How often do you tune in to podcasts? They can commonly be found on Spotify, Anchor.fm, and iTunes.
I managed to interview two local podcasters who have successfully established their very own podcast called Mental Dumbells. They talk about a motley of topics – all about figuring out ‘adulting’.
But what’s so special about their podcast is the focus on mental health – they themselves have undergone intense trials and tribulations.
Stereotypes On Mental Health
When it comes to mental health, it is inevitable to have stereotypical thoughts pop up almost instantly in one’s mind.
If I were to ask you what appears in your head immediately when I say the word “mental health”, it’d probably be something like a scary, haunted-looking institution, “Woodbridge”, or siao. You’re not the only one.
Although there are better education and awareness of mental health in Singapore, efforts still can be buttressed. Based on the stats in 2018 below, we could definitely improve the awareness and acceptance of mental health.
Apart from the appalling rates of people falling into depression (not just in Singapore but worldwide), we should really learn to not be ignorant to the ongoing issue that is faced globally – also part of ‘adulting’.
But taking it closer to home, there were times where you’d probably sensed that someone you know seems to be unusually down. And you realised he/she appears extremely drained and even had some cuts on their arms.
This could be you.
At this point, things could go two ways. One, help is sought after because there’s awareness and the feeling of safety to associate oneself to be mentally unwell. Two, worsening of the condition and maybe even suicide.
Thus, it really all starts with awareness. Being aware that society is not going to judge you, and that seeking help can actually help.
Hsien & Aaroson: First-Hand Experiences
Hsien has openly shared about his own issues. He was diagnosed with anxiety and depression about thirty-two days before I did this interview. Aaroson’s story was just as tough. These two have found strength in each other and came up with a consensus of wanting to help those in the same place they are or were at.
Through this podcast, they hope to empower and let those who are suffering in silence know that there are two other people on the other side of the phone who understands them.
Hsien has shared openly about his journey on having to deal with anxiety and depression. It isn’t just a “look-on-the-brighter-side-of-life” kind of choice. There’s a constant mental struggle every waking moment.
It feels like there’s a lack of purpose in life, and you find an uncanny similarity between you and a soulless invisible wanderer.
Due to the fact that Hsien fights this phase every day, he understands on a different level to those who are still suffering from these emotions alone. In addition, he wants to help those who are in such situations through Mental Dumbells and his personal Instagram.
Aaroson went deep into sharing one of the toughest places he’s been – having to manage the situation of his mum suffering from liver cancer during NS, and a dwindling relationship.
One could only imagine how hard it is to witness their one and only mother diagnosed with cancer, especially while being stuck in NS.
Although circumstances seemed dire, Aaroson was spurred on by his mum’s positivity and light. She taught him the value of life, and how to always make effort to choose optimism over everything.
Where Is The Love (And Support)?
When asked about whether their parents were supportive of what they were doing, both answered in unison – a resounding and grateful “yes”.
Although Singapore is known to be an education-driven country, there’s a minority of people who are divergent and choose to make something of their own.
Hsien’s dad shows his continual support by liking, sharing, and encouraging him on the ever-growing podcast (Mental Dumbells). As for Aaroson, his dad and late-mum have always been creative entrepreneurs, crafting a career for themselves as a musician and singer respectively. Thus, the request for support was rather easy for him as well.
Now, Mental Dumbells is at its fourteenth episode talking on “Small Talks and Starting Conversations”. However, if you’re interested in knowing more about the topic of mental health, you can rewind back to episode thirteen.
And for those of you who want to learn a bit more about their background, fly right into episode six where this interview was recorded.
Explore and listen to their latest Spotify podcast episode here.