The Month of November (“Movember”) Spotlights Men’s Mental Health
The cruel irony of the worldwide pandemic is that we’re all in it together and yet, at the same time, we’re isolated and distanced from one another.
But the pandemic isn’t only about isolation, it’s also about a new level of vigilance and the anxiety that may come with it. What risks are we taking if we go to the store or the doctor or a restaurant with outdoor seating? Are we being careful enough with our social distancing and our mask-wearing? Do we need to get tested and, if so, where? What happens if we’re diagnosed positive or get ill? These are some of the concerns that we cannot resolve until the pandemic is over and, right now, we don’t know when that will be. It certainly seems like it’s taking forever!
In this month of Movember, I would say to men—who are often less willing to communicate their feelings than women–don’t be afraid to reach out. There are doubtless many others who are feeling as isolated and anxious as you and who would be grateful for contact.
Take advantage of the technology we have at hand. In addition to texting and phone calls, there are various ways of connecting via video, including Zoom, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facetime, to name a few. Video calls may not take the place of in-person interaction but they still can provide a comforting alternative.
If you live alone, see if you can find “buddies” who are available to visit out-of-doors, socially distanced, with masks on. You may not be able to give hugs or handshakes but in-person communication can be very helpful in maintaining a feeling of connection.
If you have family members or roommates, they already can provide a base group of interaction and support. And, with proper testing and/or isolation, it may possible to find other groups of “pandemic pals” who you’d feel comfortable seeing socially and who would provide a larger network of relationships.
And, in the meantime, if you want to grow a moustache as a visible reminder of your concern with men’s health—more power to you!
C.J. Hayden, in her book Get Clients Now! (pp.114-115, 2013 edition), has some good advice about NEGATIVE SELF-TALK:
“Negative self-talk is one of the biggest obstacles you must overcome to achieve success. Everyone has an inner critic (yes, everyone!) but some people manage it better than others…To begin managing your inner critic, here are some steps to follow:
- Raise your awareness. You may have a particular behavior pattern that manifests itself when the inner critic is active, such as procrastinating, avoiding people or projects, or being distracted by trivial interruptions…When you notice any of these possible signs of negative self-talk, pause to listen to the conversation.
- Take responsibility. Once you have a catalog of your inner critic’s greatest hits, be aware that you can choose to change the music…Begin by constructing a fair and accurate response to each of the messages you typically hear and use your response whenever you notice it…Learning to manage negative self-talk is an attainable skill; the only requirement is that you be willing to try.
- Practice self-management. Learning any new skill takes practice, and managing your inner critic is no exception…Over time, you will become more skilled at hearing negative messages in “real time,” and be better able to respond immediately. If you use this process consistently, the messages will begin to lose their power over you because you will stop believing them.”
This is troubling news: Today, February 7, HRC issued the following statement after Bermuda’s Governor John Rankin signed legislation into law repealing marriage equality. Under the guise of passing domestic partnership benefits, the new law strips loving same-sex Bermudan couples of the right to marry.
The full article is here: http://www.hrc.org/blog/bermuda-governor-John-Rankin-signs-bill-repealing-marriage-equality
Here’s an interesting article about what makes creative folks tick. I’m particularly intrigued by #5 (they create in cycles) and #14 (they have a hard time believing in themselves). What do you think?
It has been a pleasure to see two new gay-affirmative films, God’s Own Country and Call Me by Your Name. I love the characters because they are not gay stereotypes but are instead complex, thoughtful, passionate human beings. The films blur the typical binary distinctions between straight and gay, challenging us to think of sexual behavior in more nuanced terms. And, in both films, the lovers are met with support and understanding from their families.
It is also extremely gratifying that audiences and critics alike have embraced these films. God’s Own Country recently won Best Picture at the British Independent Film Awards and Josh O’Connor, the picture’s lead, won Best Actor. Call Me by Your Name has received Golden Globe and Chicago Drama Critics Award Nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor for Timothy Chalamet, and Best Supporting Actor for Armie Hammer.
I’m happy to announce that my business, Brian Carpenter Therapy, has just been certified as an LGBT Business Enterprise (LGBTBE®) through the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) Supplier Diversity Initiative.
I’m now nationally recognized as a diverse supplier by the NGLCC, its organizational allies, and corporate partners, joining the growing ranks of over 800 certified LGBTBEs.
That makes me eligible to participate in the NGLCC’s corporate partners’ supplier diversity programs, take advantage of the educational opportunities promoted by the NGLCC, and work to foster business to business relationship with other LGBTBEs.
(The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce is the business voice of the LGBT community and is the largest global not-for-profit advocacy organization specifically dedicated to expanding economic opportunities and advancements for LGBT people. NGLCC is the exclusive certification body for LGBT-owned businesses.)
I had a very good time last night at Dr. Sue Johnson’s presentation on Emotionally Focused Therapy for couples. Sue is a wonderful speaker, very relaxed with a nice sense of humor, who admits to being “obsessed” with her subject. Her depth of expertise is apparent and she communicates a complex subject very effectively.
Among the things I learned from Sue are that a couple’s communication skills, although valuable, are not necessarily enough to improve a couple’s long-term relationship. What can result in lasting change is a couple’s ability to be vulnerable with each other by getting in touch with and expressing their emotions. If they can do so, they can satisfy their basic human need to be connected to their partner and create a healthier, more gratifying relationship.
Congratulations to the Southern California Counseling Center–celebrating its 50th anniversary of providing affordable health care to our community–for sponsoring the event. And thanks to those who showed at the Renberg Theatre to make sure everything went smoothly, including Clay Crosby, Gail Wilburn, Jonathan Vicksburg, Marisa Ice, and Mojgan Farazian.
Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of attending the Models of Pride conference at USC, sponsored by the Los Angeles LGBT Center. It involved hundreds of LGBT teens, their parents, allies, and associated professionals.
The conference offered dozens of workshops covering a variety of teen and LGBT issues. In the workshops I attended, I learned (1) about working with teens, (2) about dealing with specific LGB and T issues, and (3) how to talk to teens about sex—and some important things to tell them!
Congratulations to the LA LGBT Center on a very successful event. Thanks for bringing us all together for an educational and stimulating day!
The LA Gay & Lesbian Center is sponsoring the 24th Annual Models of Pride Conference on October 29.
I’m looking forward to attending in support of LGBT youth!
Happy National Coming Out Day! Congratulations to all LGBT folks who exercise the power to be yourselves!
Sometimes you may just need to take time off, perhaps in solitude or perhaps in the company of others who support or inspire you. Or you may need space, perhaps in a familiar, comfortable place, or possibly in a new environment that may excite and stimulate you.
Are you a creative person? Be kind to yourself. Trust yourself and your creativity. Know that creativity ebbs and flows. Give yourself the gifts of time and space without judgment.