I love listening to podcasts and I will go as far as saying that listening to certain podcasts have definitely changed and helped shape my life.

Let me explain…. I started listening to podcasts last year at the same time that Liz Gilbert announced she was launching a second series of her podcast ‘Magic Lessons’ and my friend, Lisa, launched hers ‘the SuperMum Podcast’. I really loved listening to them and went onto iTunes top rated ones and started downloading. This took me to listening to light hearted stuff like ‘My Dad Wrote a Porno’ to the much more serious ‘The Mental Illness Happy Hour’.

So how did they change my life? I’ve written before about the influence Liz Gilbert had on me and listening to her podcast, encouraging people to be true to themselves and live the most authentic life that they can really appealed to me. A few months later I started listening to the Mental Illness Happy Hour, hosted by Paul Gilmartin and was immediately hooked. In the podcast he reads out surveys that people take on his website and interviews a guest about their life/childhood/work/relationships etc. I soon found I was addicted to listening to his voice and insightful comments throughout as well as the content of these peoples’, often not easy to listen to, stories.

There were a few of the episodes that really spoke to me where I hugely admired the people who were the guests, for sharing their story and for going on to build much better lives and it got me to thinking…. if they could survive all this trauma and go on to have successful, happy lives, then maybe I could too….

This thinking and support was only one of the factors in me ending my marriage but I would say it was a big one. Through Paul’s podcast I started to understand why I was getting unwanted thoughts, where my anxiety was coming from and that it wasn’t ok for me to keep condoning being treated in the manner in which I was.

After ending my marriage and Stu moving out, I (naturally) made some changes to the house and one of these was decorating. During a long day of decorating I was speaking to Lisa and she asked if I would go on her podcast. I thought it would be fun and was keen to talk about solo parenting so we agreed and organised a date to record for a couple of months time. At the same time I was listening to Paul’s podcast and at the end he announced that he as coming to the UK and wanted to interview, anyone who was interested in doing so, email him and put themselves forward. With encouragement from Lisa I emailed Paul and waited. He replied saying he was overbooked for London but could I keep some dates free. I replied that I would and didn’t hear anything again.

Until roughly 2 weeks ago where he emailed saying was I still interested and booking a date….. which was 2 days ago.

I was nervous about doing the podcast, I knew that the subject matter (growing up in an unstable household, with a parent with a personality disorder and then going on to an abusive marriage) wasn’t going to be easy, would leave me vulnerable and could have a massive backlash. At the same time, I wanted to meet Paul. I’ve also posted before about bravery and my never-ending quest to be brave and decided just to go for it.

So on a rainy Wednesday I went from one side of London to another, full of trepidation and met Paul. I had built it into a really big deal in my head, worrying what if he was jet lagged, what if we didn’t have a rapport? etc. All those fears were settled in 2 seconds flat where, upon meeting him, he gave me a massive hug, we chatted briefly and dived straight in.

I was expecting to feel drained after the interview, it’s never easy talking about my childhood or my marriage but instead, I felt so incredibly validated. Paul offered some incredibly insightful comments regarding personality types, where my family fitted in with all of that. We talked about some of his previous episodes and guests, whom I’d really liked and it was an all round, awesome experience.

Afterwards we got chatting and I was once again brave and said ‘I promised myself I’d get a photo with you’ and here it is! (Top of blog post). I don’t know that the episode will ever be aired. I know that Paul has a huge backlog of episodes and honestly, I felt that I’d just rambled on about me and it probably wasn’t interesting enough. If it does get aired I’ll share the link on this blog and if it doesn’t, then hey! What a great experience anyway!