Since first learning of their existence, I have wanted to start a podcast. I tried for years to get multiple shows off the ground with varying degrees of failure. At the point of nearly giving up on my podcast dreams, I finally struck what can only be described as “co-host gold” and started a Star Wars show called The Skyhoppers Podcast. I’ve had an amazing time doing the show, met some of my closest friends, had the chance to have incredible experiences, and work on projects that have made me proud. The thing that has surprised me the most, however, is how much of a positive impact it has had on my mental health.
Before I go any further I want to make it abundantly clear that I am not suggesting that any of these things are replacements for professional help or medication. Podcasting is not the only thing I do to be proactive about my mental health, it is just something I have personally found that alleviates some of my struggles and what works for me may not work for you.
It Gives Me Something to Look Forward To
Something I lacked before I started doing the show was something to look forward to every week. I found myself trapped in depressive episodes with no possible end in sight. From the beginning, we decided to record the show every week. I loved this because it gave me the structure I was lacking and the knowledge that if I bail on a recording session, I’ll be letting someone down. That is enough to motivate me to get up and record every week, even if I’m feeling absolutely terrible. It’s also just a lot of fun! Each week, I have the privilege of talking with my friend about miscellaneous Star Wars topics … what could be better? The show is never a source of stress and I always looks forward to recording day no matter what is going on around me.
(My Co-Host and I at Star Wars Celebration)
It Helps My Social Anxiety
The most dramatic impact podcasting has had on my life is how it drastically improved my social anxiety. I have struggled with social anxiety for as long as I can remember, but there is something about podcasting that makes me want to meet and talk with new people all the time. I find myself not having my usual terror of meeting new people since beginning to record our podcast. It probably has something to do Star Wars, because if all else fails we at least have one thing in common to discuss. I definitely have more confidence overall than I did before and I’m more willing to take risks and face rejection.
I would encourage anyone struggling with mental health to find an activity where you can produce something positive. I can’t speak highly enough about what a wonderful addition podcasting has been to my life and I can only hope that everyone can have the same positive experiences with whatever it is they choose to do.