Author:Paul Gilmartin

Jamie Denbo

Comedic actress / improvisor / writer / podcaster Jamie Denbo talks about being an only child, born to Jewish parents whose lives, culture and ancestors she feels are informed by fear.  She talks about growing up in Massachusetts and feeling guilty for not having more obvious reason to explain her sadness, panic and anger, and how motherhood is helping her to recognize the familial and cultural cycles she would like to break.   Listeners may know her as Beverly of the podcasting duo Ronna & Beverly, or her many television appearances, including FX’sTerriers, ConanLate Late Show with Craig FergusonWeeds and Curb Your Enthusiasm.

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Guest Blog: What is ADD/ADHD? by George Glade M.C.,M.N.,ARNP

What is ADD/ ADHD really?

ADD/ADHD first of all is poorly named.  People with ADD can pay attention.  They just have difficulty regulating it.  This can range from hyperfocus where a person looks up from their work and says, “where is everyone else and why is it dark outside”?  It can be losing countless hours on video games while homework sits waiting.  It can be taking the garbage out, seeing a weed, which needs to be pulled RIGHT NOW! You might even forget why you went outside in the first place.  Not everyone presents in exactly the same way.

ADD/ADHD is both over diagnosed and under diagnosed.  Of the roughly 5% of people who truly have ADD, only about 10% ever get any treatment.  Why do these opposite dilemmas exist?  Telling if you have ADD requires careful assessment.  It’s not going into your primary care provider, saying you think you have it and walking out with a prescription for Adderall or Ritalin.  Clinicians who practice that way can often do far more harm than good.  It is under diagnosed because clinicians rarely get any training in in recognizing ADD.  If they do get training, they come away with the belief everyone with ADD can’t hold a job or a relationship, uses drugs and may have a legal history.  They don’t realize ADD people are generally smarter than average and sometimes at the genius level.  They may come through school with very negative messages about who they are.  To quote the title of an ADD book, people can feel like they’re ‘Lazy, Crazy or Stupid”.  Often time people with ADD brains grow up feeling different and somehow out of synch with others.

Clinicians get taught it is a dysfunctional brain, but is it?  The concept of Neurodiversity is just getting a toe hold in the science world.  It is not a dysfunctional brain but it is a different brain.   The elegant work of clinicians such as Daniel Amen, M.D. has shown it is a brain that operates in uniquely different ways.  It is well suited to synthesis thinking (as oppose to linear thinking).  This is the very basis of creativity.  For example, Thomas Edison was labeled by his grade school teacher as ‘mentally defective’ yet has a record for U.S. patents which will never be equaled.  ADD was at the core of his creativity.

I have a belief that I’ll share with you.  What do money, information and cow manure have in common?  They only do any good if you spread them around.  I want to thank Tom for asking me to do a guest piece for his blog and his spreading of information.  If you are interested in finding out more, join me on Facebook at The Stimulus Driven Brain for podcasts and weekly tips on living with ADD/ADHD.

Bio:

George H. Glade, M.C., M. N., ARNP is a psychiatric provider in the ER of Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, WA and in private practice.  He is the author of  ‘The Stimulus Driven Brain.  The Essential Guide for the ADD/ADHD College Student’.

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Phil Hendrie

The groundbreaking radio personality opens up about the childhood and adolescent pain that informs his stable of highly detailed, irreverent character voices.   He and Paul bond over sexually inappropriate mothers and distant fathers.    Whose mother acted creepier?  You decide.  It’s Ick-a-palooza!

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Dr. Jessica Zucker #1 (Voted #1 Ep of 2012)

Dr. Jessica Zucker graces the show as our first mental health expert and she does not dissapoint.  We learn helpful tips in finding the right therapist, the benefits of it, and common pitfalls.   We discuss her upcoming book about porn stars and what sex means to them.  We talk about a listener’s harrowing experience with postpartum depression.  And finally, Dr. Zucker lends a gentle hand in helping Paul to confront the most painful truth in his life; the lifelong patterns of abuse by his mentally unstable mother.   They discuss sexual abuse of boys by female babysitters.  Dr. Zucker is a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in women’s health, with a focus on reproductive and maternal mental health.  Visit her website www.drjessicazucker.com.  She can be followed on Twitter @drzucker

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Sklar Brothers

We talk to the comedy duo about the drawbacks and benefits of being identical twins; how they’re alike and how they’re different.  So often this show focuses on families torn apart by dysfunction, we thought it would be nice to show that all artists don’t have to be tortured.    We talk about their unique approach to combining sports and comedy.  Listeners know them from Comedy Central Presents, Curb Your Enthusiasm, guest hosting for Jim Rome, ESPN’s Cheap Seats, and their popular podcast, Sklarbro Country.

