Imagine that you’re at a Lady Gaga concert with all the glitz and glamor. It would never cross your mind that she has depression. You can have everything in life and still not be happy. This is just one of the mental health issues discussed in the new Apple TV documentary, The Me You Can’t See. Join your hosts, Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen, as they do a deep dive into how the show tackles very sensitive matters such as trauma, coping, healing, OCD, and suicide. Jason and Whitney also unpack everything – from different stories about Oprah, Prince Harry, and Robin Williams, and the personal trauma they experienced in the past, to how you can gain a sense of well-being again.
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The Me You Can’t See: An In-Depth Analysis Of Mental Health Issues
One of our favorite things to discuss on the show is documentaries. I feel like I started off saying these exact words in another episode but I’ll reiterate it because it’s true. There seems to be an influx in programming around mental health and examining culture on a deeper level which is fascinating to talk about. Fake Famous is a documentary about influencer culture. We’ve talked about Generation Hustle, which is a series on HBO. Jason, was is it specifically about a generation in terms of age or was it in this time we are generation hustled no matter how old you are? I’m not quite sure. I haven’t thought about that but the hustle culture and the ways in which people are generating income.
We’ve also talked about Childhood 2.0 and The Social Dilemma, which both touch upon social media’s impact on people of different ages. Childhood 2.0 is about children. We’ve talked about some other documentaries that I’m not remembering off the top of my head. I enjoyed the way that filmmakers and television producers have represented the subject matter. It’s important because it combines entertainment with information which makes it easier for people to understand these things.The pain of suffering is an urgent need for help, and the simple act of sharing is a powerful first step. Click To Tweet
The newest series in this genre is called The Me You Can’t See which is what we’re going to talk about. It‘s a new series on Apple TV+, it is officially called. It’s Apple’s streaming service, which I enjoy. They have great programming. It reminds me a lot of HBO in some ways. This one in particular is produced by Oprah Winfrey. I’m not sure but I assume that Prince Harry is in addition to being on–screen with Oprah is also a producer. They joined forces to guide honest discussions about mental health which sounds a lot like our description here for this episode.
The series features illuminating stories from around the globe. Allowing seeking truth, understanding and newfound hope for the future and again sounds a lot like this show. I knew I needed to watch it and it came out. I believe the whole series dropped on May 21, 2021. I am not sure if they’ve released all episodes for season one. I have watched 1.5 episodes. The first one is called Say It Out Loud. The description is millions of people around the globe struggle with mental health and silence. In order to heal, that silence must be broken and now is the time. It features Prince Harry, Oprah Winfrey, Lady Gaga and I believe two other people that I was not familiar with ahead of time. One of them is a chef and one of them is a boxer.
She’s an Olympic boxer named Ginny.
Episode two which I’m halfway through is called Asking for Help. The pain of suffering is an urgent need for help is universal and the simple act of sharing is a powerful first step. That episode features a little bit more of Prince Harry. Oprah tells her story there. Robin Williams’s son is in that and a woman named Alex so far through that episode. The stories are remarkable. The production value of this series is fantastic. I love the structure of it and it surprised me. It felt a bit unique and it feels like a feature–length documentary.
Each episode is about a little under an hour long. I like how they tell these little vignette segments on each person. They come back around, it’s very well–framed and there are lessons to be learned throughout each episode. I felt emotional watching it, I’ve cried several times and I felt moved by it. I’m feeling like I’m learning a lot. I’m intrigued. It’s fantastic. You couldn’t expect anything less from Oprah and Apple combined.
I do want to give a trigger warning to anyone who’s reading but as shown at the beginning of each episode of The Me You Can’t See that mental health and emotional well-being are discussed and people are sharing experiences. I’m just giving a heads up that we may touch upon some of these things such as physical and mental trauma, anxiety, depression, drug usage, OCD, divorce and several challenging subject matters.
One of the big points that I’ve gained from the show thus far is how important it is to talk about these things openly because it gives other people either permission or the strength and the confidence to discuss them. The healing power of listening to people, holding space for them and encouraging them and doing our best to understand them instead of judging them. Jason, how far have you made it through the show thus far? What are some of your feelings before we dig into the specifics?
I watched almost the entirety. I made it to the end of episode one. It’s been eye–opening to see the different forms that mental illness can take. Ones that I’ve been ignorant to, not in terms of ignorant to their existence, ignorant to see how they play out in a person’s life, how they affect their well-being and how they affect how they interact with other people. There’s been a deep resonance in certain ways of listening and we’ll get into this. Someone like Chef Rashad and his story with his father and his story with being very successful in the food industry as a chef.
On the outside, people perceived him as this positive, happy, engaging, gregarious person but inside he felt completely broken. In some ways, that moved me the most because I could identify with his energy, his life story and what he was feeling. The eye–opening part was I was looking at someone Ginny, this Olympic boxer who struggles with OCD and my ignorance around OCD. Her specific kind of OCD being contamination OCD. It’s been so far eye–opening.
Also, I’m grateful that this exists and that these conversations are coming out in such a raw, personal way. My impression of it so far is this is not glossy in a substantive discussion on mental health. To me, this seems like we’re talking about people of different ethnicities, different professions, different backgrounds, different levels of wealth and fame. I hope that this removes a stigma. You and I’ve discussed many episodes of the show in the past, which is if you’re rich, famous and influential, you’re not allowed to struggle with mental health.
