Sex, Spirituality, and Self-Consciousness

Jessica Graham

Jessica Graham (@deconstructjg) is an actor, producer, and meditation teacher.

She has appeared in a number of films including “And Then Came Lola”, “Devil Girl”, and “2 Minutes Later” which won her the Best Actress Award at the Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.

She is a contributing editor of the popular meditation blog “Deconstructing Yourself“, and the author of the book which forms the basis of today’s discussion, “Good Sex: Getting Off Without Checking Out”.

In today’s episode we explore Jessica’s journey from sexual trauma and disengagement to sexual awakening and spirituality.

We discuss the influence of social media on body image and how different environments can have positive or negative effect on our sexual self-image, common reasons why people feel self-conscious and dissatisfied with their sex lives, the importance of honesty in getting what you want in the bedroom, and how practicing mindfulness between the sheets can lead to a more satisfying sex life.

 

Related Links

Wild Awakening – Dedicated to helping you become more human through psychospiritual evolution, using meditation and self-inquiry.

Mindful Sex with Jessica Graham – Facebook Page

Jessica’s YouTube Channel

Follow Jessica on Instagram

Simple Habit Meditation App – Get two weeks free with this link (for limited time)

Book Recommendations

          

Images (modified) courtesy: Hey Paul Studios (Brain, Gut

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Psychobiotics: Microbes, Mood and the Gut-Brain Connection

Scott Anderson

Scott Anderson (@Psychobiotic) is a veteran science journalist with specialization in medical research and computer programming. He is the author of a number of books covering topics as diverse as Human Embryonic Stem Cells and Video Production skills, and he was also one of the creators behind the computer game Lego Island, which was one of the biggest selling computer games of the 90’s.

Scott runs a laboratory called Freedom Health that studies bacterial health in racehorses and has developed prebiotics for animals and humans, and his newest book “The Psychobiotic Revolution“, along with John Cryan and Ted Dinan from the APC Microbiome Institute, explores how and why your brain health and state of mind are intimately connected to your gut microbiome.

In today’s episode we discuss the history of the gut-brain research, how the gut and the brain communicate with one another, why the bacteria living in your digestive system may contribute to mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety, how western dietary habits lead to the destruction of a healthy gut ecology, and we also discuss some of the pre and probiotic foods that you can start consuming to bring your brain and body back into balance.

 

Related Links

Feed Your Microbes, Nurture Your Mind – John Cryan, TEDx Talk

Food for thought: How gut microbes change your mind – John Cryan TEDMED Talk

Book Recommendations

Images (modified) courtesy: Hey Paul Studios (Brain, Gut

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What Makes a Soldier? What Breaks a Soldier?

Dr. Hector Garcia

Hector Garcia is an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and a clinical psychologist at the Veterans Health Administration specializing in the treatment of combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

He has published extensively on the treatment of PTSD in combat veterans, masculine identity in the aftermath of war, stress and rank in organizations, and the interplay between religious practice and psychopathology.

He is the author of “Alpha God: The Psychology of Religious Violence and Oppression“, and his TED talk about training soldiers to return home from combat has racked up over 1 million views.

In today’s episode we discuss the evolutionary psychology of warfare, how the combat theater mirrors the environment of early humans, common causes of PTSD in a military context, and the evolutionary justifications for viewing PTSD as an adaptive survival strategy.

We also explore what aspects of the military experience make it difficult for veterans to return to civilian life, what separates veterans who settle back into peacetime environments from those who don’t, and, in light of Hector’s TED talk, after training soldiers go to war, we ask how do we train them to come home again?

 

Related Links

Hector-Garcia.com – Hector’s website

Video of violent chimpanzee attack on a neighbouring troop – YouTube

About Face – A video gallery of veterans, their family members and clinicians talking in their own words about how treatment for PTSD helps

PTSD Consultation Program (US) – A free service available to any healthcare provider treating veterans, including providers outside of the VA

Book Recommendations

                                   

Image courtesy: The U.S Army (Spc. Breanne Pye)

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Porn Addiction: Dopamine, Disgust, and Erectile Dysfunction

Gary Wilson

Gary Wilson (@YourBrainOnPorn) is a retired anatomy and physiology teacher, public speaker and writer.

Gary is the author of “Your Brain on Porn: Internet Pornography and the Emerging Science of Addiction“, and the co-founder, alongside his wife Marnia, of YourBrainOnPorn.com, a secular, science-based web site providing support and information for people wanting to recover from mental, physical, and social problems related to the consumption of porn.

