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March 13, 2022

Deconstructing OCD

Deconstructing OCD

The theme of mental health is a very important one, and deserves to be taken seriously. With so many people dealing with the difficulties that come along as result from it.
In this episode I talk to Mental Health champion Aadam Afghan and we go deep into recognising the signs, stigmas and treatment of mental health issues.
There are plenty of things you might think aren't related to your life or important enough for your attention but getting more acquainted with someone who suffers from OCD can really help change your  perspective on this subject matter.
Aadam speaks candidly of his battles with mental health and the common misconception of what it means to suffer from OCD; to this day he continues to confront his illness andndedicates his life raising awareness about the subject.
We also talk about how he finds inspiration from a number of sources including his faith and his heroes, Aadam is a truly brave individual who has taken the steps to challenge his demons and helps others find a path to defeating theirs.

https://www.bravemind.uk

Transcript

https://admin.headliner.ai/deconstructing-ocd-mp3

Uyi

Hey, guys. And And to another episode of The Point of View. My name is Uyi Agbontaen, and I'm your host. In today's episode, I'm speaking to mental health champion Adam Afghan, who goes around raising awareness of mental health issues, including OCD, which he personally has sung before. Adam is such a kind, gentle human being, and it really comes across in this episode. I really hope so.

Aadam

well. have you been? I have been well. I have been just cracking on with stuff, cracking on with work, cracking on with life.

Uyi

Life in general.

Aadam

Life in general, man.

Uyi

How was the holidays?

Aadam

It was good. I didn't do anything. I didn't do anything special. I just relaxing, staying at home, family, chill.

Uyi

Sometimes you need that time.

Aadam

You do?

Uyi

Yeah. Sometimes just a bit of doing nothing is amazing. Is good.

Aadam

It really is nice. It really is nice.

Uyi

It's good to, uh, get a break. So let's talk about mental health.

Aadam

Let's do it.

Uyi

That's a real passion of yours.

Aadam

So one day, a couple of years ago, I started getting these brought to my head almost that disturbing thought it was really uncomfortable for me. And I was like, that's weird. Why is that in my head? And they kept coming on. I just shrugged them off, and they kept getting worse and more consistent all the time, to the point where they kept coming. And I thought I was going crazy. This is that bad. I was sitting on the tube one day, and I thought, the only way for me to stop this is to kill myself. Obviously, I was a complete mess at the time. I then called my mom, um, crying. One of her mom. I couldn't even say it. It was so difficult for me to say because I was like, this is so crazy to me. So I told her, mom's, enough. We got reward of all the help she's done and given me. She found a therapist online for me. She found a Muslim therapist online. And then I got the therapist number. I went home next morning, I called her. I told her my problems again, very difficult to tell all these things. I was like, this is so difficult for me to tell you because they're so uncomfortable and disturbing for me. And then I told her, uh, and she said, I don't know. It sounds like you have OCD. It sounds like something called intrusive thoughts. I was like, what the hell, OCD? What is that? She's like, search on the Internet. And then we'll book something in for a weekend about this. And I searched it, and I was like, this is exactly what I'm going through. This is word for word, exactly what I'm going through. And it was a huge relief because I'm like, oh, my God, I'm not crazy. This is an actual thing. Those few hours basically saved my life, because if I didn't get diagnosed, maybe at that moment, I might not be here. It was that clear cut for me. And after that, I went to therapy. Ups and downs of OCD. Different OCD themes came in, and it was me basically struggling with the mental illness, going to therapy, going on to medication, going in and out of therapy, just done a few times, depression coming in, anxiety, coming in, dealing with it, and the whole other life situations through those years. This is where I'm now, basically, it was got diagnosed with something and had to recover and manage it to get better, basically.

Uyi

I remember we talked before about OCD. Everybody thinks they know what OCD is. Everybody thinks they know what obsessive compulsive disorder is.

Aadam

But it's not what they're an adjective. You can't say, I'm so OCD, you break it down. Obsessive compulsive disorder. I think the world, uh, health Organization rated it the third most debilitating disorder in the world. It's basically there's different types of OCD, but it's in that anxiety spectrum. Mine goes from more mid to severe. Some people are mild, but it's basically when you obsess about something, um, to the point and I can give you, for example, some people wash their hands a lot, and this is because they may be scared that they'll die. And can you imagine being in a constant place where if you don't do something, you literally think you'll die? So it's the contrary assurance, washing hands. Some people will think, for example, when they're driving, if I drive, I might kill somebody. If I go into the kitchen, I hold a knife, I may kill someone. And the threat is so real. So for me, it's guilt. So, for example, I touched a pen today, and I put it down, and I thought, if someone touches and I haven't plenty bacterialed it, they could die. And that feeling is very real. My therapists have said a few times, give me two analogies. They're both similar. Having anxiety disorder is like a fire alarm going, um, off constantly. But that fear of fire is real all the time. So the fire alarm goes off even when there's not a fire. And that goes off all the time. And it's like, in a perpetual state of anxiety, and it's very stressful to deal with. It's probably where I got most of my white hairs on my head from. It's, um, not a nice.

