Author:Paul Gilmartin

Dave Holmes (Voted #8 Ep of 2012)

Most people know Dave from MTV’s Wanna Be a VJ contest where he was runner-up,  from FX’sDVD on TV,  his video podcast A Drink with Dave or dozens of appearances on various programs, but few know his calm exterior often masks panic and anxiety.  He and Paul bond over being raised Irish Catholic, hosting interstitial t.v. shows and other similarities.   Dave talks about the minefield of coming out to a family with mixed views on gays, his oddly easy time with it in high school and difficult time in college.   Paul reads survey responses related to the LGBT community, highlighting where America is at in seeing them as equals and how it makes them feel.

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The Gift Inherent: A Guest Blog by former guest Alycia Schlesinger

I had an amazing moment with my dad, today.

Although I’m not Jewish, I accompany him to temple every year on this day. During the service, they take an hour to remember those who have passed on with a special focus on parents. I had a WAKE UP moment. Instead of waiting to remember him, I decided to do it today. He showed me where he grew up, he told me about his childhood, his elementary school, the day I was born. I did the one thing I could do to “remember” him today: I listened. I paid attention. I let him know I love him by being with him today–really being with him completely in every moment. I let him know his life matters to me by giving him my full attention. I realized that I don’t know when our last Yom Kippur together will be so today, I let him know with my actions that I see him and I love him. With that, I thought, “This might be what it’s really all about–letting the people we love know that we love them and that the fact that they were born matters to us.” I think that may just be the gift inherent in witnessing a life…..

read more of Alycia’s writing at her blog http://divinesurrender.blogspot.com/

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Lesbian afraid of her bigoted father but still wants his approval

There are two reasons why I chose this woman’s response from the Shame & Secrets survey.

1. I think there are MILLIONS of LGBT kids and adults who still hide their sexuality because of the awful things a parent has said about gays in the past, and most of them still crave their parents approval, even though disowning those parents seems like a slam-dunk to us bystanders.

2. Her sexual fantasy made my scalp tingle.   I’ve read almost 2500 Shame and Secrets survey responses and this one made my upper lip perspire more than any other.   Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go splash cold water on my face and adjust my cumberbun.

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A mom opens up about her dark thoughts & past behaviors & feels lighter

This is from the Shame & Secrets Survey.  I LOVE the honesty of this mother who calls herself “Gin-n-Tonic”.   I also love how she feels lighter after sharing the things that embarrass her.  I have found the same to be true in my life.   If I can find a safe person to share something with, the power gets taken out of the shame.    I also relate to the intrusive dark thoughts that she has; things she doesn’t want to act on, but pop into her brain like a horror movie.   Gin-n-Tonic, you are not alone!

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Cara Santa Maria

The neuroscientist and senior science writer at Huffington Post (Talk Nerdy to Me) talks with Paul about the roots of her depression, her parents divorce, her decision at 14 to leave the Mormon church and her father’s inability to accept it, her love of science, how she currently treats her depression and the toll it has taken on loved ones.  Plus Paul reads some listener emails and surveys and a list of signs that might mean you’re a narcissist.

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10 Layer Hate Cake

Have you ever made a multi-layered hate cake?

I made a monstrous one today.   Ten delicious layers of built up resentment, fear and worry.

It’s really ridiculous.   It was about nothing serious.   Taking care of some business related to a support group.

But the woman who requested that I take care of this issue talks a lot, and is needy.   And yes, she reminds me of my mom.   So out of the gate, I have an uneasiness and impatience with having to deal with her.  Layer one.

Then, the thing she requested me to do had hazy details, so I wasn’t sure how to respond.  Gray area.   I might make a mistake.  Layer two.

I began to picture her hovering over my every move, questioning my handling of it.   Future projecting.  Layer three.

Then I contacted the business she had the problem with and I kept getting a message saying they were not taking calls at that time.  What.  The.  FUCK!!!!!  Layer four.

I waited a day.  Called back.  Same thing. I started imagining her hounding me for answers while I deal with a business that can’t get its fucking phones straight.   Layer five.

I finally found out the phone list I had was incorrect – a hot wave of resentment at the “stupid motherfucker” who put it together.   Layer six.

I imagined myself holding the phone list in front of his face and quizzing him like one of those pompous British guys with the powdered wig.   “So you knew the citizenry depended upon the phone list in question, yet you abandoned the duties bound by your oath?  Hmmm.   No further questions.” – cut to him being beaten by peasants while a butler serves me a single egg.

I found the right number and called the most horrendous phone system I have encountered in my entire life.   No exaggeration.  Seriously.  The hold “music” sounded like squealing bombs going off.   Screeching, distorted sounds so loud I was afraid my phone was being damaged.  And of course I sat on hold forever.   Layer seven.

I could feel my face getting hot.   I fantasized about finding the owner of the business and telling them they should be ashamed to call themselves a business.