I hope that this documentary series as we go into it, not only explores the depth and the breadth of the different forms of mental illness and what that does to people and how it affects their lives. Also, showing that mental illness does not give a crap about your money, fame, influence, color, race or gender. This is affecting people with many different backgrounds and from many different walks of life. I hope it opens people’s minds and hearts to how broad this is.
That’s a great point because I found myself reflecting on that Jason and how there’s this fine line between capitalizing on the trend of mental health and wellness as we’ve talked about throughout the show. Sometimes I feel uncomfortable calling our show a mental health show because we’re not mental health professionals. We try to remind our readers over and over again and be transparent about that. Our aim here is not to diagnose or give therapy, it’s to talk openly. The show is just like that which I appreciate.
Our aim is not to capitalize on it. Our aim, similar to that show, is to explore it to help others. I felt like at the beginning of episode one I wasn’t quite sure what I was feeling. There were moments where I was watching Lady Gaga, Stefani is her name, talk about it. I found myself wondering if it can feel forced or contrived when it comes to a celebrity. Those thoughts were just thoughts and curiosities, not judgments. I’m wondering when people talk about these things, if they are contrived, if they thought of them ahead of time. Is Apple using this topic just to make money? Is Oprah using it because it’s a popular thing?
As I’ve watched the show, I don’t believe that to be true. Oprah is a very savvy businesswoman but she seems genuine in her desire to support others. It’s easy to look at someone like her and make a lot of judgments. It was Lady Gaga, Stefani, who said, “We can look at celebrities and think like who are they to complain about their lives?” She said, “Privilege, money and power. She had all of those things but was still miserable.” It’s tempting for someone that doesn’t have the same privileges.
For her, she’s a young white woman who’s been incredibly successful, made a lot of money and had a lot of dreams come true. From the outside, who is she to be miserable? Someone without a lot of money might feel very different without the same amount of power. You can look at her, Oprah and Prince Harry. I wonder some people won’t watch the show because of that. Some people will watch because of that and some people won’t watch because of that. They think, “How relatable is it?” That’s why it’s great that the show mixes in many other people.
In episode two, there’s a woman named Alex who was homeless at one point or unhomed and had gone through PTSD and abuse. Some developmental trauma is a term I’m grateful to learn about and sharing her story is helpful. You see that in contrast to some or in parallel to some of these other people. When Zak, Robin Williams’ son comes on and talks about it. It’s a tender thing because you’re watching him talk about this as the son of a man who was incredibly famous, powerful in his own way, had a lot of money and him reflecting on his father’s struggles. You’ve talked about this several times Jason. People like Robin Williams feel almost perplexing when they end their own lives. You wonder like, “Why would you end your own life? You’re famous and people love you. You have so much money and you have it all.”
That’s another reason this show is important because it‘s almost like the anti-side to something like that Fake Famous documentary and looking at all these influencers who are trying to show that their lives are perfect but not acknowledge where their misery, shortcomings and challenges are. Seeing the contrast between them is important because it’s easy to get caught up in the glitz and the glamour. It’s easy to think someone like Lady Gaga has the greatest life. She has won an Oscar. She’s got all these hit records. She’s an attractive woman and in great shape. She’s white.
You can look at Oprah and think of the great success she’s had but when she talks about her traumas and the things that she’s seen, she’s not even complaining. Neither one of them and that’s one of the things that Stefani as Lady Gaga brings up. The point in discussing her trauma is not to get sympathy. It’s simply to share it. That’s one of the most important elements of the show. They said that sharing our stories helps break the cycle and shows that it‘s not what’s wrong with you, it‘s what’s happened to you.It’s not possible to have a human experience and not come out of human life without some form of trauma. Click To Tweet
If you examine all this, these people are sharing what happened and sometimes there are solutions. What I found interesting about the OCD segment with the Olympian woman. First of all, that segment made me uncomfortable. I don’t know if you felt that way, Jason. I was fascinated by watching that and how her obsession brought up a lot of discomfort for me. It wasn’t about her. It wasn’t a judgment of what she’s doing. I’m like, “I don’t want to watch or something,” but I found myself feeling interesting emotions around it. Seeing somebody have to wash their hands so much for some reason made me feel uncomfortable. I did find it interesting though that they didn’t come back around to her.
They just had her in one section in n that episode but they didn’t come back. She told her story but there wasn’t a resolution like, “Here’s how I fixed it.” I found that refreshing without watching all the episodes. I don’t know if they ever returned to her story but I would appreciate it if they didn’t. This is something that comes up in episode two is it’s not about fixing all the time. Sometimes it’s just about sharing, acknowledging and telling somebody what you’re going through. There’s not always going to be some perfect bow wrapped around your story and a before and after the hero’s journey. Sometimes, this is the state of your life.
