Monikah Lee presents:
Boxpark Talks for Mental Health Awareness Week.
During the run up to Monikah Lee’s Boxpark Talk it was evident that this show was going to be a special one.
While raising awareness of the event and encouraging people to be more open about mental health, Monikah Lee shared;
“As we enter a new week, a very special week – Mental Health Awareness Week I am so happy and excited to bring to you @boxpark – Talks With Monikah Lee.
This show I’ve decided to tackle myths, unhidden stories, discuss biological, environmental impacts of Mental Health with the help of my amazing panelist @natashakbenjamin @infecta @shanley_lou .Being a black woman I think it’s paramount to discuss the hike in young black men suicide and how as a society we need to discuss and understand underlying problems to do with mental health.
I am just so happy to bring to you all a new dynamic when it comes to discussing problems that we cannot turn a blind eye to.
Remember my show isn’t about listening to us but as a community we educating and uplifting each other in a safe space.”
Mental Health is so important to me and as I had been having a bit of an up and down period in my life… AGAIN. YES. I knew that just by turning up and listening would actually really help bring me into a better place and just help jump start me back into gear.
I got there a little late (Apologies Monikah and Nina!) but just in time for some real hard hitting discussions on 2 topics that are especially relevant right now and are continuously prevalent in society.
Children & Mental Health
Body Image & Dysmorphia
So Monikah had lined up an extremely interesting panel that were brave enough to tell their stories and how they had managed to create better outcomes for their lives and how they maintain their mental health.
Infecta – Influential speaker & musician
The research reveals that coping mechanisms to deal with extreme stress and abuse actually cause physical changes to the brain.
Some of the more effective routes for recovery and good healthy coping mechanisms can be using Reiki healing, The Emotional Freedom technique and Thought Feel Therapy, which are holistic therapies that Natasha promotes and uses with Free Your Mind. Natasha favours these techniques because it helps to regulate the parasynthetic nervous system that supports us in relaxing and calming our selves down. These techniques help the children to regulate themselves, gives them tools so that they don’t have to depend on services and medicine as they grow up.
Neuroplasticity is also a healthy way to help a child recover from trauma as Children’s brains are able to reorganise themselves so that for instance if a young child suffers a brain injury to a part of the brain responsible for language, another part of the brain will take over that function. The same does not occur in adulthood, and depending on which part of the brain is damaged, the adult may lose all or some language functions, while the child’s will be relatively spared. It has the same effect when replacing a negative memory with a positive memory to change the experience of thoughts and feelings a child will have directly from that memory.
We took a break, got a drink and listened to some music, Sir DJ Corey was spinning some real bangers which kept up the good vibe.
After the break Monikah and the panelists shifted the conversation over to body image and dysmorphia, while introducing the topic there were a few raised eyebrows when Monikah mentioned Snapchat Dysmorphia, I was an eyebrow raiser too as I had not heard of this before but it is an actual real issue that many are facing.
So what is Body Dysmorphia?
Shanley Lewis summarised it perfectly describing it as
‘Maybe a part or our whole body, we spend a lot of time excessively worrying about a particular part that we deem or perceive to be distorted.’
Monikah highlighted that this is outlook is present in most communities and races, she gave an example of the Lombroso Theory in relation to Black Women, going back to slavery times and people would say things like ‘you got big lips or big nose, big head‘ and because of those physicalities there were stereotyped links to being called a criminal there was discrimination, and ‘this has now trickled down to the 21st century and now we feel like we need to enhance to be sexy, we have to have big bums and big breast, we have to be seen as desirable and it is now becoming a mental health issue.’
The majority of the audience agreed with this and I could relate to the anxieties of feeling we have to be a certain way to be desired.
Lombroso’s theory of anthropological criminology essentially stated that criminality was inherited, and that someone “born criminal” could be identified by physical (congenital) defects, which confirmed a criminal as savage or atavistic. These theories are largely rejected by the contemporary scientific community – Wikipedia.
Moving on to Snapchat Dysmorphia was quite interesting as we were told that young adults are now going to surgeons and beauty clinics showing photos of themselves with snapchat filters wanting to look like their snapchat self. Back in the day you had to be rich to afford surgery and the people that were going for cosmetic procedures would produce photographs of celebrities and this is no longer the case.
We all love a filter, little flower round the head, slimmer face and flawless skin – why would we not?
I thought I would make an example of myself by posting a lie and a truth above. Yeah I look so much more attractive with the snap filter, but at the same time I am learning to Love my natural face, my big greek nose and the wrinkle lines that show wisdom. Natural photo was captured by my amazing bestie photographer Mollie Hayes 🙂
There has been a significant rise in clients getting surgery done, under the age of 30 producing the snapchat versions of themselves as their ideal self. Is this too much or should we allow people to aspire to be who they want to be? I think it is a difficult one to comment on because some may have an aftermath of regret and some may be empowered and love themselves more… I guess it all comes down to how you love yourself.
This does have a detrimental affect on some of our mental health states as studies have shown that by presenting their snapchat self there have been links to unhealthy mental health, negative feelings, self doubt and loathing.
Why should we be made to feel ugly without a filter?
There were quite a few people that shared their experiences with mental health and how they managed to help themselves and the changes that they saw but the general advice I got from all of those brave stories was that you have to be responsible for your Mental Health and your physical health as they go hand in hand. Being thankful for what you have and identifying and supporting others is a very nice humane thing to do. Maintaining a healthy diet, being free to express and the courage to keep going will help us to live a less anxious and worrying life. We were given the outlook that teachers and carers have and it seemed quite worrying that the huge amount of pressures they face in terms of safeguarding and whistleblowing can initially be helped by starting talking at home which some people have trouble doing but it plays a key role in the dynamics of the home and in the school setting.
I was a bit nervy but Monikah Lee asked if anyone else wanted to share so I put my hand up, got up and tried my best with public speaking LOOOOL my life honestly.
I just wanted to inform everyone that there is a tool on Instagram that recognises when you have been looking at negative posts or hashtags for example;
When I feel anxious and I am alone I tend to search #anxietymemes to try and make light of the issue, bit weird I know but it actually helps me to laugh at the anxiety and eventually calm it down. But I did this one day a while ago and Insta alerted me asking if I was ok and needed help as I had been searching a meme related to mental health. I was ok but I thought imagine it was someone else and they needed real help, what exactly could Instagram do for you?
It took me to a help forum and I was prompted with a few questions such as ‘would you like to call a family or friend for support?’ and ‘Would you like to be taken to a forum for online support?’
I didn’t go any further than this as I had already rang a friend to talk through how I was feeling but the online forum had different topic threads so if you are someone that finds peace in sharing online, that tool is available and I imagine very useful in times of illness, frustration and desperation.
Huge Thanks to Monikah Lee, the panelists and the audience for giving us all a safe space to feel comfortable talking about mental health <3
All panelists and services have been linked and highlighted for you to explore 🙂