A New Vantage Point

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a blog written by Jordan Berta

One of my favourite movies is called Vantage Point (a political drama). The interesting thing about this movie is that it in many ways is actually eight, 23 minute films rather than just one. You may be asking what I mean by that. Well, like in every movie there is a climax, but what is different about this one is that the events leading up to the climax are highlighted from the perspective of eight different people. In essence, every 23 minutes the film rewinds and shows in real time the lead up to this major event from the perspective of each major character.

“Vantage Point” helped me see something that hopefully will be helpful to you. The reality is that our lives are much like this film. We all have a different vantage point. We also all have moments where our stories collide with others. Yes, this makes life more complex but it also allows for greater perspective that can help you and I grow.

Early on in my mental health journey, I saw the value of seeking out the vantage point of those close to me, especially that of my Grandmother (or Oma as I know her). We have a close relationship and her wisdom has helped me work through many challenges. So today I’d like to let her talk…about me. Here is an excerpt of a conversation between Oma and a member of our team…

Question: Can you pinpoint a time when you thought that Jordan might be having some struggles himself?

Oma: Right from when he was a baby. I’ve raised many kids, and he was totally different from them all. He’s been through difficult times in his young life. His parents were teenagers and not quite ready to raise a child. I knew he was unique. He needed different treatment, especially with what you said and how you said it. We’d go to the playground and he’d had to jump down a step that was 3 inches high and he was screaming at me that I was killing him because I told him to jump off and he wouldn’t. Little things like that! So we did repetitive games for years, and all the while I didn’t know he was full of anxiety. Looking back I could see that he was worried about the weather, always checking outside. He wasn’t accepted by kids at school; he had a hard time communicating with kids. He preferred talking to adults. Later on he went to doctors and they said he had generalized anxiety disorder and depression, which became quite obvious. It’s been a very trying thing, but with his struggles he’s made me a more patient and loving person.

Question: Thinking back about your time with Jordan over the years, did you find that there were some things you wanted to help Jordan with, but couldn’t?

Oma: Absolutely. There are certain things others cannot change. I can help him calm down for a while, I can spend time listening to him, but you cannot help people instantly because part of it they have to do by themselves. You can assist them in helping them, but you need patience. And some things are never shared. You find out later that people struggle with things for years that they never talked about. I think when someone is young, too, it’s hard for them to share because they don’t understand their situation. Once they get older and have more self-awareness, they can deal with things better. I see this in Jordan; now that he’s older he understands more about his situation and wants to deal with it. He’s determined to make it, and wants to take others on the journey to finding strength in life.

I like many of you feel insecure when I know that someone is talking about me. So to say that the idea of this interview was nerve-wracking would be an understatement (and to be honest I’ve held on to these notes for a long time before writing this post). However I release this today to make a statement about how important it is to have open and honest conversations with people close to you. Many of you won’t have someone speaking publicly about you in this way but maybe bringing that person along to a doctor or counsellor appointment could be helpful in discovering solutions to your struggles.

We all have blind-spots. Let someone in to help you see them.