9/19/21: Shifting the Conversation from Labels to Lived Experiences

We spent a ton of time/posts discussing the Simone Biles situation during the Olympics. There were 2 main “camps” of opinions: 1) she’s an absolute hero for prioritizing her MH on a world stage, & 2) she’s a quitter.

Those 2 themes were THE focus, of headlines of every major media outlet…every post from a talking head.

And while it was awesome to see so many celebrate her decision, it was terribly frustrating to see very few, if any, of even those folks in support, discuss the “why.” Why might this young woman – arguably the greatest of all time, have NEEDED to take off from competition.

Back when the story broke, I shared a little bit I was able to find: about how the Larry Nasser incident first affected her. Unable to leave her room for weeks…was afraid at first to share the situation with family members. How she was the only survivor of Nassar’s abuse, on this year’s Olympic team.

And…if we actually go a layer deeper than the headlines…a layer deeper than “prioritizing MH is courageous,” & actually discuss how lived experiences of trauma impact our nuerobiology, we might actually start to educate the masses, change perception, & shift the paradigm.

We might be able to talk about the impact on neural circuitry…the malaise, the loss of fine motor skills…of spatial orientation. How many more would then understand why flipping in the air w those symptoms is literally impossible? How many more would understand how their OWN symptoms they’re feeling, are related to something called their Mental Health?

Instead, the focus even in these athletes & public figures who come out, remains on the disorders. It remains on the labels. It remains on if they should/shouldn’t compete, or perform at a concert, if they have “Mental Health.”

Simone’s testimony shed light on just how much a lived experience impacts us…our daily functioning…our ability to perform. Her testimony once again was a gift. But we as advocates & people who care about the normalization of this convo NEED to talk about “the stuff.”

It’s great more people with platforms are talking. But the connection to trauma & impact on biology still lags. This has to all go together to effect real/lasting change.

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