When I’m not doing homework on my commute I still need something to fill the time. I tend to recycle the same music playlists and get easily distracted so I finally checked out the world of podcasts. Oh man, have I been missing out!
There are endless free podcasts to listen to out there on ANY topic imaginable. Fun podcasts that I like to listen to are 2 Dope Queens, The Dollop and The Lady Gang. When I’m not interested in laughing I look for podcasts to help me think more positively like Optimal Living Daily and Happier with Gretchen Ruben.
Something I never expected to get from podcasts was a greater sense of my own identity. As I explored the podcast landscape more I started finding mental health themed podcasts that made me feel like I was part of a larger community, but more than that, normal.
I found myself relating to the hosts and to the guests on podcasts like Psych Central and Mental Illness Happy Hour. In the rare event that I didn’t relate to the speaker listening to them talk about their own issues and how they cope with them was informative and enlightening.
The importance of verbalizing your mental illness cannot be understated. Paul Gilmartin, creator/host/executive producer Mental Health Happy Hour, explains it best during an episode with Mike Levine. On the topic of speaking openly about your experience with mental illness he phrases what it does perfectly, “it gives us a chance to own our issue instead of it being owned.”
In sociology we talk about the politics of reclamation and I think this is a fascinating turn in mental health discourse that we are witnessing. The once predominant view that mental illness is a weakness or made a person bad or wrong or should be kept hush hush to prevent embarrassment for the family IS shifting. I think the driving force behind this change is that people living with mental illness (myself included) are done with hiding our pain and pretending we’re okay. It’s exciting and liberating to feel like I can be mentally ill and not feel guilty or shameful about it. Despite all of the incredibly frightening/saddening/soul-crushing things going on in the world, for the first time in a long time I feel like there’s still hope.