Changing Minds and our proudly mad friends have helped to shape a new podcast by journalist Adam Dudding.
If you haven’t already listened to these weekly stories then we would recommend you make time for them. There are seven episodes altogether and in each episode, one person talks to Adam about their life and the view from inside their head.
These first-person dispatches from the front lines of mental health are moving, yet also full of moments of surprise, tenderness and humour. There are seven episodes altogether with each new one released weekly on Monday.
Episode one | Angels and Demons – Egan Bidois
“I remember the doctor saying to my parents: ‘Your son Egan? He’s not coming home. He’s completely untreatable.’ And I remember the look in my parents’ eyes: it was the look of someone’s hope dying.”
Even as a child, Egan sees and hears unusual things, but when the visions become intolerable, his life changes forever.
Episode two | The paroxetine diaries – Ashleigh Young
“I’ve tried a lot of things: Meditation. Hot yoga. Cycling. Saunas. Cold showers. More sleep. Less sleep. Acupuncture. Therapy. I tried giving up caffeine and it was awful! I believe in the power of a cup of tea.”
Ashliegh is sick of the side effects of her depression medication. But what do you do if quitting makes you feel even worse?
Episode three | Crossing the lines – “Hanna Smith”
“That damned voice was going round in my head: ‘Why can’t you do this? Other mothers manage to defrost chicken without burning down the house. And sure, they get angry at their kids but they don’t lash out.’”
Hanna thinks she’s coping with a second baby, but hormonal swings, life stresses and past trauma push her to the brink of catastrophe.
Episode four | Fight or flight – Jami-Lee Ross
“We put ourselves in glossy brochures, looking the perfect picture of what we want the public to believe we are. It wasn’t until it all exploded that I realised what was going on in my head.”
Senior politician Jami-Lee Ross’s breakdown played out in the glare of constant media attention. He walks through his year from hell.
Episode five | Another realm – Karlo Mila
“When my father arrived his face morphed into something devil-like. People that I loved shape-shifted right in front of me. And you can’t stop it just because you don’t believe it’s true.”
Karlo is overcome by terrifying visions while visiting Tonga. Years later, she starts to question what was really going on as her reality fractured.
Episode six | Harvey Milk and the dinosaurs – Andy Cawston
“The Foreign Legion parachute out of aeroplanes, fight wars and slither through jungles, and for some people that might have some appeal. But for me it was an opportunity to reboot and start again.”
Andy Cawston decides that abandoning his family to take up arms abroad will solve all his problems. But the answers actually lie much closer to home.
Episode seven | Barbed wire – Taimi Allan
“One place was like the best Betty Ford Clinic – all tempura fish and espressos and people walking around with floaty scarves. And then there was the other extreme, with padded walls and barbed-wire fences.”
In her 20s, Taimi Allan is told she faces a life of institutionalisation and crippling psychiatric drugs. It takes a long time for her realise that isn’t true.