Depression

Chronic Suicidality, It’s Always on the Table…with Frank King

Even in today’s world, where mental health is becoming more mainstream to talk about, there’s still a stigma surrounding those dreaded two words. Even more than that, what about the judgemental mindset that comes with admitting you’ve attempted suicide, or live with chronic suicidality?

It’s for those very reasons that I wanted to bring Frank King, The Mental Health Comedian, onto the podcast so we can discuss not only some of his story and his work, but primarily in hopes of helping at least one person start a conversation that could make the difference between being alive today, and gone tomorrow.

I met Frank at the Mental Health Round Table recording this past spring, down in Virginia. That event, sponsored by Mental Health News Radio Network, allowed me the privilege to meet a number of amazing advocates and simply incredible people from all walks of life and stories, and all with a common goal of starting and continuing the tough conversations around mental health.

Frank King, aka The Mental Health Comedian, is a Suicide Prevention and Postvention Public Speaker and Trainer who turned a lifelong battle with depression into a keynote worth spreading. His mission is to end the stigma surrounding mental health by sharing his insights with anyone and everyone who will listen in an effort to “start the conversation.”

Frank has thought about killing himself more times than he can count. Like many of us, depression and suicide run in his family. He addresses his own trials and tribulations using a tool people from all walks of life can relate to, humor. With his TED Talk A Matter of Life or Death” he openly addresses topics considered taboo in today’s society.

Frank uses comedy and personal life lessons to help break the ice and start an engaging conversation amongst those struggling with mental and emotional stability. This act of faith helps those struggling to find a voice to express themselves. He believes that where there is humor there is hope. And where there is laughter there is life… Nobody dies laughing.

During our chat, Frank shares how he got started as a comedian, speaker, and trainer, and how he’s able to use his own life experiences to create a sense of support and understanding for those who struggle, and those who are supporting them. He talks about living with chronic suicidality, and how that affects even the most normal of everyday circumstances.

The stories Frank shares of his experiences throughout his life are sure to not only move you deeply but also make you smile and laugh…a combination you don’t see very much in the world of mental health and suicide prevention.

His approach is as validating and encouraging, as it is uplifting and funny. He’s as raw and bare-bones honest as he can possibly be because living with depression and chronic suicidality is something he deals with every day. His tribe, as he calls it, are the often misjudged, mistreated, and misunderstood people who are just trying to get through each day living in a world that many could never comprehend.

We appreciate Frank taking some time out of his schedule to join us on the podcast; he actually called us from a satellite phone on a cruise ship somewhere in the Sea of Alaska, in-between his schedule of shows. (the first time we’ve ever talked to someone in the middle of the ocean!)

If you get the opportunity to see Frank King perform, please don’t pass up the opportunity. He’s an amazing guy who has dedicated his life to helping people stay on this planet, one day at a time. Be sure and head over to TheMentalHealthComedian.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, & YouTube.

If you enjoy these podcasts would you consider doing 3 easy things for us?

  1. Share it with one person who might find it helpful.
  2. Leave a review on your favorite podcasting app.
  3. Follow the podcast on that same app, so you never miss an episode.

That’s it…Super Easy and it would mean the world to us.

If you want to go a step further, we have a special Thank You just for You!

All conversation and information exchanged during participation on Beyond Your Past Radio and BeyondYourPastRadio.com is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on the podcast or posted on the above-mentioned website are supplements for or supersedes the relationship and direction of your medical or mental health providers.

 

Self-Worth: Finding Strength Through Vulnerability, with Brian Cardoza

June is self-worth month here on the podcast. We started off talking with the UK’s leading confidence coach and transformational mentor, Amy Rushworth, as she shared some of her story and talked about how finding your voice is in direct relation to self-confidence and developing your self-worth. After that, we shared some thoughts on how you are the one that gets to define who you are, and what you’re about; your worth is not dependent on anyone or anything. So if you haven’t checked out those two episodes you’ll want to go back after this one and give em a listen.

Self-Worth - Finding Strength Through VulnerabilityContinuing on with the self-worth theme, we’re talking with returning guest and friend, Brian Cardoza. Brian is an author, artist, and national speaker, using his platform to help share the message of his survivor story and encourage both men and women to take that first step of seeking help to work through a traumatic past.

Brian’s message of hope, presented in such an authentic, genuine, and down-to-earth way, is inspiring because he’s able to relate to the unique struggles that survivors go through, including the silence and shame that keeps them stuck and feeling unable to reach out for help.

