A trigger warning that we briefly discuss self-harm, and the myth that cutting means suicidality. For those who need immediate help in the US, please consider calling The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. For international folks, here’s a list of hotlines for countries around the world.
23. Anxiety Exhibition: Fear of Small Talk & Post Office Panic
Oh no, my hairstylist is trying to make conversation with me! Oh god, the bartender is judging me because of my drink order! So many things to worry about every gosh darn day! On this episode of GROUP, we break down some of the seemingly mundane things that can leave us spiraling. Rebecca explains her fear of mail (yes, mail can be scary—WHO KNOWS WHAT’S INSIDE THAT ENVELOPE) and recounts an uncomfortable interaction she had at the post office. We also hear from listeners and friends of the show about packing anxiety, hair cut avoidance, and public transportation dread. Lots of love, commiseration, laughter, and affirmation!
22. Grief Stories #2: Depression vs Grief
In our final episode on grief, we continue our conversation with Professor George A. Bonnano and learn about the differences between grief and depression. We hear from John W. Evans, author of the award-winning memoir, “Young Widower,” about the complicated grief he experienced after losing his wife to a bear attack in 2007. Catherine and Rebecca chat about ways to be supportive of grieving friends and loved ones, and we end with a story from journalist Carmel Delshad about the ways grief changed her for the better.
As part of our continued conversation about grief, we speak with Professor George A. Bonnano, expert on bereavement and author of “The Other Side of Sadness.” We learn the evolutionary purpose of grief and the dangers of assuming that everyone should follow a particular model for mourning. We also hear three stories about dealing with loss: we speak with Carly about how she recovered after her experience with stillbirth; Julie shares what it was like to be forced into grief counseling during high school; and former New York Times health reporter Catherine Saint Louis explains why she was nervous about her absence of grief after the death of her estranged father. Grief Stories #2 will be released on 5/16.
Between episodes on grief, here’s a mini episode on meds! Rebecca tells GROUP friendapist Catherine Drury that she’s been feeling depressed. She went to a new psychiatrist to discuss changing her anxiety medication to address the depression, and the appointment was… weird… and bad. Definitely weird and bad. Also, a call for listener experiences with meds: tell us about your decision to try psychiatric medicine, your experience changing up your meds, or what it was like weaning yourself off them. Were you happy with your doctor? Did you have any weird side effects? Send us a message and let us know!
19. Tragedy Plus Time: A Comedian on Life After Death
British comedian Cariad Lloyd is the creator and host of Griefcast, a podcast featuring comedians talking about death. In this episode of GROUP, Rebecca chats with Cariad about the strange process of watching their loved ones die, the connection between grief and anxiety/depression, and the role of comedy in the healing process.
An investigation of the polarizing medium of online therapy, where the ability to remain anonymous has inspired folks who would usually balk the idea of psychotherapy to seek help from counselors on the internet. We hear from a psychologist about her frustrating and strange experience with text therapy; we peek behind the curtain at Talkspace and BetterHelp; and we chat with a digital mental health expert about his conflicted feelings regarding these platforms.
Woebot is a digital friend who teaches strategies for dealing with anxiety and depression, but can this new AI bot really help improve your mental health? Rebecca and Ian give Woebot a try and share their excitement (it’s super helpful for tracking your mood) and their concerns (Facebook might be able to see personal mental health info you share? Yikes!). We also chat with a friend of the show who’s been relying on Woebot to feel better for months.
16. I Think I Love You, So What Am I So Afraid Of?
Romantic relationships may bring passion, comfort, and intimacy. They can also make you puke with fear! This episode of GROUP is dedicated to love, dating, and of course, anxiety. Rebecca speaks with Hattie C. Cooper, author of The Anxious Girl's Guide to Dating, about some of the uniquely terrifying things that come with finding a partner including: the bizarre nature of first dates, opening up about mental health issues, and "blind date diarrhea."
Finding a (affordable) therapist who fits your needs can feel impossible. How do you do it?! GROUP breaks down the process step-by-step with Dr. Anna Charbonneau, author of Talk It Out: How to Find the Right Therapist and Get What You Need to Feel Better. Also in the episode: WHY IS IT SO HARD TO FIND A THERAPIST WHO TAKES MY INSURANCE?, listener voicemails, ghosting your therapist, and how to speak up and request change during a session.
14. Reframe Ur Brain: Dealing with Negative Thoughts
An entire show dedicated to breaking down and dealing with the unhelpful/critical thoughts we have about ourselves (cognitive distortions). Psychotherapist Catherine Drury guides us through seven different distortions with the help of chuckle-inducing examples from some of our favorite anxious/depressed folks from comedy television: Leslie Knope, Bojack Horseman, George Costanza, among others.
