Most popular Eps of 2014
#1 Todd Glass
#8 Matt Oswalt
#10 Aparna Nancherla
The 57 year-old incest survivor talks about growing up in a family “where being born female was considered a moral failure”. She also talks about her struggles with repressed memories and possible DID (Dissociative Identify Disorder)
This episode is sponsored by Squarespace. For 10% off go to www.squarespace.com and use offer code MENTAL.
This episode is sponsored by Harry’s shaving products. For $5 off go to www.harrys.com and use offer code MENTALPOD.
The licensed therapist and Paul talk about eating disorders, emotional intimacy and how to support friends/loved ones while also practicing self-care and establishing boundaries. Check out Kati’s YouTube Channel, her website or her Facebook page. You can also follow her on Twitter @KatiMorton
The comic book artist and father talks about the role superheroes have played in helping his imagination and creativity heal the trauma he experienced as a child, and trying to break the cycle of abandonment his father never could.
To read some of his graphic novel Something Terrible click here
To order a hardcopy edition of Something Terrible click here
I’m used to relying on my intellect. I’m no genius, but I have to survive on my wits, because my looks aren’t paying the bills. Over the course of my life, I mostly trusted my capacity to reason, as did co-workers and professors. So, once I went off my antidepressant meds, and OCD falsely told me that I was a pervert, a rapist, a murderer and about a million other things, you’d think I’d still be able to discern fact from fiction, and dismiss OCDs outrageous claims. Nope. For years, I viewed these strange thoughts and fears as the result of a moral flaw, as evil thoughts that made me crazy, but that I could not tell a soul about. I was eventually hospitalized for a week after my body could no longer handle the perfect storm of OCD, anxiety and depression.
I became paranoid, considering every hypothetical possibility. “What if I had uttered threats? Would the NSA hear me in my cell phone?” This thought would occur to me despite being in the midst of a prolonged period of silence.
Life gets really small when you’re afraid that everyone is listening to things that you didn’t say, but fear that you might have. I wanted to be sure that my worst thoughts had not become reality, though in fact I had done nothing wrong and sought to avoid hurting others. In fact, I’d just been sitting there.
Going to restaurants was particularly difficult. I had developed a fear of harming others, particularly my family, kids and the elderly. In other words, the people I would never harm. So, I’d push the knife aside, and cut my softer meal with the fork. I would continually ask for reassurance – “I didn’t say anything bad, did I?” I would avoid the bathrooms for fear of being accused of flashing or touching someone. I would ask, “I didn’t bump into that lady, did I?” I would cry in the car or at home after being unable to complete a meal without panic.
I gave myself low- bar affirmations. “You haven’t humped anyone’s leg. You haven’t tipped over any wheelchairs. You haven’t talked about raping or stabbing anyone.” But until medicine and therapy took hold, my anxiety dismissed the facts: that I was a boring, innocent man who wanted to help, not hurt, to love, not assault. My rational mind knew my deep desire to be good, but my anxiety and OCD didn’t let reason win out. My intellect would have even bet money that I didn’t do anything wrong, but I lacked certainty. And that’s what I craved – a 110% certainty that I hadn’t been bad, that I wasn’t bad or shameful or evil. So, the anxiety overrides intellect. It says, “Nope. Sorry. Guilty.” I lived in hiding from imaginary guilt, imaginary charges, an inevitable ruin rooted in nothing but blurred fears that I confused with memories.
What’s amazing is that while the intrusive thoughts can get pretty icky and absurd, it’s not the content of the fears that is key, though I can talk about it now. Rather, it is a quest to not be as bad as these random horrible thoughts that jabbed at me. I sought a level of self control that is impossible and a level of certainty that does not exist.
Therapy has helped. Medicine has helped. My OCD is pretty much under check. I still have depression, which has its own stories, and I get nervous about bumping into people, but I’m no longer convinced I’m a monster. As Freddie Mercury sang, “I’ve done my sentence but committed no crime.” So, I’ve made progress, with some ups and downs, the only real kind. I look back on how many times and places my OCD made me fearful of harming others. Study abroad in grad school. College. At work. Until 2014, I had no label to put on it but evil thoughts. With treatment, I don’t just have a label, but real strategies to put these thoughts in their place. I am grateful for the lessons learned, and the relief of treatment.
The following is an email correspondence between myself and “Marie”, a listener who messaged me via Facebook. She gave me her permission to post this.