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Mental Illness Happy Hour

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Los Angeles, CA


Weekly online podcast interviews with comedians, artists, friends, and the occasional doctor. All exploring mental illness, addiction and depression, especially among creatives.








#349 Emotionally Coercive Sex - Perfectionism - Dissociating

Paul's support group friend Meredith opens up about being raised by parents who lacked a sense of privacy or sexual boundaries; being sexualized by her father, mother (who has a long history of "accidentally" showing her vagina) and step-mother in covert but damaging ways, being comfortable giving help but not taking it or asking for it; being a perfectionist, self-harm, being attracted to emotionally unavailable men ( #loveaddiction ) and being on both ends of manipulative/coercive sexual...

Duration: 03:06:57

#348 Manhattan Party Girl - Fielding Edlow

Raised in financial privilege but emotional poverty, the actor/writer/standup reflects on her "don't give a fuck" eating disorder, drug and alcohol years trying to stuff the real feelings of abandonment, not being good enough, anxiety, anger and feeling invisible especially in comparison to her golden-child brother. She gets honest about the "self-centered demon inside me" that drove her actions until sobering up almost 20 years ago and learning to deal with her insecurities, fears and...

Duration: 02:08:05

#347 Paul Rust - Anxiety, OCD & Embarrassment

The actor/writer/comedian known for the Netflix show Love, the movie Inglourious Basterds and IFC's Comedy Bang! Bang! opens up about his battles with anxiety, OCD, taking on other people's emotions, people pleasing, wanting attention, shame, fear of letting people down and the role vulnerability and therapy have played in him finding emotional stability and peace. Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulRust Follow Paul on Instagram @PaulRust This episode is sponsored by BetterHelp online...

Duration: 02:01:13

#346 Plane Crash Survivor: Carol E Miller

The author (Every Moment of a Fall: Recovery Thru EMDR Therapy) opens up in front of a live audience in Oakland about the years she abused herself through bad relationships, booze and sex before therapy and EMDR helped her confront her true feelings about her predatory father, passive mother, abusive step-father and the plane crash she survived as a 16 year-old. Visit Carol's website Buy her book Every Moment of a Fall: Recovery Thru EMDR Therapy This episode is...

Duration: 02:08:53

#345 Food, Porn, Shame, Vulnerability & Losing a Sibling - Matt Shepherd

Paul's support group friend shares about recovery and battles with binge-eating, shame, compulsive exercise, not knowing what he looks like, porn addiction, love addiction, fear of leaving relationships, feeling like he "is enough", growing up in a family where one sibling takes up all the parents' attention and energy, surviving the suicide of his brother and the huge impact learning to be vulnerable has had on his healing and life in general. Find out more about Matt at: Youtube:...

Duration: 01:30:52

#344 Anxious Hufflepuff & The Creepy Singer

YouTube personality Sarah Sterling is 26 and was obsessed with Harry Potter (and Disney) since day one. At a convention she met a singer who captivated her. He was 24 and she was 16. Looking back, she sees it as statutory rape and is processing that. What's possibly even harder to process for her is that she still hasn't told her overly-protective easily-overreactive mom. Sarah talks about how she has always felt the need to protect her mom from information that would set off her anxiety...

Duration: 01:22:28

#343 British Therapist Louise M

Louise (a pseudonym) shares about the moment in her otherwise mostly happy childhood that things changed. She shares about the abuse at a posh Harry-Potteresque school when she was six by a headmaster who walked the dark halls with a torch; her mom's drinking, letting go of childhood shame, fear of conflict, how parents can support an abused child, when kids sexually abuse other kids, inner child work, Britain's NHS, and trying to cope with past trauma thru drugs and sex. This episode...

Duration: 01:54:02

#342 Pain/Pleasure & The Fugitive Rabbi

Why do some people enjoy physical pain or become aroused by it? For Kal, the discovery came with a lot of complications; he was a young boy and it was at the hands of a powerful and sadistic pedophile Rabbi (Heshy Brier) who is now a fugitive living in Israel. Kal shares about his years of self-destruction and bottoming out before eventually getting sober and starting the process of healing and advocating for other survivors. This episode is sponsored by BetterHelp online therapy. To try...

Duration: 01:37:18

#341 80's Childhood Shitshow! - Dana Eagle

Imagine getting gay hate mail from your own family. Or finding a letter where your parents talk about you in a way that confirms your worst fears. How does Bipolar 2 compare to having something like cancer? Comedian and author (How To Be Depressed: A Guide) Dana Eagle opens up about being a lonely kid in the 80s whose parents couldn't relate to her perhaps b/c her dad was alcoholic or her mom was thriving in her corporate job. Or is it genetic? Paul and Dana talk about art, comedy, shame,...

Duration: 02:13:55

#339 I Wrote A Hit Now What?!! - Seth Swirsky

He's authored Grammy-nominated hits for the biggest artists, put out his own albums, written best-selling books on baseball, and directed a documentary on the Beatles. And for as long as he can remember he has struggled with anxiety, panic attacks and feeling disconnected. What happens when you're achieving your dreams but you haven't dealt with the feelings underneath the drive to be recognized? Seth got his masters in clinical psychology. He opens up about his life and his approach to...