We talk with Brian about his survivor story and get into a deep discussion about the struggles of survivors who are trying to find their voice and reach out for help. Throughout our chat, with Brian, you’ll notice how we use some well-timed, and improvisational humor to help illustrate that while this work is deep, powerful, difficult, and necessary, there is hope in healing and all of that work hard pays off.

Plus, near the end of the podcast, in true Brian Cardoza form, he drops a nugget of wisdom that will result in a future episode on the topic of bringing awareness to “coercive rape” and the pressure that both men and women feel when it comes to intimacy. Believe me, friend, this one will definitely cause you to pause and ponder his take on this delicate subject. 

It’s always a wonderful time as we chat with our friend Brian Cardoza, and be sure to find him on Facebook and check him out when he hosts an event in your area. As Brian says, “just put my name in the google machine and you’ll find me”. Oh, and don’t forget to check out his book, “The Unexpected Victim” available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

If you enjoy these podcasts would you consider doing 3 easy things for us?

  1. Share it with one person who might find it helpful.
  2. Leave a review on your favorite podcasting app.
  3. Follow the podcast on that same app, so you never miss an episode.

That’s it…Super Easy and it would mean the world to us.

If you want to go a step further, we have a special Thank You just for You!

 

 

 

 

 

All conversation and information exchanged during participation on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on BeyondYourPast.com, and BeyondYourPastRadio.com is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on these podcasts or posted on the above-mentioned websites are supplements for or supersedes the relationship and direction of your medical or mental health providers.

The Sexy-Brilliant Mindset of Empowerment and Personal Development, with Devina Kaur – Ep. 114

Taking a unique approach to personal development, making it your own based on the circumstances you had to overcome and what message resonates with you, is exactly what my guest on this episode of the podcast, Devina Kaur, has done. After all, when you are dealing a history of mental health challenges, the cookie cutter approach isn’t always going to resonate, much less be an effective tool for you to utilize.

Thinking outside the box is what Devina has done and it’s allowed her to become a speaker, published author, and start a movement that encourages you to embrace who you truly are on the inside. You’ll learn to understand what your authentic gifts are, and use your circumstances as a motivational tool to unlock your potential. Her infectious personality and outlook on life will surely motivate you in ways you may have never imagined.

devina kaur - sexy brilliant - podcast on beyond your pastDevina Kaur is a fun-loving, flamboyant, straight-talking author, entrepreneur, filmmaker and inspirational speaker. Born and raised in rural India, she fought to reconcile her traditional upbringing with her ambitions. After a lifetime of being told she was too fat, too loud and too ambitious, her world fell apart in her 30s when her arranged marriage ended. Thirty years of desperately trying to be the person everyone else wanted had resulted in loneliness, depression and confusion. While looking for purpose and meaning, Devina embarked on a journey of self-discovery that led her to start the Sexy Brilliant Global Revolution.

Seeking a genuine connection to real people, she would meet potential dates, friends and business partners in unconventional places. Fearlessly jumping into new educational and business ventures, she built on every success and failure as an opportunity to learn more about herself and her many talents. Daring to step out of her comfort zone, Devina quickly learned that the dating scene was just another superficial construct where potential dates portrayed themselves as they knew others would find attractive, not as their true selves.

… She committed to deconstructing the formality of dating and “keeping things real.” When meeting a new person, Devina would always affirm that she was not just, “Okay.” She was, “Always sexy. Always brilliant.” The words she spoke would determine her frame of mind, and ultimately, the kinds of people she would attract. With every new connection and adventure, Devina uncovered her true self, and she realized that the only way she would have true and lasting love in her life was to love herself first! Thus, the Sexy Brilliant ideology was born, developed and shared around the world.

During my chat with Devina, we discuss: (chapter time stamps included)

  • How she did not like herself growing up. Her struggles with self-esteem about not only who she was and where she came from, but her weight and other challenges eventually found her sitting on railroad tracks contemplating taking her own life.
  • When the shift happened in her life and the circumstances that allowed her to get to a place of accepting herself and loving herself. You’ll learn how she left a secure job in the banking industry; even with all of the success, she was not happy and needed to discover who she was, take care of herself, and gain the courage to discover the direction that would lead her to a new life.
  • How faith, confidence, experience, and your mindset are all key in your transformation. You’ll learn how standing in front of a mirror helped her to reframe the language she used to describe herself, which would also change how she presented herself to others. Gaining inner self-confidence that comes from knowing yourself and your authentic gifts. Understanding both your strengths and weaknesses and that all of your parts, even the darkness, deserves love.
  • Coming to terms with embracing brilliance, when she truly began to notice a shift in her life and have the ability to love herself not just accept herself.
  • What can you expect when you visit her website, SexyBrilliant.com , attend one of her events or workshops, and embrace the Sexy Brilliant Philosophy of Personal Development.
  • Devina shares some of  her experiences in the dating world, as well as having to overcome several traumatic events in 2018, which resulted in the return of depression and suicidal thoughts. However, of the resilience she’s built up, her support system, and having a firm understanding of who she is and what’s capable of, empowered her to work through and overcome those struggles.
  • How men view the Sexy Brilliant Philosophy of Personal Development, and respond to her message.

