorder. And that’s easier to recognize in somebody. They are usually the kid that’s, you know, bouncing up and down, probably making a necklace out of a desk, climbing out of windows. It’s pretty obvious from that extent. But yeah, I mean, the whole thing is like changing your mind constantly going, wait, wait, wait, wait, I got another one. But they also can’t focus on one thing. But, you know, usually in that situation you are not the first person someone’s going to pick to get the job that’s going to be the one that they say doesn’t get it done. You are the one that doesn’t finish the projects. You keep going down the line, down the line, down the line. And what happens is my confidence just kept waning and waning until it wasn’t until I finally got treated literally in college that I realized, hold on a second, you know what, I actually do have a talent, I can put myself through school and I actually can make something of myself. But what I want you to know as for me is that, you know, even though I’ve been treated — I’m glad that you’re on Vyvanse because that’s really fantastic for adults with ADD and what really helps is that it’s long-lasting. For me my personality doesn’t go away. You were explaining some of your success comes from ADD because I think, you know, we as human beings, especially when we have ADHD, we are creative, we have great ideas. But the problem is can we express and finish our sentences. Now, that personality doesn’t go away because I got treatment, you know. I’m still that kind of guy but I can actually complete the tasks. I can actually finish a sentence and actually finish the projects that I’ve got on my to do list. And the fact –

GLENN: Is it amazing to you that I never finished a project, ever, in my life, ever. Everybody — the big joke on me was that I never, ever continue on a — I mean, the big joke this last week, correct me if I’m wrong, Stu, is the McCain/Obama headline battle. They produced all of this stuff for the show and they always do it. They produce it and then I do it for, like, two days and I’m bored with it and I move on. And we just pointed out just the other day, been doing it now for, like, seven days. And every day I’m the one going in, hey, we’re going to do the headline battle today? I mean, it’s really, it’s amazing. I’ve never finished a project before in my life until I started, you know, taking Vyvanse and straightening, you know, straightening my head out.

PENNINGTON: Well, yeah, that’s the big change, though, man. I mean, look, the way I see it is this. I didn’t really — up until the point that I was in my first year of college, I had not been treated for it. That’s when my doctor, you know, just accepting that I might have some kind of disorder was disturbing enough but then once I was put on lasting medications like Vyvanse, next thing you know, bam, it’s like somebody gave me glasses and all of a sudden I could see, you know, not only what I couldn’t see before but I could see the mistakes I made and how I could correct them and how, you know, like my grades are well, really focusing, my grades went from D’s to A’s, I’m putting myself through art school, instead of doing one project, I’m actually completing three, could show just how talented I am because I’m also very competitive. Next thing you know instead of having the idea, I’m actually completing it and saying, this is what I mean, you can see. They can actually see it instead of me trying to explain the thought. Until then people were just like, huh? What are you saying.

GLENN: You know, my family makes fun of me because I have a 3-year-old son and he will be in the middle of a conversation and be like, dad, I was fighting a dragon last night and… sticks! But we make fun of it. I look at him and I just laugh because it is so funny the way he is just so — he is a 3-year-old. He is not ADD. He is a 3-year-old and my family — I say that is so funny when Raphe — they say, yeah, it’s funny when you’re 3, Dad. That’s the way you are all the time.

PENNINGTON: My dad used to call me the king of non sequitur because I’d be in the middle of a story and I was like, I was going to be a clean driver and (inaudible). And exactly, just like that. It’s like you go to a completely different story. And then you go on and finish the sentence you started a minute ago because you hadn’t lost track, you just decided to take another avenue and people are like, what are you talking about? Are you talking about your soccer game or are you talking about — what is this? You know, I don’t have time for this gibberish.

GLENN: Let me ask you this. Because I’ve said on the air before if I had an 8-year-old or a 10-year-old, I found that it is extraordinarily difficult to find the right medication for you, and I took some medications that my personality just changed and I took — I have to know when to take it, I have to know when to use it, when not to use it. There are times that I need those skills, times that I don’t want those skills. And I don’t think I would give it to my 8-year-old because I don’t think they’re self-aware enough. And I’m afraid that we do look at anything that we used to say, you know, settle down, or, pay attention or whatever, that sometimes we are overdiagnosing or we’re overmedicating. Do you have any thoughts on that?

PENNINGTON: Well, you know, I think what counts to kids, it’s really your parents’ choice there. You know, I mean –

GLENN: But what I’m asking is, parents, if you don’t have ADD or ADHD, you have no idea what it is like. And when you take this medication, it does change the way you think and the way you function. And I was on some medicine, I don’t remember even what it was, but I hated it. It totally stripped me of personality.

PENNINGTON: Well, sure.

GLENN: Where Vyvanse has been great for me, others were horrible.

PENNINGTON: That’s what it is. I think with each human being we all have different chemicals in our system and I think that’s why you have to go see a doctor, talk to your doctor, talk to, you know, a specialist to find out really what is good. But what’s great is that Vyvanse is working for you and, you know, that’s the thing. Once you find something that works and it does seem to, like, make a difference but it doesn’t change you as a human being and you don’t feel different, that’s what you are looking for, something that keeps you you, the next thing, it’s you that’s actually completing the task and actually getting the things done you’ve always wanted to get done. Most of us as you know until you actually get treatment and none of that is actually possible. And that’s why it is such a huge thing, man. I’ve never been — you know, I noticed I was like, oh, my God, this is like the great thing that — because I was so, you know, — I was kind of worried. I didn’t want to be that guy that had to take any kind of medication and then all of a sudden, you know, then I realized, oh, my God this is — it’s a completely different me. I was still the guy that would do crazy things but I was accomplishing things I never thought I could. And, you know, I mean next thing you know I’m confident saying, hey, wait a minute, I might have a talent I could actually make money at, have a successful career someday.