I finally got through and the person I was told to talk to, Karen.  She told me to talk to someone else.  Layer eight.   I wanted to tell her she should be ashamed of herself for not caring about her workplace and pawning me off on someone else, and stuffing that feeling made my heart beat faster.   I could feel adrenaline surging, like my tongue was in a horse gate at a race track, just begging to let loose.

I was then transferred to a dude who sounded as uninterested as he was dumb.  He said I needed to talk to Kenny.   Layer nine.  I asked if I could leave a message for Kenny; of course not.   He was too busy sounding dumb and uninterested.  I probably caught him in the middle of staring at a lamp.

I couldn’t resist telling him about the hold “music”, and reminded him to pack a sweater because fall can be chilly at The Hague.

I went to write down Kenny’s extension.

I couldn’t find a pen.  Layer ten.   Timer dings.  Cake done.

I wanted to scream.  I wanted to drive my car through my front door.  I wanted to put my fist through something.

I hung up the phone.   I felt warm rage in my face.   I could feel it tingle my scalp.   I wanted to cry.

And here is where all my therapy and support group work paid off.

I recognized what I was feeling.   I didn’t brush it aside.   I felt it.   I didn’t judge myself for feeling it.  I asked myself “What am I doing to contribute to what I’m feeling?  What do I have control over?”

I went back to the beginning of what I was doing and I realized I was anticipating the needy woman’s disapproval of my handling this.  I was anticipating being overwhelmed by her phone calls, her micromanaging and complaining, or worse, her being passive aggressive.   I was looking into my broken, useless crystal ball.  It’s where my addiction and mental illness lives.   It presents itself as the truth,  I believe it and act from a place of fear.

I anticipated me not being able to set boundaries with this woman.  I anticipated letting someone down. I anticipated me not being perfect.

THAT is the problem.   Not the woman, not the business, not their shitty phones, not their uninterested employees.

I had become ATTACHED to an outcome:  I HAVE to solve this.  I HAVE to please this needy woman.

I should have approached it with the INTENT to solve it, the ACTIONS to do so, but the resignation to ACCEPT that I MIGHT NOT solve it.  That someone somewhere in the world might be upset with me.

Suddenly I could see the ridiculousness of my fear, which led to feeling frustrated, which led to ten layers of anger.

So the next time we find ourselves screaming, “WHERE ARE ALL THE FUCKING PENS?, “ stop, take a deep breath, let go of expectation and focus on what we have control over (which is usually very little) and accept what we don’t.

I’m having a great day now.  I’ll call that business tomorrow and if I can solve the problem, I’ll solve it.   If I hit a dead-end, so be it.   The needy woman won’t die.   She’ll probably be upset.   And if she’s lucky she’ll know to stop, take a deep breath and accept it.

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A female listener feels compelled to speak up about women who bully men

I decided to post this email I got from “Julie”, because it’s not the first time I’ve heard of a husband being the victim of a wife’s abuse, and I was touched by the compassion she has for her brother, and feel for someone who not only has to deal with an abusive spouse, but also a court system that is probably skewed to believe a wife more than a husband because men tend to be more violent.

Dear Paul, Thanks you so much for the podcast. I know it means so much to so many of us out here for the basic message that we are not alone. I just finished the Dan Telfer episode and I’m not sure where to begin. I got to see Dan open for one of my other favorite comedian/podcasters this year and it was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen! It just goes to show that we all have secret battles in our heads. I always think that every performer I am impressed with MUST have it “all together.” It also makes me glad that my kids’ school has a zero-tolerance bullying policy. It’s a subject we talk about at our house a lot since our kids are in the minority at their school. We will continue to talk about this issue and support our kids as they get older. I feel really lucky now that the bullying stopped for me when I got to high school.

The other reason I am writing is because you have started to mention violence toward men recently. This is a topic I have been hoping you would be able to talk about since it has impacted my life greatly. I have a sweet, wonderful, funny, caring older brother that I have been pretty close to my whole life. It wasn’t a perfect relationship, but he is really a great person. He and I shared some similar interests and were very involved at our church growing up. (We were also lucky to grow up in an awesome non-judgemental church that taught us a lot about diversity and acceptance.) He is a caring father and adores his two daughters and was a full time parent for several years. That being said it is still very surprising to me all the things that have happened to him and to my family.

Simply put: He married the wrong girl.

I have a great deal of sympathy for her even though she has tried to destroy my family over the past 10 years. No child deserves the things she has had to go through. I’m not sure what all has happened to her, but it includes a parent’s suicide, emotional abuse, probably rape and an eating disorder. This is hard to type because I am also very afraid of her. I always have been. I’m afraid you would read this and she would hear it and launch some sort of attack against me or my family. That’s a lot of “what ifs” but she scares the shit out of me for reasons I can’t even articulate.

My big hearted brother has always been attracted to broken people. Maybe he felt less intimidated by someone who was younger and imperfect. They had a stormy relationship and during an especially stressful time he developed stress-related amnesia. I think that it was an actual “fugue state.” Nevertheless they got married less than a year later. My family was very unhappy about it since she was prone to lying, tantrums and arguments. Everything was DRAMA, something my family had not really gone through before.