Sexy Brilliant – Empowerment from the inside out. 

Be sure and check out SexyBrilliant.com for more information on Devina Kaur, including upcoming events, her book series, and appearances. Be sure to follow her on Twitter  Facebook, and Instagram, all at TheDevinaKaur.

free one hour coaching sessions - beyond your past

 

 

 

 

 

 

All conversation and information exchanged during participation on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on BeyondYourPast.com, and BeyondYourPastRadio.com is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on these podcasts or posted on the above mentioned websites are supplements for or supersedes the relationship and direction of your medical or mental health providers.

 

Antidepressants, PTSD, and Taking an Active Role in Your Treatment, with Dr. Wallace Mendelson – Ep. 104

Antidepressants, it seems to carry the idea of being a necessary evil for those who struggle with depression, any number of mental health challenges, including PTSD. It’s not something that most would want to rely on, either temporarily or in an ongoing basis, but yet their effectiveness can bring about a world of positive difference when used properly and under the supervision of a trained professional.

I used medications to help get some struggles I had, under control, and while it took some time and several doctor visits to get the dosage, amount, correct, the results were with it. Using the medications to help regulate my mood, reaction to stress, and ability to cope did serve me for a time, and with the combined efforts of a trauma informed therapist, I was able to wean myself off of them in time, again staying in contact with a trained medical professional.

Dr. Wallace Mendelson - Understanding Antidepressants - Podcast - Beyond Your PastMillions of people rely on antidepressants or have used them in the past. In fact, in the United States alone, 16 million Americans experience a major depression each year, and at any given time about ten percent of the population is taking antidepressants.  The popularity of antidepressants is increasing rapidly: there are about four times as many people taking them than in the 1990s. That means as you walk down the street, through the mall, or in the office, it’s likely that someone you see is on this type of medication.

There’s certainly no shame in using an antidepressant, but there is a certain amount of stigma and shame that can come with relying on a medication to help us in daily life. My guest today, Dr. Wallace Mendelson joins me on the podcast to discuss the use of antidepressants and share his expertise on how and why they work.

Wallace B. Mendelson MD is a Professor of Psychiatry and Clinical Pharmacology (ret) at the University of Chicago, and a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He has authored or co-authored four books and numerous scientific papers, primarily in the fields of psychopharmacology and sleep medicine.  His most recent book, The Science of Sleep (available on Amazon), shares with Understanding Antidepressants the goal of providing the scientific background of a group of disorders in a non-technical and very readable manner.

During our chat on this episode of the podcast, Dr. Mendelson and I discuss the following, surrounding the use of antidepressants:

  • The use of antidepressants to help with PTSD. Which medications are actually FDA approved for PTSD, and how doctors choose between the correct ones to use with someone who’s experienced trauma.
  • Concerns and apprehensions about using antidepressants.
  • The potential benefits of using antidepressants with therapy modalities such as CBT and Interpersonal therapy.
    • CBT – (in the area of depression) works on the idea that some kinds of thinking in which a depressed person does, can contribute to making the depression worse. Changing those beliefs, processes, and thinking patterns.
    • Interpersonal therapy – oriented to the way you interact with another person; having satisfactory relationship with others as being a critical part of ones overall mental health.
  • How antidepressants actually work; what they do in the body and brain.
  • The importance of taking an active role in your treatment, and educating yourself so you can better understand your progress and interactions with your medical and/or mental health professional.
  • His book, Understanding Antidepressants: which outlines in a non-technical, lavishly illustrated introduction on how antidepressants affect the brain, and a more general presentation of how drugs are absorbed, distributed, and eliminated from the body. You can get the full description of, and purchase his book, over on Amazon.

Dr. Mendelson is a wealth of knowledge in the area of antidepressants as well as sleep. He will be joining me again in 2019 to talk about his work as a sleep doctor and the importance of sleep in our lives, including his latest book:  The Science of Sleep: What It Is, How It Works, and Why It Matters.

