Tyler Smith

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.

Back catalog no longer available here or on Stitcher Premium. A notice will be posted or announced on the website when/if the back catalog (eps older than 2 years) become available again.

Episode notes:

No show notes for this episode.

Episode Transcript:

Tyler Smith
Episode 7

Paul: I’m here with Tyler Smith who does the podcast Battleship Pretension—

Tyler: That’s right, yes.

Paul: He’s a self-admitted film geek and you listen to this podcast, you listened to one or two episodes and you shot me an email, and you—tell me basically what you said in the email. And I had done your podcast before, and—

Tyler: Right.

Paul: —done one of your shows at a Meltdown Comics and got along great, but really don’t know you, other than being on your podcast and being on your show, but something about your email made me say ‘I want to get to know more about this guy because what he said sounds interesting’—what did you basically say to me in your email?

Tyler: Well, I had heard you on Never Not Funny talk about your show and it sounded so intriguing, and I thought, you know, when you have a podcast eventually you start to think that every thought you might have is important and people need to hear it. I have two podcasts [Paul and Tyler laugh] and so—but I thought, ‘Well you know, a lot of the people that Paul’s had on his show had been living with this for a while.’ I am recently—like in the last 10 months or so—recently diagnosed as depressed, and I had never been that before. I had dealt with certain issues my whole life, but I had never been—I was only officially diagnosed, and I thought maybe that would be a different point of view, for your listeners, but then also something else that I’d bring to the table is that I am a Christian, and mental illness, and depression, and melancholy, like, those are things that …

Paul: Snap out of it!

Tyler: Yeah, kinda.

Paul: Think about Jesus! And snap out of it!

Tyler: Right.

Paul: And it’s funny, I’m glad you emailed me because there is a link between spirituality and being able to get out of depression so I—they’re not completely wrong, but as I’ve said on this podcast many times there is also a physical depression that no amount of therapy and spirituality are going to get you out of, so I’m—congratulations that you’re [Tyler laughs] getting help, are you talking antidepressants?

Tyler: No, I never have, it’s something that my wife and I have been talking about, because, it’s been kinda rough lately, like in the last month—last week especially was very very difficult.

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: And I had never, you know I—

Paul: Can I ask you why—do you not want to take antidepressants, are you afraid to take them?

Tyler: I’m reluctant to take them—

Paul: Okay.

Tyler: —partially because I’ve known people who’ve taken them and I’ve seen how difficult it is for them, like when they go off, or when they’re prescribed the wrong thing, so some of it is like, I think, what I would say is a practical worry, and some of it is just—I mean I’m sure you know this, when you deal with depression, and certain melancholy, like, your mind sort of plays tricks on you and says like—

Paul: Oh boy, does it.

Tyler: —says like, ‘You know, if you take this pill, you’re cheating.’

Paul: Yes.

Tyler: ‘You need to get yourself out of this.’ And I don’t ascribe this to, my parents or anything like that. It’s just me, where it’s like, ‘You know [laughs]

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: This is what I told myself. ‘You know, antidepressants are like mental steroids. And nobody ever has any sympathy for an athlete who takes steroids.’

Paul: What are you afraid is going to happen if you start taking them?

Tyler: Some of it, and this is something that has been coming out in some of my counseling sessions, is that I’m—

Paul: So you’re new to counseling.

Tyler: No, I’ve gone to counselors my whole life, and the guy I’m seeing right now, I saw him last summer and then for financial reasons I had to stop, but, I was able to pick it up again probably six weeks ago, maybe even eight, but—

Paul: You ever been to a psychiatrist or is this a psychologist?

Tyler: I believe it’s a psychologist.

Paul: Okay, so—

Tyler: I’m not a hundred percent.

Paul: Okay, so, you’ve never been to see anyone who could prescribe you antidepressants.

Tyler: No, I don’t think so.

Paul: Okay.

Tyler: And—but it is something—as it happens, maybe one of the reasons that last week was so difficult for me was because I had been without a counsellor for three weeks ‘cause he had paternity leave. Like he—his wife just a kid. And so I’m going back tomorrow actually—

Paul: Look at the pussy society we live in now, the dude gets paternity leave! [Tyler laughs]  [loudly] What the fu—I’m sorry, you’re wife’s sleeping in the other room.

Tyler: It’s alright. Um, she loves waking up to loud profanity. [Paul laughs] But it’s—

Paul: She loves waking up to intolerance. [Tyler laughs] She actually has her radio set to have Rush Limbaugh wake her up, but today I’ll have to do.

Tyler: And so—but it something I’m to talk to him about, and see if there’s—if he—if there’s something he can recommend.

Paul: Right.

Tyler: And if he thinks it would be a good course of action. But one of the things he and I talk about, and something that—I would say one of the reasons that I’m reluctant about antidepressants is that as … as screwed up as what I’m about to say is, and it is … when you have kind of the self-hatred thing going, and it’s really all you’ve had. It’s been a major part of who you are, for I’d say the bulk of your life, and then someone says ‘You know, if you talk this pill you won’t—you may not hate yourself so much anymore.’ All of a sudden—like, there is a part of me that’s just like ‘That is kind of who I am. I’m familiar with it, as terrible as it is, and as much as I hate it, I’m comfortable with it, and it’s part of my identity now, and to make that just go away, who’s to say I’ll even be the same person?’ I’ll—you know, I consider myself having something of an edge to my personality, and it might sand that edge right off—

Paul: Yeah, and that’s a common myth with people getting antidepressants. Early on a psychiatrist told me—he said, ‘It’s not going to change who you are, it’s going to let who the real you is, be.’

Tyler: And that’s what I started thinking about like last week is like, you know, I feel like maybe I’m just getting in my own way, and this will keep me from doing that.

Paul: Yes, yeah, and I’d offer you this thought about the, thinking that it’s changing you […] Addressing your self-hatred is good. That’s necessary. But it’s also possible that that is not the complete source of your misery. It’s possible that the depression was there first, which caused all the negative feelings, which created the story in your head—you know, who knows where it all is—

Tyler: Yeah.

Paul: —but my belief is that depression comes at you in a kind of a two-pronged attack.