Uyi

I don't think the movie world, the TV world, the entertainment industry. No, they painted an accurate picture of what OCD is. People think it's like the person who likes their shoes to be in a particular order. They like their pens to be on a desk right there's. That romantic idea of OCD up homes. He's OCD. He likes things in a certain way. He loves patterns. And that's why he's good at solving crime. Yeah, but actually, that's not what OCD is. Ocd is genuinely, truly debilitating.

Aadam

Yeah, it's a disorder. So, for example, you wouldn't hear someone go, I'm so bipolar.

Uyi

I guess it must be frustrating when you hear people saying, I stop being so OCD or I'm so OCD.

Aadam

Yeah. And sometimes I can't bothered. I'm like, I've got to give this whole lecture about, hello, this is OCD. Please don't say that. It was like such an unknown disorder. Uh, and it's debilitating because no one can help you with it. You have to go through something called ERP. It's exposure, response prevention therapy. And basically what it is. Say, for example, you have a fear of germ Oct. How you get rid of that and how you manage it more is you expose yourself to the fear at hand. So I will not wash my hands. If I wash my hands, I'm reassuring myself that the fear will take place. If I give into the fear, it tells my mind, wait, there's no problem here. So your response to the fear cures it. So by exposing to yourself, I could get ill, and I'm not going to wash my hands. And you carry on with your day.

Uyi

So you're building your tolerance.

Aadam

Exactly. It's like you're facing your fears. Basically, you retrain your mind to think there is no fear here, because anxiety is a good thing on tight, um, or flight.

Uyi

Normally it's a good thing.

Aadam

It's like, this is dangerous. I'm going to run a healthy level. Exactly. But if it's going on all the time of things where there is no danger, you, uh, need to retrain your mind to tell it there is no danger. And that's the difficult part. That's where you face your fears.

Uyi

I was reading a book recently, which was The Chimp Paradox. I don't know if you ever heard of that.

Aadam

Have you mentioned it before?

Uyi

Yeah. I've been meaning to read this book, and I finally got around to read it's a psychologist who wrote the book, and he said that everybody has three States of mind in them. There's the human, there's the chimp, and there's the computer, all in your brain. So you have different areas of the brain that function in a different capacity because we're sapiens humans. That's the state we want to be in. The human is rational. Logical, the human knows what's good for him. The human knows what he wants. And there's the chimp. And the chimp isn't rational. The chimp is emotional and responds to things emotionally. And that point you made about anxiety being a good thing. There are primal reasons why we have these functions in our body. Fear is a good thing in the right context.

Aadam

In the right context.

Uyi

Worry is a good thing in the right context. And the levels of cortisol to dopamine endorphins is relatively balanced. For a lot of people, it's not the same because everybody's different, but it should be enough to help you function day to day. Whereas, uh, some people it's off slightly, and so they might have too much anxiety. You meet people who are always happy. Yes, it doesn't mean they're happy, but there are some people who always have, like, an optimistic mindset.

Aadam

For men, we kind of just ignore things. As men. We're very good at enduring stuff. We're enduring pain. We can do that very well, but that isn't what's good for us and our loved ones around us as well.

Uyi

I think there's also a lot of pressure for men. There is to live up to that idea of what it is to be a man.

Aadam

Exactly.

Uyi

Especially now social media. You hear a lot of, like, stoicism, be stoic. Be a strong man, like injure persevere, push yourself. And I feel that puts a lot of pressure on men as well.

Aadam

Being brave. What does it mean to be brave? It means to confront the monsters, the demons before you. For me, it was OCD. It was like maybe anxiety, depression. And me being brave is trying to fix it for myself, to be the best man I can be. It's all my loved ones as well. Family. For anyone in your life, that means something to you. You need to be the best man for their sake and for your sake. That, for me, is real bravery, not enduring, because, to be honest, sometimes enduring is more towards not being brave because you're ignoring the demon and you're kind of running from it. That's how I look at it. I see why people I'm a man. I need to be a soldier. I need to enjoy. Sometimes it's almost like the easier way out.

Uyi

I do hear what you're saying. My kids, um, go. A few weeks ago, she was talking about being brave because we have conversations. I'm a massive hero comic fan. Like, you know, I'm like to my kid, my daughter. What does it mean to be brave? Oh, you do brave things. You stronger.

Aadam

That's not what being brave is at all.

Uyi

Custom Arter, who trained a lot of Champions, including Mike Tyson. He said, what's the difference between a hero and a coward? There's no difference because they both feel the same thing. Heroes and cowards are scared. They both feel fear. But it's what the hero does in spite of the fear that makes him a hero. And it's what the coward doesn't do because of fear.

