Author:Paul Gilmartin


Jeff Rosenthal

Jeff is Paul’s friend of 28 years and the son of former guest and Holocaust survivor Kristine Keese. He shares about her recent passing, their deep but complicated relationship, how he made peace with her being “a terrible mom but a great friend” and the book she wrote Shadows of Survival: A Child’s Memoir of the Warsaw Ghetto.

Buy Kristine’s book here.

Follow Jeff on Twitter @Jeff_Rosie

Visit Jeff’s Facebook page

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Freshman College Meltdown: Jen Curran’s Story

The writer/improviser shares about the mental/emotional breakdown her freshman year of college at NYU that left her living in her car and squatting in empty buildings in New York City.  She looks back on her childhood and the familial love that was so often conditional, based on her weight and appearance.  She opens up about the body shaming women in her family unconsciously modeled for her, her relationship with food, difficulty setting boundaries with toxic people and finding out what she really wants instead of living to meet other people’s expectations of her.

Follow Jen on Twitter @JenCurran

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What Not To Say to Someone Who Has Depression: A Guest Blog by Dr. Susan J. Noonan


I was recently asked by a journalist what I would recommend “never” to say to someone who has depression. That’s a very good question. In my recent book When Someone You Know Has Depression: Words to say and things to do (2016), I focus mainly on the positives. By that I mean statements that are encouraging and received well by a person in the midst of a mood disorder. Today I will turn things around and give you some examples of what doesn’t work, and why.


There are about three dozen negative comments I can think of off the top of my head, and they fall into several categories. Most family members and close friends mean well and are trying their best. It’s hard to stay positive when you are fatigued, stressed, or frustrated in dealing with the illness, but you want to avoid accidentally saying these things or blurt out snap clichés. They are not helpful to the person and often times make things worse by breaking down the trust and communication you are trying to build.


The first is to avoid saying anything that is dismissive or invalidating. Your family member who has depression has a right to his or her feelings and thoughts, even if you don’t agree with the content. When you recognize and disagree with the person’s impaired thinking, negative or distorted thoughts, don’t tell him how to think and feel. Gently show him that the errors in his logic are inconsistent with his life experiences. Instead of saying “No you don’t’”, or “How could you possibly think…” in response to something he says, it would be preferable to respond with “I hear you feel you’re ___. That must feel awful. Where do you think that comes from? What about the time___?” and offer some concrete evidence in his life that counteracts his statement.


Invalidating statements are things like “There are people worse off than you,” or “It’s all in your head.” This disregards her symptoms as being valid and imposes guilt upon the person for having them. It ignores the fact that 41,000 people who have depression died by suicide in the United States in 2015. Minimizing her thoughts and feelings by saying something like “Oh, everybody has a bad day” or “I was depressed for 3 days once” is another way of sending the message that her situation is not serious and legitimate. Another, “Don’t be so depressed,” “You have it so good – why can’t you just be happy?” or “Snap out of it” gives the message that he or she could just “will away” the illness, and dismisses it as the biologically based medical condition of the mind and body that it is.


Another category to avoid are statements that are judgmental, blaming or critical. These are comments such as “It’s your own fault,” “You’re just looking for attention,” “You need to get a job [or hobby, boyfriend, volunteer].” Or “You should get off those pills and stop seeing that quack doctor,” and “You should go to church and pray.” Try not to impose your personal opinion on your family member’s life and decisions during an episode of depression.


It is also not helpful for you to make assumptions or jump to conclusions about the person who has depression, how or what he feels or thinks, especially without the full facts. This is definitely not helpful and can ruin your relationship with him or her. One example is “You must have your period,” or “It’s PMS.” The comment “Just try a little harder” assumes that the person is not making an effort, which is also judgmental, critical and dismissive.


Here are a few additional comments in the “DON’T DO” list that you would do well to avoid.


  • Stop feeling sorry for yourself
  • Pull yourself together
  • Get your act together
  • Lighten up
  • Have you tried herbal tea? [or vitamins]
  • Just don’t think about it
  • Quit whining
  • But you look so happy all the time
  • This too will pass

And top on my list of personal disliked comments, merely saying…

“Hang in there!”

Susan J. Noonan MD, MPH is a physician and certified peer specialist, author of two books and blogs on managing depression for her own website, Psychology Today and The Huffington Post, and a patient with firsthand experience in mood disorders. Her recent book, When Someone You Know Has Depression: Words to say and things to do (JHUP 2016), is a companion to Managing Your Depression: What you can do to feel better (JHUP 2013). She can be reached at






#298 Lora B

The 33 year-old listener was the woman who comforted Murray Valeriano during our live episode last week.  From a blended family with every kind of abuse imaginable, including her church elder step-grandfather who molested her, her descent into meth and drinking, finding sobriety, and getting therapy for her traumas.

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Click for free tickets to the UC Berkley panel Paul is participating in on OCT 17th.


#297 Murray Valeriano at LAPodfest

The comedian/writer/podcaster had never talked much about losing his virginity at 15 to a 32 year-old tutor.  Tonight that changed and so did his view of the event and aftermath.  He also opens up about being a preacher’s kid (who wasn’t even allowed to see Footloose), being a father and the role “forbidden” music played in helping him cope as young man.

