#28 Who am I beyond my illness? Rachel’s journey with anorexia

anorexia illness mental health podcast

It’s a question that many people with chronic illnesses must face. Answering that question pulled Rachel back to living her life after four years of hospitalization. As a young teenager, she struggled to find her own identity and place in the world. It was that struggle that lead to her to her pre-anorexia and later anorexia diagnosis. Controlling her food intake was a way to control her emotions and a cry for help. Eventually deemed “treatment resistant,” she focused more on her education and found her way back to her passions and life.

Listen To Episode 28

In this episode of Silent Superheroes, we learn what landed Rachel in a psychiatric institution. She explains how she navigated multiple psychiatric facilities and medical interventions. We hear how her story evolved once she was at college and living on her own. Finally, we’ll hear how support from friends and an intervention helped to pull her out of her lowest point. From there, finding a good therapist and doing the work were key to her recovery.

About Anorexia

Anorexia is an eating disorder characterized by an abnormally low body weight, an intense fear of gaining weight. People with anorexia place value on controlling their weight, in ways that tend to significantly interfere with their lives.

To prevent weight gain, people with anorexia usually severely restrict the amount of food they eat. They may control calorie intake by vomiting after eating or through misusing medications. They may also try to lose weight by exercising excessively.

Anorexia isn’t about food. It’s an extremely unhealthy and sometimes life-threatening way to try to cope with emotional problems. When you have anorexia, you often equate thinness with self-worth. Anorexia, like other eating disorders, can take over your life and can be very difficult to overcome. But with treatment, you can gain a better sense of who you are. You can return to healthier eating habits and reverse some of anorexia’s serious complications.

Getting Support

Remember, the people you hear on Silent Superheroes are sharing their opinions about mental health and mental illness. They are not giving advice. For that reason, please consult with your care provider before making a change to your treatment approach.

It’s important to take your mental health seriously. Consequently, if you need to speak to someone you can call 1-800-273-8255, or text crisistextline.org on 741741. Both provide 24×7 confidential counseling to people in the United States. Worldwide visit http://iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/

Because you listened to the  podcast, you can help others find it by leaving us a review on iTunes. Or if you don’t use iTunes, leave a review on your favorite podcasting service.

#27 The Flywheel of Mental Wellness

mental wellness on mental health podcast with jonathan shooshani

Jonathan Shooshani is the co-founder of HR tech company Joon, that makes it easy for employees to self direct their benefits. For HR and finance teams, Joon eliminates the administrative burden of physical and mental wellness initiatives.

Listen To Episode 27

For some people, total wellness is something that comes to them as part of a wellness kick during adulthood.  That’s not true for Jonathan, he has been experimenting with ways to improve his body and mind since finding a workout book in his Dad’s closet as a kid.  That discovery set him on a lifelong journey of experiments to improve his physical and mental wellness to help him live the life he wants to lead.  A life that has led to co-founding a business to help others improve their wellness and lives.

In this episode of Silent Superheroes, we’ll hear how Jonathan started his wellness journey.  He’ll share how two moments of astounding clarity helped him fend off addiction and depression.  He’ll share the list of unusual things he does right now to develop physical and mental wellness.  Most important of all he’ll tell us how his wellness journey led him to co-found Joon as a way to help employers meet their employees wellness needs, wherever the employee is on their journey.

Links

Getting Support

Remember, the people you hear on Silent Superheroes are sharing their opinions about mental health and mental illness. They are not giving advice. For that reason, please consult with your care provider before making a change to your treatment approach.

It’s important to take your mental health seriously. Consequently, if you need to speak to someone you can call 1-800-273-8255, or text crisistextline.org on 741741. Both provide 24×7 confidential counseling to people in the United States. Worldwide visit http://iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/

Because you listened to the  podcast, you can help others find it by leaving us a review on iTunes. Or if you don’t use iTunes, leave a review on your favorite podcasting service.

#26 Doing The Hard Work – Panic Disorder, Anxiety and Depression

panic disorder anxiety depression mental health podcast

Andrew is the CEO of mental health startup Heard who are creating a trusted space for therapists.  Becoming a CEO wasn’t always on the cards for Andrew.  Early in life, he was beset with panic disorder, anxiety and depression and as a teenager he did drugs and ran with the wrong crowd.  At his worst he had a stomach full of pills and a revolver in his mouth.

Listen To Episode 26

Everyone likes a good rags to riches redemption story, the homeless person who becomes a radio presenter again, the kid from the projects who becomes an international musician.  Andrew started on the wrong path but that’s not the story here.  This is a story about putting in the work and grinding it out.  Some of the work is stuff we all do to build a life, like studying at college and climbing the corporate ladder.  The real story is the work Andrew has done and is doing on the inside to face and come to terms with his mental illness, and working on the scars of a traumatic past.

