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It's Okay if You're not Okay podcast: Fidget spinners are a gateway drug

This episode was recorded live on Facebook.

Listen to this episode here.

((Co-hosts talking over each other about fidget spinners, jokes and bloopers, waiting for the episode to start.))

Keith:
Thanks for joining us for another episode. I'm Keith

John:
I'm John.

Renee:
I'm Renee and it's okay if you're not okay.

Keith:
And today we are welcoming special guest Jessica Murphy. Jessica is the team leader for our co-responders at Johnson County Mental Health Center. And she actually had the idea for today's podcast episode: talking about positive reframing in the midst of a pandemic. But before we get into the actual content of our episode, a few of our housekeeping items, first of all, the views and opinions expressed in this podcast do not necessarily represent those of Johnson County Mental Health Center or Johnson County Government. Now you get to see everybody's faces. Also depending on where you are listening or viewing this episode for the very first time, we are live streaming this recording session. So we are all in four different locations and so it couldn't be all together so we thought we might as well just capitalize on that and broadcast live on Johnson County Mental Health Center's Facebook page. So I'm sure there'll be times throughout this episode where we reference things going on during Facebook and then there'll be times that makes more sense listeners who are listening through a podcast app. So we're live now and it will be available on your favorite podcasting app within a few hours after we're done. Also, we will, we will be sharing a transcript shortly thereafter, shortly after the episode concludes. So those of our listeners, followers and viewers who have a harder time hearing can still capture the content. So with all the housekeeping items, let's dive into this. So, uh, Jessica, you, you brought this up just in like kind of an informal conversation that we were having about, , some of the ways that you've experienced this personally. You don't necessarily need to jp there first, the importance of positive reframing during a pandemic.

Jessica:
Yeah, well, I'm, I'm gonna just change a and say positive reframing is always valuable, not just during a pandemic, but I think that it is naturally something that, , we can lean on during a pandemic general. , and so just a quick positive reframe: I get to be a special guest on this awesome podcast, because of all of this happening and this may not have happened otherwise, so it's kind of a neat thing. We were kind of talking about this, I think Renee, I talked about it and Keith and I a little bit, and I'm listening to the last couple of episodes with you all. It just kinda hit me that, you know, positive reframing is something we talk about a lot in our kind of clinical world and it's a skill that I learned earlier on in my career and probably valued the most. And , I think that it's something that we can kind of help people to be more aware of, of what's out there. I think a lot of people do it naturally, some don't do it naturally. And so just kind of bringing more, I guess content to that topic so that people are aware of it. So would it help if I kind of dig into what it is?

Keith:
Yeah, I was, I was just going to open that up because by now we've said positive reframing about six times already. So maybe John or Renee, why don't you jp in and kind of help give us a little definition about what does it mean to positively reframe outside of pandemic when we, when we normally would say that at Johnson County Mental Health Center.

Renee:
take it away John. Okay.

John:
You've got it. You've got it.

Keith:
This is the part we normally edit out when we're not live.

Renee:
Can you remember the class that I was sitting in when they taught the skill of positive reframing as a clinician? And that might sound funky, like teaching that skill, but I, I remember the light bulb moment. , I remember the moment in college where I was, , digging in my thoughts, really challenged with...

Keith:
I think we, we've maybe lost Renee, so John, can you help us out and hopefully Renee will be back soon.

John:
Yes. Yeah. Renee is going to love that frozen look. So I don't know what Renee was going to say, so I'm not claiming to say that so positive reframing, is essentially, , uh, changing the way that you, , are perceiving a situation, , uh, to hopefully impact the way that you feel about that situation.

Renee:
Welcome back. No, I have no clue what just happened, but I got a doorbell sound when I came back in, so you're welcome. Thanks. Uh, okay. John, did you pick up, sorry. Keep going.

John:
Essentially changing the way that you think about a situation to hopefully impact your emotions, your mood or your feelings about what you're going through. Essentially just kind of trying to ignore it, but you guys can add on to that.

Renee:
I love it. It really is simple. Can be as simple as finding a positive in a negative situation.

