In honor of mental health awareness month, we want to welcome you to the first ever Inside Mental Health podcast clips show. Listen now to hear some great insights from some of the best guests of the past year. Featuring clips from Jennette McCurdy, Alanis Morissette, Wil Wheaton, Brooke Burke, Dr. Phil, and Paul Gilmartin – there is something for everyone. Our host, Gabe Howard, combed through hours of audio to pick his favorites. Please enjoy!
Gabe Howard is an award-winning writer and speaker who lives with bipolar disorder. He is the author of the popular book, “Mental Illness is an Asshole and other Observations,” available from Amazon; signed copies are also available directly from the author.
Gabe makes his home in the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio. He lives with his supportive wife, Kendall, and a Miniature Schnauzer dog that he never wanted, but now can’t imagine life without.
To book Gabe for your next event or learn more about him, please visit gabehoward.com.
Producer’s Note: Please be mindful that this transcript has been computer generated and therefore may contain inaccuracies and grammar errors. Thank you.
Announcer: You’re listening to Inside Mental Health: A Psych Central Podcast where experts share experiences and the latest thinking on mental health and psychology. Here’s your host, Gabe Howard.
Gabe Howard: Welcome everyone, I’m your host Gabe Howard, and this is the first Inside Mental Health podcast clip show. Today we’re going to be looking back at some of the great guests we’ve had over the past year, starting with one of my personal favorites, international singing superstar Alanis Morisette. Let’s hear what she had to say about the reaction to her first album being released worldwide and being labeled as angry.
Gabe Howard: I’m thinking of the Jagged Little Pill days.
Alanis Morissette: Mm-hmm.
Gabe Howard: And you know, all the way back in 1995 and everybody said, this album is so angry. It’s so angry. I don’t like this. It’s so angry. And I want to be honest, 1995, Gabe, I believed it. I was like, Yeah, well, she’s angry. She’s pissed off, right? And now, now it’s 2022. I’ve heard the album a million times. I still own the CD and there’s one song. There’s one song that you could, depending on how you listen to it, interpret it as anger. And that’s You Oughta Know. The rest of them are, like, super cheerful.
Alanis Morissette: Well, right. There’s this song called Right Through You on there. That’s a little, a little testy. But for me, if someone’s going to one dimensionalize it out of the gate, I’ll take angry. I don’t mind. Anger is actually a really good friend of mine. Not the destructive acting out of anger, but anger itself. So I’ll take it. If it must be one dimensionalized and reduced, I’ll take anger.
Gabe Howard: But it’s only one dimensionalized and reduced because you’re a woman, right? Men have put out much angrier albums that don’t get that tag. Has this followed you around your career where they just assume that you’re bitter? Instead of it being an awesome breakup song, it’s a bitter, pissed off song?
Alanis Morissette: Well, I think what wound up happening, going into radio stations and otherwise was that people were confused. Their sense was that I would walk in and just be raging and likely knocking things over and acting out. But then I would come in and be irretrievably Canadian and relational, you know? So I think there was confusion as to how can this person who’s socially graceful be so angry and how can this yes, how can this female be so angry? And it was a real opening for the multitudinous-ness to be included in all humanity, not just women, non-gender, men, bodies, just everybody. We all have a part of us that is angry. We all have the part of us that has the capacity to be jubilant and joyful. We have all these millions of parts in us. So for anyone to be reduced to one thing is a violence. And it’s ridiculous.
Gabe Howard: I embrace anger a lot. I live with bipolar disorder. I’ve gone through depression. I’ve certainly been suicidal. And one thing that I learned about anger is there’s sort of an empowerment with it, right? Like anger is the first step toward action
Alanis Morissette: Yes.
Gabe Howard: Where you’re angry about something and it moves toward action. Is this how you feel about it?
Alanis Morissette: No. I mean, I’m happy to have emotions assigned me if that’s what we’re going to go with. But we’re such beautifully complex creatures, right? We have our thoughts, we have our behaviors, we have our soul, we have our senses, we have our intuition. We have all these parts. Anger’s just one part of it, you know, and anger, I completely agree with you. So many times, in the midst of deep, swampy quicksand-y depression, I’ve been livid. Just repressed, sublimated lividity. So for me, as soon as I express it, whether it’s in a therapeutic context or with a friend, a trusted safe friend. As soon as I express it and articulate it, it moves. So for me, it’s about having the energy to become unstuck. I have to just stay responsible and look at every element of what causes depression, every element of what causes certain thoughts to come streaming in and keep me in that state of depression and anxiety.
