Author:Paul Gilmartin

Kevin Allison on Owning Your Weirdness & Flaws

The podcaster (RISK!) and sketch actor (The State) talks about learning to “own his weirdness”.  From being a gay kid in a conservative town to being the black sheep in The State he has battled the paralysis and fear of not being perfect or even good enough.  He shares about his attempt at being a prostitute, the 12 year gap between The State ending and him starting Risk! and how he learned to find his authentic voice when he was at his lowest and how he still struggles to act and feel like a grown-up.

Follow Kevin on Twitter @TheKevinAllison

Check out RISK! at www.risk-show.com or follow on Twitter @RISKshow

Check out his classes www.thestorystudio.org

For info on Paul’s upcoming live podcasts in Oakland Feb 22-23 go to www.eastbayexpress.com/mental

To become a monthly supporter of The Mental Illness Happy Hour go to www.patreon.com/mentalpod

This episode is sponsored by BetterHelp online counseling.  To try a free week go to www.BetterHelp.com/mental  (you must be at least 18)

This episode is sponsored by MadisonReed hair color kits.  For 10% off your first kit and free shipping go to www.Madison-Reed.com and use offer code HAPPY

This episode is sponsored by MVMT Watches.  For 15% off plus free shipping and free returns go to www.MVMTWatches.com/mental

This episode is sponsored by ZipRecruiter.  To post jobs for free go to www.ZipRecruiter.com/first

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The Negative Voice in My Head: Guest Blog by Carly C.

Occasionally when I’m writing, I run into a mental roadblock. It starts innocently enough: what’s the point here, why am I writing this, what do I want the reader to gain from this? This is common for writers or creators of any type, and it’s healthy. It helps us stay relevant.

But I’m also a master of finding the unhealthy. This line of thought frequently warps in my mind, becoming: why am I trying, this is crap, I am crap (except worse because I can’t be flushed down a toilet), no one wants to read this, none of this is important, I have nothing important to say, it would be offensive to ask someone to read this because I am not worth any amount of time from anyone, I am worthless.

Besides being a writer, I’m the worlds foremost expert on precisely just how much I suck. I compare my work to the work of others in unforgiving death matches that lead to me lying on the couch staring into space trying to justify to myself why I should continue living. I don’t know why I go through this, or why I can’t stop it, but it’s a something I deal with daily. I compulsively read CVs and Wikipedia articles and interviews with writers and creators that I love, trying to figure out the formula to their success—of course, I do this instead of writing.

They always have interesting lives. They’re high achievers, they overcame steep obstacles, they have some interesting life quality that gives them the perspective they’re famous for. I don’t see this in myself. My life’s not interesting, I live it and I’m bored with it, so I must not be important or interesting in any way. Pretty much everyone’s life can be interesting when distilled to a CV, or a Wikipedia page, or an interview. But mine wouldn’t be, even if I were important or interesting enough to have a Wikipedia page. I’m a piece of garbage and no one cares about me.

This voice in my head breaks down under scrutiny. For starters, it’s only triggered when I try to write, which is something I care about more than anything in the world. I’ve never contemplated suicide after over-cooking my spaghetti noodles so I know I have an off-switch somewhere. It’s also very easy to argue with: am I really producing crap? Probably not, and it’s disingenuous to compare my tweets to King Lear. Am I really a piece of garbage? I mean, I guess I might have value as a person that isn’t dependent on my writing. Am I really a failure? No, not really. Most of the time, I’m so afraid to fail I stop myself from even trying.

Despite knowing the counterarguments, on some level I still believe the things my inner voice tells me about myself. If the key to succeeding as a writer is working hard and being fearless, it feels more comfortable to have control over my own failure than leave it up to chance. So I’ll verbally abuse myself into stagnation before I allow myself to earnestly try. Every success is cast off as chance and every failure, no matter how small or imagined, is held up as the emblem of Truth. My own mind is the biggest obstacle to me. Even now, I’m fighting the urge to throw my computer into the path of an oncoming train rather than finish writing this essay. Every word is a grapple with my emotional center, which is setting off fireworks inside my head and screaming no one cares, stop writing, don’t even try because no one cares, you will never be successful at anything because you’re not worth it. Self-doubt is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

In dark moments with thoughts like these, when the voice wins and I stop writing and curl into a ball on my couch, sobbing at the injustice of my own self-hatred, I wonder if my heroes ever felt this way. I wonder if Shakespeare contemplated killing himself because he thought Macbeth was just that offensively bad, how many times F. Scott Fitzgerald burned manuscripts of The Great Gatsby and vowed to never write again, or if Lin-Manuel Miranda ever looked up from his computer while writing Hamilton and asked himself why he was even trying. I don’t know the answer, but somehow my heroes were able to overcome and if I really want to be like them I suppose I’ll have to find a way also.