I’m glad that you brought that point up because there’s an innate desire for resolution or to see ourselves overcome or heal from something. In the case of Ginny, this boxer to be like, “What happened to her? How is she handling it?” I identify with this big time because I’ve been reflecting on the therapy that I’ve done over the past years. One of the biggest challenges for me in therapy has been overcoming the belief system that I need to be fully healed from my mental illness to be a good partner, be a good boyfriend and be a good business partner. I will accomplish the things in the world that I want to accomplish and I’ve realized that I don’t think that’s going to happen. I don’t believe that mental illness for me, what I struggle with is going to be “healed.”
I’m learning how to manage it better and different ways to manage it, understand it and massage it. For me, it’s dangerous to think about the idea of being fully healed before I can have a good life, be a good partner, be a good boyfriend, be a good business person, etc. I realized I was holding on to that idea of I need resolution and to fully heal this before I can have the life I want. I’ve realized that I’m doing my best every single day to manage it and keep showing up for life even though it’s still there.
The interesting point about this OCD, I also felt uncomfortable watching because of seeing how much stress and anxiety was causing her to clean all of the time and watching her rub her hands raw. I don’t think I had ever seen a person in the process of how they manage their OCD. I’d heard about it but I’d never witnessed, in this case on camera, a person physically dealing with it. To me, it was interesting that she chose a profession as a boxer where she’s getting someone else’s sweat, blood and fluids on her body. I thought, “It is interesting that she’s able to compartmentalize that when she’s in the ring with someone and someone’s blood, sweat and tears are on her body. She can somehow compartmentalize that in her professional world.” That fast fascinates me.
It shows you, Whitney, how many permutations and versions of mental illness there are and how it can’t be a one size fits all approach to deal with this, not only on an individual level but on a systemic societal level. It comes down to digging into what each person is struggling with and what each person is having difficulty breaking through. That’s why I hesitate to ever do this in a group setting. Even with the coaching you and I do, I realized the more I do it that the nuances of each person‘s situation are specific.
As I’m riffing on this, there are things mentally that are kind of prevalent themes but the nuances of each person’s experience they’ve got to be dealt with individually. For me, I have felt uncomfortable watching this. I have felt a kinship relating to people’s stories. To go back to Prince Harry, he said a few things that were poignant to me. He said, “If pain isn’t transformed, it’s transferred.” That resonates because if we don’t deal with our pain and our trauma, it’s very easy to have those emotions color our relationships. Where since we haven’t gotten to the root of what we’re experiencing, it’s very easy to be mean, cruel and move that pain into our relationships. An important takeaway here too. Instead of masking the pain, he talked a lot about drugs, alcohol and things like that. As scary as it is to go to therapy, as scary as it is to get to the depth of our pain if we don’t, the alternative is we carry it through our life and we carry it not only for us but into other relationships too.
It does seem to be a big theme in the series and an important one too. It also reminds me of that great book, The Body Keeps the Score, which I thought about when Stefani, Lady Gaga was talking about her experiences. How she was having a physical reaction reminded her of the physical trauma that she had, which for a trigger warning I won’t say. It was a form of trauma and abuse that she went through sexually. She said that she numbed herself out and then later on had to deal with it. How she would go through things and it was like her body was responding in the same way that it did back then that was talked about.
It’s one phenomenal book on this subject matter and PTSD in general, which is also addressed a lot in the second episode is how the body stores these things. It’s very common for coping for us to not talk about things because we don’t want to, we feel like we can’t and we don’t know how to articulate it. We feel shame. We‘re embarrassed. That comes up I believe in episode two as well. About how a lot of people won’t talk about our experiences because we feel alone in them.
There’s a scene in which Oprah talks about going to a school of girls in Africa and one of them finds the strength to talk about what happened when she was seven years old. Oprah says, “I bet a lot of people in this room can relate and if you can would you stand up.” She said out of the 70 people there about 20 or 24 stood up. It was a visual representation that a lot of what we go through is shared by others, meaning that they’ve had their own similar experiences. It’s not until somebody finds the courage to bring it up that others will even feel permission or comfortable sharing it themselves.
That’s part of the reason that many people suppress their experiences but sometimes the brain as a coping mechanism does that where we’re not even conscious of it. We’re not aware that we’re compartmentalizing and that we’re almost having this temporary amnesia. I wonder a lot about that. Whenever I hear stories about people uncovering something from their past, I wonder like, “Will I ever experience that? Is there something that my brain forgot or numbed out within me that one day is going to come to the surface?” That scares me sometimes.
I’ve met people in person that have shared them. One girl that I went to church with when I was going regularly in Los Angeles. She talked about when her father was passing away and she uncovered memories of him abusing her. She didn’t even remember it until she was an adult. That story I was listening to and thinking, “Is that going to happen to me one day?” It could potentially happen to any of us if we’re forgetting something. Something can trigger it and they can come up for it. Suddenly, we have to face it.
To your point, Jason, another ongoing theme on this series thus far is coping through alcohol and drugs. I don’t know if they’ll talk about coping through sex. We’ve talked about retail therapy and there are several things that people do to try to numb the pain, avoid the pain and suppress it. It seems to me that anything that I come across around trauma turns out, it’s not like it’s ever preventing, it’s simply pushing it down deeper and deeper hoping that we’ll never have to address the pain. I’m grateful that in episode two, they touch upon grief to which is an important thing.
