It’s World Mental Health Day today and I feel both compelled to write something and also completely exhausted at the prospect of it – advice like some I shared on an insta story earlier seems cliche, a celebration of my achievements just falls flat when I try to encourage myself and trying to articulate all the ways in which the conversations we have surrounding mental health desperately need to change and improve just leaves me feeling angry and sad. But I guess these kind of acknowledgements are also important – it’s okay to feel like you can’t always talk about mental health in a productive way, it’s okay to feel like the dialogue surrounding it doesn’t help and it’s okay to feel like your own progress isn’t enough to soothe a bad hour, day, week.
I’ve been feeling so much more stable and capable over the last few weeks, far more than I have in years. But I’ve also left a seminar and cried because something in it resurfaced trauma that I’m still struggling to deal with. I’ve also felt completely exhausted, hopeless and defeated. And these things don’t negate from the progress I’ve made or from the fact that I’m getting better. But they’re still things I feel a sense of shame around, they’re still things people don’t ask about, they’re still things I’m working on expressing. I guess this ties into the idea of recovery not being linear. But sometimes accepting that and repeating it in your head isn’t enough. Sometimes we need more than that. And trying to reach out is scary. And sometimes I wish that people weren’t just encouraged to talk but to listen. I wish we acknowledged that sometimes it’s not okay to talk – it’s awkward and uncomfortable and painfully exposing. But that doesn’t mean it’s not necessary.
We all need to reach out and remind people they’re loved, we all need to make an effort to check in with each other and we all need to force ourselves to have that awkward “I’m here if you need me conversation” repeatedly because sometimes it’s impossibly hard to reach out and admit you need help. But when that’s not happening, when people aren’t there, we need to remember that it’s not weak to ask for help, it’s self preservation.
And if you know/suspect someone’s struggling w/ their mental health, this is the best article I’ve read on how you can help https://mybestself.blog/2018/06/25/being-there/