the lively show: radical sincerity & mental health advocacy with esmé weijun wang

TheLivelyShowEsmeWangHappy Lively Show Day!

In today’s episode we’re chatting with Esmé Weijun Wang of Esmé Esmé is a talented writer, novelist, copywriter, blogger, and mental health advocate.

In this episode, we’ll be exploring how Esmé juggles her challenging career while dealing with schizoaffective disorder. She’ll share what she recommends for those who also have a mental illness diagnosis, as well as what we can do if we have friends or loved ones who face something similar.

In addition, we discuss how to overcome the urge to say “fine” whenever someone asks how we’re doing, and how we can become more radically sincere.

This show is perfect for anyone who wants to be more compassionate (with themselves and others), wants to connect to people in deeper ways, or who have been affected by mental illness in their own lives, or those they care about.






  • How Esmé juggled a challenging career and education with mental illness.
  • What psychosis means, and how Esmé’s experiences with it in 2013.
  • The right way to respond when someone reveals something deeply personal like a mental illness diagnosis, health diagnosis, or a death in the family.
  • What “radical sincerity” is to Esmé, and how to embody it.
  • What to say to avoid the “How are you?”, “I’m fine.” trap.
  • Esmé’s recommendations for those with mental illness or other limitations and for those who have loved ones with a mental illness diagnosis.
  • What Esmé would tell someone just starting out on this journey.





Interview with Modcloth founder, Susan Gregg Koger

Funny People

What Do You Say When Someone Tells You About Their Mental Health Diagnosis?

The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown

Portraits to the People




Want more? Check out past Lively Show episodes here.


PS – Want to support the show? Please leave a review on iTunes. I appreciate and read every one, and it helps the show get seen by more people on iTunes!


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  1. Great podcast! As a mental health counselor who works with college students, it is so important to talk about mental health issues, as they often emerge during young adulthood. I appreciate Esme’s honest discussion and suggestions about responding to people when they reveal something deeply personal. I would also like to add that we begin to start thinking about mental illness, as we do with physical illness. In Western societies we tend to fall trap for a Cartesian dualism, seeing physical illness as a body issue and mental illness as a brain/mind issue, when in actuality both types of illness effect us holistically-mind, body, spirit. For example, think of when someone has the flu. In addition to the bodily complaints, they probably aren’t feeling so great emotionally as well. I know I’m not the happiest when I’m sick! It’s similar with mental illness, an example being depression and/or anxiety. Physical pains and fatigue often accompany the psychological symptoms of depression and anxiety. Therefore, our ability to move toward seeing health and wellness as a integrated, holistic concept will open our eyes and hearts, and help better understand anyone who is suffering with an illness.

    1. Great point and so well said, Sarah! Thank you for sharing such a great insight on this topic. It’s definitely something to keep in mind! : )

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