Mental Health: Bad Days are Allowed
Our heads are swirling in this new world in which we find ourselves living in, that of the coronavirus, and mental health should be a top priority. I don’t want to write yet another article inciting more fear and anxiety but rather I want this piece to be a pause in the midst of overreporting. I want you to take a breath from all the facts and fiction that surrounds you right now and sit in your emotions. That request might be even scarier.
Mental health is something that those that have struggled with it, know its importance but for the rest of the population only give little validity. Here is the deal, you don’t have to have a mental illness to realize you need help. Sometimes we go through seasons of our life that the weight of the world feels too much to carry, yet, we so casually brush our struggles under the rug to keep up appearances. We go around muffling our feelings to what benefit? It’s definitely not our own.
Mental Health Today
Before facing this unprecedented slowdown, we were running full steam ahead. We were busy living our everyday lives running from one task to the next. If you have kids, you might have felt your life was in overdrive trying to keep up with not only your own schedule but with their activities and events. Did you even have time to connect with yourself on a daily basis with all that was going on? Yes, you may have been able to slip in a good sweat from time to time at the gym, but did you have an in-depth understanding of your emotional life experience?
I ask this because I have been there. I am still there. I want to fill my days with purpose, with activity, with yes, “to-do’s.” I feel accomplished, don’t you? I run along mindlessly sometimes carrying on for the sake of carrying on. Some days are better than others, regaining my bearings and coming back to my yoga practice, sitting for quiet meditation or just jotting down musings in my journal, but I am not perfect all of the time.
Normally, in fact, I only dig deep into my spiritual and emotional practice in times of strife because well, life happens. Like when Joshua, in my memoir Big Time Journey of a Small Town Girl got engaged the day before he broke up with me, or like the time when I had three whole months to solidify my visa in Belgium but was racked with fear that I couldn’t pull it off, to convince an employer to sponsor me. Even today, when my husband and I fight, and yes, we are like any average couple with our skirmishes, then I set my pen to paper to analyze my thoughts and emotions.
What I am getting at is, rather than waiting for that figurative slap in the face and a gut punch. Let’s become more mindful and accepting of our emotional self on a daily basis.
Let’s Compare Notes
If you are like me, and I know there are some of you out there that are, you are your own biggest critic. Okay, I think it is fair to say we all are, but some have the gumption to overcome the critic. My critic often tells me I am not good enough, that sharing my experiences makes me look weak and that I need to show up, put together, EVERY DAMN DAY.
This is far from my reality. Let me tell you, I have been a disgruntled mess more times than I want to admit. It has been taxing moving back to my motherland, the United States, from Europe. Yes, I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom for a time-being. But when I was ready to get back to work, the jobs were not falling in my lap. Oh, did my inner critic had a heyday with me. I am still trying to find my way wanting to pursue my own ambitions but coming to the reality I need to contribute financially to my family. Sometimes my creative ambitions, while admirable and well-intended, are not lucrative, at least not yet. I get frustrated, upset and downright pissed at myself that I cannot make anything happen.
I digress. What it boils down to is that we all feel this way at one point in our lives if not many. We all have bad days. As good as our intentions, we are not perfect and never will be. We get mad, angry, sad, disheartened, discouraged, stressed, and worried. Yet, as a society, if we allow ourselves to show these emotions in their genuinely raw form, we look down upon them. We have all felt the shift in energy when someone comes into the room with bads news to report. There is a slump, and who wants to live in the slump? No one. But we must. We must give it to ourselves to be vulnerable. To show our defeats, our failures, our heartaches, our fears, and frustrations and not mask it. It is truly the only way to heal.
Embracing Your Emotions
We need to connect with one another on a deeper level, to ask for help sifting through the burden. We cannot continue to walk blindly into a crowd and forget what makes us human, our struggle. And our struggle unites us more than you may think. Just as we tote, together we will win this horrific battle against the coronavirus. We must also cheer on the rooftops together we are human, living through a terrifying time of uncertainty. We must lean on one another and allow ourselves to bend and break.
It is through our own roller-coaster of emotions that we can find strength. Don’t hide from it. Don’t two-step around it. Sit with it. Learn from it. When you have felt whatever it is you are feeling, get up, and move on from it.
You are allowed to be human, to have bad days, to cry, to wave your fists at the clouds. Whatever you need to do to experience, experience it fully. Accept your emotions, and then we will begin again.
Make your mental health, your emotional health, an essential part of your life.
I wish you love and light xx