In moments of minor peril, have you been told not to sweat the small stuff? Can things like having your pen constantly roll off your desk or hearing people grunt at the gym ruin your day completely? If all of this sounds familiar, you’ve got issues, which also happens to be the name of Anna David’s newest podcast.
Anna David made a career out of exploring big issues. Several years ago, she created After Party Magazine, a website that takes a new approach to addiction and recovery, proving that the cool kids' table, especially in Hollywood, isn’t the one with bottle service. An extension of the website, Anna’s original podcast, After Party Pod, has featured some of the biggest names in sobriety, including Moby and Marc Maron.
After more than a decade of writing on this subject, her work began to develop a following she might not have expected: “I started to hear from a lot of nonrecovery people who related to the issues being discussed — about seeking happiness from external sources, trying to escape feelings and everything else.” Then she realized she was on to something bigger. “As someone who’s always been both overly analytical and bothered by the pettiest things, I’m fascinated by the concept that our biggest struggles lurk underneath the tiniest things that bother us,” she says.
You’ve Got Issues explores her belief that the little issues are the big issues. “I think when something silly triggers rage or annoyance, there’s no way that it’s happening because someone is just intolerant,” David explains. “I’m a total Freudian and believe that everything crucial in our psyche was formed when we were between the ages of 0 and 10. And in every single interview, a very brief examination of the so-called petty issue always proves this is true by somehow unearthing the guest’s deepest fear or issue. It’s crazy — whether it’s Fred Stoller talking about his irritation with skateboarders, Joel Stein ranting about adults who see superhero movies or anyone else, there’s always something dark and disturbing and often a little funny below the surface.”
While there are many mental health podcasts out there, David’s style and approach have set hers apart. “My concept has always been trick people into gleaning information that can help them by entertaining them at first and then slipping the message you’re trying to impart in through that,” she says. “My first novel opens with a ménage a trois for precisely that reason; I say do whatever you can to entertain people in order to get them to pay attention.”
And we are paying attention! Unlike so many interviews, ADavidnna actually focuses on the issue instead of having a typical celebrity plug-fest. So far, the roster of names she's interviewed on her show includes Jemima Kirke, Jim Norton, Eddie Pepitone, Emily McCombs, Emily Morse and Mike Carano.
David’s experience as a life coach also plays into her podcast. If you don’t know what a life coach is, David defines it as someone who “helps people meet specific, short-term goals and the entire focus is to reflect back to the client what that person is telling you. [Unlike therapy], with coaching, the concept is more that clients know what to do and how to do it but have been shielding it from themselves and just need someone to be accountable to. The podcast is an outgrowth of that, because I don’t tell guests what I think the big issue is but try to lead them to come to it themselves.”
So what big little things drive David up a wall? “The way certain people chew, people who tuck in tags that are poking out, people who don’t bcc on emails, people who say 'What?' even when they hear you. I have so many little issues that my plan is to talk about a new one on every episode and for the podcast to go on indefinitely.”
You've Got Issues (With Anna David) is available on iTunes; new episodes every Monday.