Keith:
Yeah. So that's really interesting to me. , again, I'm, I'm often the outsider coming in and so I pick up on a more clinical term and then try and connect that to something I've experienced in some way. And so this is, I'm interested to hear kind of your perspectives on how is this the same or different from looking at the bright side of things? , is, is it really the same as that or is there a little bit more intentionality? I mean, like what, how would you differentiate just a positive person from somebody who's good at positively reframing situations?

Renee:
I think we were talking a little bit about this before that there are, there's a lot of lingo that we can use. , so we were talking as a group about the word silver linings in particularly look on the bright side, find the positive. , I think as we progress in the podcast, you're going to hear us talk about those and use those words more often and in different contexts. And so I would say there are similarities in all of them. I think they are absolutely interchangeable at times, but I also think too, we can, we can use them in a not positive way and I think that will come up in the podcast too. So, uh, what, what do you guys think? Is there some similarities in the words kind of out there everyday use?

Jessica:
Uh, I mean, I think that they all have very similar intentions and that who not dwell in the negative. , but again, I think that it, it depends on if you're using it contextually that way and not just like, Oh, look on the bright side. Well that doesn't feel great, you know? , because sometimes it can be hard to switch to the bright side and that's okay too. , but it's a skill that I think any one of us again and try to use to change how we're thinking or feeling about a situation that we might be in.

John:
I think it's a skill that we individually need to use. You can't do it for somebody else. I think we'll take it. We'll touch a little bit on that. But I think that that is the tendency to do is like, Oh, I understand this thing that I use for myself. And so when you are sharing pain or terminal turmoil with me, I'm gonna show you the other side of the coin. There's another one we'll throw in two sides to the same coin, right? There's another stat as well that the good and the bad sit right next to each other, are they?

Keith:
When I've tried to capture this phrase of positive reframing, I think in my mind, I don't see, like, I see those as very similar as these other, these other sayings. But for me, when I use that phrase, I'm using it in a very specific way as, as almost a coping mechanism for lack of better language maybe, but like as an intentional skill that I'm using to help me manage the situation I'm in, where I wouldn't use "look at the bright side" or "being a positive person" or "being optimistic." I wouldn't use those words even though they in practical means they mean the same thing. I wouldn't use those when I'm talking about trying to figure out how to manage, how I'm feeling about a situation. Uh, for me it, using the, the more clinical term helps me identify it as a skill as opposed to a personality trait.

John:
Yeah, definitely, definitely. I think for me this, this really comes true, , or is helpful. , when I'm dealing with a big thing or issue, , it, it helps me to make it more complex. , because I think that so many things are two things at the same time. And, , and I really do think that, uh, when I w when I kinda make a painful or a tough situation or an uncomfortable situation, just one thing, , I'm kind of, I don't know, robbing myself of, of seeing it more clearly. And so I almost do it to kind of sharp, go further into the gray area and kind of sharpen my lens at this experience. So for example, in my quarantine cube episode, I talked about shelter in place as potentially not potentially, but it is, this is collective purpose around a, a global and national crisis that we're in. So, so helping me just like kind of understand that it, it, it's a, it's a bad thing that is uncomfortable but also a good thing at the same time. , I don't know. It takes the edge off of just looking at it in one way.

Keith:
Yeah, that's helpful. For those of you who are joining us for the first time or, , don't listen to the podcast regularly. We have released four episodes these last four weeks specifically talking about mental health and our reflections and experiences on that during the pandemic that we're experiencing. But we have a nber of episodes before that that we'll probably refer back to as well. Uh, just around general practices around mental health and, and important conversations there. So John was mentioning one that, , that we did just recently, uh, uh, I think it was three episodes three episodes ago, that you can check out.

Renee:
So I want to keep, I want to capitalize on this word skill that we keep using. I know that three of us are clinicians here and we have, we have essentially grandfathered Keith in too. The word skill, right, implies that there's gotta be some effort behind it. And so I think there is a differentiation and why while we use the words interchangeably, sometimes you're right, it can be somebody's personality traits to kind of again, find that other side of the coin. Look on the bright side, I want to, I want to challenge at the depth of positive reframe and the skill that that is, is that it's finding opportunity in the positive, not just finding the positive. What is my opportunity to, again, to go back and name-drop myself in my self awareness episode. How, how am I still acknowledging maybe the negative, but then what is my opportunity for growth in the positive? What, or maybe what is my opportunity for growth? , and so again, I want to bring, bring that skill back to it, but I also think opportunity, that was the one word that really came, uh, while you all were talking the opportunity that