Tyler: Right.

Paul: And we need to share about our feelings, we need to be in therapy, and for some of us that’s not enough and we also need meds and I happen to be one of those—

Tyler: Right.

Paul: —one of those people. So, you know, I would encourage you to explore both routes—you know, maybe just try the therapy one first and if you’re not getting where you want to be with that—But I’ve said before on this podcast, you know, my view on meds is, we lack a chemical in our brain—those of us who are physically depressed—lack a chemical in our brain, and thinking that we can will ourself into happiness is like thinking a diabetic can produce insulin if they just closed their eyes and you know, try hard enough.

Tyler: And I do want to say real quick by the way, I don’t want anyone to think when I say things like “antidepressants are mental steroids” and I kind of adopt almost a judgemental attitude—oddly enough, I don’t have that attitude towards you—

Paul: Yes!

Tyler: —or other people I know.

Paul: That’s the problem—

Tyler: It’s only towards me.

Paul: And that is one of the hallmarks of depression, is we are so much harder on ourselves than we are on other people.

Tyler: Yeah.

Paul: You know, I’ve had people say to me sometimes, ‘I wish you could see yourself through my eyes.’

Tyler: Oh yeah.

Paul: ‘I wish you could see what a great person you are.’ And there’s fleeting moments I think where we can see that. But then we go back to the story in our head, ‘we’re not enough, we don’t do enough, we don’t have enough.’

Tyler: Yeah.

Paul: And that cycle just repeats and repeats and repeats and that’s one of the reasons—you know, doing this podcast it may seem like yes, I’m doing this for other people—I’m doing this podcast as much for myself as I am for other people because I feel so much less alone when I talk to somebody like you, or some of the other people that I’ve interviewed because that story that goes on in my head—I wake up every morning with that voice, standing over me, smoking a cigarette, it’s been up, it had bacon and eggs, [Tyler laughs] it’s probably had a couple of cognacs and it’s a little pissed off—

Tyler: It doesn’t need as much sleep as you do.

Paul: It doesn’t sleep at all. [Tyler laughs] It’s actually got a personal trainer that works for free, and it is standing over me, and it is telling me I don’t do enough, I don’t have enough, and I’m not enough. And so, you know, I’m in a little bit of a hole to start off with, so what am I gonna do today to not let these negative thoughts in my head get the best of me? Let’s go back to—

Tyler: [In a mock deep radio interviewer’s tone] Let’s go back to your childhood, Tyler.

Paul: Oh absolutely. [Tyler laughs] Give us an idea of what kind of a house you were raised in.

Tyler: Well, I—you know what, I’d say a pretty healthy one. My parents were married for thirty something years, they are no longer married because my father is dead. And—

Paul: A lot of times that leads to divorce.

Tyler: Exactly, exactly. Oh man, what a prick.

Paul: Yeah. So your dad—basically your dad left.

Tyler: Yeah. What’s the problem, come on.

Paul: My dad left my mom too. Cancer. [Tyler laughs]

Tyler: And so—but my parents to my knowledge were happy, and so it was just me—it was my parents, my brother and myself. I was—I lived in several places, I was born in—

Paul: Are you the older or the younger?

Tyler: I’m younger.

Paul: Okay.

Tyler: I was born in California, I’ve lived in two places in California, Denver, Missouri, Chicago and now I’m back here. And, you’re probably gonna make a lot of what I’m about to say, and I guess rightfully so. Among my earliest memories, maybe my earliest memory as far as like a narrative, like something I can remember the beginning, middle and end of, is I was six years old, and my mom’s brother, my favorite uncle, killed himself. And I remember thinking this but I don’t remember saying it, but apparently I did—my mom told me this later—I said what adults say when somebody kills themselves, which is, ‘I should have seen this coming, I should have noticed something.’

Paul: Really.

Tyler: Yeah, and—

Paul: Wow.

Tyler: —that to me was so sad it’s vaguely funny. So a six year old saying that kind of thing—my parents put me in counselling pretty quick—

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: ‘cause there’s something going on there. And—

Paul: It sounds like you’re trying to be the adult in something.

Tyler: Yeah.

Paul: Was—were your parents happily married?

Tyler: I think so, yes. I will be honest, my dad was a rather, aloof person, I never got the impression he didn’t care about me, or care about my mom, but he was very much—

Paul: Was he an alcoholic?

Tyler: No, he was a workalic.

Paul: Oh, okay, so he was a ‘-holic’—

Tyler: His father was an alcoholic.

Paul: Yes, yes.

Tyler: And he always—

Paul: It’s all makin’ sense now.

Tyler: And my, [laughs]

Paul: It’s all makin’—seriously it’s—

Tyler: I’m glad it’s all falling into place for you.

Paul: It really is, because you know, the dynamic is, even if you’re not a drinker, if you have the gene of addiction, or you had a parent who was an addict of some sort, there is wreckage there, there is luggage. You basically described a—my dad. Although my dad was a drinker, but he wasn’t abusive, he just wasn’t interested. And—

Tyler: Yeah.

Paul: —and so then my mom became kind of, overly interested in my life, kind of wanted me to fill in the gaps where he couldn’t, and so I, you know, so I became afraid of intimacy. Was there any of that with you, where you felt like mom is a little too close?

Tyler: Uh, I’m not sure if I’d go too close. She and I certainly had a very—we had a good relationship, I had a much stronger—

Paul: Was the sex good?

Tyler: Oh, come on. [Paul laughs]

Paul: I’m sorry.

Tyler: That’s alright.

Paul: I try to inject a little levity [Tyler laughs] here and there. I have to find out where the line is, and I just found out the line is about five feet behind [Tyler laughs] where I just went.

Tyler: It’s perfectly fine.

Paul: I’m new at the—and I don’t even know you. [Tyler laughs] This is—

Tyler: It’s fine.

Paul: I’m gonna have to go into therapy after this. I apologize, that was—

Tyler: It’s perfectly fine.

Paul: I want this to be a safe place for people, and I just shit all over it.

Tyler: It’s perfectly fine.

Paul: Continue your sexy relationship with your mother.

