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January 31, 2022 20 mins

Alison Malmon is back!

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Speaker 1 (00:01):
This is Take twenty with Mattie and Kenzie Ziegler and
I Heart Radio Podcast. Hi everyone, welcome back to Take twenty. UM,
if you watched part one, we actually did a segment
with Alison malmon Um who started Active Minds, and we're
here for part two to kind of ask more questions

just because we are extremely UM, we feel really strongly
about mental health and in learning more about it and
educating ourselves, and so that's why we have Allison here again.
And thank you so much for coming back. We really
appreciate all of your knowledge and everything that you've given us. UM. Yeah, yeah,

I'm I'm well, thank you and I really um, I'm
glad to be back. And um, I just can't tell
you how important this conversation is that you guys are
both hosting and being open about and all of it.
So I'm just really glad to be a part of
it with you. Thank thank you for teaching us. We're
excited about it. It's true, Key, it's tricky stepping into
a new year, trying to have a new mindset and
not trying to put pressure on this year is going

to be better, whether it be just because of the
pandemic or whether it be because of your mental health
or a friendship or whatever it may be. Um, how
should we try and approach the new year without putting
too much pressure on the situation? Yeah, I was, I
was talking to somebody about this this weekend. UM. Resolute
New Year's resolutions end up becoming like the biggest downfall

of for so many people, whether or not they say
it or not. I think a really important part of
the new year is to recognize that, um, you know,
January one is the day after December thirty one, and
that's all. Give yourself the chance to set some goals
for yourself, because I think we all feel, um if
we're working towards a goal, whether that goal is related

to your grades, or related to a friendship, or just
like I want to get like two extra steps a day,
whatever it is. Let yourself set a goal, um, but
recognize that you can also and should also set a
goal on March one and maybe like July fifteenth, just
because and um, the fact that it is the new year. UM,

don't put that pressure on yourself to make things so
different this year than then you you may be let down. Yeah,
for sure, I know. It's it's hard to like kind
of not put pressure on yourself or on the situation.
Just like even the New Year's resolution thing, how you said,
it's really just a day different, you know, it's like

really not that serious, but people are like, oh my gosh,
it's the new year, I better get into shape, I
better do this, and it's just like it's it's a lot.
It's a lot of stress for sure. And I think
with that, UM, it's not healthy for us to hold
in our feelings. So why is talking about the things
we're going through and facing them important? Why do you

why do you think it's important for us to talk
through it? I think one of the things, um, that
I have seen and I even learned myself, as the
moment I started talking about what I was going through,
I realized just how not alone I was. So so
often we're in our head thinking about the things that

feel like they make us different, or that there's something
wrong with us, or um, why is everybody have this
perfect life when I don't. And the moment I started
vocalizing it and verbalizing it or sharing the hard thing
that I happened in my life, I realized just how
many other people we're going through that exact same thing
in that exact same moment, and how comforting it was

to know. And so, first and foremost, you deserve to
share about what you're going through because you deserve to
know that you're not you're not alone, and you deserve
to know that you're it's not your fault, uh, and
that like you're not weird, right, like you're totally normal
going through what you're going through. And then secondly, it
is just such a burden off of your shoulders, but

you don't have to carry that because usually what we're
keeping on the inside is the really hard stuff. Right
when something good's happening, we're screaming it off rooftop and
letting everybody know and letting everybody celebrate with us. But
it's the really hard stuff that we're holding on in
the inside that they can then just create so much
more pain inside of us. And so and again I

don't like, yeah, screaming off the rooftop if you feel
comfortable with it, or just like, find one person that
you can share it with. Maybe it starts with writing
it down in a diary or putting it on social
or hopefully having somebody that you can talk to about it.
So that they can physically show you that they're support
that they are supportive and they're there for you, and
we can you know, going back to some of this

stuff we talked about last session and you know, VR
and showing support for each other UM is a really
important piece. But UM it's hard to do, right, Like,
I'm not going to sit here and say everybody like
just use those words. We've never been taught to do it.
It's just not been part of our upgrain because for
generations we've not talked about how we feel. But one
of the coolest things is that I see is that UM,