In today’s episode we explore the neuroscience of porn addiction, the role of dopamine in driving porn use, why emotions such as shock and disgust make pornography not less, but more appealing, and the links between porn usage and erectile dysfunction.

We also discuss links between porn addiction and mental health issues such as depression and social anxiety, how chronic masturbation could be responsible for feelings of fatigue and brain fog, why increasing number of men are claiming to have no interest in sex with real women, how you can tell if you’re addicted to porn, and if so, what you can do to get yourself out of it.

 

Related Links

Your Brain on Porn – Gary’s website

Reboot Nation – Support forum helping people recover from artificial sexual stimulation

NoFap – Reddit Forum

PornFree – Reddit Forum

Book Recommendations

     

Image courtesy: Surian Soosay

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How to Bankrupt Your Business, Destroy Your Family, and Lose Your Mind

Well, it had to happen sooner or later, I suppose.

In today’s episode I share my own story of my decent into madness. Beginning with my early childhood flirtations with hypochondria, I take you all the way through my battles with depression, anxiety, agoraphobia, and depersonalization, right the way through to hitting rock bottom in early 2015 when I experienced a brief period of suicidal ideation.

If that doesn’t sound morbid enough, on the way we’ll encounter adoption, drugs, prostitution, strip clubs, brothels, lies, infidelity, gangland violence, ambition, failure, bankruptcy, nudists, modern art, tongue piercings, and my illustrious career as a dog shit picker-upper.

Enjoy!

I’ve included some photos and links below to add a few visuals to the narrative, or just in case anyone thinks I might be telling porkies pies.

 

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Related Links

Hit me up on Twitter: @dannydwhittaker

Calls for investigation after brothel charges – Manchester Evening News

Clubland shooting victim named – BBC

Teen’s key-fob death is still a mystery  – Manchester Evening News

Skinbook: Facebook for 21st Century Nudists – TIME

Book Recommendations

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Postnatal Depression: A Darker Shade of Blue

Elaine Hanzak

Elaine Hanzak (@elainehanzak) is an author and speaker who uses her experience with postnatal depression and bereavement to deliver keynote presentations on overcoming loss and perinatal mental health.

She is the author of two books, “Eyes Without Sparkle: A Journey Through Postnatal Illness“, which today’s discussion is based on, and the follow-up “Another Twinkle in the Eye: Contemplating Another Pregnancy After Perinatal Mental Illness“.

In 2016 Elaine was nominated for the “Cheshire Woman of the Year” Award for her contribution to community services, and in 2017 she was a finalist at the British Journal of Midwifery Awards in the category of contribution of a non-midwife to mid-wifery practices.

In today’s episode Elaine shares her experience of postnatal depression. How despite dreaming of motherhood her entire life, a traumatic labour, months of sleep deprivation, and the pressures of aspiring to be the perfect mum, eventually caused her to spiral into a period of depression, self-harm, psychosis, and eventually being admitted to a psychiatric hospital.

Having since made a full recovery, Elaine tells us what the experience has taught her about motherhood and life, and she also offers some simple self-care practices to help future mums avoid a similar fate.

 

Related Links

Hanzak.com – Elaine’s website

Elaine Hanzak Facebook Page

Maternal Mental Health Alliance – a UK coalition improving the mental health of women and their children during the perinatal period

Book Recommendations

     

Image courtesy: Jake Guild

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Why Stress Destroys Us

Prof. Carmine Pariante

Carmine Pariante (@ParianteSPILab) is Professor of Biological Psychiatry at Kings College London, where he also leads the Stress, Psychiatry and Immunology (SPI) Lab, investigating the relationship between stress, mental health and the immune system.

Carmine is the editor of a number of books including “Understanding Depression: A Translational Approach“, and “Behavioral Neurobiology of Stress-related Disorders“, and he also writes a blog for the Huffington Post.

He has received a number of awards for his research including the 2012 “Academic Psychiatrist of the Year” Award from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the 2015 Anna-Monika Prize for Research on Depression, and the Norman Cousins Award for outstanding contributions to research in psychoneuroimmunology.

In today’s episode we discuss the biology of stress, everything from the anatomy of the brain, to the endocrine system, and how it’s all functions together. We explore the evolutionary advantages of the stress response, how the pressures of modern life can cause stress to become chronic, and how the physiological damage of long-term stress can lead to conditions such as anxiety and depression.