Tyler: Oh good. But— [laughs]

Paul: So—

Tyler: I don’t even know how to proceed. No, she and I had a good relationship. I will say—d’you ever see the movie Road to Perdition?

Paul: Yes.

Tyler: Okay. You know how the main character views his father Tom Hanks, like—not that my father was a hitman, he worked for an oil company—make of that what you will—

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: But—

Paul: Did you say an oil company?

Tyler: Yeah, he worked for Texaco Oil.

Paul: Okay.

Tyler: And he worked all the time, and he was a rather stoic man, and … and also, like he loved sports—I don’t give a shit about sports, I hate sports, I would venture to say. And so I felt like I couldn’t really connect with him at all.

Paul: Yes.

Tyler: He was rather intimidating to me.

Paul: Did you feel like a failure in his eyes or couldn’t live up to what—

Tyler: I’m not sure I would go that far because the stuff that I did eventually show interest in which was theatre, writing, and movies, he did support that, very much so, and encouraged that. But like it’s one of those things—only as I got older and I think became more adult in my sensibilities, only then did the two—and I think my dad started to recognize like, ‘I haven’t really been there for my kids emotionally.’ Only when that happened did he start to get closer to me and he and I started seeing movies together and talking about them, and it was really great, but I don’t think I ever got the impression that, that I was disappointing him—just that we didn’t have a lot in common—

Paul: Right.

Tyler: —and there is something—you do kind of get the impression—it’s like, ‘If I wasn’t his kid, I don’t think we’d be hanging out.’

Paul: Right.

Tyler: You know what I mean?

Paul: Right.

Tyler: Like if we were just—if we were peers—

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: —we probably wouldn’t see each other very much, you know.

Paul: Yeah, yeah.

Tyler: We’d have mutual acquaintances and see each other that way.

Paul: Right.

Tyler: But I don’t—but that’s the thing, is I don’t want to give the impression that he was … emotionally unavailable, but—

Paul: It sounds like he was emotionally unavailable.

Tyler: I guess—

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: I guess to a certain extent he was or maybe I just saw him that way.

Paul: Yeah. Yeah, you know my feeling—and I think a lot of other people feel this way is, there doesn’t have to be malice towards the child for damage to be done. There just has to be, a lot of times a lack of interest which I think embeds a core message in us that we’re really not worth that person’s interest, because—but the thing that we don’t understand as children is they’ve got demons in their head—if he was raised by an alcoholic—

Tyler: Oh, yeah.

Paul: —if he was a workaholic, he’s trying to escape something in his head.

Tyler: Oh he never actually knew his real father—

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: He only—he had this step-father that was essentially his dad, and his step-father who was an alcoholic always just planted this seed in his head that like, ‘You’ll never be good enough’—

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: —and that’s probably why my dad was a workaholic.

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: Stuff like that.

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: So.

Paul: And that’s so great that you can see that your dad, … didn’t not love you, he just had a lot on his plate. And—

Tyler: Right.

Paul: —you know that’s why—one of the reasons why I encourage people to work on themselves, is we never find that out on our own.

Tyler: Oh, right.

Paul: We only find that out through talking to other people who have lived through similar circumstances. You know, I didn’t begin to feel empathy towards my parents until I was forty years old. I had resentment at both of them, until I really really started to get down to the core of what I was—what was the matter with me, and only when I could see what was the matter with me could I see, ‘Oh, my dad probably also had that wrong with him.’

Tyler: Right.

Paul: ‘Now I can have a little bit of empathy for him.’ But if we don’t get help, if we don’t talk about this—

Tyler: Yeah.

Paul: —with people, we never make those connections and we live in resentment, we can’t be in the present moment, and our life just takes on this gray quality, where we start to look for things that excite us that aren’t healthy for us, to jolt us out of that, fog, of just, ‘Oh, another day of this.’

Tyler: Yeah. Oh, that’s a great way to phrase it, where it’s just, you know, on my bad days—‘cause I do have bad and good days—

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: I wouldn’t go as far as to say I was you know—

Paul: Describe a bad day for me.

Tyler: [laughs] A bad day usually involves, waking up, going to the bathroom and seeing myself in the mirror and being like, ‘Ugh, you again.’

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: And I hate my body, I don’t consider myself to be a big fat guy but I am overweight, I always have been. I hate that, with I’m going to say unbridled passion. I live in Los Angeles, I’m friends with a lot of twenty-something actors. I’m probably the most out of shape of everyone I know, and it’s very frustrating. And so it starts with that—

Paul: And by the way you’ll Tyler’s picture on the, you know, the podcast webpage, unless I forget to take a picture of us, but you’re a, good looking guy, [Tyler laughs] you are not, fat, [Tyler laughs] in any way, and, this is great [Tyler laughs] because this is such an example of how our mind can warp what—

Tyler: Yeah.

Paul: —what reality is, and then we think that that’s reality. And what a fucking burden to try and go through life with these lies embedded in our head.

Tyler: Yeah. Yeah, it is something—like my wife and friends have said that like, ‘You know, you’re really not that big of a guy.’

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: ‘Like, overweight to be sure, —

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: but nothing terrible.’

Paul: No.

Tyler: I’m not Santa Claus or something.

Paul: Right.

Tyler: I go with Santa Claus. Anyway, —

Paul: Right.

Tyler: But—so like the first thing I see is something I don’t like, and then I go through the rest of the day, aware of the things I need to do and haven’t done, the things—and then that leads to the things I haven’t done in the past, regrets I have, how bad of a person I am, stuff like that—

Paul: So right away, before you even have breakfast, you’ve got two of the three, which is ‘I don’t do enough’ and ‘I’m not enough.’

Tyler: Yeah.

Paul: That’s good. That’s good hard work. [Tyler laughs] You’re a go-getter.

Tyler: It’s, yeah—well it’s really interesting. My counsellor had said—when we last met he had said like, ‘I really want you to do something. I want you to just sort of monitor every negative thought you have about yourself.’ And then I said like, ‘Well maybe I’ll write it down, ‘cause I can’t remember all this stuff.’ So a few—I think I guess two weeks ago now—at like six thirty PM I got a little notebook and I wrote down like the time, and the specific negative thought I had about myself. And my thought is ‘I’m gonna do this for a week.’ I stopped after six hours when I’m like, ‘This is—I’m not gonna get anything done.’