Speaker C

To me, fear, uh, is the greatest obstacle to learn. And unless one understands fear, he could never learn as quickly as he should. And what I have done by having an understanding of fear and talking to the fighters about it. What I have done is cut the learning time, maybe as much as I have, sometimes more, depending on the individual. Now, fear. May I mention that fear is like fire. If you learn to control it, uh, you can make a wet for you if you let it get out of control and destroy you and everything around you. Like a snowball on a Hill. A snowball on a Hill. You can pick it up and do whatever you want. But let that snowball roll down the Hill. It gets so large. If you try to stop it at that point, it will crush you. So fear is like that. We just learned to understand fear. Most people think of fear as something to be ashamed of, something to be really embarrassed about. But I teach these boys that fear is a normal, healthy thing. I often ask them, who is your best friend? When they try to name individuals, I tell them, no, uh, your best friend is fear. Fear runs, uh, sharpest depression. Fear makes you keen and sharp without fear, as I said, that things would happen and be too late for you to do anything about it. I also take this boy to step by step as to how they're going to do what they're going to, uh, do. Eventually, when they come to the gym, I have to give them to talk, um, about fear. And I tell them, fear is their best friend that many kids don't even know. I tell them, do you know the difference between being afraid of being yellow or the difference between a hero and a coward? Well, they give me answers, but they weren't accurate. And I tell them there's no difference between a hero and a cow at all and how they feel. That's what they do to make a difference. That's what makes a difference between here and a cow. Now, the people who watch you do what you do, judge you on what you do, not how you feel. If you go out there and you do what you do and you do it in what people call it and heroic manner, they think of you as a hero. If you do things as a person does that often referred to as cowardly or whatever they think of you in that way. But the hero and the coward feels exactly the same. You have to have the discipline to do what a hero does and to keep yourself from, uh, doing what they call it.

Uyi

Yeah, it's not the act itself. It's what's going on internally. But controlling your emotions, to override that, to do what you must do. And that's what being brave is. If you're not scared, that's not brave is dumb.

Aadam

Yeah, exactly.

Uyi

Um, if you don't feel fair, if you're not genuinely scared of things, then there's something wrong with you. Anyone who says, I'm not afraid, there's something wrong with that person, or they're lying. Yeah, one of the two. Because people feel scared all the time. And it's a natural human emotion to feel scared. It's okay to be scared.

Aadam

We all know when something is wrong. You feel a bit down. You feel anxious when something is wrong. Sometimes that solution is going to therapy. Talking to a loved one, talking to your friends, like doing something, not just carrying on.

Uyi

It's hard for a lot of men to talk how they feel you speaking to a therapist and speak to someone you don't know. That must have been hard.

Aadam

I was scared. I was scared to do it.

Uyi

How did you feel after you had the first conversation?

Aadam

Amazing. It felt like I could see the light end of the tunnel because I was like, this is a starting point. I can go to the end. But each session I was scared. And I've been to therapy three or four times because life goes up and down. Therapy for me with OCD is a medicine. I think I've got to a place now where I've got all the tools that I need to tackle it. Uh, there's no shame in going to therapy. I mean, for example, you had diabetes. You wouldn't not take on medication because I don't need. I'm strong enough. I need to do what I need to do to get better. Therapy is just another method for that.

Uyi

Do you go to the, uh, same therapist?

Aadam

I went to the same therapist a few times through COVID. They got very busy, so I had to change again. I actually went private because the NHS, unfortunately, they're not that well equipped for mental health. And can you imagine how many people now are suffering with some type of mental health issues? So going private for me was like, okay, I've got money saved up. I can afford it a bit pretty expensive, but it's your health, you can't put a price on it. I just did it.

Uyi

What kind of tools did therapy give you? What type of tools have you developed now to deal with the anxiety when it raises itself again?

Aadam

So when the OCD comes in, I talk about exposure, prevention, response. Uh, that's like the gold standard of exposing yourself to the fit. That's one thing. There's things which I tell myself sometimes when I get a lot of thoughts in my head, it's like brain noise. And I think, what is this? This? Who said that's true? Who said that's true? Or I tell myself, what's the danger now? And then I think I literally ask myself, Adam, what is the danger? And it calms myself down. I can feel maybe my heart be going down again. It goes back to, um, training your brain to think where there is no danger. That's my response to the anxiety. And that helps me grounding yourself in the present is a very good tool. And also, like, this will pass sometimes. I have this really horrible OCD episode. Two years later, it's 50% better. A week later, it's almost gone. I'm like, okay, that only lasted a week.

Uyi

Would you say now if you have an episode where you're feeling these emotions coming again and they're strong now, when you experience it, do you think, oh, I know this. I recognize this. And I know it's, uh, going to be better in two days. In a week.

