The Blackdog Cast
The episode where I interview my wife Gretchen for her new podcast on conscious leadership.

The episode where I interview my wife Gretchen for her new podcast on conscious leadership.

October 23, 2022

As part of my wife Gretchen's new podcast, Leading with Pleasure we turned the tables and I got to interview her and talk about her recent work in conscious leadership.. which includes;

  • Mental health & well-being at work
  • What is Conscious Leadership?
  • How toxic culture is at the heart of The Great Resignation
  • Why conscious leadership is important in the modern workplace
  • How Peer Conversations helps with burnout and improves emotional capacity and resiliency.
Can a mood tracking app improve your mental health? Gareth Dauncey, creator of Mood shares his story and explains the benefits of daily mood tracking.

Can a mood tracking app improve your mental health? Gareth Dauncey, creator of Mood shares his story and explains the benefits of daily mood tracking.

August 1, 2022

Just like with this podcast and my own mental health journey, our own mental health challenges frequently inspire and motivate us to find ways to help others going through similar issues. My guest on this episode has done exactly that through the creation of a super simple app to track your mood each day, simply called Mood.

Gareth Dauncey is a Welsh architect who used his passion for simple, clean design to create a highly visual way to track his own mood each day as he navigated his own mental health challenges. Through a series of serendipitous events including meeting his co-founder at the DO Lectures in Wales, Gareth's colorful paper based mood tracking tool morphed into an iPhone app which has been championed by Ruby Wax and her Frazzled Cafe organisation amongst others.

Listen to hear more about Gareth's own story and how spending a few minutes each day tracking your mood can help manage your own mental health.

You can download the app here. For every paid download, Mood will donate one free subscription to an organization that supports mental wellbeing.

Men’s Coach Tim Neal Lifts The Lid On Men’s Work Coaching And What It Can Do For You.

Men’s Coach Tim Neal Lifts The Lid On Men’s Work Coaching And What It Can Do For You.

July 14, 2022

Have you ever wondered what men's work and men's coaching is all about? It's an area that seems to be increasing in visibility right now with various formats / approaches / philosophies out there. To explain all of this in more detail I'm joined by Men's Coach Tim Neal.

Tim has been a coach & trainer since 2012 and uses a combination of coaching modalities, psychology, neuroscience, NLP and embodiment & mindfulness practices to guide men to create powerful & transformational personal breakthroughs.

He's also is one of the teaching staff on a Men's Wisdom Work coaching program I am mid-way through right now. So he joins me to dig into the subject and explain the world of men's work in detail.

We talk about what men's work is, how it can build confidence, masculine embodiment and authentic, conscious relationships, who can benefit from it, some of the underlying philosophies behind masculine coaching and how it differs from and can be used in conjunction with therapy.

For anyone who's curious and wants to explore this a bit more, Men's Wisdom Work has a weekly free community men's group, open to anyone, drop and see what it's all about or feel free to reach out to me directly for more info.

Links to some of the resources mentioned in the podcast:

Tim Neal Instagram.
Men's Wisdom Work.
The Way Of The Superior Man by David Deida.
No More Mr Nice Guy by Robert Glover.
I am not your guru (Netflix film about Tony Robbins).

 

Take the meds or not?! A chat with psychiatric nurse Cecelia Howard on mental health medications. When to take them, how to get off them and everything in between.

Take the meds or not?! A chat with psychiatric nurse Cecelia Howard on mental health medications. When to take them, how to get off them and everything in between.

May 31, 2022

In this episode I'm joined by my own psychiatric nurse practitioner Cecelia Howard PMHNP to talk in detail about the tricky subject of mental health medications. It's an area that still carries a ton of stigma, and it's a serious matter to go down the road of taking antidepressants, mood stabilizers or other psychiatric meds.

We use my own very positive experience of working with Cecelia and taking a couple of different drugs (A mood stabilizer called Lamotrigine and an SNRI antidepressant called Pristiq) to highlight her unique approach to working with patients.