One of the big themes of this show is recognizing that it might get uncomfortable to deal with the sides of ourselves and how much we tend to avoid discomfort whether it’s pain, sadness, fear or anger. They feel unpleasant and uncomfortable to us but that’s part of the human experience. What I like about this series too is that it’s almost normalizing it. It’s like, “Other people experience these emotions too or some of these people have been through traumatic moments in their life and this is how they’re dealing with it.”
Prince Harry said something in this documentary at the very beginning that sounded like he was riffing and anecdotal because I don’t know that we could possibly quantify this for the entire human species. He said, “99.9% of the human population has been traumatized in some way.” There probably won’t be some global study to determine that. If we get down to the nature of what traumatizes us on a physical or psychological level, it’s a pretty interesting thing to put out in the universe.
Is it possible to have a human experience and not come out of human life without some form of trauma? I don’t even know if that‘s a worthwhile question to ask necessarily or even if it has an answer. The reason I bring it up is if we were to accept that theory that if you’re a human being and you’re going to experience some form of trauma then how do we deal with that trauma in a healthy, balanced and sustainable way? That’s where my question goes.
You brought up The Body Keeps the Score, talking about Lady Gaga, what she went through and I feel one of the biggest turning points for me, Whitney, was starting to do somatic therapy and somatic experiencing. Whereas example, I’ve had different versions of gut issues my entire life. Through working with somatic experiencing helps to not only identify where trauma is physically stored in the body in the cellular memory but helping to release it. I realized that one of the reasons that I believe I’ve had gut issues my whole life is because as a child when I would go through traumatic experiences with my father in the physical and emotional violence. I didn’t know how to process that as a kid. Where did I store it? I stored it in my stomach.Depression and mental challenges can get in the way of us doing our work. Click To Tweet
Now, whenever I get scared, whenever I get nervous, whenever I get fearful, my stomach is where I tap into where that is held in my body. It’s a question now as an example of this process of how can I release these emotions more quickly rather than store them in my body. On an emotional level, go back into the past and release whatever might be still stored there. It’s an interesting intersection that our physical beings aren’t these compartmentalized entities that are not affected by our emotions, our relationships with what we went through as children.
The thing that excites me about where medicine is heading is the intersection of our thoughts, our feelings, our trauma and our childhood experiences are completely intermeshed in what is happening to our adult bodies now. It’s fascinating to me. As I continue to do therapy, Whitney, I’m trying to peel back these layers to think, “Where are these a–ha moments of, ‘That’s why you have this response now because it’s a trauma response to that thing that happened in your childhood that you completely forgot about.’”
To your point about these thoughts. I don’t know why but for some reason in 2021, I have been thinking about situations, circumstances and moments that I have not thought about for decades. There’s been random, bizarre situations, some of them painful that I was like, “I haven’t thought about that in years.” I wonder, “Is it coming back up because maybe there’s more to be excavated, healed and there’s something unresolved in those situations?” That’s been fascinating to take inventory of. I hope that these conversations permit us to not necessarily “find solutions” because I think that’s a slippery slope. Maybe deal with the pain, the trauma and the things that have affected us in our lives in ways that are holistic, balanced and sustainable. That’s where I’m at with the whole thing. I’m trying to manage it better and become more aware of what needs to be healed and then do my best to address it.
On that note, I was wondering how you felt watching the segment with Chef Rashad. When I saw that, I texted you how there are some parallels. He was on the Food Network like you. You were technically in the Cooking Channel but in the same overarching company. He’s a chef who had some childhood trauma and was feeling his depression and mental challenges were getting in the way of doing the work. I know that you‘ve expressed a lot of that. I’m curious. Did you have any realizations or reflections while watching his segment?
I think the parallels were fascinating in terms of what we experienced with our fathers and his dad and my dad going to jail. It’s tough the absence of a solid and consistent male figure in our lives. I mean that’s nothing unique. Many young men are raised without fathers or raised with violent fathers or fathers that are incarcerated. That’s not an unusual thing for our society. The thing that I came away from Rashad‘s experience and this is my interpretation was when he was talking about how people in public view him. He’s gregarious. He talks to people. He’s this showman. He’s this entertainer. On the inside, he walks out of the spotlight or walks out of interacting with the public and he feels broken inside.
When he said that, I was like, “I completely relate to this.” Where I think for years, people in the public whether it was YouTube, the Cooking Channel show or whatever speaking appearances, “Jason, he’s such a fun and positive guy. Jason’s here.” It felt like this pressure that was partially my creation to show up as that energetic, positive, happy, playful guy that would light up the room. I go home at night alone and feel like I want to kill myself. That was a point that Chef Rashad brought up that I said, “I know what this feels like.”
It’s almost like a persona that I adopted. I can’t speak for him but for me, it was a persona that I adopted to get the love, attention and approval that I didn’t get from my father. If I’m the funniest guy in the room. I’m the most entertaining guy on stage. I make you laugh. That’s a way for me to get that attention, approval and love that my father never gave me but it’s an empty pit. I went to a restaurant with our mutual friend Ross, Whitney and I had dinner with him. I’m wearing a mask and I have my hat on, whatever. One of the people at the restaurant was like, “Are you Jason Wrobel?” I was like, “Yeah.” It was a sweet moment of recognition but I can take that stuff in now and realize that I don’t need to chase it or try and get it from people to make myself feel worthy of life.
