Weekly online podcast interviews with comedians, artists, friends, and the occasional doctor. All exploring mental illness, trauma, addiction and negative thinking.

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Scar Tissue by Paul Gilmartin

Scar Tissue


I’m sitting here at my favorite coffee place wondering why I didn’t wear looser pants.  My junk is swollen.  Not with pleasure; with bruising and stitches and a Band-Aid.

I had a vasectomy yesterday and like many of the twelve operations I’ve had, they were more complicated than expected.   The doctor told my wife when he finished he felt like he needed a drink.

I had to be put under general anesthetic.  Two years ago, the doctor tried to use a local while I was awake but because of some previous operations there was too much scar tissue and it was beyond painful.  He told me he had done several thousand of these and never experienced this.  I felt that familiar wave of shame.

Shame around my junk.

My wife and I had been talking for years about me getting one.   We both knew we didn’t want children and she’d like to go off the pill soon.  But I still woke up this morning feeling a pang of sadness.   It’s now official.   I will never reproduce.

My problems with my junk started when my testicles didn’t descend like they’re supposed to and at ten and eleven I  

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Come See Paul Speak

March 25th at Lassen Community College is Susanville, CA.  There will be a screening of the California PBS documentary “A New State of Mind” followed by some speakers, one of whom will be Paul.   The event is from 5:30-8:30.  Admission is free and reservations aren’t necessary, but if you want them call 530-257-3864 or email    The event will be in Middleton Hall on campus. 

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Live Show in Toronto Nov 16th with Scott Thompson

Click here for details and tickets.   The show is at 4pm, tickets are $12.

There will also be a group recording of listeners Friday Nov 15th at 7pm.  It will also take place in the Workman Arts building at 651 Dufferin St in Toronto.  Signs will be posted and it will be in the basement.   Stragglers are welcome and we’ll probably go until about 8:30 or 9:00pm.  No tickets are necessary, it’s free.

I will have a bunch of surveys printed out that people can sift through and comment on during the recording.  Former guest and therapist Susan Hagen will be sitting in.   Show up early (6:30 or 6:45) if you want to look through some surveys before we start recording.   People will basically take turns at the mic talking to Susan and me and responding to the printed surveys and time permitting sharing some of their story with us as well.

If you’d like to participate in the group recording email me at so I can get an idea of how many are going to show up.


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Childhood Bill of Rights

Thanks to podcast guest Susan Hagen for turning me on to this and Amanda Curtin for developing it.


Childhood Bill of Rights

A child has the right

  1. to be safe
  2. to have parents who are resources in a one way relationship that is focused on the child
  3. to be able to witness emotion being expressed in a healthy way by the parents
  4. to have the family be a safe enough place for the child to express emotions and then to experience validation of those emotions by the parents
  5. to have basic needs net
  6. to witness healthy adult behavior and a parental relationship that is intimate and a partnership
  7. to experience healthy limit setting for the child’s good by the parents
  8. to experience life as usually fun and to be encouraged to explore the world in small steps
  9. to receive support and help around problems
  10. to be given accurate mirroring by the parents


Developed by Amanda Curtin, Center for Change, Cambridge,  MA 

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What I Learned Growing Weed & Playing Nintendo

The year was 1989 and Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” anti-drug campaign was in full effect. Weed was getting harder and harder to find and becoming a lot more expensive.

I had just started supporting myself doing standup fulltime and since I only had to work an hour a day (plus another hour or two writing new material and taking care of the business side), I decided I would grow my own.

Be careful what you wish for.

Like most things I do, I either get discouraged immediately and quit, or see a ray of light and go full bore. For some reason, I believed I could grow my own pot. Not sure why my self-confidence chose an illegal activity to make a rare appearance, but I was glad to feel inspired.

I tried using a fluorescent grow light that couldn’t have been more than about 50 watts. I’m not sure what that light was equipped to grow but it wasn’t weed. The seeds I had planted in Styrofoam cups barely sprouted then quickly died.

I was in Barbara’s Bookstore on Wells in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood and found a book on how to grow pot. I soon discovered I  

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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  

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I find these relaxing, hope you do too. Pictures I took in Italy back in 2007.

Click on the link below to view the pictures.   There are about 50 of them.   You can also watch them as a slideshow.

Hope you enjoy them.     Paul         Click here to see Italy Photo Album. 

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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  

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