I Worry I’m Unlovable – Pauly David

I Worry I’m Unlovable – Pauly David

The co-host of YouTube’s Pauly & Monks show shares about feeling unlovable, not being a good enough partner, trying to always “fix” other people, having to be an adult in his family at nine, learning to equate money with love and being rejected by relatives for being gay. Oh and his Bruce Willis-admiring grandfather shooting his grandmother.

Follow Pauly on Twitter @PaulyDavid and Instagram @PaulyDavid1

Check out the Pauly & Monks show on YouTube and on Twitter @PaulyandMonks

Visit them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PaulyandMonks/

Check out Pauly’s personal YouTube page http://YouTube.com/user/VapidDual

This episode is sponsored by BetterHelp.com to try a week of online counseling for free go to www.BetterHelp.com/mental  You must be over 18.

This episode is sponsored by Young Health’s Probimune.  To get your first bottle free (plus $6.75 shipping) go to www.probimune.com and use offer code MENTAL

This episode is sponsored by Stamps.com  For a special 4 week trial go to www.stamps.com be sure to click on the microphone icon at the top of the page then enter offer code MENTAL

Please take this anonymous survey so potential advertisers will see our demographic.  Plus you could win a $100 Amazon card.  www.podsurvey.com/mentalpod



Episode notes:

Follow Pauly on Twitter @PaulyDavid and Instagram @PaulyDavid1

Check out the Pauly & Monks show on YouTube and on Twitter @PaulyandMonks

Visit them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PaulyandMonks/

Check out Pauly's personal YouTube page http://YouTube.com/user/VapidDual

This episode is sponsored by BetterHelp.com to try a week of online counseling for free go to www.BetterHelp.com/mental  You must be over 18.

This episode is sponsored by Young Health's Probimune.  To get your first bottle free (plus $6.75 shipping) go to www.probimune.com and use offer code MENTAL

This episode is sponsored by Stamps.com  For a special 4 week trial go to www.stamps.com be sure to click on the microphone icon at the top of the page then enter offer code MENTAL

Please take this anonymous survey so potential advertisers will see our demographic.  Plus you could win a $100 Amazon card.  www.podsurvey.com/mentalpod

Episode Transcript:

Transcription services donated by Accurate Secretarial LLC. You can find them at www.AccurateSecretarial.com.


Welcome to Episode 319 with my guest Pauly David. You know, we love having great advertisers on this show, but in order to keep doing that, I need your guys' help, so if you wouldn't mind taking a survey so that advertisers can see what demographic listens to our show, that would greatly help advertising and etc.

So, if you could go to Podsurvey.com/mentalpod and take a quick, totally anonymous survey, that'll really, really help. And if you've ever taken the show's podcast listener survey before, this current one is new and it's different than the last one, so, again, please, it really, really helps me. And plus, once you complete the survey, you can enter to win $100 Amazon gift card. So, again, that's Podsurvey.com/mentalpod, and that's p-o-d-s-u-r-v-e-y dot com slash mentalpod, and really, really appreciate it.

I'm Paul Gilmartin. This is the Mental Illness Happy Hour, a place for honesty about all the battles in our heads, from medically diagnosed conditions, past traumas and sexual dysfunction to everyday compulsive negative thinking. This show is not meant to be a substitute for professional mental counseling. I'm not a therapist. It's not a doctor's office. It's more like a waiting room that doesn't suck.

The Web site for the show is Mentalpod.com. And there you can take all kinds of other anonymous surveys that I might read on the air. You guys have been so kind over the years, you've filled out thousands and thousands and thousands of these, and they give me so many fantastic things to be able to read and I really appreciate it. And please, please, keep doing it.

I had an interesting week. I did a show that, it hasn't aired yet, but I did the show RISK! It's a great podcast and live show, and I've had Kevin Allison, he's the host of the show, I had him on as a guest a couple of weeks ago, and the theme of the show, the gist of RISK! is that it's a storytelling show and you go and you talk about something that is, feels risky to you to talk about.

And so, when Kevin invited me to do the show, I thought, what do I want to talk about? And of course, you know, the thing that I always feel like [chuckles] I've been put on this Earth to talk about is the stuff that happened to me as a kid, the covert incest stuff, because it doesn't get talked about. There's so much ignorance about it and so many people who've experienced it and can't put a finger on why they feel the way they do.

And so I thought, well, you know, I'll go tell that story, but it's always different when I go to tell that story in front of somebody other than you guys or my support group, and it scares the fuck out of me.

And the first time I did it, I did it on a storytelling show called Taboo Tales, and it totally caught me off guard. And as I was telling my story, my knees were shaking, my voice was quivering, and afterwards I just wanted to run and hide.

And a guy, a guy came up to me, and I was like fighting back tears, and after the show I'm just hiding from everybody, and this guy from the audience came up to me and he said, thank you for telling your story tonight, I had never heard my story until tonight. And I didn't [chuckles] comfort him. I was like, I said, can I have a hug? And this guy just, we hugged, and I just started crying on his shoulder and it felt so good because, in that moment, I realized just because I'm uncomfortable talking about this and other people are uncomfortable hearing it, it doesn't mean it's not worth doing.

So, I decided to do that again on Saturday night at the live performance of RISK! here in Los Angeles, and I was nervous. And nervous before, pretty nervous during, but less nervous than the first time. My knees didn't shake but my voice did shake a little bit, and it was, you know, some of the people before me were very funny and they had humor throughout their thing, and I had almost no humor throughout mine, and after I got off stage, I had that feeling again like I just took a shit in front of a hundred people.

And while I know I have nothing to be ashamed of, it's still, it's such, it's so, it's such an exposing feeling and not having a person come up to me afterwards and say, you told my story, I just felt really alone. And I was supposed to hang out with a buddy that night, and I called him and I said, man, I just, I just can't be around people right now, I just really kind of want to go be by myself. And he totally understood.

And I guess I say this, in case there's anybody out there who is at war with their feelings, you know, like my conscience tells me, keep telling your story, but my body sometimes will say, why are you putting us through this?

And then a part of my brain tells me, well, you're doing it because you want attention, because you want sympathy, you know, you know, on and on, all the, the whole mean tape that it always plays.

So, if somebody's out there and you're struggling to tell your story and your knees shake and your voice shakes and the whole time you're telling it you're afraid that somebody is going to say, you liar, or you exaggerator, or that never happened, or that wasn't that bad, or the thousand other things you're afraid people are going to say, you're not alone in having that experience when you share your story, but I think if you can do it and it feels safe enough, I think it's important for us to talk about this.

Because this shit needs to be talked about in a way that is real and, as uncomfortable as it is, it sometimes needs the details, because the details, and I don't mean graphic, but, you know, I shared some stuff that was really fucking, I think I, in fact, I think I shared something that I never even shared on the podcast before, and afterwards I was like, why did I fucking share that?

And there's part of me that hopes that he doesn't air the episode, and there's a part of me that wants him to, and it's just, it's a fucking war, and people that have never experienced stuff like this, I think they think that the worst part of being violated is when it's happening, when, in reality, it's the wake, the years, the ripples, that's the worst part. That's the constant mind fuck.

Anyway. You know, and I think I've also been in some shame recently because, I shared on the last week's podcast that somebody had kind of shamed me, because I struggle with boundaries sometimes and I just always assume other people are as comfortable talking about shit as I am or, you know, me sharing parts of myself with them, and a lot of people aren't. And that's not a good thing on my part, and I'm really trying to work on it.

And honestly, there are some times when I start to share something with a woman who feels safe to me, and I think I make her kind of the mother I never had or wanted, the mother I always wanted, and it doesn't matter what age she is. It's more about the, well, I mean, you know, she's an adult.

It's more their warmth is like the thing that I just want, that I've craved since I was a little boy, but then, like my adrenaline starts going, my heart starts beating fast, I start talking more and more and my boundaries get slippery, and then sometimes I just, I fuck up and I talk too much and I, you know, maybe say something that's inappropriate or, and I fucking hate it. I fucking hate it.

And I was talking to my therapist this week, and she said something to me that I had never thought about before, is she said, what do you feel when you get to that place where sometimes you talk too much or you share too much? And I said, my heart's beating. I feel really awake. I feel super focused. I feel, I just feel alive.

And she said, well, maybe when you get to that point in the future, take a deep breath and, whoever it is that you're talking to, just share with them that I think I might be getting triggered right now, you know, maybe my addictive personality is being triggered, so I'm just going to kind of quiet down and pull back a little bit because I don't want to over-share. And she said, and then listen. Just listen to what that other person says.

And it had never occurred to me. I think I'm such a control freak that I want to control the whole thing, and, in my mind, I think, well, if I just do it perfectly then that's okay, but that's completely, that's not okay. And don't worry, I'm not, I know you guys always say, oh, you beat yourself up so much.

This is more of, this isn't me beating myself up. This is [chuckles], this is self-reflection with a hint of, you know, recrimination or shame. So, it's progress, and I wanted to share that little victory with you guys.

And I, here's a plug for the, my therapist and the service that I use because they sponsor the show. I found her at BetterHelp.com, and I love her. Her name is Donna Keene[sp?] and she fucking rocks, and she gets me and I, I just, I really like working with her.

And I also got a really cool e-mail from a listener who's, he's an awesome support of this show. His name is Tristram, and he sent me an e-mail and he said, just did my first therapy on BetterHelp. Holy shit, cried, and the therapist had an amazing insight that is a huge deal for me. So, thanks, Paul.

And you know, it's nice to have a sponsor that I like, that I use, and so, if you want to try online therapy, go to BetterHelp.com/mental, and complete their questionnaire and then you'll get matched with a BetterHelp.com counselor, and then you can check out a free week of counseling to see if online counseling is your bag. You need to be over 18, but I highly recommend it. I think it's worth checking out.

Hey, we got a new sponsor, Stamps.com. I don't know about you, but I hate going to the post office, and you don't have to. If you go to Stamps.com and check it out, anything that you could do at the post office you can now do right from your desk with Stamps.com. You can buy and print official U.S. postage for any letter or package using your own computer and printer, and unlike the post office, Stamps.com never closes, so you can get postage whenever you need it, 24/7.

They sent me a trial package, a little five-pound scale, plugs right into the laptop. You download the software and, within minutes, I was printing out stamps, you know, stamps for letters, stamps for larger packages, really, really cool, simple to use, highly recommend it, awesome for small businesses.

And right now, if you use my code, MENTAL, for this special offer, you get a four-week trial. It includes postage and that digital scale I told you about, so don't wait. Go to Stamps.com before you do anything else. Click on the radio microphone at the top of the homepage and then type in MENTAL. That's Stamps.com, enter the code MENTAL, don't forget about the little microphone. Stamps.com, never go to the post office again.

I forgot to mention, too, that this interview with Pauly David was recorded in July. And sometimes I'm uncomfortable when I air something that was recorded a long time ago and then my life has changed since then [chuckles], because I have this stupid fear that people are going to point to an inconsistency in my life and think I'm making stuff up. Oh, I’m a fucking nutjob. All right.

This is from the What Has Helped You Survey, and this is filled out by Chel-Bel, and she struggles with PTSD, borderline personality disorder, trichotillomania, depression and overall anxiety. And what has helped her, find a way to get outside of your head. I paint, color, yoga, friendship. I've also found that my issues come out to play less after I handle them better when I take better care of my body, take vitamins, drink water, eat regularly, shower, sleep. It's stupid simple stuff, but trust me, your body needs it to cope.

What have people said or done that has helped you? Validating helps. I was abused most of my life and sometimes I give it weight, like right now. That's her words. But most of the time, I question myself. My sister reflects me. We reassure each other that we aren't crazy or over-exaggerating our memories. It's priceless. That has to be very, very comforting.

Any comments or suggestions to make the podcast better? Paul, I love you. You're amazing and wonderful and provide an invaluable service. That being said, last year my computer broke and I had to start listening to your podcast through the player on your Web site on my phone. It's a very flawed player. Every time someone brings this to your attention, you suggest we simply use iTunes. ITunes is not available on Android devices and it drives me nuts when you say it as a cure-all.

I wanted to let you know that CastBox is a podcast app that I've recently found that works excellent and does have the Mental Illness Happy Hour. Feel free to try it out or try some other apps, but please, if you're going to write off the Web site player and suggest iTunes instead, throw us Android users a bone, too.

I mention it because, like I said, your service is invaluable. It honestly does save lives, and I don't want anyone to miss out on it because the Web site player is having a bad day and they don't happen to have an Apple device. Thank you again for everything you do. Sorry if this upset you at all.

It did not upset me at all. I'm glad that you mentioned that, because I did not know that. I thought anybody can use iTunes on their phone, so thank you for mentioning that, and so CastBox. I have not used it, but those of you with Android phones, go check that out.

And then this is the same survey, What Has Helped You, filled out by a teenager, she called herself Lavender, and her issues, depression, anxiety, PTSD, autism, coping with past sexual, physical and emotional abuse, and, oh, in the past, some kind of eating disorder or self-harm combo. Weight was never the primary focus. I starved myself as a punishment for not being academically good enough.

What has helped you deal with it? Writing characters with similar experiences as me, writing in a journal, watercolor painting, drawing in my sketchbook, any kind of creative production makes me feel like I'm worth something. Learning to make noises. I was never allowed to express emotions in my home, to the point where laughter and crying was punished. I've started laughing loudly, and it feels like I'm letting go of all the joy I felt like I had to keep inside.

I'm also letting myself sob instead of let tears trickle down my cheeks. I've learned that my feelings matter to myself and others and that letting them out through laughter or crying is a way of expressing that joy or sadness.

What have people said or done that has helped you? I told my story, the whole story, while my best friend and I laid in a darkened dorm room. I told them about the abuse, my mother's rapid mood swings, the periods of neglect I experienced. They were quiet for a moment. Then they said, that's a lot of trauma to deal with.

It was all I needed, for someone to say my trauma is valid and that I'm struggling, a person who would talk about my trauma with me without elevating my mother's struggles and motivations for abusing me over my own trauma. It was the first time I felt someone give weight to my experiences without some kind of catch, and it was beautiful.


[Show intro]


PAUL: I'm here with Pauly David, who I met through Twitter originally, and you do the Pauly & Monks Show with your partner, who your nickname for him is Monks?


