The Depression Files
Al Interviews Donald “Skip” G. Mondragon II | Internal Medicine Physician, 26-Year Army Veteran, Author & Mental Health Advocate

Al Interviews Donald “Skip” G. Mondragon II | Internal Medicine Physician, 26-Year Army Veteran, Author & Mental Health Advocate

January 12, 2020

In this episode, Al interviews Donald "Skip" G. Mondragon II, internal medicine physician, 26-year army veteran, author, and mental health advocate (recorded 1-10-19). Skip grew up with seven siblings. After returning from the Korean War, his father battled mental illness, was in and out of the VA Hospital, and sadly died when Skip was only thirteen years old. Skip was bullied throughout elementary school, until he joined the wrestling team in eighth grade. Wrestling became a huge part of Skip's life.

After struggling and leaving Notre Dame after his fifth semester, Skip left the university as he had "felt a calling from God". Skip soon returned to another university to finish his undergraduate degree and enter medical school on a military scholarship. With the army came a 26-year career and four deployments, three of which were in combat zones. As Skip approached retirement in 2014, he found himself curled up in fetal position behind a desk in his dark office for four hours. At that point, Skip knew he needed to reach out for support.

After retiring and getting a handle on his depression, Skip won a publishing contest.  His book, Wrestling Depression Is Not for Wimps: Lessons Learned from an Amateur Wrestler’s Fight to Triumph Over Depression, is due to be published in the very near future. Check out Skip's website in order to find out more about him and his book!

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In addition to The Depression Files podcast, you can find Al's blog at TheDepressionFiles.com. There, you can also find out how to work with Al as a coach or schedule him for a public speaking event. You will also find Al on Twitter @allevin18.

Al Interviews Sam Miltich | Jazz Guitarist & Mental Health Advocate

Al Interviews Sam Miltich | Jazz Guitarist & Mental Health Advocate

December 29, 2019

In this episode, Al interviews Sam Miltich, jazz guitarist and mental health advocate (recorded 12-16-19). At the age of 18 and living in his rural hometown in northern Minnesota, Sam was discovered by a Minnesota Public Radio reporter and his jazz career skyrocketed. This young, small town jazz musician joined Paul Mehling's Hot Club of San Francisco and started touring internationally with the world-renowned Robin Nolan Trio.

At the age of twenty-two, Sam was stricken with a major psychotic episode. He encountered delusions including believing that he was the antichrist and that anything he came into contact with was doomed. He hid for hours in a closet in order to prepare for solitary confinement, as he believed the CIA were coming to find him. Sam entered a partial hospitalization program and went from a diagnosis of depression with psychotic features, to schizoaffective disorder, and finally to paranoid schizophrenia.

Sam's second psychotic episode occurred at the age of thirty, as he was heavily impacted by the stigma of mental illness while attempting to wean himself from his medications. This episode lasted a full year.

Today, not only does Sam share his music professionally, but also his story of living with schizophrenia in a performance that he calls, The Improvised Life. You can learn much more about Sam by visiting his website at www.sammiltichmusic.com. You'll also find him on Facebook at Sam Miltich Music.

If you enjoyed this episode, please click the 'like' button. Also, please take a moment to comment and rate the show on iTunes. Finally, don't miss an episode! Click the subscribe/follow button now!

In addition to The Depression Files podcast, you can find Al's blog at TheDepressionFiles.com. There, you can also find out how to work with Al as a coach or schedule him for a public speaking event. You will also find Al on Twitter @allevin18.

Al Interviews Joe Dwyer | Author, Animal Chaplain, Certified Pet Loss Counselor, Dog Trainer & Public Speaker

Al Interviews Joe Dwyer | Author, Animal Chaplain, Certified Pet Loss Counselor, Dog Trainer & Public Speaker

December 15, 2019

In this episode, Al interviews Joe Dwyer, author, animal chaplain, certified pet loss counselor, dog trainer, and public speaker (recorded 11-18-19). Joe describes growing up with psoriasis that covered his body from head to toe. Due to his extreme case of psoriasis, classmates referred to Joe as, "The Creeping Crud". Joe describes how, as an adult, there was a day in which he crumbled to the floor of his kitchen that was the start of a two-week period of major depression.

Joe wrote a book titled, "Shelby's Grace", a story about rallying back stronger, while helping those in need. Shelby’s story of hope is an excellent resource for anyone looking to become stronger emotionally. Joe is an animal chaplain and a public speaker. Learn much more about Joe and how to work with him by going to his website, Noble Strength.

If you enjoyed this episode, please click the 'like' button. Also, please take a moment to comment and rate the show on iTunes. Finally, don't miss an episode! Click the subscribe/follow button now!

In addition to The Depression Files podcast, you can find Al's blog at TheDepressionFiles.com. There, you can also find out how to work with Al as a coach or schedule him for a public speaking event. You will also find Al on Twitter @allevin18.