high school students of today and college students and young
adults are talking about their feelings and are talking about
mental health in a way that even my generation didn't
and certainly my parents and grandparents generation didn't either. And
so it's changing, right, And it's changing because you're starting
this conversation and having this public conversation that we're having

here today is going to hopefully help some people who
are listening just start talking in their family or in
their friend group and then realize, oh, there's other family
or friends who are going to start talking to and
it becomes a snowball. So that's the third reason, which is, um,
not you know, not necessarily for your own mental health,
but you will be helping somebody else when you share

about what you're going through, because when you're sharing and
you feel like you're being really vulnerable, you have no
idea what that other person is going through. Maybe that
other person is going through the exact same thing and
thought that they were alone and did not feel comfortable
sharing it. So it's a really important It starts with
this one conversation. The few words that you're comfortable saying

can really help kind of explode a conversation to both
help you and the people around you. Totally, totally, and
I just want to say thank you for even just
kind of opening the conversation because you were helping so
many people around the world and it's really special. I
just wanted to acknowledge that I really appreciate it. Thank you.
Of course, now kind of steering away, um, this is

I feel like as a whole, mental health is pretty
like taboo or people make it such a thing. Um.
But on the other side of that, are there any
like words or phrases that you should steer clear from
if you're talking about mental health or if you're talking
about anxiety or whatever. Maybe oh, I love that question.

Language is like a really important part of why I
do what I do. So UM. In short, like, you
really can't say like the wrong thing, So I again,
I want to go back to something that we talked
about last time. Don't be afraid you're gonna say the
wrong thing and not say anything at all, like you're
you're better off saying something. However, if you're aware enough
to be thinking about these words. UM. There are a

couple of words that both in terms of like talking
to somebody who's struggling, and then in general aow mental
health that I think is really important. What you want
to do if somebody is sharing that they're struggling, is
you want to validate. You don't want to say, um,
just get better, just go for a run. UM, I
don't believe you, like what do you have to feel
sad about? UM? Validate their feeling, even if you don't

believe they deserve that feel that way, like I don't.
I don't know why you would feel that way. But
regardless of how you feel, know that whatever they're feeling
is real and right and and validated and let them
know that you believe them. I think there's also some
pieces as we talk about mental health and mental illness
that we can do to kind of shift how we
think about these things in our culture. So, um, you know,

I started Active Minds because my brother died by suicide,
and um, he was a college student when he took
his life, and I was a college student myself, and
I started really thinking about what life was like for
him in the world that he was living in. And
even from that beginning and saying that he died by suicide,

I'm never going to say that he committed suicide, because
if I say that Brian committed suicide, that's that's indicating
that he like committed a crime, or like he did
something wrong like burglary or perjury, or like something that's
going to send him in jail. No, he died by
suicide because he was struggling with his mental health and
for him, that was the only way out. And so we,

as you know, in our in our vernacular, in our language,
like we need to stop saying that people commit suicide.
We don't say that about any other death. People don't
commit heart attacks or commit cancer. You wouldn't even imagine
to think about that. But but it helps you frame
just how differently we think about mental health versus all
other health issues when you think about just that one

set of language. I think a really important piece too,
as we think about it personally, is that, um, we
have we have to stop identifying ourselves with our diagnoses.
So UM. I have a friend who had anorexia in college,
and UM, the number of times I heard her say
I'm an anorexic, or I heard people say, well, she's

an anorexic, or she's anorexic, it's very different from she's
a person with anorexia. I think my brother was a
person who struggled with his mental health, but he was
a brother, he was a friend, he was a son,
all of those things. You had depression and he had
schizo effective disorder. But it's a really important part when
we think about ourselves. If you're somebody who has panic

attacks or um has anxiety, you're not somebody who is anxious, No,
like you're a person that's just like happens to be
a part of you. And I think about it often
like I have you know, this isn't real, but I
have blonde hair, right and so the difference between saying
I'm blonde verse I have blonde hair, there's like a
very different codoation of what that means. And so there

