george grombacher 0:00
Bob Leffler This is George G. And the time is right to welcome today’s guest strong and powerful Christie filler. Christie, how you ready to do this? I am ready, George. All right, let’s go. Christy is a mental health therapist and regional clinic director with Thrive works. They’re an organization that believes everyone can benefit from counseling, therapy,
psychological help or coaching with a skilled and caring professional Christy, tell us a little about your personal life’s more about your work and why you do what you do.
Kristy Filler 0:41
Okay, so I guess to start out with my personal life, I’ll talk about what I am most proud of, I am the single mother of an amazing nine year old little boy, who inevitably challenges me every day to be just a better version of me. He’s probably world’s best teacher. All in all, beyond that I ultimately like sports activities, traveling anything that kind of keeps me going and active and, you know, experiencing new things in life. As far as what I do, what I why I do what I do.
I would say what probably started me in the field was an experience at a young age. When I was 16 years old, my father was diagnosed with cancer. After about a battle with cancer for a year, he lost the battle. And my father was not only
very important as my dad, but he was my best friend. At that time, I experienced a serious of my own mental health challenges, was connected with an amazing licensed clinician, social worker. And she really helped me to change what it at that time was a very negative narrative of my life and get me back on track provide me with much needed skills and a way to refocus and start to tell a more positive narrative. So I think that was a very important shaping experience. Now, I believe that I have decided to stay in the field and do what I do. Because I see myself as a mental health advocate, and an advocate for change, to be able to provide other people with the amazing tools to change their life’s narrative. I can’t think of anything that wouldn’t be more rewarding. Yeah, I certainly appreciate that. So I’ve got a five year old and a two year old. Christy. I’ve never referred to them as teachers. But now that I think about it, they
Unknown Speaker 2:44
see, they challenge you every day, Tony, they know. Oh, 1000 Yes, yes. Challenge. Yes.
george grombacher 2:53
And through that, they are teaching me they’re teaching me that I’ve got a long way to go. So you think that you’re enlightened are getting close to it? Yeah, you can watch my kids for an hour and see how that goes. Anyway. Because a lot of reflection, yes. Yes. Lots of opportunities for reflection. So Well, I I believe that we’re all struggling with the challenges of modern living prior to the pandemic, particularly young people, and now, hopefully, coming out of the pandemic. It’s, it’s, it’s, it’s had a pretty heavy toll on our young people. And that’s, I wanted to talk with you about that today.
Kristy Filler 3:37
So I think that that is and and I’m glad that we have the opportunity in the platform to talk about it because it’s an extremely important topic. Prior to the pandemic, right, we were seeing levels of anxiety and depression increasing from from really grade school on up right, it has been overwhelming to see how much anxiety and depression are youth experiences on a daily basis. Post pandemic, obviously, a lot of it is increased even more with the experiences that everybody has, has had to go through. I’m ultimately even in my experience as a therapist and working with college students and young adults seeing a lot of increased anxiety, risk for suicide, depression, and a lot of perfectionism that’s coming from that the the idea of you know all different ways of looking at it right like the the need for me to be perfect and not make mistakes. If I make mistakes, then what does that say about me or my ability? What will other people think about me or my ability? Then also the idea of and I see this a lot in the young adults that are newly kind of getting into the workforce, is I’ve put so much pressure on myself to have this amazing career and work really hard and get all the perfect grades to, you know, have this great life. And now I’m here. And is this it. And I hear that a lot. And it’s pretty profound to hear, you know, them reflect and look back on all of the shares that they’ve put in and focused on being perfect. And now they’re sort of faced with, what do I have? And what more is there because they don’t know that I’m satisfied with this. And I think a lot of that pertains to the idea that one we keep building, right? Like, if you work really hard, if you study really hard, if you do all of these things really hard, it’ll all pay off in the end, and life will be great. But we forget that even in in schools, we educate the mind, right, where it’s so important, educate the mind, by the my opinion should be the whole mind, which includes mental health and wellness, right, but we forget that part many times, it’s the drive towards the perfection of the grades. Part of being able to do what we do is being able to take breaks, being able to take time out, being able to have social activities, laugh, enjoy, and we drive ourselves so hard, we put ourselves into overdrive. There’s no other answer than burnout. Right, then, when mental health is affected negatively, it’s it’s like a domino effect, right? Then all things start to fall down. Relationships, school, work, finances, whatever that may be, but everything starts to maybe have a negative impact. So I think that this topic is, is a tremendous topic and probably isn’t talked about nearly enough.
george grombacher 7:10
Well, as a person who likes to try and solve problems, I can certainly understand why people would want to avoid talking about it, because that’s, it’s, it’s, it’s a lot and it’s sad, and it’s concerning. And, you know, my heart goes out, I think, in a lot of ways, I was super fortunate to have a five and a two year old, but I mean, they’re gonna be right there, you know, before I know it. Okay, so recognizing the that we have, in the cause of these problems are all of it social media, that just the internet expectations, a lack of awareness, and acknowledging mental health and teaching it?