We had our problems like any other family, but we were all there for each other and willing to talk stuff out our whole lives. Things went from bad to worse wither her trying to dictate every situation. My other brother decided that he would not put up with her manipulation and just removed himself and his family from any gatherings that included her which was stressful for the rest of us. I didn’t know what to do. I thought I could please everyone if I was just nice enough.

Eventually she had enough.

I don’t know what her motivation was but she saw an opportunity to get rid of my brother and staged an elaborate incident, accused my brother of trying to rape and kill her, and got him arrested. My brother had been brought up on charges for hitting her a few months before and they had separated, but she was still manipulating him even though they had a no-contact order in place.

She would use sex or the kids to get him to do whatever she wanted. Getting him arrested was the final nail in the coffin since our legal system tends to side with a mother and her children.

It’s very hard for me because I usually wouldn’t want it any other way, but my brother got majorly screwed by the legal system. Anyway that’s not even the half of it, but I know I’ve gone on too long.

For the last 5 years I have learned more about the justice system and the department of corrections than I ever wanted to know. I feel like I’m traveling in a foreign country without knowing the language. We have gone through hell as a family just trying to fend off false accusations, attacks, get my brother fair treatment, have visitation with his kids and to just out-last her venom.

What I am hoping to hear on the podcast is about men who have been emotionally and physically abused and the reaction they can have to that. From what I have seen even the most gentle and wonderful man can lash out physically if he has been abused long enough.

I’m trying not to ramble. Thank you to you and all your brave guests that have shared with us. Even little things like a free podcast can make a big difference in our lives.

Much love from the Midwest,

Julie

P.S. I hope to see your stand-up in person someday! Comedy has always been my saving grace!

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Guest Blog by Patti Lynn Henry: Life Taking Shape

This is taken from her blog which appears at www.pattilynnhenry.com

I can’t believe it’s taken me three weeks to write here. Originally l had intended to post weekly about whatever witty topic or revelation crossed my mind that day. However, things haven’t been moving quite that quickly in my brain in the past few weeks – or, well, ever. To say that the last month has been a slow one would be misleading. Despite going through both my usual routine, and instituting a variety of other projects and habits, life for me has felt pretty stagnant.

Is this just a phase? Probably. It’s something I’ve experienced more than once and have always managed to come out of it more aware and richer for the experience. But only in hindsight can I have that sort of clarity and appreciation for the battle that I’ve been fighting daily to get out of bed, off the sofa, out of the house, and out of my own head.

Is this depression? Maybe. It’s a hard thing to define, so I try not to classify myself as “it” or “not it.” I don’tthink I’m depressed though. Sure, some mornings I audibly argue with the world about how badly I don’t want to get out of bed, and throughout each day I sigh heavily and roll my eyes and slump my body into a heap and let my energy pool on the floor around my ankles and watch it, uninterested, as it slithers away – yet I still find myself generally optimistic. I laugh daily, feel intense love for other living things, make plans, experience life, center myself, and enjoy simple pleasures. Those are not the signs of a depressed woman.

So why am I explaining all of this to you? Well, I guess because the reason I started the blog was to let my friends, and anyone else who finds it vaguely interesting, know what’s going on in my world. I’m still deep inside of my introverted hiding space, but I can see the light at the other end now, which is a relief. Even when you put yourself in there, it’s scary to be in the dark by yourself.

With numerous influences including several friends, my recently obtained psychologist, several podcasts both serious and light-hearted, a documentary titled “Happy,”and a book by Augusten Burroughs titled “This is How,” my head has been swimming with thoughts – coherent bits of information and topics to analyze and try out, like I’m a child playing with a set of shapes, trying to figure out how to put the square through the square hole, the circle through the circle hole, and the triangle through the triangle hole. Step one is recognizing that the objects I see are solid. I still have a lot of work to do. Sometimes I focus too much on the question of “why?” I spend so much time wondering why the square doesn’t fit through the circle that I get stuck. What I need to do is keep trying new combinations until something fits.

All that said, it’s been a pretty great month. I’ve been journaling and reading more. I’m volunteering. I’m taking yoga classes. I’m meeting new people. I’m setting goals for myself, focusing on my mental and physical health instead of on what I wish I had or didn’t have in my life. Things will continue to get better, and I’m looking forward to the day – hopefully soon but it can’t be rushed – when I can step out of my sheltered head and into the world again.

Patti Lynn Henry is a writer and cancer survivor who lives in rural Minnesota.

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Chris Gore

The author, filmmaker, podcaster and t.v. personality invites Paul to his craft room where they discuss Chris’ OCD, ADD, fear of disappointing people and the unshakeable feeling that he’s not successful enough.  Often described as “The Nerd’s Martha Stewart”,  Chris is the founder of Film Threat magazine, the author of The Ultimate Film Festival Survival Guide, the host of the podcast Podcrash, and a co-host of G4’s Attack of the Show.   He lives in Los Angeles.

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