Al Interviews Kenny | Elementary School Teacher & Mental Health Advocate

Al Interviews Kenny | Elementary School Teacher & Mental Health Advocate

December 1, 2019

In this episode, Al interviews Kenny, an elementary school teacher and mental health advocate (recorded 10-21-19). Kenny shares how he struggled with depersonalization-derealization disorder (DPDR) for eight years and actually never received a diagnosis. He describes the pain, the muscle and body fatigue, the sleep issues, and the challenge of dealing with emotions and relationships while dealing with the disorder.

While Kenny put in a great amount of effort into recovering from what, at the time, was an unknown illness to him, he can share the exact date in which his DPDR was resolved. Kenny shares what that day was like, as a rush of emotions came crashing over him and his pain suddenly vanished. Although the DPDR has resolved, he is currently struggling to put together the emotional pieces of the past eight years.

Kenny now has a website, The Outside The Box Project, in the hopes of educating others about DPDR.

If you enjoyed this episode, please click the 'like' button. Also, please take a moment to comment and rate the show on iTunes. Finally, don't miss an episode! Click the subscribe/follow button now!

In addition to The Depression Files podcast, you can find Al's blog at TheDepressionFiles.com. There, you can also find out how to work with Al as a coach or schedule him for a public speaking event. You will also find Al on Twitter @allevin18.

Al Interviews Gabriel Nathan | Editor-in-Chief of OC87 Recovery Diaries & Board Member of Prevent Suicide PA

Al Interviews Gabriel Nathan | Editor-in-Chief of OC87 Recovery Diaries & Board Member of Prevent Suicide PA

November 17, 2019

In this episode, Al interviews Gabriel Nathan, editor-in-chief of OC87 Recovery Diaries and a Board Member of Prevent Suicide PA (recorded 11-4-19). Gabe shares how he was bullied from elementary school through his freshman year of college. While he struggled from an early age with depression and anxiety, he was not diagnosed until his sophomore year of college.

Gabe shares his interesting path to becoming the editor-in-chief of OC87 Recovery Diaries, which included working as an EMT and five years as a front-line staff member at a locked in-patient psychiatric hospital.

In addition to his work with OC87 Recovery Diaries, Gabe drives a 1963 VW Beatle; a "Herbie the Love Bug" replica. The back window of his Beatle is adorned with the telephone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Gabe recently took an eleven-day, 1300 mile journey with Herbie in order to spread suicide awareness. His journey is being made into a full-length film. You can see a teaser of the film here.

You can find out more about Gabe at OC87 Recovery Diaries. You'll also find Gabe on Facebook...and Herbie, too! Finally, you'll find OC87 Recovery Diaries on Instagram at recovery_diaries and on Twitter @OC87rd.

If you enjoyed this episode, please click the 'like' button. Also, please take a moment to comment and rate the show on iTunes. Finally, don't miss an episode! Click the subscribe/follow button now!

In addition to The Depression Files podcast, you can find Al's blog at TheDepressionFiles.com. There, you can also find out how to work with Al as a coach or schedule him for a public speaking event. You will also find Al on Twitter @allevin18.

Al Interviews Dale Curd | Psychotherapist, Host of CBC’s “Hello Goodbye” & Founder of The Men’s List

Al Interviews Dale Curd | Psychotherapist, Host of CBC’s “Hello Goodbye” & Founder of The Men’s List

November 3, 2019

In this interview, Al interviews Dale Curd, psychotherapist, host of CBC's Hello Goodbye, and founder of The Men's List (recorded 10-7-19). After a second failed marriage, losing a job, and finding himself in debt, Dale fell into a deep depression. Eventually, he found refuge by attending a men's support group. Several years later, Dale was trained to be a facilitator of a group, and eventually found himself running the groups for twelve years.

Dale shares with us the importance of selecting a therapist who is the right fit. He also describes how he became the host of CBC's Hello Goodbye, a show in which Dale interviewed strangers at an airport as they were saying "Hello" or "Goodbye" to a loved one or a friend. He also describes The Men's List, a website he has created that is rich in content and contains an online listing of mental health professionals who provide expert, gender competent services and support to men. 

To learn more about Dale, check out his website at dalecurd.com. You'll also find him on Twitter @dalecurd and on Facebook at Dale Curd and @menslist.directory.

If you enjoyed this episode, please click the 'like' button. Also, please take a moment to comment and rate the show on iTunes. Finally, don't miss an episode! Click the subscribe/follow button now!

In addition to The Depression Files podcast, you can find Al's blog at TheDepressionFiles.com. There, you can also find out how to work with Al as a coach or schedule him for a public speaking event. You will also find Al on Twitter @allevin18.

Al Interviews Mark Henick | Mental Health Advocate & Public Speaker

Al Interviews Mark Henick | Mental Health Advocate & Public Speaker

October 20, 2019

In this episode, Al interviews Mark Henick, mental health advocate and public speaker (recorded 9-16-19). Mark is the principal and CEO of Strategic Mental Health Solutions and previously served as the youngest president of a provincial Canadian Mental Health Association division. His TEDx talk, Why We Choose Suicide, is among the most watched in the world with over 6 million views.

Mark shares his personal story of depression that includes seven hospitalizations between the ages of twelve and sixteen. He describes a "cocktail" of medications that, at one point, most likely led to the development of seizures. Mark describes being pulled from the edge of a bridge at the age of fifteen and over a decade later tracking down the stranger who saved his life in order to thank him.

