We’re All A Little “Crazy” - instagram lists #feedolist

weareallalittlecrazy

Today’s #SameHere🤙Hero is the newest member of the Influencer Alliance: @winstonspeaker. . Rewind back to our #SameHere Sit-Down event last October at @northern_illinois_university & I shared a story abt a wonderful young student who came up to me in her wheelchair after our event, & explained that while she loved the content & msg we delivered, not physically SEEING anyone up on stage, w similar disabilities to hers, made it difficult for her to fully connect. I shared w you all how this feedback ate away at me. . Our Movement’s msg from the beginning has always been abt inclusivity & removing comparisons - how even those who appear the “strongest” amongst us, face many difficulties & challenges we may know nothing abt. That said, I had to take her feedback to heart...& had to find a way to make her & many others who may feel like they’re not represented, instead feel a true part of this Movement. But that “way” couldn’t be forced. . A number of wks ago, WAALC friend, “Ray K” called me, & told me I had to speak w one of the most extraordinary individuals he’d ever met. It was a gentleman he’d followed on fbook, & finally reached out to, to meet w, when he traveled to London (see 2nd pic slide). That gentleman was Winston Ben Clements. . From the moment I got on the phone w Winston, I knew we’d hit it off. He’s just this affable, gregarious soul that makes you want to be a better person. Born w a rare condition called Brittle Bones Disorder, he truly lives his motto: “Your limitations are an illusion.” Think abt all he has had to face mentally, given his disorder. And yet here he is a @tedx_official speaker, a motivational speaker, a computer science “genius.” . I wont take away from his story in the link🔗 in our bio, but let me just say that a person like Winston is “what it’s all about.” I SEE him as Winston the man, no different than anyone else facing any other set of challenges. And that Winston embodies that, himself, is beyond special (profile link🔗 for his story): . #SameHere🤙#BrittleBones #Disability #Ability #Limitations #Illusions #5in5 #mentalandphysicalhealth #speaker #Tedx #amazinghuman #onetribe #together #shareitdontwearit

weareallalittlecrazy

It’s a beautiful thing when commonalities bring us together. . When you think of Canada, you think of hockey. They’re synonymous. The NHL has 7 Canadian teams - more than any other North American major pro sport: The Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Winnipeg Jets, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames & Vancouver Canucks. . While the Canadiens & Leafs make up the largest % of fans in the country, the allegiances of fans of the other 5 are pretty darn strong. Rooting for your hockey team is like practicing your religion, & the rivalries/trash talking run deep. . In 1995, the NBA expanded into Canada w the Raptors in Toronto & the Grizzlies in Vancouver. While the Raptors remained “in the north,” the Grizzlies relocated to Memphis in 2001. . This left the Raptors the lone team in Canada, representing an entire nation! . There are few rare things or events that bring an entire country together. War is one of them...death of a hero another...the Olympics yet another. It’s even rarer that a single team in a pro league, galvanizes an entire country the way this Raptors team did. . Serendipity again that my travels brought me north during the Finals, but there was something special abt sitting w the leaders of the Fire Dept. in Vancouver - a place that had their Province’s team yanked from them - & getting a chance to watch them all gather to root for their Country’s team. . When it came to the Raptors run this yr, it didn’t matter if you were a Winnipeg Jets fan or a Calgary Flames one. It didn’t matter if you loved Trudeau or hated him. Lines that traditionally divided Canadians were blurred, as their countrymen all rooted together. . The connections even extended all the way back to the mid-90’s, when the pioneers of the team like Tracy Murray were first putting the Raptors on the map. . Yes I’m a big cheeseball for finding the camaraderie/connection in most things, & for finding the tie to how I believe we should treat MH in our society, but ain’t it a beautiful thing when we find commonalities that bind us, instead of allowing other factors to divide us? . #SameHere🤙#Raptors #WeTheNorth #NBA #Parade #Canada #Toronto #OneTeam #Together #5in5

weareallalittlecrazy

Happy Dad’s Day to all! . Little bit abt my dad: He listens to show tunes...can barely throw a baseball overhand...saves cards that are sent to him/fam & hangs them up on strings throughout his house...buys the $.39 festive decorations for each holiday & tapes them to the windows. He dances like his hands are on fire. . Despite all the quirky/“crazy” attributes above (which only scratch the surface), my father has always been there for me & my two brothers. . A career English teacher & HS principal, he got his doctorate at a young age & became known as “Dr. K” at a time when it was pretty cool to have that name in NY. His students told me he was like “Mr. Belding” as a principal, everyone’s friend. . He moved us to a house in the burbs & traveled a long distance each day to school to give us a better life. . Can’t tell you how many times he’d stay up till 12am to help me type up school papers on his typewriter (bc I didn’t have a clue how to type & always did things last min), or how many times he decorated the house in streamers for special events. . He found a way to go to every football game for the schools he worked & STILL come to our own sports games on wknds. In “retirement” he teaches college classes, does a daily segment on education at CBS radio, published a novel & is finishing a screenplay. . And perhaps most impressively, & to this day my brothers & I have no idea how he did it financially - he sent 3 of us to his alma mater (you can see a pic of my little brother at 12 hugging him at my older brother’s graduation). Thanks dad for all you’ve done for us, & as a grandpa. The best is yet to come. Missing Poppies Lou & Ben. Thoughts to those missing dads today. . #SameHere🤙 #Dad #FathersDay #love #family #thankful #cornell #3boys #curly #loyal #memories #manymoretocome

weareallalittlecrazy

I came home from my most recent trip to Vancouver, saw my folks, who saw some of the pics, & immediately they said - “so you’re good - looks like everything is moving forward now.” . I proceeded to spend the next 2 days in bed, working from my phone, barely able to lift my head off the pillow. When I told them this, their reaction was what it always is - “But you looked so good in the pics. Aren’t you OK now”? . Can any of you relate? . When we come down w something as common as strep throat/bronchitis, we take an antibiotic, sleep & we go from being “sick” to being “healthy.” Black/white. . Having a brother who’s faced Leukemia 2x, it’s not so dissimilar w “physical” health conditions. They measure blood cell counts, & if the chemo/radiation works you go from being “sick” to “remission.” There’s this concept in all of the above examples of going from being sick, to no longer being so. . For those of you who battle MH complications at the disorder level, maybe you feel my pain that those arnd you, those who care about you, those who want to see you succeed, believe that MH too, has a “sickness” period that leads to a “cured” outcome. It’s hard to blame the ppl around us for believing this, when the models they know are the examples above. But it’s case in pt of the education gap that exists. . In the world of MH, we’re never “cured”...we’re always a work in progress. . My 1st yr working at the NBA, my boss was describing season ticket holder “retention” to me. He said - it’s like a bucket w holes in it. We’re constantly trying to fill the bucket (new fans), but the question is do we fill it enough given what’s coming out of the holes (fans not renewing). . MH feels like much the same as that bucket example. Whether it’s sleep, overwork, med management, supplement management, STARR practice diligence, situational life events, our own spinning thoughts, etc., we have a lot of “holes in our buckets.” When it comes to MH, unlike the way physical health complications are viewed, we’re never “cured”...instead we’re always working to fill our buckets & plug our holes. . #SameHere🤙#cures #trauma #workinprogres #suicide #5in5 #education #highsandlows #keepatit

weareallalittlecrazy

The sports world was rocked yesterday w the news of another suicide - this time a 25 yr old from the @avpbeach, Eric Zaun. He’d been named Rookie of the Year in 2017. . Eric was described by the AVP & fellow players as - outgoing, w a gregarious personality, & a popular fixture on the tour. In fact in his last social media post, he wrote: “June is gonna be a good month.” You look at the guy, 6’-3”, a great looking dude, top league in the world, whole life ahead of him, & you wonder - Why?? . We hear about athlete MH & athlete suicides more than most. Why? Bc of how high profile their platforms are & how public their personas are. Kevin Love, DeMar DeRozan, Michael Phelps, Josh Gordon - those are just SOME recent ones. But they make headlines bc we know the names. . With each athlete story “reveal” - the leagues talk about it, the teams talk about it, the trade publications talk about it. And, the players talk about it on their personal accounts (as do their teammates, offering support). That’s a lot of chatter & eyeballs. That’s also a lot of focus on a particular industry. Imagine we heard the same every time we lost a lawyer? A doctor? A janitor? . This issue is NOT an athlete-only or even an athlete-focused one...nor is it a celebrity-only one. It’s a societal issue. There are hundreds of thousands of ppl we lose globally, each yr where the backdrop is the same: fun, outgoing, life of the party & “you never would have known.” How do we know that? Bc we lose 1 mill a year to suicide & a large percentage never even sought help. . As we mourn Eric’s loss, it’s important to do so respectfully, but to also do so in a way that highlights how stories of athlete/celeb MH complications are only a piece of a greater societal puzzle. . This is NOT a “them” issue. It’s a US one. You can only hear so many stories until you realize, this is affecting everyone, all backgrounds, all careers. We must attack this together & cut the BS bucketing. #SameHere🤙#5in5 #athletes #celebs #everyone #challenges #struggles #universal #suicide #tragic #cometogether #Shareitdontwearit #society #epidemic #Borgata #atlanticcity

weareallalittlecrazy

Had to figure out a way to get the attn of the Fire Chiefs in Canada, so I created this slide & asked them the same question: Recognize anyone? Crickets in the room. . 4 ppl, 4 diff looks/backgrounds, seem to have very little connection. . Hit the clicker & their names came up: Jeremy Richman, Calvin Desir, Sydney Aiello, Austin Eubanks. Still, no one said a word. . Hit the clicker again, & under each respective pic came up the following: Sandy Hook, Parkland, Parkland, Columbine. Eyes started to widen. . Hit the clicker one last time & again under each respective pic: Suicide 6 yrs after, Suicide 1 yr after, Suicide 1 yr after, Overdose 20 yrs after. . Each of these folks - Jeremy (a father of a child lost in Sandy Hook), Calvin & Sydney (survivors of Parkland), & Austin (survivor of Columbine) - were tragically gone from this world, w/in roughly a month from one another. . One was not in the building, one was not near the shooter, one came close to losing his life back at the time of the incident. Once again all diff backgrounds but all one thing in common - they lived thru the trauma of the loss of either neighbors/classmates/friends/family. . By all accounts they were advocates. Austin was on the road helping others. Jeremy had set up a foundation in his daughter’s name. These folks did not lack purpose. . But, the lesson is how stress & trauma BUILD in our systems, & like a game of Jenga, can take us down at any time (think of the spread of the incidents: 1 yr to 20 yrs). . It can happen to any of us who lose ppl tragically, no matter how close our connection to them. And for empathetic first responders, it can happen when hugging a mom who just lost a child, or a sibling badly injured. . As humans we take on the trauma we see, & we can’t help but FEEL the pain of others. Some call it vicarious trauma...some say it’s not vicarious - just “trauma.” . What we must accept however is - when things do happen to others, they affect US - big time. Releasing that trauma from our systems is imperative, as it’s corrosive. First responder or fam/friend - these events impact ALL of us. . #SameHere🤙 #parkland #sandyhook #Columbine #suicide #trauma #5in5