Aadam

Yes, I can recognize the OCD thoughts because OCDs are just thoughts. At the end of the day, it's our brain. It's like a neurodiverse disorder, you could say, so. I can tell the difference in a normal thought and an OCD thought. And in my mind, here we go again. It's literally like that. It's like two brains working alongside each other. Ok, there's the OCD thought. That's what my therapist told. My last one was a therapist. She was like, Adam, just don't engage in it because there's no fear. There. You're telling your brain, there's no fear, I'm not going to engage with you. And then it fades away. It's like trains going past. Like, for example, there's a train. That's a horrible thought I have. I don't want to engage with it. That train goes, we can't control our thoughts. Imagine how many thoughts we have every day. Tens of thousands of thoughts. So many. We have no control over them. Why do people with anxiety and OCD put so much meaning on these thoughts? We can't control.

Uyi

I think that's an important point, because it's hard to control your thoughts. People sometimes do think, Why am I thinking this? Or Why am I feeling like this? But in our mind is doing things that we don't necessarily always have control over. And I think accepting that is a little bit relieving with sunseo. Say, your biggest enemy is yourself. Your worst critic is you. Often when you have insecurities and anxieties and you worry about people think this, uh, or no one thinks, I'm good at that. It's just you.

Aadam

It's just you right that anxiety is usually worse. And is it ever true? Very rare. That is true. And there's this thing called cognitive distortions. Say, for example, I feel anxious, therefore there is danger. I feel guilty, therefore I've done something wrong. Those two don't go together. Just because you feel anxious doesn't mean there's something wrong. Just because you feel guilty doesn't mean you've done anything wrong. Just because you think or maybe even feel something doesn't mean that's the case. There's a guy who goes, like, feelings aren't facts, that type of thing. What you feel doesn't mean it's true. And sometimes you put those two together.

Uyi

We look for correlations, but there are no correlations. And I think it's a very human thing to look for patterns A caused B. So B must, of course, C. That's not necessarily how it is.

Aadam

He said A cause B, who said that was true. Sitting at home sometimes is the worst thing you can do is just being by yourself.

Uyi

I like what you said about retraining your brain, because I think people sometimes think that they can't. They are who they are. I am who I am. You can literally change, um, yourself tomorrow.

Aadam

You're not the finished article ever.

Uyi

Yeah. I'm terrible at maths. I'm always going to be terrible. You could retrain yourself. You could become good at maths.

Aadam

You could.

Speaker UNK

Exactly.

Uyi

It takes work.

Aadam

And that's the thing with anything. It turns out mental well being or even doing, like a better morning routine, eating better food. You can do it. It's just. It takes work and retraining yourself or getting into a new routine of how you think or the habitual things you do in life that's difficult, but it's worth doing. And I always say to myself, when something is really difficult, check in three weeks, check in in a week. And then you know what? You'll look back and be like, wow, it's so different.

Uyi

Cumulatively, right? It's progress.

Aadam

Let me just check how I feel then. Your hardship is not constant. The way you're feeling now is not constant. It's going to go up and down. It's going to change. There's nothing in this world which has ever been constant. It always changes. And your thoughts, your feelings, these will change. There's a technique, and it's basically writing down all the things you're thankful for. And sometimes I do that. It's like journaling. When you write down all the things you're grateful for, the blessings, and you think about it, and then you look back at the list and you think, what if I didn't have one of these? If the perspective then changes, you're like, Damn your parents, um, wife, kids, your friends, your car, your coffee in the morning, the ability to see, taste the clothes on your back, the weekends you have. When you write it down and you look back, I really have been blessed in these amazing things. And it's not like, oh, you're not grateful. It's more like, I'm so thankful that I have these.

Uyi

And your perspective changes you're religious.

Aadam

I'm a practice of a practicing.

Uyi

How do you think that has helped you? Dealing with the anxiety, the Islamic side.

Aadam

For me, it's a spirituality and scientific side coming together, which really provides the best, I guess, holistic treatment. In Islam, we have a concept called Kader. It's basically destiny. What is written. This is my story. This is what has been written. Once I accept this is my story, that's when my healing can start. Once you start thinking, I could have done this, I should have done that. This and this. No, this was always going to happen. This is your story. Me and my OCD, me and the struggles. I have me talking to you right now. It's part of our story. So that was a big thing for me, because there's a purpose of why we're really. And that's a bigger discussion, right? Philosophical discussion of what is our purpose of being, but the concept of destiny. And this is my story as an Arabic saying called Maktub. It's just like it is written. And, uh, there's loads of things up. But the spirituality side of this life isn't a full stop. It's a comma. This is not the end of our existence. This is a mere chapter in our existence. When someone that you love dies or someone you care about dies, all the things that you used to worry about. Even sometimes my OCD goes out, uh, of the window because it really grounds you in what this life is and what happens next. Exactly. And that's a huge thing. And sometimes those things, those hardships are blessings in disguise for us, because it wakes us up.

