The Mental Illness Happy Hour

Last week, I wrote about discovering the amazing Maria Bamford. Well, she led me to a true treasure trove of goodness – a podcast called “The Mental Illness Happy Hour.”

The show is geared towards anyone interested in or affected by depression, addiction and other mental challenges which are so prevalent in the creative arts.

Paul’s hope is that the show and this website will give people a place to connect, smile and feel the return of hope.   The biggest myth about mental illness is that you are alone and there is no help.

Help starts with talking to someone who knows exactly how you feel.  So stop staring out the window with your jaw open thinking about what might have been.    Open up.   Read the message board.  Post stuff.  Ask for help.   Give help.   Take a survey so we can get to know mental illness better.

This site is not intended to replace the need for medical diagnosis.  Please leave that to professionals.  It’s not a doctor’s office.   Think of it more as a waiting room that doesn’t suck.

Bamford’s appearance was terrific and really put the performances I had been watching on her YouTube shows into perspective. So I dove a bit more into the podcast and learned that there are 183 episodes. So that’s good in the sense that I can listen as often as I like, but also overwhelming because I feel like I need to listen to everything NOW. 

The show has a dynamic online community with lots of forums, surveys and other opportunities to engage. It feels like a Happy Hour that people who prefer not to drink and don’t like to socialize are perfectly content! 🙂 In fact, I have the impression that Paul Gilmartin really invests times in the feedback from listeners.

I would love to go to a Happy Hour that didn’t involve anyone getting drunk, no smoking and lots of intellectually stimulating conversation grounded in our shared experiences. I know that’s called “Group Therapy” but still … it sounds nicer as a Happy Hour.  

I was just listening to an interview with actor/writer Pia Glenn who also happens to be bisexual. Glenn described what was truly a horrific childhood with her mentally ill mother (who refused treatment) and an absentee father who didn’t step in to protect her or her brother. I was struck by this statement 

“I’m not responsible for your crappy childhood, but you’re responsible for mine.”

How many of us grew up being dragged into the childhood experiences of our parents or caretakers? While it is helpful to some extent to know why someone is an asshole, it is also important to know that it doesn’t matter. They need to be parents. Parents who run from their childhoods or deny that anything is wrong are doomed to fuck things up for their kids. Sometimes when I’m reading Facebook posts from my parent-friends, I want to shake them and say “get some therapy before it is too late. Don’t let your kid grow up to be me. Don’t let your kids grow up to look at you like I look at the adults in my family. Don’t let yourself down.”  

Ahem. But I don’t say it because we don’t say these things. 

So check out the podcast. There’s a lot to explore. 

Mental Illness Happy Hour



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