Genuinely Emulating Lived Experience: ‘Hear Myself Think’ Season 2 Review

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★★★★★

If there’s one thing the movies get wrong, it’s the circumstances in which the most meaningful emotional revelations happen. You know what I mean: those ‘clouds parting’ moments that force you to see sense and put the jagged pieces of your mental world back together. It’s never at the end of a thrilling, high-stakes casino game, or atop a skyscraper on a stormy night, or amidst an explosive battle.

No, for us regular folks, our emotional tectonic plates shift at the most mundane of times: sitting around after a night out, in a coffee shop bathroom, brewing a cuppa, making a stir fry. It’s these moments which audio-drama series Hear Myself Think specialises in, and its second season only doubles down on eschewing the Hollywood-isation of mental health by focusing on groups tragically underrepresented in today’s mental health conversation.

By exploring mental health as it affects people in the underrepresented black, Asian diaspora, queer, neurodivergent and disabled communities, Hear Myself Think carves out a niche in the saturated mental health podcasting scene. Not only that, but it does so whilst also offering some instantly engrossing audio drama that starts, develops and finishes within a tight 15-20-minute window.

Those scenarios I listed earlier? They weren’t plucked from thin air; they’re some of the premises of the episodes themselves. Each one puts listeners in the mind of someone in a uniquely troubled situation, inviting them to join in on making coffee, dancing, drinking water, cooking a stir-fry or just, simply, grounding themselves in an effort to overcome whatever’s troubling them and, by extension, the listener too.

There are no grand, elaborate plots to speak of here, no broad cast of characters or suite of settings. With few exceptions, each episode offers just a person, a location and situation. For the short runtime of each instalment, that’s a major strength. It’s bare-essentials storytelling, and it’s exactly what the series needs to get its point across.

And it can’t go unrecognised how much of a feat it is for the series’s writers, directors and cast to successfully forge such an instant connection. The longest episode of the series sits around 20 minutes, which in the podcasting world is no time at all. Still, each one is packed with so much emotion, distinct emotion too—no two episodes tackle the same feelings or issues—that they stick in the mind like they were genuine lived experiences. That’s not to say that they genuinely emulate lived experiences, but they come closer than any other podcast or audio series I’ve come across.

If there is one central message Hear Myself Think wants to convey, it’s that mental health is a real concern, and it affects people in every corner of society, even if they don’t always like to acknowledge it. There’s no quick path to recovery, self-improvement or redemption, but the first step towards it is always just one decision or one act of self-care away. So, make sure you’ve got headphones (you’ll need them), find somewhere peaceful and spend 20 minutes living in someone else’s reality. You won’t regret it.

Words by Jamie Davies


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