A friend from college just launched an incredible podcast breaking open the conversation around teen mental health. It's focused on the situation she lived through with her family, but it's also not just for people with kids. She's talking about us; our society. She's looking at the statistic - suicide is the 2nd leading cause of teen death - and taking a step forward to point out the invisible walls that keep us isolated and invite people to engage. If you do nothing else, please listen to A Girl I Know.
And listen to this song by the artist Father John Misty. (I grabbed the title from this post from the lyrics.) I'll hope to do justice to a cover of this soon.
Mental health is a challenge, I think, for most people I know, myself included. I've experienced that tar, stuck to my insides, unnamed, sinking. I experienced it the other weekend, which is why I didn't post anything. It woke me up on Saturday night and sat there. It disappeared on my morning jog and reappeared when I ate my dinner. "What's wrong?" asked my husband. "Black hole," I said. "Oh" he said, knowing what I meant, "You had serious brows." I had already talked to him about it, which helped. He asks if I talk to my friend. I say yes, and that helped too. I was beating myself up, like I often do, about some or other instance, a moment, something I said, something I did or didn't do.
What is a black hole? Well, from NASA's site:
"A black hole is a place in space where gravity pulls so much that even light can not get out. The gravity is so strong because matter has been squeezed into a tiny space. This can happen when a star is dying.
Because no light can get out, people can't see black holes. They are invisible. Space telescopes with special tools can help find black holes. The special tools can see how stars that are very close to black holes act differently than other stars."
I wonder if anyone has tested how you can feel them.
It is in these moments, when I'm rubbernecking in my mind, that the common advice - that people can choose to hold on to thoughts like choosing moments in a stream; just grab on to another thought - feels impossible. It feels like it couldn't work to look at something else. But I must.
So I exercise again.
I talk to friends.
And I recognize i may have no resolution to the feeling. It may just linger and then it may just move on.
Or I just look up things I don't know about.
Like black holes.
If you didn't know, Stephen Hawking's voice was shot as a song into a black hole. It will get there in a 3,500 light years.
But a real shift took place on Tuesday when my efforts to look up new things brought me to Enneagrams. I learned I'm a competitive achiever, not competing with other people, but competing, constantly, with myself. I realized that kind of competition is what had made me so good at achieving goals. I learned I'm a self preserver and that I'm action oriented. I could probably have known these things with out the enneagram report, but it was actually helpful to see it all in one place. I'm great in a crisis. But the question is, who and how do I want to be when I'm not. I don't really want to be in crisis mode with myself, so who do I want to be? How do I want to be different?
Guess I'll find out next week. I signed up for Sarajane Case's Goal-Mapping Workshop. She's pretty great. And her workshops help you take quantum leaps without feeling like it's a Herculean effort. I'll get an email each day next week and at the end of the week I'll have a plan for where I want to be in December.