Uyi

The past couple of years, people have reevaluated their lives and put things into perspective. Um, because so much has happened. I remember hearing a story, uh, about Islam, about Mohammed and his followers. And mhm, it was a battle that his followers had to go, and it was devastating. They won, but they just barely won the war. And they come back and they see the profit, and they say, we won. And he goes, Congratulations on winning the little war. Um, and they're like, what do you mean, the little war? I was like, we lost a lot of people, right? It was touch and go. And he goes, the big war is within. The little war is what's going on there. It's a really deep way of looking at life. Actually, the biggest battle you'll ever face is the internal battle. Everything outside is superficial. It may feel like it is bigger, but it's not.

Aadam

You have to be. I think it's being authentic and genuine about doing the right thing constantly. And it's good to question yourself as well. It's good to be like, Why am I doing this? What's the purpose of this? And then you make a decision.

Uyi

You like to raise awareness about mental health, of how do you go about educating people?

Aadam

I've been on a few podcasts, I've been on TV appearances just to talk about it, about my experience of OCD, because even now, when I say it, it sounds quite intense, even though I said that story so many times. But I've had people come back to me. So I've gone through similar things. So for me, even if it helped a little bit, it's amazing. Now what I'm trying to do is just be even more open about mental health, especially with men, even in the minority backgrounds as well. Sometimes tackling mental health is a bit more difficult. So it's just even in a Muslim community, nonmuslim community, just kind of raising awareness of OCD.

Uyi

I think also the modeling that has been done on issues like mental health, well being, health in general. The modeling the world relies largely on Western medicine, and Western medicine has been built on a particular demographic, which is basically white males. And so when they look at the modeling, the modeling doesn't always fit other demographics.

Aadam

Exactly.

Uyi

There are obviously some crossovers because we're humans, we have two arms, two legs.

Aadam

Right.

Uyi

But there are things that don't necessarily fit. And so I think it's important that there is some remodeling to take into account, especially when you live in the UK, which is such a diverse country.

Aadam

Massively diverse. Right. And I only feel really comfortable talking to female therapists because I feel like I'm not being judged as much. I can be a bit more vulnerable, but also they have to be from an ethnic background because we have similar um, characteristics in our culture right now. And for me, one of the holistic healing in Islam is the Quran is reciting itself. Uh, is a healing. So for me, when I feel it down again, reciting it, it's an actual healing in itself. So if I said that to someone else who didn't know what it was, they were like, what? But with the Lemon community, uh, and with the world listening to it, hearing it is a type of feeling. So combining that with the scientific practices in therapy, both together is like a two pronged attack to actually help today.

Uyi

People are much more aware of mental health when they work.

Aadam

Even last few years, right?

Uyi

Yes.

Aadam

It's crazy how much even with social media.

Uyi

I think social media has had a positive and a negative definitely effects on mental health, definitely. It's brought a lot of attention to it and it's done a lot of distractions. Whether it's a good thing or a bad thing, I don't know, it's where we are, but I think definitely people are way more aware that there are issues going on in people's lives, but also that what they're experiencing. They're not on their own necessarily. The very first podcast actually that I did with a therapist and we talked about different types of therapy. And one of the points that we discussed is that you can't necessarily see the invisible disability. You can't necessarily see when someone is going through something.

Aadam

You can't at all, right?

Uyi

You don't know what people are going through in their lives being empathetic, right? Empathetic, empathy. I love a story that I heard once, a paradigm shift completely change your perspective about something. And the story was of a man who walks onto a train and he gets on the train, trains fairly busy. And as soon as he sits down, he notices, uh, that there's these two young kids and they're just causing chaos, running up and down the train. They're swinging on the bars, they're slamming the doors, they're like knocking people's bags over and nobody's saying anything. He's like, what the hell is going on? Who are these kids? And then he realizes that there's the dad of the kids and the dad is just sat there and he's doing nothing while these kids are just going manic and he's getting more and more frustrated. Like, why can't his dad take control of his kids? Can't you see that these kids are disturbing everyone? And he speaks to the dad, he says, Excuse me, do you not see what your kids are doing? They are disturbing everyone. Can you do something? And the dad looks up, he goes, I'm so sorry. I just came back from the hospital. Their mother died. My mind was just completely somewhere else. And so paradigm shift, right. View of what was going on completely changes because now he understands the context in what has happened.

Aadam

There's a saying, it's like, Check on all your friends. Just check on everybody. There's no need to assume anything. A quick, uh, check up.

Speaker C

How's everything?

Aadam

I just wanted to check up on you. I was thinking about you. I hope you will. Even that sometimes you're like, you know, I'm not doing so well. I'm actually going for a tough spot at the moment, and it may bring up conversation of how things can get better.

Uyi

I think culturally in the UK, we are very bad at doing that.

Aadam

We are bad at doing that.