 

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Related Links

Stress, Psychiatry and Immunology (SPI) Lab – Facebook Page

Book Recommendations

          

Image courtesy: Amy McTigue

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How the Mental Health Industry Fails the Mentally Ill

DJ Jaffe

D.J. Jaffe (@MentalIllPolicy) is a writer and activist whose work is focused on improving care for the 4% of people who are the most severely mentally ill, including those with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

D.J. is the founder and Executive Director of Mental Illness Policy Org, a think-tank dedicated to providing law enforcement, the media and policy makers with unbiased information on issues affecting the seriously mentally ill.

His op-eds have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall St. Journal, and he is the author of the controversial and well-reviewed, “Insane Consequences: How the Mental Health Industry Fails the Mentally Ill“.

In today’s episode we discuss the distinctions between serious and non-serious mental illness, why anti-stigma and anti-suicide campaigns are misguided, the damaging myths about serious mental illness perpetuated by the media, and ultimately how mental health advocates are failing the very people they profess to be trying to help.

 

Related Links

Mental Illness Policy Org – Homepage

8 Myths About Mental Illness – by D.J. Jaffe

Mental Illness Policy Org – Facebook Page

National Alliance on Serious Mental Illness – Facebook Group

Book Recommendations

                                   

Image courtesy: MJ Klaver

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Is it Time to Drop Your Diagnosis?

Dr. Lucy Johnstone

Lucy Johnstone (@ClinPsychLucy) is a consultant clinical psychologist, conference speaker, lecturer and trainer, and one of many professionals and service users/survivors who take a critical perspective on mental health theory and practice.

She is author of “Users and Abusers of Psychiatry“, co-editor of “Formulation in Psychology and Psychotherapy: Making Sense of People’s Problems“, and the author of the book which forms the basis of today’s discussion, “A Straight Talking Guide to Psychiatric Diagnosis“.

Lucy also writes a blog at Mad in America where she writes about the advantages of one alternative to psychiatric diagnosis, known as psychological formulation. An approach which allows for the exploration of personal meaning within relational and social contexts.

In today’s episode we discuss why the concept of psychiatric diagnosis is both invalid and unreliable, we weigh up the benefits and consequences of being labelled with a particular disorder, and whether or not the demise of the current classification system, which is acknowledged to be unsatisfactory even by the people who invented it, will lead to more constructive and helpful alternatives.

 

Related Links

Mad in America – Rethinking psychiatric care

Drop the Disorder Facebook Group – A group for anyone who is interested in challenging traditional approaches to emotional distress

A Disorder 4 Everyone – Exploring the culture of psychiatric diagnosis

Book Recommendations

                                        

Image courtesy: Wikimedia

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PTSD: Trauma, Meaning and Malevolence

Dr. Nick Grey

Nick Grey (@nickdgrey) is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist, and Clinical Research and Training Fellow at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, and the University of Sussex.

His research interests are in the development and dissemination of cognitive-behavioural treatments for anxiety disorders and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He is also a member of the Wellcome Trust Anxiety Disorders Group led by David Clark and Anke Ehlers.

He is the editor of “A Casebook of Cognitive Therapy for Traumatic Stress Reactions“, co-editor of “How to be a More Effective CBT Therapist“, and co-author of the forthcoming 3rd edition of the psychological self-help classic, “Manage Your Mind”.

In today’s episode we explore the definitions and subjective nature of “trauma”, why women are twice as likely to suffer with PTSD than men, the difference between a normal and disordered trauma response, what differentiates PTSD from other anxiety disorders, we discuss the nature of malevolence and why acts of evil are more likely to result in trauma than accidents and natural disasters, why narrative and meaning plays such an important role in a person’s recovery.

 

Related Links

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – NHS Choices Summary

International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies – The largest professional organisation focused on traumatic stress

UK Psychological Trauma Society – UK version of ISTSS, includes listings of specialist UK trauma services

National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) – The NICE guidelines for PTSD provide a summary of PTSD assessment and treatment

National Center for PTSD – Program of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs which maintains the free access Published International Literature on Traumatic Stress (PILOTS) database

PTSD Coach App – The PTSD Coach app can help you learn about and manage symptoms that often occur after trauma (iOS), (Android)

Book Recommendations

                                   

 

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Image courtesy: RANT 73