gmhTODAY Winter 2023 - Page 47

The past few years have challenged us with illness , isolation and despair in ways that we had not collectively experienced before . This has left us with mental health struggles at an all-time high , racial injustice asking us to look inward in new ways , and reconsidering what work / life balance means for us . We are seeing trends like the “ big quit ” where folks are moving jobs , even where they live , in search of work and life experiences that have deeper meaning and where wellness is supported .

The time felt right to open the conversation about our shared experiences of trauma , stress and emotional wellbeing beyond the walls of the therapy office into the community . We sought to break the stigma and isolation that can come in our times of struggle . That is how the podcast , Pathways to Resilience , began . We reached out to folks from a variety of experiences and perspectives , and talked with them about how they tap into their own resilience . What are the tools , practices and lessons that helped them harness resilience in the face of adversity ? This column will share with you excerpts from these conversations in hopes that you are inspired to look within as well , and perhaps begin to build and practice your own resiliency playbook .
A great example of tapping into fear in order to find purpose is Megan Bull . Megan survived both the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting and a hit-and-run car accident within one year .
As she lived through the initial months of surviving these traumas , she struggled with feelings of helplessness , depression and isolation . These feelings brought about a sense of shame and embarrassment because she felt like she should be able to bounce back and take care of herself . As she began her path to healing , she realized that the shame and embarrassment were actually masking her fear of being vulnerable — afraid that allowing people to support and care for her made her weak . She shared the power of vulnerability to change the story she was telling herself . We each can look to do this . How are we telling ourselves that we are not enough or that our struggles aren ’ t “ big enough ” to really matter ?
How can we shift our story by being willing to share these thoughts with a friend , a therapist — or even our journal ? Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable — to be honest about how we are doing and what we are feeling — is being courageous and a positive step in taking care of ourselves .
Accessing our Fears & Allowing Vulnerability from conversations with
Guryan Tighe , Fear Technician at Fourage and Megan Bull , CEO of Reclaim Foundation
Guryan ’ s work challenges us to look at our fears as our greatest teacher . We often don ’ t talk out loud about our fears , and many times don ’ t even admit them to ourselves . When we pause and look at what we are afraid of , it can help us to discover our “ why ” and how to live it . The first step is to Fourage ( Courage with an “ F ”) your purpose : This is having the courage to look at our fears in a way that gets to the root of what we really want . For example , if our fear is rejection , our want may be acceptance . Our purpose could be seeking meaningful connections with people who support and accept us and becoming that person for others .
Melissa Santos is a Sr . Director at Community Solutions , a behavioral health organization serving Santa Clara County . Her Pathways to Resilience podcast institute bringing learnings and conversations about trauma , wellness and resilience to the community . Listen in on Apple , Google , and Spotify , and learn more on our website : www . CommunitySolutions . org
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