Keith:
It really connected to me using the word opportunity made this connection to me about which we've used before as a, , Oh, I've lost, I've lost my technical language now. So, but any case, uh, whatever we used "hope" as before, but, , a, a positive indicator for mental health. There's a, there's a different word, a clinical term that you all can help me with in a second. But I had this experience with my daughter tonight actually. So, , my daughter, she's the oldest of my 27 kids. My mom keeps texting me and saying that I need to tell people I only have four, not really 27, but my 27 kids, my oldest one, she will be 10 in June. She is social butterfly, everybody's friend. She's never met a stranger. And so this, this time has been really difficult for her. And so today, so she has, a group from church, a group of girls from church that she's a part of, and they played Minecraft together for the first time, today. And it didn't work at all. It was awful, uh, technology wise. But, , she made a connection with one of the girls in the group that she wasn't connecting with very much before, who invited her to play Minecraft again tomorrow. And so tonight before bed, my daughter said, "I am so excited I have this time for tomorrow because it gives me something to look forward to and tomorrow doesn't have to be just another day where we stay home and have to work from home." And so there was, there is a sense of "okay we're home" - and she didn't use this term and I'm applying and adding more onto her - But if we weren't home she would not get to play Minecraft with this new friend she made and she wouldn't get to play Minecraft with them in the middle of the day, in the middle of the week because they would both be at school. And so, that hope though gave her something to look forward to and it changed her attitude now because she was able to see the positive and hopeful for experiencing that tomorrow.

Renee:
We talked Keith, obviously previous episode alert again about, you know, when we get stuck in those places and sometimes our mental health symptoms are really at a peak, especially, uh, depression. And I think, , just my world right now, the isolation that we, that some of us are experiencing, I can definitely relate to a increase in depression. But we talked about the word the fore-shortened sense of future, right? What do I have to look forward to tomorrow? And so this is where the positive reframe can talk about this is when we get from A to B. Cause if we've got B to look forward to, if we have an opportunity of B, , then that, that gives us hope. That's the hope for tomorrow. And your kiddo just found her hope for tomorrow and that's really powerful for mental wellness. Yeah. Powerful.

John:
Those personal stories about that, that you just shared, Keith, that that, that maybe some of us also have are really helpful. Those, those really make this kind of come to life. Does anybody else have one?

Speaker 1:
((Co-hosts talking over each other and laughing))

Keith:
Okay. So John gave Jessica a soft pitch to share this really cool story.

Jessica:
Okay, soI happen to be one of those that is a #CoronaBride. , right now. Never thought that I would be hashtag bubble. , but I am, I don't think hashtag was actually a word, but anyway, , so uh, my fiance and I were supposed to get married April 18th is you guys all know of course. And , when uh, COBIT hit we had to postpone pretty quickly cause you know, we weren't allowed to do the large gatherings and we actually made that decision very early on because we did not, we really valued who was coming versus the date we were getting married and we just happened like pick that date out of the blue. So it wasn't a special date by any means. , and I've had so many people reach out and just ask how I'm doing. You guys all included. It's been really nice to have that level of support from folks. But, , honestly it's not been the worst thing. , I don't love planning a wedding twice. I will tell you that as a planner, even, I don't be a twice. , but the thing is that we've actually been able to change it. And so, you know, , during the planning process, you're like, if I could do that again, if I could, you know. And so we've taken it as that opportunity and that was really Larry who kind of pushed me to that side of things of like we said, you know, this is something that we wanted to do different if, you know, hindsight, , cause we get caught up in that planning moment. And so, , we ended up needing to switch venues, , which we are sad to not be at our original, but found another one that we also really like and we're going to be able to end up saving, , a significant amount of money with all the changes. Uh, and then it's on August 8th, which is double infinity. So that's a really positive thing. National happiness as well. So it's like, so we're trying to focus on all of those, you know, little positives that's happened from an unfortunate situation and there are a lot of Corona brides who maybe didn't have, , those experiences the same as I did. And I, I understand that, you know, it's stressful and overwhelming for folks, but , that's helped me at least get through it is trying to find those little things throughout the whole process.

