Mental Health day?

This has been on my mind a lot the last couple of months and it’s time to let it out of my head and drop it on the “paper” 🙂

As much as we as a society have made strides forward in mental health advocacy and understanding there is still a significant stigma attached to admitting that you are less than “ok”. Being in the midst of living through the grieving process of losing my son last year I am the first to admit that there are many days when I’m not ok. Let’s be brutally honest… more not ok days than ok ones really. But I get up and I go to work and I am a shining example of OK for the day. Then I go home and I crash. Not the healthiest way to process and deal with grief and I am beginning to see a real frustration building with me over this.

Why the resentment? Simple really… because if I had broken my leg or had a bout of pneumonia and needed to take time for my care and healing then it would be open and discussed and work time management would be resolved. Days off or weeks off would be arranged, colleagues would help with taking up the slack (even begrudgingly, they would do it) and my body would have its needs met for time to heal.

But instead…this wound, this illness, is quite literally, in my head and not visible. Not only is it not visible – it is hidden, purposely – hidden so as to not have to face the implications of being viewed as less able or less competent. Hidden so as to ensure that my job security is intact and that there won’t be an undercurrent of my performance and stability being questioned. So grief and depression are pushed away as best as they can be each day until they just simply can’t be anymore and then the issue becomes how do you put it out there that you need a day off, a week off…to close your office door and not speak to anyone until the moments pass. And the resentment builds that for as much as we, as a society, are fighting to remove the stigmas, they are still fully and completely present.

This isn’t solely a rant about this issue though but also a post to bring action. Check out this link : https://www.notmyselftoday.ca/about and read and talk and get it out in the open. Dialogue can help and dialogue is needed. I’ll be doing my part. I’ll be meeting with my direct colleague and no longer hiding. As a simple man with a great vision once said “be the change you want to see”. Talk is great but action is where it’s at.

Have yourself a wonderful day, and if it’s anything else, tell it like it is.

Little ears

Perspective is a funny thing. It can colour how you see and interpret things around you. Take 2 people viewing the same moment and experience and they will each have different interpretations of what happened. Some things are black and white and can’t really be seen differently. Is it daytime or nighttime for instance…although dusk and dawn can even throw that argument.

But I’m musing about more subjective times. I was at my son’s baseball game last night and while I have spent years at sport events and kid-filled events in general it has been a while since I’ve been in attendance. Some of the comments and interactions that I observed last night between parents and children astounded me. Even more so because it wasn’t anything I hadn’t heard before…many times before. This time though, with a different perspective, I was shaken by how it affected me and how apparent it was, to me, the negative impact that their words and actions could have on their children.

Now, I don’t profess to be the uber-parent or the authority on how to treat your kids. I’ve made mistakes in parenting and have a handful of less than stellar moments that I would rather forget (and hope my kids do lol!). Having lost my son last year though I have a different perspective than I used to. While I have always believed in “pick your battles” and in watching what you say with regards to how it will leave an impression on little spirits, now I find that I am so much more aware that every moment is a treasure and that- as a parent- we need to really get that concept.

Watching last evening and sitting back and seeing the way that parents treat their kids was rough. I’m not an aggressive or intrusive person but I was having a hard time not leaping in and asking some parents what the hell they thought they would accomplish by the way they were speaking to and treating their children.

Watching a mother talk to the coach, with her child by her side listening, about how she needs to sign him up for a sport again next year because he’s lazy and needs to be made to do anything (yes, her words exactly!).  The coach, laughing and stating that they all are lazy really. Both of them oblivious to the impact of those words on the little set of ears. Sad.

The same mother throwing a ball to her daughter on the team for practice. Her daughter yelled to her mom that she wanted her to throw it harder so she could practice catching harder throws. The mom yelled back “So I’m throwing like a 9-year-old girl eh? Not good enough?” Does she have any idea what those words could mean to her 9-year-old daughter that she’s throwing to?? Or worse yet…maybe she does know and does it anyways.

Listening to a father who has nothing but criticism to his son when he comes off the field. Not a word of praise. Watching that little boys face change from a smile as he runs off the field to his dad to an expression of anger and frustration while he stomps away from his dad after the remarks. The father following, angrily yelling “how dare you walk away while I’m talking to you”. This is a 9-year-old. Would that father not walk away himself if he was subjected to that behaviour on a regular basis? I would assume he would.

Watching a child who has struck out, been given a stand to hit the ball so that he can get a run to first base in… as he gets tagged out and walks back to the players area be told by his mother that he better work on it…next year he won’t be “coddled” if he keeps striking out. His face scrunching up as he throws his batting helmet to the ground and walks off mad…his mom yelling at him to “watch his attitude”. She then turns to another parent and says “these kids have no respect nowadays”. Seriously?! She doesn’t deserve respect the way she treated her child. That’s a two-way street.

I left the game with my son with my head filled with frustration and anger. Angry at the pain and disappointment on the kids’ faces that I saw. Angry that these parents are ignorant of the impact of their words and actions. Frustration over the inability to give someone else the perspective of loss and the ability to see the treasures that their kids are. To really see it instead of just paying it lip service.