PAULY: Actually, it's our nickname for each other--


PAUL: For each other, okay.


PAULY: --but, you know, what we started as just audio, now we're video, but we started as just audio, and we feared that we were going to sound too much alike, so we differentiate.


PAUL: And you guys have been a couple for how long?


PAULY: Five and a half years.


PAUL: Okay.


PAULY: Yeah.


PAUL: And you were nice enough to have me on your show a week or two ago--


PAULY: Thank you for coming.


PAUL: It was, I loved it. It was fun. It was fun.


PAULY: We've had really good feedback about your appearance, people talking about mostly the covert incest that you were discussing.


PAUL: Dude, it's such a big thing. So many people e-mail and say, I never realized until I listened to this show why this, I'm this way, why I'm this way, why I feel this way, why, and I always recommend the book Silently Seduced, which will just explain so many things.


PAULY: Yeah. And our station even, the host that comes on after us, was in the greenroom just like salivating, just watching our show, like, oh, my God, my father, that's my father--


PAUL: Oh, wow.


PAULY: --never realizing because, you know, you pigeonhole things into certain categories, like you were talking about, and you don't consider it incest, but, you know, it is a form of it.


PAUL: It is a form of it. And, you know, everything's on a continuum--


PAULY: Absolutely.


PAUL: --and it's not a contest [chuckles].


PAULY: I kind of think of it like, I kind of think of mental health in general, but also, you know, the various things that have affected us in our lives, like incest, molestation, whatever it is, on a spectrum the same way sexuality is.


PAUL: Yes.


PAULY: Yeah.


PAUL: I totally agree. And it's, and I say this all the time on the podcast, but it's not a contest. It doesn't matter whether something is prosecutable. It's your feelings that are valid, and it's about healing those feelings, not about seeking justice, at least, you know, right now. It's--


PAULY: Yeah.


PAUL: So, let's talk about your story. I was thinking it would be an interesting thing to start with the fears, but first, tell the people, you're how old?


PAULY: I am 40. I just turned 40 this year. I have never said that like publicly [chuckles], that's so weird. Yeah, I just turned 40.


PAUL: And, you look great.


PAULY: Thank you.


PAUL: I told these guys, when I was doing their podcast, I was like, oh, God, I f--


PAULY: Yeah, we're old men [chuckles].


PAUL: I thought you guys were in your 20s, so--


PAULY: Thanks.


PAUL: --you're taking good care of yourself.


PAULY: Well, I'll be getting Botox on the air this week, so we'll see.


PAUL: Are you really?


PAULY: Yeah. I don't have anything now, but yeah, we try to take care of ourselves, you know.


PAUL: Yeah.


PAULY: I think gay people like look younger. No, [chuckles] I'm just kidding.




PAUL: Well, I do think in the gay community there is certainly more of, maybe it's just a Los Angeles thing, but there is a lot of taking care of one's physical appearance--


PAULY: Yeah. I mean, I think--


PAUL: --of being, you know, working out, things like that. I mean, I know that sounds like a generalization, but--


PAULY: No, but I think a lot of things are influenced by Hollywood and media, and I think a lot of that starts here, so I think that might be what it's from. I mean, I've gained a lot of weight in the past five years, but, you know, when I travel outside of Los Angeles, I'm like a god. No--




PAULY: By the way, everything I say like that is a joke, so like, you know--


PAUL: They know.


PAULY: They know. I know they know. By the way, Paul like set some mood lighting up in here, so I'm feeling really comfortable.


PAUL: Good. I had Bill Cosby set your drink up.


PAULY: Oh, thank you.


PAUL: So, yeah, we're good to go.


PAULY: Thank you.




PAUL: Let's start with some fears.


PAULY: Hm, all right. Okay, a fear. I fear that I will never be able to be the partner that I feel my fiancé deserves.


PAUL: Wow. Out of the gate swinging. What area do you feel that you're lacking?


PAULY: We're very, very different people, so he has like a very literal, like logical background, analytical. He went to MIT. He went to Berkeley--


PAUL: Wow. What?
PAULY: He went to Loyola. He has two masters'. I did like a semester at junior college. My IQ is higher, though. But--




PAULY: --I just fear like we're so different that, you know, I'm terrible with money, so I, I just, I think it's an irrational fear, but it's a fear of not being able to be as good as what I think he deserves, because he could be dating a doctor and, here he is, with, you know, an entertainer, and it's a different lifestyle. It's a much different lifestyle.

I mean, we've been together a long time now. I think he's acclimated, but . . .


PAUL: And how many years did you say?


PAULY: Five and a half years now.


PAUL: Five and a half years. And yeah, I would imagine a lot of people probably have that insecurity.


PAULY: Yeah.


PAUL: But I also think when we're totally different that we can fill in where the other person isn't good at something. For instance, I’m good at getting the taxes together, and my wife is good at figuring out what present is good to give to somebody whose birthday party we're going to, and we both completely suck at the other thing.


PAULY: Right.


PAUL: So, it's nice sometimes to--


PAULY: Yeah, we definitely complement each other in those ways, but in my mind, the things that he does are more important than the things that I do, you know.


PAUL: Well, you're--


PAULY: I mean, I think it's, I think everyone deals with this, you know, to some point.


PAUL: Yeah. Did I give you a water? Yes.


PAULY: You did, yeah.


PAUL: Okay. Give me another fear.


PAULY: You want me to go in or do you want me to do something kind of, all right.

I fear that being transparent will make people discover that I am unlovable.


PAUL: [Chuckles]




PAULY: You know, just keep it light.


PAUL: Welcome, welcome to what I fear every week that I do the show. I'm always afraid that there's going, I am going to say something that will reveal the true awful person that I feel like if people only knew--


PAULY: If you only knew [chuckles].


PAUL: --yes, what a fuck-up I am--


PAULY: Same.


PAUL: Yeah. And it's just a balancing act until you discover that, really, I’m not lovable and everybody's going to flee.


PAULY: I know. That's it. Like, oh, if you only knew.


PAUL: What are the things about you that you're afraid will be seen?


PAULY: My crazy mind. My--


PAUL: What's crazy about your mind?


PAULY: What's crazy about my mind is it never shuts off. I mean, you know, I mean, I have to credit your show with feeling a lot of, realizing that a lot of the things that I think are, you know, quote, unquote, normal, so I thank you for that. I'm a huge fan of your show.


PAUL: Thanks.


PAULY: The transparency of seeing my inner thoughts and fears and irra-, a lot of irrational fears.


PAUL: What is the, is it a blanket fear or is it, if it's a specific fear, tell me the things that, in your mind, somebody with headphones on is going to say out loud, hearing your story.


PAULY: Right. I mean, this is silly, but I have a huge IRS mess. If you knew all of that, you might think I'm unlovable. If you--


PAUL: Why, help me connect those two. Why would somebody with IRS problems be unlovable?


PAULY: Because it might show you're irresponsible.


PAUL: I see.


PAULY: Right, which actually has nothing to do with me, but there are my irrational fears.


PAUL: Right. No, but I like to talk about them because I think it's good to, you know, to use the term pull a string on your fears, because it always leads to something deeper.


PAULY: Yeah, fears that like, I mean, things that I think hare hilarious are terrible things.


PAUL: For instance?


PAULY: I mean, just politically incorrect stuff that I joke about with my friends but I would never say on the air.


PAUL: Join the club.


PAULY: I mean, you know--


PAUL: Join the club.


PAULY: Or just thoughts that go through my head. If I see somebody and I'm like, oh, wow, that person, you know, for whatever reason, I'm not trying to be vague here. I'm just really trying to think of something where I feel if someone, if I was transparent people would see I'm unlovable.


PAUL: But isn't that one of the things that's good about a friendship, that you're so comfortable that you can let out your dark thoughts, knowing that your friend knows that you, it's not coming from a place of hate. It's coming from a, oh, listen to this--


PAULY: Yeah.


PAUL: --dark part of my mind that is chattering away and saying this. At least with my friends, when we sit around and we crack dark jokes, we know that--


PAULY: You're safe.


PAUL: --yeah, and that we, we know the other people are good people that wouldn't hurt others.


PAULY: Absolutely. I think like growing up, too, there was a lot of emphasis on money in my family.


PAUL: Where were you raised?


PAULY: I was raised in Los Angeles, in the San Fernando Valley. I was born in the Valley as well, and I still live in the Valley, so yeah, and I love the Valley [chuckles]. So, I feel like a lot of emphasis was put on money, so a big thing for me that has just kind of evolved within the past like five years, you and I were talking before the show, like I've been doing this, my show for a really long time and, you know, I did really, really well.

So, I was always the person that paid for everything, and to me, that was kind of like love before, I mean, to be kind of general, but it was, and when I, when the paychecks stopped and things started becoming different, not bad but different, it was really hard for me to not pay for everybody or to say, hey, I need to save money, because I felt like I had to portray that person, because that's the person I had been for a long time.


PAUL: And is it possible also that you might find out that some people, the deal was broken if you weren't paying for things, like, you know, I love Pauly but--


PAULY: That was my fear, yeah.


PAUL: Yes.


PAULY: That if I were to be vulnerable or if I were to--


PAUL: Have needs.


PAULY: --have needs or be human, [chuckles] that they would see me as something other than superhuman, which is what I maybe thought I was conveying to them, which is not, absolutely not true.


PAUL: Is asking for things frightening for you from people--


PAULY: Extremely frightening.


PAUL: Were your feelings invalidated in your house growing up or kind of negated?


PAULY: That's a hard question, because I feel like I kind of became the adult in my family, so, I mean, the short answer is yes, but for the reason I became the adult very early--


PAUL: So, not overtly, but just by--


PAULY: Absolutely, yeah.


PAUL: --you know, by default because you had to care for a parent--


PAULY: Absolutely. Sure, yeah, I mean, because I became the adult. You know, and I'm not going to, in this interview, like I probably won't spend time saying individual people because everyone is still living [chuckles] and, you know--


PAUL: Yeah, yeah.


PAULY: --but I will tell you, like I definitely became, you know, somewhat of a parent and somewhat of an adult very early on.


PAUL: Like how early?


PAULY: Probably like nine or 10.


PAUL: And can you say what the things were that you had to do that were adult-like, that you had to bear responsibility or be conscious of?


PAULY: Sure.


PAUL: Was it emotional stuff? Was it financial stuff? Was it--


PAULY: It wasn't financial. It was emotional, and it was one parent gone and one parent was very, was very young and, you know, at my age now, it would be like me having a 20-year-old. That's crazy, 21-year-old.

And that person was emotionally unstable, so, you know, and depressed. Like seeing it now, seeing it from a clinical perspective now is much different than how I experienced it as a kid, emotionally unstable and just dealing with household stuff and, you know, trying to take care of my younger sister, never wanting to go to school, you know, battling that to the bitter end, and usually succeeding.


PAUL: What was bad about school?


PAULY: I hated it. I was a terrible scholar. I didn't fit in. I was, when I was a junior in high school, I was there, my counselor called me in and said, you're here 52% of the time and you're doing great on tests, what's going on? And I said, I’m smarter than all of my teachers.




PAULY: And she was like, no, you're not. And I thought I was at the time, but I was so wrong. Like, you know, in retrospect, what you learn, or what I, I’m sorry, what I've learned, is that I was right in the way of academics, but I was wrong in what I really think high school is about, discipline and structure, you know, those types of things, and I couldn't give a shit about history, you know what I mean, quote, unquote, history.


PAUL: Yeah. I know a lot of brilliant, people who are brilliant with books but just so dumb with emotions and interpersonal relationships.


PAULY: I mean, yeah, really, I mean--


PAUL: My dad was one of those guys.


PAULY: Oh, really?


PAUL: Oh, yeah. Brilliant mind, but just did not understand emotions.


PAULY: Yeah. That's really hard [chuckles]. It's a really hard, it's a really hard person to be around, right?


PAUL: It is. It is.


PAULY: Yeah.


PAUL: Because their default is usually to intellectualize something, and that's one of the hardest things about guiding that person, if you decide to mentor them in a support group, is, because the journey in healing in a support group is to learn emotional tools by doing them, by taking actions, and people that are super intellectual just want, think that just knowing how it works--


PAULY: Right.


PAUL: --does the healing and does the work, but that's just like saying, I know what the machines look like at a gym, now I'm physically fit.


PAULY: Right.




PAULY: No [chuckles]. When it works is like, I mean, therapy changed my life, which I’m sure we'll get to, sometimes you can have that moment when it's like, do you feel like you were abandoned? Oh, well, I never thought about that. That's when it, like light bulb, right?

But, you know, there's work involved in it. It's more than just saying something.


PAUL: Yeah, a lot of work.


PAULY: A lot of work, a lot of work.


PAUL: A lot of confusion.


PAULY: A lot of confusion. And when you're a kid, I mean, you know, and by kid, I mean even up to like 20, beyond. I'm still learning, as we all are. I feel, I don't know.

I feel like, I went to a support group to help deal with, you know, a parent that I was having an issue with, and I went to about two meetings and it was great, and I thought it was great. I didn't think it was for me, but that could go back to me not fitting into a group setting, you know. I’m very bad with those.

I'm very bad with the group settings that are, where I’m in a space, like school.


PAUL: Yeah. Also know that almost everybody's experience early on is they feel like an outsider. Other people know each other. You don't know anybody, and it can be intimidating, but it does get better the more you go back.


PAULY: It does, and it works. I've just seen so many people who have benefited from support groups, from therapy, from listening to your show, from any time you can share your experience and have it validated.


PAUL: It's pretty amazing.


PAULY: It's just an amazing thing. I mean, I think we're living in a really special time, because there is a spotlight on mental health that there hasn't been before. There's still a lot of work that has to be done, but--


PAUL: A huge amount, but the consciousness is changing. It is definitely changing.


PAULY: Yeah, I agree.


PAUL: So, you're afraid that if you don't have money people will abandon you.


PAULY: For sure. That was a fear of mine.


PAUL: Okay. Give me another one.


PAULY: I fear that certain family members will live in struggle their entire life unless I change that for them.


PAUL: Wow. You take on a lot.


PAULY: I do.


PAUL: Wow.


