Show cover of Your Mental Breakdown

Your Mental Breakdown

A psychotherapy-entertainment podcast featuring longtime friends and licensed therapists, Doug Friedman and Meredith Levy. Episodes include real therapy sessions in sequence with a real client that has agreed to be recorded throughout the process of therapy. After the session, Doug and Meredith break down the session and give you their clinical insight with personality, humor, and the opportunity to use therapeutic tools in your own life.

Tracks

75. Drew #85 - Don’t Suffer in Silence
***Trigger warning*** This episode contains potentially triggering and sensitive topics including suicide.  If you or someone you know needs help, please call 988 in the United States. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in English and Spanish in the United States. You can also access resources online at https://988lifeline.org. In the safe space of a therapy session, Drew is able to verbalize and explore his suicidal thoughts and the feelings of guilt, shame, and embarrassment. They talk about the stress and pressure from the expectations that Drew puts on himself. In the breakdown, Meredith and Doug continue to process what came up in the session and some of what they do professionally and personally when clients have suicidal thoughts. Follow Drew's Episodes and Support Us: Your Mental Breakdown on Patreon Join Us on Social Media:  YMB The Facebook Group YMB on Instagram YMB on TikTok
71:27 29/09/22
74. Sarah #22: I Could Punch a B*tch
An incident with her daughter sparks Sarah’s feelings of anger and powerlessness. Doug helps her draw the link to her emotional experience in the cult. Sarah is able to stay with her emotions rather than intellectualize them or try to fix the situation. They begin processing the feelings in session that she’s been holding onto most of her life. Follow Drew's Episodes and Support Us: Your Mental Breakdown on Patreon Join Us on Social Media:  YMB The Facebook Group YMB on Instagram YMB on TikTok
53:33 22/09/22
73. Sarah #21: Forrest Gumping Your Way Through It
Sarah tells the story of her life as a teenager after escaping the cult she grew up in as a child. Doug helps her see where some patterns started with her only focusing right in front of her, staying hyper vigilant, and never dropping the ball or giving up control. Doug and Mer highlight Sarah feeling free and independent as a teenager for this first time in her life – and how maybe she can tap into that way of being now as an adult.   Follow Drew's Episodes and Support Us: Your Mental Breakdown on Patreon Join Us on Social Media:  YMB The Facebook Group YMB on Instagram YMB on TikTok
59:04 08/09/22
72. Sarah #20: Feeling the Feelings of Grief and Loss
As a sign of vulnerability, trust, and the safe space of therapy, Sarah allows herself to cry in session and feel the loss of her cousin. She connects this with the loss of her dad nearly a decade ago. Doug helps her stay with the feelings and express what is coming up for her in these initial stages of grief.    Follow Drew's Episodes and Support Us: Your Mental Breakdown on Patreon Join Us on Social Media:  YMB The Facebook Group YMB on Instagram YMB on TikTok
71:21 24/03/22
71. Sarah #19: That’s My Neuroses and My Awesomeness
Doug and his mom open with a discussion about multiple personality disorder and her previous work in therapy with clients coming out of cults. In the session, Sarah acknowledges never allowing herself to fully feel the anger she’s held onto from her own upbringing in a cult. She is able to drop her protective armor in this session and show trust in herself, her therapist, and the process. Sarah is learning what it means to metaphorically put the oxygen mask on herself first.     Mentioned in this episode: Support Us: Your Mental Breakdown on Patreon Join Us on Social Media:  YMB The Facebook Group YMB on Instagram YMB on Twitter YMB on TikTok
82:09 10/03/22
70. Drew #76: Mommy and Me
