Day 73 (of 184) blogging about what we don’t/won’t talk about #blog4MH
It’s a new year. It’s a new month. Recently one of our communication corporations started their “let’s talk” campaign to try to start normalizing conversations around mental wellness: http://letstalk.bell.ca/en/
One of my classic favourites helped show that mental wellness is not just something impacting youth: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_B2Jn35L28
With commercials showing the mindshift needed between “oldthought” and “newthinking” – the discussions ranged in our household – wondering if it’s valuable to show the two views of the same issue or if we should just be emphasizing the positive language (can’t find the video link yet, but it has a conversation between coworkers with two ways of thinking about mental wellness excuses/reasons – one empathetic the other wishing they’d suck it up because everybody has problems). As Carol Dweck points out in Mindshift, there is a big difference between a growth mindset vs stuck mindset.
But it’s hard to talk about it. It’s easier to hope the issue will just go away.
Case in point, I was talking with a family member whose son has, as her school explained it, executive functioning issues. One of the key things I picked up on was that it sounded like the school, and her, were focused on the behaviours….not the underlying issue….and while she knows her son can sometimes get ‘stuck’, sometimes she does too but she can barrel through so why can’t he….
Sidebar: it’s easy to get distracted by behaviours. Here’s what I do: behavioural interventions (such as a reward booklet) – if the students “behaviour” doesn’t change….it’s not behavioural, it’s organic. We tried a few behaviour strategies early on with my son, and reward systems weren’t working….because generalized anxiety is not a behaviour….it’s complex…and uncomfortable because while we all get anxious….it’s all very different and personalized.
Back to our family chat: she admitted that she couldn’t (or didn’t want to) see why her son couldn’t “just do it” and get his brain “unstuck”. The words are key: can’t vs won’t. Words are important. They help us identify what we don’t understand. If we are honest, words should empower us to better communicate the issues that for too long have been avoided/ignored.