 

Carly is a writer from Indiana. You can follow her on Twitter @neutronsoup

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Jenny R: Raised in Wealth, Sadness & Anxiety

The anxious only child of a drunk/rager mom and a passive dad shares about her family’s combination of material wealth and emotional ignorance/poverty. She talks about her fear of “just being” instead of always “doing”, including triathlons & rock climbing, her ongoing battles with disordered eating -especially binging- , her all-or-nothing thinking and struggles with intimacy while being married and having a family.

This episode is sponsored by BetterHelp online therapy.  To learn more (and get your first week free) go to www.betterhelp.com/mental

This episode is sponsored by MadisonReed.  For 10% your first hair color kit plus free shipping go to www.Madison-Reed.com and use offer code HAPPY

This episode is sponsored by Movement Watches.  Get 15% off today (with free shipping and free returns) by going to www.MVMTWatches.com/mental

This episode is sponsored by ZipRecruiter.  To post jobs for free go to www.ZipRecruiter.com/first

Support the podcast by becoming a monthly donor (for as little as $1/month and get rewards from Paul) at Patreon.   www.patreon.com/mentalpod

For info on Paul’s upcoming live podcast shows in the Bay Area Feb 22 & Feb 23 go to www.eastbayexpress.com/mental

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I Can’t Stand Up To My Sexually Abusive Dad & I’m 29: Nikki’s Story

I think most people are aware of or can imagine, how awful it is to experience abuse. For me and a lot of survivors that’s just the beginning of a long, isolating, painful journey. My dad started sexually abusing me around 10, I’m 29 now. I was a pretty quiet, shy, nervous kid naturally but that became debilitating once the abuse started. I was sure my mom was going to blame me and I would be in trouble if I told her what my dad was doing. I was the type of kid that hated getting in trouble so I usually followed the rules. 

My mom was extremely critical and judgmental. A lot of mundane problems were a lose-lose situation for me. I felt like I had to hide everything from her. Confiding in her either meant she’d brush it off, “your too young to be stressed”, or telling the extended family that came over for lunch, and having a good laugh. Even something as human as covering my face when I cried, got ridiculed. 

Whenever someone asks “when did the abuse stop?”, I can’t really answer that question. I feel so frustrated and ashamed that I don’t have the right answer. There’s hasn’t been a defining moment where I stood up to my dad or told my mom. To me it feels like it hasn’t stopped.

The circumstances are different and the abuse has evolved but I can’t seem to stop it. My dad is still inappropriate whenever he gets a moment alone with me and even if he isn’t it’s always in the back of my mind. I feel completely responsible for how many years this has happened. If I had told my dad “no” whenever he asked if I was ok with what happened. Or confided in my mom it could have stopped a lot sooner. I let it go on and still do. I feel like a traitor and so pathetic by being in therapy or sharing my story when I do nothing to keep it from happening again. 

I’ve told myself I didn’t speak up as a kid because my dad would go to jail, ruining their marriage and leaving my siblings without a dad. That’s easier than admitting I was too scared and powerless to say anything. There’s so many “what ifs” that keep me quiet today. What if no one believes me or thinks it wasn’t inappropriate and I’m just exaggerating and need to get over it. Or worse what if they do believe me and it tears apart my whole family. 

I’m not really sure where I go from here or what path I’ll end up taking. I wanted to end this on an uplifting, positive note about my story but it’s still unfolding. For now it’s just one day at a time. 

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Working With Sexually Violent Predators: Renee G-M

The 40 year-old public administrator talks about “losing her humanity” being assigned to work on a criminal defense unit on behalf of sexually violent predators and the anxiety, panic and breakdowns that followed.   She also talks about her chaotic and abusive upbringing which included her father molesting her brother, domestic violence and her coping by becoming a rescuer.

This episode is sponsored by the online therapy provider BetterHelp.com  To try out a week of counseling for free go to www.BetterHelp.com/mental, fill out the questionnaire and get matched with a counselor, to see if it’s right for you.

This episode is sponsored by the one-stop wedding registry Zola.  Receive $50 when you register and use Zola.  Go to www.Zola.com/mental for details.

This episode is sponsored by MadisonReed.  For 10% off your first hair color kit (plus free shipping) go to www.Madison-Reed.com and use offer code HAPPY

Consider becoming a recurring monthly donor to the podcast (and receive free rewards from Paul) go to www.Patreon.com/mentalpod

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Neal Brennan

The writer and director of Inside Amy Schumer, co-creator of Chapelle’s Show and standup comic (3 Mics coming soon on Netflix) talks about being one of ten kids raised by a violent alcoholic father and his struggles today with trusting his feelings and needs and dealing with his anger especially with partners.  He also talks about his relationship with Dave Chapelle and the conflicts and emotions he experienced when Dave decided to stop doing the show.

Neal’s standup special 3 Mics debuts Jan 17th on Netflix
Follow Neal on Twitter @NealBrennan

This episode is sponsored by the online therapy service BetterHelp For a free week of counseling go to www.BetterHelp.com/mental and fill out a questionnaire.

