Mental Health Doesn’t Mean Crazy

                                                                   LB’s Thoughts

Life has knocked me down repeatedly and I’ve always managed to get back up somehow. I can recall the first time I felt helpless. As a small child, I remember feeling like the ground had opened beneath my feet and I began to fall with no end in sight. I lost all sense of security and safety when my family had to leave my childhood home in a rush. All of my toys, clothes, pictures, and keepsakes were thrown into boxes and bags. This chaotic episode became the norm, and I didn’t find solid ground until years later. This was one of the earliest events in my life that severely impacted my mental health.

In order to create temporary security, I developed defense mechanisms at a young age to protect myself from experiencing that “falling” feeling. It was my own way of activating fight or flight tactics. I now know that it is okay to seek help to develop healthy tools to manage my mental health. I’ve outgrown my defense mechanisms because I’ve found healthy alternatives. Admitedly, I sometimes revert back to them, but I’m a work in progress. In the same way I can’t exercise once and expect a lifetime of good health, I have to stay on top of my mental health daily. I only keep honest people around me that love me for who I am, no exceptions. I walk daily, try to eat right, and continually push myself to grow. I’m excited to work on myself. I can’t be any good to others if I’m no good to myself. A wise woman told me to “Getcha mind right”. I’m taking her advice, and I no longer feel bad for taking care of myself first and foremost.

What is mental health? The Department of Health and Human Service stated mental health ” includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being.” ( para 1.,n.d.).

                                                                      References

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). What is mental health? Retrieved from https://www.mentalhealth.gov/basics/what-is-mental-health/index.html

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                                                                      PA’s Thoughts

It was Friday, May 9, 2008. My desk phone rang, and a familiar voice greeted me on the other end, “They found George in his apartment, he’s dead”. I felt overwhelming fear, confusion, concern, and anger. Then I experienced a brief moment of clarity. “He killed himself, I’m sure of it”, I said in a voice barely above a whisper. He had always tried to mask his mental illness. Always the life of the party, he was the person everyone loved to see. He secretly lived a life of turmoil, was verbally and emotionally abusive, and buried debilitating childhood secrets that only he and God knew.                             

8 years later, I have much more understanding for an act that seemed unfathomable only a short time ago. With mounting daily stresses, increasing financial responsibilities and what seems like a decreasing number of hours in the day, life seems to be constantly overwhelming. These days, I find myself questioning my own mental health more and more and am adamant about taking time away to regain clarity and focus. Within the past few years, I have solicited the expertise of a mental health professional in order to help me prioritize and to put life back into perspective. I wish that George would have sought help rather than the alternative, but the reality is that no one is exempt from these thoughts or feelings. 1 in 5 adults in America experience a mental illness (www.nami.org). With the multifaceted lives that many live, remaining in good mental health is essential for continued progression. My mental health is paramount, and I am committed to maintaining it at all costs.

                                                                          References

National Alliance on Mental Illness. (2010, June 28). Billy graham’s 35,000 souls: One in five will experience mental illness. Retrieved from http://www.nami.org/Press-Media/Press-Releases/2002/Billy-Graham-s-35,000-Souls-One-in-Five-Will-Expe 

2 Comments Add yours

  1. BM says:

    “life is a journey, not a destination” and taking charge of your mental health really improves the “quality of the ride”. Continue to work on yourself and keep the faith. This is a topic that needs more visibility in many communities. We often just sweep mental health under the rug and self medicate to cope. Thanks for taking the time to share.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment. We appreciate your thoughts.

      Like

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