LinkedIn vs. WordPress, a Tale of Two Mental Health Communities

I spend a fair amount of time on LinkedIn these days, both to try and get my book into the hands of mental health/addiction professionals and to make connections with those professionals as I still figure out how my pornography addiction education mission can best move forward. It’s a very different world than WordPress.

Before I get into it, I have to say the No. 1 strangest thing that I’ve witnessed among mental health professionals on LinkedIn is just how many of them like to create memes where they quote themselves. It’s seriously fucking weird! I don’t know if it’s a marketing thing where they hope others will share it or if it’s just a narcissistic side of them that sometimes comes with people who are smart and have the capability to heal, but I’m never going to get comfortable with it. You let other people quote you. You don’t quote yourself.

meme

Anyway, for me, the biggest difference is that the community I’ve cultivated on WordPress are either struggling addicts, former addicts, people with mental health issues, or empaths. Demographically, it’s all over the spectrum from teenagers to people in their 70s, male, female, located all over the world in various socioeconomic conditions, but there is also a comfortable sameness with just about every person, including me. It’s a firm understanding that we don’t have all the answers. That kind of self-awareness and humility is quite often not seen among the ranks on LinkedIn.

I remember being introduced to the street smarts vs. book smarts theory when I was probably 12 or 13 years old. There were those kids, like I was expected to be, who excelled in their studies and would go on to do smart things in smart careers and then go home to their smart wives and smart children at the end of the day. Then there were the other kids, they were the ones who would fill the labor and service jobs, but they’d have a real-life worldliness that I couldn’t understand because things came almost too easy to me. While I could do the taxes of the other group, I’d be dependent upon them to protect me in a fight.

As I’ve learned, that concept is moronic. Facebook proved that some of the kids who should have died by accidentally electrocuting themselves because they were so stupid go onto great things and some of the kids with the most potential flame-out the hardest.

The one place I do see this idea somewhat played out, though, is in the world of addiction. When I got into my first rehab, I met people who I thought I’d have nothing in common with. Many became good friends. A guy who got kicked out of the Hells Angels for being too violent and getting in too much trouble with the law was probably my best friend in my first rehab. What did we have in common? We knew addiction and it was enough to bond us. I learned this lesson again at the second rehab, and at the limited 12-step meetings and group therapy sessions I attended. Addiction made us street smart whether we were an 18-year-old meth addict or a 68-year-old sex addict.

But, if there is street smart in that equation, there has to be book smart, and I’ve finally met this side of the coin on LinkedIn. I like LinkedIn because it is kept professional, relatively politics-free, yet there is still a lot of inspiration and videos of dogs doing cute things.

There are a lot of people in mental health/addiction who have dealt with an issue, but on LinkedIn, not every one of those people are quick to share. Part of my recovery is being as honest as I possibly can as often as I possibly can, so I don’t go to any length to hide my history with pornography or alcohol.

The book smart are the mental health professionals who have never had a major issue with addiction or their own mental health. They’ve witnessed health conditions that they are very qualified to diagnose and treat, yet they don’t know what it’s like to have been there. It’s like someone who is an expert in ancient Egyptian history. I still think a goat herder who actually lived in Egypt during the building of the Pyramids could probably beat them in a game show, even if they were only a peasant. There is just something to be said for experience vs. theoretically knowledge.

In dealing with the LinkedIn community, I’ve gotten a vibe again and again that I’m dealing with people who think they have answers to our world’s growing pornography addiction problem, even if they haven’t dealt with a lot of clients who have it yet. They have the answers because, on an academic level, they’ve always had the answers.

Depending on who the person is and their exact background, the answer may be 101 different things, but they are relatively sure they have the answer, even when the answer is that porn addiction isn’t a real thing. Whether it’s sweat lodge workshops, filters galore on your computer, or the same tired arguments against porn that have been around for 50 years and never worked, they have THE answer.

Now, I don’t want to slam all of them. I’ve made some great friends and important contacts. They know who they are and I’m grateful to have you in my life. But, I’ve also met people who wouldn’t give me the time of day because I’m just a former addict with no letters after his name. It feels like those who even bother to acknowledge that I’m trying to actually bring resources to the table for addicts with my books, presentations and website mostly just pat me on the head and tell me to run along while the grown-ups figure out the answers to the world’s problems.

On WordPress, there’s sometimes a victim mentality of people who just can’t get out of their own way, and I think on some levels don’t want to, in order to get better or improve their situation. WordPress has a lot of wallowers, and they frustrate me to no end. On LinkedIn, that frustration comes from a superiority mentality of people who have plenty of knowledge, but very little experience. I think the real money will be in creating the social media app that exists somewhere in the middle.

