Today is World Mental Health Day, and the hashtag is blowing up on Twitter. I find this so encouraging, because mental health, even in the year 2017, is not something that we talk about honestly and openly. I find that the conversation is particularly restrained for women, and even more so for women of color. The “fairer sex” has been shouldering the brunt of the emotional trauma experienced by their families and their communities.
That’s not to exclude men, though. You know that statistic about how women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression? That’s because men are taught that it’s weak to admit anything is wrong, and that feelings aren’t real. So when you have men that can’t feel feelings and women that have to be responsible for everyone’s feelings, you get a epidemic of mental and emotional dysfunction.
Caring for your mental health is two-fold. Let’s compare it to physical health for a second. There are the things that you can do on your own, like going to the gym and cleaning up your diet. And then there are the things that a trained professional would help you with, like seeking counseling or psychiatric treatment.
Breaking a leg does not make you weak, nor does it mean that you’re f—ed up or there’s something unfixably wrong with you. It just means that you need support to get better. Your broken leg will heal on its own too—it just may not heal in a healthy way or with the same result that it would if you went to a doctor. Same goes for your mental health. You’ll get faster and better results with professional help.
Last thing—you are meant to be happy. You do not have to wait until you are suicidal to seek help. You do not have to be at rock bottom before you take a step back. It’s enough to be unhappy, uncomfortable, stressed or just have a feeling that something isn’t right. So if you’re wondering if you should start a self care practice or waiting for permission to do whatever that thing is that you want to do because you think you’ll be happier, do it. Start now. Because if you listen to your heart when it whispers, you’ll never have to hear it scream.
Share your mental health tips and victories with me below.
This blog is based on my personal experience and is not medical advice. It doesn’t replace the support of a qualified medical professional. If you have a medical, mental, or emotional emergency call 911 right away.