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: ‘If I take the time to—

Paul: Hilarious.

Tyler: —write this down, —

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: —and I mean if you go back and if—and I typed everything out, and if you go back and look you’ll see that like some of them, it’ll be like seven oh one, seven oh two, [Paul laughs] seven oh three, seven oh three, seven oh three,—

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: —seven oh four. And it’s just like, ‘This is—

Paul: Sounds to me like you need to sleep until eight. [Paul and Tyler laugh]

Tyler: But it’s—well and it continued on—

Paul: Yes.

Tyler: —until midnight—

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: —and it’s just—and I realized, ‘cause you know, my friends or my wife or my listeners, they will say like such—they will say very complementary things, and then they’ll wonder why I don’t—

Paul: Yes.

Tyler: —absorb the complement.

Paul: Yes.

Tyler: And only when I actually wrote all this stuff out did I realize, I was like ‘Well of course I don’t absorb the complements—

Paul: It’s up against that!

Tyler: Yeah, it’s like one compliment per like fifteen—

Paul: Yes.

Tyler: —insults—

Paul: Yes.

Tyler: —that’s going over and over in my head.’

Paul: Yes.

Tyler: Like you mention the story—

Paul: Yes.

Tyler: —that you’re always telling yourself—

Paul: Yes, and that’s why it is so important to be of service I think to, the people around us, to do volunteer work, to—I dunno, if you’re an addict, get in a twelve step program, you know, whatever it is—to do nice things for people and expect nothing in return, because it builds up how we feel about ourselves and it is a counterpoint to that miserable voice in our head that is so real, you know—

Tyler: Yeah.

Paul: —that negative voice is the best fucking defence lawyer [Tyler laughs] in the world. It is so powerful and it is so convincing and it keeps us trapped, but if we can do esteemable actions, we begin to believe—we begin to see that that is a lie. I would suggest that in addition to writing down what the negative thoughts are that you have about yourself so that you can catch them and see them, I would suggest that you write down things that you like about yourself. I do—every morning, I … pray, and I ask that the things that are defective about me—my character defects—I ask them to be removed, but then I recently started asking for the things that are good about me to be brought out.

Tyler: Yeah.

Paul: And that’s been a real boost because I began to realize, ‘Wow, I’m generous, I’m funny, I’m compassionate, I’m all these other things.’ But if I don’t kind of say that out loud to myself, all I’m aware of is the negative things about myself. So I think it’s really really important to get a, another lawyer in the courtroom.

Tyler: And it’s interesting what you—like you mention that like my—because here’s where—

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: —my mind goes. ‘Cause I do try to do that. I do try and say like, ‘Well, you know, I’m a very loyal friend, I’m’—you know, like I make a list like you just did.

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: And then—then like a sarcastic voice comes in—

Paul: Yes.

Tyler: —and says like, ‘Oh, and you’re obviously humble.’ Like the idea of like, even acknowledging positive things in any kind of—

Paul: Right.

Tyler: —objective sense, like, ‘You’re being an egotistical asshole Tyler.’

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: ‘Knock it off.’

Paul: And I hope this doesn’t come across as me judging you. So, can you talk to me about what you get out of your faith and why it is that you participate in organized religion.

Tyler: The big thing for me is forgiveness and love, which of course—and I have to combat my own instincts—but to me, Christianity and the Bible and Christ—

Paul: When you say that you have to combat your instincts, what do you mean?

Tyler: I mean like, the […] just the sarcastic humble remark that I just said—like I have to fight against these and oddly enough, ‘cause—

Paul: Regarding yourself or other people?

Tyler: Regarding myself.

Paul: Okay, right.

Tyler: And so like—and I know that for some, because of you know, a specific church they were raised in or something like that, the emphasis is on guilt, shame, —

Paul: Yes.

Tyler: —self-hatred, whatever.

Paul: [In a deep slow voice] Catholicism. No.

Tyler: I didn’t want to name names, —

Paul: That’s how I was raised.

Tyler: And there’s plenty in Protestantism as well, to be sure, but I consider myself to be very fortunate in the churches that I’ve gone to by and large, in that the emphasis was, and is, at the church I go to now, that like, you have flaws, so does everybody, so do I. God loves you in spite of those. And what’s more, is going to work with you to get those. But here’s the thing. You don’t need to have fixed those flaws for Him to love you.

Paul: Yes, that’s beautiful.

Tyler: And stuff like that is—

Paul: And that’s such a—

Tyler: And that’s what I need to hear.

Paul: Yes. And that is such a beautiful message and that’s the type of church I could, you know, I could get on with—

Tyler: Yeah.

Paul: —because there’s hope there. To me it’s all about energy, and to me, it’s like—it’s a lot like electricity. It’s there, but we have to get up and walk across the room and plug into it. We have to take action, to feed off that positive energy in the universe. That, to me is God.

Tyler: Yeah, I mean it is a choice, and there’s a big—ah, I don’t wanna get into it, but there’s a big debate like, in Christianity right now of like, how much of it is what you do, how much of it is the choice you’re making and stuff like that. But the thing that fascinates me is like—

Paul: And I think that’s okay to have as a hobby, to think about that, but I think it’s dangerous to say ‘I have to figure that out before I can seek this thing.’

Tyler: Oh right.

Paul: Because I think the real great journey becomes when you just try to seek—

Tyler: Yeah.

Paul: —whatever this thing is that might be there.

Tyler: Yeah.

Paul: If you just seek it, I think you’re gonna get good results, and your life’s gonna get better.

