The stigma around mental health is real. Is it really because of the term mental health? Two words makes everyone cringe, turn their heads, and never want to speak about something? I really have trouble believing that! Obviously it’s not just that. It’s what people think about when they hear the term mental health. It’s shame, guilt, denial, perceived weakness, uncertainty, discomfort, and pain. It’s trying to figure out how to bring it up, what to say, wondering if you will be judged, and sometimes even judging yourself into silence. Somehow these words have become associated to the health and wellbeing of someone’s emotions. As if we are expected to feel good all the time. Do you? Because I certainly don’t!
When I don’t feel my best, I want to feel ok saying that… actually, I feel better when I do talk about it. I want everyone to feel ok saying it and experience feeling better about being honest when you are not feeling your best. Everyone struggles and everyone deserves to get support in ways that can help them feel better. Know that there is absolutely nothing wrong with not feeling your best, and you do not have to be at a certain level of emotional unrest in order to talk to someone. There is zero definition of what you need to feel in order to seek support.
Notice I said “support” and not “help” because the term “help” makes some people feel weak and feel as if there is something wrong. So let’s use words that support the strength of those who decide to talk to someone and admit when their emotions are imbalanced. Let’s congratulate and support people when they have courage to admit they are struggling, and let’s try to open up the space for more people to do so.
In the times that we are in right now, how can we continue to feed this shame around not being ok? We are stuck inside, restricted to what we can and feel comfortable doing, and have never lived in a time where it is repeatedly groundhog day. This is the perfect time TO encourage people to speak up, be honest, empower others to not hurt in silence, and break more molds.
Two words have carried so much power and it’s time to change that. I get that change is hard and anytime we feel off balance, there are things we will be asked or encouraged to do to resume balance, but struggling in silence or feeling better in community….I guess the option is yours.