In this episode of Silent Superheroes, Andrew gives an inside look at his panic disorder, anxiety and depression.  He talks about the mental health resources PWC offered, and also some of the gaps in their offering.  Finally, he tells what he and his co-founders at Heard are doing to bring mental illness out of the shadows.

Links

About Support

A panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear that triggers severe physical reactions when there is no real danger or apparent cause. Panic attacks can be very frightening. When panic attacks occur, you might think you’re losing control, having a heart attack or even dying.

Many people have just one or two panic attacks in their lifetimes, and the problem goes away, perhaps when a stressful situation ends. But if you’ve had recurrent, unexpected panic attacks and spent long periods in constant fear of another attack, you may have a condition called panic disorder.

Although panic attacks themselves aren’t life-threatening, they can be frightening and significantly affect your quality of life. But treatment can be very effective.

Getting Support

Remember, the people you hear on Silent Superheroes are sharing their opinions about mental health and mental illness. They are not giving advice. For that reason, please consult with your care provider before making a change to your treatment approach.

It’s important to take your mental health seriously. Consequently, if you need to speak to someone you can call 1-800-273-8255, or text crisistextline.org on 741741. Both provide 24×7 confidential counseling to people in the United States. Worldwide visit http://iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/

Because you listened to the  podcast, you can help others find it by leaving us a review on iTunes. Or if you don’t use iTunes, leave a review on your favorite podcasting service.

#25 Situational Depression With Taylor Comeau

taylor comeau mental health podcast

Taylor Comeau ‘s retirement from professional soccer helped her realized mental health is as important as physical health. At the end of her she started experiencing situational depression and sought help from a therapist. Situational depression is a short term, stress related type of depression.

Listen To Episode 25

Show Notes

I’m a huge fan of soccer. I don’t remember the exact moment I became a fan, but it feels like forever.  As a fan, I sit on my couch or in the stadium, following the rollercoaster journey of supporting my team.  I’d always wondered, what’s it like to be on the pitch with thousands of fans watching.

I connected with Taylor via some friends at Modern Health, where she is working in sales.  After looking her up on LinkedIn I learned that she’d paid professional soccer. Excited, I reached out and set some time to meet.  I know it takes a lot to reach the pro level in most sports.  Even talented athletes that work incredibly hard don’t make the grade.  As I started to ask Taylor about her journey and how it affected her mental health, I started to understand the relentless drive it takes to make it and the sacrifices you make along the way.  Sacrifices that surely affect your mental health.

In this episode of Silent Superheroes, Taylor Comeau shares her experience growing up in a family of athletes and the competitive culture of the Bay Area.  After that, she talks about the drive it took to succeed and the difficult decisions and tradeoffs she made. She talks about the conflict between her desire to continue to grow her career and the need to be able to spend more time with family and friends.  Finally, she recalls how she had to confront her situational depression and shares how she’s doing now.

About Situational Depression

Situational depression is a short-term, stress-related type of depression that can develop after you experiencing a traumatic event or series of events. It can make it hard for people to adjust to everyday life following a traumatic event. Situational depression is also known as reactive depression. Situational depression can be triggered by problems at work or school, illness, death of a loved one, moving and relationship problems.

Getting Support

Remember, the people you hear on Silent Superheroes are sharing their opinions about mental health and mental illness. They are not giving advice. For that reason, please consult with your care provider before making a change to your treatment approach.

It’s important to take your mental health seriously. Consequently, if you need to speak to someone you can call 1-800-273-8255, or text crisistextline.org on 741741. Both provide 24×7 confidential counseling to people in the United States. Worldwide visit http://iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/

Because you listened to the  podcast, you can help others find it by leaving us a review on iTunes. Or if you don’t use iTunes, leave a review on your favorite podcasting service.

#24 Calming the Tornado of ADHD

tornado of ADHD mental health podcast

From time to time, I get requests through LinkedIn from people I don’t know to go for coffee.  I often decline but sometimes my curiosity kicks in and I say “Yes”. When I got Jim’s message, something piqued my interest, and I said Yes.  We arranged to meet at Miro Tea in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. On the day of our meeting, I’d been in a depression for several days and was feeling pretty miserable.  I bought a pot of green tea with two cups and waited for Jim to arrive. Eventually he walked in and looked around, trying to find the stranger he’d never met. I remember he was wearing a knit cap.