Kristy Filler 7:59
110%. So social media, as you mentioned, is, is really one of the pieces that has a strong impact on our youth. Right? That also plays into where I spoke about the perfectionism plays into the idea and the concept of perfectionism, right? We see people who have it all they have the lifestyle we want, they have the clothing we want, they have the cars that we want, and all the happiness that we want, right? It looks amazing, when you’re watching it through these postings on you know, whatever it may be Instagram, or Snapchat or, you know, whatever, whatever platform the folks are using. And the reality is, and I you know, I had a conversation with somebody not that long ago, who works in Kotor production, and has Instagram that’s out there. And it was like, you know, wow, you’re, you’re, like, Hey, your life couldn’t be better, like, in the pandemic, and you’re traveling and doing these families. Right. It’s amazing, like, smiling from ear to ear, and the response was, don’t believe everything that you say. Yeah. And it was like, Okay, wow. And this is somebody who I know very well and is very close to me. And I was like, wow, you know, that’s, that’s, that’s really interesting. And, and it’s interesting, because this is what is presented. People don’t get on and say, you know, gosh, yesterday was a horrible, and I’m having problems with my friends or I’m having problems in my relationship. Or, you know, I’m just really sad all the time. We don’t see as much of that. We post the happy moments, we post the things that are exciting. We post our best look with filters, right? Like that’s what we’re putting out there. And then that’s what everybody is aspiring to have in B. So it just continues to add on to the idea Diya of perfectionism, the the perfect job, the perfect life, the perfect family, whatever that may look like, adds to the stress, the anxiety and the Depression, when we don’t achieve maybe that image that we had. And then these are the things that Ken did that lead to the high risk factors, right? The the increase in suicide rates, early, early death of our young college students, not just because of suicide, but maybe because of diabetes, blood pressure that they’re developing in early ages, right? We like to separate our mind and our body and think that they’re different. Our mental health and our physical health are separate, but they’re not at all, they are so intertwined. And when we have don’t have good mental health, then we don’t have good physical health, and vice versa. And these two things should be looked at together because they can create health issues in other areas as well.
george grombacher 11:06
Fascinating, I, you know, I, it’s so obvious hearing it, how perfectionism, you have young people who are working so hard to get straight A’s and great test scores, and then they see everybody on social media looking beautiful and perfect. And, and then they do it, they check every box, they they do all of it. And they get there. They’re like, Ah, man, this is it. I’m not happy, I’m not fulfilled, I’ve just done and check these boxes, because you promised that that would lead to it. Along with with with all these other problems that we’re struggling with, what’s what’s what’s the way forward, Christie?
Kristy Filler 11:49
So, obviously, I think the biggest, biggest way forward is awareness. Right? If we don’t know, and we’re not aware of what’s going on what’s around us what the potential concerns are, then we can’t change it, we can’t move forward, and we can’t make a change and make difference. So first is awareness. Second is acknowledgement, we need to acknowledge the reality of these problems on a macro level, right, we need to we need to acknowledge them in schools, we need to acknowledge them in workforces, we need to acknowledge them in larger platforms. And then on an individual basis, we need to be able to present to friends or families, whoever it may be, that it’s okay to not be perfect, and it’s okay to not always be happy or be great, it’s better to be able to voice it and talk about it. So that you can get there versus pretending that it’s not happening. Because when we suppress feelings, or we, you know, we don’t deal with them, they grow, they don’t go away, they don’t disappear, they just sort of get piled on. And sometimes that’s what we spend a lot of time doing, again, on a large scale, or a smaller scale or more individual scale, large scale, we don’t want to deal with it, we don’t know how to deal with it, right? So we shy away from it, or don’t talk about it or, you know, don’t put it on the forefront of things. And then that continues to give the message that it’s scary, or we don’t want to deal with it, or that’s too depressing to have to deal with. And then that, again, makes people sort of what I call turtle right? Go inside of themselves and hide what’s really happening. And the reality is quite the opposite, the more that we talk about it and talk through it, the better we’re gonna be as people, as society, as a community, we will be better and we will be stronger. So I think that those are some key things is again, it being aware, acknowledging it, and then starting to really work at making the changes, right. Like that’s the that’s the last piece of it is putting things in place, executing different ways to create platforms for people to feel safe and to talk about things to create different avenues that people can take breaks, I know that I’ve been reading a lot about introduction into even, you know, elementary schools on up of mental health days, not being afraid to take a break and say, you know, hey, I’m not well, and I need a moment to myself, putting these things in place. Allow us to say you know what, it’s okay, to not be perfect, to not be okay. And to take time out. And I think that’s essential. It’s at least a building block in the right direction to having better Awareness and Wellness.
george grombacher 14:48
I appreciate all that. Thank you. It strikes me that that’s what we need to do sort of top down but then bottom up as well. me as an individual I need to become aware of how interrelate is for me to pay attention to my physical well being, but also my mental and my emotional well being and to give myself permission, and in fact, maybe even schedule in pauses or breaks. Acknowledging the way that I’m feeling, acknowledging that I am susceptible to thinking that things are perfect and getting drawn into situations. And then recognizing and positioning myself for success by having conversations and reaching out to knowing that it’s okay, that I do want to speak with somebody and be able to have an outlet.
