6/10/21: Giving More Value To Lived Experiences

I had an experience the other day that prompted this post…& that’s typically the case…I draw from current events in my own life, & hope that the experiences are applicable to many of you.

Being in this space for 3yrs now, I’ve gotten to meet some absolutely incredible ppl. There are so many of you, brave warriors out there, who’ve been thru hell, & are doing all you can to share & help others. There are also those who aren’t yet ready to share, but you do an incredible job staying engaged, rooting each other on, even sending us DMs abt relevant topics & posts you see elsewhere, to help move the convo fwd. I must add there are some amazing docs/professionals who say – the old way/way we learned in school isn’t working, we must all come together w ideas, for change.

All that taken together, there’s an ARMY of folks out there, w lived experiences (& some open-minded experts), at all diff levels, ready to mobilizing or abt to, in the hopes of sharing & helping others.

Until recently, you fine folks, are all I’d encountered: here in blogs sharing ideas, at events coming up & asking how to get involved, on conference calls w new technologies that you hope can help ppl…it’s been so collaborative & inspiring.

While there may not always be 100% agreement on the paths fwd, the teamwork & desire to help, is pretty special.

Then, earlier this wk happened. I was on a panel (won’t mention names) where the topic was mostly centered arnd suicide, & most/all of the presenters were Psychologists & Researchers who’ve been doing this work for DECADES.

Here was the common theme: There’s no “data” to show that stress/trauma create thoughts of self harm. No impact seen under microscope of neurons not firing or imbalances endured…so let’s stop the narrative abt “neurobiological changes” being a big piece of the self-harm/harm to others puzzle.

Actually the most common explanation as to why ppl suicide (according to these experts), was “culture” making it “acceptable” to suicide.

If you know me & how I like to debate, I freaked out at these ideas. We have docs/researchers, who say there is NO science to neurobiological changes, so dismissing the architectural impacts on the CNS? As folks researching to slow down & stop suicides from happening, do they not realize that a narrative that: culture makes ppl CHOOSE suicide (which btw I think is so off), brings MORE shame to suicide, & likely results in higher suicide rates? Do they realize that they are downplaying neurobiological changes bc they don’t see the “science” but when I pressed them to prove/show me the data that culture causes folks to choose suicide, they didn’t have ANY concrete evidence?

Here’s the thing: the old way isn’t working! These folks have been in these roles for decades, & the trends keep getting WORSE. No it’s not all their fault. But it is time to listen to ALL these ppl who have lived experiences, millions now opening up (so we have a much larger sample to ask) who can explain what’s happening in their brain, & how they felt the impulses they did. I’m sorry: changes to the vagus nerve, cellular inflammation, hormonal imbalances, ALL things stress & trauma cause…then leading to things like ruminating thoughts & cognitive impairments…and these experts are dismissing how life events impact our architecture leading to thoughts of self harm & harm to others? We need to listen to PEOPLE & not just experts. Experiences (especially when there are so many commonalities) have so much value we can’t just dismiss.

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