Mark also describes his ongoing recovery, relapses, the importance of a safety plan, his current advocacy and his podcast, "The So Called Normal". Mark is currently finishing a memoir that is due to be published within the next year. You can find out much more about Mark and how to book him for an event on his website. You'll also find him on Facebook @markhenick. Finally, you'll find Mark Tweeting @markhenick.

If you enjoyed this episode, please click the 'like' button. Also, please take a moment to comment and rate the show on iTunes. Finally, don't miss an episode! Click the subscribe/follow button now!

In addition to The Depression Files podcast, you can find Al's blog at TheDepressionFiles.com. There, you can also find out how to work with Al as a coach or schedule him for a public speaking event. You will also find Al on Twitter @allevin18.

Al Interviews Logan Lynn | American Musician, Writer, Producer, Filmmaker, TV Personality, Mental Health Advocate & LGBT Activist.

Al Interviews Logan Lynn | American Musician, Writer, Producer, Filmmaker, TV Personality, Mental Health Advocate & LGBT Activist.

October 6, 2019

In this episode, Al interviews Logan Lynn, American musician, writer, producer, filmmaker, TV personality, mental health advocate, and LGBT Activist (recorded 9-9-19). Logan shares his incredible story of surviving childhood sexual abuse and the impact it had on his entire family. He describes being outed by a therapist after sharing with him that he was gay. Logan also shares how the music scene and his early popularity fueled his 16-year addiction of cocaine, alcohol, and crack. It wasn't until he suffered a TIA (a mini-stroke) and entered a program specifically for dual diagnoses (addiction & mental health) that he was able to finally become healthy.

Logan received the prestigious 2017 Award of Excellence from the National Council for Behavioral Health for his advocacy work in music, TV, film and community, and for founding the Keep Oregon Well campaign to fight the stigma of mental illness. In 2018 Kink FM named him one of The Portland 50, honoring the people who “dreamt, built and championed the innovation, growth and uniqueness of Portland”. His "My Movie Star" is currently up for three Grammy Awards.

You can find out more about Logan on his website. You'll also find him on Facebook, Twitter and on Instagram.

If you enjoyed this episode, please click the 'like' button. Also, please take a moment to comment and rate the show on iTunes. Finally, don't miss an episode! Click the subscribe/follow button now!

In addition to The Depression Files podcast, you can find Al's blog at TheDepressionFiles.com. There, you can also find out how to work with Al as a coach or schedule him for a public speaking event. You will also find Al on Twitter @allevin18.

Al Interviews John Panigas | Executive Coach & Author

Al Interviews John Panigas | Executive Coach & Author

September 22, 2019

In this episode, Al interviews John Panigas, executive coach and author (recorded 8-21-19). Although John spent approximately 58 years struggling with depression, as the president of The Panigas Group of Companies, he helped grow them to become a $100 million business in twenty years. Hear how John met a therapist, received hypnotherapy, and finally started his true recovery.

For the past twelve years, John has worked as an executive coach. He is also the author of Crazy, Who Me?, in which John describes his journey of leading with depression. John is also about to roll out a new workshop based on his RESTORE model of understanding and overcoming depression.

You can find out much more about John on his website at johnpanigas.com and you'll find him tweeting @jpanigas. Finally, you will also find him on Facebook.

If you enjoyed this episode, please click the 'like' button. Also, please take a moment to comment and rate the show on iTunes. Finally, don't miss an episode! Click the subscribe/follow button now!

In addition to The Depression Files podcast, you can find Al's blog at TheDepressionFiles.com. There, you can also find out how to work with Al as a coach or schedule him for a public speaking event. You will also find Al on Twitter @allevin18.

Al Interviews Michael Landsberg | TV/Radio Host, Mental Health Advocate & Founder of Sick Not Weak

Al Interviews Michael Landsberg | TV/Radio Host, Mental Health Advocate & Founder of Sick Not Weak

September 8, 2019

In this episode, Al interviews Michael Landsberg, longtime TV/radio host on TSN, mental health advocate, and founder of Sick Not Weak (recorded 8-7-19). Michael shares how he followed his heart and broke into the field of television and radio broadcasting. He shares his story of depression and describes the one interview, an interview with NHL player Stéphane Richer, that drove him to utilize his notoriety and platform to continue to speak publicly on the topic of mental health.

In addition to continuing his career at TSN, this incredibly passionate, outspoken mental health advocate founded Sick Not Weak. In addition to the website, you can find Sick Not Weak on FaceBook and Twitter @SickNotWeak. Michael also has his own Twitter account @HeyLandsberg.

If you enjoyed this episode, please click the 'like' button. Also, please take a moment to comment and rate the show on iTunes. Finally, don't miss an episode! Click the subscribe/follow button now!

In addition to The Depression Files podcast, you can find Al's blog at TheDepressionFiles.com. There, you can also find out how to work with Al as a coach or schedule him for a public speaking event. You will also find Al on Twitter @allevin18.