#18 A Monster, Saved By Her Knight In Shining Armor – Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Suicide

body dysmorphic disorder mental health at work

“I remember doing it, and I remember making the conscious effort. But it really wasn’t me … but it was me. It’s a really hard thing to explain.”

Listen To Episode 18

Show Notes

That was Shana, describing what she was feeling just after swallowing handfuls of pills during a suicide attempt.  Shana was the Silent Superhero featured in episode 17, where she shared her experience living and working with PTSD and OCD.  In this episode, we pick up Shana’s story and get into her experience of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). She also talks about how she tried to end her life, what that felt like and how Richard from episode 5 became her knight in shining armor. 

About Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Body dysmorphic disorder is a mental health disorder in which you can’t stop thinking about one or more perceived defects or flaws in your appearance — a flaw that appears minor or can’t be seen by others. But you may feel so embarrassed, ashamed and anxious that you may avoid many social situations.

When you have body dysmorphic disorder, you intensely focus on your appearance and body image, repeatedly checking the mirror, grooming or seeking reassurance, sometimes for many hours each day. Your perceived flaw and the repetitive behaviors cause you significant distress, and impact your ability to function in your daily life.

You may seek out numerous cosmetic procedures to try to “fix” your perceived flaw. Afterward, you may feel temporary satisfaction or a reduction in your distress, but often the anxiety returns and you may resume searching for other ways to fix your perceived flaw.

Treatment of body dysmorphic disorder may include cognitive behavioral therapy and medication.

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.

#17 My Boss Wants To Fire Me, PTSD And OCD At Work

OCD at work mental health podcast

Shana is an HR professional managing bipolar, PTSD, OCD and body dysmorphic disorder at work. On their own, any one of these conditions can be overwhelming. Managing all of them together should be an insurmountable obstacle, but it’s one Shana overcomes. Even so, there are serious consequences, like having 31 jobs in 20 years and attempting suicide.

Listen To Episode 17

Show Notes

In the first of two episodes featuring Shana, we’ll hear her experience with PTSD and OCD at work. Shana will explain the precision required to set her clocks and the complexity of hanging her wardrobe. She’ll talk about how her PTSD caused her to hold so many jobs. And she explains why PTSD and OCD are difficult conditions to treat.

Don’t miss the next episode where we’ll pick up Shana’s story again and learn what body dysmorphic disorder is, and get an honest reflection on attempting suicide.

About OCD

People with Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) experience unwanted thoughts and fears (obsessions) that lead to repetitive behaviors (compulsions). These obsessions and compulsions interfere with daily activities and cause significant distress.

People with OCD try to ignore or stop obsessions, but that only increases distress and anxiety. Because of the distress, people with OCD feel driven to perform compulsive acts to try to ease their stress. Despite efforts to ignore or get rid of bothersome thoughts or urges, they keep coming back. This leads to more of the same behavior — the vicious cycle of OCD.

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.

#16 Marnie’s Mental Health Management Masterclass

mental health management mental health podcast

Marnie works at Expedia helping teams tell stories, which she describes as her dream job.  Like me, Marnie lives with bipolar disorder and focuses on her mental health management. Before her diagnosis, Marnie went through two marriages and divorces before an offhand comment in an acting class nudged her to explore her mental state.

Listen To Episode 16

Show Notes

In this episode of Silent Superheroes, Marnie shares what her acting teacher said that lead her to her bipolar diagnosis.  Marnie explains her process for identifying the side effects of medication. We have fun role playing how a manager or HR professional should handle a conversation with an employee with mental illness about mental health management. And in addition to that, she reflects on the positive and negative ways the mania part of her bipolar has affected her career.

Please note, due to an equipment problem there are occasional audio dropouts in this episode. As a result of this, words are occasionally inaudible or a bit garbled.

Links

  • An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield (book)
  • Expedia, Marnie’s employer (company)

About Bipolar

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings. Those mood swings include emotional highs called mania or hypomania, and lows called depression. Bipolar disorder has also been 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 hypomania patients may feel euphoric, full of energy or unusually irritable. Swinging between moods can affect sleep, energy, activity, judgment, behavior and the ability to think clearly.

Although bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition, patients manage mood swings and other symptoms by following a treatment plan. In most cases, bipolar disorder can be treated with medications and psychological counseling.

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.


#15 Stress, Drugs and Rigmarole, Epilepsy At Work With Kyle

epilepsy at work mental health podcast

Grand mal epileptic seizures are a serious business, often leaving someone on the floor convulsing. They’re scary for people around them and very dangerous for those who experience them. Kyle’s been living with them for nearly 20 years. Despite that length of time, it’s only recently he’s to come to terms with the fact that epilepsy at work is a condition you need to take seriously and manage carefully.

Listen To Episode 15

Show Notes

Kyle’s resistance to managing epilepsy isn’t through a lack of knowledge. For example, his mother has it and his two sisters take medication as a precaution against it.  The resistance comes from something deeper, the resistance we all have to admitting that there’s some part of us that doesn’t work right. That’s something that we must eventually learn to accept to begin the healing process.

