Author:Paul Gilmartin

Chris Fairbanks

Stand-up Comedian, Skateboarder and co-host of Fuel T.V.’s The Daily Habit, Chris Fairbanks talks with Paul about his mother’s battle with alcoholism, Alzheimer’s and Dementia and its effect on him growing up and today.  They talk about the link between pain and creativity, peer acceptance, dark voices in their heads and they both share chilling stories about dead people.

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Annabelle Gurwitch

They talk about Annabelle’s chaotic upbringing and their seven years together as co-hosts on TBS’ Dinner and a Movie.  They talk about how much they hated each other and how their depression and anxiety fueled it.  Annabelle talks about the loneliness she felt when all she cared about what show business.   She dishes on what a dick Paul can be to work with, and the pain she went through being fired by TBS and Woody Allen.

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Graham Elwood

Paul talks with fellow comedian, long-time friend and alpha male Graham Elwood about depressing fall days from their childhoods in the midwest!  They open up about divorce, unhappy moms, being too competitive and finding a way to be at peace.

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Tyler Smith

Paul talks with avowed Christian and movie podcaster Tyler Smith about his recent diagnosis of depression.   Paul questions his own prejudice towards organized religion.  An inappropriate incest joke makes things nice and uncomfortable.   Probably too much talk about God, but there it is so go fuck yourself.

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Jimmy Pardo (Voted #10 Ep of 2011)

Comedian Jimmy Pardo appears for the first time as a guest.  They bust each others balls then get down to the business of being funny, and the pain and anxiety underneath it.   Note: The audio was accidentally mixed for stereo, and some people find it a little annoying.  Apologies.

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Jacuzzi-Shitters

We all know the person;  well intentioned, but a sad sack.  Everyone is having a good time and this person just can’t relate to it, so they bring up something morose or negative and kill the vibe.
I used to be one.  A Jacuzzi-Shitter.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit it.  I never did it consciously.    I thought I was a person of depth because I could shamelessly change the conversation from the weather to my dad’s attempted suicide.

In hindsight, I didn’t know any better, and that’s the part that’s so hard about depression.   You don’t have anything to compare it to, so you assume everyone feels the way you do; filled with dread and a gnawing, lonely, soul-engulfing sadness that makes getting out of bed a chore.   Guess what?  They don’t.   A lot do, but most don’t.

I’m proud that I’m not that guy today, and I feel no guilt in avoiding Jacuzzi-Shitters even though I used to be one.   I’d be happy to talk to them about their sadness or depression if they ask for help and it’s at an appropriate time and place, and they’re not looking for me to be their therapist.

Part of my living successfully with depression is avoiding depressing situations that I’m not equipped or responsible for.   And none of us are responsible for someone else’s happiness.   If by being my natural self I can add to your happiness, great, but I’m not responsible for it, and it does me no good to pretend that its okay for you to unload your misery at an inappropriate place and time; Or to pretend it is okay for you to avoid seeking professional help and continue to drain non-professionals like me, because you’re too cheap or afraid.   I’ll cheer friends on, but I won’t try to save them. The more I work on myself the easier it is to set boundaries with people who have no sense of them.

It’s like there used to be some sick divining rod in me that was drawn to the negative, but I could never even see it.   I didn’t think I needed therapy.   My wife, God bless her, nudged me towards help, but it took years.  It took me wanting to kill myself to realize she might have a point.

Being “real” is dealing with your depression by seeking the appropriate help at the appropriate time and place.

There are no excuses for not getting help.   But asking for help isn’t easy, especially for men, because society has never portrayed it as strength.   Add to it the fact that two of the hallmarks of depression are difficulty opening up and difficulty making decisions.   It’s a dangerous combination.

What isn’t difficult is injecting your sadness into an unequipped group whenever you feel like it.   But it’s difficult for THEM.  And it’s Jacuzzi-Shitting.

I’ve now been opening for years to people equipped to hear me and as a result I feel great.   But it started with me getting outside my comfort zone and asking for help – from a professional.   I now know that saying, “Help me” and “I don’t know” saved my life.  It didn’t make me weaker, it made me stronger.

My hope is this site is a place where people can safely share what’s festering inside them instead of shitting the Jacuzzi.

So eat a big bowl of chili, grab your keyboard and lay some pipe.    In the meantime I’ll try to think of some more disgusting metaphors to scare visitors off.

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Grey DeLisle

Paul interviews Grey DeLisle, one of the most in-demand VO (voice over) actors in Hollywood.  She’s the voice of Daphne on Scooby Doo,  Azula on Avatar: The Last Airbender.   They talk about pervy relatives, her date with a pervy celebrity, and breaking the cycle of bad parenting.  You can follow her on Twitter @greydelisle

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Depression & Rage

I was sitting in a coffee shop, wondering what to write a blog about and I heard a man screaming at the top of his lungs. RAGING. I thought, “Oh, another actor talking to his agent.” Then a couple rode by on bikes, and the man was yelling at the woman.

I’ll bet you thought what I did. Oh, they must be a couple.

How fucked up is that? If he’s spewing that much hate, they must be in love.

I don’t know if he suffers from depression, but my guess is he does, because while I didn’t yell like that out loud, I felt that way inside. Lots of screaming while driving alone. Imagined conversations. Imagined slights. Lots of thinking about me, and never about anybody else.

I always thought my wife was the problem. Turns out it was me. I was driven by fear and felt if she didn’t act the way I wanted, my fears would be realized. Sad but true.

I know this sounds cheesy, but I’m lucky to have found a woman as patient as my wife. She knew I had a good heart but needed help. She gently encouraged me to seek it and I eventually did.

But for years, I was as angry as that guy. The difference was, I mostly kept it in. I would let it out in cold, cutting comments. But really it was just pent-up rage from self-hatred and fear of everything.

Once in a while I would let it out. In fact one time I let it out on strangers. I must have loved them. I was stuck in traffic in downtown Chicago and a bunch of pedestrians were in my way, blocking my green light and I lost my shit. I was laying on the horn, screaming out the window, frothing at the mouth. Suddenly a guy right out of 1950 – fedora, briefcase, trenchcoat – poked his head into my window about four inches from my face and with a combination of sympathy and disgust, calmly said, “Son, get a hold of yourself.” It stunned me. I had been so lost in my anger, fear, self-pity and perceived victimization, I couldn’t see myself. But Ward Cleaver did.

I have a feeling that guy on the bike is just like I was.

Mr. Cleaver was a turning point. I thought about what he said. He got through to me because he was a complete stranger. Because he wasn’t family. Because I knew he had nothing to gain, he must be telling the truth. Sometimes we discount what those closest to us say because we filter it through our experience with them.

I got into therapy shortly after that and it’s been a long haul since then, but I think back to that day often. It was a turning point. Depression doesn’t always mean moping around feeling down. Sometimes it expresses itself as rage and fear.

I’m proud to say if those pedestrians did that again today, I would not react the same. I’d gently tap the horn, smile and if they didn’t move, plow through them. Then I’d back up and repeat until tasered. I’m kidding of course. But I would fantasize about it. I may be better, but I’m still not well.

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