Gabe Howard: One of the things in my life that is sort of giving me, I don’t know, an existential crisis is how I see things differently as I’ve aged. And your album, when it first came out, I honestly thought that Jagged Little Pill referenced drugs, like that was where 17
Alanis Morissette: Mm-hmm, it could.
Gabe Howard: Year old Gabe’s mind was.
Alanis Morissette: Yes. Smart.
Gabe Howard: Yeah. Then ten years later, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and I decided that jagged little pills were the psychiatric medications. The reality is, I have no idea where you came up with it. Maybe you just thought it was cool.
Alanis Morissette: Well, it’s all of it. It’s all of it.
Gabe Howard: Is there a mental illness component to that name?
Alanis Morissette: Of course. I mean, it’s basically it can be a metaphor. It can be literal, it can be figurative, it can be energetic. It can be just a turn of phrase to imply that when I’m hearing tough feedback, when I’m hearing something that is hard for me to hear. Let’s say someone’s marking a blind spot and it’s like, Oh, gosh, I know I need to hear this, but it’s tough to hear. That’s the jagged little pill.
Gabe Howard: The most popular guest we’ve ever had on the show is Jennette McCurdy. Jennette was one of the stars of Nickelodeon’s popular comedy, iCarly. Last year she released a memoir with the startling title of “I’m Glad My Mom Died.” With a title like that, I had a lot of questions.
Gabe Howard: Are you really glad your mom died?
Jennette McCurdy: I am. I quit therapy initially when my first therapist had suggested that my mother was abusive. I couldn’t tolerate that information. I was in no way ready to accept that reality. And it was, it was several years before I was able to kind of recommit myself to therapy and really face the reality of my past and come to terms with it, including that I was glad that my mom died. I think anybody who has experienced abuse from a from a parent has this need to kind of protect and preserve the narrative of their parent being good. And that’s, I think, largely because of society’s judgment and the stigma around being honest with the reality of what your upbringing was and what your parent was like. But it was really important to me, not only for myself, but also for anybody else who’s experienced parental abuse to just say the truth and not sugarcoat it. I think people deserve more honesty.
Gabe Howard: Did you have to sacrifice any relationships because of this? Was there anybody that said, look, I’m not going to stand by while you speak ill of your mother?
Jennette McCurdy: No. The people who are in my life by the point that I started writing the book, which was a year and a half ago, are my my true friends and family. And those people I trust will be with me forever. Those relationships are really strong. I feel a lot of support from them.
Gabe Howard: The next guest we’re gonna hear from is stand-up comedian Paul Gilmartin. Paul is also the host of the most popular mental health podcast in the world, Mental Illness Happy Hour. Even before Istarted Inside Mental Health, I was a fan of Paul’s podcast and mental health advocacy, so it was very exciting to get to talk to him I gotta tell you, his trademark style was visible right from the start!
Gabe Howard: Hey, everyone, I’m your host, Gabe Howard and calling into the show today, we have the host of the popular podcast The Mental Illness Happy Hour, Paul Gilmartin. His podcast has won so many awards, I simply don’t have time to list them. Paul, welcome to the show!
Paul Gilmartin: It took me a minute to get to the mic, Gabe, I was tripping over my awards. I’ve run out of room to store them.
Gabe Howard: I am so jealous, I mean, I won one award, and I still, I wear it around my neck. You could build like a car out of the stuff that you’ve won. It’s, I’m glad it’s a mental health podcast, though. Like, if it can’t be me, I’m glad it’s you.
Paul Gilmartin: We’re all on the same side.
Gabe Howard: Right, right. I’d rather be above you, though. I mean, I just, I want to make that clear. I just.
Paul Gilmartin: If anybody understands that, Gabe, it’s me.
Gabe Howard: Listen, if you are on the fence about listening to Paul’s podcast, you should just listen to the episode that I’m on, because that is clearly the best one that you’ve ever done, right? You can, you can vouch for that, right, Paul?
Paul Gilmartin: Hands down. A minute into it, I almost said, why are we even doing this? Because it’s going to ruin all the other episodes. And so I almost stopped and then I thought, No, Gabe’s going to take this the wrong way because he’s f***ing crazy.
Gabe Howard: I do, I do have issues, Paul. Now, I have so many questions and what I want to talk about, you started out as a comedian like, you know, podcast wasn’t even invented. You were just, you moved to L.A. and you’re like, Mom, I’m going to be a comedian and you were, and you were a successful comedian. And then one day you decided, Hey, I’m going to start a podcast now. Now that I can understand, but why mental illness? Of all the available topics, a mental illness podcast?
Paul Gilmartin: It was actually the topic before deciding to make it a podcast.
