Daily Archives: March 30, 2012

The Mental Illness Happy Hour

Over the course of the last year or so I’ve made the switch from listening to music on my ipod when I’m out and about to listening to audiobooks and podcasts.

Honestly, I stopped listening to music because I noticed it was having a negative effect on my moods at times, and as hard as I tried to listen to music that was specifically positive and upbeat, there were several times where I still walked away with a mild episode triggered from it. It took a while for me to find a handful of podcasts that didn’t have the exact same effect, and I went through storytelling and comedy to interviews in an attempt to find something that was interesting and not a total waste of my time.

The Mental Illness Happy Hour is one of the more recent podcasts I’ve discovered, and I am a big fan! Comedian Paul Gilmartin hosts an hour long interview with, (you guessed it!) a mental illness theme.

Though Paul is a comedian, his intention is not to make light of mental illness -simply to speak with guests who are willing to be open about their experiences with things like anxiety, depression, addiction, and other mental challenges. The guest line-up includes (but is not limited to) doctors, actors, comedians, and others involved in the creative arts.

I find that this podcast falls perfectly into a place that is neither too serious nor too comedic, and though some of the topics could pose as a potential trigger risk for those with bipolar disorder (suicide, abuse, death, rape, etc), the fact that the traumatic experiences and situations discussed are brought up in a safe environment with the help of Paul guiding the conversation makes a huge difference in providing a buffer around many of the more intense topics. So far I’ve been able to relate in some way to each guest on the show that I’ve listened to without being triggered by any of the episodes -something I consider to be a huge feat.

In addition, the website includes a couple anonymous surveys you can fill out, which is an interesting way for folks to share information about things they may otherwise be too ashamed to talk about. A quick forewarning that these can be a little intense, but you may find you’re not the only one with that deep dark secret shame you’ve been carrying around for years. There is also a forum area where people can connect, an excellent resource.

It has been an absolute pleasure to discover something with such a similar aim as what I am trying to accomplish (to some degree) with this blog, and for anyone who can raise awareness about mental illness, encourage openness, and remind others they’re not alone -all while making it seem somewhat effortless, I give a well-deserved two thumbs up.

Check out The Mental Illness Happy Hour on iTunes or at mentalpod.com, a great addition to spruce up an otherwise boring commute, add some reflection to your workout at the gym, or simply enjoy with a cup of coffee lounging around the house in your pajamas.