PAULY: That's a tough one. That's a tough one to say out loud, because it's, that's my truth. And possibly the truth.

But, or and [chuckles], not to sound like an asshole, but I can't be responsible for the burden of someone else's happiness.


PAUL: That doesn't make you an asshole at all.


PAULY: I mean, and I feel like in my life that I'm one of the most caring people that you'll ever meet, and I think I have an indifferent type of attitude that sometimes makes my family members think I'm kind of a dick. You know what I mean?

But it's, it's more that it's, it's not that I want to be a dick. It's that I care more about big picture than I care about, I mean, I want to back up.

I care more about helping you achieve your big picture through the little things than I care about you telling me, you know, that, this is so hard to articulate. [Sighs] How do I say this?


PAUL: And are you mostly talking about helping them logistically or financially or emotionally?


PAULY: I think helping them financially would assist in all of the rest.


PAUL: Say that again.


PAULY: I think helping them financially would assist in helping their well-being--


PAUL: I see, I see.


PAULY: --helping their happiness, because they would be in a different spot, a different place in their life. And, you know, like anyone, like when you deal with addicts, it's frustrating. It's so frustrating.

And, you know, when you deal with people with depression, and I, and, as you witnessed when you were on my show this week, I came out as having depression, and I still find it hard to deal with people that have depression. It's maddening sometimes. It's frustrating. It's maddening. I don't want anything to do with them.


PAUL: Why? What about them?


PAULY: Because there's parts of it that's like, you want to shake them and be like, fucking change this. You know what I mean [chuckles]? Like, just fucking change this. This seems so clear, you know, but I put myself back into my logical mind and say, hey, this is an illness, this is what it is, things that seem simple to me.

And, you know, vice versa, things that may be like a big deal to me, you might be, fucking change that.


PAUL: So, there is an urge, a very big urge in you to take over and fix.


PAULY: A huge urge.


PAUL: Yeah.


PAULY: Absolutely. Absolutely. And dealing with, and it's weird because it's at a time in my life where a lot of things have been taken from me.

So, like I was doing really, really well. I got hit hard by the IRS, so I'm not in the same situation where I was before. So, wanting to help people and not being able to is really, really hard.


PAUL: That's probably a gift in disguise.


PAULY: I would bet that it is. I would bet that it is.

And I think that, if you really want something, you kind of have to do it yourself.


PAUL: Or certainly be prepared to do it yourself. I think except for things that are emotional and, in terms of emotional healing, and then I think trying to do that on your own is a form of insanity.


PAULY: Right. Well, but by being prepared, that means being, that can also mean being prepared to receive help.


PAUL: Yes, yes.


PAULY: Not only helping yourself, but being open to receiving help. I have a family member who is probably, you know, if I were to diagnose this person, you are like extreme bipolar, severe depression, and I offered to, you know, I offered therapy to this person many, many times, and they always declined because they didn't want to uncover things that they thought may have happened.


PAUL: Does this person drain you to be around?


PAULY: Absolutely.


PAUL: Then why are you subjecting yourself to someone who drains you that refuses help? Don't you deserve better?


PAULY: I deserve much better, and I'm very close with this person.


PAUL: I still don't think that that matters--


PAULY: Our relationship now is very few and far between.


PAUL: Okay.


PAULY: It's not what it was. It's nothing like it was. Because I saw this person deal with a trauma, like a huge trauma, and, you know, when you deal with grief and loss, you are, it is a hard time, and this person acted completely irrational toward me, and in a time where I was more than trying to help, and our relationship has been very strained since.


PAUL: I look at people that have mental illness but won't get help for it, I look at them exactly the same way I look at somebody that is an addict that refuses to get help, as I still love you but I can't be around you if you're not going to try to get better because it's too painful to watch.


PAULY: It's the same thing. I mean, in my mind, it's the same thing.


PAUL: Yeah.


PAULY: And, you know, a lot of like, I know that a lot of things in my family stem from a terrible, my grandfather was a terrible person. I mean, if I tell you this story, and I'll tell you this story, it's unbelievable, really.

So, my grandfather and grandmother were married for 41 years, and he was always very abusive and, I'm trying to make this fast because I'm long-winded [chuckles], after, so, you know, after 41 years, she divorced him, but she was still codependent. She was still over there taking him to the doctor, doing all this stuff, and my family's very young, so like my family is still, like my grandparents are still young.

My grandfather one day just was in the car with my grandmother and said, hm, let's, he was just getting really mad and calling her names, and they got home and, or they got to his house because she had moved out, and he said, I'm going to kill you, and he walked over to his bureau, took out, I've never used that word before--




PAULY: --took out a gun and shot her, like point-blank in the chest, and it went through her lung, it punctured her heart, and into her back. And she lived.

So . . .


PAUL: So, he's a terrible shot, that's what I take from it.


PAULY: He's a terrible shot. He's in jail for the rest of his life. He--


PAUL: How long ago did this happen?


PAULY: This happened in 1999. He is, I mean--


PAUL: I blame Prince.


PAULY: I do, too, a little bit. Thanks, Obama.




PAULY: And she lived, and the irony of it is, like by trying to take away her life, he gave her life, because now she travels the country talking about gun control.


PAUL: No way.


PAULY: It's crazy. And I never, like she was always the very submissive, like very submissive. She could be in the back of the house and he would just call her name and, rargh, and she would be like right there, like right there.

And, you know, part of this is, I think that my, you know, my grandfather's up-, the way that he raised his children, including one of my parents, severely affected them, and they all have issues in one way or another, and it's so strange to see--


PAUL: I mean, he sounds like obviously a total, total narcissist--


PAULY: Oh, the biggest narcissist you've ever, I have met, I mean, I'm in entertainment and I live in Los Angeles, I've met the biggest narcissists, and I've never met someone as narcissistic as my grandfather, ever in my whole life. The vanity, the narcissism, the, I don't, it's so weird looking back on it because he had this whole idea of I think who he thought he was, it was weird, and I, this is so random, I just remembered something.

He had a picture of Bruce Willis in his house because he thought, like he liked him. Like, he just thought he was like macho or something. I have no idea why [chuckles]. I have no idea why I just thought of that.


PAUL: Yeah.


PAULY: And every picture I've seen of him, he has the same smirk as Bruce Willis.




PAULY: So, he's in jail.


PAUL: Wow, wow.


PAULY: Yeah. That's an insane story. So, that gives you kind of a little insight as to how, you know, some, I mean, and, you know, I mean, and one of the siblings is a severe drug addict. One of the siblings is a support, kind of a support group junkie [chuckles], you know, but is a sponsor and helps people and, you know, lives a pretty good life, but still a little bit like here and there, there's spots of craziness that I see.

And the other one is just a hermit, just really content leading a pretty monotone life, which, hey, I kind of envy that a little bit, right [chuckles]. So, yeah.


PAUL: Give me some more fears.


PAULY: Oh. I fear Catholicism.


PAUL: Can you be more specific?


PAULY: Sure. I hate Catholicism. I fear it because I think it's one of the biggest businesses that causes the most pain in our world. That's like a really big fear. That's not that specific to me, but it's specific to me in the way where I grew up Catholic but not, like we didn't go to church or anything like that, and I just remember like--


PAUL: That's called Catholic.


PAULY: Right, so yeah, I grew up like a staunch Catholic--




PAULY: --and I just, like my grandfather would always have the rosary and just weird, and then--


PAUL: Was this the narcissistic grandfather?


PAULY: Yes. Very strange relationship with his parents, who were very Italian, and like one of, I mean, and, you know, obviously stuff stems from his parents. You know, one of his parents gave him everything, the other one beat him. So, things are--


PAUL: That'll fuck you up.


PAULY: That'll fuck you up.


PAUL: Yeah.


PAULY: And then, you know, and then the domino effect, right. So, I don't agree with Catholicism. I don't necessarily, I mean, I personally don't agree with organized religion, but I do believe in faith.

I believe that you can have, you know, this is going to be so, I hate saying this stuff out loud because I get so chastised on social media for saying the Pope is a murderer and things like that, but I believe that. I actually believe the Pope is a murderer. So--


PAUL: [Chuckles] That might have to make the opening montage for future years.




PAULY: I do, because how can you, how can you go to, I mean, just the poorest, poorest countries that are, they're in the depths of famine and you're still denouncing birth control? That's murder. I just, and I just don't agree with it. I mean, I don't understand how you can be gay or a female and be Catholic.


PAUL: Yeah. That one is a little puzzling, a little puzzling to me.


PAULY: I don't. And I also don't believe, like how can you believe something that, I understand faith, but if you saw something with your own eyes today that you believe in, that happened a long time ago and you saw it today, you wouldn't believe it. If you saw somebody walk on water today, you wouldn't believe it, but you believe it happened but you didn't see it. I don't get it.


PAUL: I think for a lot of people, they take what they need from it and they leave the rest, and I understand how people can get what they need from certain organized religions because, to me, it's a feeling.

To me, spirituality is a feeling, and you know, it's a byproduct of trying to live a principled life, but I think any place you get that feeling and if in your general day you're trying to make the world a better place, I don't really care what that religion is, but I would certainly agree that Catholicism has its areas that it definitely needs--


PAULY: Sure.


PAUL: --it needs work on and--


PAULY: And I'm not saying I hate Catholics. I don't--


PAUL: No, that's what I took from it, is that you hate Catholics.


PAULY: Well, most of them.


PAUL: Yeah.


PAULY: I hate like, I don't, what I, I understand being a moderate Catholic or a modern Catholic. I don't understand when you will defend something from Catholicism, but then, when something else is brought up, it's kind of just, you know, swept under the rug.

I don't like that. Yeah, and I'm gay, and I don't think that, and, you know, if I ever have a little girl, I don't want her to feel like she's not equal to anyone else. Those are my biggest, those are my two biggest things.

I do like--


PAUL: You will tell her, though, that she's not equal to the prettier girls, right?


PAULY: Yeah. Or the skinny ones, yeah--


PAUL: Yeah, that's going to build--


PAULY: --I mean, obviously--


PAUL: --I mean, you've got to build her character--


PAULY: I do like the fabulous gowns that the priests wear, though. I mean, down--


PAUL: Do you actually like them [chuckles]?


PAULY: I think they're gor-, I do think they're gorgeous.


PAUL: Yeah. That's awesome.


PAULY: My cousin got married in a Catholic church and we got to go. I kept calling it backstage because I didn't know what else to--




PAULY: --I didn't know what else to call it.


PAUL: You were in the greenroom.


PAULY: Yeah, we were in the greenroom, I mean, literally these churches have those. I mean, it's gorgeous, but a lot of the robes were hanging and I just went through them, you know, and their shoes were sparkly and beautiful. And I was like, man, this is some ornate work, gorgeous, yeah.


PAUL: So--


PAULY: And then I had sex with one of them.


PAUL: And how was it? Was it pleasant?


PAULY: It was only fun because like there were like three other ones watching.




PAULY: It was good. I was young.


PAUL: That's called a small mass.


PAULY: Yeah [chuckles].


PAUL: Give me another fear.


PAULY: I'll give you like a real one this time.

Oh, I fear that when my dog dies I won't know how to move forward.


PAUL: That makes two of us [chuckles].


PAULY: I mean, I love him so much.


PAUL: What's his name?


PAULY: Henry.


PAUL: Nice.


PAULY: Yeah. I mean, that's--


PAUL: What's your favorite thing about Henry?


PAULY: Oh, I love that he's, I love that he's kind of feisty and independent. Like, he won't always come to me and he'll run away from me sometimes, but once I get him and grab him, like he'll snuggle with me. And he makes me laugh.


PAUL: Our dogs make us laugh every single day--


PAULY: It's just so weird, right?


PAUL: --every single day.


PAULY: It's so funny, I never had a dog. This is my first dog, and I've had him as long as I've had my fiancé, and just like, he's the funniest, he's just the funniest thing in my life.


PAUL: Their personalities are so distinct--


PAULY: They totally are.


PAUL: --they're so distinct, yeah.


PAULY: It's like a person, yeah.


PAUL: Give me another one.


PAULY: [Sighs] I fear that I'll never get along with my fiancé's family and that my indifference toward it will sadden him.


PAUL: Oh, that's a good one. Why don't you get along with them?


PAULY: I think that certain, it's not his whole family. It's just like a couple of them. I think that they're just very Catholic and they don't understand being gay, and it's, it's rough. We've had a rough go with a couple of them, but a couple very key members of his family--


PAUL: Are they openly critical or hostile towards you, or is it--


PAULY: Yes. Yeah, they'll ignore me. Like, they blatantly, I've sat just--


PAUL: That has to really hurt.


PAULY: It's, it used to. At first it did because I'm a people pleaser, right, like we talked about--


PAUL: Oh, yeah.


PAULY: --like, I just want to make everybody like me no matter what. And I usually succeed in that because I'm a good guy, and I just, blatant, I've never been blatantly ignored before. Like, it's like sitting across from someone and saying hello and they just don't say anything.


PAUL: You never spent time with my dad.




PAUL: He had a Ph.D. in blatantly ignoring people--


PAULY: It's so weird. Another time I was, I would talk to this person, one of them, I was talking to them, and this person would turn to my fiancé and answer him instead of answering me.


PAUL: That is weird.


PAULY: It was just, it's so weird, and now I, I mean, we've gotten to a point where we've tried everything we can. We're very much therapy people. He's done everything he can, his part, and it's just not about us.


PAUL: That's so healthy, that you can see that it's not about you, that it's not--


PAULY: It's not, but it still hurts. I’m not, I won't, I mean, I've become more and more indifferent toward it, which I personally think indifference is kind of the worst thing you can be toward a situation like that, because even anger kind of shows that you still care about it.

Sometimes in the moment I get a little angry, but I think my anger comes from the wanting to protect him. My fiancé is the best person I've ever met, and he doesn't deserve anything bad. I mean, he works so hard. He's so gentle. He's so kind. He's so smart.


PAUL: Give me a slice of life that you think exemplifies what you love about him so much.


PAULY: I think he always tries to take the path of getting to the best outcome for us, somehow achieving the best outcome for us. So, if we're in a fight, he's always, not always, but he's mostly the one that says, well, how does this make you feel, well, how can we move forward, and sometimes I just want to be mad.