Gabe Howard: Really?
Paul Gilmartin: Yeah, I’ve been taking meds since 2000. Been in therapy on and off since the late 80’s. I’ve been seeing a psychiatrist since 2000, go to support groups, treat my depression, process all my s**t. Been doing that for years and in 2010 I was like, I don’t think I need meds. I think I’m going to go off them, went off them.
Gabe Howard: It’s not an uncommon story, but.
Paul Gilmartin: Not at all, not at all. I’ve done it before and when I’d done it before the depression would come back within a month or two. I’d go back on them. This time, I felt good for about five months. So I thought, I really don’t need meds anymore. And then I started getting really sad and I thought, Well, maybe it’s just because it’s between Thanksgiving and Christmas. And then I was in a support group meeting and somebody was talking about a suicide attempt, and I found myself feeling kind of jealous. And I thought, something is wrong. And it occurred to me, Oh, my life really doesn’t suck. I just need to go back on my meds because nothing in my life had changed except my perception of it. And I was doing all this stuff I’m supposed to do, you know, go to my meetings, exercise, try to eat right, share my feelings all that, all that stuff. And still, I felt terrible. So that’s why I knew, oh, the meds was the only thing that’s changed. And I thought, I’ve been doing this for a decade and I got fooled by it. And I believe that mental illness is a real thing. Imagine somebody out there that believes that therapy is weakness, you know?
Gabe Howard: Unfortunately, a lot of people believe that. They are wrong, to be clear.
Paul Gilmartin: Right. Yeah. Imagine what a hill that person has to climb to ever get to a place of mental health. And I thought there needs to be a conversation about this that can reach people that don’t want to listen to something that’s academic, that don’t want to listen to something that’s new age-y, that don’t want to listen to something that’s somebody like Dr. Phil shouting at you about what you need to do. And I thought, You know, I think I could probably foster a conversation that might be entertaining about this with some, you know, some jokes thrown in. But throughout it just kind of vulnerability and honesty. And that might bring some people in and help some people.
Gabe Howard: And we’re back with the first ever Inside Mental Health clip show. That’s right we’re taking a look at some of the great guests we’ve had in the past year. And one of the greatest was Brooke Burke. Brooke was the host of E! Network’s travel show Wild On!, and she also hosted Dancing with the Stars before launching the Brooke Burke Body fitness app.
Gabe Howard: I don’t have children, so I’m not even a working parent. So, I asked my sister, who is the married, working mother of a very energetic eight-year-old, what is on the top of her mind when it comes to her own self-care? And she said that she is worried about being an almond mom. Now, I’ve never heard the term almond mom, but it’s a TikTok phrase that basically means that parents are worried that by taking a healthy interest in their own lifestyles, better eating, exercises, etc., they will inadvertently give their kids a skinny or unhealthy body image.
Brooke Burke: Oh.
Gabe Howard: Yeah. In other words, our children will become obsessed with weight loss, looks, etc. Now my sister points out that our whole family does struggle with weight and body image issues and that while it’s important to be healthy, it’s also important to love your body. So, her very specific question for you, Brooke, was how does she ensure that she doesn’t pass along her body issues to her daughter?
Brooke Burke: This is a really important topic, fully loaded. You know, I haven’t heard that term either, almond mom, but I’m going to stick that in my brain right now and take that home with me. You know, the relationship with food, I think, is sometimes a fragile one. I’m raising three daughters. I have a son. My fiancé has two kids. So, there’s a whole lot of everything. Because I’m in the health and wellness industry, I have to be extra careful with the words that I choose and the way that I approach my own relationship with food. And it’s tricky. Leading by example is a great concept. Easier said than done. I have to lead by example and encourage my children and guide them, but at the same time I have to let them be children and I have to let them make their own choices and not try to necessarily instill all my views on them. It’s funny, oftentimes I asked my children to work out with me or come and take my class because I teach wellness classes and I guide people on property. And everything that mom does is slightly boring and not hard enough or not fun enough or not cool enough. So, I give them grace and that. But it really is my responsibility to stock my home with mindful things. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen with my kids. We cook together. We shop together. I love that they know how to prepare a meal, but I also have to let them be kids, you know? So, I do my best. I encourage, I prepare them with great options, and then I let them make their own choices. And I have to choose my words carefully, how I address myself, my body, my own habits. It’s tricky.
Gabe Howard: I imagine that it’s very tricky. You know, in writing questions for this podcast, one of the things that I wanted to say was how do you achieve balance? But luckily, I researched you, and I know that you do not like the term balance. Why not? What’s wrong with having balance in your life?