For decades, I was doing that. I need your attention. I need your recognition. I need the fame. I need the money so that I can fill this festering painful hole in my heart that’s there from the relationship with my father. I’m starting to finally acknowledge that what do I want to do in my life where I’m not chasing those things. The point of relation with him Whitney was this idea of playing this role in public but then behind closed doors, you’re this broken human being who’s in so much pain. I want to show up as I am now like, “Here I am.”
If I’m not having a great day, I feel sad or I feel depressed. You’re going to get that version of me. If you can’t handle it, it’s not my business. I don’t want to be in that role that I saw Rashad playing, which is being one way in public and then feeling completely broken when you‘re in your private life. For me, I think part of my healing process, Whit, is calm as you are, show up as I am and not try and play a role or try and get something from people.
That is incredibly important and that leads me back to the documentary Fake Famous where it seems like many people are chasing that. Another documentary I watched is called Kid 90. It’s about Soleil Moon Frye from Punky Brewster. Have you heard of this documentary, Jason?
Yeah, I haven‘t watched it yet but some of the reviews and articles were fascinating in talking about that whole scene in the early 1990s, the people she was hanging out with and what they were doing. I want to watch it because it sounds interesting as hell.
This documentary is on Hulu and it came out in February 2021. It was one of those things I was scrolling through Hulu, it popped up and I thought, “This is interesting.” I remember watching a lot of those actors and checked out the rebooted version of Punky Brewster, which in my opinion is not good. I might give it another try. I wasn’t into it. I liked that show when I was little. Soleil grew up with some big names from back in the 1990s. I was expecting our friend Ele Keats to be in that but she wasn’t. Ele was also in that crowd and I would hear stories about Ele being a young actress in Hollywood and going to the clubs and all these things.
I enjoyed watching it and it reminded me a lot of myself too. I have been going through some old videos of myself and similar to Soleil, I used to carry around a video camera which was not super common. Before cellphones at least, back in the day people barely even took photos. It’s fascinating how much it shifted. We have disposable cameras and most kids wouldn’t have a camera. I felt like that was something your parents had, a video camera or a film camera where it felt like adult things and maybe you could borrow it if you knew how to use them. They were expensive and not very common. I saved up a ton of money to get a video camera and it was my pride and joy because I liked documenting things. People thought I was strange for doing that. Watching Kid 90 was interesting for that reason alone. I could relate to Soleil wanting to document her life.
Can we geek out on some old–school tech Whitney? The first camera you bought because, first of all, for the readers, Whitney and I have interesting parallels for our careers. We both went to different film schools. Back in the day in the 1990s, I remember when I first got my hands on an 8mm camera like it wasn’t a VHS. You see images from the 1980s of these giant VHS camcorders and then finally 8mm was a third of the size of these tiny cassettes. It was a literal handheld.
When you got your first camera, Whitney, I’m curious about two things. What was the format? Was it an 8mm? Was it a Hi8? Which came out right after 8mm? Being one of the only people way ahead of the curve years before YouTube, were people annoyed by bringing a camera into a meal or a family gathering and making the videos as you did? When you did it, it was highly unusual. Now, everyone’s got a freaking camera and a video recorder, 4K on their phone. For you back then, you know this is a bit of a tangent. How did people regard you carrying a camera everywhere? Where they like, “That’s just Whitney.” Were they annoyed? Were they supportive? What was your response to that of you being early in that curve?
Similarly, if you watch Kid 90 it was pretty much what I experienced which you’ll see celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio and Brian Austin Green, who are fascinated to see them all. Stephen Dorff and David Arquette, a lot of these bigger names from back then. On camera, they are acting awkward even though they’re actors. They felt awkward seeing the camera around them. Also, the difference between how Soleil talks now as an adult versus as a teenager.
When I was watching old footage of myself, Jason, I would put on these weird voices and mannerisms. I thought I was embarrassed as an adult watching myself as a teenager, which I’m sure many people feel. When I was looking at this old footage thinking like, “Why did I do those things?” You then see celebrities do those things even though they were professionals on camera. That was a normal reaction. I got those types of reactions from myself and from others.
I remember in high school, it was strange for me to have my video camera in high school. I recorded a lot. Nobody was telling me I couldn’t. I don’t remember my teachers caring that much. I went to a liberal school so I think they knew that it was part of my passion for making movies. If it was inappropriate, they would tell me to turn it off. I have footage when I was in ninth grade and up so I recorded probably the last four years of high school. I’m grateful.Realize that you don't need to chase recognition or attention and try to get it from people to make yourself feel worthy of life. Click To Tweet
I remember back then, Jason, saying to people, “You’ll thank me later for doing this.” I had that inkling, not the same as I do now. I guarantee if I posted that footage my high school class would be thrilled. I went to a small school so there were 80 of us. It’s amazing because there are people that have passed away that I have footage of them and I’ve been wanting to gather all the footage together to send some of them to their family. All the things that you can remember and observe about yourself through having that footage are remarkable. The reason I brought this up is how things have shifted with technology. We operate differently now. It’s part of your point of trying to seek this validation from people knowing you. That becomes commonplace as the Fake Famous documentary outlines.
