Mental Health affects everyone. Mental illness affects 1 in 5 Americans. Severe Mental illness affects 1 in 10 Americans. This translates to 43.8 million people a year in the USA and over 792 million people globally. Mental health is still a taboo topic. There are times where society focuses on the comfort of the collective before the health of the individual. These types of behaviours push individuals towards burnout, stress, and sometimes suicide. Many authorities have warned, ‘if we do not prioritise our health now, we are forced to manage our illness later.’
Diving a bit deeper…
What is the opposite of physical health? Injury? Broken bones? When we navigate life, we are taught to look both ways before crossing the street. We are taught to wear a helmet whilst riding a bike. We are taught to pay attention to other drivers on the road. We are taught to wear safety belts on rollercoasters (and in cars). These are all preventative measures to protect our physical health. Societal norms.
When we ignore these “rules”, we increase our risk for injury. What is the recovery process from an accident? Or how long does it take to heal a broken bone?
What is the opposite of emotional health? Broken heart? Sadness? We are taught to ‘stay away from the bad boys’. We are taught to follow a list of how to be the best partner for another human being. We are taught we are only complete once we marry. We are taught it’s more important to increase tolerance than to use our voice. We are taught to demonize our ‘heavy’ emotions or keep the ‘bad’ ones behind closed doors. We are taught to honor the highlight reel. These are all rules to follow to be a ‘strong’ person. Societal rules.
When we follow these rules, we betray ourselves and compromise our emotional wellbeing. We become susceptible to codependency and enmeshment. We dim our light to be accepted (chosen) by others. What happens when we do not have a clear concept of Self? What happens when we ignore (rather than process) ALL emotions? What happens when we are unable to reach out for support? What are the consequences of playing by societal rules?
What is the opposite of mental health? Mental Illness? Erratic behaviour? We are taught the micro picture (results rather than process to attain results). We are taught to observe words, then actions. We are taught to define ourself by the opinions of others. We are taught to silence all parts of Self that do not fit into what it means to Be a Man or Be a Woman. We are teased and made fun of if we cry (stop being a cry baby). We are conditioned to normalise (and define) health in actual unhealthy ways.
When we follow these rules, we risk a breakdown. It’s like a frog in cold water and turning up the heat. When we ignore these rules, we accomplish great things. We become the square peg in the round hole, a trailblazer.
WHY does this matter
We have a choice. We always have a choice. We can choose what is good for us. We can choose if social norms are actually healthy. We can use critical thinking as opposed to judgement. What is the difference between thinking vs judgement? ACTION. I teach my clients to reflect on everything then make necessary adjustments. Scrutinize what serves you and what does not. Just because something was useful last year does not mean it’s still useful this year. This process evaluates societal norms, personal norms, community norms. Yes, society and community norms are different. Have you heard of the mantra, ‘You cannot soar like an Eagle when surrounded by Turkeys’?
Seriously, if you notice strangers are more supportive than your friends, it’s time to evaluate (and audit) your circle. Once you start a journey of consciousness, you will quickly understand who wants to embrace the Warrior Journey and who actually does.
Are you ready to be a Warrior?
WHAT can I do?
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. I have invited my friends and business contacts around the world to join a month-long celebration. We will highlight strategies, share lessons, and break stigmas (social norms). We will discuss the nuances between coping and tools. Each session is delivered by Warriors (Survivors) who are Advocates, Coaches, Therapists, or Academics. Each on their own journey and each is defined as a Warrior in my world.
It brings me tremendous pleasure to invite you along. Some sessions are pre-recorded and others are LIVE. All will have an option to make a donation. If you find the session valuable and have the means, please make a financial contribution. If you don’t have the means, you are still welcomed to join. All events will be posted on Eventbrite. Please check out our featured Saturday series: Self-Compassion.
Other topics will include, depression, anxiety, burnout, bipolar, TBI, C-PTSD, trauma, resilience, and so much more.