weareallalittlecrazy

Went to dinner in a place called Kelowna while in Canada, & ate at a restaurant called Cactus Club. . It was one of those scene-y type places, hard to get a table, so my bud Steve & I sat at the bar. Abt 10 min in, the manager asked us if we’d move over from the end of the bar, a few seats in, to accommodate a gentleman in a wheelchair (who, due to the size of his chair, could only sit on the end). Of course we obliged. . I was sitting next to the guy - in his upper 50’s, gray hair, slurred speech, atrophied muscles. He could not have been nicer. He shared how he was a motivational speaker, looking to get into more schools to spread a msg of overcoming challenges. Incredibly (but still sadly in my mind), he was there alone to grab a bite & check out the “scene.” . Steve, a career firefighter, said to me after - “You really handled that well. You treated him like he was any other guy sitting next to you.” Those were humbling words coming from someone who understands the importance of every single life. . But what I explained to Steve was - how my own experience w PTSD changed my perspective tremendously...how I now see the world as a group of ppl, each of us faced w challenges to varying levels, even if many of those challenges are invisible. . This is not meant to downplay the challenges those w physical disabilities face, but instead, to say that the world is a sea of beautiful ppl, all fighting something. . When we’re young we only SEE the ppl who are “different” bc we don’t know any better. A person in a wheelchair, w Down syndrome, etc. Sadly, it’s common to stare bc things look diff to us. But the truth is, we all face challenges, & if you think of all the invisible challenges, you can start to see a world where a person is a person is a person, still w a heart, a mind, & a soul. It’s a beautiful feeling when you no longer see “someone in a wheelchair” but instead, just another “person sitting at the bar.” . We have a # of upcoming Heroes to intro you to in the coming wks, w physical disabilities who are extraordinary. Can’t wait for you to meet them. . #SameHere🤙 #Disabilities #Challenges #overcoming #strength #onetribe #5in5

weareallalittlecrazy

Wow, what a day. . I had a full 24 hrs to spend in downtown Vancouver, & like most who haven’t been, I was excited to see all the water, tall buildings, & mountains. Well I got that (pics 2 & 3), but so much more. . My buddy @farinasteve set me up to be taken arnd the city by his friend Kim - you can see in the middle pic on the right. Kim is a paramedic but a beautiful sole & so much more. . While we started the day in the gorgeous Stanley Park, that was only the beginning of the story & education I was about to get. . Kim grew up w a father who beat her physically & emotionally, & a mother who was just happy she herself, wasn’t the target of the beating. Kim then left her house & lived on the streets starting at 15! She did many drugs to escape the pain, & found anything she could to stay alive. . The area shown in these pics is where she spent age 15 onward: The Downtown East Side Of Vancouver. Perched just blocks away from stores like Louis Vuitton, this area is about 10 block & side streets, of homeless ppl living sprawled out on the sidewalks. . Kim had “cred” in these areas & in the tent city she brought me to, bc she’d lived “that life”...but she’d made it out. Tho most who grew up w her on those streets are no longer alive, Kim has a natural way of going up to ppl on the East Side & warmly asking them for their stories & how they got “there.” . I started doing the same - as you can see in pics, & let me tell you, their stories are no different than ours - life challenges. The difference is the lack of resources & safety nets they had. The woman on the left in the first pic grew up in Saskatchewan. In fact I asked her if she knew where Moose Jaw was, bc @theofleury14 went to school there, & on the last slide you can see she taped a message for him. . Everyone on this planet has a story. The homeless have been through trauma just like many of us. There is a common thread through ALL of our stories. We need to acknowledge each other, share & come together. . #SameHere🤙 #Vancouver #Homeless #Streets #Stories #shelters #drugs #5in5 #oneteam #connect #shareitdontwearit #iRelate

weareallalittlecrazy

While I’ve been spending days up in BC, my dad’s been up at Cornell celebrating his 50th class reunion. . My 2 brothers & I share a common bond w him in that we all went to school up there. Our experiences in beautiful Ithaca couldn’t have been more different. That said, our love for the school & what it gave each of us absolutely ties us. . My dad actually wrote a novel abt his experience in the end of the ‘60s up at school, called “Five Freshmen.” It takes you from an age of innocence on campus, all the on way thru the beginning of the Vietnam War, the Draft watched on TV by all the students, the take-over of Willard Straight Hall by black students when they understandably needed to fight hard for their civil rights. . My dad never joined a frat. He had a small # of tight-knit friends he’d met that 1st yr, all from diff backgrounds - Asian, Black, Italian, Jewish. They faced the events mentioned above & it often tried their relationships while at the same time brought them closer together. . On the flip side I joined a frat freshmen yr, & got my butt kicked in the most creative ways you can imagine by older brothers in the house. . The interesting thing is, reflecting back, the stuff my dad “went through” w his friends, was way way diff than the stuff I “went through” w my friends. Both trying, just in diff ways. . But the commonality is that - on the same campus, over 30 yrs apart, in some of the same fields & buildings, shared experiences tied us incredibly closely w our friends - lifelong ones we’ll have - no matter how much time passes. . My dad said the most poignant moment of the wknd, was a concert at Bailey Hall (which has stood the test of time), where alums for all diff classes stood in unison & sang the school’s alma mater. That gives me chills. . We don’t have to experience things in the EXACT same way, for them to tie us together. There are commonalities in our experiences - even in our trying ones, that - when we open up & share them, form the tightest of bonds. The sharing of experiences, in the moment, or thru the power of stories is a glue that’s almost inseparable. . #SameHere🤙 #Reuinon #Cornell #friends #shared #experiences #classmates

weareallalittlecrazy

Do you believe in signs? . There are so many ways we all talk abt this - “the universes sending signs,” “it’s meant to be,” “spirituality - put good out there, good comes back to you,” “religion,” “common frequency vibrations.” . Not sure which of these you do/don’t believe in, but I gotta tell you, this whole “path” I’ve been on since I got sick in the beginning of 2015 has made me a believer that there’s something out there putting us in places & meeting ppl we should. . I’m in frigging Penticton, an area in BC, Canada I’d never heard of before. I came here to talk to a group of fire chiefs, who saw me talk at a @worksafebc event in Vancouver in Jan for first responders. How did I get that opportunity? Someone followed this account on IG & connected me w a fire captain who became a great friend @farinasteve. Steve invited me to stay after this conference for a few days so I could see more of BC w him. . Shared this in “stories” but the conference ends, Steve, a friend named Trudi, & I head to wineries yesterday, & the first three we see have (in the pics here) - a sign showing essentially the #SameHere🤙 sign, a Serendipity sign, & then an Elephant (the sign of @theofleury14’s) Foundation who has become my partner & great friend on this mission. . We wake up this morn, & last min I put on my NBA Playoffs shirts I’ve had since 2001, & this gentleman Paul @allaboutbeach & his wife Denise stop me on the way in for breakfast to ask abt the game last night. Turns out Paul’s best friend (zoom on the pic) lives in Winnipeg & has the SAME last name as me, SAME spelling, a rare name; I’ve never met anyone w the same one. . Paul & his wife work in MH as well & now want to collaborate. Their son is going to play volleyball in Israel - w a sports organization, after one reached out about bringing us out for programming. Can’t. Make. This. Shit. Up. . This doesn’t scratch the surface of the “serendipitous” stuff that’s happened the past yr & a half that I will share in the future that just makes you ask - REALLY??? . #SameHere🤙 #signs #wines #wineries #serendipity #paths #crossings #meanttobe #penticton #friends #collaboration #religion #spirituality #iRel8

weareallalittlecrazy

Andrew Yang is one of 23 candidate who have declared they are running for President in 2020. He’s a political outsider, with an entrepreneur’s background. This gives him an opportunity to look at things differently...make some changes that others who have been on “The Hill” haven’t focused on. . With that as a background, he recently shared a tweet, off the heels of a “Business Insider” article, declaring “I will be the Mental Health President.” Only, there are major shortcomings in his words: . Mental HEALTH is a problem EVERYONE who walks this earth faces. “Depression w millennials” (disorder label/specific group - while very important) is only part of a much larger epidemic of neglecting unresolved trauma, & not being proactive about how stress & trauma silently build in ALL of our systems. . Whoever is President in 2020 - incumbent or newbie: when it comes to Mental HEALTH there is an education system to fix, a big pharma system to fix, an insurance system to fix, a provider system to fix, a political system to fix (a system that ignores the topic or only touches the surface). We need a govt (local, state, & federal) that makes real changes that impact everyone, and not one filled w ppl who talk to get elected. . This is one of the few candidates who is even TOUCHING MH in his campaign, & even in his attempt, he’s far off from the major issues we must tackle. How is curbing a 30 year high in suicides not a talking point on every candidate’s agenda? . In better news, great event with the Fire Chiefs in British Columbia yesterday (pics to follow). I love to work w these ppl - they understand how stress & trauma (ON & OFF the job, affect them). They’re the ones who use #ShareItDontWearIt after we’ve established we all have a #SameHere🤙Story. Great ppl who have become great friends. . #SameHere #President #Candidates #Talk #Action #Policy #Agenda #BigPicture #RealChange #mentalhealthawareness #5in5 #iRel8 #politics #local #federal #state #government

weareallalittlecrazy

I remember as a kid, passing by veterans who lived in my town, & seeing them wearing their hats (like the ones in the bottom left), so proudly. . When I ask my parents what the hats were for, they explained to me that they were “badges of honor” representing wars these men & women had fought in, for our country. I always had a desire to talk to them...to find out more about these wars & to hear their stories, but I never felt right asking. I felt in a sense - out of the club. I was a little kid...I hadn’t fought in war myself. I didn’t have a hat. . When I began working in sports & doing sales training, we would split targeted fan prospects up into groups, to make sure we were strategically asking the right questions, to find out their needs we could fulfill by setting them up with ticket or sponsorship packages. One such “group” we called “Fansters.” These were the folks who needed every single team giveaway item passed out at games. They dressed in team colored pants, always wore their jerseys, often painted their faces, & never missed a player/alum meet & greet. . The examples in our society are many - some of these pictures display them - ppl in like groups based on similar interests, hanging out with one another: The Burners, Rockers, CEOs, Fraternity Brothers, Car Enthusiasts. . But take our connections to these groups a step further: why do ppl get tattoos of their favorite teams? Why do those vets keep wearing those hats? Why do retired CEOs still spend thousands on cuff links? Why do fraternity brothers get Greek letters branded into their arms? . As humans we have the fundamental needs: to 1) have an identity, & 2) belong to something bigger than just ourselves. Not saying 1 & 2 are equal for everyone. But those two needs are pretty central parts of our existence. 1) could be as simple as being an accountant, 2) could be as simple as a member of a small immediate family. . Take transition periods like graduations or retirements - they are hard bc we often lose our identity & even our (➡️pics for remainder) . #SameHere🤙 #groups #silos #veterans #burners #together #sharing #Stories #5in5 #oneteam #iRel8 #similarities #differences #connect

weareallalittlecrazy

Bitter sweet-ish, that the day’s come to turn 40. Sweet bc there’ve been many great times to reflect on. Bitter bc getting “older,” especially a milestone bday, can be a reminder of time passing way faster than we’d like. . Some friends recently posted their “40 for 40” lists - 40 of the most impt things they’ve learned abt life over their 40 yrs. I’d like to do that in the days to come, but for today, since bdays have been hard for me, I thought it’d be more appropriate to talk abt what I’ve learned abt bdays & what I can share. . I don’t remember most any presents I’ve received. I don’t remember ppl who had conflicts & couldn’t make it for a day. What I remember is the love, care, & gestures from fam & friends thru the yrs. . It starts w my parents waking up in the middle of the night to decorate my room w balloons & streamers so I’d be surprised when I woke (u can see them in the bottom left). I remember my grandmother requiring that “Matthew,” my middle name, be written on every bday cake bc that name was given to me from her father (top pic). I remember the unconditional love from my parents & brothers, grandparents, aunts & uncles (next couple of pics). . For those from LI (maybe this will jog some of the feels), I remember all the places that our fams worked hard to throw parties at for us/friends: The Ice Cream Barrel, Olympia Gymnastics, Violetta’s Pizza, Hot Skates, Our Place, Games People Play, & Shep Messing’s. . As you get older (& I mean: teens & 20’s 😂), bdays are no longer “cool.” Some pics from college bdays (where the alcohol & music choice were the only necessities), a 30th when again a milestone brought busy ppl together for cause, & a 40th (sorry just a shot of friends from “home” - haven’t gotten the pics from Saturday yet), when you reflect maybe a little more than party, & everyone’s home by midnight. . Then finally, pics w my nieces at various bdays, many yrs, where I realize being surrounded by the ppl you love is what’s most impt on these days. Hope to have some fun pics to share from a fam dinner tonight. Much love to those not here w me: poppies Lou & Ben, Grandma Bea, aunts & uncles. Love to all. . #SameHere🤙 #Bdays

weareallalittlecrazy

I’m def guilty of often using sports as metaphors, but Tiger’s win today is such great life metaphor for why we should stick w trying to overcome obstacles no matter how long it feels like they’re taking. . Tiger turned pro in ‘96. From then till ‘05, 281 wks were spent as the top ranked golfer in the world. ‘05 was his last Masters win before today! 14 years!! . In ‘06, the most important person in his life, his father Earl, died. . From there, we saw major fluctuations in his play; almost no consistency - despite being a physical specimen throughout. . There was a string of him caught/admitting to extramarital affairs, physical injuries, links to docs known for performance enhancing drugs, an odd accident in the middle of the night in his car w his then wife chasing him, the loss of many endorsements. In his reflection, Tiger shared the following: . “I thought I could get away w whatever I wanted to. I felt that I had worked hard my entire life & deserved to enjoy all the temptations. I was wrong. I was foolish." . Tiger faced many physical injuries (most often back & knees). But there are stories of him winning Majors w no cartilage in those knees. When his mind was right, almost nothing could stop him. . What should be apparent is, Tiger never lost a ton in terms of physical skills. Life situations & some of his own decisions affected his MH, his focus, & his resiliency. Three things needed in the game of golf & no doubt, the game of life. . Whether you are a fan of his past decisions or not (& I can totally understand why many are not), that he could work back to this level & win on this stage, is nothing short of miraculous, & should be a sign we can all make comebacks - despite our emotional/mental challenges, when we work at them. Tiger’s worked hard w therapists & coaches on resiliency. 14 yrs & he’s back atop this perch. Some thought he’d never win again. . I’m stubborn & impatient, & I want to HEAL fully, NOW. But this is a great example - if you keep working at things, no matter how much time passes, you can return to form. . #SameHere🤙 #Resiliency #Focus #Commitment #NeverTooLong #StayPositive #5in5 #Tiger #Masters #iRel8 #ShareItDontWearIt

weareallalittlecrazy

This topic doesn’t get nearly enough attention! From the time we’re little children we hear the term “emotional walls”...often not understanding what they even mean...& then once we feel a numbness for the first time in our lives, in an area we used to feel so passionately about, we START to understand. “Start,” being the operative word. . I used this image, bc most often when we are open about our walls, it’s related to our relationships - our love/lack of, for others. And often, it’s bc we HAVE to communicate about these walls, bc things get messy if we don’t, & we may hurt ppl. . Maybe it’s someone we’ve been married to for yrs. Maybe it’s someone we are just attempting to begin a relationship with. Maybe it’s a relationship that’s not of the romantic kind - eg, family. But in most/all cases, it’s like those bricks around the heart above. These walls stop us from feeling. . Then when we actually dive deep into this topic, we realize walls are about way way more than just relationships alone. Like children who get burned touching a hot stove, knowing to avoid going near it again, we get “burned” in so many areas of life...areas around which walls start to grow. . It’s the way we got burned by a decision at work that makes us risk averse at taking other chances. It’s the way we try a move to a new city that’s not a fit for us/our family, that gives us pause the next time a new move for a promotion or a better way of life presents itself. It’s the way trying out for a team, or a part in a play, or a spot in an orchestra, & not getting selected, hinders our fervor to attack the next competition. . And yes, I understand of course there are ways we can 1) use these opportunities for growth, &/or 2) work hard on the ways we have been hurt, to heal & grow. But those two are not what I’m referring to here when it comes to a topic surrounding walls - the part that doesn’t get enough play. What I’m talking about is how - numbness (at any level), from these walls, no matter where we are at in the healing process, prevent so many of us from using a tool (⬅️slides for remainder) . #SameHere🤙 #walls #feelings #emotions #Risks #gut #5in5 #iRel8 #ShareItDontWearIt

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Been too forward w my original story & my day-to-days to ever front about how I’m feeling. Simply put, today has kinda sucked. Maybe you can relate to this - but I call it the “Expectations Vortex.” . Last night, I was fortunate enough to get tickets through a sports industry friend, to watch the childhood team I loved & played” in my backyard.” host their first home playoff game to start an NHL series since 1988. 30 frigging years we’d been waiting for this. . My friends & I grew up on this team. It was the first place we were allowed to drive to on our own. First place we were allowed to stay out late when games went into OT, first team where we spent our own money on buying jerseys, & even the first lot we learned what the concept of tailgating was. . So, as you can imagine, w the ability to bring some of those same childhood friends to this particular game last night, as well as meet up w my brothers & other friends, the expectations for fun were quite high. . We had great seats, right by the ice, the arena was rocking (the only way this arena can), pregame, & still I felt a bit off. Very little adrenaline flowing. Fast forward 5 minutes & the team we love scores only a few minutes into the game. The crowd explodes. I jump up out of sheer instinct, but I don’t feel that edge...that excitement. . The game continues & you can’t ask for more - a lead, then a tie, a lead, then a tie - finally, an OT goal, in front of the net we were seated right behind, to win the game. . Now here’s the Vortex: the second I got in the arena & heard it rocking, I questioned why I wasn’t on the edge of my seat like everyone else. The game went on & I tried to remember happy moment from the past of sitting in the same arena, & those memories escaped me, as if I hadn’t ever made any. I even forgot (in the game I was watching), how some of the very goals I had just seen, had been scored. Needless to say, I kept questioning myself. . Instead of being in the moment & accepting what I COULD feel...I was stuck testing & questioning (⬅️slides for remainder) . #SameHere🤙 #memories #emotions #numbness #mindfulness #inthemoment #expectations #5in5 #irel8 #ShareItDontWearit

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The past two events we coordinated w the the Ambrogi’s & Hilinski’s, where parents talked abt the unfathomable/unexpected loss of their child to suicide, & then the last hero story shared by @thesarahtravis where she spoke abt the suicide of her grandfather compelled me to write this next post. . If you looked at our Stories in the past 24 hrs, the latest stats show that the # of ATTEMPTED suicides, by minors, vs 10 yrs ago has doubled. . One hot topic when it comes to suicide is the verbiage we use. The most common ones that roll off our tongues bc we’ve heard them so often are “committed suicide” & “took their own life.” The folks who are against these terms (for which I am one), point out that they place culpability in the hands of those we lost. Committed most often goes w the term crimes. Taken ones life often indicates that a person had a very solid choice & rationally chose one option - to die, over another - to live. . This is not an easy topic to discuss, but I must...bc we are losing ppl in record #’s & even the attempts, where we don’t lose ppl, are climbing at alarming rates. . What was clear in the Ambrogi’s story & the Hilinski’s story - as well as countless others I hear, is that there was no indication that these young men wanted to die. In Kyle - there were periods of depression where he was confused & lost but he would call & answer phones & try to figure out (like he had everything else in life), what was going on. In Tyler, he’d just come back from a great fam vacation, HE was the one who would often take a teammate to therapy. Then...both were gone. . Though I never attempted, I know that my ideations came out of “nowhere.” I wasn’t in a sad state. I didn’t feel overwhelmed at the time. Instead, I felt error messages in my mind, almost the opposite of “survival mode” - where these messages, on repeat in my head, were telling me to swallow my bottle of pills. Do we not see a pattern that in MANY (ok not all), but MANY of the cases surrounding ideations & suicides, that there seems to be (⬅️slides for remainder) . #SameHere🤙 #Suicide #Ideations #Committed #Taken #Lives #Verbiage #Shame #Remove #5in5 #iRel8 #ShareItDontWearIt

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Today’s #SameHere🤙Hero: @thesarahtravis. It’s so fitting that Sarah is today’s hero, shortly after two #SameHere events w families I now personally look at as heroes - the Ambrogi’s from UPenn & the @hilinskishope parents from U of SC. . Unlike these families who lost their sons to suicide, Sarah talks about the impact of losing her beloved father to suicide, & the impact it had on her & her whole family. Incredible strength here to share the way she has. Please welcome Sarah & read about her resilience & bravery: . “On August 31, 2017, I lost my father to suicide. To say it was the most traumatic thing I've ever experienced would be a huge understatement. Prior to losing Dad, MH wasn't really something I was aware of or considered. The extent of my association w MH was simply to say I needed a day off from work or school as a ‘MH Day.’ . I never imagined something like this would happen in our family. My parents, my brother, & I were extremely close. We considered ourselves rare in how close we were. We counted it a blessing that we all actually immensely enjoyed spending time together. Whenever we had struggles or periods of stress in the past, we always found ways to overcome. . So this just felt like another stressful time in life...one I had faith that we would overcome again just as we had done in the past. I never knew the deeper level of pain my father must have been experiencing. It breaks my heart when I try to imagine how he must’ve felt. My MH clearly took a huge hit after his passing. . In the first days & weeks after we lost dad, my mind was on a loop....like I was trapped on a carousel & couldn't get off. I'd replay the same three or four events from those first days over & over in my mind. I felt like a prisoner being tortured by my trauma; powerless to stop the carousel. No emotion or feeling was predictable. One moment I'd be experiencing anger & the next moment I'd experience deep deep sadness. . That continues today. I describe how I feel as a staircase. (⬅️slides for remainder of story) . #SameHere #Suicide #Father #Resilience #Strong #Sharing #Hope #5in5 #ShareItDontWearIt

