A Summer of Self-Care, Drama and Normalizing

Welcome to Season 2 of No Need to Explain with the Mental Health Mamas! We are back after a summer of self-care...with a little drama mixed in. Listen in as we share about some unexpected trauma along with a summer full of mental health stories in the news.

Notes and Mentions

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Serena: Hey Everyone, I’m Serena.

Tina: And I’m Tina and we are the Mental Health Mamas.


Serena: Welcome to No Need to Explain, we are so glad you’re here.

Tina: First, as always, a quick disclaimer.

Serena: We come to you NOT as mental health professionals or experts in the field, but rather as the parents of kids who struggle with their emotional health.

Tina: If you or someone you love is experiencing a mental health crisis, please seek professional support. You’ll find a variety of resources in our show notes and on our website, NoNeedToExplainPodcast.com.

Tina: Serena, we are BACK!!

Serena: Yes! After a summer of what was supposed to be focused on self-care, right?

Tina: Ah, we made that self-care book and yes, we were supposed to be focused on self-care. Yeah. The self-care workbook, by the way, is still available if you are interested in working through it even after summer. I personally need to revisit the workbook at this point.

Serena: Yeah. So Tina, why don’t you share a bit about your summer with our listeners?

Tina: I will do that but let’s outline this episode for you a bit before we go into that.

Serena: Sure. We have had a summer filled with ideas and opportunities to discuss and normalize mental health. Mental health is a topic that has been popping up in the news as it always seems to in our lives!

Tina: Right?! So on the episode today, we’ll cover some of the topics from the summer but first, I will share some of my struggles this summer. Is that ok?

Serena: Perfect.

Tina: A little extra therapy for this session today?

Serena: Yeah. Let’s do it.

Tina: So for our loyal listeners, you know that I have been moving and moving and moving since April of this past year.

Serena: So, how many moves is that for you now?

Tina: Oh gosh. I don’t have enough digits, I don’t think but... So I’ve moved at least three times this summer alone! And thankfully this last one is it for a while. And in the midst of moving, I was in a terrible car crash.

Serena: Yeah. I will share a bit of this from my perspective too to say that, on that day, my oldest child and I had just returned home from her third attempt to pass her road test...which she passed!

Tina: Hooray for her!

Serena: Yes. We’re excited for her. So we had just gotten home and my phone rang...and Tina, it was you! I was really excited to answer the call because you were in town for a visit and we were planning to get together.

Tina: And we did get together, just not how we planned to get together.

Serena: Right, I answered the phone only to hear you on the other end crying and not really making sense.

Tina: Yeah. I had just been hit head on by what I assume was a distracted driver who crossed directly into my lane on a two-lane road. I was so thankful for Siri who was able to summon Serena immediately. And I can imagine that I didn’t make any sense at all!

Serena: Yeah well, thankfully we creep on each other on our phones, you know, track each other, and I was able to find Tina because I don’t know how I would have found her otherwise. AND it sounds like there were a lot of helpers there for you.

Tina: Yes. And to quote Mr. Rogers, one of my favorites, I looked for and am so thankful for all of the helpers. And that said, what I really want to talk about is how I got through the trauma of my experience.

Serena: Right. I’m so glad that you are OK and continuing to heal from the accident and we know that this kind of direct threat to our safety is traumatic. Honestly for me, even seeing the wreck after was traumatic. So, tell me Tina, what has helped you through this summer?

Tina: Yeah so I was really struggling and then I started talking with my BetterHelp therapist who is AWESOME! And I am seriously not kidding or just randomly plugging BetterHelp. I am a BetterHelp subscriber. My therapist Mary is awesome! She has worked very intentionally with me on strategies to help me through. And I’ve appreciated the very concrete tools to add to my toolbox. Perhaps I will share them at some point because they’re very useful to a lot of people. And I can now think about the crash and not relive it every time. For a while, and I am not sure if this makes sense, when I thought about the accident or talked about it, I got very light headed and dizzy.

Serena: You know, that makes perfect sense. It sounds like your body was responding to the memory of the trauma and you were entering into fight or flight just like you experienced during the accident.

Tina: Yes. That does make sense. And I cannot express how thankful I am that you were there to help me. Yeah. Thank you is not enough. And I’m also grateful that I’ve moved to a better place thanks to Mary at BetterHelp. And so I think I’d like to set this aside and move on to some other summer topics. Is that OK?

Serena: So before we do that, can I ask a favor of you?

Tina: Sure.

Serena: Next time you come into town, maybe with a little less drama?

Tina: You know me! Always about the drama. Yeah. Yes Serena, I hope to.

Serena: OK, let’s move on.

Tina: And one very big topic that has surfaced not just this summer but all year has been the mental health of our first responders. As you loyal listeners know, I have two first responder children who care for others every single day and neither of them has a choice to work from home. We all wake up everyday and everyday since the start of the pandemic wonder about vaccination and infection rates and our personal risk and how we will interact in the world. My kids don’t have that choice. And while I acknowledge that there are many front line workers, many frontline workers, my kids are also working the front lines.

Serena: Right. I think about our doctors, our nurses, our healthcare workers, EMTs, all of those frontline workers who have not gotten a break. I can’t imagine their level of exhaustion and burnout. I think we are all tired of this pandemic, but imagine the frontline workers and they just have to keep going back, right?