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The Power of Shame & Secrets by Paul Gilmartin

The Power of Shame and Secrets

I’m in a funk.   I don’t want help.    I don’t want the healthy solution.   I want the unhealthy distraction.

I want some fucking excitement.

I’m sad.   Not suicidal.   Just flat.   Nebraska flat.

I felt so whole a while back and now I feel like a part of me is gone.   I don’t know what happened.   Am I doing something wrong or is it just my brain chemistry?   I haven’t changed my meds.

This is the part of depression that really fucking sucks.

I ACHE to get out of this feeling.    I can feel my inner-addict trying to break out of the healthy way I’ve been living – because sometimes it feels like jail.   Most times it feels awesome.   But today it feels like jail.

I know listening to other people’s shame and secrets is good for the show, but it’s addicting.   It’s an escape for me.   I can turn anything into a fantasy, and I often find myself triggered by people’s secrets.   I feel like I’m walking a tightrope.   It’s good for the show, but I can become addicted to it.   I’m using it to jump-start my emotions.    Being privy to other people’s secrets is REALLY exciting when I’m flat.

In particular women’s shame and secrets.   I’ve always had a voyeur/exhibitionist streak in me, and while I usually feel healthy and helpful when dealing with women and their secrets, it can be triggering.    I grew up without sisters.   I was a late bloomer sexually, so for the first 20 years of my life girls and women were mysterious and powerful and it left a strong imprint on me.   A cute girl wasn’t just on a pedestal  – I gave elevated status to the people she ASSOCIATED with.

I think when I’m privy to a woman’s deepest shame and secrets it can be intoxicating because it was the Holy Grail when I was in puberty.   It was the inner sanctum.  And let’s be honest.   Most of us have a lot of shit left over from puberty.   Hell, middle school. Maybe I should just speak for myself.

Here’s the weird part.   Three fantasies get triggered when I read or hear certain shames or secrets involving females.

1)   Run of the mill sex stuff.  It’s usually about me being in a position of control or in a position of submission.   Sometimes it’s me, sometimes its younger me.  Sometimes much younger me.

2)   Being comforted.  Totally non-sexual. The same fantasy I had when I was in first grade; an older girl on the playground would see my sadness and wrap her arms around me and let me cry.  I would feel protected by her – understood.   I would feel safe and loved unconditionally.

3)   A combination of the two.   I know.   Fucking weird.  The comforting leads to her taking control of me sexually.  I would be completely under her control, but she would treat me well.

I was sharing these feelings with a woman who felt very safe to me.   She then shared something that made me feel less freakish.   She is a rape victim and she has sexual fantasies about being raped.  She said that her therapist told her it’s quite common.   It obviously doesn’t mean she wants to be raped again, its her way of emotionally reliving the experience but giving her consent – a way of going back in time and CHOOSING to give her consent, so it can’t be taken away.

I was blown away.  It made sense.   I was so grateful for her honesty.  And of course because she let me in on a deep secret, I also felt triggered; a feeling of intense neediness and wanting to give her my power.

This human being shit is COMPLICATED.   God Bless my wife.

I’m a little embarrassed to post all this, but I think it might help someone to talk about it, like it’s helped me.

To take the Mental Illness Happy Hour “Shame & Secrets” survey anonymously, go here

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/LWYBXZD

If you’re uncomfortable posting publicly, email me at mentalpod@gmail.com

To subscribe to the Mental Illness Happy Hour newsletter sign up here http://mentalpod.us4.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=ac394b066e362cb0dbaa3af47&id=81cee42ab3

 

Paul

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Morgan Murphy

Bouncing from family to family and always being the new girl at school forced her to adapt and gave her experiences to draw on as a writer (Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel Live, 2 Broke Girls).   But a family history of mental illness, food issues, panic attacks and always being attracted to brilliant but broken men have not been so easy to adapt to.     Morgan opens up about the power of friendship and the odd comfort of dark comedic humor from some well-known friends during her catatonic stint at a mental hospital.

