lately it seems like everyone has a mental health story that they want to share. and that’s fine. it’s great that the world has become so much more accepting of mental health issues. it’s great that therapy isn’t looked down upon as much as it was 10 years ago. it’s amazing that we can talk about the medications we are on without the judgement of others beating upon us. it’s incredible that we have the resources available out there to find the solutions for us and that there is social media to direct us towards those that have been through similar situations. the world has become divided in most cases, but, in my sweet opinion, i would say it has become more united in the aspect of mental health.
i wasn’t planning on writing this for another few weeks, maybe even months, but today is World Mental Health Day soooo here i am.
my story is long and grueling, so i’ll save you the details, but growing up i had parents that were all about accepting your mental health, being honest with your feelings, expressing your emotions in every which way. they basically had “it’s okay not to be okay” driven so far into our minds before the saying ever really became a “saying”.
and it was amazing. i learned so much about myself and my heart from such an early age. i’ve been able to feel my emotions so deeply since the day i was born. never judged for crying. never yelled at for being angry. never shamed for the immense amount of fear i had in social events. always reminded to be myself and be who i am.
i look up to my parents in every way possible. they taught me this for a reason. they overcame so much in their own lives that they knew from day one that it was important to teach their kids about feelings. with that being said, mom and dad, i mean no harm to you when i say this, i think that at some point in all of their lessons on self-awareness and “it’s okay not to be okay”, someone forgot to teach me that “it is okay to BE okay”
this is the hardest lesson i have ever had to learn.
most people have to learn that it’s okay to be sad, i have to learn that it’s okay to be happy!
in rachel hollis’s book “Girl, Stop Apologizing” she talks about as kids we seek after what gets us attention. some kids get attention when they are sick, so when they grow up and still crave attention, they become hypochondriacs. some children get attention when they ace a test or succeed at a sport. they become overachievers. me? i received my attention every time i was sad, angry, upset, etc. i would come home from school after a hard day and my mom would listen to me cry for hours. i felt like a loser after failing a math test or getting cut from the softball team and i knew that my dad would stop anything he was doing to talk me through it. they were always there for me. they still are.
we learned to talk about the hard times. but what about the good? i know i would share my happy moments with my parents, but it was much easier to tell them about my first broken heart than it was to talk about my first kiss. i forgot to tell them when i was happy and they forgot to ask.
this concept has effected my entire life through being a missionary, going to college and being married.
instead of looking for ways to be happy, i seek out situations that will hurt me. i long for experiences that break my heart. i thrive when anger and rage consume my actual being. i am so beyond comfortable in my negative emotions. i am beyond uncomfortable when i’m happy, excited or even peaceful. when life is calm, i look for ways to cause chaos.
when my husband, the happiest human you will ever meet in your entire life, is sitting on the couch in his own happy world, not saying anything because there is basketball on tv, i BEG him to tell me what’s wrong. it never dawned on me until now that when he says “nothing”, he really means it.
i thought in order to be our true selves, we had to feel all of our feelings including the bad ones, but how could i have forgotten to also feel the good ones?
sometimes it can be hard to believe in yourself when failure seems to be in everything you do. it’s tricky to be positive when life is consistently negative. it seems selfish to enjoy our accomplishments when someone else is suffering. we feel guilty smiling when more than half the world is in poverty. but, you are human. you have feelings. you can be sad, angry, hopeful, happy, exhausted, and so much more. your feelings are worth it. feel them. don’t let them consume you, but feel them.
the reason i’m sharing this is because mental health comes in so many ways. i would say that everyone has some sort of mental stump blocking their progression, but even with the chaos of the world, the pain you’re going through, the hurt that you are feeling, the depression, anxiety, bi-polar, cancer, flu, broken leg, etc. etc. etc. it is okay to let yourself be okay.