Gaining Through Gaming

Video games are a widely popular spare activity for individuals, as well as a complaint for many parents. Video games can definitely be a time filler, an escape, or some may even call them a distraction. If not careful, just like any other activity, if not done in moderation, it can impact a person’s life adversely. But, for the most part, and for the sake of this post, let’s focus on the benefits. Hand/eye coordination, mental stimulation and focus/concentration,and emotional support, just to name a few.

    I have a handful of clients who turn to video games as a means of coping with life’s stressors. It gives them something else to focus on outside of their world. It is an aspect they feel can be controlled, especially if the same can’t be said about their life. They also offer a community of support amongst other gamers. Verizon, the mobile service, has taken notice of this fact, and is trying to make an impact. Particularly, they are reaching out to veterans. They have created a gaming tournament, which is going into its second year. Last year $30,000 was raised and donated to 4 military charities. This year, the goal is $100,000. The tournament starts on August 8. So, to learn more about the tournament and/or to learn how to donate, visit the below link.

Space Of Grace

Counseling/Therapy seeks to provide a space where people can feel free to talk about their most inner thoughts. This consists of disclosing fears, concerns, situational problems, etc. Counseling/Therapy is a vehicle that drives a person to create change within themselves by recognizing ways to address/cope with the presenting issue (s). It is a place that everyone should have the opportunity to engage in, if desired, especially during hard times, such as the current pandemic.

         With that said, I believe it is a good thing that a bipartisan bill was introduced to the Colorado House of Representatives on April 6, 2021. It was HB21-1258. The bill seeks to provide individuals under the age of 18, temporary mental health support, through 3 free sessions with a mental health professional. The program would run through June 2022. 

      There is recognization that a lot of people are struggling right now, especially our youth. They are/have been experiencing a lot of changes that they may not understand why or know how to communicate their feelings regarding the uncertainty. Services can either be in person or virtual, and the clinician would be reimbursed for the service, through a $9,000,000 budget. 

           There are opponents asking a valid question, but what happens after the 3 sessions? They believe 3 sessions are enough, which may be true. However, 3 sessions are a great start and are better than no service than all. A lot can happen in those 3 sessions, such as having their voice heard, creating coping strategies, and giving the message, that counseling/therapy is ok. As the National  Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) promotes, “It is ok not to be ok.” They erase the stigma of seeking mental health support, to which I believe this bill does as well. It can reach populations who would not otherwise seek out these services. What do you think? Are you in support of the bill? Tweet @walking_the talk to let me know.

You can learn more about the bill at:

What Are Your Biases?

Biases, we all have them, whether they be conscious or unconscious. The important thing is what a person does with those biases and if they are of concern to them or not. To me, biases are preconceived notions that a person has, which leads to tendencies, feelings, opinions, etc. towards a particular person/group. Teacher, police officers, human service workers, business owners; you name it, people of all professions exhibit biases, including doctors, which this post will address.
Doctors, the person to whom we trust to take care of the most important worldly possession, our health. We literally put our lives in their hands, hoping that they will do the best for us. So, what about those biases? What if a doctor puts those biases on their patients? Again, this can be unintentional. I will tell you what can happen, there can be a growing mistrust of the healthcare system, thus a decline in care. Or, on the flip side, there can be a lack of quality of care given by the doctor.
This year, a CNN article reported on a Harvard Medical School study that was conducted about the patient relationship among doctors and those with disabilities. More than 82% of doctors surveyed reported they believe individuals with significant disabilities have a poorer quality of life than those without disabilities.
The researchers said the degree of this widespread belief is “disturbing.” The study found that 56% of doctors said they would welcome patients with disabilities into their practice. Hmmmm, I didn’t realize that someone with a disability could be refused treatment based on this factor, especially with the ADA. In my life, I have had doctors openly admit they don’t have familiarity with Hydrocephalus, my medical condition. To which in the study, 40.7% of doctors said they were “very confident” in providing the same quality of service to those with disabilities, as their non disabled counterparts. But, never have I been refused treatment. The same goes for my blindness.
Some steps that need to be taken from this study are first, recognition that there is a problem, biases present. If this happens, then there can be corrective measures taken so that those biases don’t show up in an interaction. Making sure that all patients are asked the same questions, offered the same patient education, and overall, given the same care.
Secondly, providing curriculum that gives doctors the opportunity to learn about varying disabilities and how it impacts “quality of life.” I believe hearing first hand about these conditions, as well as being given the opportunity to do home studies and hear what it is like for a person with a disability to navigate their life can be helpful. I participated in a year long self advocacy fellowship through the LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities) Program, where medical professionals of various disciplines learned about intellectual/developmental disabilities, which included hearing from the patients themselves. It was a great learning experience for myself and them, as it was self reported.
Finally, simply take the time to ask the patient how they can be best served. Actually, all patients should be asked this question, as one size does not fit all. Be present, be understanding, and be aware.

Gaining Another Perspective

For those who tune into podcasts, you know there are many to choose from, in a variety of topics. In fact, I have several that I subscribe to, and sometimes fall behind in listening to all of the episodes. I scroll down the list, and once one piques my interest, I just click subscribe. An, that is how it gets started with the steady stream of episodes that flood my podcast app. Podcasts are addicting because it allows me insight into someone else’s world; enabling me to learn something new about them or whatever piece of wisdom they are sharing. Below are 5 that made my top list. What are yours?

  1. Unlocking Us With Brrené Brown ~ Known for helping people navigate relationships with themselves and others, this podcast continues on the same path. It introduces us to various celebrities, as they embark on their own self discovery and/or are pondering various societal topics.
  2. Dear Sugars ~ Continuing on the trend of navigating relationships with one’s self and others, this podcast asks and answers the most pressing topics that people are facing. It is an advice podcast that is relatable, in a. Soothing, calming way. There are no new episodes, but several to keep you listening for a while.
  3.   Straight Up With Trent Shelton ~ Keeping it real, while offering a dose of inspiration, former football player, Trent, is making an impact off the field.
  4. The Moth. ~ A platform for true storytellers across the US, The Moth is a platform for others to share their raw experiences. No notes or scripts, the time limited stories gives the listeners a glimpse of another’s experiences.
  5. Checking In With Michelle Williams ~ Moving from singing to podcasting, singer, Michelle, and her friends, talking about navigating mental health in today’s society. They tackle the topic of mental health through candid self disclosures, as well as celebrity interviews.  

20 In 20

We are about to depart from  our wild ride on 

the twister, called, 2020. Below are 20 words to sum up this year.

  • Confusion
  • Doubtful
  • Frustration
  • Anger
  • Mistrust
  • Unsettled
  • Ally
  • Understanding
  • Dialogue
  • Division
  • Fear
  • Hopelessness
  • Caution
  • Grief
  • Sadness
  • Relentless
  • Chaotic
  • Skepticism
  • Resiliency

And… number 20 is, nightmare. However, every nightmare must come to an end, where we will wake up and realize the bad dream is over.