are little shifts that we can make as we think
about it, even for ourselves, about I'm a person, I
have these things. I might struggle with these things sometimes,
but there's so much more to me than just my
diagnosis or just my struggles. UM. I think it's a
really important way for us to get out of, um
the self stigma that still really exists even if we're

not we don't judge each other. One of the things
that has been so awesome to see in your generation,
in high school and college students of today is that
there's not a lot of stigma. There's not a lot
of judging of people to say like, oh, that person
has bipolar disorder, I don't want to be around them. No,
like that doesn't exist anymore. But what still is really
high is this self stigma, the the the discomfort in

having it for yourself. And so if you can make
some of those language changes, even for just for yourself,
to realize like, actually, I'm a pretty awesome person and
yes I have anxiety, or like yeah, I'm I'm cool
and my mom has um, you know, substance use disorder
or whatever it may be. Um, this is just part
of your whole identity and not not your identity itself.
So those are little changes. I could go on forever, um,

But I love the question. And I think there's a
lot of power in looking at the language that we're using.
For sure, Yeah, I would have. That's such an amazing
perspective that I haven't even uh, you know, noticed myself.
I think I think we do that. We're guilty of
always just being like, oh, well, I'm just anxious and
it's getting in the way of a lot of things. Um,
that's a really good way to treat it, and are

also very important as well. Yeah, and and there's so little, right.
I think that's the really like, the really important piece
of all of this to me is that we don't
have to make these like massive of changes. It's all
of these little things, these little language changes, the little
opportunity to say something to a friend that creates the
big change that's that's needed. But it's it starts with

these little things that are so easy for all of
us to do. It's really hard. I think, like I
for myself, I feel like I was kind of the
last in the family out of my mom and sister
to kind of start having panic attacks and having uh something,
some anxiety, and it was nice to know that I

wasn't alone because I witnessed my mom go through it
and then I witnessed my sister go through it, and
so I felt like I had an open space. Luckily,
I'm so lucky that I had the space to do that.
Um But I wonder for you, Kenzie, or if you
can touch on this, like what was it like going
through it before your sister did and knowing like like,
did you feel alone or did you feel like you

could open up? Um? Well, I am not one to
talk about my feeling a lot, so it definitely was
super hard for me to kind of experience it first
in the family and not really have someone to relate
to other than my mom. I mean, obviously I love
my mom, but teenagers don't necessarily go to their parents

for everything. UM. So I did go to my sister
a lot about it, but I was so nervous to
open up. Um it was the same thing with a
therapist for me. I just don't I feel so weird
talking about my feelings, which sucks because it's important, but yeah,
I'm just like, I feel so weird talking about it.

But you've been a great person to talk to, and
I feel like, for me, the most important thing going
through a panic attack is just to act like it's
not there and kind of distract your mind if we
watch a movie or talk about something else. But once
in a while it is really important to talk about
it for me as well. No, you've definitely done an

incredible job at like progressing in that way, and I'm honestly,
I'm just so lucky that I've had heard through all
of this, and especially just because we obviously, like friends
come and go, but we'll always be there for each other, right,
And that's not me saying that you shouldn't address it
in any way. I think we all just kind of
deal with it differently. But now I've learned to open

up about it because obviously when I started having anxiety,
I was like twelve, so it was very hard. Well,
and you've touched on something too. It's like you don't
have to be perfect every time, right, Like you can
do one time. You can like you put words to
it and feel comfortable doing it and then the next
time you don't want to talk about it all. I'm

like that's okay. Like give yourself grace to not not
be getting better each time or not, you know, to
not be perfect each time. Like it's you're none of
us is perfect, right, and so it's like, um, do
the best you can in the moment that you're in
all the time, and sometimes, um, you're going backwards, and
like that's fine, Like welcome to this pandemic. We thought

we were going great and then we went backwards. Like
that's just a natural caer of life that we allow
for everybody else and everything else, but we don't allow
for ourselves. So like, give yourself some space and some
grace to not be perfect each time, even if it's
not being perfect in your panic attack, Like that's totally normal,
and that's totally fine, and you know it's probably gonna