PAUL: [Chuckles]


PAULY: Like, [chuckles] and, and I'm ver-, and, I know you can't tell from this interview, but I am very much articulate with what I say to him. So, if I say something, he's like, well, that's semantics, because he won't, he'll hear something different, and like, that's not what I said, so here's what I said. Well, that's just semantics, I know what you meant. But, and he's usually right [chuckles].

But, don't tell him that. So, he's always the one that just wants to move forward. Like a slice of his life is, let's move forward, let's get to the best place possible. I mean, he jumps in and helps me with all of the things I'm terrible at.

You know, I’m terrible with finances, here he is with a spreadsheet. I'm terrible with communicating with a family member I'm pissed at, he's like, well, how about you do it this way. You know, he's like my knight in shining armor, Paul.


PAUL: That's sweet. That's sweet.

PAULY: Yeah. And he's just funny. Like, even when he's not funny and he thinks he's funny, that's funny.




PAUL: Give me another, give me another fear.


PAULY: I fear that I'll live longer than everyone I love.


PAUL: That's a good one. That's a really good one. I was just thinking about that one the other day. It's weird because you don't want to die but you also don't want to be at the party after everybody's left.


PAULY: I have, since I turned 40, I've been obsessed with death and I don't know why. It has been very scary, because I, it's like you just come to this realization at some point in your life, or I've come to this realization now that we're all going to die, and we're not all going to die at the same time.


PAUL: What did you hear?


PAULY: Well, you know, that's intel I can't share [chuckles]. But we're not all going to die at the same time, so this has to play out somehow, and that scares the shit out of me. Like, it just scares me.

And I've also never had anyone close to me die. I haven't yet had anyone super close to me die, and I just feel like it's coming.




PAUL: We should have the Jaws theme underneath this.


PAULY: It's so scary. It's just so scary. And, you know, I have this, oh, I wasn't going to talk about this. I will.

I have this heightened intuition that I've had since I was a kid, and I even, like I would call myself a spiritual healer. I've helped a lot of people. I can't even believe I’m saying this. It sounds so out there. But I'm a normal guy, so I'm not like all New Agey and third eye, but I've helped so many people. I've actually traveled to help people because of my intuition.

And, you know, this past week has been a really dark week for America. When we're taping this show, this is, we're at the height of, you know, Black Lives Matter and--


PAUL: Orlando happened about a month and a half ago--


PAULY: Orlando just happened. Yeah, so we're at the height of a really scary time in our country, and I just saw some of this coming and it's like, it's, it's horrifying, and I don't think we're done. Like--


PAUL: Oh, not by a long shot.


PAULY: I know. And it's, it just, it's so scary. It's just a scary time. I don't even remember where I was going with this. I did have a point, but eh.


PAUL: Well, you know, when I, I picture is, you know, the last throes of the really hard-core people in the '60s, the Southern people that were fighting integration, you know, it was, the intensity of their hatred didn't last. It's certainly still there, everywhere in America, but it's, I like to think that, as people gain rights and move forward and get more opportunities, the haters become more threatened.

So, it's, I believe that it's something that is inevitable, because people that blame other people are always going to be around, and they are always going to see someone else's gain as their loss.


PAULY: Yeah.


PAUL: And I think it's just human nature that--


PAULY: I agree. I think people don't listen either.


PAUL: What?


PAULY: I think people don't--




PAUL: That's so dumb. That is so dumb.


PAULY: That's so funny. I love that kind of, that's my favorite kind of humor.

I just think it's, people just need to listen. Like, even if you already know you have a viewpoint, like, look, I disagree with Catholicism, but I'm not going to just be like, fuck Catholicism, I don't want to hear anything you have to say about it, because, you know, my fiancé grew up Catholic and he has told me many reasons that he values, you know, his upbringing, so, if you can have an intelligent conversation.

I was, I was on a Facebook thread and I was trying to school people on Black Lives Matter, why black lives matter and why you don't say all lives matter. Of course, every life matters, that's so ridiculous. Black Lives Matter is a movement, and I, anyway, I was explaining it, and just this person, it was a trans person and they were like, all lives matter and fuck anybody who says that they don't. And there's, and I said, well, here's the reason that Black Lives Matter is a thing and, you know, like educate yourself.

And this person was like, fuck you, go back to, fuck you and your non-traveled California ass and go back to junior high that you didn't graduate from, and I was like, this person has like nothing to say other than they're mad about something. You don't have anything to say.

And I just responded, I said, I think people are fighting for equality, which you, as a trans person, should know everything about, so, I got pissed. Fuck her.


PAUL: Yeah [chuckles].




PAUL: That's shocking, that that would, and I think that people that don't get it don't realize that this is, there isn't an epidemic of every person being threatened.




PAUL: There is an epidemic--


PAULY: Yes. All lives are not at risk--


PAUL: The way--


PAULY: --the way black lives are at risk.


PAUL: --being targeted by people who are supposed to protect us.


PAULY: My nephew is 11 and he's black, and we literally have to tell him ways to walk down the street to not look threatening, because another thing is, people think that black boys are older than they are. My nephew is 11 and he's a giant. He's so big. And we have to tell him, like, you have to smile and keep your hands out at all times. You can't be a normal kid.


PAUL: That's awful.


PAULY: It's, it's terrifying.


PAUL: Give me another fear.


PAULY: I fear that I’m so vague in this interview--


PAUL: [Chuckles]


PAULY: --that, and I don't have all the answers, that I'll look stupid.


PAUL: This is the waiting room. This is not--


PAULY: I know.


PAUL: --this is not the place for answers.


PAULY: I wish I had every answer for the questions you asked me, and sometimes when you ask it, I feel like I'm just talking and not answering it, and I feel like a tool.


PAUL: No. You're not coming across that way at all--


PAULY: But it's an interview, so I don't want to be like, I don't know.


PAUL: You're coming across as somebody who's very self-reflective and honest and insecure and--


PAULY: Insecure? What?


PAUL: You know, it's--


PAULY: You're not seeing this mirror I'm seeing, obviously.




PAULY: That was another way of being insecure.


PAUL: In the way that all of my guests and myself are insecure.


PAULY: Sure.


PAUL: Yeah, I didn't mean that like compared to the average guest.


PAULY: No, I’m completely insecure.


PAUL: So, give me some snapshots--


PAULY: Except for I have a huge penis.


PAUL: Do you?






PAUL: Give me--


PAULY: Do you?






PAULY: Ah, I hope that ends up on the cutting-room floor--


PAUL: Unless you look at mine in a funhouse mirror.


PAULY: Oh, there are ways to take, you know, dick pics with your cam-, one time I took like a great one and I can't find it. Oh, my God, it looked so good.


PAUL: [Chuckles]


PAULY: Hi, Mom [chuckles].


PAUL: Give me some snapshots from your life that you think are kind of paint a picture of who you are and who you've become.


PAULY: I think the biggest transitional thing that has ever happened to me, I think the biggest transitional thing that has ever happened to me was a break-up. I had never experienced loss in that way, and I feel like I was making the same relationship mistakes over and over and over with men that were not available in some way.

And this one like debilitated me. Like I was--


PAUL: How long ago was this?


PAULY: This was right before, this was the relationship prior to the one I’m in now. You know, and hopefully I learn a lot from this one for my next one.




PAUL: You should put that on your anniversary card--


PAULY: Oh, yeah, save the date.

So, when we broke up, I was like, I was, it was devastating and debilitating and I couldn't stop crying, and I decided to go to therapy. Here's something fun. I went to therapy with my ex once at my request, and we broke up in the therapist's parking lot. And that therapist was a dick.

Like, we were talking about this prior to the show, like, or we were talking about it when you were on our show, that finding the right therapist is--


PAUL: So huge.


PAULY: Oh, my God, so fucking huge. Like, it's so monumentally huge because it can change your whole life, and if you don't feel that within the first couple sessions, you know, and I understand giving someone a chance, but, so we broke up in the therapist's parking lot, and like he didn't want to do any of the worksheets and stuff, and, you know, it was kind of one of those things where it was like he was perceived as the asshole and I was perceived as the nice guy and blah, blah, blah, but that wasn't the truth.

I mean, he's a good guy. We're cool. He's a good guy, and I was very needy. I was very needy. And when we broke up, I would call him like a narcissist and you have daddy issues--




PAULY: --and all these silly things that, I don't know if those are true. They might be, but it was just my way of trying to cope and blame, and that wasn't right, but I was, it was so, it was so sad, but it prompted me to go to therapy. And at first I was going twice a week. I found, I mean, I really owe a lot of my life to my therapist, a lot of my--


PAUL: What do you love about your therapist?


PAULY: She is warm and kind and empathetic and saw me at a point where I was, I couldn't breathe. I was going to her twice a week, like, you know, why isn't he here on the couch with me, and just, like heaving, like just that guttural, it's like that feeling in your gut that you can't describe, you know what I mean, that, just that--


PAUL: An emptiness that's swallowing you.


PAULY: It's swallowing you, that brings you to your knees, and it's pretty much indescribable. So far, like I said, like I feel like this might sound so stupid to someone else that has experience death, but this, you know, a break-up is another type of loss.


PAUL: Yeah.


PAULY: And I, I just, I kept going. And she is, I think what I love most about my therapist, let me get through this and I'll tell you other things that I love about her. She started making me think about how I affected my relationship, imagine that.


PAUL: Hm-mm. That's a good therapist.


PAULY: Yeah. Like, what I was doing, and taking the focus off of him. The first few sessions we did, we talked about it. She was like, well, maybe one day he'll be here, and then it became more apparent that it was about me. Eventually we never talked about him again. And then I got super healthy, right, I got healthy in my, I still loved him, though, so, but I got physically healthy, emotionally healthy, and healthy begets healthy, right?

So, she kind of changed, the first thing I said to her when I went in was, I basically feel like I know the things you're going to tell me, kind of like what I said to my counselor in high school, I basically feel like I know, but I don't know how to apply the things I need to do to get to that point. And she was like, that's why I'm here. I was like, yes. It's kind of like, it gets better, right? That's the end result. What about all the shit you have to do until it gets better?

So, I went for like a year, a year solid, and it just worked wonders, and I saw my ex later in the year and I was still in love with him, and I was a different person. I was. I was, it was just miraculous, and I started dating, which I had done before but never really, like, in a healthy way.


PAUL: Mm-hmm.


PAULY: So, I started dating, and it was kind of like, well, I don't really see a future with this person, so I'm not going to see this person again and I'm going to tell them, like, I'm not feeling the same way that you feel, I'm sorry. Because, you know what, that's not going to break their heart. They'll be sad [chuckles], but it's not going to break their heart.


PAUL: Mm-hmm.


PAULY: And it was very empowering to do those kinds of things, because before, I’m such a, I'm a people pleaser, I would probably have been with the first guy I dated for two years, hurt myself and him.

So, something magic when I met my fiancé. It's kind of, it's indescribable, but he's like the healthiest person I know. So, I, I mean, just to add to fears, my biggest fear is that my previous behaviors often come out during our relationship.


PAUL: Like what?


PAULY: Like not wanting to talk about things, like feeling very insecure, feeling like if I don't do something monumental I'll be unloved and not working toward it, because I'm very much an end-result person, you know.

I've never been a person that's like steady-paycheck person. I've always been no paycheck, no paycheck, giant paycheck. That's a, that's a real snapshot of my life, where it's like big payoffs, nothing in between.

Where were we going with this [chuckles]? I get myself so distracted.


PAUL: I do, too. I do, too.


PAULY: Sorry.


PAUL: You were talking about the things that you are going to bring to this relationship that you brought to the last relationship--


PAULY: Right, previous behaviors. Feeling, feeling inadequate, feeling transparent, the transparency of it, you know, like transparency equals--


PAUL: Like in a bad way, like you're--


PAULY: Yeah, like we were talking about, transparency equals being unloved, unlovable. The feeling of not being an asshole [chuckles].


PAUL: What is the worst sentence that you could, if you were to eavesdrop on somebody talking about you, what would be the worst sentence that you could hear come out of their mouth, them talking about you?


PAULY: Other than that I'm fat, it would be that I'm annoying [chuckles]. That's the first thing that comes to my mind, because I feel like I am. So--


PAUL: Like you are annoying?


PAULY: Yeah.


PAUL: Yeah.


PAULY: I feel like I annoy myself sometimes, too. Yeah, I mean, I think in general people like to hang out with me, and I think that I have always been like the joker, right, so I've always been the put-on-a-play type of person, and it's not, in my case, I don't feel like it's an overcompensation thing. I feel like I'm just an entertainer.

So, there's that part of it. And I can see how it can be annoying, for sure, because sometimes people like me annoy me.




PAUL: That is a great audio clip. That is a great audio clip.


PAULY: Well, I'm glad that my interview is terrible, but at least you have these sound bites.


PAUL: Your interview is not terrible.


PAULY: [Chuckles]


PAUL: Your interview is not terrible.

So, what are the big issues that you, well, first of all, what was coming out like for you?


PAULY: Actually, coming out was good. It was a good experience for me.


PAUL: Boy, that might be one of the first ones I've heard.


PAULY: Yeah. And I work with a lot of youth, so I definitely can sympathize with a terrible coming-out story. I mean, of course when, you know, I came out when I was 19, and of course, I mean, but I was fully around boys much, much earlier than that.


PAUL: How old were you when you knew you were gay?


PAULY: When I looked at my mother's vagina when I was coming out of it [chuckles]. No, that's such a, that's such a stupid joke, right?




PAUL: It made me laugh.


PAULY: It was like, ew--


PAUL: Not going back in there.


PAULY: --no, thank you.




PAULY: Yeah. My earliest recollection of having feelings for a boy, I must have been like three or four, and then I don't really remember anything until like 15 or so. I always, I was always different. I was always kind of like the different kid, right. I was always the super-artistic, creative kid. I grew up on a street with 25 other kids, like--


PAUL: Holy shit.


PAULY: --and we all still talk, which is really weird, and we grew up on a cul-de-sac, so I was always the facilitator.


PAUL: I grew up on a cul-de-sac, too.


PAULY: Did you?


PAUL: It was awesome. It's so awesome not having--


PAULY: I live in Northridge in the Valley.