Listen To Episode 24

Show Notes

Blind business meetings are a tricky business.  Will you have anything to talk about? Fortunately it was Jim who started asking the questions.  His questions were insightful and more powerful than I’d expected from a typical “business get to know you meeting”.  After a while, Jim started to share his own story including his experience with the tornado of ADHD and his time spent in a Buddhist monastery studying under well-known Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh.  Suddenly I understood why he was asking such good questions. I understood why he was so patient and curious.

By the time our hour was over, I could feel my depression lifting.  There was something about Jim, his authenticity, his presence and his calm that helped ground me and brought me back into the real world.  I mailed him later and asked him to share his story on the show.

In this episode, Jim shares his personal journey, from leaving Vietnam on a military plane to the USA to leaving the University of Washington and moving to Hawaii to escape anxiety and depression.  Finally, ending up living for a year in a Buddhist monastery.

On the way, Jim shares why he played truant for 45 days and what happened when he was caught. He reflects on a series of geographic and work changes that fed the tornado of ADHD and how that made his Anxiety and Depression worse.  He explains how a near death experience led him to pursue peace at a monastery. Finally, after calming the tornado of ADHD, Jim shares why he left the monastery and what career he discovered that could use what he had learned.

Links

  • Peace Is Every Step – Thich Nhat Hanh (book)
  • Being Peace – Thich Nhat Hanh (book)
  • When Things Fall Apart – Pema Chodron (book)
  • The Wisdom Of No Escape – Pema Chodron (book)

About ADHD

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a chronic condition that affects millions of children and often continues into adulthood. ADHD includes a combination of persistent problems, such as difficulty sustaining attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior.

Children with ADHD may also struggle with low self-esteem, troubled relationships and poor performance in school. Symptoms sometimes lessen with age. However, some people never completely outgrow their symptoms and experience ADHD at work. But they can learn strategies to be successful.

While treatment won’t cure ADHD, it can help a great deal with symptoms. Treatment typically involves medications and behavioral interventions. Early diagnosis and treatment can make a big difference in outcome.

Getting Support

Remember, the people you hear on Silent Superheroes are sharing their opinions about mental health and mental illness. They are not giving advice. For that reason, please consult with your care provider before making a change to your treatment approach.

It’s important to take your mental health seriously. Consequently, if you need to speak to someone you can call 1-800-273-8255, or text crisistextline.org on 741741. Both provide 24×7 confidential counseling to people in the United States. Worldwide visit http://iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/

Because you listened to the  podcast, you can help others find it by leaving us a review on iTunes. Or if you don’t use iTunes, leave a review on your favorite podcasting service.

#23 Healing From Inherited Trauma – Being an Adult Child of an Alcoholic

adult child of an alcoholic mental health podcast

Elizabeth has built a successful career in education but grew up in an alcoholic household and became an adult child of an alcoholic. In Silent Superheroes, we often hear about people’s personal battle with mental illness.  The truth is that most of us aren’t an island. We have friends, family and colleagues in our life that we interact with everyday.  When you spend a lot of time around someone, you leave marks on each other. This episode is about how our personal struggles change those around us.

Listen To Episode 23

Show Notes

In this episode, Elizabeth is going to talk about her upbringing as the child of an alcoholic and how that shaped her worldview and affected her work.  She’ll tell us about the life changing news she found in her lunchbox and how a residential recovery program changed her mom. We’ll hear about the night drinking with her brother that showed her how her Mom’s alcoholism had affected her.  And how as a result of that night how she started her road to recovery. Finally, she’ll share the various different approaches she’s taken to healing, and how they’ve lead her to a place where she’s comfortable in ambiguity in her work.

Links

About The Adult Child of an Alcoholic Program

Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA)/Dysfunctional Families is a Twelve StepTwelve Tradition program of men and women who grew up in dysfunctional homes.

We meet to share our experience of growing up in an environment where abuse, neglect and trauma infected us. This affects us today and influences how we deal with all aspects of our lives.

ACA provides a safe, nonjudgmental environment that allows us to grieve our childhoods and conduct an honest inventory of ourselves and our family—so we may (i) identify and heal core trauma, (ii) experience freedom from shame and abandonment, and (iii) become our own loving parents.

Getting Support

Remember, the people you hear on Silent Superheroes are sharing their opinions about mental health and mental illness. They are not giving advice. For that reason, please consult with your care provider before making a change to your treatment approach.

It’s important to take your mental health seriously. Consequently, if you need to speak to someone you can call 1-800-273-8255, or text crisistextline.org on 741741. Both provide 24×7 confidential counseling to people in the United States. Worldwide visit http://iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/

Because you listened to the  podcast, you can help others find it by leaving us a review on iTunes. Or if you don’t use iTunes, leave a review on your favorite podcasting service.