We talk about her lengthy intake process which includes using DNA testing to assess what medications a patient might need. We cover how to know when you might need meds, why you should avoid any practitioner who writes you a prescription after a 15min consultation, and how to get off meds in the right way at the right time.

There are quite a lot of scientific terms used so here are some links if you are not familiar with some of the neuroscience behind this.

Neurotransmitter Overview.
GABA
Glutamate
Dopamine
Seratonin
Norepinepherine
Calcium and Sodium ION channels

NAC
SAMe
L-Tryptophan
Folate
Melatonin

Lamotrigine (mood stabilizer)
SSRI (antidepressant)
SNRI (antidepressant)
Benzodiazepine

Genomind Pharmacogenetic Testing

Book - Blame it on the Brain
This Way Up - Digital Mental Health Tools.

Nick Frendo from ASCND on the road to RESPAIR, mental health advocacy in cycling and recovery from a serious mental health crisis.

Nick Frendo from ASCND on the road to RESPAIR, mental health advocacy in cycling and recovery from a serious mental health crisis.

May 22, 2022

** First up a warning.. in this episode we talk in some detail about the topic of suicide, so if this may be triggering to you please consider this before listening. **

Nick Frendo is a mental health activist and one half of ASCND, a London based cycling mental health advocacy project. Over the last few years he's raised a ton of money and awareness around the subject of mental health through some epic rides, kit collaborations and building a platform for others to share their own mental health experiences.

We talk in some detail about Nick's own battles with mental health issues and the work he's doing with ASCND to get more cyclists trained as Mental Health First Aiders. 

But what this podcast is really about is Nick's experience over the last week. We'd been chatting for a while about doing this podcast but after a serious mental health episode last week Nick got in touch and wanted to share what happened here on the podcast.

So what follows is a very open, honest and raw account just a few days after hitting rock bottom and attempting suicide. It's incredibly brave for Nick to share this so soon after it happened, and importantly he's got the immediate help he needs in a time of crisis. To use ASCND's own tagline, he's now back on the road to respair*.

* Respair is an old english word that means the return to hope after a period of despair.

 

ASCND Website.
To participate in ASCND's Mental Health First Aid training in the UK click here.
To find your nearest Mental Health First Aid training in the USA click here.

Mental Health Support Resources (UK).

To speak with someone immediately, contact Samaritans on 116 123.

The Samaritans.
The New Normal (Peer Support Groups).
CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably).
Mind.
NHS Mental Health Services.
How to spot the signs of someone having a mental health issue.

Mental Health Support Resources (USA).

Crisis Text Line. Text HOME to 741741
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call 1-800-273-8255
The Trevor Project (LGBTQ) .Call 1-866-488-7386
Veterans Crisis Line Call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1

Project Healthy Minds directory of support resources (by Emotional State and Resource Type).

 

Cycling chef Chris Cosentino talks mental health in the restaurant business, sustainable eating and more…

Cycling chef Chris Cosentino talks mental health in the restaurant business, sustainable eating and more…

May 10, 2022
It's #mentalhealthawarenessmonth and on this episode of the Blackdog Cast I'm chatting to TV chef, restaurateur and cyclist Chris Cosentino. Listeners in the US may recognize Chris from shows like Iron Chef, or have visited one of his restaurants. He's also a James Beard award nominated author with his book Offal Good.
 
In this episode we chat about the high stress world of restaurant kitchens and why Chris was one of the first high profile chefs to speak publicly about his own mental health issues.
 
We also talk about sustainable and nose to tail eating, why we should all try eating beef hearts and the suicide of his close friend Anthony Bourdain.
 
Some links to resources mentioned in the podcast:
Netflix Documentary on ADHD drugs (inc Ritalin): https://www.netflix.com/title/80117831
(Video) On mental health in the kitchen - Chris Cosentino.
Chefs Cycle For No Kid Hungry: https://chefscycle.org/
 
Chris' Restaurants:
Kyle Duford on Getting a Second Chance at Life, Love, and Understanding God

Kyle Duford on Getting a Second Chance at Life, Love, and Understanding God

May 3, 2022

After a few months off to move across the country The Blackdog Cast is back with another episode featuring the story of my friend Kyle Duford.

A cyclist and successful executive and agency leader, Kyle has a really interesting and powerful story to share. Hitting the depths of depression and contemplating suicide, to as the title of his book says "getting a second chance at life".

Kyle's story has a couple of interesting themes, one of which is the role religion has played in his recovery. We talk in detail about this, which for me as someone who's not religious was a fascinating insight.

So, tune in to hear Kyle's story, and if you like what you hear check out his book which is available now on Amazon.

You can catch up with Kyle on LinkedIn or Instagram.

Science in Sport CEO Stephen Moon on mental health in the workplace and opening up about his own mental health journey.

Science in Sport CEO Stephen Moon on mental health in the workplace and opening up about his own mental health journey.

November 15, 2021
In this episode I'm looking at the complex issue of mental health in the workplace. Before we get to that a reminder that this month you can buy a Blackdog jersey in partnership with Sportful with all profits going to Movember.
 
There are some pretty shocking stats about mental health in the workplace;  depression or anxiety are responsible for 54% of all working days lost due to health issues in the UK.
 
1 in 5 people take a day off due to stress. Yet, 90% of these people cited a different reason for their absence. Even more worrying is that 9% of employees who disclosed mental health issues to their boss reported being disciplined,  demoted or even dismissed.
 
Clearly then, despite the huge impact, the workplace is still a pretty unfriendly place when it comes to mental health, and telling people at work about a mental health issue is still a very difficult and risky thing to do.
 
To tackle this subject I'm joined by a business leader who's confronted these issues head on, Stephen Moon the CEO of sports nutrition company Science in Sport.
 
Stephen shares his own mental health story and talks about his decision to go public with it after years of writing an anonymous blog on the subject. He describes the overwhelming positive reaction he experienced and the impact it's had on the business he leads. We also dig into why there's still such a stigma around metal health in the workplace and why ultimately we need more senior business leaders like Stephen to start talking about this.
 
Links to items mentioned in the podcast:
 
Daniel Oss on keeping life balanced in the pro peloton, #JUSTRIDE, #MOVEMBER, Paris Roubaix and more!

Daniel Oss on keeping life balanced in the pro peloton, #JUSTRIDE, #MOVEMBER, Paris Roubaix and more!

November 9, 2021
Hi and welcome to another episode of the Blackdog cast.. which this month is brought to you in partnership with Sportful. We've joined forces with Sportful to sell a limited edition Blackdog jersey during the month of November with all profits going to Movember. Movember do a ton great work around men's mental health, so check out the jersey here to support Movember.
 
This month as i'm joined by Italian pro cyclist and part time punk rocker Daniel Oss to talk about his unique approach to pro cycling and finding balance in his life.
 
We chat about his attitude towards the sport and how taking time to just enjoy riding helps him be fully focused when it comes to race time. He tells us why his great friend Peter Sagan is such a talent, what it was like racing Paris Roubaix for the first time in the wet, and what next season holds with a move to French team Total Energies.
 
More Info:
What on earth is psychodynamic/existential psychotherapy?? A chat with my therapist Dr Douglas Col.

What on earth is psychodynamic/existential psychotherapy?? A chat with my therapist Dr Douglas Col.

October 20, 2021
Welcome to another episode of the Blackdog Cast..
 
For most people, their first stop on the road to getting help for a mental health issue is some form of behavioural therapy.. but until we've done it, most of us know very little about the subject of therapy and how it works.
 
So to answer this question I thought the best person to ask would be my own therapist.. Dr Douglas Col. I'm not sure we really crack the question of how therapy works in an hour's podcast, but we do cover a wide range of topics in this interview from different modalities of therapy including Doug's specialities of psychodynamic/existential psychotherapy, how to get the most out of your therapy sessions, and why being a good therapist is a bit like being a jazz musician.
 
Find out more about Doug's story here.
Music Industry & Wellness Entrepreneur Rynda Laurel on overcoming addiction & depression through the use of natural supplements as an alternative to antidepressant meds.