For this episode, we check in with Drew, the client from Season 1 whose episodes are continuing on Patreon.com (link below). Drew wants to be doing more to do less, as he copes with the stress of his recent heart attack. Drew processes his parents not showing up to support him the way he needs and wants them. Speaking of which, Doug is supported on the breakdown by a special guest therapist – his mom! Link to YMB on Patreon, click here
80:06 24/02/22
069. Sarah #18: The Mother of All Triggers
Sarah describes taking herself through worst-case scenarios to prepare herself for a situation, so she can avoid the shock and broken heart that might otherwise overwhelm her. That protective mechanism once served her, but now creates a disconnect from her actual emotional experience of life. Doug helps Sarah reconnect to her emotional self after seeing her cousin in the hospital and being triggered by her mom’s reactions. Doug explains how she can use her favorite tv shows and books to experiment with expressing the emotions that come up, rather than locking them down because it’s not safe to show her feelings.     Mentioned in this episode: Support Us: Your Mental Breakdown on Patreon Join Us on Social Media:  YMB The Facebook Group YMB on Instagram YMB on Twitter YMB on TikTok
63:28 10/02/22
068. Sarah #17: Processing Grief in Real Time
Doug helps Sarah process grief in real time after she just learned of a family member’s failing health while in the hospital. Sarah is able to acknowledge having different feelings spiraling at the same time right now. Doug walks with her through some of the stages of grief that are actively coming up in the session - shock, denial, guilt, bargaining, and anger.   Mentioned in this episode: Support Us: Your Mental Breakdown on Patreon Join Us on Social Media:  YMB The Facebook Group YMB on Instagram YMB on Twitter YMB on TikTok
64:37 27/01/22
067. Sarah #16: It’s Not Just a Fluke
Doug helps Sarah acknowledge that she is actively creating new neural pathways by doing things differently from her patterned way of being and doing. Sarah gives herself permission to see the changes in her behavior this past week as growth and progress in her therapeutic journey – it’s not just a fluke! She is seeing in real time how defense mechanisms that were necessary for her survival are no longer necessary in her everyday life at every moment. We’re starting to walk the path of thriving, not just surviving!     Mentioned in this episode: Support Us: Your Mental Breakdown on Patreon Join Us on Social Media:  YMB The Facebook Group YMB on Instagram YMB on Twitter YMB on TikTok
67:47 20/01/22
066. Sarah #15: Trauma is a Radioactive Spider That Bites
We explore Sarah’s conditioning from her upbringing in the Children of God cult. “Trauma is a radioactive spider that bites.” It can lead you to develop powers of protection and systems of safety for your survival. Then we’ve got to learn what to do with that power because we might not need those defenses and protections in our life anymore at every moment. We also explore the idea of value – especially as it impacts self-worth.   Mentioned in this episode: Support Us: Your Mental Breakdown on Patreon Join Us on Social Media:  YMB The Facebook Group YMB on Instagram YMB on Twitter YMB on TikTok
65:38 13/01/22
065. Sarah #14: Systems of Safety
We explore the “systems of safety” that Sarah developed as a child growing up in a cult to protect herself because no one else did. We can thank those defense mechanisms for doing such a good job of protecting us when a threat was real. We needed them to survive and now we need to say goodbye to them in order to thrive. Doug helps Sarah look deeper into those systems to see two sides of her - one that can be easy going and one that can be “mama bear,” rigid, and take up a righteous quest for justice. The goal is not to keep the two sides separate, but rather to integrate them as pieces of the whole person she is and wants to become. Sarah is bringing awareness, understanding, and compassion to how she sees herself. Bonnie Rae joins Doug in the breakdown and they discuss OCPD (Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder) and how Sarah is processing her history of being wronged and abused by people in power (cult leader, boss, ex-husband).   Mentioned in this episode: Support Us: Your Mental Breakdown on Patreon The guest co-host:  Bonnie Rae psychotherapy Join Us on Social Media:  YMB The Facebook Group YMB on Instagram YMB on Twitter YMB on TikTok
