I'm in a strange contemplative period where I'm thinking a lot about my psychological health, trying to analyze the past year and clarify how good or how bad things were. I find it almost impossible to grasp any truth about my own state until that state changes, for better or worse.
So I'm taking a closer look at last year's peaks and valleys, for there was a plenitude of both. I neatly label each experience and every ensuing reaction and then sort them into different mental folders. I'm doing this in hopes of improving my ability to judge my own character. All too often I don't realize something is wrong with me until it is very, very wrong, and it would be nice to get better at spotting those warning signs.
Two things have inspired and aided me immensely with this, and they happen to both be podcasts:
The Mental Illness Happy Hour is Paul Gilmartin's weekly interview show focusing on all manner of mental health experiences and issues and it is absolutely fascinating. I find it very encouraging to hear stories similar to mine. And I know it's bad, but I find it comforting to hear about people who have been through a hell of a lot worse than I have. There's some pretty intense shit in these interviews, so sometimes I have to take a break from listening to them, but the show was taught me a lot. (Great episode to start with: Rob Delaney)
And then there's my dearly beloved You Made It Weird, which I've mentioned on the blog a couple of times before. YMIW is not explicitly about mental health, but the host Pete Holmes is very much interested in psychology, psychiatry, faith, health and, hell, just about anything and everything. Some of my deepest thinking over the past year has been triggered by this podcast. He has a fantastic ability to get his guests to open up and share their very best and worst. It has changed my life in so many ways, while being vastly entertaining and literally laugh out loud funny at the same time. The show is in top form recently and I honestly thank the gods for it on a daily basis. (Great episode to start with: Todd Glass)
So if you're in the mood for some self-discovery there is a wealth of listening between the two podcasts. Comedian-led discussions are not a subsitute for medicine, therapy or the care of an actual physician, but sometimes they are cathartic and at the least they are easily accesible. I'm nearing the end of a (thankfully) brief time in between insurance coverages and these little one or two hour chunks of sound have often been a light in the darkness for me.