Walking The Talk Blog

Take Five

Take 5

Today, across the world, it is known as World Mental Health Day. Paying attention to the fact, that it is ok not to be ok. The important thing is recognizing and dealing with your feelings/experiences as they arise, and not pushing them down inside. This is important because what goes down must eventually come back up, if not resolved. So, take 5. When you are feeling anxious, sit with those feelings and figure out where they are coming from. While doing that take some deep breaths; in for a count of 4 and out for a count of 5. As you are taking those breaths, where are you feeling your anxiety; stomach, hands, chest? Knowing your body is important because that is how you know when you are feeling triggered, anxious, etc. 

Keep doing the breathing until you feel your anxiety subside. The more you do this, the easier and natural it becomes, when under stress. The aim is to recognize the anxiety before it comes full blown and is hard to navigate and get out of. I know, I know, as I have been told by some clients, easier said than done. It will take time with practice, not impossible. So, give it a try!

America’s Recovery

            October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Every year there is a theme that summarizes the focus of the current year. Employment opportunities for those with disabilities have been an ongoing barrier for decades, preventing these individuals from showcasing their skills. For some the remote work during the pandemic has created a more level playing field, while for others it has been more of a systemic barrier. The fact is wherever a person lies on this spectrum, individuals with disabilities tend to be left behind when it comes to policy efforts.

         With the America’s Recovery theme, it is saying don’t forget about us, those with disabilities. Make sure that this population, just like the other demographics, are included in the employment recovery efforts and community engagement. Remember, individuals with disabilities are not just a statistic, but are productive members of society, who are waiting to contribute. To read more about Disability Awareness Month, check out the U.S. Department Of Labor website at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/odep/initiatives/ndeam    

Beyond The Human Eye Part II

         I was looking at news and blog articles on google, as I regularly do, and came across one from a student who attends Harvard. The student is a blind individual, who said she chose Harvard to attend because she thought it would be inclusive. She had this impression because of the school’s DEI messages of embracing all. But, what exactly is inclusivity? Does it mean simply having representation of particular marginalized groups in the organization/school? If so, what about treatment because it should not just stop there. Actions speak louder than words. Reading this article, and listening to some of the individuals who I offer therapy to, there is still that mindset that people with disabilities need to be helped verses included. People with disabilities are human and enjoy social activities, conversations, etc. Don’t count us out. Not sure what to say? How about hi or what is your name, verses just asking, can I help you? Who knows, you just might have something in common. Again, don’t count us out. To hear the opinion of the student from Harvard that I mentioned above, check out this link https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2021/10/20/costabel-i-would-not-date-a-blind-person/

Beyond The Human Eye

As decades go by, accessibility options for individuals with disabilities have improved. They still have a long way to go, but definitely have improved. In terms of entertainment, now it is the norm to be able to attend movie theaters with audio description and closed captioning, talking tv’s and remote features, etc. These types of features offer more independence. There are also various apps and phones that offer enhanced capabilities and opportunities as well. 

         So, with technology evolving, what about the human mind? The world can have all of the technology, but it also takes acceptance and empathy to be able to enjoy the advances. It is said that it is not necessarily the disability itself that can be hard, but rather people’s attitudes. People with disabilities are for the most part still not seen as equal counterparts. This remains true in the employment sector, as well as social arenas, such as relationships. Particularly, dating.

           Going back to entertainment, there have been popular television shows modeled off the experiences with disabilities, but again, it is the population that is misunderstood and often left out. Such shows include Dating In The Dark and Love Is Blind. Yet when it comes to being outside of the camera, where is that same interest and enthusiasm to get to know someone who has experienced these things? Or, for that matter, what about getting to know someone outside of their disability? It is one part of their identity, not all encompassing. Food for thought, treat others as you would want to be treated.

Finding A Friend In Yourself

Finding A Friend In Yourself

    Happy Friendship Day! It is a time where we pay special gratitude to those friends in our life who have been there for you through thick and thin. A person to whom you can count on for support. You trust your friend (s), offer compassion, confidence, loyalty, and as mentioned before, support. You don’t want to see your friend get hurt, and will stand up for him/her if that happens. If you are the one who has hurt your friend, you are quick to apologize, and try to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

    So, with all of the care you take with your friend (s), how come you don’t provide that same grace to you? It is time that you start treating yourself the way you do with your friend (s). You deserve it. You deserve to be kind to yourself. You are the one person you spend the most time with, so make that time pleasurable by being gentle. Talk to yourself the way you would talk to your friend because we all should be our own friend anyway. The next time you get the urge or find yourself having negative self talk, just think, would I say that to… (Friend’s name)? Chances are the answer will be no, so flip that negative self talk around to something that you would say to a friend.