happen again, and so like you know, you know, figure
out what the triggers are and the things that you
can say you feel comfortable saying, and you do your
best in the moment and with what you've got. And
that's a really important piece of all of this, Like
we all have to just be kinder to ourselves in
a way that we're just not. I also think, you know,
how we were talking about social media is terrible, but

there's a little there's like time this the app TikTok,
I feel like has been away for teenagers to open
up about how they're feeling about mental health. And I
feel like I go on there and I'm like, wow,
I'm not alone, Like this is so weren't. And that's
why I'm I'm so glad that people are opening up
on social media. And I think it's very important because

in the comments, everyone's like, Wow, I'm so glad that
you're going through this and we can go through this together.
I just think it's really important to open up on
social media. I think it's totally I know it's a
scary thing to do, but it's weird because on TikTok
it feels like less scary for some reason. I love that.
I do think. You know, yes, we were talking about

all the downfalls of social but I like, I'm the
first person to jump into an argument to say that,
like not, um, there is good in social and what
I've seen is social gives people an opportunity to have
a platform to share how they're doing and what they're
thinking in a way that previous generation has never had. Right,

Like my generation, we wrote in journals. If you were
going to do anything, you were going to write in
your diary, but nobody was ever going to see that.
So if you were having a really crappy time, yes
you could get it out, but unless you used your
words to tell somebody or friends said something to you,
nobody knew. Social gives all of us a chance to
put that out in the world and be validated and

feel like we're not alone in a way that didn't
exist into previous generations. So while there there are challenges, right,
we're going to work through all those challenges. Um. I
love what you're saying. It's like, um, it gives you
a chance to, like, you know, you find your tribe,
and you find your people, and maybe your people live
in your hometown, and likely they don't, and likely you're
never going to react with these people again. But they

make you know that other people go through this too,
and and it's totally normal. Um, And it's okay to
not be okay sometimes, and it's okay to like, I
feel like you just want to know that that you
belong somewhere totally. I think that's like the best advice
just honestly going into this new year as well as
it's okay not to be okay, there's no pressure, like

it's it's really important to know that, especially everyone listening,
Like I would say, everyone, give give yourselves a little
a little pat on the back because it's hard and
we're all going through it and we're all going to
get through it. We're all going to get through it.
It's true. And this and this time right now, UM,
get through day to day like this is a really

not only is being a teenager hard, and not only
is being a young adult hard, but like going through
it in this pandemic when sometimes you're allowed to see
people and oftentimes you have to be stuck at home
and you're not allowed to participate in the activities you
once did or maybe you can, but you're saying all
of those things, like this is really hard, So let
yourself just get through day by day because we will

get through it. Um, we don't need to thrive right now,
We don't need to like be our best selves right now.
We just need to be and um, let's let's get
out on the other side and and you know where
are red, yellow and green bracelets When we get there,
like we feel like it's not gonna be you know,
at once, but um, it's this is a hard time
and it's and it's okay to feel that. Um, it's

normal to feel that and just like just get through
like a you know, foot forward each day so that
we can move through together totally. That's yeah, that's great.
Thank you so much, Allison, um for doing this two
part series with us. This means so much to us
and just opening the conversation and to anyone listening, I
hope you know you took something from Allison and this

conversation and it's been really special to have you. Yeah,
thank you so much. It was so nice to meet
you and talk to you you guys as well. And
and again I just, um, thank you for including me
and thank you for including Active Minds, But more than anything,
just thank you for having this conversation because it does
it opens up for folks who may be hearing it
for the first time. And as you guys continue to

share your experiences, you're helping other people know that they're
not alone, and hopefully those people can let other people
know and like, that's how this change is happening, and
we're gonna we are going to get through this together
because of conversations like this. Thanks, thank you, thanks so
much for taking Tony with us. If you had fun,
it was five stars. You can follow us on Instagram

at Take twenty podcast, email us at Take twenty at
I heeart radio dot com, or you can call us
at eight four four for Take twenty. See you next time.
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