Author:Paul Gilmartin

Listener Confessions

Culled from a month of surveys filled out by listeners.  Paul reads their shames, secrets, fears, hopes and beautiful moments.  And of course some “awfulsome” moments as well.  This weeks sponsors are Naturebox and DailyBurn.   To get 50% off your first box, go to and use offer code “happyhour”.    To get your first 30 days free go to


Ryan Sickler

The Baltimore native, standup comedian (Comedy Central, Late Late Show w/Craig Ferguson) and podcaster (The Crabfeast) shares about the hatred he endured from his mother and the love from his father and other relatives that saved him.  This weeks sponsors are Naturebox and DailyBurn.   To get 50% off your first box, go to and use offer code “happyhour”.    To get your first 30 days free go to


Cathy Ladman

The writer (Roseanne) and standup (Tonight ShowLate Late Show w/Craig Ferguson) opens up about the controlling environment she was raised in, her professional anxieties especially about her age (58) and her decades long battle with anorexia.  Our sponsors this week are Daily Burn and SquareSpace.   Go to  and get the first 30 days free.   Go to and use offer code “mental” for a free trial and 10% off.


Matthew Walden

Although the writer/producer grew up in Hawaii, his childhood was far from paradise; enduring a cornucopia of PTSD, leaving him wondering what is real and what isn’t.  He also shares his obsession with cults and and the time he joined one to write about it and almost lost his mind.   Our sponsors this week are Daily Burn and SquareSpace.   Go to  and get the first 30 days free.   Go to and use offer code “mental” for a free trial and 10% off.


Listener Amelia

Amelia discusses her “nuclear” PMS (called PMDD for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder), her first pregnancy and the pressures she felt for everything to be perfect and the crushing Postpartum Depression that followed.  She also talks about the childhood traumas that might be linked to it.


Chemda (Voted #8 ep of 2013)

The podcaster (Keith and the Girl) was born in Israel but raised in NY by a mother of Iraqi heritage and an Iranian father, both of whom had traditional expectations for their daughter, none of which included her being engaged to a female-bodied man.  She also talks about her addictive personality, her not-too subtle attempts at socializing in her younger years and learning to feel empowered by her sexuality in an authentic way.  Keith and the Girl – one of the longest-running comedy podcasts – launched in March of 2005.


What is Disorganized Attachment? – A guest blog by Joel Schwartz PsyD

Disorganized Attachment – An Explanation for Non-Clinicians

Many clients who end up in the therapeutic chair or couch are impacted by a disorganized attachment style. Disorganized attachment serves as a diathesis (risk factor) for many difficult psychological syndromes including depression, dissociative disorders, various personality disorders (especially Borderline and Narcissistic Personality Disorders), PTSD, and Complex PTSD. I have found it useful to explain the etiology and manifestation of disorganized attachment to my clients as a way to begin understanding their confusing and dysfunctional coping methods and behaviors. However, my search of the web has yielded little information for the non-clinician. As such, here is my jargon free explanation:

Usually, when infants and young children are frightened or sad they approach their parent or caregiver for safety and comfort.  When the parent or caregiver is able to empathize, soothe, and care for their children, it teaches them how handle their own uncomfortable emotions and be caring and empathic for others. They also learn healthy boundaries and know how to seek out and rely on others for help.  This is the basis of healthy interpersonal relationships and is called “secure attachment.”

However, when parents react to their children’s efforts to receive comfort, empathy, and security in a frightening way, it can really affect their children’s ability to cope with emotions and engage in healthy relationships. Sometimes, parents do not even mean to be frightening. Often, parents can be frightening when they are abusive. However, parents can also be frightening if they have unresolved traumas of their own or are excessively anxious.

When the people who are supposed be a source of safety and security are also the source of danger and insecurity, it results in “fright without solution.”  As a result, two things may happen: 1) Children in these situations tend to disconnect from reality – they dissociate.  They may lose track of time, have out of body experiences, see reality as distorted, feel like events happen to someone else, or have strange and incomplete amnesias. 2) They grow up coping in a confusing way – basically, they are programmed to both approach and avoid caregivers at the same time. As a result, when these children grow up, they experience intimacy as scary.  When people try to be kind to them, they may freak out.  They may really want to get close to someone, but are also scared at the same time and unable to open up or share.

