Awareness Empowers: Taking Ownership of Mental Health

“I should be stronger,” “I can get through this on my own,” “I can self-help this,” “I can avoid this,” are a few examples of the things we tell ourselves to justify not seeking support.

What is the this? The this is the obstacle that gets in front of or in the way of your goal and/or happiness and the obstacle is different for every one of us. What is the same for all of us is that we are all in need of and empowered by awareness.

Slow down. It is time to be aware. Aware that we need to take care of all parts of ourselves. We will schedule our yearly physical, flu shot, and bi-annual dental appointment, but what is currently in place for our mental health? So many of us walk around in silence, trying to get over the obstacles in our lives while feeling exhausted, anxious, and/or lonely.

Our mental health is just as important as our physical health, yet by the time we realize it needs attention we have lost friends, gained weight, maxed out our credit, become disenchanted with our jobs, spouses, and ourselves!

It is time to check in on your mental health. It is time to evaluate what your life looks like. It is time to implement more of what makes you feel most yourself, what makes you feel most alive. If you need more time, create more time. If you need more support, create more opportunities for support. If you do not know where to start or do not have the energy to begin, reach out to a therapist who can collaborate with you and get you closer to living the life you deserve to be living.

I talk a lot about perception with my clients, how you see things and how you experience life are based on what you are extracting from your experiences. If you find yourself having a difficult time extracting the lessons and positives from any obstacle/struggle, you may be experiencing negative sentiment override or a depressive episode. If you find that you are not feeling yourself, it is time to do something different.

What we know for sure: You will be challenged. You will have heartache. You will feel lost. You will feel abandoned. All of these things will happen at various points during your life. It is important to have an awareness and acceptance that OBSTACLES WILL COME. This is a truth that is hard for us to embrace. What we do have is choice. We are empowered by understanding that our mindset is a choice and that there are steps we can take to not only get through a rough period in our lives but to also elevate while doing so.

What else we know for sure: We are all in this together. Mental Health challenges are Universal and touch all of us. The Joker movie with Joaquin Phoenix was just released a couple of weeks before Mental Health Awareness day and it helps to shed light on many issues that are relevant today. The movie, although extreme and controversial gives us the perspective of the one and the many. Arthur Fleck, who later becomes The Joker, experienced trauma as a child and has a mental illness. Through the love and nurturing of his mother and finding a job as a clown which he did well, he was able to lead a quiet and simple life. Society crept in and made fun of, taunted, laughed at, and abandoned him partly due to a lack of empathy and understanding. There were times throughout the movie that people/society had an opportunity to do something or say something different that may have changed his path. While there is never an excuse for resorting to violence, the movie does a good job of pointing out the impact of our actions on ourselves and others. The harsh reality is that sometimes we are unintentionally cruel and insensitive and we are unaware of how our actions impact others, as well as ourselves. We all get to take a look at how we are showing up in the world for ourselves, the people we love, and for the collective.

When you get knocked down, what do you do? When there is a hurdle or barrier in the way of getting what you want, how do you get over it?

When we get knocked down, we get to lick our wounds, take care of ourselves, extract the lesson, seek support, and get back up. If you are experiencing a hardship, if you are feeling sad, alone, and overwhelmed, if you feel as if things just continue to keep getting in your way, IT IS TIME. It is an opportunity. Those feelings and obstacles are pointing you in the direction of paying attention to your mental health. It is time to be aware of it, get in front of it, and understand it. You do not have to go it alone, you can seek support from others. Today is the day.

What can you do in honor of Mental Health Awareness day:

  • Do something for yourself. Fill your tank back up. Nourish your soul and quiet your mind. Go for a walk, go to the spa, connect with friends, paint, write, cook, laugh, swim, watch your favorite movie, go for a drive, engage in your hobby, whatever your thing is, go do it! If you are struggling to find a way to nurture yourself and have been contemplating finding a therapist, find one. Look on psychologytoday.com or another website, or ask friends and family if they have a therapist they can recommend. Make today the day you give yourself permission to seek additional support.
  • Be kind to others, sometimes your interaction with others makes all the difference. Some people are just one bad day away from their breaking point. Make a positive difference in the world. It will support your mental health as well.

Today is Mental Health Awareness day 2019 but regardless of the day that you read this post, it is a day that you get to evaluate how well you are attending to your mental health needs. Choose to walk in awareness around what is holding you back, around what needs attention, and around how you are showing up in the world. If you are struggling to get past the obstacle on your own, please seek professional help. Tending to mental health is not an other person issue, it is a Universal issue. Be kind, be empowered, be AWARE!