Tyler: And I’ll say this—like my church now, has been—like the church leadership or whatever—

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: They’ve been very supportive of me, like I—there’s a thing where like you can fill out like a prayer request and like put it in a little offering basket and such, and I did, when I was really dealing with some shit and I was not seeing a counsellor at the time. And I put the—and I—the pastor talked to me, and said like, ‘Hey, we’ll have lunch some time. I’m praying for ‘ya, I’m with you.’ And then like a church board member said like ‘Hey, if you need counselling, we can offer it for free. Don’t worry about that.’ And then the other side was my wife and I, we have like a couples Bible study and I talked to the assistant pastor who runs that kinda thing, and I said like, ‘Hey this is something I’m dealing with right now. Do you have a problem with that?’ Like, that somebody who’s having the issues that I’m having is in any kind of leadership position. And he immediately came back with like, listing of various like Bible characters who dealt with melancholy and stuff like that, and said like, ‘You know, we don’t’—It’s like—and he said, ‘If you feel like you can’t lead, then that’s one thing.’ He’s like, ‘but we don’t require somebody to be perfect to lead, because then nobody could lead.’ He said—

Paul: Right.

Tyler: ‘It’s perfectly fine’—He was so encouraging—

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: —and it was really wonderful to have the church really come alongside me in that sense. And it was such a positive experience—

Paul: Yeah, and that’s such a great message because to me, the real joy of life begins when you embrace what is imperfect about you instead of cursing yourself for not doing that, and a lot of times, I think the damage of growing up with an adult, a parent who was addicted to something is, that message becomes so real, that you’re not enough. Because, if this person who is supposed to love me, doesn’t even find me interesting, doesn’t find me worth their attention, I must really need to start doing something special. I’m gonna have to be perfect in every way for people to love me.

Tyler: And that—I tell you, that speaks exactly to something that I’ve been thinking about recently, from a spiritual stand-point—I don’t want to turn this into, you know, the God Hour or whatever—

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: But, a certain degree—not a certain degree—of… unconditionality, unconditionalism, whatever, to God’s love—like I was listening to a sermon by a guy in New York named Tim Keller that I really love, and he said like, ‘If you asked your wife, “Why do you love me?”, of course she will probably say “I love you because you’re handsome, you’re funny,” you know, whatever the case may be—

Paul: Are you sure she’s not talking about me?

Tyler: I can’t rule it out.

Paul: Yeah. Alright.

Tyler: You know—

Paul: I gotta tell ya, that’s the first thing that popped into my mind is, ‘God, that sounds exactly like me.’ Go ahead.

Tyler: And I don’t host a television show, [Paul laughs] so like there’s—

Paul: I don’t either! It’s been cancelled!

Tyler: What?

Paul: Dinner and a Movie has been cancelled.

Tyler: Seriously?

Paul: Yeah, yeah, it’s—

Tyler: When was this?

Paul: Ah yep, two days ago.

Tyler: Holy shit!

Paul: Yeah, we’re—our last taping is gonna be—I’m actually loving how this is actually turning around to be all about me.

Tyler: That’s alright. We’ll come back to me in a minute. This is—

Paul: Yeah, our sixteen year run will end. Our last taping is in August, and the last show will air September tenth. So—

Tyler: September eleventh, yes!

Paul: Exactly. Suddenly more tragic now! I’m okay with it. And I’m gonna talk about—I dunno, maybe I should—I’m strangely okay with it.

Tyler: Yeah.

Paul: And I feel like, if I wasn’t doing this podcast, I would probably be not freaking out, but I’d be like, ‘Oh my God, what am I gonna do next?’ But something about this podcast makes me feel like, the universe maybe wants me to be doing this. I’m not making many money doing it—[in a slow voice] unless people donate, which would be nice—there is a little thing actually, you can donate on the—

Tyler: I’ll keep that in mind.

Paul: —on the site, and also, if you’re gonna go—if you’re gonna buy something at Amazon, search for it through the little link at the bottom of our homepage, and then I get a little bit of money from Amazon, not from you. God that was self-indulgent. [Tyler laughs] I apologise for that. Yeah, so I’m okay. It’s had a good run, sixteen years, the network I think feels that we’re a little too old for the demographic they want to go after. They want to go after the people in their twenties, and I think they feel like the show isn’t as relevant or as hip as it used to be. And I get it, I’m cool with it. I mean Jesus Christ, sixteen years. Wow, wow, you know, let me cry.

Tyler: I guess if Law and Order can get cancelled, [Paul laughs] anything can. Because, like, if I had to put money on something that’s going to be around for—

Paul: Yes, yeah.

Tyler: —as long as I’m alive, Dinner and a Movie would be it.

Paul: Yeah, yeah.

Tyler: It lasted for sixteen years,—

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: —like that’s—

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: Wow, that’s really crazy.

Paul: Yeah, yeah. But you know what, it’s—this is a good chance for me to test the faith that I have that there’s something in the universe that loves me, and is there as long as I live an honest decent life, that pathways will open up. Because I believe that for the last seven years, I’ve been treating my belief in something, being out there, as a scientific experiment. And I thought if the results come in that this is a bunch of bullshit, then nothing exists out there but the results have been so good in terms of how I feel about myself, and the peace and joy that I’ve found, it tell’s me there is something out there. And so, this is just a chance for me to take that leap of faith to another level, and say, ‘This must just be a chance for another door to open.’

Tyler: I’ll tell you a quick story. May of oh nine—so I guess at this point two years ago—I was working a job that I hated and wasn’t good at, but it paid and it was consistent, and so I was gonna be at it as long as I needed to be. I hated it, it really took its toll on my self-esteem, but whatever. I went to church, on a Sunday—of course, yes—and, the sermon was about how people define themselves and that—there was a series—and that specific Sunday it was about work. And especially in this city, you know people define themselves by what they do, and he said like, ‘You know, if you have a good job, if you have a bad job, like, it doesn’t matter, God loves you anyway. People in this city might not, because you’re of no use to them—

Paul: Right.

Tyler: —or whatever, but God doesn’t think in those terms—

Paul: Right.

Tyler: —of what’s useful and what isn’t.

Paul: Yes.

Tyler: He loves you because he loves you.’ And then he mentioned like, ‘What if you have no job? What if you define yourself by what you do and you have no job?’

Paul: Right.

Tyler: And, I tuned that part out, because it didn’t apply to me.

Paul: Right.

Tyler: Afterwards, I happened to talk to the pastor, and I said, ‘Hey, good sermon. I really liked it.’ He was like, ‘Did you hear it?’ [Paul laughs] And I said, ‘No, I heard it.’ He goes, ‘Did you really’—like, he didn’t know me at the time.