Brooke Burke: I mean, if we look up the definition, it’s really about a moment where everything is equal. And I don’t think that’s realistic. And I, I joke around about the concept of balance all the time because I think it’s wishful thinking. I think it’s too much pressure. I think things go wrong. I think life is hard. I like to focus more on managing the chaos and managing the days where things are imbalanced and when days are hard and everything isn’t exactly the way I wanted it to be, which is most days, to be honest. So, I’m not striving for that. I’m not striving for perfection. I’m not guiding other women to try to get everything right. And we have so many expectations. So, I’ve learned to surrender, especially as a mom, as a working woman, as a woman in and of itself. I I’ve learned to just accept a little bit more, expect a little bit less, and then strive to manage it all. I wish my life was balanced. That would be probably boring. I don’t know if that’s even realistic. I don’t know.
Gabe Howard: It sounds like you feel about balance the way a lot of people feel about happy. Like happy is a goal, right? You can be happy. But then people say, Well, I have to be happy all the time. And that’s that really sets yourself up for failure because there’s so many emotions. Is that sort of the messaging that’s out there that if you strive for this balance, you can’t be in balance 24/7. So invariably you’re going to be disappointed?
Brooke Burke: I just think it’s unrealistic. I mean, let’s look at happiness, maybe as a verb, maybe it’s a choice. Like we wake up, we get to decide. What to do with our time, how to treat our body, what our inner dialog is going to be. Mood is a little bit more complicated when you sprinkle in a little hormones in life, but I think happiness is a choice. I think balance. I just don’t know if it’s possible on most days. Learning how to deal with it, all the highs and the lows and the challenges I think is a more realistic goal.
Gabe Howard: You spoke about finding your purpose in life, but many of the working moms that I talked to, that I specifically talked to in preparation of this show, they specifically stated that their purpose in life was to raise good children. And any discussion outside of that, they were like, well, what are you talking about? I’m a mom.
Brooke Burke: This a loaded question. But let’s see. Let’s see where we go with this. I think that well, first of all, the word good. Like I have a little bit of an issue with that, right? Like, I want to raise children that have character. I want to raise children to be who they’re supposed to be. I’m not trying to raise them to be who I wanted them to be. I got to give birth to them and give them life. But now I get to guide them through life. Right? So good is. That’s a lot of pressure. I have good ones and strong ones and defiant ones and kids with care. I mean, I have my kids are full of a little bit of everything, but I think a lot of women lose their self, their sense of self. They sort of become the woman behind the scenes. They forgot who they were before they became a woman. And that’s always fascinating to me. And I’ve really been diving deep in these most recent years in that concept. Why do we lose our sense of self and how do we get back to that and how do we allow ourselves to be equally important? My children are for sure my priority, but I remember who I was before I had children, the evolution of who I am today. And I allow myself to be equally important. And I think a lot of women. Build their whole life around motherhood. Amazing. Dangerous. And we’re so many other things besides just mothers. Right. And that’s a complicated concept. And I like working with women in that space. And I think we’re worthy of that. I think we’re worthy of being a lot of things besides being a mother, even though that’s like my favorite, my favorite role. But I’m a lot of things besides that.
Gabe Howard: If you are interested, we actually have a video of my conversation with Brooke available on both Healthline’s and Psych Central’s YouTube channels. And that brings us to my wife’s favorite of all the guests we’ve ever had on the podcast, Wil Wheaton. In fact, we had such a great interview with Wil, that we actually turned his interview into two separate episodes. This clip is from the first one.
Wil Wheaton: I eventually recognized I need to have compassion and empathy for myself. The person who wrote “Just a Geek” in 2004 was really struggling and really hurting a lot and really doing the very best that he was capable of doing. The person I was then was doing his best. It is nowhere close to what my best is now, which is awesome. If my best when I was 28 was still my best when I’m 49, I would not have grown at all. I think we have this impulse to look back on things that are embarrassing or regretful or gross and to hang on ourselves the responsibility to be literally the only person in all of human existence to never have done something that they regretted. And when that happens, we end up feeling like, Well, I just want to forget about this and delete it from the Internet or whatever. I did not have that privilege. It was out there. These are my words. These are my thoughts and beliefs.
Gabe Howard: You know, Wil, the most common theme of your book, you really talk about misogyny, homophobia and how regretful you are that you put that forth all the way back in 2004. What led you to have this change of heart? What did you learn over the ensuing 18 years that made you realize that 2004 Wil wasn’t handling this well?