If you hit the booze juice a little hard last night, your entrance into the New Year might be sort of rough. Along with headaches, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound, hangovers can bring feelings of anxiety and hopelessness. Fun! In this mini episode of GROUP, Rebecca chats with award-winning mental health blogger Claire Eastham and the President of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America about adult beverages, mental health, and how the two are connected.
12. Bloody Hell, It's Social Anxiety!
For some folks, a party or networking event is a great way to meet new people. For others, it can be a panic-inducing HELLSCAPE! In this episode of GROUP, we deep dive into the minds of people with social anxiety, featuring mental health blogger Claire Eastham, author of the best-selling book “We’re All Mad Here,” and Therapist Noah Clyman, director of NYC Cognitive Therapy. Also: stories of disguise, intrigue, and nerds in cages.
11. Lord of the Fries: When It's Not Just Picky Eating
GROUP breaks down an eating disorder that, unlike anorexia or bulimia, has nothing to do with body image. ARFID (Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder) can look a lot like picky eating, but it’s physically and psychologically very different.
10. Live Panel Discussion: I Have Mental Illness & You Can Too!
Rebecca moderates a live panel on mental health and mental illness, celebrating the launch of the new "Sweat Stains" zine. Panelists include: former New York Times health reporter Catherine Saint Louis, host of "Let it Out" podcast Katie Dalebout, Licensed Clinical Social Worker at The Fortune Society Jessica Glass, and Miss V, representative from the Urban Justice Center's Mental Health Project. For more info on "Sweat Stains" visit sweatstainsco.com.
Autumn can be great: sweaters are dope and pumpkins are cool, but for people with Seasonal Affective Order (or SAD), it signals the beginning of of several months of clinical depression. In this episode of GROUP, we break down how the disorder works with SAD specialist Dr. Kathryn Roecklein. We also hear from two individuals about their differing experiences with SAD, we chat about “happy lamps,” and we get a break from all that is dreary with the shining light that is Snax the Bunny.
Is Donald Trump a clinical narcissist? Does he have a personality disorder? Is it ethical for mental health professionals to publicly diagnosis him without conducting an official assessment? GROUP tackles these questions and more with help from narcissism expert Professor Keith Campbell of the University of Georgia. We also hear from diagnosed narcissist and psychopath Sam Vaknin, author of "Malignant Self Love: Narcissism Revisited."
7. Don't Ask Me About My Junk: Mental Health & The Trans Community
It's not great for your mental health when strangers are constantly asking you about your genitals, and for folks in the trans or gender-nonconforming community, that's not even the tough stuff. This episode of GROUP is all about mental health and being trans, and how those things go together in a society that can be pretty idiotic. Featuring conversations with clinical psychologists lore m. dickey and Matthew Oransky and interviews with trans activists Lily Zheng, Dylan Kapit, and Cathy Ann Serino.
Don't panic. You've got this under control! GROUP "friendapist" Catherine Drury shares some basic tips and recommendations for readjusting your mood when you catch yourself spiraling. Plus, updates on the GROUPiverse and future episodes.
Mimi is worried she's murdering people. Emily takes two-hour showers. What's up with their brains? Oh, it's OCD! In this episode of GROUP, Ian and Rebecca dissect Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder with the help of Dr. Sarah Parker, a therapist who specializes in the treatment of the disorder. Also, Rebecca shares her compulsive childhood prayers and strange pattycaking.
How much does poor sleep mess with your brain? Rebecca and Ian discuss with the help of Dr. Shelby Harris, a behavioral sleep medicine expert. Rebecca shows off her sleep setup (including her 20 lb weighted blanket); and we hear two contrasting stories of depression and sleep disorders.
Does interacting with animals improve your mental health? Rebecca and Ian go on a quest to find out. We hear from a nursing student whose Yorkshire Terrier helps prevent panic attacks. We weigh the mental health benefits of pet ownership with Anthrozoology Professor Hal Herzog. And we talk to a man given a prescription for an emotional support goat.
Learn more about the individuals featured in this episode, and view related photos, videos, and additional bonus content here.
2. Compulsive Self-Grooming
Rebecca compulsively picks at her nails. Ian used to bite the inside of his cheeks. In this episode of GROUP, mental health counselor Merrill Black explains how compulsive self-grooming works and how to treat it. We also hear the story of a young woman with trichotillomania (compulsive hair pulling). And we chat with the founder of a mental health nonprofit about her experience with excoriation disorder (compulsive skin picking).
1. Exposure Therapy & Creepy Crawlers
Rebecca and Ian chat about phobias, including Rebecca's fear of spiders. We hear from an exposure therapist who treats people with severe phobias and chat with a guy who got over his spider phobia with help from a tarantula tattoo.