You sure and check out Dr. Mendelson’s books and his website.

-Matthew Pappas, CLC, MPNLP

free one hour coaching sessions - beyond your past

 

 

 

 

 

 

All conversation and information exchanged during participation on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on BeyondYourPast.com, and BeyondYourPastRadio.com is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on these podcasts or posted on the above mentioned websites are supplements for or supersedes the relationship and direction of your medical or mental health providers

 

Balancing Vulnerability with Mental Health and LGBTQ+ Advocacy, with Lee Thomas – Ep. 103

It’s no secret that one of the keys to life, is balance. Lean too much towards work, and we can lose focus on our personal life and risk burn out. Lean too far towards the personal side, and we can end up losing sight of the career dreams and things we want to accomplish. When you toss Mental Health into the equation, it adds a whole new dimension to this struggle.

Not only do you have to juggle your personal and professional life, what ever that looks like for you individually, now you have any number of mental health challenges that bring about their own daily influx of struggles. Talk about the need for balance, right!

lee-thomas - podcast - beyond your pastAs a mental health and LGBTQ+ advocate, and current MSW student, Lee Thomas shares her thoughts on this topic and several others during this episode of the podcast.

I first met Lee when I came across her weekly Facebook Live show, Crazy Talk, after the HealtheVoices 2018 Conference. Lee regularly interviews advocates, clinicians, professional, survivors and others all around the topic of mental health and advocacy. I was honored to be on Crazy Talk earlier this year (you can find that episode by clicking here) and now I’m pleased to have Lee join me on Beyond Your Past.

Lee was born and raised in a small town in northern Alberta. From a young age they were heavily involved in athletics, student government, and other extracurriculars. However, during their teen years they began battling a mental illness. Feeling scared and alone, Lee struggled silently for many years. Their illness worsened throughout their high school years and continued into university, until Lee finally sought help and began the difficult process of recovery.

After Lee began the recovery process, they realized that there were still many people struggling with mental health issues in silence. To reduce the stigma around mental health issues on their campus, Lee founded the #MyDefinition poster campaign in 2014. Since then, Lee has been working as a motivational speaker and mental health trainer, speaking to groups of all ages and sizes about their own mental health experiences, the important of reducing stigma, and LGBTQ+ issues.

While continuing her graduate education in the field of social work, she continues to serve as a speaker, trainer, and writer in the mental health field; her work has been featured on The Mighty, TEDx, CBC News, and more.

During our chat on the podcast, we cover some of the struggles and triumphs in her life so far as well as her future work as social worker serving the LGBTQ+ community and others who know what it means to struggle with a mental illness such as depression, eating disorders, bipolar, and more:

  • Her struggle with depression, eating disorders, and self-harm in her teen-age years.
    • The realization that she had been suffering in silence for so long, and then learning what a mental illness means for her.
    • The limited information available about mental health when she was younger, and what she re-learned later.
  • Starting the #MyDefinition poster campaign and how that lead to acquiring speaking engagements and sharing her story at conferences and workshops.
  • The 3 keys of validation she needed to get started in her career:  Passion, Knowledge, and Something She was Good at.
  • What vulnerability looks like for each of us
  • Staying busy and the risk of doing so to avoid confronting and working through tough memories and emotions.
    • How staying busy reinforces the mindset of “uncopewithable” situations, and how this can set back healing.

Lee shares her thoughts on these topics and more during our chat, so I hope you’ll check out the podcast to hear more of her story, and don’t forget to subscribe and share it with someone who might benefit from Lee’s message. You never know the difference it might make.

Be sure and follow Lee on http://Facebook.com/LeeThomasSpeaks , and her website LeeThomas.ca

Matthew Pappas, CLC, MPNLP

free one hour coaching sessions - beyond your past

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All conversation and information exchanged during participation on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on BeyondYourPast.com, and BeyondYourPastRadio.com is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on these podcasts or posted on the above mentioned websites are supplements for or supersedes the relationship and direction of your medical or mental health providers.

 

Podcast – Ep. 97 – Dynamic Running Therapy, and Authenticity in Recovery, with William Pullen

One of the keys to healing from trauma, overcoming anxiety, working through depression, addictions, and virtually any other struggle is figuring out a way to get what’s in our heads, out of our heads in a way that feels safe, validating, and in compliance with who we are as individuals.  By doing so we begin to chip away at the self-shame that so often comes when battling any mental health challenge.