I once had a client who described being frightened at a party.  She ran away and hid in the coat closet.  While there she was wishing so badly that her boyfriend would come and get her.  But at the same time, she was afraid to be found. She wanted to be close to and far away from her boyfriend at the same time.  Another client had a mother with disorganized attachment.  She was not able to be close to her children without being mean and critical. She would hug, and cuddle them, telling them how much she cared and loved them, but at the same time would critical, rejecting, and cruel.  It is because even with her children, she wanted to be close and far away at the same time.

When people who have disorganized attachment experience psychological trauma, they very frequently experience PTSD.  But their PTSD is much more complicated and difficult to treat because when a securely attached person has PTSD, they can quickly trust their therapist and allow themselves to be cared for. When someone with disorganized attachment gets PTSD, it is difficult to treat because the process of learning to trust a therapist is really scary. They want to rely on a therapist and run away from the therapist at the same time. When the therapist tries to care and empathize, or the person feels themselves beginning to trust, that is the moment they start to get scared and want to run away or end treatment. As a result, it often requires the therapist to work intensely on the therapeutic relationship for a long time before directly working with symptoms or other syndromes.

Working with people who have disorganized attachment can be difficult.  Often, informing them about the reasons for their seemingly strange behaviors is an important first step.

More about Dr. Schwartz and his practice can be found at


Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits Due to Mental Illness: A Guest Blog

Applying for Social Security Disability with Mental Illness


The symptoms of a mental illness can make it impossible to work. For example, those who suffer from bipolar disorder may have days when it is impossible to get out of bed. Their frequent mood swings may make it impossible to maintain gainful work activity. Fortunately, if you are unable to work due to a mental illness, you may be able to get help in the form of Social Security Disability benefits.


There are two types of disability benefits that disabled workers may qualify for. These include Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).


Qualifying for SSDI


In order to qualify for SSDI you must have earned enough work credits through your past work history. As of 2013, for each $1,160 you earn, you get 1 work credit. You can earn up to 4 work credits each year.


If you are under age 24, you will need 6 work credits to qualify for SSDI benefits. If you are between the ages of 24 and 30, you will have need to have worked half of the time since turning age 21. For example, if you are 27, you will need to have worked three of the past six years in order to qualify for benefits. If you are age 31 and over, you will need 20 work credits in order to qualify for SSDI benefits.


If you are applying for disability benefits and do not have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI benefits, you may be able to qualify for SSI benefits.


Qualifying for SSI


SSI is a needs-based program. Your household income must not exceed $710 per month as an individual or $1,060 per month as a couple. There are also restrictions on your household assets. You must not have more than $2,000 in assets as an individual or $3,000 in assets as a couple.


Medically Qualifying for Benefits with a Mental Illness


If you meet the above-mentioned criteria for either SSDI and/or SSI benefits, then you must still prove that you are disabled in order to be eligible to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. The easiest way to prove that you have a disability that prevents you from working is to provide medical documentation showing that you suffer from a condition that has been listed in the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book. The Blue Book is a list of all of the conditions that could qualify an individual for Social Security Disability benefits.


The Blue Book does list specific mental illnesses that could qualify an individual for disability benefits. These include:


  • Organic mental disorders
  • Schizophrenic and other psychotic disorders
  • Affective disorders
  • Mental retardation
  • Anxiety-related disorders
  • Somatoform disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Substance addiction disorders
  • Autistic disorders
  • Pervasive developmental disorders


For more information on medically qualifying for benefits, visit:


Applying for Benefits


You can apply for Social Security Disability benefits online ( or in person at a local Social Security Office. When you go to apply, you will be asked to fill out a number of forms. Make sure you fill out each form in its entirety and answer all questions with thorough and detailed answers. The more detailed you are in your answers, the easier it will be for the SSA to understand how you qualify for benefits. Also make sure you provide sufficient medical evidence and clinical documentation to support your claim.



Article by Ram Meyyappan
Social Security Disability Help


Dr. David Lisak

Born in Montreal to a WWII widow, the clinical and forensic psychologist talks about the sexual abuse he experienced as a boy, the stigma and confusion adult male survivors grapple with and ultimately how he healed.  Episode is sponsored by which he co-founded.