Wil Wheaton: I just grew up. I think there was a real particular kind of comedy that my generation was exposed to, and there was this belief inside of me that if I said things that were offensive, but I didn’t mean them, it didn’t matter. Because I was like, kind of being ironic or kind of making fun or kind of saying something and that, none of that is true. It was, it was just lazy. It was lazy and easy and super, super regretful. I was just like, Nah, man, I’m going to be irreverent and I’m going to be like, Nobody’s going to tell me what to do. That was just kind of the attitude I had, and it was real kind of adolescent and embarrassing to see that. I think maybe one of one of the biggest things that changed in me was the election of 2016 and the fascism that followed it. I became aware for the very first time in my life, and this is embarrassing to admit it happened to be very late in life. I was made aware of just how myopic and privileged I was. And since then, I have discovered the perspective and found it and realized that these times where I thought I was being funny, I was being hurtful, I didn’t mean to be. And I would have argued strenuously at the time that that is absolutely not what’s going on.
Wil Wheaton: There are individual people who I felt I was insensitive toward, and at every opportunity, I’ve reached out to them directly. As far as all of the sort of public missteps and like very public regrets, I’m real happy to use myself as an example. I’m really happy to stand up and just say, when you don’t know, you will make mistakes. You will do regretful things. But then when you know, now you don’t get that pass anymore, you have to make choices. How are you going to atone for the things you did wrong? What are you going to do going forward? How are things going to be different? I think that it is very important that people are allowed to make mistakes, learn and grow from them. I think that’s extremely important. We seem to be in a moment where if a single mistake is made, that is the end of a person.
Wil Wheaton: And I believe that that is a reaction to systemic patriarchy that has consistently excused people’s terrible behavior and allowed them to skate by with meaningless, empty apologies. I absolutely get where an entire generation is coming from that’s like, you know what? You’re just another piece of shit. And I have no time for you. I have no patience for you. Get out. I completely understand where that comes from. I think that ultimately that is harmful. I think ultimately it prevents people from having the willingness to make a mistake and apologize for it. If we grow up, if we live feeling like we can never do something wrong and that no apology will be good enough, we end up either just not caring at all because what’s the point that apologizing if it’s never going to change anything? That’s one path people take and then another path is to just never try to do anything because you’re constantly afraid that you’re going to do the wrong thing.
Gabe Howard: You alluded to earlier, this is the we’re tired of apologies. We’ve had enough as systemic issues have been going on for decades, and this is the overcorrection. How do we get away from that overcorrection? Because I think you’re right, I do think this is the overcorrection.
Wil Wheaton: You know, I honestly, I don’t know. And I think that you and I, as white men in our forties, really need to take a seat and let someone else answer that question. I think we need to particularly listen to young women of color who seem to take the absolute worst of everything from absolutely everyone and really just listen and then work real hard to implement whatever change we are being guided toward making. As I enter middle age, I turn 50 in July, and I’ve really made a commitment. I made a promise to myself that I will spend as much of the rest of my life as I can working to empower young people to change their world the way I wanted to change mine at a time when I felt very unsupported in trying to make those changes. So I don’t think that that answer is for us to give because quite frankly, I don’t think we are capable of seeing the entire picture objectively because we’re right in the middle of it.
Gabe Howard: I have to say, one of the most interesting things Wil said was when I asked him how to be an ally:
Wil Wheaton: It’s not about you. You’re not there to collect prizes. You’re not there to be given pats on the back for how great and supportive you are. When we’re being allies, we are saying through our actions that this is where I am at this moment in my life. I am drowning in privilege. I’m privileged in absolutely every possible way. Everything is working out extremely well for me because the world is set up to make my life as easy as it possibly can, and I have the celebrity cheat enabled. Okay, so that makes me really overpowered and it gives me just tons of extra resources. I’m going to use those resources in an effort to support people who are unsupported. Maybe the most important thing we can do is use our voices, right? We have to say to other people who look like us, and I’m specifically calling out cis-het white men, we have to say to each other, Dude, that is not okay. I don’t know why you think that’s cool, but you can’t do that.
Gabe Howard: And that’s it! Thank you so much for joining us on this look back on a few of the great guests we’ve had here on Inside Mental Health podcast. We hope to continue to bring you even more amazing interviews over the months and years to come. My name is Gabe Howard and I am the author of “Mental Illness Is an Asshole and Other Observations,” as well as a world renowned public speaker who could be available for your next event. My book is on Amazon because, well, everything’s on Amazon. Or you can get a signed copy with free show swag just by heading over to gabehoward.com. And hey, can you do me a favor? Wherever you downloaded this episode, please follow or subscribe to the podcast. It is absolutely free and share the show. Telling people about the show is how we grow. I will see everybody next time on Inside Mental Health.
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