Dr. Margaret Robinson Rutherford is a clinical psychologist with thirty years of experience, an author, a TEDx speaker, and a podcast host. Dr. Margaret is known for her vibrantly engaging and theoretically well-crafted presentations.
Her passionate message is that healthy mental and emotional lives can be created through becoming more transparent with one another. Sharing who you really are with those you trust is a huge step toward connection and good mental health.
Margaret is challenging the mental health profession to question their overreliance on the official symptom checklist for diagnosis. Instead, we need to create normalcy around suicidal feelings, listen to each person’s actual experience of their life, and respond with safety and compassion, rather than stigmatizing this very real and excruciatingly painful part of human existence.
She’s also known for her book, “Perfectly Hidden Depression: How to Break Free from the Perfectionism That Masks Your Depression,” and her highly popular podcast, The SelfWork Podcast. It has been continuously rated as one of the best podcasts for mental health and depression.
Listen in for some great takeaways on how we can reduce the stigma around mental health and suicide to help everyone.
You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in…
- Learn more about Dr. Margaret Rutherford [3:02]
- Why Dr. Margaret became a therapist [6:29]
- What is perfectly hidden depression? [11:31]
- Check out our book “Financial Planning Made Personal” [14:14]
- Why striving for perfection can be dangerous [14:53]
- How Dr. Margaret got a TEDx Talk [16:45]
- Why you should listen to Dr. Margaret’s podcast [19:34]
- What is “phubbing?” Why does it damage relationships? [23:40]
- Dr. Margaret’s tips for empty-nesters [24:58]
- How to care for your mental health [28:03]
- What Dr. Margaret did today that put her in the mindset for success [31:31]
Learn more about Dr. Margaret Rutherford
Dr. Margaret is a former professional singer, and sang radio and television jingles for a living. She learned about music therapy when she started volunteering at a Battered Women’s Shelter in Dallas. During her training, she interned at a psych hospital and decided that’s what she wanted to do.
Dr. Margaret made terrible decisions in her twenties. She was married and divorced twice. She sought out therapy to help her break free from the terrible decisions she felt she was making because of her past. She appreciated what her therapists were able to do for her.
She wanted people to experience a therapist, like she had, who gave practical advice for people to try. Dr. Margaret started writing on social media and launched a podcast, giving away advice for free so everyone had access.
What is perfectly hidden depression?
Most of the people who walked through Dr. Margaret’s door would vehemently deny being depressed. They had family, money, a good job, and no reason to be depressed. But they couldn’t express their painful emotions. She discovered that they couldn’t connect with sadness, grief, and difficult things. They were all perfectionists.
She wrote a post called “Perfectly Hidden Depression” that went viral. She received hundreds of emails. That made her curious. She’d never intended to write a book but no one had written anything that looked at perfectionism, depression, and the potential of suicide.
She launched her podcast with the hopes to not only help others but help them learn that there’s no shame in having a mental illness. Dr. Margaret herself struggles with a panic disorder. She’s dealt with Anorexia. She knows what depression and anxiety feel like. She wants them to know they’re not alone.
Why striving for perfection can be dangerous
There’s nothing wrong with striving for perfection. But too often, Dr. Margaret notes that perfectionism is camouflage for past trauma. You likely don’t even recognize that it’s trauma. It becomes practice making permanent in a dangerous way. She’s had people email her about family members who killed themselves suddenly who were kind, generous, loving people who “had it all.” But they were keeping secrets.
How to care for your mental health
Caring for your mental health starts with recognizing your own struggles. Can you admit that you’re depressed or anxious? Do you feel shame about a failure or struggle? Can you forgive yourself for what you’re going through?
You have to change how you think about mental health and how you talk about it. Having a mental illness doesn’t make you weak. It doesn’t make you a failure. Your strengths don’t define you any more than your vulnerabilities and vice versa.
Listen to learn how Dr. Margaret Rutherford is changing the stigma around mental illness one podcast listener at a time.
Resources & People Mentioned
- Financial Planning Made Personal
- Dr. Margaret’s TEDx Talk
- The SelfWork Podcast
- The Perfectly Hidden Depressed Person: Are You One?
- Dr. Margaret’s book: Perfectly Hidden Depression
- I Don’t Want to Talk About It by Terrence Real
Connect with Dr. Margaret Rutherford
Margaret Robinson Rutherford Ph.D., a clinical psychologist with thirty years of experience, is also an author, TedX speaker, and podcast host. Her book, Perfectly Hidden Depression: How to Break Free from the Perfectionism That Masks Your Depression, has reached thousands here in the US, as well as having an international impact, with translations reaching from Korea to Italy, Turkey to Germany. Her highly popular podcast, The SelfWork Podcast, has been continuously rated as one of the best podcasts for mental health and depression.
Dr. Margaret’s known for her vibrantly engaging and theoretically well-crafted presentations, whether live or virtual. Whether her diverse audiences are made up of mental health professionals, construction workers, or office managers, her passionate message is that healthy mental and emotional lives can be created through becoming more transparent with one another. Sharing who you really are with those you trust is a huge step toward connection and good mental health. Rates of depression and suicide are skyrocketing. And there’s something we can do!
She’s further challenging the mental health profession to question their overreliance on the official symptom checklist for diagnosis. Instead, we need to create normalcy around suicidal feelings, listen to each person’s actual experience of their life, and respond with safety and compassion, rather than stigmatizing this very real and excruciatingly painful part of human existence.
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