By showing up authentically, to ourselves and the world, even in the wake of extreme events, we gain confidence and resilience. We learn that what happened to us, does not define our future, and the struggles of our past only have the power that we allow them to have. This certainly does not mean that we should try to rush through recovery, or feel as though we should just get over what’s happened.  Instead, simply understand that, in time, we can learn to live and thrive in our present life, rather than being held back by the very thoughts, feelings, and coping strategies which served us for a time, but are now keeping us stuck.

william pullen - podcast - beyond your pastMy guest on this episode of the podcast, is someone who has developed a very unique approach to work through those very struggles that no longer serve us. William Pullen, creator of Dynamic Running Therapy, is a practicing therapist in the U.K., working with clients not only utilizing DRT, but also integrative psychotherapy in areas such as : substance abuse, emotional abuse, anxiety, relationship struggles, career change, life transition, self-esteem, depression, and more.

Integrative Psychotherapy aims to facilitate wholeness between the feeling, behavioural, cognitive, and physiological levels of functioning – in other words the whole person. This is done in part through looking at aspects of the self that you may be unaware of and making them conscious. Together we can look at the life you want for yourself and how to achieve it. Change takes time and cannot be rushed. I believe in providing focus and space, not pressure. I believe in removing expectation, often routed in the demands of others, and instead aligning ourselves with what we feel inside. Change comes about by clearing a path to where we want to be, not forcing our way through to it.

I work in a way that is warm, empathic, non-judgemental, and direct. I am not a therapist who will stare at you in silence. I also believe there is a place for humour in therapy. My work draws on many theoretical orientations and styles. Because each person is unique, my work is different with every person that I see. I tailor my approach to help you and your individual needs. I offer a comfortable and confidential space where you can look at your life free of expectation or judgement.

Dynamic Running Therapy includes the use of a smart phone app, and William’s book, Running with Mindfulness: Dynamic Running Therapy (DRT) to Improve Low-mood, Anxiety, Stress, and Depression. You can find his book on Amazon, and the app is available for iPhone users in the app store.

During our chat on the podcast:

  • We dive more into what exactly Dynamic Running Therapy  (DRT) is, how it works, and how this strategy can help not only with self-esteem, anxiety, stress, and depression, but many other mental health challenges.
  • His Tedx Talk, “Movement is Medicine“.
  • How the struggles of his past, not only in childhood but challenges in adult life, lead him into a role of becoming a Psychotherapist.
  • The importance of authenticity in healing from trauma.
  • Finding your purpose in life, what ever that looks like for you and no matter how long it takes to find, and using your combined experiences to shape who you are and your ability to relate to others.
  • Learning that staying in a survivor mentality can be detrimental to your overall healing.

I encourage you to check out William Pullen’s website, DynamicRunningTherapy.co.uk , to learn more about his work, DRT, and his book.  Be sure to follow him on Facebook and Twitter as well.

If you found this podcast helpful, consider subscribing on your favorite podcasting app and leaving a review; I would appreciate it so much. Don’t forget to share it with your friends!

-Matthew Pappas, CLC, MPNLP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All conversation and information exchanged during participation on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on BeyondYourPast.com, and BeyondYourPastRadio.com is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on these podcasts or posted on the above mentioned websites are supplements for or supersedes the relationship and direction of your medical or mental health providers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Podcast – Ep. 90 – Depression and Men’s Mental Health, with Al Levin, “It’s OK to not be OK”.

As fate would have it, divine intervention, or just total coincidence (not that I believe in coincidences), recently on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, I’ve been talking with guests surrounding the area of men’s mental health. Being a guy myself, it’s not like I haven’t covered this topic before on the show, however given recent events politically and socially, I’m glad that these recent episodes are helping to shine light on the male side of mental health and being a survivor of trauma. We are truly all in this together, regardless of gender, and the more we continue to bring this out into the open, the more we chip away at the stigma and shame of reaching out for help.

In episode 89, I talked with Andrea Schneider LCSW about overcoming shame, feeling alienated in regards to the #metoo movement, and reaching out for professional help as a male survivor of trauma.  You can click here to check out that episode, or listen on your favorite podcasting app. 

al levin - the depression files podcast - guest on beyond your past podcastMy guest here on episode 90, fellow podcaster, advocate for men’s mental health, and friend Al Levin.

“I’m an assistant principal in a public elementary school.  I’ve been in education for nearly twenty years.  I’m married and have four children. I’ve recently completed all of the coursework in working towards a Co-Active coaching certificate through the Coaches Training Institute.  The coaching work has allowed me to support the staff I work with in the public schools, as well as others who are seeking support in reaching their goals or working past challenging times in their lives.