Uyi

We're very bad at genuinely checking up on people. And I say this because I remember when I was learning Spanish, on the surface level, you're just translating, how do you say, hello, how are you? You say like this. But then when you speak to the teachers, they're like, yeah, but when you say to someone, how are you in Spanish, you genuinely want to hear how the person is.

Aadam

Yes.

Uyi

But when you guys say, how are you? You don't genuinely care.

Aadam

Now it's kind of dark. It's like. It's like very weird because you're like.

Uyi

Hey, how's it going? Actually, we're not interested at all in the UK in how the person is really going.

Aadam

It applies to me. Yeah, that's what it's like, right?

Uyi

How's it going? Oh, yeah, it's going fine. Okay, great. That's it, right. Or how's it going? But if they say, not so good. Oh, my God. And so this was an alien concept. When speaking to people from Spain, they were like, no. When you say to someone, how are you? Uh, the person genuinely tells you how they feel. And so it was a culture shock for them. But when people would say, how are you? And then they start talking and then it looked like, why are you telling me all these things? But actually we do this thing in England where we say, how are you? But we don't really mean it.

Aadam

Yeah, it's weird, isn't it? And even when someone says it's not going to be, do we even know how to react to that? How do we?

Uyi

I don't think we do because I think we've been conditioned in this country. I think we've been conditioned to not do that because again, it's the stiff upper lip. It's no, we just carry on. No, we don't talk about our problems that much.

Aadam

When you walk through a busy area like Oxford Street or whatever, and you look at all the people in this world, in this life, they all have their own separate problems and they're all dealing with something. And it's like, how many people in the world are going through something similar to you? Worse than you? Maybe easier than you.

Uyi

Yeah. I don't know if you read Sapiens.

Aadam

I haven't. I've heard of it.

Uyi

That's a great book. The guy who wrote the book, you've got Harare Noah. He's basically a book about society from the dawn of man, early man till today. And it's like, we live in these megacities now. We live in London, the city of over 10 million people. You go to China, right? Oh, my God. You're in Beijing.

Aadam

Yeah. Um, great.

Uyi

Crazy. At no point have 10 million people live together in a city.

Aadam

Crazy.

Uyi

And so we walk through Oxford Street, we walk through these popular places. You walk into a shopping center. You don't know these people. Uh, and we have no connection with them. Whereas 200 years ago, 1000 years ago, you would genuinely have a connection with every single person in your village because there was, like, 100 of you. And so you genuinely knew, in fact, you were probably related. Probably something like that. You're probably related. And so the ties and the connections were genuine. And I feel actually, we're really disconnected.

Aadam

I feel that, too. Like, having a genuine connection with someone is very difficult nowadays. And I guess social media. I don't like to blame social media or social media. It's just technology in general.

Uyi

It's funny because, strictly speaking, technology, social media has allowed us to reach more people.

Aadam

Exactly.

Uyi

So it's weird that social media and technology has allowed us to connect with way more people than ever before, but we're still one step removed from them. We're still disconnected.

Aadam

Yeah. Because I think nowadays instant gratification, and we want things immediately, literally every part of our lives now in technology is Amazon. Next day, same day, food delivered, any type of food delivered straight.

Uyi

It's so funny, isn't it?

Aadam

Relationships, like, just swipe, swipe, left, right, left, right. It's, like, almost ruthlessly. Immediate.

Uyi

That's a good point. The immediacy. I'm guilty. I have, um, Amazon. I expect it to arrive, uh, next day.

Aadam

Yeah.

Uyi

Like before, 1210 years ago. 15 years ago, you order something and it would arrive a week later, and there was no problem. There was no issue about that so fast. And I like, why isn't all right.

Aadam

Can you imagine? Like, tomorrow, you can't wait tomorrow. It's mad. It's like Amazon is like anything.

Uyi

So you've got Amazon, you've got delivery. You don't need to go out. You've got Netflix, you've got Amazon Prime. You could say self contained, which is Dystopian Orwellian future locked in this cubicle. Don't need anything else. You can work from home.

Aadam

You can chat to people. You've got, like, back in the day, a music library of CDs would be like, this is like five artists now. I've got every single artist in the world at my fingertips.

Uyi

At my fingertips. Zuckerberg spilled in the Metaver.

Aadam

Oh, my God.

Uyi

Did you watch Ready player One?

Aadam

I haven't seen it. Is it worth it?

Uyi

I actually think the future will be very similar to Ready player One.

Aadam

Yes.

Uyi

Looking at Mark Zuckerberg and the Meta verse idea. I'm like, we are on the road to that, where people are just going to live in this virtual world. Once you're in a virtual world, and that virtual world is way better than the mundane life that you live. I want to be there.

Aadam

I want to be there. Instant staff. I can have anything I want. I can look how I want.

Uyi

I can be who I want you to be exactly who you want. It's scary, but I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing, because there's always change. As you said, there's no constant. There's no constant. It's a sign of getting old when you're like, well, in my day.

