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Today's Takeaway with Florine Mark

Sep 4, 2023

With Wil Wheaton — author, actor, and blogger


Once upon a time, being called a “geek” was considered an insult. But how times have changed! Today, being labeled a geek is the epitome of “cool.” Just think about it; some of the wealthiest people in the world such as Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg were self-described geeks. Now, they have the last laugh. Their eye-popping wealth isn’t the only advantage. Being recognized as a genius has suddenly become very desirable. Over the past few years, the TV game show “Jeopardy” has enjoyed a popular resurgence with accomplished masters like James Holzhauer, Mattea Roach, and Amy Schneider proving just how attractive it is to be known as a trivia genius.


Finally, if there was any doubt as to how completely pop culture has embraced the nerd, all we need to do is look at hugely popular TV shows like “The Big Bang Theory” and “Young Sheldon” that celebrate the hilarity and inner geek in all of us. As someone who unapologetically championed the geek role his entire life, Wil Wheaton, a very talented actor, author, and blogger proves just how cool it is to be a geek. 


Since his interview with Florine last year, Wil competed in the finals of Celebrity Jeopardy, his New York Times bestselling memoir, Still Just A Geek, was recently nominated as a finalist for the 2023 Hugo Award and a new game show where he will be the host, is currently in production on Amazon Prime. In addition to his many voiceover and acting roles, Wil has also become an outspoken advocate of mental health, bravely sharing his own history of anxiety and depression in order to help others. To hear more about how he has battled to overcome the challenges of living with mental illness, please listen to my interview with Wil Wheaton.


What You’ll Hear in This Episode:

  • Wil talks about the challenges of his upbringing and how he learned to embrace who he really is, as an individual.

  • Wil’s hard decision to step away from his parents and work on his own growth and personal healing.

  • Who is Wil at his core?

  • What was Wil's experience being a child actor?

  • Wil shares some of his memories of struggling with anxiety and depression as a child.

  • The feelings of exploitation and abandonment that Wil felt after torment and abuse happened to both him and his sister on a set, and led him to develop PTSD with flashbacks.

  • The relief that getting help gave Wil.

  • What is the most important thing that Wil has learned about himself so far?


Today’s Takeaway:

Mental illness and depression don’t discriminate. It can affect anyone without regard for education, financial status, race, or religion. Unfortunately, there’s still a lot of shame and stigma surrounding the disease of mental illness. People struggling with mental illness are often perceived as “weak,” “broken” or “damaged.” But if we wouldn’t describe a person with diabetes as weak or damaged then mental illness shouldn’t be treated any differently. It’s also important to recognize that there are different kinds of depression. A person may experience short-term situational depression linked to a particular life event such as a death or divorce. Wil says that asking someone for help can be hard, especially when you’re afraid that whoever you confide in will tell you to just “suck it up and deal with it.” But when that person gets the support they need, it can make a huge difference.


Instead of telling someone they’re weak, we need to actually listen and support them. We can learn to be more compassionate and supportive. When an individual has a mental illness that tricks their brain into thinking they’re a bad person who doesn’t deserve to be happy or is a burden to their loved ones, that person certainly doesn’t need anyone making them feel worse. Don’t be afraid to ask how they’re doing or how you might help.


Remember that every day is a gift and we owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to seek help when we need it. There’s no shame in admitting that we or a loved one suffers from depression. Whether it's short-term situational depression or chronic depression, asking for help is a brave first step, and following through to get that help is a sign of strength and courage. Whether it’s through therapy or daily medication, whatever steps you take, could change your life for the better in ways you never imagined. I’m Florine Mark and that’s “Today’s Takeaway.”



  • “I was so locked into how to solve this complex equation, that I never knew that the equation didn’t have a solution because it wasn't about me.” — Wil [8:53]

  • “I am an advocate for marginalized people and people who are on the fringes of society all over the world.” — Wil [9:17]