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Changed it up a bit & invited some of the attendees at the @universityofpennsylvia to come up on stage & take the #SameHere picture with us. . I try to share at least one new key learning at each of these culture-changing events, that really stick out to me as different than the others we’ve had. Here was the big one for me this time: . @jddowd talked about growing up in an Irish Catholic family in NJ, where “you didn’t talk about these things.” Penn Running Backs Coach Steven Downs, the long-tenured Coach for the Quakers talked about growing up in a black family in the city of Philadelphia where “you didn’t talk about these things.” . That said, Jim began finally talking after 49 years - only when for him it go so bad, that he HAD to open up & talk. Steve didn’t think there was anything TO talk about, until he saw the pain in one of his former players, Kyle Ambrogi, in 2005, who “had it all,” & all of the sudden, instead, seem lost. . Both men came from family backgrounds where “it” was never discussed. Both realized the need to discuss “it” in different ways. But BOTH are now huge advocates about being open. . Jim talked about how the last seven months after opening up it’s been like a 20k lb gorilla has been taken off his back. Coach Downs talked about how he calls & asks his student athletes now “what’s up in your life”...& even phones his siblings & says, “hey, just want you to know I love you.” . Maybe that type of perspective change comes from experience - Jim from his own experience struggling, Coach Downs from his own experience losing a student who “had it all” in Kyle Ambrogi. . But, the lesson can be - to not allow it to take a difficult experience for us all to get “there.” Let’s instead be proactive & share & listen to the wisdom of two individuals like this, who have realized how healthy & special sharing is! . Big thanks to all of the panelists including @adamdavenportofficial, Penn Senior Swimmer Nancy Hu, Donna & Greg Ambrogi, & Dr. Britton Davis. . #SameHere🤙#Stories #Private #Sharing #OpeningUp #Vulnerability #DontWait #5in5 #iRel8 #ShareItDontWearIt

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It’s truly interesting what gets ppl’s attn these days on diff social media platforms. I mentioned that I’m not one to care about “likes.” Reads are more important in my book bc it means you at least had a chance to try to help someone by sharing a current event or opinion. . This tweet I shared + some opinion on twitter yesterday was by far one of the biggest tweets I’ve shared in a yr. In less than a day’s time, it’s been fed to over 150k people. Why? Maybe ppl like to read abt celebs more than anything on twitter. Regardless, I love that you all here read & react, as long as the content is informative. The celeb tie-ins don’t make or break the content you partake in. Let’s talk abt a celeb however, who it appears revealed vulnerably, not for his own benefit, but for the benefit of others: . Love this acknowledgment by @dwyanewade abt going to therapy after retirement. Therapy, when you really think abt it, is nothing more than the “gym for the mind.” Wade’s been working out his body his whole career. Why should working out his mind, to keep it in shape during a tough transition period be looked at any differently? The answer: it shouldn’t. . Transitions of any kind are hard. Career transitions are especially hard. New ppl hired next to you, above you...losing jobs...changing markets...& yes, retirement. If Wade can “be ok” w therapy, why can’t we all? . And I love how Wade shared - & he didn’t follow it up in the same day by announcing a partnership with an online therapy app. He didn’t pair the news w additional news of a diagnosis for a MH disorder that is requiring him to seek help/leading to speaking engagements. There’s not much he stands to gain, at least in the short term, by revealing this. What he gains, is the ability to HELP others in understanding - whether ure in ur 30s & ure leaving pro sports, or ure in your 60s & ure leaving a job in accounting - the change is gonna be a hard one. . When we retire, if we keep going to the gym, we’re considered: strong/fit/active. When we retire, if we go to therapy, we’re considered....? Think abt it? Why any difference? Shouldn’t be. . #SameHere🤙 #Retirement #Therapy #Transition #Help #Strong #5in5

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Saw this story the other day & it’s worth diving deeper on. I friggin’ love what this teacher is doing. . How many times over, arnd the globe, does this type of scenario happen, daily: . Elementary school kid’s eating his/her Cheerios for bfast while mom & dad (who do love each other), are fighting in the background, screaming & yelling bc of something one said the night before. Kid starts tearing up, crying into their bowl of cereal, affected by the angst in the room. Mom puts on their jacket & gives them a kiss goodbye. The kid then takes the bus, goes on to school, & in their first class, they’re unengaged, not paying attention, unable to concentrate. . As a result, the teacher notices their lack of participation, calls them out, & they go further into their shell. This leads to the student being penalized - maybe even having their seat moved out of punishment - either next to the teacher’s desk or the back of the room. . Personally, I can vividly remember those desk moves I had to make arnd 1st - 4th grade. Didn’t think much of them then, other than that I was “in trouble.” . I bring this common scenario up, not bc I believe in the era of “everyone getting a participation trophy & no one having to learn that life’s hard.” I bring it up bc for so long, we’ve wrongly interpreted & acted upon the social/emotional factors that play into students’ behaviors. . It’s is VERY hard to get kids to open up & verbalize what from their lives may be affecting them. Kids are more likely to “act out” than to explain the reasons for their behaviors. . I love what this teacher’s doing in this story - giving students easy to use TOOLS to communicate how they’re feeling. This is exactly what we’re trying to do w the #SameHere🤙 Hand Sign in schools - Give students/teachers, etc., a common language to be able to START the convo abt what feelings they have, related to obstacles they’re facing, that could be leading to their behaviors. Love the idea of the board - it’s a simple way to let young students share what they’re feeling. We need more of these tools! . #SameHere🤙#Schools #Curriculum #Social #Emotional #Learning #Sharing #Students #5in5 #iRel8 #UNIT3D #ShareItDontWearIt

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Today’s #SameHere🤙Hero: is the newest member of our Influencer Alliance, actress @nadinecrocker. You may remember her from her big part as Marcy in the movie “Cabin Fever” from 2016, or Juliet from “Rodeo & Juliet” from 2015. . We had an incredible, almost two-hour talk last wk & I am so impressed by her passion for MH advocacy. . Genetic predispositions for MH disorders have run for generations throughout her family. Nadine dealt w the loss of her grandfather to suicide at a young age & how that rocked her world & the world of those closest to her. She also dealt with issues of anger - in her home & in her relationships. . Fortunately she survived an attempt on her own life. She’s a survivor of sexual abuse, & substance abuse (used to numb the pain), but is now 3 & 1/2 yrs completely sober! . She’s also dealt w the loss of those close to her in horrific ways, such as major accidents & even murder. Nadine went through terrible physical challenges such as tumors growing on her kidneys, ripping them open. She then sought out therapy & a life coach...she began kicking up endorphins by going to the gym, started reading up on self help books, & even stopped dating so she could work on her most important relationship - the one w herself. . She took classes in art & even began what is now her life project, @continuethefilm, a movie she is creating about her own life, the effects that MH complications & suicide can have on an individual & family. I love the plot line she’s shared with me, know it will be successful, & want to help her in any way I/we can. She is the essence of an advocate, a mom & a wife, & we are so proud to have her join our Influencer Alliance! To read her full story, click on the link 🔗in our profile. . “My family is genetically prone to depression, anxiety, OCD, you name it & we probably have it somewhere in our genetic line. Many of us will always battle these issues. They never go completely away, but with help we can manage & live with the symptoms & thrive. . At a very young age my family & I lost (profile 🔗for remainder) . #SameHere🤙 #influencer #alliance #Actress #model #mother #screenwriter #5in5 #iRel8 #ShareItDontWearIt

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As an organization, we’ve done a lot more program building & implementation, than focusing on media attention or praise. It’s our belief that our hands-on work is the most important part of what we do, & if we do it right, others will take notice, & we can help more ppl. . That’s why it was very humbling to be asked to speak at the @cnbc event for CHROs yesterday. I was asked to share my personal story - how it affected me in my office role in sports business, what to look out for in our employees who may be experiencing challenges, & how we can attack this topic/issue more proactively. This came after the late event the night before in SC, but the early flight up was so worth it. . I put some of my message on the next slide (volume needed) but the reason why we call our corporate office program, #SameHere “Safe” other than the the nice sounding S words together, is that “Safety” is what ppl currently DON’T feel in their offices, when talking about their MH openly, bc of fear or repercussions if decision makers know about their struggles. . I stressed the importance of the leaders of organizations, showing vulnerability, themselves. Yes it’s a balance bc of their authority roles, but leaders need to show that they are human too, that life gets to them, & that it’s ok to talk about what gets to us - with peers, HR, even the managers themselves, without fear of consequences. We lose more productivity by NOT being open about it than we do by covering it up & pretending everything is “ok.” . Thanks to Squawk Box host @beckyqq_ for moderating, showing great concern & interest in the topic, & for now inviting me on her show on 5/1 on CNBC, upcoming. Looking forward to diving deeper into the discussion. And thanks to Alexa Pozniak for seeing what we were writing about on LinkedIn, & reaching out & inviting us to participate in such a great event. . . #SameHere🤙 #organicmessage #BeReal #ChasePassion #ifyoubuildittheywillcome #5in5 #CNBC #SquawkBox #BeckyQuick #iRel8 #5in5

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Wow, “Tyler’s 3” & the “#SameHere🤙” sign with the same group of athletes. I was blown away by the level of care that exists on campus at @southcarolinagamecocks surrounding MH. . When you think about all the factors that came together, that were specific to U of SC, to make this #SameHere Sit-Down happen, it’s remarkable. Consider the following: . Alliance member @haydenrhurst played his college ball at SC before being drafted this year by the @ravens. His mom, Cathy as big a fan as they come, (wore a jersey during the event last night). Jerri Spurrier, wife of iconic head coach, Steve Spurrier (still very connected to the community), was there in support. And, the most touching part of the event for me: Kym & Mark Hilinski, parents of Tyler, QB from @wsucougarfootball, who we lost tragically to suicide just over a yr ago, were there to talk to the students about his story & their organization @hilinskishope. Tyler’s brother, Ryan, is currently a QB at SC as well. . Yes, Hayden & I told our stories, & yes we hope we connected, but I am absolutely floored by the courage, resilience, heart, & care for others that the Hilinskis showed by telling Tyler’s story - in the hopes that they will save lives. A family that lost their precious child, & through the tears, they are out there helping others. Hayden & I know we are fortunate to be here to tell our own stories. It’s heartbreaking that Tyler is not..but Kym & Mark are honoring him & his memory (& I love that Kym said - that he’s in the room w us now). . I am so touched by this top picture showing the student athletes sharing both the “3” sign for Tyler & the #SameHere sign, back-to-back. Also touched we had a whole session w every single coach at school. . I loved this collaboration bc if we can all acknowledge, #SameHere🤙, we all face challenges that affect our MH, we can then follow that up by proudly saying we are all #UNIT3D in attacking this topic. . Some pics from the visit on future slides - including a therapy room athletes can go into from the athletic facilities OR privately. Their choice. SC “gets it.” . #SouthCarolina #Gamecocks #5in5 #IRel8 #together #team #ncaa #change #culture

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Was all set to post a new #SameHere🤙Hero story when this devastating news was shared - & I felt compelled to address it. A young woman, a survivor of the shootings in Parkland, now lost to suicide almost a year later. . I remember when the Parkland shooting happened & the two big news stories were: 1) how students were taking action & protesting, & 2) how the school was hiring more therapists & grief counselors. . My initial reaction was fear. I feared that the students who heroically were out there trying to make positive change, were putting all their energies towards that, specifically, (understandably trying to make sense of it all & find purpose), but neglecting their own MH in the process. I feared that the hiring of more counselors wasn’t enough - bc you have to still convince young adults who still feel indestructible, that they should go & SEE the counselors, & do things beyond just talking it out. . It’s not fair of me or anyone else to play Monday Morning QB about Parkland specifically. But let me say this about trauma: it’s literally a silent killer. . I didn’t know this when I WATCHED all of my brother’s ailments & my friends’ deaths. I didn’t understand how something that I witnessed happen to someone else, was also actually “happening” to me, & would lead to me falling apart, myself. . We MUST have education programs in ALL schools, all areas of society about: 1) the cumulative effect of stress & trauma from life’s difficult events, 2) how we “Release & Rewire” that stress & trauma from our systems. We can’t just hire more counselors (hoping kids will seek help), or try to concentrate our efforts on more productive things & magically erase what went on. . The physical health build up of not focusing on these areas is like eating things high in cholesterol, neglecting our arteries, & then falling to a heart attack. The stress/trauma BUILDS, & it leads to outcomes like the tragic one today. This is awful & things must change! . . . #SameHere🤙 #Parkland #StonemanDouglas #Trauma #TSRR #Cumulative #GoneTooSoon #5in5 #iRel8 #ShareItDontWearIt

