Mental As Anyone

MAA #008: With Frank Hampster

Aug. 3, 2015

Interview with Frank William Hampster, who has been crafting comedy since 2011. Frank describes himself as "a standup comedian, connoisseur, conspiracy theory expert and general bon vivant". He is also the Executive Producer of The Elegant Universe Radio Show, which you can catch 4pm to 6pm on Fridays on 94.1FM, and also on You Tube.  Frank was in the Australian Army until 2011 and this interview contains very open discussion about his Army experiences and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)*.

We discuss: PTSD (shell shock and war neurosis), jumping at shadows, the phenomenon of symptoms disappearing when Frank is on stage, being in the 4th year of a "comedy apprenticeship", Frank's breakdown in 2008, being in and out of a mental health facility, the Boxing Day Tsunami, preparation for warfare vs military response to civillian crises, humour as a defence mechanism, Oscar Wilde quote, philosophy re comedians telling the truth, occasional not-so-good gigs due to soldier-mode aggression, feeling of normailty on stage, Anti-Depressants, the slow return to work, "face leakage", stigmas in the Army, survival reason for protecting women and children first, sharing his view of Black Saturday, Psychiatrist and medication, benefits of exercise, coffee and cupcakes, eating habits, sleeping habits, relationships and MH issues, nightmares, not believing in ghosts but finding a way to cope with seeing them, middle name "Darling", empathy, understanding, tollerance and patience, recognising triggers, concern about soldiers not having access to mental health support ... slight interruption by colleagues following Frank's re-enactment of a trigger at Brisbane Airport ... Charity organisation Soldier On (check out their Facebook page), 'fight or flight' doesn't include flight in the Army, noise cancelling headphones, being proactive, avoiding self pity, reaching out to friends, cuddle/hugs therapy, strength inside comedians and love of the craft, killing and dying, connectedness within the comedy community, unhelpfulness of hearing "Harden the [email protected]$% Up", Generation X saying No to child abuse and gender inequality, resilience, love of children, Rosie Batty, comedy for coping and wellbeing, views on PSOs, Key message: Be tollerant and patient, just SMILE, working miracles, and the craziness of under-funding mental health.

*WARNING: This podcast includes graphic discussion about war/battles, the Boxing Day Tsunami, and the Black Saturday bushfires.  If you need to speak with someone about how you feel after listening, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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