#22 How to manage employee mental health through Coronavirus

employee mental health coronavirus mental health podcast

What happens to employee mental health when you add a global pandemic like Covid-19 / coronavirus to the usual stresses and strains of work and life?  I sought out experts in workplace mental health field to get their advice. I was fortunate to find Candice Schaefer, the Head of Global Employee Wellness at Twitter and Myra Altman, the Head of Clinical Care at Modern Health, a mental health platform.

Listen To Episode 22

During our discussion, we identify the two key impacts of coronavirus on mental health : increased overall anxiety and loneliness.  We discuss how companies should manage the impact of coronavirus on mental health at work. And we also look at the positive impact of coronavirus on mental health at work.

Myra and Candice identify 6 ways that you can support employee mental health through the coronavirus / covid 19 outbreak.

Take Action

  1. Make the logistics of working from home easy. This can reduce anxiety because it’s stressful to adjust to working in a new environment. Make sure you’re helping with equipment, software setup, expenses and ergonomic challenges,
  2. Establish new norms that encourage people to connect each day, for example a daily standup. Helping people connect can combat loneliness,
  3. Create new ways of connecting socially, for example a scheduled Pet Happy Hour where pet owners get online and introduce their pets. You could also get people to share a #before and #after challenge for setting up their WFH space. This will also help combat loneliness,
  4. Encourage people to maintain health exercise habits, for example holding a step challenge or having a group walk using phones + Zoom. A healthy exercise routine can combat anxiety,
  5. Help people maintain a routine and set appropriate boundaries so “work” and “life” don’t blur and create anxiety. The social cues you have in an office (that the lights are off and everyone left) aren’t there at home. There are several different ways to set a boundary. Individuals can nominate a buddy to remind them to step away from their desk to help with social connection. Or people can set an alarm, or have an announcement in Slack,
  6. Managers should invest extra time in calling people on the phone. This both makes a social connection and lets you look for signs of anxiety. If you’re not the type of manager who is “good” at connecting with people human to human, this is a great time to try,
  7. And at the corporate level, communicate, communicate, communicate. Uncertainty creates anxiety and right now employees may be uncertain about how long they’ll be working away from the office and whether there are going to be impacts to the business and their job.

Links

  • Keeping Twitter Employees Safe During Coronavirus (article)
  • Supporting your teams in stressful situations (article)
  • Dr Candice Schaefer (guest)
  • Dr Myra Altman (guest)
  • Modern Health (company)
  • Twitter (company)

Getting Support

Remember, the people you hear on Silent Superheroes are sharing their opinions about mental health and mental illness. They are not giving advice. For that reason, please consult with your care provider before making a change to your treatment approach.

It’s important to take your mental health seriously. Consequently, if you need to speak to someone you can call 1-800-273-8255, or text crisistextline.org on 741741. Both provide 24×7 confidential counseling to people in the United States. Worldwide visit http://iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/

Because you listened to the  podcast, you can help others find it by leaving us a review on iTunes. Or if you don’t use iTunes, leave a review on your favorite podcasting service.

#21 A psychiatrist, counselor and advocate walk into a podcast

mental health at work mental health podcast

In this episode of Silent Superheroes, we’re doing something a little bit different to mix things up.  We’ll listen in on a conversation about mental illness at work between 3 people who work in the mental health field. Firstly, we have Catherine Davies who is a licensed psychiatrist. Secondly, we have Joe Guppy, a therapist turned author and teacher. And finally we have Jeremiah Bainbridge, who is a mental health program director with the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Seattle.

Listen To Episode 21

Show Notes

In their wide ranging conversation, Catherine, Joe and Jeremiah try to define stigma. They also dig into the ways that health benefits can help and hinder mental health care. And finally they generate a cornucopia of ideas about what businesses should be doing to support people who manage mental illness at work.

I want to thank Catherine, Jeremiah and Joe for making the time to record this podcast amongst

Links

  • WHO Report on Mental Health in the Workplace (article)
  • NAMI Seattle -Jeremiah’s employer (organization)
  • Dyad Mental Health – Catherine’s practice (organization)
  • Joe Guppy (website)
  • My Fluorescent God – Joe’s book (book)
  • Long Hours Backfire for People and for Companies (article)

Getting Support

Remember, the people you hear on Silent Superheroes are sharing their opinions about mental health and mental illness. They are not giving advice. For that reason, please consult with your care provider before making a change to your treatment approach.

