Una Animus is a nonfiction podcast by Sin Ribbon, about mental health, new perspectives, and the quest for personal fulfillment. Something of a shift for Sin, who works primarily as a fiction writer and visual storyteller.
I first encountered Sin’s work back at the end of 2017 with the launch of her first podcast, ‘In Her Burning.’ A critically acclaimed, haunting tale of a young girl chosen to undergo a procedure that would enable her to see beyond her physical reality. Written, directed and starring Sin (as a secondary thesis project), this audio drama’s beautiful style had me hooked from the get go. Incidentally the In Her Burning transcription has just been released in book form.
In this new podcast, not only does she share her personal journey through depression and agoraphobia, she brings the resources and insights used as coping mechanisms to help her along the way. Una Animus reflects her personal exploration into better mental health as she seeks joy and meaning in living.
Una Animus is not a rumination on depression nor does it have a, “Stop worrying, be happy!” type of self-help approach. The content focuses on balance, acknowledging the weight of fear while providing a perspective of hope. Although the uphill battle may continue, the point is that you keep climbing.
Listeners are welcome to ask questions of Sin for her to answer on the show by directing them to @sinribbon on Twitter.
I had the pleasure speaking with Sin about this new project, and I am honoured to share it with you all now.
I absolutely admire your choice to go public with this show; to bring your own mental health issues into the public domain requires so much strength. What was the defining moment/s that made you decide to share your thoughts on your own mental health with the hopes that it could help those who haven’t yet found the strength and courage to voice, or even face their own?
“Thank you. I suppose it was a combination of factors. First, it was something of a “backup plan” I’ve had sitting around for a while–not a mental health podcast specifically but some venture that resulted in opening up about my ideas, morals, and the knowledge I’ve acquired along the way. I mention in the first episode of Una Animus that I surround myself with positive reminders to help manage my stress, and I thought sharing these techniques might help others as well.
Primarily, I want to offer new perspectives through fiction, but an event in my life inspired me to share all the stories, content, and ideas I’ve been hoarding for years. It started with publishing my novel and began to snowball into a realization that there was more I could do to connect with audiences. Despite my social demeanor, I’m a reticent person, and I prefer to live behind a wall. I suppose I saw this project as an opportunity to share valuable information while conquering my fear of opening up.”
Having taken a quick look at the season highlights, I notice you take an in depth view from both a scientific and spiritual look at mental health issues. Is this because you have taken on both sides of the equation in your personal journey, because you feel that this balanced approach between science and spirituality is key for personal growth, or are you offering both standpoints in the hopes that the listeners can pick and choose what helps them the most?
“Both, actually. The show’s content emerges from my personal world, so naturally it seemed appropriate to take the approach that’s always worked for me. I’m a firm believer in overall balance and that both viewpoints are necessary to provide a wider perspective. At the same time, I wanted people of different faiths and ideologies to be able to connect with the show.
Science dissects while remaining grounded in the natural world in its quest for truth. However, it can become scrutinous and pedantic. A spiritual approach sees the situation on the whole. When dealing with mental health, you need understanding, compassion, and empathy. I don’t think you can go without mentioning spirituality when discussing emotional development and personal joy. Spirituality is unifying and connecting. Nevertheless, I believe it’s important to provide a foundation of evidence and research. Healing benefits from both approaches, so I discuss the medical and psychiatric side while also sharing the attitudes and viewpoints that have had an impact on my own healing. Audiences can draw from one or both of these approaches–it’s up to them–but they might be surprised by how much they overlap.”
It has certainly surprised me how much spirituality has shaped my life over the years. I was always the cynic, the scientist, when it came to life. It wasn’t until I began studying martial arts that I discovered how calming, mindful, and empathetic my emotional state had become.
For all the resources you share throughout the season, how deep would you say you explore these processes, and do you offer the listener further resources if they wish to examine them further?
“Absolutely. In the second episode, I touch on neuroplasticity with a fair amount of detail, although I do try to keep things understandable in a layman’s sense. The episodes tend to bounce back and forth between spiritual and scientific viewpoints from then on. For each episode, I cite where I pull the information from and provide links to where it can be found in the show notes. Throughout the season, I reference scientific books, research papers, self-help books, and online articles. I believe this is important because it creates greater context to the issues I’m addressing and how specialists have utilized this information for the betterment of mankind. There are new, revolutionary methods being used to conquer both physical and mental ailments. Not all of them are widely known, and in a show about mental health and growth, I want to provide hope that healing is possible. Sharing these resources illuminates the fact that we’re all in this together.”
Is there anything else you wish to add that you feel pertinent for the readers?
“I suppose for categories, I’ll have to classify this show as self-help, but I want people to be aware that I seek to go beyond that. Una Animus is about more than finding happiness; it’s about the journey through the valley and all the voices that speak to you along the way. My aim is to inspire from a pragmatic viewpoint because that’s the approach that’s helped me the most. Belief is important, but explaining the why’s, the origins, and the real world applications solidifies that belief. This show hinges on my spirit, all its strength and fragility, so while I may be sharing a lot of outside resources, all of it comes from a personal place of honesty and vulnerability. I think that will help listeners connect the most.”
I certainly feel it will help. Having a personal connection between the host and issues always helps more than detached information bursts. I for one am really looking forward to exploring this podcast, and if you are too, then you can find the show on its home page, as well as all your usual podcatchers.
My thanks Sin for your time, and I wish you all the best with this project.
Una Animus season one launched on Tuesday, (May 7th 2019) and will consist of twelve episodes to be released every Tuesday. There will be early access and potential bonus content via Patreon as well if you wish to support its creator Sin Ribbon.
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