PAUL: Oh, it's the best, not having cars driving through. You can play out in the street--


PAULY: Oh, my God, ride your bikes.


PAUL: Yeah.


PAULY: It was the best, and, I mean, most of these people are my family, you know, we're just family. And I was like the house at the end of the cul-de-sac, so I was always the facilitator of everything. I organized the gayest shit. Like, we had parades. We had fashion shows. I mean, the gayest kid you would ever meet, and then, in junior high, I mean, I was obsessed with Madonna. I had Madonna all over, the Blond Ambition Tour, all over my locker. So, I think that when I came out, and I came out while I had a girlfriend, which was bullshit for her, but I was young.

So, see, that's the type of thing that I might say where people think I’m a dick, right [chuckles]? So, when I came out, I don't think it was a shock to people, because I was already pretty feminine and, you know, but everyone was like, well, he grew up with, you know, with women. I was pretty feminine, but more than feminine, I had a lot of gay tastes, you know, but I was dating a girl at the time and I had to tell her, because I fell in love with a boy.


PAUL: And your parents' reaction and your siblings' reaction?


PAULY: So, my mom, at the time, became like, she was going through like [chuckles], I don't know, she'll probably laugh at this, too, she was like going through a phase where it was kind of like she was checking out Christianity, which we didn't grow up religious. I think we talked about that.

And I don't know if she became born again or was on the path to becoming born again, but she talked to her pastor at the time and he was like, well, does he have sex with women? And she's like, yeah. And he's, I don't, I’m paraphrasing, and he's like, well, this is the same thing because it's all a sin in God's eyes [chuckles], it's all the same sin. So, she was like, oh, okay.


PAUL: Oh, my God.


PAULY: But to her, it was like, oh, okay. Like, it wasn't like, oh, he's sinning. It was like, oh, it's the same? Oh, okay.


PAUL: Oh, my God [chuckles]. What a fucked-up way to get to a good conclusion.


PAULY: I mean, real fucked up, right? And then my father at the time was, I told him, I don't remember if I told him I was bisexual or, no, I think I just told him I was dating a guy. And I just did this really funny, this new Web series that's going to come out called Coming Out, and I told this whole story and they're going to animate it.


PAUL: Oh, that's great.


PAULY: And I just remember I walked, oh, I'll tell it here, too. But I walked in, I was living with him at the time because he needed someone to live in his house because he was always traveling, and I just remember walking in with his bag from Target with this lamp that I bought, and it was the faggiest lamp [chuckles], I don't even know why I bought it, but, I mean, it's just funny, me walking in and be like, I have to talk to you.


PAUL: [Chuckles]


PAULY: And I just told him, and I think he took it hard for about a week and, you know, I don't know. We don't really have a relationship, so it's, we've never really had a relationship, so it wasn't really a--


PAUL: Is he just not emotionally available?


PAULY: I haven't spoken to him in 14 years, 15 years.


PAUL: And why so long?


PAULY: My choice. I've chosen not to.


PAUL: Okay.


PAULY: I've spoken with him. I mean, we haven't had a proper conversation. He has a nine-year-old, so, she, the nine-year-old, hm, so the nine-year-old came into my life when she was three, and I don't know the stories that are told to her, but it's like, oh, I hear you're my brother. So, you know, heartstrings, right?


PAUL: Mm-hmm.


PAULY: So, I started kind of seeing her. They live in another state, so I would see her when I'd be in that state. It's a state I go to often, sometimes for work. And I would try to see her, so, you know, with that comes little conversations, but no real conversations.


PAUL: So it's not like there's contempt on your part. It's just something where there's--


PAULY: No. I'm indifferent.


PAUL: Okay.


PAULY: Yeah, no, I'm indifferent at this point. I feel like--


PAUL: It wasn't anything he did. It's just not a relationship that is fruitful.


PAULY: I think it's a collection of things he did. Again, my parents were very, very young when they had me. And I think that, you know, sometimes people might not be equipped to be parents and, you know, whether or not that's true, that's just my opinion.

My father's family is very strange. They're very money-driven, and so that's, that's a big thing. Like--


PAUL: That is the most draining set of people to be around--


PAULY: I can't deal.


PAUL: I cannot. Like hell to me would be New York high society, endless New York high society parties where there's photographers. That would be--


PAULY: It sounds like the fucking worst.


PAUL: The worst.


PAULY: The only thing worse than that is, to me, was, I was invited to join Mensa, and I politely declined because going to a fucking Mensa meeting sounds like the worst goddamn thing I would ever do in my life.


PAUL: [Chuckles] Just a mental pissing contest.


PAULY: Oh, I mean, what the hell, what do you talk, like I'm talking about like farts and poop with my friends. I don't care what my IQ is. Like, this is what makes me happy and what I'm laughing about, so I don't need to talk about whatever Mensa people talk about.

Anyway, back to my father's family. They're just strange to me. And he's exactly like them. Like, one of my aunts was like the, kind of the matriarch in the family because she had the most money, but it wasn't even her money [chuckles]. Like, it was her husband's money and he died--


PAUL: In that world, it doesn't matter--


PAULY: No, but she was like, people looked to her, and I'm like, she's one of the like dumbest people I've met. Like, I mean, I loved her, and I like her, like, you know, she's dead now, but like, I, this is going to be sad for my family that listens to this, but she wasn't, her and her siblings, one of them being my grandmother, they're not smart people, but they're the first people to impart their opinion. I can't describe them better than that.


PAUL: You know what I've found in the cliques of people where money is the most important thing to them, is they create a hierarchy of who they look up to, yes, based on how much money they have--


PAULY: Right.


PAUL: --and I think it's because they view money as this life raft that they need, and the people with more money have a bigger life raft and they're, I think in the back of their mind they're always like, well, if my life raft pops, I need to get on that life raft.


PAULY: Mo' money, mo' problems, though. That's why I mean, yeah, there are, I definitely have issues with money, but it's not, I'm not, I don't care about it anymore, the way I used to. Is it great to have money? Fuck yeah, it is. But it doesn't change your life.

I think Amy Schumer said this recent-, like an interview, an interviewer asked her, you know, are you happier? And she's like, I think I'm as happy as I've ever been, I just have money. And that was really, that's really telling and kind of healthy.


PAUL: I just always want to have enough money to be able to belittle anyone that I need to.


PAULY: Me, too. Me, too.


PAUL: To insult them and then to throw $100 bill at their feet.


PAULY: Just throw a bill at them, yeah.


PAUL: And say, get out of my face.


PAULY: Yeah, after I blew my nose in it.


PAUL: Absolutely. I mean, that's a given.


PAULY: I mean, obviously.


PAUL: That's a given.


PAULY: Yeah.


PAUL: And then what I like to do is I like to reach in my back pocket and pull out a big, oversized '70s comb and run it through my hair--


PAULY: Just right through your gorgeous mane.


PAUL: And then throw it away and say I got a bunch of these.


PAULY: Yeah, gold-plated, obviously.




PAULY: We're dumb.


PAUL: So, what are the big issues that you struggle with day to day?


PAULY: Weight is probably the biggest issue I'm struggling with now, weight and financial things.


PAUL: Okay, well, we've touched on the financial stuff--


PAULY: Yeah, a lot [chuckles].


PAUL: --so let's talk about the weight thing a little bit.


PAULY: Yeah. So, like I was a chubby kid, and I became a not-so-chubby 20-year-old, and then I became a chubby 25-year-old, then I became a not-so-chubby 30-year-old, and then I was like a super-fit 35-year-old, and now I'm probably the biggest I've ever been and I'm 40, and it's really hard. It's really hard.

The fittest I've ever been came at the time of my break-up, because I was so into myself and just, I--


PAUL: In a good way?


PAULY: In a good way, but I think a lot of it was for him. Like, I think a lot of it was I know I'm going to see him eventually--


PAUL: Working out out of spite [chuckles]?


PAULY: Yeah, just fucking spite workouts. I was looking amazing, and I just, I see myself, I have to see myself on camera every week and I'm doing some television now, and it's, it's hard. It's hard to look at, because it's not what I see in the mirror, but I know obviously that's what I look like. And I don't feel good about myself at all. I don't feel good. I don't feel like I look good. I don't feel good. Something really shitty happened to me this past week.

I was training for a marathon with a group, and two people started laughing at me, and these were the coaches, and it made me feel shitty again. And it's hard to be in the body that I'm in, because I'm not used to not being able to do things.

I mean, I'm not, you know, handicapped, luckily, and I appreciate that. Things that I used to do, I can't, I'm not, I can't do, and [sighs] that sounds so trivial because I'm of perfect health, you know. When I, to put it in perspective, I can't run a 10-minute mile [chuckles], like that's, I feel like such an asshole. Like, this sounds like white-people problems, you know what I mean, or first-world problems.

But I feel a little bit imprisoned by my body, and I'm not even that, I'm not [chuckles] even that fat, you know what I'm saying.


PAUL: But it's about your opinion of yourself--


PAULY: Right.


PAUL: --is what matters.


PAULY: I'm not, I mean, if you saw me in person after this interview, you'd probably think I'm 300 pounds, and I'm not. And that's what I see. I see myself as that debilitated person. So--


PAUL: And you know that's a thing, that that's a--


PAULY: I know it's a thing--


PAUL: Yeah, body dysmorphia.


PAULY: --and I know it's, yeah, definitely body dysmorphia, because no matter how thin I ever got, I still felt that way. And I got very thin.

Yeah, I don't feel sexy, no matter how many people I sleep with [chuckles], just kidding. I just, I don't feel sexy. I feel like I have to, I cover myself up a lot. I feel not worthy a little bit.


PAUL: What's the, what would be the phrase that would kill you in hearing somebody talk about you, specifically about your body?


PAULY: I already can't see his penis because his stomach is in the way, you know.




PAULY: Like, ew, what happened to him?


PAUL: Yeah.


PAULY: Yeah. Yeah. And for the record, I can see my penis. Yeah--


PAUL: Here's a phrase that would not--


PAULY: --it's not, it's more of, I think what would, like, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to cut you off. I think what would affect me more is just people acknowledging it, more than them saying anything bad about me, would be like, wow, he's put on a lot of weight, like, wow, he just keeps getting bigger, those kind of things.


PAUL: Yeah.


PAULY: More than like, ew, did you see Pauly? He's so fat. Like, that's kind of funny to me [chuckles], you know. That's kind of funny to me. Or I dated this guy who I really like, he's a friend now, but I dated this guy and I was pretty fit, but he was, him and his friends were personal trainers, and they were like super fit, and I was pretty fit at the time, but I was just like a nor-, I was normal, and his friend called him a chubby-chaser [chuckles].


PAUL: Oh, my God [chuckles].


PAULY: And I couldn't stop laughing. Like, I thought that was super funny, so that didn't affect me in a negative way.


PAUL: Right.


PAULY: But just someone acknowledging it, yeah.


PAUL: Yeah. Any other things you want to share before we wrap up?


PAULY: Yeah. For the teenagers that are listening, I don't think people talk to you honestly. I don't think, I mean, yeah, people say it gets better, people, you know, saying there's a light at the end of the tunnel, but it does take work to get to those things.

And I do think teenagers are savvier now than they were when I was a teenager because, you know, we're lucky to have everything at our fingertips. We self-diagnose. We do all those things. But just, just talking to someone can ultimately save and change your life.

It might not get better right away, but it can, and just, people don't talk to you honestly about high school and what it's really for. You know, if you're not an academic person, know that high school is something very important for structure and discipline in your life. Even if you are terrible at math and, just know that like people like me and people like Paul, we love you and we care about you, and we're always here to listen to you. I think that's it.


PAUL: That's beautiful. That's beautiful. And people can check out your show. It's called Pauly & Monks--


PAULY: We didn't do loves, though.


PAUL: Oh, we didn't.


PAULY: I have loves. Can we do that?


PAUL: Fuck, yeah. Thank you for reminding me.


PAULY: All these fears and tangents I went on, fuck. I'm such a dumbass. I feel like, my biggest fear is that this is like the most, is incohesive a word? No--


PAUL: Yeah.


PAULY: --but like the most not-cohesive show ever.


PAUL: It's not, it's not.


PAULY: It is.


PAUL: And my wandering--


PAULY: Laura Kightlinger's was so good.


PAUL: It was a great--


PAULY: I love her.


PAUL: --that was a great interview.


PAULY: Yeah. I love her.


PAUL: Give me some loves.


PAULY: Yeah. I love having the ability to manifest people's feelings into words through my songwriting.


PAUL: Oh, that's a nice one. That's a nice one.


PAULY: Yeah, I love that.


PAUL: I love the feeling when you drive to the beach and you can't smell the ocean until you open the car to get out and then it all hits you at once, and you remember, oh, yeah, this is exactly what the ocean smells like.


PAULY: Yeah. I used to be like allergic to the ocean when I was a kid. I don't know if I was allergic, but that smell would make me puke.


PAUL: Oh, wow.


PAULY: So, that's where it takes me back to childhood.




PAUL: It also reminds me of my happiest memories, which were being at, playing in the ocean as a little kid, which wasn't often because we didn't take trips to the coasts too often, but it always just made a deep impression in my mind, and the smell. You know, smells are the sense that is most closely connected to emotion.


PAULY: Is it?


PAUL: Yeah.


PAULY: Smells, yeah, smells are like that, and for me, music is like that, too. Like, a song can take me right, when did I become a New Yorker, a song--


PAUL: [Chuckles]


PAULY: --a song can take me right back to somewhere that I was and, I think that's gor-, I think it's beautiful. I love that. I really love that.


PAUL: Give me another love.


PAULY: I gave a lot of, I really gave a lot of these during the interview, like making my, when my fiancé makes himself laugh it makes me laugh, feisty dog. I love being in a community of ethnic artists and entertainers that support each other.


PAUL: That's a nice one.


PAULY: And it's not just ethnic. I mean, being in a group of actors and, you know, artists that genuinely support each other and don't try to knock each other down in this business is hard to find, and I've found it and I'm very, very lucky. And we intend to tell great stories.


