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Misfortune Cookies

Misfortune Cookies

By Misfortune Cookies
A homemade podcast where Asian Americans can share their mental health stories. Our goal is to de-stigmatize mental health for Asian Americans and create a space where we listen to each other and help process life's misfortunes.
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2020 WRAP-UP: Existential Questions with Karl & Rachel
What happened to the intro audio? What is the podcast's real origin story? Has it helped or harmed our marriage? What's going to happen in 2021? Who and what do we mean by Asian American? (hint: not Rachel). And what does the term mental health even mean, anyway? We answer all these questions and more in our final episode of the inaugural season of the Misfortune Cookies podcast! Resource mentioned - Racial & Cultural Identity Development Model:
December 31, 2020
Boba Shop Breakthrough: Busting the Myth of Transactional Relationships
[CW: Sexual assault, suicidal thoughts/attempts] As a child, James experienced a series of traumatic events, but was forbidden to speak about them due to the stigma involved. He describes how he came to develop a rigid, transactional understanding of relationships, and how this framework ultimately failed him as an adult. Today, James is grateful and proud to be a bicultural Asian American, and works hard to enjoy the best of both worlds.
December 25, 2020
Lonely, But Not Alone: Overcoming Self-Hatred and Feelings of Worthlessness
Growing up in a body considered unattractive by others, Mary Ann internalized feelings of unworthiness at a very young age. These messages led her to develop an unsustainable identity rooted in self-erasure, yet her self-denial was celebrated in Asian evangelical culture. We discuss the cultural glorification of romantic relationships: how it intensified her loneliness, and how it continues to alienate those who do not participate in the church's relational hierarchy.
December 18, 2020
"Your Life Is Worth Less Than Roast Pork"
[CW: Suicidal thoughts] Anthony describes his depression as the build-up of several difficult events: being bullied as a kid in NYC, being unemployed for a year, and breaking up with his girlfriend. In 2019, Anthony was taken to the ER for having suicidal ideation. He shares how he's been moving forward and offers some thoughts on how to support others going through depression. Follow Anthony's Art on Instagram: @dengmanarts. -- If you are in a crisis, you can text a trained crisis counselor at Crisis Text Line ( For more resources, check out the list at You are not alone!
December 11, 2020
When My Dad Suddenly Died: Grieving the loss of a relationship cut short
Karl interviews Jarren who shares his story of waking up to find out that his dad had suddenly passed. We talk about the painful logistics of planning a funeral during COVID-19, what it's like to grieve a complicated relationship, and the inter-generational trauma that runs in Chinese immigrant families.
December 4, 2020
Burning Out Teaching for America (TFA)
Rachel and Karl chat with Karl’s sister Joyce. Joyce shares how she met every criteria for burnout as a middle school science teacher while working at  Teach For America. We talk about the conditions that caused her burnout and how her Chinese American identity shaped her experience. Accompanying playlist by Joyce: Accompanying playlist notes by Joyce:
November 27, 2020
Asian American Achievement Complex: Navigating career, success, and identity
Rachel chats with our guest about the success narrative she inherited as the daughter of Chinese immigrants. We unpack what it was like to have it all on the outside but feel miserable on the inside. She tells the story of her tumultuous transition from college into young adulthood, what it took for her to quit her prestigious tech job, and how her relationship with her mom has evolved throughout. Resources mentioned: - Brené Brown interview on Skavlan: How to cope with grief, fear and anxiety during Corona [link] - Marina Keegan essay: Even Artichokes Have Doubts [link] - William Deresiewicz book: Excellent Sheep [link] - Ruth Chang TED Talk: How to make hard choices [link]
November 20, 2020
Anorexia Under the Radar
Rachel shares her recovery journey from anorexia, the impact it had her body and how it's affected her relationship with food. She reflects on how she almost didn't get diagnosed, and what it was like to get professional help. We also talk about the toxicity of diet culture, Asian vs American beauty standards, and confusing messages shared within Asian family food culture. Some of the resources mentioned during the podcast (and some extras!): - Minnesota Starvation Experiment explained by Tabitha Farrar - Book: Sick Enough by Dr. Jennifer Gaudiani - Book: 8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder by Carolyn Costin - Health at Every Size community - Book: Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch - Book: Anti-Diet by Christy Harrison To learn more about eating disorders, visit the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) website.  If you'd like to reach out, we would absolutely love to hear from you. You can reach us at:
November 13, 2020
Infertility and Pregnancy Loss: An Asian Dude's Perspective
In our very first episode, Karl shares what it's been like for him to navigate infertility and three pregnancy losses over the past two years. In particular, he reflects on what he's learned about sitting with difficult emotions, and how friends can be supportive through that process (hint: not by problem-solving). We talk about how parts of his Asian American identity have shaped this experience, bemoan the financial burden of it all, and make an attempt to ponder the meaning in our suffering. To learn more about infertility, you can start at RESOLVE's website, If you'd like to reach out, we would absolutely love to hear from you. You can reach us at:
November 6, 2020
You’re listening to the Misfortune Cookies podcast. A homemade podcast where Asian Americans share their mental health stories. My name is Rachel. My name is Karl. We’re a married couple living in Philly and we’re so glad you’re here.
November 2, 2020