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We’re about ready for March Madness to formally begin, tomorrow morn. Why’s it that this time of yr appeals to so many? . There’s just something magical about team sports, & about knowing the personal stories behind each of the teams playing in the Tournament. . Of course there’s a story to share here too! Even before walking-on to my college’s b-ball team, one of the best stretches of my life that I look back on - was my time learning about sports & life as a member of a true TEAM, & from one of the greatest leaders I’ve ever had a chance to play for - my HS basketball coach. . You see the banner says ‘96 Conference Champs in the top pic. That was actually my Junior yr. The guy you see in the black jacket & hat who I’m leaning on, JJ, was a Senior that yr. Amidst a late season run of wins to take that conference title, our team was rocked to its core when JJ’s father passed away to a disease we knew so little about in the mid ‘90s, ALS. . The juxtaposition of the high of our success on the court, to the low we felt as a FAMILY was tremendous. I can remember consoling JJ at practice & then attending his dad’s funeral - our whole team/classmates/town’s fans/coach. . I don’t know how we were able to pick ourselves up from that tragedy, but that pic in the bottom right should show the intensity that came w being part of that team. We’d go on, shortly after the funeral, to win a huge playoff game at home against Elmont HS, & you can see the kinda raw emotions that came from those victories. . Team sports taught me/us: roles, responsibilities, teamwork, when to step up, when to step back, hard work, determination, perseverance, & family. To this day, this team is close. We came together bc of coach, bc of tragedy, bc of common goals, passions, & sacrifice. . When you watch the Tourney these coming wks, get to know the personal stories behind the teams. There is beauty in the challenges they face, how they come together, & how these memories they make will teach lessons - that stay w them for life. Few things, if any, can compare to the purity of amateur team sports - for players AND fans. . #SameHere🤙 #Sports #Team #HS #NCAA #Tournament #ALS #LifeLessons #Coach

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Collaborations & partnerships! We can accomplish way more together than we can apart. . Working in this space has been so rewarding the past yr & a half...& while not every organization shares the same philosophy above, some of the greatest strides I’ve seen made, have been when we’ve partnered on programs & activations w other groups & advocates. I don’t understand not working together when we’re all charging for the same goals - to positively change & even save lives. . A couple examples of past & upcoming collaborations to share: . 1st Slide: we’re working w one of the largest reusable bag manufacturers in the world in creating a bag that lists many orgs coming together to attack the MH epidemic: through “Environ-Mentally” friendly bags. . 2nd Slide: for one of the upcoming #SameHere Sit-Downs, we are coming together w @hilinskishope foundation to talk w @southcarolinagamecocks student athletes. Tyler’s brother, Ryan, plays QB for SC, & so Tyler’s mom, Kym (who is great) & I came together to create a #SameHere logo where Tyler’s #3 is in place of one of the “E’s.” There is strength in showing a UNIT3D front! . 3rd & 4th Slides: @haydenrhurst from the @ravens sharing his support & participation for a K-12 #SameHere Schools Curriculum we’re building. His Hayden Hurst Family Foundation, he & his mom, Cathy (also great), are also helping to spearhead the SC Sit-Down visit, as Hayden played college football there. . These are just some of the upcoming collaborations. We mentioned meeting recently w advocates @marghines & @kevinhinesstory & talking about upcoming work together. Australian Advocate @joewilliams_tew is coming to NY in August & we’ll be coordinating an event together arnd his book: The Enemy Within. . Many others not listed here, but hopefully the direction is clear: we’re stronger together - as an alliance of advocates & orgs all joining hands & showing united fronts & messaging. In this space, there’s no room for “competitors”...we all must work together to create lasting global change! . #SameHere🤙 #hilinskishope #haydenhurstfamilyfoundation #suicidetherippleeffect #theenemywithin #5in5 #UNIT3D #Alliance #iRel8 #ShareItDontWearIt

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Today’s #SameHere🤙Hero: Jennifer . Jen has an incredible story - one that she’s still in the throes of, & she chose to share it now, anonymously, even before she’s ready to be more public abt it, in the hopes it’ll help others, as much of it is very relatable. . This story is one of compounded trauma that’s led to some extremely challenging MH symptoms (including “derealization”). Jen has parents who fought mercifully, & a father w narcissistic tendencies who cheated countless times on her mom. She & her sister would hide as they’d fight in the house, given how much it scared them. Then, she, her sister, & her mother were involved in a terrible car wreck where her mom was pronounced dead on the scene, but later revived at the hospital. Despite her mother surviving, life would never be the same. . With her parents spilt, & both dealing w their own challenges, Jen felt abandoned & unloved. As a young model, she chose to go to school arnd NYC, & party her way out of the terrible lingering feelings she had, taking trips w whomever would offer, but it left her still feeling hurt & alone. The partying was only a temporary band-aid. . She’d meet a man early in life (22), she fell in love w, & all the love she felt like she was missing from her own fam, she found in him. However, bc they were married so young, there were many life decisions they’d have to make, that they hadn’t discussed...decisions that’ve put a tremendous strain on her & their marriage. . She’s channeled all of these experiences & used them to give back to the world through the creation of a deck of cards called @conscious_conversations_. Its a set of conversation starters that cover a variety of topics from everything like spirituality, personal successes/losses, death, to intimate childhood memories & favorite books. Given our own platform of encouraging others to open up & share more, I love how her program is helping folks to do that - in a creative way, & I look forward to the potential of working w her & her company in the near future. Jen’s full story, bc of its length, is posted in our profile link🔗. . #SameHere🤙 #Divorce #Accident #Marriage #Abandoned #Model #5in5 #iRel8 #ShareItDontWearIt

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Obv this story is a couple of days old. I waited to comment on it bc I wanted to make sure I was comfortable w my initial gut reaction when I first heard abt it. For good or for bad, the details that’ve surfaced since have only reenforced those initial reactions. . Isn’t this story a microcosm of a big issue that comes to light every single day, by millions of ppl arnd the world, when using social media? We live in a culture that breeds comparisons, nothing ever being enough, wanting it all, wanting it now, showing it to everyone else, & probably most scary - a willingness to “do anything” to keep up & surpass our friends & neighbors w respect to what they have. . I have no idea what the kids in the case of both of these families did/didn’t know. And we could be here all day if we discussed whether parents’ influence on kids at various ages of development are all-consuming, or whether the kids can/should have a mind of their own to say no. All of that said, here is what we do know: . Both families are celeb families. Both have had major success not just in the acting world, but far beyond - fashion, design, etc. Even their kids have had public success, outside of this whole college scandal. To all of “us” here, they have these perfect lives, a part of the .01%’ers. . But to them, that wasn’t enough. We do know that the parents paid to get them into “better” schools than it appears they would’ve been able to get into on their own. I put better in quotes bc, what defines better? One of the parents made a derogatory comment abt the prospects of their kids going to ASU. Having lived in Phoenix/Scottsdale for 3yrs I can tell you I’ve seen many super successful ppl come from that school. . Living in the status of those other .01%’ers - the pressure was to keep up. They needed their kids to get into schools that would be consistent w the level of success these families have had in other areas of life/consistent w the schools others kids in their circles have gotten into. . Where & when does that mentality end? Once you’ve reached “status” (⬅️pics for remainder) . #SameHere🤙#Status #Comparisons #Scandal #Colleges #SocialMedia #5in5 #iRel8 #ShareItDontWearIt

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If I knew how diff my answer to this question in the top pic was - to so many others out there, yrs back, I may have known to get help sooner, & there’s a chance I wouldn’t have ended up in the predicament I did a few yrs ago. . When I’ve asked this question in the past - the majority of the answers I’ve gotten have sounded like this: a) speeding to the hospital, b) cutting thru traffic lights, c) rushing to save someone’s life, d) bright lights/sirens. . Here’s exactly what goes through my mind - even looking at this static image, on a pic taken a long time ago, in a city where no one I know is based: “Oh shit, where’s that heading, it must be rushing to go get someone in my fam who’s in critical condition.” . We use examples like this a lot in our #SameHere programs. We show the SAME object, & ask ppl what they think of it, & it’s amazing that the same object elicits such diverse responses. Why? Our past experiences, our earliest experiences, what’s been engrained in our neural pathways! I added this recent article on the Stoneman Douglas coach to this opening pic, bc it’s yet another example as to how past trauma (even if it’s not from a young age), can affect us. For this coach, coming to school every day was a reminder of tragedy. . I guess looking back, for me, it makes sense. Every time I heard bad news of something that’d happened to my brother, or that my friends had passed away tragically - it was immediate: coming via way of a frantic phone call, where the world seemed to stop & it felt like anything that could go wrong, would. . Bc of this pattern, I remember 2 things vividly: 1) I’d be playing sports in the street & would see ambulances go by (no matter what direction), & I feared going home, that I may learn of some tragedy, & 2) once we got cell phones, from that point moving fwd, every time I saw a call from someone in my fam, I thought - oh no, what catastrophe just happened that I’m gonna be told abt? . Think abt how common seeing an ambulance is...how common getting a call from fam is (for that coach, how common going on school grounds is). ⬅️slides for remainder. . #SameHere🤙 #Trauma #stonemandouglas #coach #5in5 #iRel8 #ShareItDontWearIt

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Today’s #SameHere🤙 Hero: @hayleymaeedwards from Western Australia . Hayley is just one of those personalities that’s a bright light, that you’re drawn to. I know that two of our volunteers - Erin & Gina felt the same, as they both got to know her through social media as well. Despite her energy, she has an incredible list of challenges she’s had to overcome to get right here, right now - including abuse by a coach, military service, the suicide of a friend, & an attempt of her own. . I spoke with Hayley from across the pond last night & I’m beyond excited to announce her as one of the new Directors of our Advocacy Alliance, as we continue to grow relationships outside of just the US. Her passion & enthusiasm is also going to help us bring #SameHere Programming to schools in Australia. Please help us welcome her to the community. . “This is actually pretty hard for me to write, as a lot of my friends & family would have NO idea about the Mental Health issues I had growing up, & the demons I still have today. . At the age of about 9 I was unfortnately a part of a group of girls that was abused by a male swimming teacher. At the time it didn't feel like I had experienced anything affecting me emotionally. I think it was disassociation from the situation & I buried it. . As I got into my teens my behaviour (my relationship with myself) started to decline. I developed an out of control eating disorder, & my life was filled with pure guilt & self loathing. Most of the time I was able to function & hide it well. I even played Netball & Basketball at state level whilst hiding this from everyone, except my Mum. . I received years & years of treatment (anti-depressants & CBT) & my Mum was an exceptional source of support for me. Even after all the help, I attempted to end my life at 16 years of age. I was out of control. . I joined the Military at 19 & became a Medic in the Royal Australian Airforce. I was exposed to a lot things, good & bad during my time in service. My best friend Annie, whom I lived with, died by suicide in her room during a course (⬅️slides for remainder) . #SameHere🤙 #Advocate #Abuse #Strength #Turnaround #Story #5in5 #iRel8 #ShareItDontWearIt

