The Importance of Mental Health
Can we talk about something people don’t like to talk about for a minute? Let’s talk about the importance of mental health, and how the vast majority of people will suffer from some sort of depression, anxiety, or other severe issue at some point in their life. Let’s also talk about how most of those people will feel ashamed of those struggles, and try to hide them from everyone, even themselves. If you are currently struggling with any sort of mental health problems, please, please do not feel ashamed. Please seek help. Please know that you are not alone in your journey. Please know that it can get better, but that the reason it hasn’t gotten better isn’t because you aren’t trying hard enough to be happy. You are not the problem, and you can feel like a whole, happy, person again.
Can I just tell you, if you haven’t realized it yet, the importance of mental health is not something that I take lightly. Many people see me as a very positive, driven woman. Someone who looks at only the positive in life. But let me clear something up, we all have our struggles, and we all have our own demons to overcome. I am no different.
So I’m going to share a story with you.
I was affected by mental health issues for three years. I remember sitting on the couch, and seeing that depression medicine commercial. You know the one. The one where the girl has to wind herself up for the day, and then she hit rock bottom in the evening. The decidedly melancholy music playing in the background like a soundtrack for my life. I would sit there, and laugh to myself - a humorless laugh - and I would tell my grandma, “That’s exactly what it’s like.”
Do not let someone tell you, “Just get up and be happy.” The person who says that, does not understand what depression, anxiety, or a multitude of other mental health struggles truly are. Let me explain it to you, how a doctor explained it to me. It was the day I decided it was okay to get help. He told me, “You wouldn’t look at a person with diabetes and tell them, ‘Just eat the sugar, and enjoy it.’ Just like you wouldn’t fault that same person when they take their insulin shots to regulate their blood sugar. So why are you faulting yourself for seeking help for a medical condition? Just like a diabetic person has an imbalance they are seeking to regulate, a person with depression has an imbalance that needs to be regulated. A person with depression is not at fault for their depression. There is no shame in it.”
So here's to anyone who is suffering. Know that this time in your life isn't forever, and those who genuinely love you are just trying to help you. For those who love someone who is trying to cope with their own mental health, acknowledge this is something they are going through, but that it can get better with the right support, love, and help, even when they fight against it. Fight back. Fight for them, when they can’t fight for themselves. It's hard on both sides, but remember this advice, as I did to get through my darkest moments, "There is light at the end of the tunnel."
I write this with tears in my eyes, knowing how hard the journey can be and how far I’ve come. You can too. Thank you to those who fought for me, when I couldn’t fight for myself.