Putting together the presentations for our #SameHere tours with different school/office groups, our stories have to illustrate an important point: no matter our genetics, life experiences can affect our mental health in a big way.
Before the days of digital pics, here is a sample of the sports I participated in, from about 9 yrs old till about 19 (before the “real world”). Chose these pics for a reason – I was mostly always smiling.
Those 10+ yrs I saw more happen to members of my family than most see in a lifetime. But here’s the thing – you look at the smiles in those pics & you’d have NO idea that the life events I was in the passenger seat for, were affecting me…were building up cumulatively. What’s also nutty is – I didn’t think they were affecting me. Sports were my life & my escape & so, in that world I always wore a smile – bc I felt happy…& that’s where I spent 90% of my time – on the field, court, ice, etc.
I had some weird symptoms, now looking back (aside from questionable haircuts 😂) – dizzy spells, shortness of breath, but no one ever suggested – mental health from difficult things he’s had a front row seat for.
I don’t blame anyone for not noticing. How could they notice. No one was educated back then to the extent necessary to connect the dots. But they are now…& we can’t just look the other way bc our kids are smiling.
We need to take note of what they are witnessing. We need to ask them questions. We need their friends to speak up when they notice something is “off.” And…we need to develop healthy habits, bc as I learned all too well as I hit my 30s, these things stay w you & eventually catch up to you if you do nothing about them.