If you would like to watch video of this episode, it will be archived at (with all the other shows at the festival) until Oct 25th.  For $5 off use offer code HAPPY

Listen to Murray’s podcast Road Stories (or Itunes)

Follow Murray on Twitter

Check out his tour dates and his album Rusty Cow at Murray’s website

His Facebook page is

For info on the Out of The Darkness Walk go to

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


Glynn Washington

The producer/host of WNYC’s Snap Judgment shares about being raised in a fundamentalist Christian cult, strategies he’s used to survive racism, what he learned by visiting Japan as a college student, his struggles with bipolar and his family’s history of mental illness especially his late brother.

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

For more information on LAPodfest go to and use offer code HAPPY for $5 off.   The festival is Sept 23-25 in LA.  Our podcast records Sun Sept 25th at 9pm.  It can be watched in person, live streaming or up to 30 days archived.

For more information on the In This Together Festival, where Paul will be interviewing NBA player Royce White, go to  The festival is Nov 13th in LA.


Mara Wilson

You probably know her as the little girl from Matilda or Mrs. Doubtfire but you probably don’t know that’s around the time she lost her mom, developed OCD, anxiety, depression and panic attacks and that today she is an advocate for mental health.  She is also a playwright, author (Where Am I Now?) and still occasionally acts.

This episode is sponsored by Probimune.  For your first bottle free and just $6.75 Shipping/handling go to and use offer code MENTAL

Buy Mara’s new book Where Am I Now?

Follow Mara on Twiiter @MaraWilson

Visit her webpage and blog at

For tickets or info about LAPodfest (Sept 23-25) visit  The podcast will be doing a live recording Sunday night Sept 25.


Dr Laura Dabney

The psychiatrist and therapist talks about sexual trauma in the military, powerful men who fear intimacy, meds, treating personality disorders, doing therapy via Skype, the therapy process and why insurance companies suck.

Check out Dr Dabney’s site follow her on Twitter @DrLDabney

Buy tix to see MIHH at LAPodfest Sept 23-25  (MIHH is recording Sun. Sept 25th at 9pm)

This episode is sponsored by Chicagoland Out of the Darkness Walk by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevent

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A Letter To Her Suicidal 16 Year-Old Self: Guest Blog by Katie Hirshberg

A Letter To My 16 Year Old Self

In four months I will be 20 years old. Two decades.

This is an important year for me. Four years ago, I couldn’t see myself where I am today. Four years ago I didn’t have much hope.

My 16 year old self almost didn’t make it.

I wrote this letter for her. It’s extremely personal.

I like to think she’d be proud of the person she grew up to be.

Dear 16 year old Katie,

You’re in your junior year of high school and it’s proving to be just as difficult as people told you it would be.

For you specifically though, this year comes with a unique set of challenges.

This year you have developed depression only you don’t know that it’s depression you just think you’re a failure. You’re sad. You sleep a lot. You don’t eat enough. You hate yourself.

It’s hard. Actually hard is an understatement. There isn’t really a word that describes what you’re going through accurately. It feels as though life is a mountain that you’re trying to climb with flip-flops on. You can’t get very far.

In the middle of the night one Sunday in April you will wake up and write a suicide note. You won’t end up going through with it. But you keep it on your laptop and read it every single day for a week. You will lock yourself in the bathroom one afternoon, bottle of pills in hand clutching your laptop reading the letter to your parents over and over. You think you might do it. But your mom comes home, knocks on the door, and makes you realize that she will lose everything if she loses you.

That night you tell your parents you want to go to therapy. You make a silent vow to yourself to make it to your 20th birthday. If you can just make it to 20, maybe things will be better. It’s only 4 years away; but it feels like a lifetime because every single day is a battle.

You go to therapy. You start to get better. You stop wanting to die. But, you still don’t really want to live either.

I’m writing this to you, my 16 year old self, who is caught somewhere between life and death, who hates herself, who is looking for love in all the wrong places, who doesn’t see a happy ending. Who doesn’t believe she will go to college. Who doesn’t think she has a future. Who thinks that when she does make it to 20 life will still be just as hard. Who thinks that her life will be cut short after only 2 decades on Earth.

I’m writing this to you now, 4 months before my 20th birthday.

16 year old Katie, I wish I could actually send this letter. I wish that there were a way for you to know that it will all be worth it.

I want you to know that, as cliche as it sounds, it does get better. As I write this I am sitting in my apartment in college over 300 miles away from home. I am happy. I am not just existing, I am alive.

When I celebrate my 20th birthday in four months, I won’t just be celebrating another year of life. I will be celebrating for my 16 year old self. I will be celebrating her choice to stay alive despite the weight of her pain. I will be celebrating the fact that I am still here, and that I want to be here.

16 year old Katie, I know that you are unhappy. But this unhappiness will be short-lived in the grand scheme of things. You will get through it. You will learn self-love. You will learn self-acceptance. You’ll learn to live.

It will all be worth it. And I am proud of you.


Your 19 year old self.

P.S – Surprise! You’re bi.

To read more of Katie’s blogs go to

Follow her on Twitter @Rosearium