Aadam

It'S easy to say that right now. Back in my day, five years ago, yeah, TikTok wasn't there, right?

Uyi

There was no such thing as Tik Tok.

Aadam

Yeah.

Uyi

Just how children interact with the world today. Like my kids, they're so used to tablets and computers and stuff. They'll see a poster and they'll expect it to do something. They expect it to do something. Just a poster not going to do anything. They live in a digital world. I do wonder how they process information. And when you speak to people about it, they have this negative. Oh, you know, it wasn't like that in my day because of the nostalgia. But then every generation has gone through very equivalent. This is how we did things. Imagine when the record player became a thing that was the itunes of its day or Spotify of its day.

Aadam

Even like Bluetooth headphones, no one uses a wire anymore. Right?

Uyi

That's true.

Aadam

What's the next thing? Virtual reality? Autonomous vehicles, drones. I don't know what's going to happen, but AI.

Uyi

Ai singularity. The end of the world. And that film, uh, was like 40 years old.

Aadam

That's a very old film. The CGI has not aged very well.

Uyi

What appeals to you about heroes, comic book characters and what do you think it's like?

Aadam

I think what resonates with everybody is that the hero overcomes something and gets through a hardship. And seeing a story of that happening resonates with everyone because everyone can kind of compare themselves to that situation. And when you see someone overcome something, um, it kind of lifts you up as well as a superhero. Like a person. Like a person in real life. When you see them overcome something and they've gone through it and they've seen how difficult times were and they've overcome it and they've come out through the other end. So it's like a beautiful thing to see someone go against adversity and you can take lessons from it. But there's a deeper meaning to these things, right? I guess you feel the same about some of these stories.

Uyi

I do. I loved comics since I was a kid. Even when I was a kid, I just saw them as comics, right. There were great stories and parents are like, what are you reading? This.

Aadam

Nonsense.

Uyi

Put these people in really funky costumes. When you tell people, I'm going to watch Spiderman, like, what are you talking about? What are you, five years old? On the surface level, it's superficial. It's a boy's fantasy, having amazing powers and fighting baddies. But I think there are layers, definitely, like you said. And I think the stories are deep, intrinsic stories, uh, that are linked to human culture.

Aadam

Yeah, definitely.

Uyi

These are myths and legend and lore that people relate to. It's not a comic. It's sequential art form.

Aadam

Yeah, you're right.

Uyi

And sequential art form is the oldest art form there was in the world. So if you go to caves in France, you will see hand paintings on the wall of early man depicting, uh, what was happening in real life. That sequential art. And if you go to Egypt and you look at the monuments and you look at the storytelling on the hieroglyphs on the wall, that's sequential art Formica is just a modern day version of that.

Aadam

Exactly.

Uyi

These heroes are the same heroes. We read about Romeo and Juliet and Jason and the Argonauts, and we read about Gilgamesh and the adventures. And these are the exact same stories just in a modern setting. So when people do read mhm the comics or watch the film, it appeals them massively. And I think the reason it appeals to them is because, actually, these are stories that are very primal to humans. I do agree.

Speaker D

Okay, so you get the idea. What do you have in common with Harry Potter, Chat, Miss Everdeen and Frodo? Well, you're human, just like them. The hero's journey myth exists in all human cultures and keeps getting updated because we humans reflect on our world through symbolic stories of our own lives. You leave your comfort zone, have an experience that transforms you, and then you recover and do it again. You don't literally slay Dragons or fight Voldemort, but you face problems. Just as scary. Joseph Campbell said, in the cave, you fear to enter lies the treasure you seek. What is the symbolic cave you fear to enter? Additions for the school, play baseball, tryouts love.

Uyi

Everybody likes the underdog.

Aadam

You always got the underdog in your life.

Uyi

You have monsters, you have obstacles. You have adversity. Getting inspiration from, uh, a story about how someone had to overcome demons. Maybe in the comic form, that overcoming literal demons, like watching demon Slayer, of course. But then maybe in real life, you're overcoming internal demons.

Aadam

Totally. We always relate to things like that. Demon slay is a great example. Tangero is trying to get redemption from his family being killed.

Uyi

Uh, yeah.

Aadam

The guilt of him not protecting them, not being there, the struggle he has to go through of trying to find some type of peace in his life. And that whole journey is amazing. And even with Batman, Superman, there's a quote Batman says in the film. He goes, you're not brave. Men are brave. I know that related to me. The weakness Bruce has because he's a human is what makes me brave. It's not because I feel nothing. I don't feel I have mental health problems. I don't have physical problems. I'm strong. It's more. I'm strong. I'm brave because of my weaknesses. And I think that goes with all the superheroes, even villains, to some extent. Uh, you can see that with. You can empathize with villains.

Uyi

I mean, the older you get.

Speaker UNK

Uh.

Uyi

I really understand you. Thanos.

Aadam

Yeah.

Uyi

Get rid of half of the world, Thanos.

