Last week I did a workshop for a well-known school, which I will not divulge the name of. It went well. Afterwards, the staff and I shared lunch with the director of the school. My topic was how to work with students who have emotional and behavior based disabilities, so naturally the lunchroom conversation turned towards treatment of mental health issues. Unfortunately it took a sharp left and turned towards drugs everyone had tried. It seemed like everyone at the table under the age of thirty had been diagnosed with something at some point in their lives. They all started to tell their stories and compare the experiences of different psycho-tropic prescription drugs.
My eyes met the director’s mid-way through a long story about what side effects Luvox had upon one of his newer teachers. The director's clean-cut face was a mixture of embarrassment and confusion. I would bet very good money that he was wondering how he was going to refine his screening process in the future. You know that cringe moment when all but the speaker knows that he has crossed the line? Poor kid! The young teacher speaking about Luvox had become an instant cautionary tale- note too self, remember that even if you are not working, your boss is still your boss. Remember too that you can’t unsay a thing spoken. I did cut the kid off and divert the conversation with a funny and sincere observation. I said that this conversation was remarkably contemporary. When I was a kid, people were talking about recreational drugs!
The truth is that younger people grew up with a very different perspective on mental health issues than I did. It was hardly a mainstream conversation when I was a kid. Shrinks were still blaming everything on our mothers back in the early 1980's. I walked away from the conversation with a very odd sensation. There was a generation gap operating during the post workshop lunch AND I WAS ON THE WRONG END OF THAT CHASM!!!!! I've never felt that before.