In this episode of Silent Superheroes, we hear about Kyle’s first grand mal seizure and what triggers them. In addition to his triggers, Kyle shares what it’s like to experience a seizure, and how long it takes him to recover.  And he also reflects on different places he’s worked and how some have been better and many have been worse for managing epilepsy at work.

Links

About Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder in which abnormal brain activity can cause a variety of symptoms, for example seizures, unusual sensations, or sometimes loss of awareness. Anyone can develop epilepsy and it affects men and woman of all races, ethnic backgrounds and ages.

Seizure symptoms can vary widely. Some people with epilepsy simply stare blankly for a few seconds during a seizure, while others repeatedly twitch their arms or legs. Most people with epilepsy can be treated with medication or surgery. Some people with with epilepsy require lifelong treatment to control seizures. For others, the seizures eventually go away.

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.

#14 Drums, Depression and a Dog, with Kristina Schiano

depression Kristina Schiano mental health podcast

Kristina Schiano is a professional drummer who at 23 years old has built a following of more than 750,000 subscribers to her Youtube channel. Her most popular video has been watched more than 10 million times.  These are remarkable achievements and even more remarkable when you consider periods of anxiety as a teenager left her housebound. In a fan Q&A session, one of her fans asked about her mental health which lead Kristina Schiano to reveal her depression to her fans.

Listen To Episode 14

Show Notes

In this episode of Silent Superheroes, we’ll hear about Kristina’s on again, off again relationship with treatment. She’ll explain how anxiety and depression mix with a life lived on camera and social media. We’ll hear how Kristina Schiano manages her depression and anxiety, and she’ll share practical advice for getting through the more difficult times.

Links

About Depression

Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. This disorder is also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression. Depression affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. Because of those problems, you may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn’t worth living.

More than just a bout of the blues, depression isn’t a weakness and you can’t simply “snap out of”. Depression may require long-term treatment but don’t get discouraged. Most people with depression feel better with medication, psychotherapy or both. People fare best when they commit to working with depression.

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.

#13 When A Good Night’s Sleep Isn’t Enough – Narcolepsy At Work

narcolepsy at work mental health at work

As Shannon read the driving direction, she fell asleep again. This wasn’t the first time, in fact, she’d done it after every direction. Her inability to stay awake had become a problem, and she finally to finally see a doctor. The doctor informed her she has narcolepsy. It hadn’t just affected road trips with her boyfriend. She’d also been wrestling with narcolepsy at work.

Listen To Episode 13

Show Notes

Narcolepsy is a rare neurological condition that disrupts sleep patterns. Disrupted sleep leads to sleep attacks, the sudden need to sleep during the day. It can also cause sleep hallucinations and sometimes cataplexy, which is sudden loss of muscle control.  These symptoms all make it challenging to manage narcolepsy at work.

In this episode of Silent Superheroes, we’ll learn what narcolepsy and how it’s different than feeling sleepy a lot.  Shannon explains how and why she got diagnosed, and the surprising preferred way she manages narcolepsy at work. Shannon will share her experiences working with narcolepsy and share a few simple things that a business can do to support a narcoleptic employee.

Links

  • Geniuslink, the company Shannon co-founded (business)
  • The Research Is Clear, Long Hours Backfire (article)
  • Xyrem Patent Dispute (article)

About Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder in which sufferers have overwhelming daytime drowsiness and sudden attacks of sleep. People with narcolepsy often find it difficult to stay awake for long periods of time, regardless of the circumstances. Narcolepsy can cause serious disruptions in your daily routine. Sometimes, narcolepsy can be accompanied by a sudden loss of muscle tone (cataplexy), which can be triggered by strong emotion, for example laughing.

Narcolepsy is a chronic condition for which there’s no cure. However, medications and lifestyle changes can help you manage the symptoms. Also, support from others — family, friends, employers, teachers — can help cope with narcolepsy.

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.

#12 Purgatory in Paris – The Road To A Mental Health ERG

mental health ERG mental health podcast

Max was 20, in an unfamiliar neighborhood in Paris, thousands of miles from home, desperately unhappy and in tears. More than a decade later he was founding a mental health ERG. This is his story.

Listen To Episode 12

Show Notes

Depression can take a grip on anyone, at any time. Imagine being a 20 year old student, doing an internship in a foreign country that involves calling hairdressers all day and asking them how much a haircut costs. In addition to a boring internship, your family, friends and new girlfriend are thousands of miles away, and your host family is mainly in it for the money. These are the circumstances that overwhelmed Max and lead him to wander the streets of Paris in his depression. Fortunately, Max is the son of a clinical psychologist and he recognized the signs of depression. On returning to the US, he sought care and began a program of treatment.

