It’s Mental: The Way We Play With Our Mental Health

Day 2: End of the year read between the lines – too short series

Dear World,

You and I are not that dissimilar.

I’ve always had a touch and go relationship with my mental health. Some days I’m great and then for extended periods of time, I’m in the depths of the dark and hide from the world. I cave into myself when I’m alone and with others I’m a ray of sunshine.

Having come to understand how I maneuver the mental health space, I realise that therapy has been an embraced area for me. This often looks like sessions with a Psychologist or a trained counsellor.

However, it sometimes resembles a dark room with music blasting or crying myself to sleep. On rare occasions, it twins with rolling out the yoga mat, meditating, burning a candle, or reaching out to someone who will listen and not cast judgement.

Dare I say it? Sometimes – the far and few “some” of unhealthy spontaneity is Queen.

Like you, I wonder if these mental health experiences are a small insignificant glitch in the broader spectrum of the life we’re so blessed to have. But there’s that little voice inside that says the glitch may be minor but its effects are significant and will yield gargantuan results if left unchecked. In actuality, the results will also be enormous if checked.

The trauma we face and endure varies. How we handle the trauma may also be different. After all, we are individuals with unique takes on the world around us. Yes, we are similar but our differences set us apart.

The Snowball Rolling Down the Hill

Many of us live in a cold world where the ground is frozen, and precipitation is often snow storms and rainy thunderstorms.

For those of us who are similar in our approach to trauma – guys and gals we need to do better. Bonding over unchecked and unaddressed trauma is not cute.

Don’t get me wrong. Exchanging memes and being in new-age dialogue about the weight of our worries and laughing our asses off at the relatability is great. There was once a time where we suffered alone and in silence – we were never encouraged to talk about a taboo matter such as this. However, seeing the problem for what it is takes us only part of the way (not even half).

We must do the work to melt the ice and snow, drain the flooded spaces, then uproot, mulch, replant, transplant or bury to enrich our soils. If all we do is roll snowballs down the hill at others and versions of ourselves, we may trigger an avalanche or a massive ball ready to plough us.

Bandaids, Access and the Limitations We Place on Mental Health

“Pray about it” or “Talk to God” are perhaps the most cop out responses you could give to someone struggling with their mental health. Don’t do it. I’m breaking it to you, prayer warriors, not every one leans into the gospel – especially for issues of mental health. Don’t force it on them.

The physical exercises, crystals and mantras may work like prayer does but they need supplements to support and yield actual results. Supplement those with therapy from a trained and capable person. It’s important to note that therapy isn’t just talk. There’s also assessment and medicine. Yes, some issues require a fully medical approach and nothing is wrong with that.

The point is: a bench dedicated to mental health work does little to nothing. Talks that throw around key phrases in the field are so surface level and disingenuous that it makes me nauseous.

Lastly, anxiety and depression are NOT the only mental illnesses that exist. But since we like to talk about those two….

Some people cannot access the help they need because consistent and progressive therapy is expensive and exceeds what their pocket can manage. Some choose not to seek the help because of the “mad man” and “mad woman” stigma that will befall them. The societal dialogue has a far way to go – STILL – where it concerns this matter. We should also cease the throwing around of anxiety, depression, and ADHD without really knowing your status.

Anyway, if mental health is truly everyone’s business, fix up the access for all people and change up the approach towards it.

Read between these lines at least twice as you wrap 2022. A gem or two may be buried there for you to find.

Similar letters

Suicide Awareness and Prevention ;

The Inevitability of Death

Signed,

The Suburban Girl JA

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