John:
Yeah. So in some ways positive reframe gives you a little bit of control over an uncontrollable situation. Is the perception of control even better than nothing, right. Yeah, I think it is.

Renee:
Thank you. That is a really personal story and thank you for sharing that. , yeah, just thank you for that. I appreciate it. I think your story though also articulates one more. Again, like next level you are just super, Mario's going to the Bowser's castle. , not only did you guys positively reframe and you've found that hope you took action on it, like in that again takes a lot of that, that, that space of mental wellness going. We are, this is true, this is true. We are canceling, we are changing. We are not experiencing this on April 18th, but we are also planning something new and taking those action steps and action steps are sometimes the hardest in the clinical world because it is easy for me to stay in my head. I can think positively all day long. And when I start doing, , I think that it again, another level of that mental wellness to encourage yourself, uh, to the skill is there, but you have to, we all individually have to put forth that effort to seize the opportunity when we can, if we can and ask for help. Hmm. Thanks for sharing.

Keith:
I think what's cool too about that story and what's helpful in this in a sense. Yes. Got it. I know that you said that your fiance is to kind of helped push you to get to that place, but it also wasn't, uh, like your friends saying, uh, well, "Hey, at least this," and I think John mentioned it before, that you have to reframe that yourself. Somebody else can't reframe it for you. Let's talk about that a little bit. What, what can happen when we try and start to reframe things for other people?

John:
Yeah. The pitfalls of reinforced or not reinforcement, but reframing. Yes.

Renee:
Yeah. I'd like to take a poll for anybody that's hosting right now or watching on Facebook who has tried to fix, fix someone and succeeded. Raise your hand please.

Keith:
Well, so Renee, that's not, so when you encourage people to comment on Facebook, you need to something that they actually can say yes to.

Renee:
Who was trying to fix someone and it's failed miserably. I want to see all the yeses in the comments

Keith:
Tell us a time that someone tried to fix you and put that in the comments and why it didn't work.

Renee:
Or just say it's okay and you're Renee and if you're not okay. But I mean that's, that's where I go to and I have talked about my, I've talked about my life and my journey and I've talked about that. I have been married and divorced and I...

Keith:
They are raising their hands by the way, people are, people are in the comments.

Renee:
Love it. Uh, and so in my divorce have talked about that divorce is a failed marriage. right. But, but what did I, what did I find in, in that space? , and a lot of it was, man, you can't fix somebody else, Renee. But then the other part was, man, you gotta be pretty self aware and you've gotta be constantly learning and growing for yourself too. , but I think that's probably where I hear the most, especially in my professional life, is if he only, if she only if they only, so when have you sat back, stripped all of your thoughts and opinions away and really listened to that other person and really tried to be in the situation that they're in. And only then do I really think that we can entertain the words of, and so now what, how can I help?

Keith:
Yeah. And Jessica, I'm going to toss it back over to you on this because we said, we just said here, you got to throw it over. Oh, wrong way mirrored image. We just said you can't reframe it for somebody else, but you just talked about how your fiance had a part in you being able positive reframe, so you don't have to share all your intimate details, but like what makes that relationship different? Like why is it okay for your, your fiance, but it wouldn't be okay for your boss to do that or a coworker or something.

Jessica:
Well, I'm curious if he's in the basementwatching this right now, ((co-hosts talking over each other about Jessica' fiance)). I think that there's a delicacy that can come with it and that it's okay to help someone see the positive cause it can be really hard to, if someone's just living in that maybe negative space and it's hard not to try to coach them or help them find the positive. I think that that's also natural for some of us. And so I think it's more of a balance, you know,validation is another skill that again comes naturally to some it did not to me and I'm a problem solver. Uh, let's get stuff done. And so one of my mentors, Nikki Green, I don't know if we can name drop in here, but, she really helped me figure out what validation was. And so I think you can kind of couple it. It's kinda like the oreo effect, you know, add in that validation, recognizing where someone's at, but then also giving them that positive. And so I think it just depends on someone's head space.