PAUL: You know what I'm, I love that I am not threatened by diversity, like a lot of people are. Like I was sitting at a stoplight, coming home from hockey tonight, and there was two Hispanic guys in a truck and they were playing a, like a hip-hop ranchero song, which I'd never heard the two, almost like ranchero and techno combined, and I'd never heard that and I thought, wow, you know, that's an interesting genre of music, and I thought, you know, if I lived in the boonies somewhere, I wouldn't get to experience all of the different cuisines, all the different cultures, and I know a lot of people are threatened by what they're not familiar with--


PAULY: Right.


PAUL: --and I, I think, in many ways, that is maybe a genetic/environment thing. I don't think it's something you can will yourself into. And I just love that that comes naturally to me, to be pretty comfortable and even excited by new things and people, etc.


PAULY: That makes me happy. That makes me super happy.


PAUL: Yeah.


PAULY: I love that. I like when people know the difference between Hispanic and Latino. Just kidding [chuckles]. That was a read. Does anyone know what read means? I'm gay.

Oh, loves. Where are you? I love pretending to sleep because my dog gives me little gentle kisses to wake me up.


PAUL: Oh, that is fantastic.


PAULY: It's so good. Like, he, for some reason, my dog doesn't lick my face. He licks my ears. Like, that's how he gives kisses.


PAUL: Herbert does that to my ears.


PAULY: Oh, really?


PAUL: Oh, yeah.


PAULY: Herbert and Henry should get together.


PAUL: They should.


PAULY: They both have old-man names. And, but if I pretend to sleep and I know he's awake, because he sleeps with me, he's so gentle with it.




PAULY: It's like, it's not a real kiss. It's just this tiny little kiss and this little nudge. It's so cute. And he's a Bichon and he just has the cutest face and I love him so much, yeah.


PAUL: It's, ah, you don't have to explain, you don't have to explain to me.


PAULY: That's my favorite, that's my favorite thing.


PAUL: Did you have any more, or is that it?


PAULY: That's all.


PAUL: If people want to see Pauly & Monks on YouTube, just search Pauly & Monks or--


PAULY: Yeah. We're on TradioV.com, and you can see all of our previous shows there and--


PAUL: And people can watch it live or they can then watch it later.


PAULY: Sure. You can watch it live on Thursdays, or our archived shows are always available. If, you know, if there's a guest you know we've had in the past eight years, like we've had so many, just do a Google search, because we're on every, like Paul, you know, we're on every podcasting platform.


PAUL: And a lot of your guests are teenagers, right? Or your show is geared towards--


PAULY: Some of it is. We've had a lot of popular YouTubers on, so by default, we've acquired a lot of that audience, which I feel really fortunate about. When we do charity events and things like that, we do a lot of kid-centered things, so.


PAUL: Okay. Well, I like to, when possible, because a lot of times our younger listeners will feel a little left out because most of my guests tend to be in their 30s, 40s, sometimes even older, and--


PAULY: That's a fear of mine. Like, when you asked me my age, I almost didn't say, because I think that I definitely think that our audience thinks I'm a lot younger than I am, and I think they might not relate to me in the same way, but I definitely relate to them.


PAUL: Yeah.


PAULY: Yeah.


PAUL: Well, thank you for coming on and sharing your life and it was a great--


PAULY: You had a thought and I interrupted.


PAUL: I don't, I do that all the time. I'm the king of that. Pauly, thank you, thank you so much for coming and sharing everything and being so honest.


PAULY: Thank you. I'm a huge, huge fan, and I just, I love everything you do, so I appreciate you.


PAUL: Thanks, buddy.


Many thanks to Pauly David, and what a sweet man. Be sure to check out his YouTube show, Pauly & Monks Show. And this episode that you just heard or are currently hearing will soon be transcribed and available on our Web site. Many thanks to Accurate Secretarial for donating their time and helping out the show.

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This is a Shame and Secrets Survey filled out by Brie Marie. She is in her 20s, straight, raised in a pretty dysfunctional environment. She writes, quietly dysfunctional, hidden behind a smile, so we know she was raised in the suburbs. Never been the victim of sexual abuse, not sure if she's ever been physically or emotionally abused.

She writes, darkest thought, I have high-functioning depression and high anxiety and no one in my social or family circle has any idea. I was simultaneously the silent outcast and the smart one in school, especially in high school.

I had great grades. I created, quote, stunning artwork, their words, not mine, and despite being a loner and being made fun of constantly, everything was going decently well for me. I joined clubs and volunteered and had a stellar GPA. I graduated, moving into one of the, moving on to one of the top design schools in the U.S. who had accepted me on the spot after reviewing my portfolio.

I had a college degree and a 401(k) before I was old enough to drink. I was making good entry-level money, bought a newer car and the whole nine yards. Now, I'm sure it seems like I have my shit together, but I don't, and I never have.

Since elementary school, [clears throat], excuse me, every day I wake up and my first thought is, I wish I hadn't woken up this morning. I drag myself out of bed, shower, poking and picking at all the parts that I hate about myself for about 30 minutes before actually bathing, get dressed in something that covers said hated parts of myself, and head to work.

The 45-minute drive on the freeway is basically me blasting music in an effort to drown out my thoughts and wondering what the point of making the drive is. I arrive and sit and stare at my steering wheel, analyzing what it is that I need to cover and complete today in order to feel like a normal human.

I get to my desk and fret that I won't complete everything I need to get done today. I speed through my work with a fine-toothed comb, needing everything to be quick, efficient and impeccable. Usually while I do that, I listen to music, podcasts, and wonder what it would feel like to head to the third floor's roof and jump off.

Would it be quick? How big of a mess would it make? I finish my work early, chat with my co-workers or help out where needed, and then head home, wishing that I could fall asleep at the wheel and I could sleep quietly into nothingness.

I get home and put on a smile, clean and cook, kiss my boyfriend on the cheek and head to bed. My last thought is, I hope I don't wake up tomorrow, before I fall asleep. Oh, I hope I don't wake up tomorrow, before I fall asleep. Why does nobody know about this? Because I'm the queen of the fake smile and compartmentalization. Work is work. Relationship is relationship.

My internal dialogue is my internal dialogue. Those things never mix. I have a different mask for each one and I wear them all well. I learned at a very young age from my parents that any emotions other than happiness are unacceptable. No one cares or wants to hear about my struggles, but I do genuinely care about the people around me, which is why I don't burden them with my dark thoughts and also why I don't act on them.

And I guess, in a way, the pain of pushing myself through every day is my own form of self-punishment, like this is wildly uncomfortable and I'd much rather stay in bed all day, but I don't deserve that luxury. I don't deserve to be anything other than happy. I wish I could just die, but I can't bring myself to do it, and I won't. Too many people depend on me. But I fear for the day that I won't be able to force myself up and out into the world.

Darkest secrets, that I don't know how to bridge the gap between my hidden emotions and the people around me. I've hidden it for so long that I'm afraid that revealing it will chase them off or make them not trust me anymore, which they have every right to trust me, but I'm already alone and I am so terrified of them running away once they see the ugly mask underneath.

Once they see the ugly under the mask. I'm sorry. I must be really tired. My eyes are like, I'm kind of seeing double tonight, so bear with me on these surveys.

What, if anything, do you wish for? I wish for peace. I'm so tired of waking up to the war zone that is my brain every single day.

Have you shared these things with others? No. The one time that I tried to share my depression with my mother, she twisted it and made it her fault. She made me feel guilty for feeling the way I do, and insisted that I just need to smile more.

God, no wonder you feel the way you do. No wonder you feel the way you do. And you are so not alone in what you're feeling. Who wouldn't feel that way? Who wouldn't feel, who wouldn't feel that way when they were taught to imprison your emotions and to be ashamed of them, to not be human?

Here's the thing. There are people that you can trust, and they're everywhere. There's also people you can't trust, and I think your mom is one of those people. So, I think a really good thing to do would be to go to therapy and to learn the experience of opening up to somebody and experiencing unconditional love. It's really, really powerful.

You are, you sound like such a really beautiful, sensitive person, and it's, there are so many people that feel the way you do. There are so many people that feel the way you do. And you have just discovered the cult that is materialism that we are taught. You know, I'm not opposed to money. I'm not opposed to having things. But that alone will not keep our spirit alive, and yet that was severed in you as a kid, and you still have that voice in your head that was implanted in there by your parents.

And I'm sure they didn't do it maliciously, but the point is, is that your mom sounds like a sick, toxic person and I would look elsewhere for somebody to open up to, to validate your feelings. And I think a support group or therapy would be great. Now I'm just running my mouth, but your survey really, it really moved me, and I hope you hear this.

This is from the What Has Helped You Survey, filled out by MJ, and she writes, I feel like I'm not in control of anything, like I can't make a difference. Nothing I do is enough. Both of my parents have mental illnesses and they have been homeless for the past three years. No matter what I do, it seems there is never progress.

What's helped you to deal with it? Coming to terms with the realization that I don't have to be in control of everything and that not everything is my responsibility. I am responsible for me, not my entire family.

That is so great. That should be printed up and put on everybody's mirror so that they can see it first thing in the morning. I actually have a friend who does do that, because he has control issues, and he says it works for him, you know, some version of what you just said.

What have people said or done that has helped you? Being told that it is normal to feel overwhelmed or frustrated. I'm newly married and my husband has a new set of eyes for the situation. I find comfort in his ability to still have hope that things can get better. Thank you for that. What a great survey.

This is a Shame and Secrets Survey filled out by a woman who calls herself Disco. And she's in her 30s, pansexual, raised in a pretty dysfunctional environment. Ever been the victim of sexual abuse? Some stuff happened, but I don't know if it counts.

My mom always insisted on being naked around me. She never let me have any privacy and often came into the bathroom with me when I didn't want her to. She made me look her in the eye while she was taking a shit and screamed at me. She was obsessed with my sexuality long before I even had a sexuality. She made me sit in her lap when she had no pants or underwear on. I hate my mom.

You, if a social worker had learned of any of this, you would have been taken out of the home and your mother would have been probably prosecuted, and I'm so sorry that you had to experience that. I've mentioned it before. I have a female friend who has a background in the mental health field and she experienced these things as well, and if you would like to be put in touch with her, e-mail me and I would be happy to put you in touch with her.

What you just described is a textbook way that mothers sexually abuse their children. I know dozens of people who had that happen to them, and I'm so sorry.

Darkest secrets. I want to be a perfect 10, so I can be a huge bitch to everyone and get everything for free and never have to work because people would worship me for my beauty.

Darkest secrets. I let this guy fuck me just so he would stop pestering me about it. He just kept pressuring me for more.

Sexual fantasies most powerful to you. Two dicks in my pussy at the same time. I don't like sharing this, even anonymously, because it is something most people would shame me for and call me a slut.

Well, I think you're talking to the wrong people, because I think a lot of people would high-five you and say, good for you. We have no control over what turns us on, and good for you for embracing it and talking about it and taking it out of the dark and the shame and bring it out into the light. That's what I say. So, I don't know logistically how it would work, getting two dicks in your pussy at the same time. My recommendation would be certainly to bring a civil engineer on board. I don't know if you'd need blueprints. I don't know if there would be hardhats onsite. But it's not a bad idea. [Chuckles]

What, if anything, would you like to say to someone you haven't been able to? You're a piece of shit for not tipping [chuckles], and I know your church murdered those abortion doctors. Wow. That is heavy.

What, if anything, do you wish for? I want to be thin and beautiful so people will like me and do things for me.

You know what the awesome thing about getting healthier is and learning to be vulnerable and finding people that are safe is that we begin to get those feelings that we thought being rich or beautiful or whatever were going to give us, and we can get them in a way where we don't have to be anything other than exactly who we are. So, yeah, thank you for that.

This is from the What Has Helped You Survey, filled out by Blob Marley [chuckles], and he writes his issues are severe depression and anxiety, and what's helped you? Dogs. When you're depressed, there's nothing better, for me at least, than having something that physically requires you to get out of bed in the morning, to leave the house during the day for walks, and, no matter how shitty you feel about yourself, you always have something to talk about. The addition of always having a little bit of sound and movement in an otherwise-quiet house can be cathartic.

And, let's not forget, when you're having a really shitty day, getting down onto the ground with them and just petting them and hugging them and curling up with them, and it's kind of nice, too, when you're crying and they have no idea what's happening. That's always kind of nice.

What have people said or done that's helped you? When someone says, talk to me, or come stay at my house for a few days, instead of, if you ever need someone to talk to, or if you ever need a place to stay.

Can I tell you how much I love that you verbalized that? Because we look at it differently when we're the ones saying, if you ever need someone to talk to, but it doesn't feel that way when somebody says it to us, and I never realized it until you wrote this, that what we really should say is, talk to me, you know, come stay at my house for a few days. Yeah, thank you.

And then I suppose, also, be willing to let it go if that person isn't interested, you know, to resist the urge to try to fix them, you know, that fine line between being helpful and controlling, which I will probably find on my 80th birthday.

Steve filled out a Shame and Secrets Survey. He's straight. He is, let's see how old he is, with the staple in a terrible place. He's in his 40s. He was raised in a pretty dysfunctional environment. He's never been sexually abused but he has been physically and emotionally abused.

My dad was an alcoholic when I was growing up, and back in the late '70s and early '80s there was no ADHD diagnosis. I was a rambunctious kid and it drove my dad crazy. I didn't have the same interests as him. I enjoyed being outside, running around, playing sports. My dad was a mechanic, and when he was a kid he was always fixing stuff.

He would make me help him in the garage and I never did anything right, and he let me know verbally and physically. And it wasn't just in the garage. If I did or didn't shovel the snow right, if I didn't mow the grass right, if I didn't do my homework right or swing the bat just right or take a snapshot or skate right, this coming from someone who didn't play sports growing up. This led me to question every decision I made to the point where I would freeze up, unable to move forward.

I wish they would teach in school or to parents who are about to have a kid the importance of understanding the difference between helpfully guiding your child with information and criticizing them into potentially being somebody who is prone to perfectionism and panic attacks and terrified of just leaving the house and having any kind of responsibility.

Any positive experiences with the abuser? Over the years, our relationship has gotten better. He's been sober a long time. When I was in my 20s and 30s, I was very reluctant to call on him for help, but since his grandkids, he's been better to work with.