We’ve talked about the Kardashians in recent episodes and the impact that they’ve had. We’ve talked about Social Dilemma and Childhood 2.0 and the impact that social media has had on our mental health. It’s a very relatable experience to want to be known for something. I guess that‘s what’s fascinating with you too, Jason. You had a traditional TV show which not everybody experiences but almost anybody these days can grow an online community, audience and be held up on some sort of pedestal. Although what I find is interesting is we’re getting to a point with social media where anybody can have an audience. It’s becoming less and less like a big deal. It feels accessible.
Anybody can be a musician, have their music streaming on Spotify and make money from it. I use anybody loosely because I’m not saying it’s easy but it’s much easier than it used to be. That makes me wonder, “What’s going to happen next?” It seems like human beings have a core desire to stand out, be special and fame is so attractive. If everybody’s famous then what happens? I don’t know if we’ve experienced that as humans yet, maybe we have. That’s something I would like to go and look at historically. What are we going to create next to feel special and differentiate ourselves? Will we get to the point where we don’t need it as much? Will we always want that as a human society? To your point, Jason, is that an old wound? Does everybody experience that? Do the majority? Do some people want that? It plays out in all different ways. Some people are very drawn to fame.
This is the reason I brought up Kid 90 is how you can have all this fame and still be depressed. Suicide is a huge element of Kid 90 so a trigger warning for that too. Soleil in the documentary talks about six different people that she knew closely and had in her home videos that committed suicide. I was watching it and like, “The trauma she must have experienced from knowing all these people intimately and then they chose to end their own lives.” It’s hard enough for us on the outside. This comes up in The Me You Can’t See when they’re talking with Zak, Robin Williams’ son. I’m sitting there thinking, “I remember how sad I felt hearing that Robin died but imagine being his son. Imagine being his friend.” The shock, in the end, Prince Harry talks about this too with his mom, the deep shock that he was in and having to share that grief with the rest of the world. It’s intense.
Robin Williams was one of the reasons that I finally decided to get help. When he took his own life it was around the same time he had a TV series with Sarah Michelle Gellar that got canceled after one season. Around the time that Robin Williams took his life was the same time that my series got canceled as well. When Robin Williams took his life, it was part of a big wake–up call for me. To that point, I was like, “I can handle this depression on my own. I’m feeling suicidal.” I wasn’t asking for help. I wasn’t going to therapy. I didn’t go to the doctor and get my panels tested or my neurotransmitters looked at.
In many ways when Robin passed it was like I never knew him, I’ve never met him personally although he was one of my heroes as an entertainer, actor and comedian. It kind of shook me in a way like, “I need to go get help.” His passing in a way, it’s a very strange thing you bring up because you have the family, friends and people who personally know celebrities who take their own lives or who passed in accidents. The ripple effect on adoring the public that perhaps loves and appreciates these people.
In a bizarre way that was the moment that needed to shake me out of my stupor to finally go get a therapist, get my panels looked at and finally get professional help. I was in a very dark place when I heard that news about Robin Williams. You bring that up is bringing back a lot of memories for me of that time in 2014, Whitney. There are different communities for asking for help. It’s stigmatized in general, this whole conversation of mental health and suicidal ideation. It’s stigmatized in more communities and more segments than others.
Rashad in this documentary talked about how the black community, generally speaking, is something you still don’t talk about. The suicide rates in men at least the last time I checked is higher than in women. As men, it’s still this thing of like, “Suck it up, deal with it and don’t talk about it.” It’s a very old–school approach to pain, suffering and trauma for men. Discussing this and having many different people from many different backgrounds talking about this, I hope can destigmatize this for people of color, men and celebrities. We’re all traumatized to one degree or another.Human beings have a core desire to stand out and be special. Fame is so attractive, but you can have all the fame and still be depressed. Click To Tweet
Also, Whitney, I wonder this without the specific kinds of trauma in our lives. If people weren’t traumatized in certain ways, would they even want to seek fame? Would they even want to seek notoriety, influence, social media fame and the things we’re talking about? I would love to see some sort of study of people that seek fame, power, money, influence and the level and type of trauma they’ve experienced in their life. What I’m saying is I wonder if celebrity, fame and all this crap would even exist if people weren’t traumatized. Is part of that impetus to get the attention, approval, fame and money? Some sort of reaction to make oneself feel safe, adored and loved because they didn’t feel safe, adored and loved as children. I’m not saying it’s a rule but I do wonder. Would people even give a crap about the pursuit of fame and celebrity? It brings us to the point of why do people even pursue it in the first place. I’m not saying trauma is the sole reason but I’m curious about this question of how much does trauma play a role in it.
If people mentally dealt with their trauma in a way where sex, drugs, rock and roll, money, fame and social media standing, we’re not accessible. In some ways, they feel like distractions. The pursuit of fame can be an addiction. The pursuit of money can be an addiction. The question is what is underneath it for people. For me, it was safety. If I get the attention, approval, money, fame, significance, I’ll feel safe because I didn’t feel safe as a kid.