71:52 06/01/22
064. Sarah #13: A Quest For Justice
Sarah feels righteous anger about a coworker that was let go. Doug helps her see that it’s a trigger for her own traumatic past when people in power abuse that power and wrong others. When it’s on someone else’s behalf, Sarah has insulation, protection, and deflection from her own wounds, making it easier to take up a quest for justice. She is able to draw the link to her own history of being wronged and abused by people in power in the cult and her previous marriage and jobs.   Mentioned in this episode: Support Us: Your Mental Breakdown on Patreon Join Us on Social Media:  YMB The Facebook Group YMB on Instagram YMB on TikTok
57:15 16/12/21
063. Sarah #12: When You Realize You’re Not 30 Anymore
Sarah felt validated and valued at work this week after a triggering annual review last week. Doug and Sarah explore how what she calls nonsense can make perfect sense to others. They break down issues of control and accountability. Sarah unpacks how her vigilance that others follow the rules is conditioning from her childhood in the cult.    Mentioned in this episode: Support Us: Your Mental Breakdown on Patreon Join Us on Social Media:  YMB The Facebook Group YMB on Instagram YMB on TikTok
72:42 09/12/21
062. Sarah #11: Effed Up and Out of My Control
Sarah got triggered by a review at work which leads to an exploration of deeper issues. Doug helps her express anger and frustration about being powerless and misrepresented, especially when someone of authority is in control. Sarah starts to make the link to repressed emotion from the childhood heartbreak she experienced in the cult. She is able to stay with the emotion in the session and just not intellectualize it. Mentioned in this episode: Support Us: Your Mental Breakdown on Patreon Join Us on Social Media:  YMB The Facebook Group YMB on Instagram YMB on TikTok
68:39 18/11/21
061. Sarah #10: I Would Rather Fill in the Blank
Doug redefines work-life balance: it’s a balance of work, rest, and play that are all under the umbrella of life. Sarah examines “play” in her life. She connects the hyper-vigilance of being ‘mama bear’ for everyone around her to the trauma response that protects her from slowing down or stopping to feel the feelings. Doug uses a folding paper example to show the neural pathways that get embedded in our brains. See the link in these notes to a video clip of him demonstrating it.   Mentioned in this episode: Support Us: Your Mental Breakdown on Patreon Folding Paper Neural Pathways Video Example Join Us on Social Media:  YMB The Facebook Group YMB on Instagram YMB on TikTok
66:07 11/11/21
060. Sarah #9: The Unravelling
Doug is on location in New York discovering the quiet, nature side of the city. Sarah and Doug dissect the associations she’s held in her head with being a trauma survivor and with being a victim. Sarah explores some recent triggers and exercises having compassion for the younger version of herself that was traumatized. Doug helps Sarah trace some of her discomfort back to a feeling of powerlessness and a fear of the unknown. Mer breaks down the victim mentality and the fear of unravelling in a session both for a client and for a therapist.   Mentioned in this episode: Support Us: Your Mental Breakdown on Patreon Doug’s New Album on Spotify Tootsie Pop Commercial Join Us on Social Media:  YMB The Facebook Group YMB on Instagram YMB on TikTok
67:00 04/11/21
059. Sarah #8: Don’t Go to Bed Angry
As Sarah talks about a stressful work relationship, Doug slows her down and helps her process being a trauma survivor. They examine how Sarah’s system learned to protect her from complex trauma in the past and how it still affects her current relationships. Doug walks Sarah through examples of interactions to help create new neural pathways and new ways of thinking and interacting.    Mentioned in this episode: Support Us: Your Mental Breakdown on Patreon Doug’s New Album on Spotify Join Us on Social Media:  YMB The Facebook Group YMB on Instagram YMB on TikTok