Darkest thoughts. Death. I think about death of other people that I know, not that I want them dead, that if they were to die I probably wouldn't be able to show emotion unless I fake it.

Let me make this about me for a second. I was, yesterday I was sitting at my kitchen table, and I live on, as you can hear in the background, kind of a busy street, and it was mid-afternoon and all of a sudden I heard the loudest crash, and I went out onto my balcony and right in front of me it was clear that a motorcycle had hit a car head-on and this guy had flown like 50 feet and was laying on the sidewalk, or driveway, kind of in between, and he was pretty much motionless, moving a little bit. Thank God he was moving his legs.

But, you know, people immediately came, you know, came out of the woodwork and the ambulance was there within, you know, three minutes, and I watched as they strapped him and, you know, do the thing they do where they secure you so they don't injure your spine any more if there's a spine injury.

And the whole time I was watching it, I felt that kind of low-level nausea, nausea? Nausea that you have when you're seeing something really intense, but no sadness. No sadness.

And I've gotten used to that part of myself, and maybe those of us who were raised in environments where we had to compartmentalize stuff, maybe that's a relic of that, but it, I understand your shame in feeling shame in not being able to cry when you think it's appropriate.

Darkest secrets. I've gotten really angry at my son when he was little, throwing him on the bed, yelling at him forcefully, grabbing him, kind of like what my dad did to me. Thank you for being honest about that.

Sexual fantasies most powerful to you. Group sex, swinging, anal sex, using toys. Writing that makes me feel slimy and embarrassed. You should not. You should not, said the pot to the kettle.

What, if anything, would you like to say to someone you haven't been able to? Tell people how much I struggle with depression when snide comments are made at work. I think they'd be very surprised if I said I battled depression, anxiety and panic attacks.

What do you wish for? To be debt-free. Have you shared these things with others? Yes, my wife, my sister and my therapist.

How do you feel after writing these things down? Angry. Anything you'd like to share with someone who shares your thoughts or experiences? Get help. It's too exhausting to go through this by yourself. Amen, amen, and thank you for that, Steve.

This is from the What Has Helped You Survey, filled out by a guy who calls himself Ezekiel Shade Tree. I have no idea what that means, but I'm a fan. His issues are depression, social anxiety and bouts of rage.

What has helped him? I've attempted to drown out my thoughts with music and heroin in the past. I'm going to say half of that idea is good. But I've been most successful while smoking medical marijuana. I also used it as a teenager to replace Lexapro, the antidepressant.

I'm not a therapist and I'm not a doctor, but I've got to think that there is something better for depression than marijuana because marijuana, prolonged and chronic use of marijuana exacerbates chronic depression. So, in the short run, it may give you some relief from that, but in the long run, it might wind up hurting you. But, you know, that's according to what I've heard from psychiatrists and therapists, etc., etc.

What have people said or done that has helped you? While I was in rehab for heroin, I was given the opportunity to work with a counselor who was able to listen intently to everything I had to say about my past before speaking a word. It helped.

That's, that is awesome. That is awesome. And sometimes, maybe it's just me, it's hard to do. It's hard to do, to just sit there, because for a lot of us, you know, especially fixers and control freaks, we want you to know that there's, I have this idea, maybe this will help you, instead of just listening.

Any comments to make the podcast better? More talking shit to us, your listeners. I fucking love it.

I refuse to do that. I, every one of the listeners is a precious, precious lily-white snowflake, falling gently from the golden heavens to this beautiful Earth, filled with fuck faces.

Magda filled out a Shame and Secrets Survey. And I'm just going to read part of it. She's in her 20s, raised in a slightly dysfunctional environment. She was, did experience sexual abuse and never reported it. It was an ex-boyfriend.

Sexual fantasies most powerful to you. I fantasize about cisgender women, but my girlfriend is transgender. It makes me feel bad that I am not primarily attracted to her body type, even though I love her. And since I plan to be with her for the rest of my life, it is kind of a letdown that I will never be able to sexually be with a cisgendered woman again. This makes me feel really shallow that I care about body parts.

And I wanted to read this because I wanted you to remember that you should not shame yourself for what turns you on. And I understand that you're feeling like you're kind of trapped, but you're not shallow for being turned on by body parts.

What, if anything, would you like to say to someone you haven't been able to? I really want to talk about my experiences with other eating disordered or depressed people, but there's a lack of support groups in my area. I recently called an old number for a support group and I was disappointed to learn that it had been discontinued.

I've heard good things about a Web site called In The Rooms, it's InTheRooms, either dot com or dot org, maybe both, but they do online support groups. I think most of them are 12-step-based, but it would be worth checking out.

What, if anything, do you wish for? I want to be skinny, healthy, balanced, loved and worthy of love. I'm a high school teacher, so I also want to help my students feel loved and lead healthy lives. Many of them have their own baggage that I try to help them cope with. Sometimes I feel ill-equipped.

You know, my opinion on that is that there is, the best healers are wounded healers, assuming that they've, you know, done some healing and gotten some emotional intelligence and experience under their belt and learned what their issues are so they're not filtering their issues into the person you're trying to help. But yeah, that's my two cents.

Whenever I talk to somebody who's like, oh, I feel like a fraud because, you know, I'm studying to be a therapist and, you know, here I am, you know, wanting to cut. It's like, no, I think that that's, you will understand your patients or clients I think to a degree that somebody that had a perfect childhood and doesn't have any kind of chemical struggle in their brain will probably never understand.

I don't even know where, how that sentence flow-charted [chuckles]. And I'm not going to stop. I'm not going to back up. You know, if you are thinking to yourself, Jesus, Paul, don't be so lazy, just go back and say that in a way that we can understand it. No, fuck you. Fuck you. Go eat a frosted Pop Tart and, I can't think of anything else.

This is an Awfulsome Moment filled out by Counting My Blessings 1 through 10, and she writes, I've suffered from OCD since childhood. It started out as an obsession with order and symmetry, but it progressed over time to include horrendous intrusive thoughts about killing the people whom I love the most, either accidentally, for example, by leaving the stove on, or intentionally, for example, by stabbing them, even though I don't have a violent bone in my body and am incapable of hurting anyone. I try to hide my compulsions, counting and checking, because I was quite ashamed, which is common for people with this type of OCD. I mean, who wants to admit that they obsess over killing their loved ones?

Things were getting really bad and I stumbled across your show and you convinced me to go get help. I started seeing a therapist, found a medication that works for me, and started attending an OCD support group. I was feeling a lot better, and one night I noticed myself smiling for the first time in a long time. My husband noticed, too. I said to him, I think I finally have things under control, I'm feeling so much better.

At around noon the next day, my boss called me into this office and handed me layoff papers. Things had slowed down at my small company and all of my counting and checking had slowed me down quite a bit, making me an easy target for a layoff.

That's right, the very day after I started to get out from underneath the OCD beast, I got fired for having OCD. Seriously, fuck my life. P.S. Thank you so much, Paul, for encouraging me to get help. You read a previous survey of mine and you said, you are not weak, and you repeated it. It was what I needed to hear at the time and is one of the reasons why I sought help.

Things are obviously situationally worse for me right now, but I feel better than I did when I was working and was in the throes of mental illness. Thank you. P.P.S. I had signed up as a donor as a thank you for helping me again but I had to cancel because I don't have an income right now. I will sign up again when I get a job again.

I love that you got help. That is the most important thing. The second most important thing is that you, for the rest of your life, give me your money.

This is a Shame and Secrets Survey filled out by Savannah, and she's 19. She's straight. She was raised in a pretty dysfunctional environment. Ever been the victim of sexual abuse? Some stuff happened, or no, yes, and I never reported it. It was my house help. I don't even remember how it started. It was some time when I was in eighth grade, when my mom would go to work, he would come near me and touch me wrongly, like touch my breasts, and I was terrified to do anything.

Eventually, I stopped it by threatening to tell my mom, but it should have never continued after that first time. I should have told somebody, but to this day I don't know why I didn't and I will always regret that.

You did what most people do. You froze. And that is a thing that our brain does to us. And you are not wrong. You are not weak. That is how your nervous system responded, and it's time to forgive yourself, because you did nothing wrong. And I want to fucking high-five you for then speaking up. That's awesome. That is awesome.

Any positive experiences with the abusers? Oh, I guess she was also abused by her mom. She writes, my abuser was my mom but she loves me at the same time. I don't think in her eyes it was abuse. It was just rightful punishment. She never realized how her putting me down or beating me affected me. To her, it is all masked in love.

That would be another thing that would be great to teach in kindergarten and to people about to have a kid.

Darkest thoughts. I think of death not in a scary way, but as a sweet release. When I see buildings, I see how high they are, not their architecture. When I'm crossing the street, I hope a car would just slam into me out of nowhere. If tears were blood, I would be long dead.

Wow. Wow. That is, that is quite a sentence. If tears were blood, I would be long dead.

Wouldn't it be [chuckles], wouldn't it be great to make T-shirts out of that and then, at graduation, right as people come up and get their diploma, you also hand them that shirt [chuckles].

Oh, man, you know, I like to, I like to joke that sometimes I forget bridges are used to connect two pieces of land. So, I don't, I used to enjoy turbulence in airplanes because it's like, okay, now I don't have to make the decision to kill myself. You're not alone in feeling that, and I'm sorry you feel that way.

Darkest secrets. I wish I had the words to tell my mom everything that is going on in my head. I look at people or I talk to people and I am praying in my heart, please see my pain, please help me.

That is so beautiful and heartbreaking and 100% human, 100% human, and your mom might not be the best person to have that conversation with. It might be good to get a little bit of experience sharing what's going on inside you with somebody who is super safe, maybe like a therapist that somebody recommends, or just trying a therapist. You know, very often you can read about them or read, and also read what other people say about that therapist.

So, but, yeah, I'm just, I don't want to start running my mouth about there are safe people in the world. I know I say it all the time, but there are. There are. There's so much beauty and love in the world all around us, and when we tap in to that, you know, we don't avoid pain or disappointment or loss or any of that other shit, but for me, I get resilience from it and perspective, and that allows me to connect more deeply with other people, which is why I think we're here, alive.

Sexual fantasies most powerful to you. My biggest sexual fantasy is not even sexual. I want someone to just pull me back in bed and hug me, just hug me tight.

I really hope you find the love that you deserve, because you sound like such a beautifully sensitive person, and what you want is totally doable. You want intimacy. You want emotional safety. You want to be heard and seen and felt and loved for who you are. And every person deserves that.

She fears, she writes that she is truly messed up. You know, I like to think of it as being wounded, but messed up kind of, you know, insinuates that there's no getting better or healing.

Have you shared these things with others? No. I don't know how to. I feel that whenever I try it just comes off really immature and silly, like a teenage thing, and I am scared that all my pain will be invalidated if they don't understand.

You know, that is why it is so scary to open up in the beginning to people. But the more we do, the more we begin to get an intuitive sense of who is safe to open up to, because in the beginning we don't know, because we never experienced it.

So, and it is not, the things that you're saying are not immature or silly or teenage. Your pain is fucking valid. I mean, all of us listening to this can feel it, can feel it, just reading some of this stuff you've experienced. Sending you some love.

You know what? I might even send you an unfrosted Pop Tart. I don't know if I can go blueberry, because I don't know you that well, so maybe an unfrosted strawberry. Why do they not have unfrosted cherry? If they made an unfrosted cherry Pop Tart, I seriously would lose my shit, I would be so fucking happy.

This is from the What Has Helped You Survey, filled out by a woman who calls herself Rewrote This Name a Million Times, I Feel Like My Fingers Will Drop Off. And her issues are vaginismus, trauma from rape, and depression. And for those of you that don't know, vaginismus is pain in the, obviously the vagina and making, oftentimes, sex painful.

For her vaginismus, what has helped? Using the sensations around me to ground me, the feel of the other person's skin, the texture of the bed covers, and it also helps if the other person caresses me in order to keep me from dissociating.

As far as the trauma from rape, incredible friends, although I really should see a psychologist and get professional help. Contemporary dance has helped me work through a lot of the issues stemming from this, although it has been difficult at times. Performing my final solo that I created based on the rape and abuse in front of my parents was my way of finally telling them and accepting what happened to me.

For her depression, leaving the blinds or curtains open in my bedroom so that the garden outside and the light forces me out of bed. It doesn't always work when the weather is shitty, but at least I can get up in the summer. Also, on a side note, I drink a lot of good tea. I find that breathing in its aroma helps me come back to the present and interrupt any harmful thoughts.

Those are all such great suggestions. Although I do not see myself embracing contemporary dance. As tempting as it is to see me in a unitard, it might actually traumatize anybody watching me try to work through my stuff. I'd basically be handing my trauma off to somebody else.

What have people said or done that has helped you? My friends reminding me of my qualities as a person and truly going into detail rather than just saying how great I am.

You guys, this has been a gold mine of suggestions for this survey this week. I'm so glad, my instinct told me, let's not do Struggle in a Sentence, let's do What Has Helped You, and I've already read like three or four things that have been like, yes, yes, going into detail, that is so good. That is so good.

Being reminded that pain and sadness are not permanent. They come and they go. My friends know that I suffer from depression, so when I don't reply to texts and calls for over a week, they leave me voice message after voice message, talking me through it.

Wow, you have some good friends. That is awesome. That is awesome. Thank you for that.

This is the same survey, and this is filled out by Call Me Kate. I think she's filled out our surveys before. And her issues are skin picking and anxiety/rumination, and what has helped her, YouTube's Dr. Pimple Popper channel has helped with both. I watch it at night sometimes before I go to sleep. I find it relaxing and gratifying.

For anxiety and racing thoughts and rumination, Apple and iTunes users try Color Therapy. It's like an online version of adult coloring books, which I also use sometimes at night when I get into bed. The creativity and somewhat mindless focus have been really helpful, though to be 100% honest, I still have to use pills nightly to even fall asleep.

What have people said or done that has helped you? My therapist helps me overcome some of my guilt over things I think about or do with the simple question of, so what? Are you hurting yourself or others? No. Then, so what? A thought is just a thought. Whether or not I act on those thoughts is where I really need to be paying attention. Amen. Amen.