I am also a person who has recovered from a major depressive disorder, an illness that was quite debilitating for nearly six months of my life.  Through this experience, I have become very passionate about learning more about mental health and supporting others with a mental illness, particularly men with depression. In addition to this blog, I speak publicly for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and I tweet @allevin18.”

Al’s podcast, The Depression Files, and his advocacy work focuses primarily on men’s mental health and specifically with depression, along with encouraging men to open up and seek help when their depression reaches a level where thoughts of suicide begin to surface. Al Levin himself was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and knows first hand what’s like to wake up in the middle of night contemplating ways to take his life, feeling like a burden on his family and society, and living life completely consumed by depression.

His website, also outlines more of his story of “how everything seemed to be going well, yet everything seemed to come crashing down.”  Which is precisely the topic of our conversation on the podcast. I wanted to chat with Al because his story is one that so many men and women today can relate too. A guy who’s life was seemingly humming along; good job, hard work paying off with a new promotion, loving wife and family, good friends, yet something lurking in the background and beginning to surface that he didn’t expect.

During the podcast you’ll learn how:

  • In 2010, Al received the promotion he had been working so hard towards, but once he took on the new responsibilities, everything began to change and his was slowly but surely being turned upside down. The stresses of late hours, budget constraints, managing staff, and oversized classes began to take its toll. He was running on adrenaline more often than not, not sleeping well or eating properly,  and not communicating with his wife, family, and friends.
  • How those events translated into seeking help from his family doctor and starting on medications to help with a new diagnosis of depression.
  • As things began to continue spiraling down, affecting his job, family, and friendships, thoughts of suicide began to surface.
  • How waking up in the middle of the night after dreaming of ways to take his own life, prompted him to talk with his wife and family and seek the help of a mental health professional.
  • Along with Al’s story, which he shares much more in-depth on the podcast, we discuss:
    • The shame that men face in asking for help.
    • How anxiety and depression can go hand in hand
    • Asking a safe person to help advocate for you when seeking help
    • How thoughts of suicide and those who unfortunately take their own life, is not an act of selfishness but rather is often feeling of being a burden on their family and society.

We cover all of this and more on the podcast, as Al uses his voice and life experiences to help inspire everyone who lives with depression, thoughts of suicide or any mental health struggle to not be ashamed or embarrassed about asking for help.

Thank you again Al for joining me today, your message is so important, now more than ever.

You can follow Al on Twitter: @allevin18 , his website TheDepressionFiles.com , and his podcast on iTunes and Podbean

-Matthew Pappas, CLC, CPNLP

 

All conversation and information exchanged during participation on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on BeyondYourPast.com, and BeyondYourPastRadio.com is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on these podcasts or posted on the above mentioned websites are supplements for or supersedes the relationship and direction of your medical or mental health providers.

Podcast – Ep. 87 – Mental Health Advocacy from Personal Experience, with Charlotte Underwood

Living day in and day out as someone who has experienced extreme hardship from the loss of a parent, childhood trauma, addiction, eating disorders, and more, is hard enough as it is, but to speak about it publicly as you continue to face your past each day as well can be even more difficult. After all this is something that we’d probably rather push down into a dark corner of our mind, and never think about again.

It’s often a source that still has open wounds which are decades old, some of which still feel as fresh as the day they happened. Others, well the scars are there to remind us of what we experienced. Either way, those things that we’d rather forget, can be a source of motivation and encouragement, both for us and for those whom we influence each day, knowingly or otherwise.

charlotte underwood - author and advocate - podcast guest - beyond your pastCharlotte Underwood is an advocate, author, and freelance writer who’s dedicated her life to talking about areas of personal struggle in hopes of helping others and instituting the change that is so desperately needed in the areas of mental health care and support. Her content includes topics such as: Anxiety & Depression, Self-Harm, Suicide Loss and Suicidal Ideations, Eating Disorders, Bullying, and more. Bringing her on as my guest for this episode of the Beyond Your Past Podcast, is something I have been looking forward ever since I came across her profile on Instagram and began following her work.

As she outlines on her website, CharlotteUnderwoodAuthor.com I’m Charlotte Underwood, a young 22-year-old from Norfolk, UK. I am a growing mental health advocate and like to use writing to inform and support. On this blog you can keep up to date with my written work, both self published and through other means. I post a lot about mental health, depression, anxiety and suicide. I want to raise awareness as well as end the stigma.