John:
Yeah. I might be making an assumption here, but my guess is, is that potentially your fiance was able to help you positively reframe here because he was also experiencing the same loss as you may be, and that you knew that he was feeling pain around that as well. And that maybe he was working on that skill to help you guys as a kind of a couple of unit to think about this in a new way that was going to be helpful for you guys. And I think that that's one of the keys is when I don't empathize or show that I understand someone's pain and then I try to positive reframe for them, all I do is just get them to dig themselves further into the reason why this is a bad situation or why they're feeling or reacting the way they are. And so that's the biggest problem with fixing. Yes. It's actually gets you the opposite thing.

Keith:
Yes. Kate's not here. Somebody has to bring up that Renee Brown empathy versus sympathy. I think Kate is actually watching us. I think I saw her name, she might be appreciating that. So, Hey Kate.

Jessica:
Really quick though, have you guys talked about the, it's not about the nail video. I made my parents watch it not that long ago. I know I am such a fun daughter. Ironically Larry showed it to me as well, my fiance, years ago. And I just, I like the visualization of it. I'm a very visual person and so it essentially is talking about the value of validating someone has a obvious problem and just focusing on the feelings.

Keith:
Oh yes, I have seen this video now that you say that.

Jessica:
I don't know if you can link it down here for folks at some point, Keith, but

Keith:
yeah. Well we'll see if we can find it.

Renee:
And do you know what the word fix implies that something's broken and I don't know about y'all, but I don't want someone to, even somebody that I really love and care about it still hurts when I think someone needs to fix me. Right. Cause it means I'm broken. And I think that those two things can be true at the same time as I can. I can have something negative happen and I can find the positive in that. When I also wanted to just kind of give some credence to the relationship that you and Larry have, but then also the therapeutic relationship. And that's why we keep talking about it as a clinical skill. We don't learn it well, we should learn it as therapists for ourselves first and foremost. But then why is that a skill that we're taught? Because when we're in that trusted therapeutic relationship with a client and I know and the client knows that it's a safe space to do that, I'm, I'm going to help with some positive reframe and to see if a client will catch onto that and use some of that information. And again, if not, no worries, we'll try a different day or maybe a different topic or maybe it's just a listening day and that's okay. But really, truly using it as a skill as for ourselves. But we also do that. So maybe even some of you who are talking to a therapist right now, you're kind of like, man, my therapist keeps telling me to find a positive and that's what, that's what they're doing. So you can go there and be like, are you trying to positive reframe?

Keith:
I have to bring in a Keithism hereI think, piggybacking on that, I said it once. I've said it a million times. No relationship that happens in a vacuum, right? And so realizing all the conversations you've had with the person beforehand feed into how the conversation is going to go now. There's some people who can help you positive reframe and some people that never will be able to help you, uh, because of your relationship is not in a place where there's that mutual trust and empathy of affirmation. Uh, and so all those play into it too.

John:
Yes, the relationship is primary and essential. We talk about it in our case management practice and the strengths model all the time. It doesn't matter how good of a job we do at uncovering people's strengths, recording those strengths, feeding those strengths back to them. If they don't trust you, if you're not genuine and you don't have a good relationship, then all of that assessment for strengths and use of strengths goes out the window.

Jessica:
So it's interesting because Renee and I, we work in a world of crisis where we see people sometimes one time and so we don't get that ability to have that, the longevity of some relationships. But you said genuine and that really spoke to me because I think that that's, that is is key and that's what I seek out from individuals is feeling that this from them. And I think you can build a relationship really quickly with someone if you are genuine in your interaction with them, whether it's 30 minutes or 30 days, 30 years. Yes.

Keith:
Good point. And back to the idea about fixing and broken. The other thing that when we say we need to fix somebody, we're usually trying to say we need to fix the pain that they're feeling or the sadness they're feeling. But that's our emotions and having those emotions doesn't make you broken. To steal a Renee-ism: Is that we are built to experience the full range of emotions and sadness and grief and uh, those are not broken pieces of us. There's a point right where we need to be concerned. Like if that's, if that's lasting for an exceptionally long period of time or if it's impairing our relationships with other people or ability to go to work, our ability to complete school for kids and their relationships with friends that uh, you know, there's changing behaviors that are strange. There's points when those feelings become concerns, but those feelings in themselves are not brokenness that need fixed.

