Continuing Conversation #2

Michael ComerReview – Continue Conversation by Michael Comer
May 9, 2016 – Class at Bipolar Insights / Mental Health Educational Center

Marcia wrote on the white board “Conversation.” This is the third class teaching us how to have a conversation. Everyone was anxious to continue. We knew if we could not talk to each other, that our relationships would break down.

Continuing Conversation

I believe that words are strong, that they can overwhelm what we fear when fear seems more awful than life is good.”  -Andrew Soloman

You have to learn how to validate, listen, and be consistent in how you talk to people. Instead of a grandmother saying, “Why are you going out with such a short skirt?” to her granddaughter, she could say something like, “You are beautiful.”

Questions make people go on the defensive. You have to learn to say what you need to say for people to hear you, so you don’t degrade them. You want people to listen to you and heed your advice. If you have a difficult conversation with a difficult person, you can have a conversation with anyone, anywhere!

We need to learn and practice a whole new way of speaking to each other in a positive, reaffirming, and validating way is. To develop relationships, we need to learn how to talk to each other by lifting them up. Don’t let your mental health define you because it’s not who you are. We need to understand this to transform and shape our own life. 

You can never change the opinions of others. It’s not about what other people think about you; it’s what you think about yourself. 

Q: What can you do if someone is making fun of you, or your behavior?

A: You can say “I know you don’t understand mental illness, for some time I didn’t as well. Please understand this illness is not funny and mania is not a joke. I have bipolar disorder – it is a chemical imbalance in my brain. It is what I have; it doesn’t define who I am. Thank you for understanding.”

Respect people; say what you need to say in a warm tone of voice. Everybody deserves respect when you speak to them just as much as you deserve respect when someone is speaking to you. Everybody struggles with finding balance and managing their lives. People that have mental disorders are highly intelligent, creative, and amazing. We are all struggling, whether you have a mental illness or not. We all need to take responsibility for our lives. We can break the mold and become more independent in our thought-thinking and recognize our own potential.

#1. Validate the person when speaking to them.

#2. Uplift them; say something positive (no questions).

#3. Listen to what they have to say and remember it.

Don’t assume that you know what people are going to say or how they’re going to feel.


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