This episode is sponsored by ZipRecruiter To post jobs for free go to www.ZipRecruiter.com/first

This episode is sponsored by Madison-Reed For 10% off your first hair color kit (and free shipping) go to www.Madison-Reed.com and use offer code HAPPY

This episode is sponsored by BlueApron. To get your first 3 meals free (with free shipping) go to www.BlueApron.com/mental

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Male Sex Abuse Survivor Websites

 

Male Survivor web sites 

Here is an excellent list of organizations that comes from MaleSurvivor.org, a group committed to preventing, healing, and eliminating all forms of sexual victimization of boys and men through support, treatment, research, education, advocacy, and activism.

1in6 – offers a wealth of information and resources on its website, including an online helpline and a lending library, for men who have experienced unwanted or abusive childhood sexual experiences and those who care about them. Their site is for men at various stages of seeking information and help, including those who don’t see themselves as “survivors” or their experiences as “abuse.” 1in6 also provides trainings for therapists and other professionals.
www.1in6.org

The Gatehouse is a community-based agency in the west end of Toronto which offers a wide range of services for victims of child abuse and their families — notably peer-facilitated support groups for men sexually abused as boys.
www.thegatehouse.org

Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project – 1 in 4 Gay Men Experience Domestic Violence. Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project is a grassroots, non-profit organization founded by a gay male survivor of domestic violence and developed through the strength, contributions and participation of the community. Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project supports victims and survivors through education, advocacy and direct services.
www.gmdvp.org

John Howard Society – Supporting Adult Men – Male Adult Survivors of Abuse, Substance Abuse, Harm Reduction, Domestic Violence and Anger Management.
www.johnhowardtor.on.ca 

Male Survivors of Sexual Assault
 – Sessions are free and confidential at the Sexual Assault Crisis Center, 1 Dock St., Suite 320, Stamford, Conn.
Call 203-348-9346 or 24-hour hotline, 203-329-2929
www.stamfordadvocate.com/default/article/ 

Male Survivors Sexual Abuse & Male Rape Survivors Support
http://www.aest.org.uk/survivors/male/

Men Thriving – a member’s only bulletin board for those over 21 years old – requires registration and adherence to strict rules of conduct – connect and share with other males survivors of child abuse
www.menthriving.org

The Men’s Project, based in Ottawa ON, offers a wide range of individual and group services for men, including men who’ve been sexually abused. www.themensproject.ca

The Silence to Hope Project – focus on assisting male sexual abuse survivors who have been sexually victimized by representative of the Catholic Church in this part of South Western Ontario
www.rcec.london.on.ca/abuse/SilenceHopeHealing.htm

The Victims Resource Center provides a wide range of services to men, women and children who are victims of crime. These services include a 24-hour hotline, support groups, counseling and advocacy for victims. VRC also provides numerous educational programs for students of all ages, professionals and community groups. The Victims Resource Center is private, confidential and it’s services are free. If you or someone you know is a victim of crime, VRC can help. We guide clients toward the path of healing.
www.vrcnepa.org/index.php

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Why Am I A Mess? My Parents Loved Me – Amanda Bloom

The 30 year-old freelance journalist and Pilates teacher doesn’t have anything dramatic to point to in her life, yet she has struggled to find her voice in life with bad relationships, eating disorders, depression, body dysmorphia, and intense fears of rejection and feeling excluded.  Paul and Amanda peel back the layers to try to find out what’s underneath.

To learn more about Amanda, go to www.AmandaBloom.com
Follow her on Twitter @AmandaJBloom

This episode is sponsored by ZipRecruiter.com Listeners can post jobs for free by going to www.ziprecruiter.com/first

To become a monthly donor to the podcast (and get the occasional reward from Paul) go to www.Patreon.com/mentalpod

To donate Frequent Flyer miles to the podcast go to http://mentalpod.com/donate

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Punk Rock, Trauma & EMDR – Dr Stephen Dansiger

At 16 he was playing drums at CBGB and Max’s Kansas City as the punk scene exploded. After destroying his career (Pianosaurus, King Missile) he got sober. The PsyD & MFT explains his extensive work with treating trauma victims (especially those with addictions) by using EMDR. He talks about the difficulty people have in calling what happened to them “trauma” and why the label isn’t important.  He shares his personal experiences and insights about bullying, Buddhism, self-sabotage, spirituality, depression and what being a “good person” means to him.

Dr. Dansiger can be found at www.drdansiger.com

Check out this new book Clinical Dharma

Follow him on Twitter @DrDansiger

This episode is sponsored by the magazine app Texture. For a 14 day free trail go to www.texture.com/mental

This episode is sponsored by TalkSpace. For $30 off your first month of online therapy go to www.TalkSpace.com/mihh and use offer code MIHH

For info on how to donate frequent flyer miles to the podcast go to http://mentalpod.com/archives/4307

To support the podcast as a monthly donor (and get rewards from Paul) go to www.patreon.com/mental

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