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: He didn’t know what I was dealing with. And he’s like, ‘Did you really hear it?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, I guess so.’ ‘Alright.’ And then I got laid off the next day.

Paul: Wow.

Tyler: And what’s interesting is, then there was like an opening at the company that my wife worked for, just as a photo editor, and I had never done that before, but she said like, ‘Well, we need someone to do this. I can train you. You’d work from home, and the money is surprisingly good.’ And, I wound up doing that. And if I hadn’t got laid off from that one—

Paul: Yep.

Tyler: —job, I definitely—

Paul: Yes.

Tyler: Like, I wouldn’t have been in the running—

Paul: Yes.

Tyler: for the job I have now, —

Paul: Exactly.

Tyler: —and the job I have now has helped us financially, it has given me the opportunity to do both my podcast—because that’s what I want to do, and that’s what I feel like I’m supposed to be doing—and so I feel like, it’s the kind of thing where, you know—I mean I’ve heard you on Never Not Funny for years, I know that—I feel like you probably would have done Dinner and a Movie as long as you were able to.

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: And now that you can’t, you have no choice but to do whatever the next thing is.

Paul: Push your shopping cart.

Tyler: Well whatever, you know—

Paul: Yes.

Tyler: With equipment you podcast yourself—

Paul: That’s right.

Tyler: —while pushing a shopping cart.

Paul: That’s right. I’m here, I’ve found a lot of plastic, and aluminium, it’s a good day, and—That’s very insensitive of me to make fun of people that have to make their living doing that—see, now this is one of the tough things I’m finding about this podcast is where do I be sensitive and where do I be funny. And, maybe I should stop just self-examining myself—maybe that’s me thinking that I’m not enough.

Tyler: Maybe.

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: But I think you need a sense of humour, —

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: —to deal with this kind of thing. Otherwise, I think you will collapse under the weight of it.

Paul: Thanks! You know, when I started this, one of the reasons why I wanted to do this podcast is I—my feeling was that the way that depression, and spirituality, and all the things that are prominent in my life and important to me, for better or for worse—the way they’ve been dealt with in the media is either too intolerant or too precious.

Tyler: Yeah.

Paul: Or too clinical.

Tyler: Oh yeah.

Paul: And I’ve never heard anybody deal with it in a way that made it conversational and fun and yet honest and helpful at the same time, and I guess that’s what I’m trying to do, and the feedback I’ve been getting from people—they’ve been saying that, and that’s one of the things that makes me feel like maybe this is where the universe wants me to go—is to keep doing this thing. I have so many examples of what you were just talking about, where a door closes and another one opens, and that door had to shut for the other door to open.

Tyler: Exactly.

Paul: And it—if I didn’t believe that when a door shuts, a door opens—and I hate to use that cliché, but it’s appropriate—

Tyler: It’s a cliché because it works.

Paul: It would rob the quality of my life in between the door closing and the door opening because I would be thinking that I am in charge, and I have—there is no other power in the universe that is helping me, and I’ve gotta figure this out on my own. Then I’m not able to listen to my wife, —

Tyler: Right.

Paul: —because my head is split thinking about the future, or I’m in self-pity, or whatever, so you know, there are so many I get from believing that there is something out there, and acting as if there is something out there. The first feedback I got from it was … you know, the day I got sober—I got sober July twenty first of two thousand and three—and that morning I woke up and my first three thoughts were—my first three thoughts every morning—‘You slept too late’, ‘You’re a lazy piece of shit’, —

Tyler: Yeah.

Paul: ‘Your life is passing you by.’ And the words just came out of my mouth. I said, ‘God help me, I can’t do this anymore.’

Tyler: Yeah.

Paul: I didn’t necessarily believe in God. I don’t know why those words came out of my mouth, —

Tyler: Yeah.

Paul: —but that was the day that I got—asked for help. And I’ve been sober every day since then, so there—I said to myself, ‘Fuck, maybe there is something. Maybe there is something, out there.’ And—

Tyler: And it doesn’t—and this is—and one of the things that I wanted to say because, I don’t know, maybe your listeners are Christian, maybe some of them are Christian, maybe they’re not. I have no idea.

Paul: Right.

Tyler: But, when you’re dealing with depression and mental illness and such, in the Christian community, you can feel very very alone.

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: Because, there seems to be this idea that, well a belief in God and the hope that comes with that—that’ll be enough. That’ll make your life easy. No no no. It’ll make your life maybe easier, —

Paul: Yes.

Tyler: —but that’s far from easy.

Paul: Yes.

Tyler: It makes it possible, —

Paul: Yes, yes.

Tyler: —it gives you the tools and the hope and the drive to make it through—

Paul: Yes.

Tyler: —because you believe that God is on your side.

Paul: Yes.

Tyler: But that doesn’t mean it’s the easiest thing in the world.

Paul: No.

Tyler: Last week—

Paul: You’re driving a car on fumes.

Tyler: Yeah.

Paul: You know, instead of—there’s a thousand fucking gas stations right there, [Tyler laughs] and you’re like, ‘No! God wants me to drive on fumes!’

Tyler: Right.

Paul: You know, and that is the part of organized religion that makes me so fucking mad, and I think drives so many people away from it, is because of that ignorance and that intolerance, and God I wish—I hope that for anything, that that attitude in organized religion changes so more people can become open-minded about there being something in the universe that loves us, and guides us. Even if it’s not a conscious entity, you know, even if it’s a universal law like gravity, karma, something like that.

Tyler: You know, it’s—I think it comes from people’s desire to simplify something, so that it’s a little more easily digestible, —

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: —and then when somebody for whom life—not to imply those people’s lives are easy or simple—but for somebody whose life might be a little more complicated, or their inner life perhaps, suddenly it’s like, ‘Well this simple explanation isn’t doing it for me.’ And then this other person’s like, ‘Well it should, asshole.’

Paul: Yes.

Tyler: And it’s just like—

Paul: And do you really think if you believe in God, your god wants you to talk to somebody like that? Do you think your god wants you to feel that way about yourself? What kind of a fucking god is that?