What’s most ironic is that I spent no time on LinkedIn before my newest book came out, yet it basically is a street smart/book smart take on porn addictions for partners of addicts. If you want to support a street-smart troll, click HERE to learn more about the book.

And of course, all of this said, if you want to join me on LinkedIn, feel free.

 

 

Guest Post: Meet Tony Overbay, My Co-Author of ‘He’s a Porn Addict, Now What?’

Note from Josh: I’ve talked a lot about the new book I’ve co-written, but not too much about my fellow author, Tony Overbay, LMFT. He’s a great guy who is hilarious, and as we’ve built our friendship, has made himself very vulnerable over the foreign process of writing a book. While this is only the second book I’ve written that has my real name on it, I’ve either written nearly 20 books under pseudonyms or ghostwritten them for other people, so I forget what a scary experience it can be for a rookie. Tony’s got a great personal story and earlier this week wrote this entry on his Facebook page. I think if you read it, you’ll see why I wanted to work with him. Also, we recorded a new episode of his podcast on Thursday that will debut on Monday and I will post it to this site.

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Over 15 years ago I started thinking about changing careers. I was writing a humor column for my local newspaper and many of my articles had to do with becoming a new father. I loved being a father and that was when I first felt the “call” to want to help other men become good fathers as well. I wrote more about being a new father and eventually I put together enough chapters that I thought I could turn it into a book. That was one of the first times I also felt the pangs of “Impostor Syndrome,” meaning I couldn’t get past “why would anyone want to listen to me, who am I to write a book? I don’t have any credentials.”

I eventually headed back to school in the evenings, with four small kids, a day job and an incredibly supportive wife. I wanted to study counseling, but initially, I thought having a master’s degree in counseling would be enough, and I would write, and help men become better husbands and fathers. I didn’t anticipate seeing clients.

During the course of getting my masters in counseling, I had to do a practicum, aka fieldwork. I had to start seeing clients at a non-profit clinic. That was when I first realized that this career was more than just wanting letters behind my name in hopes of selling a funny book or two, it was truly about following a call, it was about helping others. I had found my passion, my purpose, and my desire to help grew.

When I first started seeing clients out of school, I learned that men weren’t typically seeking therapy, so I found myself working with a population that was coming in to see me because they were in danger of losing their marriages, or careers, to addiction, in particular men who were struggling with compulsive sexual behavior, typically acted out through repeated, and continual viewing of pornography, even when they had tried to stop many, many times.

I learned so much about addiction, compulsive behaviors, and I knew many of the ways to truly help with both the behavioral and the mental (cognitive) aspects of turning to pornography as a coping mechanism or acting out sexually to fill a void. That work led me to the creation of The Path Back, an online pornography recovery program that has helped many, many people break free from the chains of compulsive sexual behavior.

I started The Virtual Couch podcast a couple of years ago as a way to share a lot of what I was learning as a therapist, but also as a way to promote The Path Back recovery program, and the podcast began to grow like nothing I ever anticipated. That growth led me to the opportunity to interview more and more interesting people who had overcome a lot in their lives. One of those interviews was with a former politician, magazine editor and film festival organizer, and pornography addict, Joshua Shea. You can hear Josh’s story in his episode on The Virtual Couch, but after doing 70 or more podcasts and radio interviews for his first book The Addiction Nobody Will Talk About, Josh approached me with the concept of another book, “He’s a Porn Addict…Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions” (Click Here to See the Amazon page for the book) and I was immediately honored, and I was in! We would answer questions from real people about pornography addiction, and we would both answer them without knowing what the other had written. What we now have is a book that is receiving incredibly positive reviews from the professional community, a community that can be quite harsh with concepts or ideas that don’t bear fruit. It is overwhelming, humbling and motivating all at once.

I now have the letters after my name, and over a decade now of one-on-one experience with over 1,000 men and women who have struggled to overcome turning to pornography or other compulsive sexual behaviors as a coping mechanism. I know it can be done, but I also know it takes time to believe that it can be done. I am confident that this book will help expedite this process significantly, whether you are the addict, the betrayed or someone who loves, counsels or works with someone struggling with this challenge.

So while this isn’t the humorous first-time dad book that talks about blowing out diapers in public or having to give up Oreo shakes for a year thanks to my wife getting sick on them during pregnancy, I am extremely proud of this book and I hope that it can positively change lives. Sometimes I still can’t believe that I changed careers when I did, I still don’t see myself as “that guy,” but I now can’t imagine what my life would be like had I not followed a bit of a calling, and truly decided that I needed to love what I did, and do something that hopefully can and will impact lives for the better.