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The recent tragic loss of the 23yr old Olympic medalist in cycling to suicide prompted me to put my feelings on this slide. The news stories printed yesterday all focused on “How big the problem of suicide is in Olympic/Collegiate Athletics.” . As a society, as a group of citizens, as governments, as what should be a responsible media, we must recognize that there are dots to be connected & this isn’t just a 30yr coincidence - we have a SOCIETAL suicide issue, not geared toward any one group or segment, exclusively. Please note, I’m not downplaying veteran suicide. 22 vets lost per day is horrific. It must stop. While the percentages differ, the affect of stress/trauma on most all professions, & how we fail to address it is awful - actors, musicians, lawyers, doctors, plumbers, small biz owners, homemakers, etc...it does not discriminate. . When are we going to stop talking about this as an issue specific to the stresses/experiences of certain groups, & start realizing that stress & trauma affect us ALL? Career & diagnosis labels & justifications stop us from addressing the issue at large: we have a global epidemic, & we must address it as one. . . . . Big props to @imkyleandrew for producing our first full episode of the @samehereshow. I had a ton of fun with you. It’s listed as “Episode 2” after our pilot episodes, & gave me a chance to reflect on the 2.5 years of my fight in the greatest detail I have since I first wrote the piece that led to a WAALC in June of ‘17. We touched (very fittingly per the above) on feelings of suicidal ideations. It also gave us a chance to talk about the roadmap for the #SameHere Movement. . It’s available in the link🔗in our profile now, as well as the @samehereshow page. We have interviews coming up with a number of our Celeb Alliance members, so please check out the page & this full episode. Thanks! . . . . . #SameHere🤙 #Suicide #Epidemic #Society #Labels #Buckets #Disorders #5in5 #Podcast #Launch #iRel8 #ShareItDontWearIt

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Today’s #SameHere🤙Hero: Grey Chapin from @theblairconnection . I am in awe of the strength, courage, & heart of this young woman. So young - take a look at the two pictures of her with her sister, Blair, in this slide. . We’ve talked a lot on this page within the last yr about many different challenges faced. My own challenges were heavily focused on the health battles of one of my siblings. However, we have not had a hero share what it’s like to be the sibling of a child diagnosed specifically w a terminal illness. The stats Grey shares on the commonality of losing a young sibling are sobering. . Her story conveys the clear love she had & continues to have for her sister, Blair, who we lost too soon. But it also shares how she is taking that challenge & using her experience for the betterment of others through a website & Movement devoted to siblings sharing stories, memories, & common challenges when their loved one faces a terminal illness. Please read Grey’s full story & check out her website at the 🔗link currently up in our profile. Amazing young woman. . “Being the sibling of someone w a terminal illness is hard. You face challenges & emotions unlike anyone else in your family. Although, siblings are often overlooked. While 5-8% of children experience the death of a sibling, the loss is rarely discussed. Siblings are often forced to ‘camouflage’ their feelings, as they believe that nobody will understand what they’re going through. The B.L.A.I.R. Connection gives siblings a platform to express these emotions w those who truly understand, other siblings. . I came up with the idea to start a sibling support website in July of 2017, just four months after my sister, Blair, passed away. I had an incredible support system to get me through this difficult time, though I realized that most siblings aren’t this lucky. My website allows siblings to post blogs, photos, videos, & share their story in every way possible. . While The B.L.A.I.R. Connection is simply a platform for siblings to express their emotions, it also aims to (⬅️slides for remainder). . #SameHere🤙 #Siblings #Terminal #Illness #Love #Strength #5in5 #iRel8 #ShareItDontWearIt

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This pic’s from my own 30th...almost a decade ago now. I’m sharing this post bc last night we went out for the 40th bday of the guy 2nd from the left, Brad...& it got me to thinking abt the very diff ways we each view our own bdays - especially milestone ones. . I’ve been friends w most of the guys in this pic, & our larger group from our hometown since elementary school. The recent post I shared abt my buddy who I met at 5yrs old, riding his bike on my block, is the guy all the way on the left, Dave. . Back to Brad’s 40th last night - wasn’t there a lot to celebrate? Being friends for almost 4 decades. Going thru both good/bad times together & pushing on & remaining close. The prospects of another decade ahead & all the new memories that’ll be made. The beautiful kids that’ve been brought into the world by many in the group. . And then there’s the flip side. It’s a terrible habit I personally have, but it’s viewing bdays (& your bday specifically) in a negative light. I remember crying to my parents when I first turned 10, bc I was afraid I’d no longer be looked as an innocent “kid.” I told my fam for my 40th I don’t want to do anything - just let it come & go. . For me, bdays unfortunately have always been a reminder of time passing. Of ppl in our lives getting older. Of people older than us who used to be there, no longer being w us. Of us not being able to do the things we once were able to (eg stay out past 12:30am on a guys night out). Maybe it’s bc I faced the prospect of “loss” at such a young age, many times, that this became the backdrop to the way I view milestones. . But isn’t this topic interesting? The exact same topic “bdays” - can be viewed in literally the exact OPPOSITE way, based on the eye of the beholder. My challenge for myself, & I hope some of you will hold me accountable, is as I approach the milestone of 40, coming up in mid-April (& the rest of my friends’ bdays), that I celebrate & appreciate - instead of overanalyze...& learn to enjoy & stay present. Hoping for those w the same bday issues, that we can work on improving our perspectives, together. . #SameHere🤙 #birthdays #milestones #reflections #life #time #iRel8 #ShareItDontWearIt

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It’s #internationalwomensday2019 and so I decided to reflect back on some of my earliest female influences & the amazing women they were, or have become (I grew up w two brothers and two male cousins, so this was the closest to sisters I ever came). . Hard to do a tribute like this without leaving people out, given only 9 boxes, so I made the cut off - some of the women who have greatly influenced me, just up-to and after college. I have a lot of amazing women in my life now, the relationships of which I am so appreciative of as well, who I will dedicate a tribute to - next women’s day 😊! . Top left, my first ever elementary school girlfriend, Lauren, who is now married with a few children (don’t make fun of the cowboy vest my mother dressed me in for Kindergarten class photos). Then my grandmothers (one of whom is still with us, Hannah, on the left), and my mom next to them. Some of my best friends from college Jill (who I just saw in SD), Debbie, Iris & below them Erica and Liz (not pictured, “Flo,” Sari, Jenya, Gaby, Jodi, Linda, and Sheree). Two of my best friends from growing up (Brooke my next door neighbor and Jodi my sports buddy). The older of my two nieces, Rebecca, who is no longer a baby like in that pic where we are hugging, and is now a young “woman” as a sophomore in HS. Then one of my best friends from first leaving school, Stephanie. . You all impress me and I feel so grateful to still be in touch and to see many of you at dinners, different gatherings, and other special events. The best part is, for each of you, no matter how much time passes between seeing one another bc life gets complicated and busy, we pick up like we just had spent time together the day before. I cherish those connections. . You’ve all been rockstars either as career women or moms (or both), and it’s great to have one of my nieces on here as I’d love her to grow up a confident woman like you all have. Much love and thanks. Eric . #SameHere🤙 #Friends #Women #Life #Fast #Cherish #Inspiration

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Right when I first started this journey, more than a yr ago now, I went to a MH first aid course at the school of our board member @joyousleader. One of the videos they used was from one of the world’s top MH advocates, @kevinhinesstory - someone who’s been talking about this topic since 2001! Think about that...he was telling his story WAY before others started to do so. . That story, which I won’t reveal too much about now (tho many of you may know already), involves surviving jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge in SF. . But Kevin doesn’t just talk about the complexities of that action. He talks about all that went into it - for the benefit of others...& all that’s come since. . Kevin’s lovely wife, @marghines reached out via LinkedIn a few wks ago, to grab dinner when they came up to NYC from ATL. . I wasn’t sure what to expect going in...nor do I think they knew what to expect...but a # of hrs later, it felt like old friends chatting. I go w my gut when meeting ppl, reading their character & motivations...& my gut has typically steered me well. Let me say that Margaret & Kevin are ppl who are in this for the right reasons. . We talked about so many things including why we speak to folks, the grind of the road, the benefits of being vulnerable & sharing our stories. The Hines do this to HELP ppl. And much like I was sharing yesterday w the @hilinskishope Challenge, they want to collaborate, want to come together, want to show ppl out there a unified front of advocates. It’s not about individual ego w them, & I so appreciate that. It’s what we’ve built our alliance arnd - genuineness & vulnerability. . Kevin shared the following w me: “I realized I had to shift from talking about my battle w Bipolar specifically, to my battle w emotional & mental pain. Not suffering, bc I want ppl to know they can get thru this. But, the pain is what anyone can relate to & opens up my story to everyone, not just those w Bipolar specifically.” Sounds like a #SameHere🤙 Story to me! More to come on sharing the Hines’ story in the alliance & fun collaborations. I really like these two :)! . #SameHere🤙 #Stories #Genuine #Collaboration #GoodPeople

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Today’s #SameHere🤙Hero: @archie_green . You might recognize that bright smile from our pics when we did the event with the @cavs in Cleveland a few wks back. Archie is a local hip hop artist who has used his platform not just in his home city, but all over the world, to advocate for mental health. He fit in with our group like old friends. . His story is incredible - the effects of racism & prejudice from being one of, & then later, the only black person in his school...the effects of chasing a dream in music for which no one in his family would support, bullying, & deep depression. But - he shares what he’s learned along the way - his “5 Tools” he uses to cope & even thrive (many of which mirror TSRR practices). We’re excited to have him & his powerful story on the Influencer Alliance: . “I grew up in a small suburb just outside of Cleveland, Ohio called Chagrin Falls. In the years I lived in Chagrin & attended school, I was one of very few other persons of color that went there. As a matter of fact, by the time I left Chagrin after 9th Grade I was the only Black person in the building!! I was an outcast, looked at as different. I experienced a lot of prejudice, & (covert & overt) racism there. That for sure had an effect on my self-esteem & how I saw myself as a kid. . I would also say being a born creative & artist, & wanting to make a living in the music business had impacts on me as well. Not because of the dreams I had, but the fact that I experienced a lot of doubts & naysayers around me. The biggest & most impactful pushback I was getting was from my parents. They just didn't see me making it as a rapper, & believed that I needed to do something ‘more stable’ or ‘realistic.’ I went through a lot of pain trying to win their approval, before finally realizing that this is MY path & NOT THEIRS. I realized that they only wanted the best for me, & to not take offense when they didn't agree with my life path. Now...they're my biggest fans! . Lastly, the traumatic event that totally changed my life & put me (🔗in profile for remainder of his story) . #SameHere🤙 #Cleveland #Hiphop #Artist #rapper #depression #coping #tools #5in5 #iRel8

