This entire month is Mental Health Awareness month. As I am sure many of you know, I am a huge advocate for mental health. I suffer from some mental health problems myself, I know people close to me who do, and I work with people who do. It’s really a big part of my life right now.
Which is why I have been M.I.A again. Just when are started getting my feet on the ground, life pulled a fast one on me and knocked me down a little bit by affecting people closest to me. For once, I needed to be there for other people. But it was a lot of people in a short amount of time, so I ended up stretching myself thin and having a mini melt down.
This has caused my body to hate me again, which has resulted in migraines, low appetite, frequent washroom visits, and hemorrhoids! Yaaaaay… not. Stress and I are just not what we used to be anymore.
But here is my speech about mental health. It can be a good or bad thing. We all have mental health. Some of us strive and have a good balance, great coping skills, and a healthy mind, while others do not. I like to see mental health as a spectrum that everyone kind of falls on and it can change anytime because life changes anytime. Most people you meet have their own battles and most of the time you wouldn’t even realize it. As we have seen in popular culture, some of the funniest people who bring other people joy are also some of the saddest people.
Mental health can be such an empowering thing or such a crippling experience. Much like an invisible illness, it isn’t always seen right away when problems arise, but if we look closely we can see subtle changes. I for one thought I had a good hold of my mental well being these past few months, but when I saw my IV nurses, I was quickly proven wrong when immediately they noticed changes. And they see me once a month.
Mental health is one of those things that it takes being in the situation yourself to really understand the gravity of it. But I think that’s wrong. We don’t question how hurt someone really is when they break their arm, so why should we do the same with our mental health? Mental Health can affect who you are fundamentally, and to me that’s a lot scarier than a broken bone. And I would know. I broke my knee cap and had to stay home for 8 weeks, but I struggled with my mental health for the past year. 10 times out of 10 I would rather break my knee cap again then get into one of my depression spouts. There is no scarier feeling to me than feeling like a prisoner in your own body.
And what breaks my heart more is how many people choose not to talk about it. There is still such a stigma around it and I wonder why? Someone with depression will most likely have to battle this for the rest of their lives. Much like how I will have to deal with UC for the rest of mine. It’s all about management, but you can get better.
By talking about it.
By making someone feel like they are not alone.
By standing by that person through the good and the bad.
By recognizing that their illness does not define who they are. They just need to get back to who they are.
By seeing and acknowledging the strength a person has.
Love really is louder. There is no empowering feeling quite like being loved unconditionally. The fear that you would be judge dissolves so fast when people don’t treat you any differently or see you any differently, but just recognize that this is just another journey you need to go through. In these past weeks I have witnessed how far support, understanding, and love can take someone. It of course takes time, much like anything else, but it provides that person some sort of foundation to help them along in their journey.
So hug all your loved ones. Listen with an open heart. Leave your judgments at the door. Talk. Be gentle with yourselves and recognize when to take a step back. And just love.
Kindness is such a simple thing to give someone, but it can completely change their day or even life around. You never know where a person is in their own journey or what struggles they have. So love and be kind. Because when you are in your own struggles, I hope someone is kind to you as well.
*** I promise once things settle down that I will follow up with those guests posts. There’s been so much on my plate lately that in order to maintain my mental health, I have taken a step back to really focus on being there for others and getting better.