I have been writing professionally for a year now but don’t let that put you off, for though it seems like I have little experience, that is not that case. I have written two E-Books and run my own growing and successful blog, soon I even hope to break my poetry out into the world! I have written over 100 Guest posts, …and have worked for The Metro, TalkSpace, Young Minds and The Content Wolf.

My content is focused on mental health and lifestyle, you can expect candid and thought-provoking content from me.

During my chat with Charlotte, you’ll learn:

  • When she first felt like something was wrong in her life.
  • What it’s been like for her living with a mental illness
  • How her recovery continues to progress
  • Ways that she manages daily life with her mental illness
  • What being an advocate means to her, and why sharing from personal experience is so important.
  • Seeking out mental health assistance in the U.K.; including her personal challenges and ways that she’s working to help change that process.

Charlotte speaks very candidly with a perspective that is well beyond her age. Indeed, she’s lived through some tremendous adversity, including losing her father to suicide and surviving her own attempt. Her honesty and drive to help others and bring about awareness and change, is inspiring. Her willingness to talk about the topics that many would rather avoid,  is and surely will continue to make a difference in this world.

There’s much more I could share about my chat with this incredible advocate and survivor, so head over check out my podcast with Charlotte Underwood, and learn more about her life and her dedication to helping others :).

Please consider following Charlotte on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, where she is very active on a daily basis. Her blog is a great follow as well, and her two eBooks are available for download on her website.

Thanks again Charlotte for joining on the podcast, I’m honored to know you and to help share your message!

-Matthew Pappas, CLC, CPNLP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All conversation and information exchanged during participation on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on BeyondYourPast.com, and BeyondYourPastRadio.com is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on these podcasts or posted on the above mentioned websites are supplements for or supersedes the relationship and direction of your medical or mental health providers.

 

Podcast – Ep. 86 – A Diagnosis of Bipolar II Disorder, and Identifying Hypomanic Triggers, with John Dickson.

Living with a mental health challenge of any type, often means that you go through many stages of exploration until you reach a true diagnosis that will allow you and your helping professional to put a plan in place of the proper treatment and self-care routine. Initially these types of changes in our mental health can often lead to having more questions than answers, but in time the new insight gained can be invaluable to our recovery.

My guest on this episode of the Beyond Your Past Podcast, John Dickson, lived with Major Depressive Disorder for 40 years, before being officially diagnosed. As he shares on his blog, The3inMe.ga, …Over the majority of that period, my illness was undiagnosed and untreated. It’s only in hindsight that I can see that I’ve experienced many depressive episodes. Each episode was both darker and longer in duration than its predecessor. The most severe episode culminated in a suicide attempt in September 2014. It was after this attempt that I was diagnosed as having Major Depressive Disorder.

More recently I’ve been diagnosed with Bipolar II Disorder. Bipolar II Disorder differs from Bipolar Disorder in having a hypomanic state rather than a manic state. Hypomanic simply means less manic. I’m still coming to terms with this new diagnosis and don’t yet fully understand it. I’ll share what I learn in this blog.

Depression is the silent killer. This is true especially, among men. Men remain silent and steadfast while they suffer. I was one of those men. I suffered in silence until I succumbed. This lesson has taught me to speak out about the dangers of silence and in this blog, I speak out. I also have a son and family who I love very much. This blog is for them. Here they can see for themselves that I’m recovering.

John and I first met at the HealtheVoices 2018 Conference, in Chicago. We struck up a friendship there and have kept in touch since that event. You can listen to some thoughts that I had about the conference on a special edition podcast that I recorded this past spring. 

During the podcast, we cover topics including:

  • Why John is so open about sharing his mental health struggles.
  • More about the events that lead to an attempt in taking his own life in September, 2014.
  • How those events lead him into not only his blog writing but advocacy work.
  • Talking specifically with your therapist or counselor about specific diagnosis treatments and options.
  • How his life has changed since the events in 2014, including the new diagnosis of Bipolar II disorder and learning to understand what it means for him, including the hypomanic states that come along with it.

Be sure and check out his blog, The3inMe.ga , as he writes weekly about his journey of understanding and healing, both past and present. John’s message is one of vulnerable insight… an expression of hope, a declaration of love and a celebration of a life reclaimed. Ultimately, it’s my letter to my son, my apology and my promise.

You can follow John on Twitter @Zelandroid009

If you haven’t done so yet, please consider subscribing to the podcast, to get notified when I release new episodes each week! I’d sure be stoked to have you on this journey of inspiring others with the power of sharing their stories.