GLENN: I haven’t reached that point yet.

PENNINGTON: What’s that?

GLENN: I haven’t reached that point yet but someday I will.

PENNINGTON: Yeah, yeah. You’re right, though. I’m glad that Vyvanse has worked out for you. It shows –

GLENN: The first time that I took any kind of ADD medicine — boy, is this a frustrating interview for anybody that’s listening that’s not riddled with ADD. The first time I took ADD medication, I wept because I played with my son on the floor for 40 minutes and I had never done that with any of my children. It was, it was night and day.

Let me switch subjects with you.

PENNINGTON: Okay.

GLENN: Let’s talk a little bit about Extreme Home Makeover. I think I saw the first episode that you guys ever did and I went on the air the next day and I said, this is the perfect idea. This is capitalism and the media making something really entertaining and doing good. You are, to me you’re one of the poster Childs for good capitalism, to where you can do something great.

PENNINGTON: Well, you know what, it’s great because everybody wins.

GLENN: Right.

PENNINGTON: First of all, I’ve said this before but, you know, I’ve got the perfect job. But good thing about it is we actually do things for good people. You are right, the way media is and we have to, you know, we have to get advertising out there, the network has to make their own. In this particular thing what’s great is everybody wins. The family wins, the builder gets a little bit of exposure, the companies that want to give away their product get that exposure, you know, the ratings are good. You know, everybody wins. In a way it’s the perfect storm for, I don’t know, good television in my opinion, you know. But it’s a hard job. But it’s so worth it because you get to see the gratification immediately. Not only that, you impact someone’s life. It’s not like, you know, you really do make a difference.

GLENN: Have you ever thought about finding a family, like nobody had a face? That way you just didn’t have to — they couldn’t see it, they couldn’t speak out or anything, so you could just bring them into the same house and go, hey, there’s a new computer over here.

PENNINGTON: That’s really, really horrible.

GLENN: But I mean, it would be great. Think of the money you could save.

PENNINGTON: Oh, my God. Yeah. I’ll write that down as a future thought.

GLENN: I’m just saying if the economy goes south, you might want to look at people without faces.

You have a new book coming out in September?

PENNINGTON: I do, yeah.

GLENN: What is it?

PENNINGTON: Well, it’s basically how good design can change your life. The designs I do for the people that I do and, you know, what inspires me to do it and how I do it and why I do it.

GLENN: Is that like a feng shui or –

PENNINGTON: No, it’s about, really it’s about change in your life and it’s the stories that inspire me, it’s the people that I’ve done the rens for. But the time we have on the show, you don’t really see all the details that go into it. So this is really how and why and the cool things that I’ve actually done and the detail of how I did it. But also why I did it and the stories and the people that inspire me. What’s great about my job is like, you know, after we leave, it’s not over. Like I still stay in touch with some of these people. You find out just how much of a difference you’ve actually made.

GLENN: What is the one family or the one story that you, to your dying day you will remember?

PENNINGTON: You know what, that’s a tough one, you know. There’s so many. I mean, there’s — you know, there’s, wow, there’s the police officer out in California who is in a wheelchair because she was working the tough beat in L.A. and almost died but now I meet her and she’s like punching her legs because she hates to be a victim and she just wants to — now she just wants to survive it all and be a mom that can actually hold her kid. It’s also like an 8-year-old girl named Belle who was fighting the worst thing in the world which is cancer and, you know, she didn’t quite make — she didn’t quite beat that battle. But before she left, she ended up impacting other kids’ lives that were facing the same thing. She knew how horrible it was and what a sad place the hospital was and she would bring toys to these kids to make your days before. I don’t know, man. It’s not so much — it’s these moments that you have with these people and the fact that they share their stories with me. That’s the best part of my job is I really get to really see the human spirit, man, and get to see. It could be an 8-year-old, could be an 80-year-old. It’s somebody that inspires you to do better as a person.

GLENN: Have you found that the people that, because they are also inspiring, have you found that the people you build houses for and get involved in their life, that because they’re survivors, because they are so amazing that they are not victims, they don’t like the victim mentality that these are — that that’s part of the reason why they are so special?

PENNINGTON: I think you have to look at things like that is that, you know, you’re not going to be — I just met a little girl named Brooke. We just finished the second build on our sixth season which is going to air in September. But I met this little girl named Brooke who is battling something called SMA which is a really horrible disease that really is incurable and she’s had to have countless operations and surgeries and she’s not even 8 yet. But this little girl’s got this spirit. She’s just so happy. She will point you around and direct you how to do things. She’s like a leader. She must be an old soul, you know, just coming back. I don’t know. It’s just an amazing little girl who’s got this driving spirit. And it’s people like that, that they know what they’re going through but they don’t see themselves as a victim. She was actually more worried as a victim because her mom’s having to pick her up and carry her and she’s more worried about her sister who’s got the same disease but she’s hoping it’s not as bad as what she has. It’s those people that are going through something horrible like that but want to make sure other people around her has a better life. Somebody who can have that much thought of other people amazes me. I think that’s the beauty. I mean, that’s the greatest part of my job is meeting people like that that make you realize what an inspiration is, what, you know, a person that you will always be inspired by and like, you know, sometimes it comes in the shape of a young girl.

GLENN: Ty, great talking to you. Sticks! Talk to you later, man.

PENNINGTON: Okay, man. Bye.

GLENN: Ty Pennington.