It’s important to take your mental health seriously. Consequently, if you need to speak to someone you can call 1-800-273-8255, or text crisistextline.org on 741741. Both provide 24×7 confidential counseling to people in the United States. Worldwide visit http://iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/

Because you listened to the  podcast, you can help others find it by leaving us a review on iTunes. Or if you don’t use iTunes, leave a review on your favorite podcasting service.


#20 Finding Perspective, Bipolar and Alcoholism at Work

bipolar and alcoholism mental health podcast

By day, Daniel is a sales manager at a credit card processing company and by night he’s a stand up comedian. Bipolar and alcoholism bring a unique perspective to Daniel’s work. As a stand up comedian, his life provides plenty of material, and his bipolar means he’s two comedians in one. As a sales manager, he’s able to stay calm and not be driven by the potential for success and failure. Because of his illnesses, Daniel has an honesty and an insight about him that cuts through the day-to-day business bullshit. As one of his colleagues, he makes work interesting and fun.

Listen To Episode 20

Show Notes

In this episode of Silent Superheroes, we get to know Daniel a lot better.  He talks about comedy, and how bipolar means he’s two different comedians in one performer.  He shares the advice he got from a homeless woman in Central Park, that lead him to sobriety.  And finally, he reflects on the slightly nihilistic outlook on life, that helps him keep things in perspective.

Links

Here’s some places to find Daniel :

As a result of Daniel’s Instagram, I’ve just had a fit of laughter. That’s the genius of people with bipolar and alcoholism.

About Bipolar

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings. For example, mood swings include emotional highs called mania or hypomania, and lows called depression. On the other hand, Bipolar disorder used to be called manic depression.

When depressed bipolar patients may feel sad or hopeless and lose interest in most activities. Then, when a patients mood shifts to mania or the less extreme hypomania, patients may feel euphoric, full of energy or unusually irritable. These mood swings can affect sleep, energy, activity, judgment, behavior and the ability to think clearly.

Episodes of mood swings may occur rarely or multiple times a year. While most patients will experience some emotional symptoms between episodes, some may not experience any.Although bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition, patients manage mood swings and other symptoms by following a treatment plan. In most cases, bipolar disorder is treated with medications and psychological counseling.

Getting Help

Remember, the people you hear on Silent Superheroes are sharing their opinions about mental health and mental illness. They are not giving advice. For that reason, please consult with your care provider before making a change to your treatment approach.

It’s important to take your mental health seriously. Consequently, if you need to speak to someone you can call 1-800-273-8255, or text crisistextline.org on 741741. Both provide 24×7 confidential counseling to people in the United States. Worldwide visit http://iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/

Because you listened to the  podcast, you can help others find it by leaving us a review on iTunes. Or if you don’t use iTunes, leave a review on your favorite podcasting service.

#19 Garbage And Gas To A Mental Health Advocate – ADHD

mental health advocate mental health podcast

Todd and his family identified his ADD fairly early in life. For a while, a regimen of medication helped him be a 4-point student. Then in 7th grade, a friend introduced him to marijuana. Todd decided he’d found a different way to manage ADD, quit his medications and started a rollercoaster that didn’t fully settle down until he found the power of community through Crossfit. Eventually, Todd was able to take his experience and be a mental health advocate for others.

Listen To Episode 19

Show Notes

In this episode of Silent Superheroes, we’ll talk about whether we’d live our lives again without our mental illness. We’ll discuss how Microsoft has become more mental illness friendly under new CEO Satya Nadella. Because of the change in culture, Todd has been able to step up as a mental health advocate. Finally, Todd explains why he arrived to record this episode bearing a plant.

About ADHD

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a chronic condition that affects millions of children and often continues into adulthood. ADHD includes a combination of persistent problems, such as difficulty sustaining attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior.

Children with ADHD may also struggle with low self-esteem, troubled relationships and poor performance in school. Symptoms sometimes lessen with age. However, some people never completely outgrow their symptoms and experience ADHD at work. But they can learn strategies to be successful.

While treatment won’t cure ADHD, it can help a great deal with symptoms. Treatment typically involves medications and behavioral interventions. Early diagnosis and treatment can make a big difference in outcome.

Getting Support

Remember, the people you hear on Silent Superheroes are sharing their opinions about mental health and mental illness. They are not giving advice. For that reason, please consult with your care provider before making a change to your treatment approach.

It’s important to take your mental health seriously. Consequently, if you need to speak to someone you can call 1-800-273-8255, or text crisistextline.org on 741741. Both provide 24×7 confidential counseling to people in the United States. Worldwide visit http://iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/

Because you listened to the  podcast, you can help others find it by leaving us a review on iTunes. Or if you don’t use iTunes, leave a review on your favorite podcasting service.