Tina: They do and it’s not only about the pandemic, right? It’s about the wildfires, it’s about the flooding, it’s, there’s so, so many things and as I say, I am grateful for those helpers and I worry about their mental health. And without saying a whole lot more or getting political which is really hard to do when we’re talking about this stuff, my wish is for us to think about choice from a human perspective. We are all humans living on the same planet and we need to look out for one another. I heard a very small little girl, maybe 5 or 6, saying that she is staying safe so that she can help others be safe. I am like getting a little emotional just even saying that. So enough on that. Please stay safe everyone and think about others as you proceed in your world.

Serena: Mmm. Yeah, so let’s shift to something that’s been a bit of a hopeful summer topic and talk about the athletes who have been in the news. This summer we had a variety of athletes who spoke openly about their mental health.

Tina: Yes! So refreshing! I saw all these young people, they’re role models for normalizing, right? So many people who are forward facing folks, athletes, artists, musicians, these people have awesomely amazing talents and I can only imagine the pressure it creates when you must constantly perform. And as different as we are personality-wise, having that public persona can be a real challenge for some more than others, right?

Serena: Yeah, absolutely. So let’s start with Naomi Osaka who is a superstar tennis player and hopefully everybody’s heard of her by now. And the story that came up a few months ago, where she refused to appear for a news conference and was fined for that. A bit later she came out with a statement about her mental health and that she needed to take care of herself and just couldn’t face another news conference.

Tina: Yeah. So again, I cannot imagine the pressure of being a superstar athlete. I’m clearly not a superstar athlete. The amount of physical and mental conditioning that has to occur is ridiculous, right? And yet, we expect more from these people, often young people who are, as I said before, just incredibly talented. What few sports I have played in my early years, I have had to be both physically fit and have my head in the game to be my best.

Serena: Yeah, that’s such a good point. I do not have a background in sports, but I have a background in music and when I was actively performing as a professional musician, one of the things that I came to realize very quickly is that no matter how prepared you are, if your head is not in the game (or the performance), it’s not gonna go well. So I think about most of these young athletes who have been training their entire lives and they are incredibly talented, but they’re still human.

Tina: Absolutely. So let’s go back to Naomi Osaka for a moment. NBC online, one of the news sources said when this occurred, they reported, The president of the French Tennis Federation, said in a statement Monday that the organization was “sorry and sad for Naomi Osaka," and he called the outcome "unfortunate." and also went on to say, “We wish her the best and the quickest possible recovery," I want you to note she was fined $15,000 for her inability to complete her “Media Obligations” with no consideration for her mental health needs at the time. And it leaves me wondering, and I’m sure you as well Serena, if she had fallen and broken her arm or her leg would people have reacted in the same way? Would they have fined her? And we have happened to look at the fineable things and, hmm, I don’t think they would have fined her.

Serena: Hmm. That’s a good question. Yeah, so speaking of high expectations for athletes let’s talk about the Olympics and Simone Biles.

Tina: Yeah, the pressure that young woman was under to WIN, right? It makes me feel all tense just to think about it!

Serena: And I’m so impressed by these young athletes for taking a stand and asking for what they need to support their mental health.

Tina: And I loved the rallying and support of one another around taking care of your mental health.

Serena: Yeah. So I’d like to share a quote from an NPR article about Simone: “Biles has received an outpouring of support after revealing that she did not feel like she was in a place mentally to compete, and was dealing with a dreaded phenomenon known as the "twisties." She said later that the support "has made me realize I'm more than my accomplishments and gymnastics which I never truly believed before."

Tina: Mmm, I’ve got goosebumps. I love that! Very inspiring. And what we also know is that on top of the pressure of being a past well decorated medalist, golds, bronzes, silvers, she’s got it all, we know that many of these young women have had trauma beyond what any of us could imagine. I am grateful for her strength, maturity, and level headedness in the face of this just extreme pressure, right?

Serena: Yeah. And we appreciate the rally cry from others like Michael Phelps. He and others TOTALLY normalized her struggles and their own struggles. We really hope this is a shift towards a reduction in stigma.

Tina: YES! And we need to remember that mental health is not exclusive to sports, or any particular interest or talent. There are actors and scientists and musicians and teachers and other uber-creative people with brains that work in amazing ways. Can we, Serena, please start to appreciate that we are all people with talents and brains that need tending.

Serena: Absolutely. We’ve said it before and we’re gonna say it again, we ALL have mental health.

Tina: And we will say it again and again and again. So here is your not so gentle reminder that getting help for your emotional health, building that toolbox that we talked about earlier and often for the situation you are in right now is so very important.

Serena: There are mental health resources out there and we encourage you to tend to your mental health needs just like you would for your physical needs.

Tina: We wouldn’t ignore a broken bone . We wouldn’t tell someone with chest pain to “keep your chin up” and tough it through…would we?

Serena: No. We would not. And again, while we are making inroads and progress toward normalizing, we are not there yet. Keep doing your part to normalize. Just talk about it. Help create that safe space for those around you to normalize the conversation.

Tina: Yes. And I remember one of our guests last season saying, you don’t have to be an activist. Around your kitchen table, right?

Serena: Yes.

Tina: Normalize, normalize, normalize! And so podcast friends, we are, as always, grateful for all of you listening and supporting us. You can help us out by visiting Apple podcasts, leave us a review, subscribe and please share with others. You will find more content on our website, NoNeedtoExplainPodcast.com. You will also find our self-care guide which is free. And our email address is there as well and we would love to hear from you by email.

Serena: And this is your gentle reminder to take good care of yourself while you are also taking care of your people.

Tina: Thanks again for listening!

Serena: Bye!