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Why Everyone Should Listen to This Queer Mental Health Podcast

My former professor Dr. Wyatt Hermansen and their partner, singer Mary Lambert, have collaborated in a podcast that is my new obsession. As two people with bipolar disorder, their show is fittingly called “The Manic Episodes.” I am slightly biased in writing a good review for their podcast since Dr. Hermansen was one of my favorite professors during my time at Westfield State University. Despite this, I firmly believe people with mental disorders would get a lot out of the couple’s firsthand lens on their multilayered identities as they cope with mental disorders and chronic pain, and move through the world as queer and fat in a world that favors mentally stable, straight, skinny people.

It is both an autobiography of their lives and a sort of self-help guide with coping strategies and resources available for those struggling. The topics don’t stop there though, as they explore social media, gender identity, politics, financial wellness and much more, so there really is something for everyone.

There has not been a podcast that has kept me quite as interested as this one. These are two people who speak candidly, as podcast hosts do, on very sensitive topics and who aren’t afraid to be incredibly vulnerable when recalling difficult experiences. They also acknowledge their whiteness and privilege, and use it to advocate against white supremacy and the most recent wave of Asian American hatred. Dr. Hermansen is an avid bookworm and will share excerpts and research studies they have found to further their fruitful discussions. At the same rate, the pair make it clear that they are not trying to speak for any community other than those they are a part of.

You may start to think that this podcast is just going to be depressing and lecture about societal norms. But do no such thing — these two have great chemistry and complement each other’s contributions succinctly. Their discussion are interesting and in addition, they entertain us with little details about their lives such as their dogs Turnip and Georgie, funny questions they find on Yahoo Answers, and their goofy, harmless, out-of-this-world imaginative “lies” they make in a bit about those who subscribe to their pod. So while they explore important topics such as bipolar, depression and anxiety, they always provide that breath of comic relief.

Their show also divulges into their “obsessions,” which tend to be shows, public figures or books they’re hooked on. Then comes the “lies” bit that inevitably leaves me wheezing on the floor (in a good way). Last but definitely not least, they choose a couple of poems each to finish out the segment. These poems are always so moving and so profound and leave me Googling the poets for more poems. Sometimes, the poems are by people they know and sometimes they just stumbled upon them in various magazines. Either way, they leave me goosebumps as I take out my headphones.

This power couple is vibrant, compassionate, goofy and thought-provoking. With over 50 episodes, you’ll have plenty to catch up on while you’re doing your laundry and more to look forward to. Overall, they remind you that you are not alone in this complicated, scary, beautiful journey that is being alive. You can find this podcast on Apple Podcasts or Spotify Podcasts, and to subscribe, you can go to patreon.com/manicepisodes.

For more like this, check out The Mighty Podcast, where we infuse the health space with positivity, humor and vulnerability.

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash