SLPs and Mental Health
SLPs and Mental Health
3 Secret Silver Linings of This Pandemic
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Hi, everyone, and welcome to The Missing Link for SLPs podcast. I’m Mattie, your host speaker and very passionate speech language pathology advocate. If you are new to the field of speech pathology, or just want to stay fresh This podcast is for you. Here I will share with you my wisdom and experience of more than 23,000 hours of one on one skilled intervention working around the world as an in the trenches medical SLP. And now as an assistant professor for an accredited CST program, I want to help you see the big picture of what you’re doing and connect those small dots of what you know and how to apply it in your practice those missing links, helping you be the best, most confident and most effective SLP you can be there’s no better time than now to freshen up. You totally got this.

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Hello and welcome to Episode 10, Three Secrets Silver Linings of This Pandemic. In my last podcast,  I talked about ways to manage stress, anxiety and decrease motivation. And I wanted to follow up with this podcast, because I would like to put a positive spin on this pandemic. So when I started to outline this, I just thought it was the best idea in the world. Because my daughter and I were laying in the backyard and we were looking up at the clouds as they were going by. And we were saying, Oh, look at the elephant. Look at this over here. It’s a, I think she said ice cream cone. And we were having fun looking at the clouds and pulling out the shapes of things in the clouds that we saw. So we were taking these blobs of nothing and creating something out of it something and it was pretty and fun. It brought the two of us together.  We really enjoyed laying in that sunshine.

Later in that day, we had some storms. I was looking out the window later and the storm had just passed. Now the clouds were very stormy type clouds, but there was a lot of sunshine behind them. And there was light shining behind the clouds creating this silver lining. And so for this podcast, I thought, you know, there’s a lot of silver linings to this pandemic, if we look for them. And so that’s what I wanted to talk to you about today as how this pandemic does have some silver lining for us as speech pathologists.

The term silver lining is used when somebody wants to emphasize the hopeful side of a situation that may even seem terrible. or bad on the surface. The expression “every cloud has a silver lining” means that even in the worst events or situations, there are some positive aspects and developing the skills and mindset of looking for those silver linings can be a key to your success. But where does this lining come from? The sun is shining from behind the growing cumulus tower.

Now I’m sure you know there’s a variety of clouds out there. The wispy clouds have very little water in them. The cumulus towers, the tall, big thick clouds. Those are called cumulus towers. And they have large droplets of water along the edge and they’re usually seen before or after a storm. And the sun shines from behind the clouds and reflects on those large droplets of water, which is why they call it a silver lining. So you have a storm-you have the potential for damage you.  You still have that sunth at’s always, always, always behind the clouds. When the clouds go away, there comes the sun. And the silver lining is a promise maybe of things to come.

That’s why I want to talk about looking for the secret linings, the three secret silver linings of this pandemic. As a college professor, students often come to me to interpret things. “Professor, why is this happening?”  “Hey, Professor, what just happened?”  “Why do I need to look at the good side?”   “Is there even a good side professor?”   “Professor, how do I find the good side? And what’s next?”

 And that’s what I want to talk about today. There are three things that when I wrote down my list of all the things that I thought were good about this pandemic; three main areas that I came up with.  One is community. Two is grounding. And three is resilience. So let’s talk about those a little bit more.

I’ve been so impressed with my professional community. I have seen groups come together and give freely to one another. For example, when we all realized that many of us would be doing the telehealth therapy, numerous telehealth experts came out of the woods and produced webinars for thousands and thousands and thousands of speech pathologists and courses and we had the big names contributing and we had the smaller names contributing and we had podcasters and website bloggers giving and giving and giving. It was wonderful to see us come together and give. 

I really like that ASHA has come through with resources for those of us who need them. We’ve had town halls. I know with my campus, our president has been just outstanding at holding town halls, and very transparent as in “Here are the difficulties we’re facing. And here’s our plan of action. And here are some resources for you to go help yourself.”

We’ve had a lot of zoom connections on a smaller scale with myself and my colleagues, meeting and connecting and dividing and conquering our questions. So I have really seen us come together in our speech pathology community.

As a graduate Professor I have seen first year and second year and even undergraduate students come together. They are working on slideshows for their graduation in making the best of what they thought was going to be something totally different. Everybody’s pitching in and everybody’s helping.

I see family members coming together and building a sense of community. My kids and I, we meet every week on zoom. My siblings and I, we do the same thing and friends are coming together. When I was a brand new speech pathologist, I did an externship over in England. And the speech pathologist I worked with, I worked with a few of them, but one of them has been a lifelong friend to me, dear Stella, and our correspondence has just been so limited because she lives across the pond.

She figured out zoom, and we’ve connected twice now on zoom, and it’s “just been lovely” in her words. And it just warms my heart to even talk about it. I have made connections with friends that I have lost contact with over the years. They found me I found them. It’s been wonderful as a community

My city has come together. I see us following our Governor’s executive orders practicing stay at home and we’re doing it and we’re doing well. Facebook groups have sprung up in my town on where you can go to get takeout foods, and it’s shedding light on all the little mom and pop businesses or the downtown restaurants that may that that are struggling to survive. I’m fortunate enough to have one of our state representatives live in our town, Jim Nash and he went to these to help our city. He went to these small businesses, did Facebook Lives for each one. So now once a week my family and I we choose takeout place, and we are helping support those small businesses. And for our country. I’ve seen our country tear apart but also if we look closely come together.

The second area where I have seen a silver lining to this pandemic is it has been a time of grounding for me, because I’ve had so much extra time. And because I’ve been brought to a halt, I have had a significant time for reflection, a time of grounding. And I think, “Is this what I want? Am I happy where my life is going? Am I happy who I’m living with? Am I happy with the time I spend with the people that I spend?” I have been asking myself some of these questions because I’ve been home. And I’ve had the time to stop and think.  So much of my time, pre COVID was spent running, running, running, action moving and never spending as much time as I wanted to reflecting. And so this has been a great time of reflection for me.  I’m naturally a writer so I’ve been writing thing’s down. And it’s just been a time of reflection and healing. I’ve enjoyed it.

I’ve also done some things that I’ve always wanted to do that I kept putting off until I had more time and now I have the time to do them, hence this podcast. I’ve planned on doing this podcast for quite a while, but because I reflected, paused, prioritize what I wanted to do with my life. I finally took the action steps of launching this podcast and moving my website forward. So the grounding time has been wonderful for me.

When I was young, I took pilot lessons. I was 16.  My dad was a small plane pilot.  He was a radiologist, and rural doctors have what they call trap lines, or a string of small hospital they visit on a regular basis.  My father would fly into these hospitals. I grew up in northern Minnesota, and my father had a little Cessna.  They call it a Push and Pull because it had a propeller in the front and a propeller in the back. And just like an old time tracker would go along and check his traps,  he would fly it from city to little city to what I should say town to town to town. And at each town, he had a little car. And he would go once a week to these little towns and see his patients.  He loved to fly. And he would go visit these towns and work at a different hospital for the day.

So I took up an interest in flying and would go with him. And I remember sitting on the tarmac or the runway.  I was going through the pre checklist and it was all the things that I needed to get ready to make sure that once I took off, that I had all the instruments and everything was working properly, the elevators everything, so I could fly safely. So when I talk about grounding, that is the visual that I get in my mind’s eye. I imagined sitting at the long end of the runway with a take off strip straight out in front of me checking my instrument panels and making sure that everything is good to go.

This pandemic has grounded me. It’s slowed me down, it’s given me the time to look out my windshield to check my instruments. And to test and see where I’m going to meet. This has been a blessing.

The last silver lining of this pandemic has been the opportunity to build resilience. I’ve often worked in long term care settings or skilled nursing facilities, where they have a subacute section or rehab. I’ve worked in dementia units as well. And you ask people, you know, tell me about something important in your life and they bring up a time of great happiness, but they also bring up times of great challenge and they will tell you with great pride on how they overcame some of their challenges. This, you guys, is a great challenge for us in This is the opportunity for us to build our resilience muscle. This is a time for us to build our strength. And this is a time for us to be heroes.  An opportunity for us to be heroes to our community, which is important, but also to our family and most importantly to ourselves. We are all doing our small parts to be heroes.  I am a speech pathologist that works in the medical setting and I do work with with COVID patients, and I have my own small parts as they begin their recovery. I help them safely resume eating and drinking again. I am a college professor. I’m a clinical supervisor and I’m helping those second year students get those crucial final hours that they need so they can graduate on time. Find ways that you can be a hero. Find ways that you will be resilient. So when you are older, hopefully not demented, and your grandkids come or you look in the mirror at the end of your life, you will say, “I chose well and I was strong and I rose above.”

None of us choose to do this COVID-19 but it is here, and it’s going to be here for a while. Speech Pathology is not going anywhere. So this is a time where we need to learn to be strong and rise and step into our challenges.

Our quote of the week: is by Morgan Harper Nichols: “Going through things you never thought you’d go through will only take you places you never thought you’d get to.”  COVID-19 is going to give us opportunities to do things to think ways to have connections we never thought we would have.

Tip for success: A good one here. Stay away from negativity, both with yourself and with others. Remember that you have the ability to control your choices and to create those positive neural pathways.

I am excited about our next topic. I have had quite a few clinical fellows over the years that I’ve supervised. So our next topic is going to be the five most common mistakes clinical fellows make.

In conclusion, as we’re coming out of our storm, always remember that there’s the sunshine behind the clouds, and if we look, we will be able to see the silver lining the sun peeking up behind the clouds.

Your challenge of the week: think about the silver linings, your silver linings and find them just like when I was a young child and can spot animals and things in the cloud, where previously there were just blobs of confused air and water molecules. When my daughter and I laid down we were able to find fun shapes using our imagination and connecting.  It was a great memory. So change your visions, spot your silver linings and enjoy the beauty of being an SLP during and after the COVID storm.

I hope today’s conversation has created some aha moments for you and motivated you to become a better SLP, continuing to connect some of those missing links between what you know and how to use that knowledge.

Thank you for listening to The Missing Link for SLPs podcast! If you enjoyed the show, I’d love you to subscribe, rate it and leave a short review. Also, please share an episode with a friend. Together we can raise awareness and help more SLPs find and connect those missing links to help them feel confident in their patient care every step of the way.

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Copyright ⓒ 2020 Fresh SLP. All rights reserved. | Mattie Murrey, MA, CCC/SLP | freshSLP.com Not a substitute for a formal SLP education or medical advice for patients/caregivers knowledge

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