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- Some Conversations Are Easier Online - I have understood this for a long time. I can write here and don't have to see anyone react immediately when they read it. I can see their reaction when I tell someone about being abused in person. I can watch their facial expressions and body language. I can see every bit of their discomfort, and their signs of dismissal cut me. If you don't think telling someone in person that you need their help isn't scary, I can only assume that is because you've never done it.
So when you see someone share something on social media about their mental health, and your response is to wonder why they didn't just talk to you about it, remember how much harder that is. Maybe they aren't ready yet, or you just haven't done enough to earn that trust. Consider how many people in your life may be dealing with very difficult things they just haven't told anyone about yet.
- Mental Health Issues Are Not Internal or External, They’re Both! - We can't change society by getting more people mental health treatment, but we can't treat individuals with anxiety and depression by only making societal change, which is likely to be a long process.
We need to do both.
- Let’s Talk About Your Friend with Social Anxiety - Someone you know is likely struggling with anxiety. Likely, many of you are, too, just like I am. With general anxiety running rampant across society right now, we can also assume that a large portion of social anxiety is going around too. If you have a friend who has struggled to keep plans or stay in touch, be kind. Recognize their anxiety and take a small action that sends the message that you are happy to see them. For me, it's been a sincere hug or smile upon seeing me. It's an immediate reminder that this person wants to be with me. There is an undeniable feeling that seeing me makes them happy.
They probably have no idea how much they have done by expressing that to me, but it makes all the difference in the world. I can immediately go from being all in my insecurities to all in the acceptance and warmth of long-time friends. It might not seem like much, but it is.
- Want to Support Someone But Don’t Know How, Maybe Just Try “Plus-One” - I recently caught up on some podcasts and came across this idea from game designer and author Jane McGonigal. During an interview on People I (Mostly) Admire, she and Steven Levitt talked more about the idea, but in the most simplistic terms, the idea is this: When you start a conversation, ask someone how their...
- Quick Thought #20 – As a Male Sexual Assault Survivor, I’m Appalled by what the US is Doing to Women - I cannot imagine the kind of harm we are doing to female survivors when we tell them they have to carry their pregnancy to term. That they remain in a condition where they have no choice. States, including my own, that have or are moving toward enacting complete bans on abortion with no exception for rape and incest victims are ripping the choice of how to move forward away, victimizing these survivors a second time. Forcing their own desires on the bodies of women.
If your religion is willing to force the victim of a violent crime to continue to be violated in this way, you need a better religion. You need a better god, and you absolutely need a better heart. You are not righteous, you are an abuser.
- Why SEL Should Not Be Controversial - While I'm not an expert by any means, I look at it similarly to how I look at mental health in the workplace. You simply aren't going to get the best results from people until you recognize that they are people first, and employees (or students) second. That means that they cannot perform their best when they are also dealing with various life situations and struggles that have nothing to do with the immediate work at hand, and we would get better results if we made efforts to support the whole person and not just the robot that is there to do work.
SEL is that for schools. It recognizes that kids come to school with a variety of issues that would hinder their ability to be successful in school, and makes an effort to support them in those struggles so that they can be more successful not only with school work but with the interactions they have with teachers and other students.
But, this acronym has gotten mixed in with all the other things that some parents are upset about and they are demanding that schools stick to teaching math, science, and reading instead. Let me try and point out why this is a mistake.
- Sharing My Own Story With Tiffany Werhner on Moments of Clarity - Yesterday, I was a guest again on my friend Tiffany Werhner's radio show/podcast Moments of Clarity. We chatted about my story of child abuse, dissociation, major depression, and eventually, my experiences with therapy and more. If you are a survivor or know someone who is who could use a reminder that the abuse does not define them, and wasn't their fault, please share this with them.
- Quick Thought #19 – Loneliness and Toxic Positivity - I don't think that's it. Not completely anyway. I think the real damage social media has done is to make toxic positivity popular. For every person celebrating their "good vibes only" lifestyle, there are at least 2-3 people who have lost a friend because they've been cut out by someone unwilling to be with them in their pain.
After all, if the goal is to eliminate all the negative people in your life, where do people go when they are in pain, grieving, or simply need support?
Nothing makes you lonelier than having no one to turn to during those times, and, increasingly, the message we are getting is to aspire to be that uncaring towards people in need.
- Non-Acceptance Kills People - While the people who claim to be trying to keep kids "safe" argue about all things that are supposed to be dangerous, LGBTQ people will continue to die needlessly.
This is what we shouldn't accept.
- It’s Been a Rough Week So I’m Reminding Myself of These Things - Even when there are things in the world that I do not have the power to change, I use my own words to remind myself that there are things I CAN do. I can look after the people around me. I can add my voice to support mental health, survivors, and marginalized groups. I can find ways to contribute to making the world a better place in some small ways while also encouraging others to do the same.
This also serves as a great reminder to myself that writing here about these topics is never a waste. I just found some hope by going back and reading what I wrote. Who knows who else might read these words and find a little hope too? That is another small thing I can do that is more useful than wallowing in my anxiety.