Hello, friends. This is a brilliant interview with Dr. Lindsay Weisner, host of the Neurotic Nourishment podcast and author of the upcoming book “Ten Steps To Finding Happy”. We chat about many different things, with a particular focus on destigmatizing teen suicidality.
Introducing Dr. Lindsay Weisner
Lindsay opens by telling us about her background, home life, what she does for work and where she is right now in life. Lindsay is a Clinical Psychologist in private practice, host of the Neurotic Nourishment podcast, and author of the recently released “Ten Steps To Finding Happy”. Lindsay is now writing a second book for suicidal teens and their parents.
Lindsay shares her personal story and talks openly about the inspiration behind her passion for raising awareness and destigmatizing teen mental health and suicidality. Lindsay details her life growing up and the troubled relationship she had with her Mom in particular. She recalls several child/teenhood stories, with one heralding a certain turning point in her life after her Mom told her that she tried to kill herself and it was Lindsay’s fault…four years later when her brother also returned home from college after his freshman year, she said exactly the same to him. Lindsay talks about the impact this relationship has had on her growing up and in her adult life.
Next Lindsay opens up about what she was like as a child admitting that she was extremely shy and liked to lay low, with weight issues and a lack of self-confidence contributing to this. She shares how she found dealing with females very strange and unnerving and that even today Lindsay finds it difficult to trust women and groups of females. We talk about the impact of her childhood relationships and how this has shaped Lindsay’s life, something which she believes more than likely contributed to her branching into the field of Psychology.
I got into psychology because I wanted to be able to understand all this crazy around me…
Lindsay shares her experience with anxiety and how in retrospect she can see she was self-medicating to relieve the symptoms. After the birth of her daughter she went on to prescribed anti-anxiety meds and they really made a big difference to her life. Lindsay chats about this in more depth, including her and her son’s diagnosis of ADHD. We also talk about how having no professional or authority to talk to when growing up impacted her and Lindsay developed coping strategies to deal with her circumstances. Lindsay talks in detail about the moment she started to turn her life around when she decided to double major in Psychology.
Destigmatizing Teen Mental Health and Suicidality
Lindsay talks about how she has become an advocate for teen suicide prevention and awareness. She describes how and why she became passionate about this particular topic and the events in her own life which cemented this role, including two further incidences where her Mom was found unresponsive. Lindsay opens up about the personal events that unfolded after this point, all of which have contributed to the path she currently finds herself on. We talk about how Lindsay’s experiences have enabled her to move beyond the fear of talking about suicide and ask the questions that are needed.
We chat about the importance of language and the need to talk about aspects we find difficult in order to break down barriers and end stigma. Lindsay shares a recent experience where she was informed that the word “stigma” shouldn’t be used – we talk about this in detail and Lindsay highlights her response to this. Next, Lindsay talks about how we begin to move towards ending the stigma around teen mental health and suicidality. We talk about how protective parents can take actions that are well intended, but perhaps do not achieve a positive outcome. For example, choosing not to tell the school, or advising their children not to talk to their friends or to tell a family member that they are suffering or having suicidal thoughts.
Secrets imply that there is something to be shameful of.
We chat about this in detail and how it can quickly turn into a downward spiral of negative thoughts and feelings only made worse by the isolation felt in not being able to talk openly. You should talk to people who you feel will support you, whether that be a guidance counselor, your favorite teacher, or your grandma – “The not telling, to me, supports the stigma and weakens the teen’s defenses/resources”.
Lindsay talks about her new book, “Ten Steps To Finding Happy“, how and why it came about, as well as the message it is designed to give. To close, she offers her advice to parents who are worried their child may be struggling and how they should approach talking to them.
With that, I’d like to thank Dr. Lindsay Weisner for coming on the show and talking so openly with us about her life and the important work she is currently doing to help destigmatize teen mental health and suicidality. Don’t forget to check out her new book and also her podcast, Neurotic Nourishment.
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