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On days like today, when we get news of someone’s struggles, it’s beyond important that we have ppl w large platforms out there, who understand the “big picture” advocating for the education & change - in policy/perception, our society so desperately needs. . Thank you to @darrenrovell & many others like @theofleury14, @chold1 & @bigjoe who use their platforms to shed light on a topic that’s not so easy to understand or discuss. . Yes, today’s big news is that Josh Gordon - a supremely talented athlete - is stepping away from the @nfl. But such an important piece of this story is that Josh has been vilified for his substance abuse & inability to “kick his habits” for so long. Not many looked at his background, challenging upbringing, nor trauma faced as a child, to understand the WHY behind he may be a substance abuser. . Those who abuse, often do so for purposes of self-medication; to mask or drown symptoms of emotional stress/trauma & pain. This is not to say that every addict of every vice is using bc of mental health complications, nor is it to say that everyone w mental health complications turns to substances to cope. But in the case of a high profile individuals like Josh, the BIGGEST takeaway for our society - is that we can show there is a connection that all too often exists: between the trauma of lived experiences & that of substance abuse. Let’s thank the heavens that this pivotal moment didn’t come w the background of catastrophe like it did with a Kate Spade or Anthony Bourdain. . We wish Josh & millions of others going through the same, much strength & support. . To have partners like Darren, Theo, Chamique, Joe & many others on an Alliance who talk consistently about this being a topic for “5 in 5” of us, all having various levels of a #SameHere🤙Story - some where self-medication is involved, some where it’s not, is so important in bringing about the changes our society needs. #SameHere🤙 #SubstanceAbuse #Trauma #5in5 #iRel8 #GlobalMentalHealthMovement

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My friend recently told me abt a book by Buzz Aldrin: Magnificent Desolation. . In it, Buzz talks abt how once he walked on the moon, “normal” life on earth felt insignificant & depressing. Ultimately he did end up “finding” himself after a lot of trial & error, discovering joy in the little things. . Alliance member @realtylerhamilton told me that one of the worst days of his life was when he rang the bell at the NYSE after his team won the Tour de France. Here he was, supposed to be on top of the world, & instead a depression laid on top of him, & he thought “this isn’t how it’s supposed to be!” . Recently in Cleveland, Alliance member @lanceallred41 talked abt this feeling taking a free throw (that he banked in, unintended), looking up at the crowd in an NBA arena once he’d made a team & “arrived.” He’d reached his goal of being the NBA’s 1st deaf player & all that passed thru his mind was “Is this really it? Is this as good as it’s gonna get?” . Each scenario above is unique - one after coming back from an accomplishment & everything else paling in comparison...one abt depression taking away some of the feel-good emotions of a big moment...one abt realizing even when reaching the pinnacle & achieving a dream, the dream was greater than the reality. . Not too many of us are gonna walk on the moon, win Cycling’s biggest trophy, or make the NBA. But, many of us are going to achieve goals we set: getting a job at a company we admire, having kids, winning a golf tourney in our age bracket, traveling to a country we’ve always wanted to visit, finishing a marathon. The list goes on, & the beautiful part about life is, so many of us have so many diff goals. . The key learning from the stories above however is, not to base our contentment or peace on achieving that singular goal we may be so myopically focused on. I’m not advocating not to go hard after something that is important to you. Instead I’m saying - the we can’t live FOR that goal, & then assume we can go on, resting on our laurels & basking in the glory once accomplished. Life’s little miracles are instead where we really will find peace & joy. . #SameHere🤙 #goals #drive #expectations #5in5 #irel8

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Is it always good to be an open book? I understand it’s not for everyone. But there’s an important topic out there, that there’s much debate on as to whether we should discuss it openly, & that’s: suicide. . Generally two differing camps in this debate (simplifying here): 1) if we talk about it openly, more will think about it & this could increase the negative trends, or 2) talking about it, helping folks understand it, the warning signs & what goes on in our heads could save many lives. . Might not be a surprise to most based on my previous posts, but I fall in camp #2. . At these #SameHere Sit-Downs, as a team we’ve often debated how to bring the topic up. Most comfortable seems to be during the panel discussion - & flat out asking, what do suicidal ideations feel like? How can we recognize them? What can we do about them? In these cases I don’t mind being made the example of, bc I don’t think there is any shame in having had them. . Just like a cut can get infected as a complication of piercing our skin (& we’ve all had cuts), so too can complications from stress/trauma/genetics cause complications that lead to suicidal ideations, often when we don’t address the underlying cause (much like NOT washing out that cut). . The common misconception is - if you have suicidal ideations, you WANT to die. No, that’s not the case. Complications of unresolved stress & trauma can lead to thoughts of self-harm. That’s just plain factual. The ideations RARELY come about directly correlated to something in life that specifically just happened - (eg we don’t get sad at a breakup, & that sadness then leads to thoughts of self-harm bc we miss the person). That’s where the misunderstanding in our society lies. . Most ppl who haven’t experienced ideations believe that they come from a place of weakness based on a life situation someone “can’t handle.” That’s not the case. I can’t reveal names or locations, but we have had a number of examples where students or members of the groups we presented to, asked for & got help once they started feeling ideations, (⬅️remainder) . #SameHere🤙 #Suicide #Ideations #Thoughts #Impulses #Errormessages #iRel8 #Help #Talk #SaveLives

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Today’s #SameHere🤙Hero: Jason Adkins from @theedgesportstherapy. . You may remember Jason from pics from our visit to Cleveland w the @cavs. We were introduced by a mutual friend, @dereklanderson from the @nba & our Alliance, & after connecting, I could tell Jason was a great guy. He’s one of those ppl who is ultra competitive & ultra intense, but w a great heart, where he channels that intensity to help others. . Not many former pro basketball players/athletic dudes are comfortable opening up publicly about how heartbreak from the loss of a relationship w a woman he loved, affected his MH. But that’s what makes Jason special. He doesn’t care about judgements of others. He shares bc he wants to help others, & that’s a reason why he got his degree to be a psychotherapist, himself. . In this pic he’s not only making the sign, he’s displaying our green #SameHere bracelets we’ve been giving out at events. The next step to spreading the movement’s message. Please help welcome Jason as he will be a great part of our team as we involve him, his advocacy, expertise, & passion in this movement! . “A broken heart is a big part of what affected my mental health. I was 20 & had recently broken-up w my girlfriend. We were together for an incredibly intense year & she let the relationship end by choosing to prioritize other people over me. . As committed as we were to each other, this was a gut punch. I was truly miserable. I had never felt that kind of emotional pain before & all kinds of negative & enraged feelings came over me for several months. . But I loved the game of basketball (still do & went on to play pro ball for 5 years), so I stayed in the gym even as I was facing this emotional pain. . 6 months after the break up, I was at the gym just hooping w my guys when I walked out to the water fountain for a drink. That was when I saw her...sitting there smiling at me. Just as I had begun to move on, the pain rushed back & it felt like the break-up was yesterday. I had completely cut contact w her (& this was before there was such (⬅️remainder) . #SameHere🤙#Love #Relationships #Heartbreak #Basketball #Psychotherapy #5in5 #OneTribe #iRel8

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Not ashamed to admit, my wild & crazy Saturday night involved finally getting arnd to see the movie everyone’s been talking abt: Bohemian Rhapsody. . Like most who prob go/have gone into this movie, I was expecting to have a mindless experience, enjoying what I thought would contain a # of key themes: . 1) The ridiculously long list of hits Queen’s known for, from: We Are The Champions, to Somebody To Love, to We Will Rock You, to our favorite: Crazy Little Thing Called Love. 2) Freddie’s battle w AIDS at a time when no one knew much abt the “scary” virus. 3) The rise to fame from humble beginnings as a group of artists playing at small venues. 4) Life on the road touring as an iconic rock band. . I absolutely got all of the above, but so much more. I don’t know if I end up hyper-sensitive to MH themes bc of the work I’m involved in, daily now, where others would pass over them, or if this is some master plan that when you put things out into the universe, these themes/opportunities find you. Regardless, I’m appreciative. What an incredible experience - especially coming off of a post abt finding our “tribe” & what that does for our MH. . As the story starts out, an industry exec who met early on w the band asked why Queen would be different than any other band he’s considered repping. Freddie’s answer was amazing: We’re a bunch of misfits who are a fam bc we recognize our commonality is being a bunch of misfits...& bc of that, we inspire all the misfit fans out there the way no other band can. Wow! . Throughout the movie/Freddie’s life, aside from his comments & feelings towards his band members & fans, was an exercise in the opposite - NOT wanting to fit in: not wanting to acknowledge his fam’s roots from India, not wanting to even have much to do w his family, pointing out how the rest of his band members were married w families & he was not, having a difficult time coming to terms w his sexuality not only publicly but w those closest to him & not wanting to identify w a community of others w AIDS. . Bc of all the ways he felt he DIDN’T fit in, (⬅️for remainder) . #SameHere🤙 #OneTribe #Queen #FreddieMercury #bohemianrhapsody #5in5 #irel8 #Bands #Commonalities

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Today’s #SameHere🤙Hero: “Melissa” . Some ask me if folks who share anonymously are “less effective” than those who reveal most all. The answer is, I believe anyone who shares in ANY way, for the benefit of helping others, to show them they’re not alone, is a hero & their stories are just as effective. . Melissa’s story is different from most we have shared. She speaks of very few, if any, life traumas or challenges. Instead she describes how well she had it. She developed depression nonetheless, & as many times as she tried to “kick it” or move on, “it” kept coming back. It appears as though Melissa’s challenges come mainly from a genetic predisposition. . What’s fascinatingly real, raw, & actually a little unfortunate, is that Melissa feels more comfortable sharing anonymously with us, than directly w her college sports teammates. Once again, if we think as a society that the barriers have all come down, we are wrong. Here is a first-hand example. We must get through to those “4 in 5.” Thanks for helping us make some progress towards that, Melissa. . “Growing up my life was pretty great. I came from your typical suburban family. In HS I was completely ignorant to the idea of mental health. I had no idea what mental health was, & I had no idea that it was something that would have a huge impact on my life. In HS I was the poster-child for overachieving. I ended up getting an athletic scholarship to a Division 1 school. . My freshman year I made friends & thrived both academically & athletically. But, sophomore year something inside me changed. I wasn't myself. I hated my classes, I didn't enjoy sports anymore, & I was constantly crying. I had zero motivation to do anything. I just wanted to sleep & cry all the time. I had no idea what was going on w me. . One day at practice I just started crying in the middle of a conditioning session. I couldn't stop crying as I ran around the track. I ended up talking to one of my coaches after practice ended & explained everything to her. She helped me make an appointment at our (⬅️&🔗for remainder - too long to post here). . #SameHere🤙#College #Athletics #Genetics #Sports #Teams #Depression #5in5 #iRel8

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You look at the pics of these 2 young beautiful ppl & they could pass for “Ken & Barbie.” What could be wrong? A life of opportunity ahead. Yet one, a red-shirt freshman college football player, one a successful meteorologist on TV, both gone in the blink of an eye, to suicide, w/in the past 2 days. . Posts abt this topic are not abt likes/follows. They’re abt reality. We must keep posting this horrific news until we as a society WAKE-UP, & as advocates better explain how this topic applies to everyone. . This is happening too often to ppl w the same profile: “bright, friendly, shining stars, who you never would have thought...” . Traveling all over & presenting at these events I can tell you, when it’s mandatory to attend, the feedback from ppl forced to be there is: “wow, I didn’t realize how much this applies to me, even tho I didn’t want to come.” When it’s voluntary, we only see the folks who self-identify as the “1 in 5” w MH complications (or the advocates). Why? Bc there’s this belief that’s been engrained in our heads thru marketing efforts for yrs that there are 2 groups of ppl out there: the “mentally ill” & the “normal.” Couldn’t be further from reality! . Our MH has a foundation. It can change slowly over time, weakening that foundation as life stresses & traumas build, & we do nothing abt it. Our new normal develops & we don’t even notice the incremental changes. One life event can then be like a Jenga piece that brings the whole foundation down. This leads to “crashes,” suicidal ideations, & unfortunately at times, tragedy. . When are we going to wake up as the stewards of the MH messaging that this topic is for #5in5, not #1in5 already w “mental illness”? Saying “40+Mill ppl suffer” is not enuf, when the implication is that the other 4 in 5, 200+ Mill, “do not suffer.” This is a BIG reason why we lose so many. With first-hand experience, I can tell you, ya think ur foundation is strong, & bam, that fall happens QUICKLY! . If u want to help, re-post a message like this in your posts. I/we don’t care abt “credit.” Make it ur own. If u want to share it w “#SameHere🤙” for unity, go ahead. But pls get the word out beyond where it’s typically gone.