Duration: 02:09:05

Dear Food: I Want To See Other People

Fat-shamed as a child by her mother and classmates, writer-performer Chelsea Frank, now 24, opens up about the complex role food plays in her life. She talks about her struggles with weight, self-hatred, bingeing and restricting, going to "fat camps", life inside an eating disorder rehab and cutting contact with her abusive mother. Follow Chelsea on Twitter @ChelseaSFrank and on Instagram @ChelseaFrank This episode is sponsored by BetterHelp online counseling. To try a free week go to...

Duration: 02:35:30

#337 - East German Repression & BPD - Anne from Berlin

Creative and sensitive, born and raised in 1980's communist East Germany by a dysfunctional family, Anne's abuse was not dramatic, more like death by 1000 cuts. Bearing the brunt of being a first child and resented for her intelligence, she developed BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) but has always turned the anger inwards, rarely if ever lashing out. She talks about the benefits of learning DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) as well as her struggles with anorexia, bingeing, cutting...

Duration: 02:13:54

#336 Jealousy & Internet Affairs - Mila

What goes on in someone when they're jealous, possessive, obsessive or need to create drama? Mila was born into a family where her parents "couldn't live with/couldn't live without each other" and she found herself as an adult becoming like them, She also began snooping on her partners and engaging in online and in-person affairs despite knowing better and wanting to stop but unable to leave her cold and uninterested husband. This episode is sponsored by BetterHelp online counseling. To...

Duration: 02:29:11

#335 Young, British & Anxious

19 year-old JT shares about the crippling anxiety, panic attacks and fear of abandonment he tried to alleviate for years through being hostile and controlling (of course it backfired) before finally deciding to get help. He shares with Paul the painful working-class childhood he had including the death of his parents when he was 8 and embracing his sexuality at 16. He talks about the importance mindfulness has played in helping him find the peace that has allowed him to deal with his...

Duration: 01:49:31

#334 Abused By Her Therapist - Christina L

Christina L (a pseudonym) shares about learning to stand up for herself after an abusive rehab therapist preyed on her as she was getting sober and the confusion of not knowing what he was doing was wrong. She shares about her dysfunctional family, being bullied by boys in middle school, binge eating, and always being the "good child" by never making waves (unlike her sister who got most of the attention through speaking up or getting in trouble) but also never learning how to talk to her...

Duration: 02:13:51

#333 - When Sex Abuse Victims Become Adults & Avoiding Help/Work Burnout - Katie Vernoy LMFT

LMFT therapist Katie Vernoy and Paul respond to listener questions around the topics of 1) How childhood sexual abuse affects the survivors when they become adults and 2) How can people avoid job or helping burnout. They talk about the specifics of self-care and coping tips, acceptance vs approval, forgiveness, anger, misguided generosity, overprotective parents, people who can't say no and is it possible for a younger child to sexually abuse an older child? Katie's website:...

Duration: 02:09:30

Obsessive & Secret World of Classical Musicians - Ben Turner

The Australian professional trombonist shares about the mental, emotional and logistical rigors of making a living as a classical musician and some insights into what drove him (and his peers) to such obsessive lengths. We get a peek behind the curtain into the dysfunction and sickness that can fester in such a high-pressure workplace and the poor coping mechanisms used by people who were raised to stuff emotions and just achieve to receive love. We touch on depression, anxiety, therapy,...

Duration: 02:26:39

#331 The Worst Day of My Life - Rhonda Britten

Rhonda says "It took me 20 years to get thru that day" as she opens up about the event that changed her life forever when she was 14 years old. She talks about how it changed her view of God, herself and the world around her, sending her on a path or self-destruction she barely survived until finally dealing with the pain and anger, eventually healing and finding her life's purpose. Follow Rhonda on twitter @RhondaBritten Check out her websites for the course she mentioned...

Duration: 02:46:03

#330 Co-Dep & Boundaries - Dr. Natalie Feinblatt

Dr. Feinblatt shares her experience as a therapist in working with co-dependent clients; how is co-dependency defined, what are some characteristics and how can it be treated or managed? She also shares about the importance of codependents learning about setting, enforcing and respecting boundaries. This episode is sponsored by BetterHelp online counseling. To experience a free week go to In addition to her private practice Dr. Feinblatt also works at Westside...

Duration: 02:02:11

#329 My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward - Mark & Giulia Lukach

Rarely do we talk about the spouse of someone battling a serious mental illness. Mark and Giulia had never heard of Bipolar I with psychosis until she broke from reality well into their marriage. Taped in front of an audience in Oakland, they bare their souls about the pain and confusion of her treatment and Mark realizing how much help spouses also need. Check out Mark's new book My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward Visit his website This episode is sponsored by Blue...

Duration: 01:45:50

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