To me, the big thing that I’m working on in all of this is feeling safe and not necessarily relying on these external things to make me feel safe. Part of the process is identifying the why. Why are we pursuing these things? Maybe if we start to engage with the healing process, this is my experience talking, as we heal and we deal with the trauma, we don’t want those things anymore. On many levels, Whitney, for me, I realized that my motivation in pursuing those things was to feel safe and feel loved. If I give myself the feeling of safety and love then I don’t feel like I need to pursue those things externally anymore. That’s been my process.
To wrap up this episode before we get to our wellness product recommendations, I encourage the readers to watch The Me You Can’t See, if you can watch it without feeling triggered and reflect on how this plays out in your own life but also for others. In episode two, I was reflecting a lot on what it’s like to feel helpless when other people in your life are going through mental health issues. Even when we don’t feel like those impact us directly, they’re almost guaranteed to impact us indirectly. Because mental health is a huge challenge in all of these different forms, from anxiety, depression, OCD, PTSD, developmental trauma, addiction and substance use disorder, which is an alternative to substance abuse. Use instead of abuse, which I thought was an important distinction. How important it is to know that there are people in your life who believe in you, that see you and that understand you, values you, encourages you, that you belong and you’re connected? Those are such important things.
We encourage you, the readers, to connect with us and know that we value you deeply. There are other people too. We have a community. For this reason, we have a Facebook group and I have my group Beyond Measure which you’re welcome to join. We do our training, wellness warrior training and the consistency code and are consciously working on developing systems to support you through your journey so that you get that support, encouragement and connection that each of us needs. I hope that this series encourages you to reach out to others, speak your truth and check in on them too. We’d love to hear from you if you end up watching that documentary.
Jason, similar to the last solo episode, I’m starting to do products in categories or groups. I have another one of those because I received the Natural Products Expo Virtual sampling box, which I guess is a virtual sampling box. They call it the contact list sampling program which I thought was smart. For those of you who are not familiar with the Natural Products Expo, it is our favorite trade show. It did not happen at all in 2020.
They did start a virtual version and they’re continuing that in 2021 and hopefully going to have it back in person in September 2021. In the meantime, they have been sending out products so that you can experience some of the new things that are coming out and I’m excited to share that. I’m going through them one by one so that I can properly recommend them. I wanted to mention a few things. They did something cool, Jason. I assume you didn’t get this because you probably would have told me. They sent out two different types of boxes. One was product samples and then the other they called Natural Products Expo at Home so that you could feel what it was like to be there and it’s also called The Experience Anaheim Box.
Natural Products Expo West is typically held in Anaheim in March of each year. They sent the coolest box of things, Jason, which was impressive. First, for branding, they sent this towel and everything had a reason like a symbolism behind it. This is a cooling towel that you can use for workouts. I do yoga most days so that’s pretty neat. At the Natural Products Expo, they hold group yoga classes every morning. This one is neat, it’s a silicone cup from a company called Sillipint. If you’re reading, I encourage you to go to YouTube so you can see this. This Sillipint represents the concerts and parties that they typically have. This is amazing. I’ve had one of these for a while and it’s one of my favorite cups. When I saw this, I was excited. There’s something satisfying about drinking out of it. It’s a great size. This is 16 ounces. You can put whatever beverage in here and you can’t break it easily.
Probably the product that excited me the most is called a Rocketbook. I’ve seen these and I’ve always thought they were cool. I have not used it yet but it’s a reusable notepad. It’s high-tech so it fits in for me and you can write handwritten notes on it. You scan it and somehow that uploads to the cloud. I don’t know how they do it but this is because at the Natural Products Expo they have speakers and things like that so you can go and learn and take notes. You might want to take notes throughout a trade show so this is pretty cool.The pursuit of fame or money can be an addiction. The question is what is underneath it for people? Click To Tweet
On the same line, they also sent some blue blocker glasses, which I now have three pairs of. This looks like a generic brand. Jason and I are fans of two brands, one is called Ocushield and the other is called Swanwick. They’re great blue blocker glasses. They also sent a few other knickknacks including the official Natural Products Expo pin, which is going to become a collectible thing. That was the first box. In the second box, they sent a variety of products to sample. I have slowly been making my way through them so I will mention them now. These are food products.
One is probably going to surprise you, Jason, and you’re probably going to be a little upset that I ate this because typically this is something that I would give to you. That’s Hippie Snacks’ new Almond Crisps. I was curious about these. I’ve seen these on the shelves but I’ve never bought them because I’m typically sensitive to almonds. For some reason, I ate these and I had no reaction to them. I don’t have an almond allergy but typically I have a reaction to almonds whenever I eat them. I don’t know how but it didn’t affect me so it was exciting because these were delicious. This Cheesy Chai flavor is fantastic. If you don’t have a nut allergy or sensitivity, check these out. Hippie Snacks also make good cauliflower crisps. They are gluten-free too, which is neat.
