Day 28 (of 189) if it’s #worldmentalhealthday why does my back hurt?
Rest is rust. Gotta keep moving – even when (especially when) there is pain and the first reaction is to do nothing. This was the advice a mentor gave me when I was dealing with chronic pain – a blend of mental and physical pains. And I appreciated it when Howard Stern referenced how Dr Sarno helped cure his back pain by focusing on the mental side of it. I have found similar…. and I like this blog summary: https://bluechairwisdom.com/10-lessons-from-healing-back-pain/
I have vented about mental health and the need to have an inclusion focus for a long time. Most recent I have expanded my blog rant on anxiety into a book form: https://technolandy.files.wordpress.com/2019/05/my-rant-1.pdf with huge thanks to the reflection my son has provided.
I have also taken inspiration from some people on twitter who have been very open about their own struggles – @heylandsberg from TSN and @hattiegladwell from The Breakdown. Both amazing follows and from them I have seen a common connection – mental health can impact the physical.
I try to always (almost😇) exhume an aura of calm. Even if my voice sometimes sounds angry, rarely am I – I am either mirroring or going through a list of strategies which does include vocal changes (and for a few that I work with, it’s been the tone that they are most comfortable working with. It never stays that way, but it does act as a distraction to have us focus better)
This years focus is on suicide. I already spoke about the value and importance of being proactive about suicide (because as uncomfortable as a topic as it may be, the reactive conversations are worse…) https://technolandy.wordpress.com/2019/09/10/day-6-of-189-on-workdsuicidepreventionday-sicknotweak-sicknotweak-hattiegladwell/
But I want to reinforce that physical-mental connection. When there is significant chronic pain, there are naturally times when extreme pain could lead to thoughts of suicide to make it go away – many of the conversations around euthanasia are connected to that sensation which is more universal: physical pain. Imagine a migraine that never goes away. My own descriptor: it felt like I was back to doing 2-a-days in football but not getting any of the benefits. Physical pain seems more understandable, while mental angst is not; even though we say that being sad is not the same as depression and worries aren’t anxiety (and as I made the comparison – we wouldn’t express empathy to somebody with throat cancer by saying “i get it, I had a really sore throat once…”) but the mental piece can be very painful. Which is why we need to talk about it so that we can better understand and act on it.
I’ve had too many people I know commit suicide. At too many different ages. Too young. And for too many “they had so much to live for” situations. But sometimes with great pain comes great isolation. Rest is rust. If we don’t practice talking, connecting, activity… it starts to fade…. and it is easy to feel…isolated? Not sure of the right word. Not really sure of the exact feeling – which is why and when I need to turn to some of those people who are willing to share their own experiences and thoughts with those of us who are empathetic but not fully understanding.
It is why during #movember I am going to do a “male educator health chat” as I let my face get furry (my youngest hates my facial hair.
It’s why my goal for #movember is more about the conversations and raising awareness – I will let others focus on raising funds.
It’s also about being self aware of ones one body/mind connection. So when my back starts hurting and I didn’t do something obvious to injure it….I start checking my mental health and refueling both. Some extra sit-ups and some more steps will be a focus over the next couple of days. Some extra breathing breaks and reading a good book. Some family time. Some distractions. Thanksgiving long weekend is well timed! (Canada!)
So use today to explore some ideas on your wellness and think about if you need a conversation about a difficult mental wellness topic – because there are people ready to listen, connect and be there. My back is feeling better already😎