If you still haven’t hauled yourself across to a therapist yet… hi, it’s 2019, WTF? But also: do it because the human brain is a proper bastard, and there is nothing more fascinating than unlocking your mind one tiny piece at a time.
If you have been in some form of therapy, however, you already know that it’s your favourite thing to talk about, given half the chance.
And that’s basically what the latest podcast on the circuit is about. Co-hosted by Azeem Banatwalla (“I’m only here for the followers!”) and his wife, Sana Khan, Senti-Mental is a cheery audio-hang with “some of your favourite people” chatting about mental health through personal experiences and anecdotes.
The first episode, The Great Depression, guest-stars Neville Shah. All three of them go to the same therapist (Dr. K), they’ve all experienced the joy and relief of understanding aspects about themselves, and they won’t shut up about it. Which is great for listeners.
They lay out the disclaimers first: they’re no experts, and they’re not here to give gyaan; their aim is simply to normalise conversations around mental health. Good thing too, considering Khan keeps quoting Wikipedia searches and WHO reports that she admits to having “just Googled” on the day of the podcast recording. So it’s not medical advice. It’s just a bunch of people talking freely about what it’s like to wake up every morning (or middle of the night) not feeling quite right, what made them finally get help, and lots of sentences that start with “my therapist said…”
The first episode tries to make sense of living with depression. Azeem has only just been diagnosed with borderline depression. “I was supposed to be on the podcast as most normal,” he says, “But my psych eval just came back and… I have been upgraded to ‘least depressed person on the podcast’.” Sana and Neville have both been dealing with it for a while.
Clocking in at 51 minutes, the podcast takes listeners through what made them realise something was up and that they needed help. From the obvious (“my mother just went to hospital, my marriage was on the rocks, I was at rock bottom”) to the milder signs (“I had a mood swing”) and the ones you don’t see coming (eating Maggi aata noodles every day). They also talk through their fears surrounding the process, and the worst advice they’ve ever received from friends and family (“pop a Crocin”) in a segment called Dimaag Ka Dahi. Because there are two comedians involved, it’s fairly entertaining as well. As the conversation comes to a close, the trio leaves you with things that have worked for them in helping them cope, which includes gratitude diaries, meditation and exercise. Who knows, it may help you too?
They’re aiming to have a new episode out every Tuesday, but don’t hold your breath too hard. Comedians and mental health issues make for an unpredictable combination. Fair warning.