Jessica:
Sure. A lot of times I think we, when we communicate we have intentions with why we're communicating and that's to get validation or to solve a problem. Like a lot of times it can be boiled down and I don't mean to simplify it so much cause there's more layers to it. But you know, I think that it's, it's again, looking for what someone's intention is with our communication. Are they, are they needing you to help solve a problem because that's not fixing but it's, it's, it's helping and I think innately we all want to do that. Because when we see a problem it's like "Ooh let me help you." I think we all want to do like again, maybe I'm wrong, maybe we don't.

Keith:
It can, it can even start from a place of empathy of that person's pain with them and then wanting to relieve them of that pain. It can come from a real positive motivation.

John:
Yeah. I think even asking the person, the question can be really respectful. Like do you want to start, do you want help fixing this or no?

Keith:
"Do you want to hear what I have to say?" "Do you want my advice or are you asking me to put into this situation?

John:
Absolutely. Cause some people are in that mindset and they're like how do I say? Like what do you, what would you do here when somebody is asking you that? That is a clear invitation for you to start to brainstorm around fixing. But we go so quick to that when somebody is just saying, this hurts. We just oftentimes before we get into any positive reframing or anything just to go, "you're hurting."

Keith:
I just, uh, someone just posted a Missy just posted in the comments that she had a friend that had a really hard time accepting empathy and she went when she would infant try to empathize with her friend, her friend would receive it as sympathy and like she wasn't sort of worthy of the empathy. I wonder if we might chat about that experience a little bit. Not so I don't want to all of a sudden become a radio show of therapy show, but I mean,

John:
I do!

Keith:
Missy's here watching, so lets' talk about that. She's not the only one that has had that experience.

Renee:
I agree. I think it goes back to what John said, but just generalize it, generalizing it a little more is is there anything that I can do for you? What do you need from me? And the answer could be nothing. The answer could be, I don't know. , and so I think it's again, putting the ball back in someone's court, uh, to allow them to have that space of maybe just, maybe they just unload with tears. , maybe they, they finally are able to say, I don't know, but can you help me figure it out? , because that, that while maybe that other person isn't knowingly accepting of it, you are giving that empathy, letting them drive that situation. So really, truly, and not even like asking, how can I help? Because you're getting, you're implying that maybe they need help. Is there anything I can do? What would you like to see from me? We've, I mean, that's okay.

John:
Yeah. So maybe instead of like trying to empathize, this is still probably in the same vein as empathizing, but just asking questions. So what's that like? Tell me more about that. Help me understand rather than taking it a step further to go, man, that really sucks. You're in pain. This hurts. That was a loss for you. Cause then again, you maybe invite that person to say, well, yeah, yeah, yeah, it is. But I'll be okay, you know, and then they start to kind of other side rather than just like eliciting like more of what that was like for them. And I think it's also okay to say, I've never been through something like that. What was that like?

Keith:
Yeah. I want to affirm, to Missy recognizing that in her friend, that does not work. I'm trying to empathize and it's not working. Missy went on to say her comment like expanded, I clicked "see more." So I got to read the rest of the story, but after, after a few years of counseling, this friend's perspective changed on being able to receive empathy. And so partially coming from that own individual's, probably self-perception and in some ways and identity in themselves.

Renee:
Yeah. And also maybe giving a little bit of a permission to, and so first of all, Missy, thank you. That is a really real life example of the people we care about in our lives that we want to give empathy to and be empathetic with. And we have to recognize too that somebody, somebody's not there to receive it. Our decision might have to be step back. , I cannot control the pace in which someone wants to receive my empathy, the space they need, the time they need. And so if you're not feeling received or it's not a positive interaction, you have the choice to step back and right. That's what's in our control because your safety and your mental wellness is just as important as well because we're not asking someone to again, feel the hurt but, but be alongside them. I'm trying to now put words to the wonderful Brene Brown video. I'm not going to do a good job. So "Brene Brown video."