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Today’s #SameHere🤙Hero: Mardi Simmons, discusses a topic we haven’t dealt with previously. . Mardi grew up in a male-dominant, abusive, & alcoholic household, which completely shaped her opinion of men, drinking, her own womanhood, & so much more. Also interestingly off of the recent polls we’ve run, she was at first more comfortable opening up to others about her alcohol abuse than her mental health complications. But since she has opened up, she’s gotten great support. . Mardi is self-admittedly a work-in-progress, but she’s so real & raw in her story share - one I think many women will relate to, & many men can learn from. Welcome Mardi! . “My father was an abusive alcoholic. I saw a lot growing up, & bc some family members had drug issues, I would get left alone a lot by my parents as a kid, so that they could go out. I would call to reach them something like 20+ times in a row, & they would just ignore my calls. . I see now why I have some of the problems that I do. My parents got divorced when I 18, just before I moved to Arizona to run away from everything. It didn’t phase me much at the time & I always say I wish they had divorced much sooner bc I think if they had, a lot of this chaos in my head wouldn’t be present. Monkey see monkey do. . I, myself, became a ‘crazy’ alcoholic by the age of 16. I didn’t drink every day but when I did - oh watch out! I was always asking the next day after I drank heavily, what I did that night before, or I’d rely on friends to tell me how I acted, or the fool I made of myself. . Recently I’ve been dealing with an abusive relationship of my own - one that has lasted about four years. The abuse isn’t just physical...it’s actually much more emotional & mental. . I would get ingored by this person, & as a form of punishment he would call me ‘annoying’ when all I was trying to do was communicate more. That name calling, in turn, would cause me to act more childish. My drinking at a young age didn’t help but being treated this way by him definitely brought out the child in me much more. . My partner would bring up (⬅️remainder) . #SameHere🤙 #Alcoholism #Abuse #Emotional #Mental #AA #Therapy #GettingHelp #5in5 #iRel8

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Today’s #SameHere Hero: Mel Abrantes @filho.das.abelhas (our first From Brazil). . English is Mel’s second language, yet when you read his words, someone who is still in HS, you are amazing by his eloquence. He takes a very complex topic - the loss of someone so close to him, & describes his experience in a way we all can relate to. Coming off of the post from last night about togetherness & community, in healing, Mel has certainly found his own form of community & healing through his choir & performing arts group. This is a beautiful story that still has much to be written. . “As a kid, I would love seeing my grandma. We lived together, which might make it seem like it was less crucial to my personal growth than it truly was. However, the detail that speaks most about our closeness, is that she was the one who introduced me to my love of art. . Not only was she the person who backed up my long term obsession with reading & writing, she bought me my first guitar & heard my first songs. My grandma was the first & last person to hear me truly laugh, which makes it understandable how much her death has taken a toll on me over the last five years. . Regardless of her depression or my ever growing emptiness - that which I now call a lethargic & apathetic mixture of borderline personality disorder & anxiety, our time together had the same result as therapy. It lead both of us into a deeper understanding of ourselves &, most of the times, into the smile that made me wake up early in the mornings, so that I’d be able to talk to her before the school bus arrived at our home - or the sun started to shine. . Although unfathomable, part of her being meant, to me, a kind of friendship I’d never find elsewhere. A friendship built upon respect, learning, understanding & caring; all of which are fundamental ingredients to the bedrock of meaningful healthy relationships. This is why I was so bewildered when I came across the choir at my school. Regardless of how attractive a group of singers had always been, I never thought I’d find, in them, a family to call my own. Neither (⬅️remainder) . #SameHere🤙 #Brazil #Choir #Arts #Community #loss #Grandmother #languages #5in5 #iRel8

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A big part of mental health is finding your tribe. . I remember multi-medalist in Olympic swimming @anita_nall saying at our opening event back last November: “I feel like I’ve found my tribe...& it’s not because many of us are athletes. It’s because we’ve all been through challenges & we’re all willing to be vulnerable with each other in sharing those challenges to heal ourselves & others.” . Tonight I’m at the Nassau Coliseum to see the Islanders take on one of their long-time rivals - the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Coliseum is an old building, home to the franchise since the 70’s. It’s been since April 2015 that the Islanders have been back to play at what we call this “Old Barn.” . Although the team has been basically renting space at a “new arena” the past few years (Barclays Center in Brooklyn) & it appears as though they will building a new arena nearby in Long Island, the fans - the hardcore fans - essentially forced the hand of the organization & the NHL to have half this season’s home games - 20ish, at the Old Barn. The fans miss the camaraderie, the togetherness, the joy of rooting together w the traditions. . At the Coliseum, there is only one main entrance for cars, creating a major traffic jam as we pull up. There is only one concourse for both levels. The bathrooms lines wrap for football fields down. There are only a few concession stands. The Jumbotron looks like a 20” TV compared to most stadiums & arenas in 2018. And the only “luxury seats” are the old school sky boxes affixed to the top of the arena, resembling 10x10 jail cells. The rest of the seats are all ON TOP of the ice traditional seats, way too close together for “comfort.” . But you know what? It’s home. It’s community. And the fans who come to these games wouldn’t want to watch a game anywhere else. . #SameHere🤙 #5in5 #OneTeam #Tribe #iRel8 #tradition #community #hockey #coliseum #islanders #home

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I mentioned my long term friend living up Canada who called me in a panic, going through a major MH crisis, in our “stories” section yesterday. . Though this friend ASKED me to share this story to help others, immediately, & though those of us in their friend circle know what’s going on, I’m going to try to be vague, yet descriptive at the same time, so as to still maintain some level of anonymity. . Whether male or female, let’s call this friend “Sheri.” I got a panicked call from Sheri yesterday morning coming off my return plane flight from Cleveland. “She” told me after all these yrs, I was one of the few who would understand how trauma had affected her. She went on to reveal a major abuse that went on in her life, at the age of 12, that she hadn’t told anyone about, till now. A horrific abuse where she was taken advantage of. . She felt she was a nobody, who wasn’t teaching her kids the right way to express emotion, bc for so many yrs, she had been covering up, & living a “lie.” . I let her tell me all, & quickly realized she wasn’t in the right mindset to be 1) working (as she had forced herself in to cover for someone at her office on this wknd), nor 2) on her own. . Despite this, once we were on the phone, she started walking in her town, & I could tell this was not the “having it all together” friend I’d known way back when. There were bits of mania & grandiose thoughts/comments, & bits of major depression/thoughts of self-harm. She was not communicating very well w her spouse at the moment, & so after getting off the phone, & asking her to check-in w me every 30 min, I did some research w some Canadian friends, & decided to call the police station in her town. . I was floored by how well trained they were: they got me to the right dept immediately. They asked all the right questions. The officer was preparing to travel w a trained counselor, & based on the description I gave of my convo w Sheri, they were planning to pick her up & take her to a psych ward last night. . I heard from them last night, that they found her at the location I gave, & she was admitted. (⬅️remainder) . #SameHere #Drugs #Alcohol #Substances #Abuse #Trauma #Friends #Family #5in5

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After coming back from my 2.5 yrs of hell, I’ve described getting my abilities back as akin to feeling like it’s Game 7 of your favorite team’s playoff series, every day. Everything is heightened. . While this was/is true for getting my cognitive abilities back, it wasn’t (& still isn’t) true for getting emotional abilities/feelings back. There was such a numbness I felt at my darkest - just a vast sea of nothingness, that I’m not surprised that emotions have taken so long to return - at least to a level where I’m am “content.” Lack of emotions suck! . I enjoy being a student of most anything to improve how we feel (last month it was Qigong in Indonesia). I like to learn myself what works, & to hopefully share that on the road, &/or w you all on these platforms. I don’t take for granted how fortunate I am that practitioners will offer a trial of a practice they champion, to see how I react/improve & if it’s worth recommending as a formal “TSRR” practice on our website. . With that as a background, I’ve just begun a course (online, w a daily 20 min practice), on what this practitioner refers to as “Emotional Flatlining.” For those who swim in the MH space, it’s a more polite way of saying anhedonia. This particular practitioner developed this strategy based on her own lived experience - the symptoms of which are described below/next pg & resonate profoundly w me. For this #SameHere🤙 Symptoms feature, I’m pulling quotes from her materials. For those going thru the same - I hope you find it comforting to know you’re far from alone. For those helping others going thru something right now, hopefully this will better paint the pic of what your friend/fam member may be feeling (or not ;)). . This is why depression is NOT just sadness. I describe depression as a “lack of.” Her course is abt retraining the emotional center connections in our brains...& I look forward to sharing how well it works for me in the coming months. Her raw symptoms explained: . “I felt absolutely nothing positive. I lost interest in everything & everyone. I couldn’t enjoy hobbies, vacations (⬅️slides for her experience): . #SameHere🤙 #Symptoms #anhedonia #flatline #gray #Emotions #relatable

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Today’s #SameHere🤙Hero: @bebravewithme . Being brave is exactly what this young woman, Emily, does here by what she shares in her story. Wow! This is as raw as it gets: talking about having to act around certain ppl she wasn’t close with, the painful divorce of her parents, emotional sexual abuse, moving to another country & away from her family, lack of connections w her therapist. And all the while she walks us through the details of the feelings she had at each step of the way – & how she now works daily, on herself & wanting to help others. Very relatable on so many levels. Please help us welcome her to the Heroes. . “I never got good grades in drama class. My teacher told me I was never going to succeed at acting. I wish she could have seen me through the years & the great actress I’ve became. For years I’ve hidden my true emotions, maybe not from those really close to me, but to the majority of people around me. It’s not just a smile, but I appear very much the extrovert in social situations. It’s not that that’s not me; it’s that that’s not the whole of me & I keep another side very hidden. . I was 13 when my parents told me they were splitting up. I remember the conversation as if it were yesterday & imagining the scene still recreates the raw emotions. Divorce is never going to be easy but my parents had a messy breakup. I felt very isolated & didn’t know who I could talk to as my parents were going through their own grief. I had to be this big strong person & hold things together. But I was 13. That is a lot for a 13 year old to take on. I wanted attention from my world that was falling apart. . I had a large social crowd & many friends growing up. I fell ‘in love’ at a very young age. Why is it in quotations? Because it is a very different love to what I now know to be true. But at the time this boy was my life. And he treated me badly. He cheated on me over & over & I would always take him back. Instead of realizing his immaturity, it just made me question myself. Was I not good enough / pretty enough / funny enough? This spiraled into a world of wanting male attention (profile 🔗⬆️4 remainder). . #SameHere🤙 #Divorce #Moving #sexulabuse #therapy