Day 91 (of 185) why @Bell_LetsTalk should be more than just one day #BellLetsTalk
Mental wellness has stayed in the silence of shadows for a long time. For too long it has been a sign of weakness to admit any change in mental health – in large part because it is easier to see and have empathy for physical ailments. It’s pretty easy to understand that a kid in a cast probably can’t run laps – but harder to understand how someones brain may not let them go through an open door…..
But….what’s the worst that can happen? Well, even last night in a somewhat related discussion about grade retention/skipping, an example was shared to me about a classmate who was “accelerated” because academically they could handle the increased workload…..but it was missed how this was mis-connecting with the socio-emotional piece and he ended up taking his own life.
And there are way too many examples of this. Too often we hear too late “I don’t understand, they had everything….or they had everything to live for”…and the key is: we don’t understand. It is so difficult to rationalize how others thinking is occurring. And “age” isn’t any clear indicator for when things are “worst” – it may be the young teen who has been in too many foster/respite homes or the father of three who posted a video showing a highlight a few days earlier.
I’ve had many share with me (including family) how frustrating it can be to live with someone with (fill in the blank) because “I can get my crap together, why can’t they?!?!”
The tricky part is figuring out the “range of pain”. I liken it to the stubbing of a toe – the pain doesn’t last forever…..but it kinda depends on the day and the angle of the impact as to how painful it can be….it might lead to a curse word and then quickly forgotten, or it can be debilitating and cause you to not be able to do/think of anything else. But at least you can rationalize it that there was something physical that created the pain…..when it’s metaphysical it’s meta-complicated because the anxiousness may last a moment while the anxiety may be much more prolonged. The sadness may last until a couple of tears are shed while the depression eats away at you hour after hour after day.
Mental Wellness needs to be talked about (especially by men) because it isn’t something to brag about: yeah my arm’s in the cast but you shoulda seen me __________ or “don’t worry – scars are cool” —> almost physical badges of honour. But when it’s on the inside……..
one of my favourite “cartoons” about mental wellness:
I know that at the schools I have worked at, when we have the relationships that build trust and we develop confidence that we can share and talk without judgement, the easier it is to be vulnerable and talk about what is going on “inside” us. So often: “It’s hard for me to say this, but I have _____ ” helps create a better understanding which helps the entire learning community.
So….as Bell supports each year: LetsTalk….but not just once a year…..!