This brand I thought was pretty good. I don’t know if I would buy it again but this is a little bean and nuts snack mix. It was creel flavored and it has fava beans, pecan, chickpeas, red bell pepper, peanuts and pepitas. This is called Sahale Snacks. They’re made in Seattle, Washington. Lastly, I didn’t think that these were that exciting but satisfying if you like potato chips, Uglies Kettle Potato Chips. They’re neat because they are on a mission to reduce food waste. On the back, it says, “30% of food produced worldwide is wasted. 26% of US produce gets discarded for cosmetic reasons. Thus, this is called The Uglies because they’re not pretty to look at.” That doesn’t mean they don’t taste good. “Sadly, 20% of children worldwide under the age of five are undernourished.”
They’re on a mission for that, which I thought was great. They were good. I wouldn’t buy them for the flavor. It’s hard to say. I’m sure everybody can relate to this but I wasn’t like, “These are the best potato chips you’ve ever had.” I appreciated them, I thought they were high quality and they have great packaging so shout out to them. Those are the products I have tried thus far. There are a bunch of others that I’m experimenting with. I will get back to you in the future once I’ve formed a full opinion on them. What do you have, Jason?
I have something that has been part of my physical therapy regimen. I’ve been doing physical therapy for my shoulder. At the physical therapy studio, one of the many cool things is they have a lot of tech devices there. They have an ultrasound and anti-inflammatory acoustasonic devices. I got hooked up with a lot of cool techs there. Shout out to Natural Sports Therapy in Costa Mesa, Dr. G. One of the cool aspects of going to physical therapy at this office is he has a lot of different brands of massage guns there. I was able to sample a variety of different percussive massage guns and figure out which one was the best for my particular situation.
The interesting thing is I tried massage guns that were upwards of $900 there. They had the Theragun PRO and some other models but I chose one that’s on the lower price spectrum because I found that it provided 9/10 of the experience that I could get with the $900, the super expensive ones and gave me what I needed for my therapy. I invested in a Theragun Mini. It’s a miniature version of the Theragun PRO. It doesn’t have as many speeds. It’s only got three speeds. I say only because even the highest setting is legit on this Theragun Mini. It’s quiet. I like the fact that it’s ergonomically designed to the point where I can reach around and use it on my shoulder. I can do it on my injury and I don’t have to wait for my girlfriend or anybody else to do it. I can accomplish it on my own.
I got a great deal of all things on QVC. If anyone’s a price shopper out there, I found a great deal on QVC. I don’t know if the deal is still going or not but you get multiple attachments and it’s cordless. I’ve been using this for a month and I’ve only charged at once. Shout out to Theragun for not only making a great percussive massage gun but your charging technology is on point. I have only charged it once and have been using it for a month. It’s super portable, easy to hold in your hand and it’s got three speeds.
I find that for most things, Whitney, the middle speed is my favorite. It’s pretty quiet. I go to the middle speed and all I have to do is I put my arm around my shoulder. After a PT session, I’ll do this for about 10 to 15 minutes and I’ve been doing it on my thighs and my butt. You get that cool vibrating voice thing. Theragun Mini, it’s worth every penny and you get 90% of the function I find as you do with the PRO, which is eight times more expensive. Thank you to Theragun.
A little bit of background too, Whitney, since we’re talking about interesting relations and how we relate to people’s stories. I didn’t know this until I bought it. The Founder of Theragun is Dr. Jason Wersland. He created the first Theragun after he got in a motorcycle accident. This was designed for recovery from a motorcycle accident for the inventor of it, which I thought was a cool backstory. Shout out to Dr. Jason shout out to Theragun and thanks for assisting me as I’m getting to the finish line of my physical therapy regimen.
With that, dear reader, we want you to go to our website. It’s Wellevatr.￼com. If you want to shoot us an email directly to share your personal story or your perspective, if you end up watching the documentary, you can shoot us a direct email at [email protected]. It goes directly to Whitney and myself or you can shoot us a DM on Instagram, Twitter our Facebook group or wherever you want to find us. We’re easily reachable and we always love hearing from your perspective, your life stories, what you’re going through and what you’re experiencing. We have new episodes every Monday, Wednesday and Friday with our guests.
Thanks for getting uncomfortable with us. A lot of these subject matters when we talk about mental health, suicidal ideation and trauma are not easy to talk about but that is the reason we started this show. It’s to have difficult, uncomfortable and challenging conversations that hopefully will lead to not only our individual healing but the healing of the collective. Thanks for being uncomfortable. Thanks for reading. Thank you for supporting us. We’ll be back with another episode soon. Take care.
*We use affiliate links in our show notes. This means we receive a small sales commission if you purchase an item based on our recommendation.
- The Social Dilemma Documentary: A Closer Look at Social Media and Technology – Previous episode
- Childhood 2.0: The Horrors and Long-Terms Impact of Social Media on Children – Previous episode
- The Me You Can’t See Documentary Series
- Say It Out Loud
- Asking for Help
- The Body Keeps the Score
- Fake Famous
- Kid 90
- Ele Keats
- What Khloe Kardashian’s Unedited Photo Reveals About Beauty Culture – Previous episode
- Facebook – Wellevatr
- Beyond Measure – Pinterest
- Natural Products Expo Virtual
- The Experience Anaheim Box
YouTube – This Might Get Uncomfortable
- Hippie Snacks
- Sahale Snacks
- Uglies Kettle Potato Chips
- Natural Sports Therapy
- [email protected]
- Instagram – Wellevatr
- Twitter – Wellevatr
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