-Matthew Pappas, CLC, CPNLP

 

 

 

 

 

 

All conversation and information exchanged during participation the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on BeyondYourPast.com, and BeyondYourPastRadio.com is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on these podcasts or posted on the above mentioned websites are supplements for or supersedes the relationship and direction of your medical or mental health providers.

Podcast – Ep. 85 – Depression, Bipolar, and College Life, with Anja Burcak

When I was approached by recent college graduate, Anja Burcak, about being a guest on the podcast, I was intrigued not only because she wanted to share her story, but also that it would be coming from the perspective of a young adult, fresh out of college, speaking on the struggles of Depression, Bipolar, and mania. I’ve covered these topics many times in the past, usually though from the perspective of someone who had experienced similar struggles during their younger years.

I’m always on the lookout for ways to help share get the word out about what living with a particular mental health challenge is like, from as many perspectives as possible, and being able to chat with Anja is surely going to help reach so many, especially those who are young adults and parents who’s children are growing up and heading out on their own.

anja burcak - podcast - beyond your pastAnja is a blogger and advocate for Mental Health, and a recent graduate of UNC, Chapel Hill, where she studied Psychology, and is now looking to begin her career in addition to continuing her current advocacy work.

As outlined on her blog, “She often writes about mania, depression, and anxiety, from a first-person perspective. Being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder (Type 1) 2 years ago has given her insight into the struggles many face with finding the right diagnosis, treatment, and providers. She hopes that sharing her story will create more open, honest conversations about mental health, fighting the stigma one conversation at a time. Lately, she has been exploring new ways to be an advocate, including getting involved in a podcast, guest posts, and vlogging.”

Her blog, The Calculating Mind, is her thoughts on living with Bipolar, Depression, and Mania, written from a unique and insightful point of view. As I read through several of her recent articles, it gives me a sense that Anja writes with the intent of telling it like it is, and not sugar coating the challenges or what she feels needs to be changed. Her blog was also recently nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award! Congrats, Anja!

Some of the topics we cover during her podcast include:

  1. FIRST SIGNS OF DEPRESSION: What were the first signs that what you were experiencing was more severe than a typical “low” period? How did you know that it was depression, not merely sadness?
  2. BIPOLAR DIAGNOSIS: When did you realize that your diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder was inaccurate? What were signs of bipolar disorder? How did you anja burcak - podcast - depression - bipolar - young adults - beyond your pastreact (i.e. denial, sad, angry, relieved)?
  3. IMPACT OF ILLNESS ON COLLEGE: How did being depressed or manic impact your academic life (i.e. exams, grades)? –This could also be asked about impact on family, friendships, relationships, etc
  4. HOSPITALIZATIONS: From your experience (hospitalizations), what do you believe are some misconceptions the general public has about psychiatric wards? What did you think the hospitalization would be like (i.e. Were you scared to be admitted)? How did your perception of those with “severe mental illnesses”, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, change during your hospital stay?
  5. RECOVERY: What has helped you get back to “baseline” level? Medications? Therapy? Support networks? Coping mechanisms?
  6. ONLINE MENTAL HEALTH COMMUNITY: You are an active member of the mental health community online. What got you started? Why do you continue to be active with mental health blogging and social media? What is your overall goal (i.e. fighting stigma, psychoeducation)?
  7. LOOKING TO THE FUTURE: What is your outlook regarding your future and your condition? Are you concerned about relapsing? Are you keeping a more positive outlook? Given your past episodes and what you know now, do you feel better prepared for another episode, should it happen?

If you are in college, have a child in college or perhaps getting ready to head off to school soon, you’ll definitely want to check out Anja’s perspective on how these diagnoses changed her life, and affected her time at college. She shares how things were humming along in life, she finished high school, getting ready for college, and then in 2014 everything changed.

Suddenly she found herself working with a mental health professional, and not exactly having a positive experience, which lead to a search for more help, getting on medication, and then not receiving follow up support and trying to navigate life with more even more struggles and challenges that she wasn’t expecting.

Her story is one that I’m sure will be relatable to so many who have struggled in similar ways that Anja has, but her resiliency and desire to educate herself, along with finding good helping professionals has aided her during her ongoing journey of discovery about herself and her future.

Be sure and follow Anja on Twitter, LinkedIn, The Mighty, The Odessy, and her blog, The Calculating Mind.

-Matthew Pappas, CLC, CPNLP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All conversation and information exchanged during participation the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on BeyondYourPast.com, and BeyondYourPastRadio.com is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on these podcasts or posted on the above mentioned websites are supplements for or supersedes the relationship and direction of your medical or mental health providers.