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Guest Blog by Amy: Coping with the Rollercoaster

Yesterday, as I was driving home, I suddenly felt empty.
One would think that after a pleasant hour-long conversation with someone who inspires you would be enough to provide a good high for the next couple of days.  But for someone with Borderline Personality Disorder and a long, troubled history with Bipolar Disorder, the highs can immediately turn to extreme lows within hours and in this case, within minutes from pulling out of the coffee shop’s parking lot.
The tools I was provided from years of individual and group therapy sessions didn’t seem to work.  But let’s be honest, once you’re already at your lowest point, you still struggle to go through your coping steps.  Step One – go somewhere where your mind is quiet, Step Two – close your eyes, Step Three – take deep breaths, etc., etc.  We all know them.  And so I go through the motions.
I feel nothing.  I always feel nothing.  I always know what happens to me next.  Feeling nothing then turns into frustration and then the frustration just immediately turns into self-loathing.  There is no in-between.  But then again, there rarely is for someone with my condition.
I have accepted that the extreme is where I live – it’s my emotional home.  It’s familiar, it’s confusing and it’s SAFE.  It has taken me years to realize that having “episodes” is where I feel most comfortable being.  It’s who I have become and is what happens in the life of someone like me.
So what triggered the crash?  The feeling that I wasn’t the person I presented myself to be to a new friend.  The self-doubting questions of ‘Did I mean what I said?’, ‘Did I say the right things?’, ‘Did I make him feel comfortable?’, ‘Did I seem all there?’, and worse yet, ‘Did I seem crazy to him?’
I always think this way.  I always imagine people who meet me to go home and tell their spouses or partners that Mae Flores is much crazier than they thought – insane really.  Then they would proceed to laugh hysterically as the new friend would recount the direction the conversation went.
CUE IN:  Self-Deprecation
I let it happen.  Feeling the shame and the need to lay in fetal position under the covers that do not provide the security I need right then and now.
Then, I cry.  Actually, I wailed.  I felt like a child who was bullied in front of everyone in the school yard.  My thoughts immediately jumped to the time I was a freshman in high school back in Chicago.  Walking up the hill towards the school’s side entranceway was always a bit steep during wet snow.  Wearing my school uniform, underneath that goose-down coat was neither stylish nor appropriate for the weather, but all the girls did it.  Before I knew it, a group of boys that took the bus with me began throwing snow balls at me.  They all made bets on who would be able to knock me down from that hill first.  The girls who I thought were my friends stood near them laughing as I rushed in quickly through the doors soaking wet and feeling humiliated.  All I heard was snickers and whispers surrounding me most of the morning and it wasn’t long after I switched to public school.
And now as an adult, this is how I still feel when I meet people – like an audience is always laughing and pointing fingers at me.  But as I write this, I realize that this simple coffee meeting was not how I imagine it at this moment.  As a matter of fact, it was not even close to that.  It was uplifting and real.  We laughed so hard there were tears in both our eyes.  There were moments when it felt so positive and motivating that there was no other reason to feel but good.
And as I now sit here and provide myself a play by play of the discussions that took place, I realize that my condition is creating an alternate conclusion for the hour that took place with my new friend.  And as the calm approaches and with it provides a feeling of newfound self-worth, I tell myself that I’m alright.
REPEAT LINE: YOU ARE ALRIGHT.
It turns out, this is just another one of those days.  And I fall asleep; exhausted with the unnecessary emotional Olympics I just put myself through.  Then I hear that voice again….
“What is wrong with you?”
Here I go again….
FADE OUT.
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Blaine Capatch

The comedian and former writing partner of Patton Oswalt (Mad TV) didn’t grow up with abuse or tragedy, but his mental and emotional battles are shared by most of us.   He thinks he’s lazy and is worried he’s missed out on the success many of his peers have achieved.   This is a nice episode for listeners who want a break from the darker episodes.  Blaine is a comic’s comic and a Renaissance man –  sensitive, thoughtful, articulate and darkly funny.   Follow him on Twitter @blainecapatch and see him in the touring Wrestling/Burlesque show Lucha VaVoom.

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