Jessica:
I think it also depends though of your mode of communicating with the individual. If it's, you know, if with the physical distancing we're experiencing, having the visual is really critical for me. And I've talked with Keith about this, of like when we do things through text or email and you lose so many layers of that communication with the auditory and the visual, then you can really misinterpret something and you leave it for interpretation. And so I encourage people with, again, not being able to spend as much time with folks is find ways to get face to face so that you can read those other cues and that they can hear your voice. I tend to be semi monotone, I think. So I don't always think, you know, I have to find ways to make sure people know I'm genuine in my communication and a lot of people will use their tone to do that. So I think that that's important for us to be, uh, to remember, I guess for folks.

Keith:
That totally got me. And this is a positive reframe for me, that I'm processing myself right now. So, I ended up having to work home a week before the stay home order. So this is my seventh week working from home. And so not seeing my coworkers for a long time. And so this time the positive pieces that have come out of this one of them is, it has given me the opportunity to evaluate how I communicate with people. And you know, we joke about how so many meetings that we used to have are now just emails, right? So that's true, but I find myself, I am firing off way more emails and getting way more things done by email all the time. It like takes out all of like that soft relational tone from stuff. I'm just like, get stuff done all the time. And so I've just been reflecting on how that impacts relationships and then how am I telling in emails and how I need to like, you know, I'm still processing that, but I, my positive reframe is that I have an opportunity right now to think about that in a different way than I would otherwise. The second piece, which I know we've mentioned on a couple of podcasts and a couple of the resources that we have on jocogov.org/mentalhealth the opportunity to connect with people in a different way right now. And so, I'm like a new brand ambassador for Marco Polo App. But there's just different ways that I can connect with friends on purpose because, I've had to have relationships and to, uh, just for my own emotional and mental support in this time being now seven weeks away from everybody. Uh, and so those are things that I'm seeing as positives and am grateful for, uh, in this time, some new and deeper relationships that I probably wouldn't have ever formed a situation not come up.

Renee:
So that is your awesome, positive reframe in this space. I'm gonna challenge you, Keith, to take action and keep it up after this, right? I mean, really, exactly right. I don't mind challenging Keith in front of the free world on Facebook, at that moment. I would challenge all of us, you know, to find meaning and Jessica as you continue to prepare and plan, keep that forward moment with your family, with your event. , because that is right and that's where we get to accomplishment. And man, that's where I think is like the fruit of positive reframe is really accomplished, is the best treatment out there that I've got is completing something, feeling successful and accomplishment and accomplishment just takes our worries away. And that's powerful.

Jessica:
And I want to make sure people understand too, that positive reframe doesn't mean that the situation doesn't still suck. Can I say that? It can be a bad situation. The pandemic is still bad. And so like one of my reframes from the pandemic, I live in Lee's Summit and work in Shawnee and my commute is usually brutal. Where it's been an hour and a half, uh, when I Google drive or Google, Google map, uh, and so right now it's been a consistent 30 minutes. Now, I also recognize that means a lot more people aren't working. They're at home with their family or furloughed or laid off. And I hate that. And so it can be both and it goes back I think to Keith's kind of dichotomy episode where you can have two very different things, but they can coexist and that's okay.

John:
Yeah. Yeah. And that's why "Yes, and" is so much better than "Yes, but." So when we talk about those pitfalls, if you find yourself starting a response to somebody sharing a negative to you with "at least," or if you find yourself saying "yes, but " you're just negating everything that they just said right there. So, yeah, my commute has been really easy and it also means that there's a lot fewer people, uh, that maybe at work right now.

Keith:
So that change in language, adds so much to that sentence.

Renee:
Yeah. I think it's, it's really important that you brought up those words, Jessica, because the four of us, the reality is the four of us remain employed at this time. And I have friends and family who are not, or furloughed. And let me tell you, uh, before I went on my awareness, self awareness, awareness of other's journey, I was telling their story negatively. [mumbles] And then I let them share their story. And my world was rocked when a lot of their stories were positive. And so I had to stop narrating everything for everybody else and look here, let people share their story. Sometimes what I perceive as pain is going to be somebody else's joy or vice versa. Let them share what that word means to them to read somebody, talk about how they are furloughed and that is the best thing to happen to them right now that it humbled me. And that's not everyone's story. And I accept that my story is I have to be prepared to listen to the other person's story.

