Everyone has mental health issues; only the brave ones admit it and address it.
Somehow our society has reserved the term mental health issue only for mentally-challenged folks or for severe psychological imbalances such as bipolar disorder. Yet if you took a hard look at the mental state of the people around you all day long – including yourself – you’d see a multitude of mental health issues that everyday people experience every day.
Let’s look at the definition of mental health…
1. a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being
We need to broaden our understanding of a mental health issue:
- It includes emotional health
- It is chronic (lasting longer than 6 weeks) but not necessarily continuous
- It is any experience of struggling with thoughts or emotions that affect your quality of life and your well-being
What thoughts are you thinking that keep getting in your way?
What emotions are you feeling that keep hindering your progress?
Can you name one person who does not have mental health issues?
Some people live their whole lives never admitting to themselves that they have mental and emotional issues, and never seeking help even though it’s often obvious to those around them. Self-medicating to avoid or numb their mental state with excessive use of alcohol, drugs, work, screens, and shopping for example, is epidemic.
Why would we rather numb ourselves out on a regular basis rather than get the psychological issue resolved? Why?!?
Deep, deep shame
Shame for being less than perfect.
Shame for being weak.
Shame for being needy.
Shame for being ‘broken’.
Shame for disappointing others.
We have a culture than nurtures shame rather than dignity in admitting our challenges and doing our own self-development work.
Another reason is fear.
Fear of being judged.
Fear of being seen as less than.
Fear of being seen as vulnerable.
Because our caveman brain still thinks it’s another era where life-threatening danger is lurking around every corner and through survival of the fittest, the weak are the first targets. Our old brain is trying to prevent us from being attacked by a predator. Unfortunately, this function is far more exaggerated than it needs to be in modern times.
Here’s an unedited excerpt from my journal 5 months after my son died. This was a big step for me to admit these things to myself.
What issues am I facing right now?
unsure of myself, what I want
loss of confidence in my physical health, my mental health, my emotional health
unable to decide or narrow down where I want to live, how much I want to pay for a house
fear I won’t be physically fit (energy) to do the move in 3 months
anxious about finding the right home
feeling raw, vulnerable, alone, unsafe, unsupported
loss of control, of myself, of my life
unclear, can’t find my truth
I’m not ashamed to admit that I was in this mess. I’ve been in similar psychological turmoil like this before and since, so it’s not an isolated occurrence, nor was it contingent on the grief I was experiencing.
Once I got real with myself about my situation, I was able to take steps to address them and seek the help that I needed.
And you can to.
It’s time to start putting our issues on the table so we can do something about them.
It’s time to sort ourselves out. (thanks Jordan Peterson)
It’s time to empower ourselves.
It’s time to stop self-medicating.
It’s time to stop distracting and numbing ourselves.
It’s time to stop pretending everything is ok when it’s not.
It’s time to do the work.
There are things you can do today to start this change.
- Take a few minutes to centre yourself in silence, or with a walk in nature and make a commitment to be real with yourself now.
- Write out the issues you’re facing. Then go deeper. Start with the superficial, the mundane life issues and then ask yourself what’s going on within you that’s contributing to each one.
- Examine your life for patterns or recurring themes that are related to the deeper issues. This will give you some clues as to old wounds that are still impacting you.
- Find a professional that can help you.
I can help you sort out your next step or identify what kind of support you need. Please book a complimentary exploratory conversation with me today. I would love to speak with you.
Blessings and love to you.