68:04 28/10/21
058. Sarah #7: Are You a Wildfire or Controlled Burn?
In an emotional session, Sarah vents about an issue she’s having with a coworker. This leads Doug to look deeper inside for what’s really going on with her. As he helps Sarah slow down in the session, she takes a deep breath and feels the emotional weight of stress she’s been holding and keeping inside. Sarah tries to stay controlled and worries that if she lets it out, it will all be tears. Doug and Mer break down the shift from intellectual to emotional realizations that Sarah has in the session.     Mentioned in this episode: Support Us: Your Mental Breakdown on Patreon Join Us on Social Media:  Your Mental Breakdown The Facebook Group YMB on Instagram YMB on TikTok
61:14 21/10/21
057. Sarah #6: Recompense
Doug and Mer talk comets and cults while Doug corrects an earlier comment that the cult leader in Sarah’s case was caught - he wasn’t! He lived in hiding for over twenty years until he died. Sarah talks about school and education growing up in the cult. She explains the massive confusion and the ensuing tragedies experienced by many around her in the aftermath of leaving the cult. Doug helps Sarah slow down and relate the innate feeling of protection she described as a new mom holding her baby for the first time to her own experience as a child not being protected. Sarah and Doug explore the conflict that comes from wanting to forgive someone making amends for causing harm in the past when you’re still feeling the impact, heartbreak, and anger about the trauma.   Mentioned in this episode: Your Mental Breakdown on Patreon Doug Friedman Meredith Levy Your Mental Breakdown The Facebook Group Doug Jaymes Friedman music on Spotify
62:49 14/10/21
056. Sarah #5: Just One Junk Drawer
Mer acknowledges Doug for his emotional and personal music album coming out in a few weeks; and then she gives him guff for not getting the podcast’s Patreon launched yet!  It’s coming soon with ongoing Drew episodes and other exclusives for subscribers. In this session with Sarah, Doug helps her look at the inner critic that fuels perfectionism. This is often a trauma response from her growing up in an abusive cult with neglectful parenting. Doug and Sarah acknowledge “Little Sarah,” the wounded child inside of her that didn’t get nurtured and protected by a loving parent. Doug and Mer highlight how reparative it can be for Sarah to be a compassionate parental presence for her own children, especially if she can apply some of that parenting to “Little Sarah.”     Mentioned in this episode: Doug Friedman Meredith Levy Your Mental Breakdown The Facebook Group Doug Jaymes Friedman music on Spotify Avett Brothers - No Hard Feelings
64:05 07/10/21
055. Sarah #4: Baby Steps
Meredith imparts some knowledge to Doug (and us!) about invalidation trauma after a recent training. We get to know more about Sarah in her session as she talks about her work, her upbringing in the cult, and her anxiety that she carries around with her still. Doug helps Sarah understand the connection of making herself indispensable to a historic fear of abandonment. Doug and Mer highlight the baby steps that Sarah is taking with the awareness of the connections and patterns from her past that are coming up in sessions. Mentioned in this episode: Doug Friedman Meredith Levy The Facebook Group Instagram TikTok
65:27 30/09/21
054. Sarah #3: A Little Bit Robocop
Meredith updates us on the intruder in her backyard - who came back again! We continue the new season with Sarah, in spite of a few audio hiccups in the session. Doug and Sarah talk about feeling frustrated, annoyed, and overwhelmed when others don’t get to a solution as quickly and easily as you do, especially when that means you take it on and do it all yourself. This has been a part of Sarah for so long as a survival mechanism growing up in, and running away from, a cult. Doug and Mer highlight the process of helping clients like Sarah recognize and begin to change their patterns, rather than stay focused on the details and the content of their current narrative. Mentioned in this episode: Doug Friedman Meredith Levy Your Mental Breakdown The Facebook Group General Sherman Aluminum Blanket Wrap Wimpy from Popeye
51:42 23/09/21
053. Sarah #2: Growing Up in a Cult
***Trigger warning*** This episode contains potentially triggering and sensitive topics including child abuse. If you suspect or know that a child is being abused or neglected, call or text 800-4-A-CHILD (800-422-4453). Professional crisis counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in over 170 languages. All calls are confidential.    The new season continues with the second therapy session for Sarah, the new client in treatment with Doug. As they explore Sarah’s parenting style, she begins to tell some of her own story about growing up in a cult. Doug acknowledges her strength and resilience in the survival of her experiences while paving the way for them to work towards the “thrival” of her life going forward. Doug and Mer break down some of her background story while highlighting the early stages of therapy with a new client.   Mentioned in this episode: Doug Friedman Meredith Levy Your Mental Breakdown The Facebook Group  
64:31 15/09/21