In this episode of Silent Superheroes, Max tells the story of his internship in Paris that lead him to seek treatment for depression and anxiety. Because he’s tried many medications, he’ll talk about some of the more serious side effects he’s experienced with them. He’ll also talk about some of the questionable therapists he’s worked with and we’ll discuss the complexity of mental health care under the US healthcare system. Max will share his plan for his Mental Health ERG (Employee Resource Group) at Limeaid.

CORRECTIONS : Max asked to correct two things he said in the recording. Klonopin is a Schedule IV drug, not Schedule I as he said in the recording. In addition to that correction, Gregory Peck was chairman of the American Cancer Society.

Note. If you organize a mental health ERG at your workplace I’d love to talk to you. Please reach out at [email protected].

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.

#11 The Monster Behind You – Living And Working With BPD

working with bpd mental health podcast

“It’s not you, you just don’t see the giant monster behind you that I’m reacting to”

Kellie Wagner, CEO @ Collective

What do you know about Borderline Personality Disorder? The answer to that question for most people is “not a lot”. So, why do we know so little compared to other mental illnesses like anxiety and depression? One reason is that BPD only occurs in around 1% of the population, so you’re less likely to run into someone who has it. The more likely reason is that that people working with BPD don’t speak up.

Listen To Episode 11

Show Notes

Popular culture likes to portray BPD in the most extreme way possible, for example, Glenn Close boiling a pet rabbit in the movie Fatal Attraction. If that was the first thing someone might remember if you said “I have BPD”, would you go around telling people?

In this episode of Silent Superheroes, Kellie shares some of her personal experiences working with BPD, the tools she uses to manage it, and some of the ways it’s affected her career. Above all, we’ll learn that working BPD is manageable, and is compatible with forging a successful career.

Links

  • Collective D&I Consultancy (website)
  • NIMH Overview of Borderline Personality Disorder (resource)
  • I Hate You, Don’t Leave Me by Jerold J Kreisman (book)
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (resource)
  • BPD Family (organization)
  • Kellie’s social (LinkedIn)

About Working With BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder)

Borderline personality disorder is a mental health disorder that impacts the way you think and feel about yourself and others. It causes problems functioning in everyday life, for example, problems with self-image, difficulty managing emotions and behavior, and a pattern of unstable relationships.

People with borderline personality disorder, you have an intense fear of abandonment or instability, and may have difficulty tolerating being alone. On the other hand, inappropriate anger, impulsiveness and frequent mood swings may push others away.

There is an age component to Borderline personality disorder. Firstly, Borderline personality disorder usually begins by early adulthood. Secondly, the condition seems to be worse in young adulthood and may gradually get better with age. In conclusion, many people with this disorder get better over time with treatment and can learn to live satisfying lives.

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.

#10 Healing From PTSD and the Trauma of Sexual Assault

healing from ptsd mental health podcast

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in five women will be a victim of rape at some point in their lives. If that number shocks you, it’s because many victims of sexual assault and rape cope with their trauma in silence. In 2017, the silence broke as women started speaking out on social media through the #metoo movement. Now the healing from PTSD can begin.

Listen To Episode 10

Show Notes

In this episode of Silent Superheroes, we meet Lauren, a software engineer from Australia who was a victim of rape as a teenager, leaving her with PTSD. Unable to tell anyone for more than a year, Lauren dropped out of high-school and struggled with panic attacks. Eventually, her journey of healing from PTSD began by writing a letter about her experience to her mum. Lauren has come to terms with her trauma through psychologists offices, medication, and with the support of family, friends and now colleagues. While coming to terms with her trauma, she studied to be a software engineer, and is now forging a successful career in technology.

Links

  • Finding a psychiatrist in Australia and New Zealand (resource)
  • National Sexual Violence Research Center (resource )

About PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.

People who go through traumatic events may have temporary difficulty adjusting and coping. Fortunately, with time and good self-care, they usually get better. If the symptoms get worse, last for months or even years, and interfere with your day-to-day functioning, you may have PTSD. In that case, it is important to get effective treatment after PTSD symptoms develop. Getting treatment can be critical to reduce symptoms and improve function.

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.

#9 Accepting Yourself and Accommodating Employees – ADHD

accommodating employees with adhd

“I don’t want to be anybody else, I want to be me.” – Scott

Scott is part of an active ADHD community on Twitter, focusing on ADHD advocacy in the UK.  It was while working as an online bingo presenter a colleague suggested he might be on the autistic spectrum, and that suggestion put Scott on his path to his ADHD diagnosis.  Now, Scott is no longer content with “fitting in” and isn’t going to apologize for his ADHD. Because of this, Scott advocates on behalf of the ADHD community for greater acceptance of the condition and the people who live with it.

Listen To Episode 9

Show Notes

In this episode, Scott walks us through his journey from disruptive kid, through cruise host, online bingo caller and customer service in a call center. We also talk about the US and UK mental health care systems, concluding that they’re different and neither is good.  Scott tells us about his movie “Misunderstood”, currently in development, about a character with ADHD. Finally, Scott and I discuss his communities answer to the question “How could employers do a better job of accommodating employees with ADHD?”

Links

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.