Aadam

Good point. Then I'm looking forward to the new Batman. And it's based on year one, right? The comics.

Speaker UNK

Yeah.

Uyi

Like year one. Year two. Right. Like, he's angry young Batman. I like the whole idea that he's full of rage.

Aadam

He's not like Superman. He's the dark side of what he is.

Uyi

I think that's probably why he was such a popular comic in the DC catalog. He is the most popular. When I say most popular, he accounts for, like, 90% of the revenue.

Aadam

Yeah. Do you think the villains are always more interesting than the heroes?

Uyi

Deep down, people identify more.

Aadam

They do.

Uyi

The heroes are so pure.

Aadam

Yeah. It's not realistic sometimes, is it?

Uyi

With the heroes, they're mainly near perfect. Their life may not be perfect, but their values and their morals are perfect. So I think it's hard to really be the hero. And the villains are flawed. Massively.

Aadam

They're massively flawed. Yeah. Like us.

Uyi

Yeah, like, that's why I think people do like the Joker. He's completely liberated, right?

Aadam

Yeah, sure. He's free because he has no moral Compass.

Uyi

I do what I want. In the dark night, there's that scene where he fledger has, like, stacks of money, and he just Burns it. Money means nothing to me. In it for the money. I'm in it's for the money.

Aadam

Yeah.

Uyi

Materialism.

Aadam

That's the scariest thing, right?

Uyi

That's scary. But liberating like, a real libertarian who I really loved in the comic world was Killmonger in Black Panther.

Aadam

You, uh, kind of have to take a step back and be like.

Speaker G

Uh, it's about 2 billion people all over the world that looks like us, but their lives are a lot harder. Wakanda has the tools to liberate them all.

Speaker E

And what taught us are lost.

Speaker G

If I bring you your weapons.

Speaker E

Our weapons will not be used to wage war on the world. It is not our way to be judged, jury, and executioner for people who are not our own.

Speaker G

That's wrong. Didn't life start right here on this continent? Swing all people, your people.

Speaker E

I am not King of all people. I am King of, uh, Wakanda. And it is my responsibility to make sure our people are safe and that the vibranium, uh, does not fall into the hands of a person.

Aadam

Damn.

Uyi

I hear what you're saying, Kohla.

Aadam

I understand where you're coming.

Uyi

Yeah, I hear what you're saying. The frustration, the rage.

Aadam

It's all kind of legit. That's a hero's end the antihero.

Uyi

I feel deep down we're more like the villains because we're explored if it's just a one dimensional villain, that's just kind of boring. Yeah, but if it's a villain who is multifaceted and he has legs and like, yes, I kind of see your appeal.

Aadam

Exactly.

Uyi

There's something charismatic about you. And the villains tend to be like, sleep as charismatic Magneto. I understand what you mean.

Aadam

You can understand it. And when we were younger, when we kids read it, we were like, um, he's the bad guy. Beat him up.

Uyi

I was watching, uh, Batman returns not so long ago, and Michael King just kills a lot of people. Yeah, point blank kills them. And we loved it as a kid. Patching bombs to people kicking my children bomb paralyzing people.

Aadam

We do and the worst. And he doesn't care about their families.

Uyi

Their kids doesn't give a damn. Imagine you've just been hired by Alex Luther to protect the building and Batman breaks your spike.

Aadam

You're just a contractor.

Uyi

You just got, um, hired. I'm just security here. I have nothing to do.

Aadam

He doesn't know about the projects going on. He just do on the job and he's just getting it off the first, like, steady paycheck and then Batman that's it. That's it.

Uyi

Hospitalized. He's got kids. He's got a family at home. Batman doesn't give a shit.

Aadam

He'll just destroy everyone. I've got to save Marfa.

Uyi

Oh, God. We've covered a lot of, like, movies.

Aadam

Uh, we haven't covered a lot of movies and gig talk, right?

Uyi

Bamboo talk. We have covered a lot.

Aadam

As always.

Uyi

As always.

Aadam

So.

Uyi

All right, let's wrap it up. Where can people reach you?

Aadam

Reach the best place for the Instagram, Sir. Abdabo. S-I-R-A-B-D-A-B-O.

Uyi

Why is that yours?

Aadam

So back in the day, I was playing, um, WarioWare on the GameCube, and I had to put my username in and I smashed some buttons and it came up with Sara abdebo. And I was like, oh, that's my name. He came up with abdebo, and then I put Sarah on the front because Mr. Was taken, man. Okay, cool.

Uyi

Thank you. Okay, guys, so that was deconstructing.

Speaker F

Ocd, you'll find some more details about my guest in the show notes. As always, I appreciate your support. Don't forget to share share subscribe like this episode.

Uyi

To close this one out.

Speaker F

I want to leave you with a little excerpt from Joseph Campbell peace, guys.

Uyi

See you in two weeks time.

Aadam

Bye.