052. Sarah #1: I Don’t Have a Handle On It
We’re baa-ack! In this new season kick-off, Doug and Meredith are “a step up from sweatpants” and ready to dive back into it with us. We hear the first session with Doug and Sarah, the new client we’ll get to know and join for the journey in therapy. Sarah shares some of her history and acknowledges that she’s spent a lifetime compartmentalizing, but doesn’t truly have a handle on everything. We hear a few tips of the icebergs that have developed over time for her coming from a traumatic background. The groundwork for therapy is being set and we all get to follow along from the start. Doug and Mer tease that there will soon be a Patreon site to follow ongoing sessions with Drew, the client we followed in previous episodes. And they’re coming out with a store on the website with merch very soon - so MerMer will have some new clothes to wear-wear!   Mentioned in this episode: Doug Friedman Meredith Levy Your Mental Breakdown The Facebook Group Bruce Almighty - file cabinet scene
65:16 08/09/21
Roundtable #4: Cultural Awareness in Mental Health with Ashley McGirt and Sahaj Kohli
In this Roundtable episode, Doug and Meredith are joined by fellow therapist Ashley McGirt and therapist in training Sahaj Kohli for a conversation about cultural issues in mental health and the world around us. Ashley is a racial trauma specialist, speaker, and author. Sahaj is the founder of Brown Girl Therapy, a mental health community for children of immigrants. The conversation explores stigma, discomforts, comforts, and experiences of issues around culture in their lives and work in mental health.     Mentioned in this episode: Meredith Levy Doug Friedman Ashley McGirt - on Instagram @therapywithash Sahaj Kohli - on Instagram @browngirltherapy Dr. Joy Degruy The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman
64:35 12/07/21
Roundtable #3: Psychedelics and Therapy with Dr. Craig Heacock and José Mata
In this Roundtable episode, Doug and Meredith are joined by fellow therapist José Mata and psychiatrist Dr. Craig Heacock, both of whom work with the intersection of psychedelics and therapy. They look at current trends, research, and experiences of healing with the assistance of certain substances like MDMA, Ketamine, Ayahuasca, and Psilocybin. Join Doug and Mer for a unique conversation with these colleagues in the growing world of psychedelic-assisted therapy. Mentioned in this episode: Meredith Levy Doug Friedman Dr. Craig Heacock - check out “Back From The Abyss” podcast José Mata MAPS - Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies
54:00 17/06/21
This is Us: Our Hosts Get Personal
In this special bonus episode, Doug and Meredith share their personal stories with grief over the past two years. It’s been almost two years to the date since the sudden death of Doug’s wife and the death of Meredith’s mom. They share their stories with vulnerability and resilience. They reveal how the podcast started, and how working on it has helped them with their ongoing healing process and with their grief.   Mentioned in this episode: Your Mental Breakdown The Facebook Group Meredith Levy Doug Friedman Nora McInerny the Ted Talk Terrible Thanks For Asking the Podcast
34:34 15/10/20
Wyatt's Story: Everything Else Goes On Pause
Wyatt is a previous client of Doug’s that has experienced severe trauma. He had a sudden brain aneurysm and cancer. This is his story of endurance, awareness, and healing.     Mentioned in this episode:  Your Mental Breakdown - The Facebook Group  Meredith Levy Doug Friedman
70:15 24/09/20
Roundtable #2: Trauma Talk: The Soft Pillow and Warm Tea
In this bonus Roundtable episode, Meredith and Doug are joined by fellow therapists Mona Valeriano and Jessica Kramer. They look at different ways of approaching trauma and therapy from their training and experience. Mona comes from a psychoanalytic background and is trained in EMDR (and she explains what that means!). Jessica is a Somatic Experiencing practitioner and marriage and family therapist associate who specializes in new mothers and infants 0-3 years old. Join Doug and Meredith for a unique conversation among colleagues about different ways of doing their work, with a focus on healing and processing trauma. Mentioned in this episode: Your Mental Breakdown The Facebook Group Meredith Levy Doug Friedman Mona Valeriano  Jessica Kramer  EMDR – great video explaining it: https://www.emdria.org/about-emdr-therapy/ What is SE? https://traumahealing.org/about-us/  
56:30 10/09/20
026. Drew #26: Quiet the Noise - The First Six Months
This week, Doug and Meredith reflect on the first six months of the podcast as we reach the end of season one with Drew.  In the session, you’ll hear clips from a few recent sessions with Doug and Drew hitting the six-month mark of their work. Drew shares his thoughts about the podcast coming out and his perspectives after hearing the first episode. In the breakdown, Doug and Mer wrap it up and look forward to the next season of Drew picking up right where we left off - and the wedding only a month away!   Links for this episode:  Your Mental Breakdown - The Facebook Group  Meredith Levy Doug Friedman @Adamrunsnyc Instagram Post  Friday Night Lights 
42:32 30/07/20