Geðslagið, or loosely translated The Temperment/The Mood, is a new podcast covering mental health, spirituality, and all around wellness from friends Sigursteinn Másson and Friðrik Agni, who are both members of the LGBTQI+ community in Iceland. In their show they dive into personal stories and share their own while reflecting on topics in a sincere and frank way.
Their first episode started with the quite deep topic of unpacking trauma and its effects, but there’s also episodes on the importance of sleep and how to work through forgiveness. Friðrik says the pair started the podcast because they were meeting for another project and found a connection with one another. “As our meetings for this other project progressed we just got into deeper and deeper talk about our personal experiences and struggles. We found out that we are equally passionate about our own wellbeing and the wellbeing of people in general. We are from two different generations but somehow our outlook on life is quite similar and even our personalities match in some aspects.”
“We decided to go all the way in with the first episode and I opened up for the first time openly about sexual violence that I experienced as a teen.”
Friðrik’s background is in dance as a teacher, cultural director, entertainer, and entrepreneur. He has also worked on various projects like the Reykjavik Art Festival and writes for news outlet Vísir. As if that wasn’t enough, he’s also a published poet with Storytel, the audio based storytelling platform and hosted Your Own Way last year.
Sigursteinn Másson is a journalist who’s worked in Icelandic television and other media for over three decades. He was chairman of Geðhjálp, The Icelandic Mental Health Alliance, for eight years, a representative of the International Animal Welfare Fund and has written four books, one of which is about his personal experience with bipolar disorder. They met for the first time just this year.
Through the podcast the boys hope to unpack a lot of complex topics that affect all of our lives. Their first episode certainly accomplished that with a thoughtful conversation about trauma. “We decided to go all the way in with the first episode and I opened up for the first time openly about sexual violence that I experienced as a teen,” says Friðrik. “I had opened up about it before to Sigursteinn and in our talk, he asked me if I would be willing to talk about it on the podcast. So we knew that we were going to go deep right away and perhaps trigger somebody with this first one.”
But the show is not all unpacking deep things from the past, it’s also about daily life and routines. “We are interested in everything that affects our health in general, all the triggers, our daily behaviors, what makes us human, how can we do better for ourselves and for others,” he says.
Future episodes will get into topics from social media to the process of diagnosis. “We want to deal with hard topics such as loss, rejection, and our need for validation. In our modern world, we are continuously exposed to so many different platforms on which we can feel judged and rejected. Sometimes it is real but sometimes it is all just a misunderstanding. These online platforms leave so much up for our interpretation and often our minds make the worst of things instead of the best. So upcoming episodes might have these kinds of topics but we are also going to share a very powerful episode about Sigursteinn’s journey with mental health which I hope most people will listen to. It will be inspiring,” says Friðrik.
The pair also bring on experts or people from specific fields to talk about the episode topic from an experienced point of view.
Although queerness and sexuality are not the main topics of their show, Friðrik says queerness will be reflected in how they talk about everything. “I think our personalities and experiences play a big part in the show. We try to speak about things that we have dealt with or that we feel passionate about,” he says.
It’s not only about being gay because at least for Friðrik he doesn’t even fully identify that way. “What for example shapes me as a person is my teen traumas, sexual harassment, bullying, being of mixed origins, being an artist, and being mostly gay. I say mostly because I feel attracted to females sometimes although the gay part is a lot stronger. I am in a gay marriage so it kind of defines me in a lot of ways. How I experience things like my mental health reflect all of this together.”
“What for example shapes me as a person is my teen traumas, sexual harassment, bullying, being of mixed origins, being an artist, and being mostly gay. I say mostly because I feel attracted to females sometimes although the gay part is a lot stronger.”
Friðrik also says queerness could definitely be a part of an upcoming episode, but they’re still narrowing down what part. “We might not specifically bring up a topic as “coming out” for example. It might be a subject of a bigger story that somehow relates. Perhaps we might do an LGBT+ special that deals with human rights, prejudice, or just the daily life and struggles of queer people that “normal” people might not realize we have. There are often just these small things that might add up doing a lot of damage to a person. I don’t have anything specific in mind but I am just trying to think about new ways to deal with this topic and how we can present it in our show.”
They’ve also created a Facebook group for the show where listeners can interact, comment, talk about the episodes, and more. “After the first episode about traumas we got some messages and all were messages with warmth and thankfulness. It was very well received. The group now has about 300 people as members. So we’re just a few episodes in and haven’t really done any media coverage but there are still people that seem to be interested in this kind of conversation,” says Friðrik.
Geðslagið on Spotify
The Geðslagið Facebook Group
This article is a part of “What’s On: Books, Podcasts, and Comics from Queer Creators. A collection of new content for you to devour”, by journalist Michael Ryan.