Tyler: And also, like, to anybody who has that attitude, it’s like, ‘When was the last time you actually read the Bible? The Bible is one of the most complicated things. Jesus never talked to anybody like that, —

Paul: Right.

Tyler: —so how on Earth can you in good conscience—

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: —say that you’re acting—

Paul: Yes, right.

Tyler: ‘Cause ‘Christian’ means ‘Christ-like’, and you really think you’re being Christ-like, with this?’

Paul: Right, right. Yeah. See I think that the teaching—and I don’t know a lot about the Bible, I think it makes a terrific coaster [Tyler laughs] —but—that’s so awful—I—from what I remember, the few moments that I was awake during Catholic grade school [Tyler laughs] when they talked about religion, the teachings of Jesus are beautiful, and the rest of the Bible to me was confusing, and really kind of … scary and thunderous and … didn’t make me feel warm or good about myself.

Tyler: And I was actually kind of the same way, and then I actually started thinking about the—again I don’t want to turn this into the—well I’ll go back to my crying—

Paul: No—

Tyler: —and hitting myself in the head.

Paul: Yeah, you know what Tyler, don’t apologize for that because, I think that there’s gonna be people out there—they’re two things. I think there’s gonna be people out there that will have already turned this podcast off because we started talking about spirituality or God, and that’s fine. But I think it’s too important of a subject for us not to talk about, and further, I think that there are gonna be some people out there that feel exactly like you do. And, I think they need to hear this. So don’t apologize.

Tyler: Alright. Well then I’ll continue this thought, but—I was much the same way when I thought about like the Old Testament as just this thunderous angry angry God, and then I started to think in terms—in context of—Old Testament in context of the New. For example, everyone talks about, you know like Abraham being called to sacrifice his son and so he takes his son up to the mountain and he’s gonna do it and God says ‘don’t do it.’ ‘I know I’m the one who asked you to do it, —

Paul: Right.

Tyler: —but don’t do it.’

Paul: Right.

Tyler: And people look at that, and they say ‘Wow, what a horrible god.’ But, if you look at it in terms of the New Testament, and Jesus, you realize you don’t have to sacrifice your son—‘I’ll sacrifice mine.’ And like, if you look at it like that, as the Old Testament setting up the New, it really got me thinking in a different way. And, I don’t know, I’ve become really fascinated theology lately.

Paul: Yeah, yeah. I think that’s cool. What I take out of that, is that God should never run for office because he’d be called a flip-flopper. [Tyler laughs] That’s—maybe that’s why I failed religion class in Catholic grade school, but—I don’t mean to be too glib about that, but I think that’s beautiful Tyler, I really do. Because, like I said, it’s all different doors, —

Tyler: Yeah.

Paul: —into the same room, and it’s just important to find that door. I don’t care if it’s yoga, meditation, volunteer work, twelve steps, you know, church, temple, whatever it is. Find something that helps you feel less alone, that helps that … that energy in the universe that is there. But we gotta get up and walk across the room and plug into it. I don’t believe that we can do it isolated and trapped in our own minds. I think we have to do what you and I are doing right here, which is get honest about our fears, get honest about what makes us angry, and what scares us, and—

Tyler: And it goes back to your—not slogan, but I guess your catch-phrase, not to be reductive about it, but, ‘You are not alone.’

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: Like, there is that attitude of like ‘Well I can work this out on my own.’ It’s like, ‘No no no. You’ve been working on your own so far and this is where you wound up.’

Paul: Yes.

Tyler: ‘You can’t do that. You need other people, counseling, God, —

Paul: Try everything.

Tyler: —whatever, like—

Paul: Yes.

Tyler: —just, you need some kind of support system, —

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: —and that’s—you know, like—and the thing that gets me is I often feel like I’m letting down my support system. Like one of the things that cause me to really go off the rails last week was this idea of like—

Paul: Now describe what ‘going off the rails’ meant. Just—

Tyler: I’m not—

Paul: —that you were feeling—

Tyler: I’m not much of a crier. I cried a lot last week.

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: I punched myself in the face.

Paul: Did you really?

Tyler: Ah, not in the face—I’m sorry—in the forehead.

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: I did it a lot because I was so angry with myself, because my wife and I had had a fight, because I had done something wrong, and even what I did wrong was not a big deal—it was just like a scheduling error, that was it—and, we got upset and I found myself defending myself in spite of the fact that I knew I had made the mistake. But I got so mad, and what it came down to was—the voice was saying, ‘You love this woman more than anybody else in the world. And you fail her every fucking day. At least once a day.’

Paul: Wow.

Tyler: And just like—and that was a bit much for me, —

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: —and like I said, I get choked up from time to time, my eyes will well up with tears, you know, and sometimes—but as far as straight up sobbing, I don’t really do it very much. And I couldn’t stop myself, and it just came flooding out, and I got, like—there was that, and then like the emotion of just like, ‘Be different. Stop being like this.’ And I found—and I like hit myself like three times very quickly in the forehead, and I felt like, ‘Okay, that’s—those are the actions of a mental patient.’ Like that’s—

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: —like, I’m not cutting myself or anything—

Paul: Right.

Tyler: —but that’s, a problem.

Paul: Yeah, it is.

Tyler:     So like that’s ‘going off the rails.’ And—but the thing is, I told my wife about it. And she—

Paul: That’s awesome.

Tyler: And she was so loving—and of course when I told her about it, then I started sobbing again—

Paul: Which is awesome.

Tyler: And she like put her arms around me—

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: —and she said like—she said ‘It’s okay, I love you, you’re a great husband, blah blah blah.’ Blah blah blah. [Paul laughs] Yeah let’s just dismiss the encouragement that—

Paul: [laughing] Oh, I relate to it. I so relate to that. That’s awesome.

Tyler: And so—but she also said she—‘cause I said like, ‘Maybe I should start thinking about antidepressants’, and she said ‘Sure.’ She was like, ‘That’s’—she was Iike, ‘I think you should think about it.’

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler:     ‘Cause, I—she’s like—

Paul: Ah, dude.

Tyler: She’s like, ‘I don’t like seeing you like this and I want you to—

Paul: It’s so—what a wonderful woman.

Tyler: Yeah she’s pretty great.