Keith:
Yeah. And I want to, I want to recognize too. So obviously losing employment is a detrimental experience. Uh, illness and death are the, the others that are on people now. And, part of our real experiences. There's been deaths in our community, a lot of them in probably... we each only have one or two people away from somebody who has had a severe, uh, response to COVID-19. And so, , we can't reframe it for people and we have to acknowledge the grief and the loss that's there. And there might be a time when when people experiencing that can give it a positive reframe, but it's okay to hold the positive and the grief together at the same time. And we, we've talked about that in, in our, we did a couple of episodes in the December, January timeframe on grief and the complexities there. And so I, we're talking about positive reframe and at the same time, we know that stuff is really hard and heavy right now. And so we are not in any way trying to sweep that under the rug right now.

Jessica:
Well, and I think it's recognizing what, what you feel comfortable reframing and what you don't. And that's okay too. Like not everything has to be reframed. So again, I told you I'm very visual. So if you think about like a picture and you like the picture but you don't like the frame around it. And so literally you're changing the frame and that can change what you're looking at. But you can have a bunch of pictures and it might change all of it. So it's, it really is like someone who has physically struggled with COVID like medical illness or what it might be. There may not be a reframe to that and that's okay. You can find maybe something else in your life that you might be able to apply this tool to. , but it's okay that it doesn't apply to everything. And I liked that

Keith:
We have lots of skills because we need lots of different skills to apply for different, such apply to different situations. But what, we're coming to a close here, so thanks folks for watching us and then listening to us. I wonder if we might all give a, maybe our favorite lesson that we learned in our conversation today and viewers, [exaggerating speech] I want you to know, and I'm talking for a long time, slowly to give my cohost a chance to think of something. This is the hardest part of our recording session. Every single episode release, I have to edit out this part because we all can't decide what we're going to say is our wrap up statement and we all take each other's one thing. Uh, and so message messes it up. And so I will go first because I have something and I'll give you a couple seconds longer to think of think of something.

Keith:
So I want to come back to my daughter's story about looking forward to something tomorrow and sometimes just recognizing something good that's coming out of this and it gives you, it gives you hope for something to look forward to and it can change all of your time from point A to point B and just how helpful that can be to think of something you might be looking forward to, something new opportunity that this time gives you and that reshape all the time that you're experiencing between now and when that thing happens. So that's my one favorite things from our conversation.

John:
Yeah. I think my light bulb moment here or my one takeaway is, , how a change in perception, , can give you a little bit of control and the uncontrollable and that kind of came out of Jessica's story and so how just kind of painful situations and difficult situations can be totally outside of our control. And yet through just kind of our own thoughts on our own, like kind of digging deeper into the perspective that we can, we can find some control there and that's so important.

Jessica:
Well I wish I could've gone second. I'll go last. So I'm going to piggyback a little bit because, again, you guys know me well enough and, uh, I, , have sometimes been described as controlling, but the positive reframe to that...nd I don't actually have one. , but I think that it's one of those, I, I really value this tool because, , when I feel out of control with my circumstances, it gives me something to regain control for myself. I cannot control COVID in this world at all, not even close. I have no skin in that game. , but there are the little things that I can control and I think that's really empowering and it gets me back to kinda my even keel, which I need to do that for myself. And so I really like that I can do that. And I like being able to teach and share this skill with other people as well because I think there's nothing better than to be in control of yourself.

John:
Are you controlling or do you just care a lot about things going right for you and those involved? ((Co-hosts talking over each other))

Renee:
Uh, so mine is great. Jessica teed me up good. That this is a skill that it takes an introduction to and then it takes time and practice and that it's a skill, uh, first and foremost that we need to use with ourself. And then the cool thing about it is that we can put it in our kind of tools, our bag of tricks that we have and with the healthy, empathetic, safe relationship, we can also introduce this skill to somebody that we care about and that we have a trusting, healthy relationship with as well.

Keith:
Great. Thanks everybody for joining us for our first ever live episode recording. If you liked what you heard, uh, of course you can watch it again, uh, but help us out on your Facebook page or any of the groups you're in. Do you think this might be helpful to some of the different Facebook groups you're part of? I might wanna make sure you're there. You can also listen to your favorite podcasting app. It will be coming to you soon. Thanks for joining us for another episode. [inaudible]