Any comments to make the podcast better? After a really, really, really negative experience recently with first responders and the local police, it would be of interest to me to hear more about agencies that are being trained to appropriately respond and treat people with mental health issues. I was treated so poorly, so harshly and with zero compassion that I will never call for help again. There needs to be a national conversation on how to help, not further hurt or significant re-traumatize a person experiencing a PTSD episode.

Thank you for reminding us of that. That is super fucked up, man. I really hope, I really hope that changes. And, yeah. Thank you for that.

This is a Shame and Secrets Survey filled out by Bianca. She is straight, in her 40s, raised in a pretty dysfunctional environment, was the victim of sexual abuse and reported it.

I was sexually molested by my brother and was a victim of military sexual trauma in the Navy. I feel like the military could care less about their indentured servants unless the press gets wind of it. I also feel like men who join the military are fulfilling a deep insecurity that they cannot accomplish by buying a Corvette or a Mercedes.

Most of you all pussy around them is just that, pussy, basically a blow-up sex doll and not a human being. Growing up, my brother was the same way. When I told my parents, they honestly didn't know what to do, and when we talked about this later on in life, they pretended it never happened. Wow. Really? That's fucked up.

She's been physically and emotionally abused. I was physically abused by my dad and brother and emotionally abused by both my parents and brother. At the time, growing up, it hurt really bad. Then after a while I realized they were just total losers with nothing going on for them at all, so take it out on the youngest and defenseless. It really burns them now that I'm the most successful of the whole family and keep shooting higher.

Any positive experiences with abusers? They were not always shitty. Sometimes they realized I wasn't their whipping girl and, for example, my brother would take me to the movies. My parents always sent me packages when I was on deployment and all my co-workers would say, your parents are awesome, and of course, I would think, yeah, if you only knew them like I do.

Darkest thoughts. I would really love to kill my brother. First, I would torture him, but then I would kill him slowly by letting all his blood drain out, giving him time to think about what a piece of shit he is. But he's really not worth going to prison for. Besides, it's more entertaining to see him ruin his life.

Darkest secrets. I screwed an Iraqi guy just because I could and to see what it would be like to fuck the enemy. He was also married, but I don't recognize Islamic marriage because I believe the Koran is bullshit, plus it was war. An intense survey.

Sexual fantasies most powerful to you. I really don't have any because I've shut down sexually for most of my adulthood.

What, if anything, would you like to say to someone you haven't been able to? Why the fuck do you think it's okay to tell me my business when you can't even get your own shit straight?

What, if anything, do you wish for? I wish that I had never been adopted by my family. Honestly, for whatever reason my biological parents gave me up, it can't be as bad as the hell my, quote, family put me through and still puts me through.

Have you shared these things with others? Yes, and they've told me that it's amazing I've come this far. A less person would have ended it a long time ago.

If you want to listen to an episode that, although she didn't experience military trauma, she was adopted and I believe she was abused by her brother. I could be wrong, but the episode with Listener Julie J. and it's, and also, she had a really, really like intensely overly religious mom, like the mom from Carrie kind of. It's a really compelling episodes and one of my favorites.

How do you feel after writing these things down? It feels like letting out a demon that hangs on to me and pecks at me every once in a while, but remembering the pain somehow makes him stronger for a little while, until I forget it again.

Anything you want to share with someone who shares your thoughts or experiences? Hang in there. Tell someone. Tell an authority figure. Tell several people. Run away to a shelter. If you live in a country, run to the police. Run away to a shelter, if you live in the country, run to the police, oh, okay. If you are someone who suspects something, do something.

Thank you. Thank you for sharing all of that. That's a lot of, that's a lot of stuff, and it sounds like there's, like there's, finding a way to let that anger out would be really good, really good.

I never realized how much rage I had until I started letting it out [chuckles]. It's almost kind of like, you know, the water cooler. No, what the fuck do you call it? In your car, that keeps it from overheating [chuckles]. The radiator. When you take the cap off the radiator, it's like you don't realize how pressurized it was until you unscrew that thing and it's like, holy fuck, that could have killed me.

This is from the What Has Helped You Survey, filled out by Messy Mind. She has social anxiety, OCD and low mood. What helps her, honestly, meds help the most. Therapy was a good starting place, but it works best for me accompanied with antidepressants.

What have people said or done that's helped you? That life has no meaning or purpose beyond just living. It just allowed me to let go of some of the stress I put on myself to be the most amazing person imaginable. I can slow down and enjoy life.

That's interesting. I wanted to read this one because I felt like just the opposite when I read that, life has no meaning or purpose beyond just living. And it's interesting how one idea or thought can be comforting to another person and to another person it's the opposite. I thank you for sharing that.

This is filled out by Laurie, and she is in her 60s. She's straight. She was raised in a totally chaotic environment. She was the victim of sexual abuse and never reported it. Orally molested by father from earliest memories, also others. He split, then I was molested and abused by my stepfather until age 14. Oh, my God.

She's been physically and emotionally abused. Stepfather hit me for crying when I was saying no during sex. There was a lot of violence.

Any positive experiences with the abusers? At age 13, I felt I was in love with my stepfather. I enjoyed the sex and his attention. I carried horrible shame until this year.

Darkest thoughts. I had carefully planned how to kill myself a couple of years ago, but I'm now in DBT and I'm much better. That stands for dialectical behavior therapy. And it's also a very, very helpful tool to learn for people who live with borderline personality disorder or for the loved ones of people with borderline personality disorder.

Darkest secrets. I'm 63 and I've been in and out of therapy since I was 23. For 45 years, I stuffed that I, quote, allowed my abuser to bring me to orgasm. I have a wonderful psychiatrist and therapist who have helped me to understand the physiology and psychology of an adolescent girl.

Thank you for sharing that, and listen to the Lia McCord episode. It's a great episode, and she talks about that exact same thing, about the breakthrough she had when she realized that, years into her father molesting her, you know, she was just, she was like your age, like 12 or 13, she initiated it one night, and she has, for years, blamed herself until a therapist helped her see that she had been conditioned by that adult. And even if she hadn't been conditioned by that adult, the adult should know better. The adult should say, that's, this is not appropriate, this is, yeah.

Sexual fantasies most powerful to you. I've been married for 34 years and I had an affair 25 years ago, and I think of him.

What would you like to say to someone you haven't been able to? To all the people who have hurt me, just because I seek to find forgiveness in my heart doesn't mean you're not a bunch of assholes.

That is a fucking T-shirt. Just because I seek to find forgiveness in my heart doesn't mean you're not a bunch of assholes. We might have to condense it a little bit. Yeah, maybe it would be, I forgave you but you're still an asshole. I like how I'm working it out. I'm fleshing it out. I'm workshopping it on the air.

What, if anything, do you wish for? I carried horrible shame for having an orgasm with my stepfather, but I knew I had to let it happen to get it over with and get away. I wish I knew then what I know now, how to fake it. Ha-ha.

Have you shared these things with others? I've been fortunate and have had a lot of therapy.

How do you feel after writing these things down? I have a sharp, quote, stabbed-in-the-back pain that is associated with how I felt at 13.

Well, then, I appreciate you forging through that pain and sharing this super-super-powerful survey with us. I probably don't thank you survey-takers enough because you are the second guest of this show, and have helped me sort my shit out or start to sort my shit out and learn more about you.

Is there anything you'd like to share with someone who shares your thoughts or experiences? I was traumatized so severely that I went into shock, first at age seven, when my mom let her boyfriend, later husband, take me to a motel overnight, and second at age 12, when my autonomic nervous system went on overload. Age seven, went into a compartment and my whole life has been the one who does not speak.

She has always been with me. At age 12, during molestation, I looked out a window and I went out the window. For 50 years, 50, the only words I had were, I left my body when I was 12. All these years, I kept going back to therapy and kept going back.

Finally, I have mental health professionals who have the courage to face my abuse with me and the intelligence to understand physiology, the autonomic nervous system and brain chemistry, but I have no one who shares my kind of experience. I have no group. I feel so badly for others who have been abused, but I feel so alone.

Send me an e-mail because I know of two women who I think would be happy to correspond with you and share their experience, and their experiences are fairly similar to what you described. Just a thought, because you are so not alone. And I'd like to say that again, but more like a 13-year-old girl, you are so not alone [with teenage-girl inflection].

What Has Helped You, this is filled out by Rose, who writes, I've had dysthymia all my life and several episodes of depression during adolescence, as well as two eating disorders that popped up during my college years.

What has helped you? Therapy, first and foremost. Also learning how to reach out to others. I am stubbornly independent. Learning how to be more self-compassionate and reigniting my passion for drawing and sewing so that I have better coping mechanisms.

What have people said or done that has helped you? My therapist kept on asking me to slow down and identify the emotion in each situation that led to an episode of eating disorder, which really helped, because I have a tendency to push emotions aside and act like nothing happened. It helped me learn that I do have feelings and I need to give myself space to feel. Otherwise, the emotion will manifest itself in a very harmful manner, be it caloric restriction, over-exercising or bingeing.

So much good information in this episode, so much good shit. Thank you for that.

Same survey, filled out by a woman who calls herself Manic Pixie Dream Whore. I'm a fan. Sign me up for her newsletter. She writes, I've struggled with PTSD, eating disorder, depression and anxiety, also agoraphobia from time to time.

What's helped you deal with them? Oddly enough, entering sex work, first as a cam girl, then as an escort, has helped me with a lot of things. Being an entrepreneur allows me to tailor my own schedule around my mood and do work from home when needed. For every hour I have with a client, at least five hours of computer work went into making that appointment happen. It also has helped me be confident about my body and get better at setting boundaries with others.

What have people said or done that has helped? Early on, one of my mentors shared with me her story of attending five different schools to finally get her undergraduate degree because of her mental illness. She now has a Ph.D. I am on my fourth school and I am almost done, I hope. Thank you for that. Appreciate it.

This is a Shame and Secrets Survey filled out by Mina, Mina [pronounces as Meena], Mina, M-i-n-a. She, I just wanted to read one portion of this. She writes, darkest secrets, I have still not told my mother that I am bisexual because she once told me that they were all dirty cheaters, that I could be a lesbian but she would disown me if I liked both.

I think this has to do with her mother, who cheated on her father with a high school girl. Everyone else in my family knows, as well as all my friends, but I still haven't taken the leap to tell her because I feel like she would never look at me the same.

When you wrote your mother cheated on your father with a high school girls, I don't know the details of that, but that sounds like sexual abuse of a minor. But anyway, that's a separate issue.

Yeah, your mom is sick. Your mom is sick, and I'm glad that you are aware that she's probably filtering her judgments, you know, it's much easier to shame somebody else than to take responsibility for the part of yourself that you're disappointed in and I do it, too.

You know, I usually know when I'm getting really aggressive on Twitter at people that there's something that I need to look at in my own life, and that's been one of the best tools I've had in recovery.

Sexual fantasies most powerful to you. I'm a sub, married to someone who was not really until recently into anything other than plain sex. Sharing my sexual fantasies was like asking to share a kitchen-sink sundae with someone who is lactose intolerant. That is fantastic.

What, if anything, would you like to say to someone you haven't been able to? I am an over-sharer. Anything I could have said to anyone, I probably already have, with the exception of my mother. Ditto.

What, if anything, do you wish for? I wish people other than my close friends could still see me as a normal person and not how tainted because something happened to me. I wish that if my husband and I decided to have children and have sons they won't be too afraid or embarrassed or pigeonholed into thinking, quote, boys can only be X, Y, Z. And also to tell us if something happens to them, like my husband was with his family about his sexual assault.

Have you shared these things with others? While having a party at one of my friend's houses, she casually stated that everyone in the room had probably been abused in some way. When we called for a show of hands, everyone, including my now-husband, raised their hands. We spent the rest of the evening talking about what had happened to us, and instead of feeling like I had done something wrong and deserved what had happened to me, somehow I finally felt like I wasn't alone.

That is so fucking beautiful. That's the kind of party I could get out of the apartment for [chuckles].

Well, essentially, that's what support groups are, and I do get out of the apartment for them. But there isn't finger food. Actually, some of the support groups, there are finger food. Paul, shut up. Shut your fucking hole, you long-winded cock.

I think I might have been a little too hard on myself right there. [In Mean DJ Voice] I don't think so.

How do you feel after writing these things down? I feel great. I would be nothing without my friends and people who rallied around me after the things that happened happened, but to look at where I am now, when I know four years ago I wouldn't even be able to process or accept this, is impressive to me.

That is impressive. That is impressive. Thank you for that.

And then our last survey is a Happy Moment. It starts out not necessarily happy, but it's filled out by Small Pastry, and she writes, I hit a new low in my depression today, but it's in a darkest-before-the-dawn kind of way, as I've been putting in a lot of work to my recovery lately.

After staring too long into the face of Twitter, my eyes trailed over towards the floor and I kind of melted onto it and out of my chair, clutching a stuffed animal in some kind of attempt of chasing intimacy. As I stared sightlessly into a label on a box across the room that read, 10-gallon tote, in huge font, I felt some tears slip out and continued to numbly tune out the space, but while consciously tuning in to the sound of the rain that was tapping gently against my window.

As I started noticing it, it felt like the weather was reflecting my mood, like the universe was on my side, saying, hey, I'm with you, friend. And also, don't worry, it'll end soon.

I rolled onto my back to watch it out the window and thought to myself how I suddenly felt a great deal less alone. I stretched a little and felt the nice rush of warm muscles before I eventually proceeded to get up, snuggle myself in a blanket, clear my inbox and browse the Internet for content that made me smile. The next time I looked out my window, the rain had stopped, too. The universe is a pal sometimes.

It really can be. It really can be. I love when I have a great survey to end the show on. I love when I have great surveys to kind of have the podcast not just be one long stretch of darkness.

So, if any of you out there haven't filled out surveys yet, please do, especially What Has Helped You and Happy Moments and Awfulsome Moments.

But anyway, I hope you got something out of this, and I hope, to anybody who's a new listener or somebody who feels like they're, you know, maybe backsliding a little bit in their recovery, I hope you feel a little bit better, a little more hope. And I hope you remember that you're not alone, and you never have been, and you never will be, as long as you are willing to--


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--connect to somebody else, and they're everywhere. And I'm glad I did because I wouldn't be alive if I hadn't done that 13 years ago. So, thanks for listening.


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