Paul: What a wonderful woman. And that—what you just described, Tyler … is to me … the basis for intimacy in a relationship. You know, for sexual intimacy to be there, there has to be emotional intimacy first, and what you just did—that vulnerability—to me is the door that opens that allows intimacy to begin. To be vulnerable and not be afraid that that person is going to judge us. That has brought my wife and I so much closer since I’ve started being able to do that. And it also does another thing for me—and I think you’ll find this too—is that then that allows different opportunities to happen that speed up our recovery. It allows that—whatever that thing is in the universe—to make things happen. I can’t tell ya how many times when I’ve, instead of reacting in anger, if I am just vulnerable and honest, people’s energy changes completely—

Tyler: Yeah.

Paul: —and I get a different outcome than I would have if I had tried to control it and dominate.

Tyler: I think that—‘cause it scared the hell out of me to do it, —

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: —because, when I am at my most melancholy I feel like, not only am I alone, but people actively don’t want any part of this—

Paul: That’s such a fucking lie.

Tyler: —they have contempt for it.

Paul: Yes.

Tyler: They see this emotional weakness, and they’re like, ‘Ugh, I don’t wanna—

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: I don’t want to be anywhere near this.’

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: And even my wife that I’ve been married to almost six years, like, I still thought that of her, and I had to like, drag myself—

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: —to this level of intimacy, and I was—and the whole time I just thought like, ‘Why am I bringing this up to her?’ because I was still in the mindset of—

Paul: Yes.

Tyler: —I had made this mistake—

Paul: Yes.

Tyler: —the day before—it’s like, ‘She’s not gonna want to hear it, she’s not going to be sympathetic towards it’, and then of course, —

Paul: It’s the fucking defence lawyer in your head.

Tyler: Oh absolutely.

Paul: Or the prosecuting lawyer I should say.

Tyler: Prosecuting, yeah. Persecuting is another—

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: —way to phrase it.

Paul: Yeah, yeah.

Tyler: But yeah—and so the idea of like, ‘You’re not alone.’ I would say by and large the vast majority of people—I’m gonna say ninety nine percent of the population—have a support base that you may not even know about.

Paul: Yes, yes!

Tyler: Like you’ve got friends, and admittedly, there are some people we know, and we think they’re friends—turns out they’re just acquaintances.

Paul: Yes.

Tyler: But there are some people we know, and they’re friends, and it turns out they’re much deeper friends than we ever thought, —

Paul: Yes.

Tyler: —and they will come alongside you, and they will support you as much as they can. And, if you’re just—and I think if you’re willing to be vulnerable, people will respect that, and will treat it accordingly.

Paul: Yes, I—

Tyler: It’s like the trust fall thing.

Paul: It really is. And I couldn’t agree more. It has—since I’ve started living that way, it has opened up this beautiful life that’s brought me so much happiness. I would never be okay with knowing that my job of sixteen years was coming to an end if I hadn’t discovered this fucking energy out there, that has nothing to do with money, and recognition, and power.

Tyler: Yeah.

Paul: But it—you just feel connected and a part of and you don’t feel alone anymore. Is there anything you’d like to plug before we wrap it up?

Tyler: Well, I do have two podcasts. There’s Battleship Pretension, which doesn’t need any help from me, at this point—

Paul: Right.

Tyler: —it’s doing fine.

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: But I do have another podcast. It’s called More Than One Lesson. It is film criticism from an overtly Christian point of view, the goal of which is to—I don’t know if this is happening, but—the goal of which is to get Christians comfortable with the idea of film, —

Paul: Yes.

Tyler: —as a medium that is not inherently wrong or sinful—

Paul: Right.

Tyler: —and that, you know, Truth like with a capital ‘T’ can be expressed even in things that you would never—

Paul: Right.

Tyler: —expect.

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: Like Superbad.

Paul: Yeah.

Tyler: And Pulp Fiction, and stuff like that—

Paul: Well that’s awesome Tyler, because I really feel like organized religion needs a face-lift, and needs to change in a lot of ways, and you strike me as somebody that would be a good ambassador for that because you don’t strike me as intolerant, or ignorant—

Tyler: Shut your face! [Paul laughs]

Paul: The other thing I’d like to say is, your punching yourself in the head—I would like to see you start a solo UFC for people that hate themselves. [Tyler laughs] Just mano—not even mano-a-mano, just mano—just one person out there—

Tyler: One man enters, and I guess that’s it.

Paul: Yeah, one man—and one man doesn’t deserve to leave. [Paul and Tyler laugh]

Tyler: Well done.

Paul: On that note, if you’re out there, you know, get some help, open up, be vulnerable, do all the stuff that is outside your comfort zone, ‘cause a beautiful life is on the other side of that. It’s not gonna happen overnight, but you’ll get the bread crumbs along the way that will keep you going, and help lead you in the right direction. I hope I didn’t come across too glib in this. A couple of other things I want to mention. Please go to the website, it’s mentalpod.com. You can also type in mentalillnesshappyhour.com—you’re gonna get writer’s cramp, but you can get it that way as well. Go on the message boards, share information with each other, ask questions, answer questions. I have a survey up that I just tweak every once in a while, and I’ve been getting some really really cool responses from people with that. And you cannot—you can fill it out and you can also see how other people have responded to those questions. You can go through and see, you know, look at a question and see what percentage of people answered what, and you can also go through respondent to respondent, and see, ‘Oh! This person is this age, and it’s a female, or it’s a male, and they were raised in this kind of a household and they do this and this.’ So you can get a real sense of what other people are going through out there. One of the things that I ask people is ‘what are some of the most common negative thoughts you have.’ And that is a fascinating—

Tyler: I’m sure.

Paul: —way to see how it relates to other questions that people answer about themselves. I don’t know if what I said was really confusing, but I want to thank you for listening, and if you feel so inclined as to support the show through a direct donation, there’s a little thing you can do through Paypal on the homepage that would be greatly appreciated. And there’s also the search engine that goes through Amazon. So please do that, but most of all be good to yourself, and just remember, you are not alone. Thanks for listening. Thank you Tyler.

Tyler: Oh, thank you.

[53:00 Music outro]