Kristy Filler 15:42
Yes, I think that I mean, I think you’re right on target, that we have to take responsibility for our own lives, right. We’re the only ones that can be our own advocates 100%, we’re the ones that are going to focus and, you know, really take pride pride, sorry, priority in ourselves. And where I talked about in the beginning, where my experience sort of with with a clinician allowed me to rewrite my narrative, right. And I think that’s one of the important things is that we, we are our own storytellers. And we get to decide what that narrative is. But if we don’t take control of it, or, or as my sister would say, if you stick your head in the sand, and you don’t take control of something, then things become out of control. Right. And then that’s none of us feel good when things feel out of control. So the idea is that if you start to take control of your narrative, and you start to be able to recognize when you’re having distress, and one of the most concrete examples, I can generally give folks because lots of times the mental health aspect seems so profound, or we can’t put our finger on it, right? So I tell people, all right, let’s look at it this way. If you most of us have owned a home, lived in a home, you know, rented a home in some way, we’ve resided in a home, right, and if somebody came in and told you that there was a crack in your foundation in your home, and you’re at risk, you know, at that point, like, I’m not going to spend my time and money putting all these beautiful things in the home, because my safety is compromised, my items are compromised. So most of us would then either seek shelter someplace else, or we would put our time and energy into fixing the foundation. Well, ultimately, our mind that our mental health is our foundation, right? It’s our it’s our feelings and emotions. It’s our wellness. It’s what makes us who we are. It’s our intellect. It is all of these things and ultimately runs, how we do things in what we do. As I mentioned, things start to become compromised when we are not well, finances, relationships. So when you think about it, most of us, like I said, we’ll put all of our time and energy in fixing the house. But why do we not do the same for our own wellness? Right? When we see signs of distress, or we see things that don’t feel right? We don’t say something to somebody else, right? If it’s a friend or whatever, we don’t say to them, we would tell them, hey, there’s a crack in your foundation in your house. But we don’t say it when we see it. In our person we care about we shy away from it, we’re scared, we’re afraid. We also sometimes shy away from it with ourselves. I feel like our best interest is when we see distress. When we say something to somebody we care about. Or we say to ourselves, it’s time to really put my time and energy into myself, self care, preventative measures, whatever that looks like. But I need to get intact so that I can protect and preserve myself and everything that means something to me. Love it.
george grombacher 18:59
What a great metaphor. And it’s so true. So thank you for that. Sure. Well, Christy that was that was an excellent one. The people are ready for your difference making tip. What do you have for them?
Kristy Filler 19:11
Okay, so, for my difference making tip, I think when experiencing as a therapist and working with folks, right, some of the things that I see the most is that we fear, conflict and change. A lot of us spend most of our time avoiding too much change, and especially conflict. Now, these are things that are unavoidable in life, throughout life, you are going to have change and you’re going to experience conflict. So I think some of the keys if I could equipped folks with three key things, those things would be acknowledge and embrace conflict as a way that we grow the most grow and learn, accept change and approach life with curiosity. rather than defensiveness, right, that’s the perfectionism piece. Open your mind to being curious and ask questions rather than defensive and make mindfulness, right mindfulness, the art of being present a part of your daily routine, until it becomes habit. If those three things become part of your daily activities, what you do, I think we’d all be less stressed and much happier.
george grombacher 20:30
I think that that is great stuff, it definitely gets come. That’s excellent. Give me the three again, acknowledge and embrace,
Kristy Filler 20:38
acknowledge and embrace conflict as a way that we grow, accept change and approach life with curiosity, instead of defensiveness and make mindfulness a routine till it becomes habit.
george grombacher 20:50
Wonderful. Christy, thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn more about you? How can they engage? And how can they learn more about thriveworks
Kristy Filler 20:58
so you can check me email@example.com I’m on the website with my bio. People can get in touch with thriveworks obviously by going on the website we are in I believe 43 states at this point. So please reach out if not to us to somebody if you’re experiencing and when I say somebody I mean a mental health professional. If you’re experiencing some level of distress, please reach out and get get the help that you deserve.
george grombacher 21:30
Excellent. If you enjoyed this as much as I did, so Christy, your appreciation and share today share with a friend who also appreciates good ideas go to thrive works.com and check out the great resources and get in touch. Thanks, Christy.
Kristy Filler 21:44
Thank you, pleasure.
george grombacher 21:47
And until next time, keep fighting the good fight. We’re all in this together.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai