Daily TransitionsMay 24, 2023
Full CreditJune 7, 2023
You are not the only one.
It is summertime. Everywhere you go there are flowers for sale and people planning fun events. It seems like the world is in a good mood, except for you. Mental health challenges often feel like a private failure. “Why do I keep crying?” “When will this stop?” “Will I always be broken?” “My meds used to work.” “Brain – cooperate.” I have heard these comments from 6 different people I know in the past week alone.
It is really hard to cope with out-of-control moods, energy, and focus. It is even harder when you believe you are the only one. You are NOT the only one. Because of my personality and professional background, people share how they are really feeling on a regular basis. I hear about panic attacks, depression, anxiety, mood swings, distraction, compulsions, crying bouts, and more. So many people have so much going on. People often hide it, or simply stay home.
I have no magic wand to fix all these problems, but I do want to tell each of you what I see from the outside. I see you are tired, frustrated, and worried that these problems will be with you forever. I know that you worry that no one wants to be around you because you can’t hide all of it every day. I have heard you apologize, again and again, for things you can’t control. And I know there are dolts in this world that tell you to “snap out of it” or “get it together.” Clueless people tell you to “cheer up.” There are others though that see you and understand because they are on a similar journey.
Your mental health struggles are not your whole identity. These friends I know who are struggling are also gifted singers, dedicated professionals, caring helpers, brilliant scientists, talented gardeners, funny friends, great huggers, kind to children, devoted volunteers, strategic thinkers, compassionate friends, loving parents (to humans and fur babies), amazing dancers, innovative problem solvers, political activists, wicked smart writers, creative cooks, and all around fun people to hang out with one on one or in groups.
My experience is that those who have faced their mental health challenges head on are also deeply insightful, compassionate, and emotionally honest. These are good people to have around on a day when you are struggling. Part of facing your challenges is finding people you can be your whole self with. It takes courage to be this vulnerable because you may run into people who don’t know how to be helpful. Being open is the only way to find people who can be supportive. In the process of sharing your journey you are also spreading awareness. When you are honest about your struggles, you allow others to be honest, too; you can find mutual support, and shame is reduced for all.
I have no cure or secret that will help you fast forward to a solution. I wish I did. I do want you to know that you have no need to apologize for your struggles. You do not deserve this and you did not choose it. I do want you to remember that your struggles are not you. You are an amazing human being who is coping with human frailty. Keep sharing how you really feel, with people who will respectfully hear you, because you are not alone.