Music Industry & Wellness Entrepreneur Rynda Laurel on overcoming addiction & depression through the use of natural supplements as an alternative to antidepressant meds.

August 5, 2021
In this episode i'm joined by music industry executive and wellness entrepreneur Rynda Laurel who shares her journey from addiction and depression to taking charge of her own mental health & wellness by starting a natural supplements business called VRYeveryday.
 
We talk in detail about her approach to using natural supplements as an alternative to antidepressant medications and how this enabled her to overcome her own mental health issues. We also cover the role of functional medicine and regular blood work  in helping to identify underlying health issues both mental and physical, all of which is incredibly useful whether you are dealing with mental health issues or just as part of a regular healthy lifestyle.
 
I should also add that obviously i'm not a Dr and neither is Rynda! We both speak from personal experience of both prescription antidepressants and natural supplements. If you're considering taking any sort of antidepressant, obviously check with your Dr, therapist or psychiatrist first.
 
We reference a bunch of links and resources in the podcast which you can find below:
 
VRY Everyday Discount Code: Use "BlackDog" or this link for 15% off all VRYeveryday Formulas and Sets.
 
For a reference to Rynda's functional Medicine doctor (she sees patients via Zoom in USA) contact her info@VRYeveryday.com
Pete Stetina on the challenges and rewards of leaving the Pro Tour to build a gravel privateer program during COVID.

Pete Stetina on the challenges and rewards of leaving the Pro Tour to build a gravel privateer program during COVID.

July 8, 2021

The Blackdog Cast is back after a few months, and in this episode I talk to former Garmin, BMC and Trek pro tour rider Pete Stetina on his recent transition from pro tour racer to gravel privateer. We talk in depth about some of the challenges he faced within the pro peloton including coming back from a career threatening injury and the murky world of rider deals and contracts.

Pete also talks in depth about what it's taken for him to strike out on his own to build a privateer gravel racing program in the US during COVID and why every gravel racer needs to fear Belgian breakaway specialist Thomas De Gendt taking up gravel racing!

Some links to items we reference in the podcast:

Shasta Gravel Hugger. https://www.gravelhugger.com/ 
Pete's website. https://www.peterstetina.com/
Pete's Insta. https://www.instagram.com/pstetina 
Stetina's Paydirt Gravel Event in Carson City, NV, Sept 11th 2021. https://www.stetinaspaydirt.com/

More info on Blackdog and what we're about:

www.blackdog.bike
www.instagram.com/blackdog.bike 

The nuts and bolts of psychiatry with Dr John Mahan.

The nuts and bolts of psychiatry with Dr John Mahan.

March 10, 2021

In this episode of The Blackdog Cast i'm joined by my friend and fellow cyclist Dr John Mahan. John is a clinical psychiatrist here in Southern Oregon and we get into the nuts and bolts of what a psychiatrist does, when you might need to consult one and how it differs from behavioural therapy / psychology.

We also talk bikes and why comparing yourself to other riders on Strava, Zwift or obsessing over your FTP might actually be detrimental to your mental health, and why a return to the great British 'club run' might be just what we need right now!

Why we started Blackdog, dealing with Bipolar and more..

Why we started Blackdog, dealing with Bipolar and more..

February 19, 2021
You may be wondering what this Blackdog thing is all about so let me take a few minutes to explain. It all started a few years back in London.. out riding bikes with some mates we got talking and realized most of us were dealing with some sort of mental health challenge… being out on the bike was a great place to talk it out and get things off our chest.. and for some of us, this was the first step to really working through our issues and getting help. So we created Blackdog with a really simple aim; to use cycling to get more men talking about this.
 
In this first episode I’m joined by a very good friend of mine who was really the instigator of the Blackdog project back in 2017. He’s chosen to remain anonymous which is great as it allows him to be really open & honest in sharing his story of getting to grips with Bipolar, but at the same time it still shows the stigma around talking about this that we’ve all got to work harder to break down. 
 
** Contains some profanity / swearing **.
 
Links to resources mentioned in this episode:
 
More Info on Blackdog:
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