“How are you?” is a broad question. It’s asked between friends who haven’t seen each other in a while, strangers while being polite, and in countless other situations.
Nine times out of ten, the response to this question is, “I’m doing well,” or a different form of the same answer.
Sometimes, the truth is concealed behind anxious thoughts in our minds. Thoughts such as, I don’t want to burden them with my emotions, and I’m scared to tell them how I really feel.
Some days we put on a mask. It’s so much easier to respond to someone with a smile and an “I’m doing great” than it is to reveal how we truly feel on bad days.
This is because our society is so used to playing it safe. Emotions are scary territory that we aren’t really good at managing.
In our culture we’ve put a stigma around mental health. Yes, it’s gotten better in recent years, but we have so much more growth to accomplish when it comes to being able to openly talk about mental health.
How do we remove this stigma? Baby steps. Here are a few truths when it comes to mental health:
Your emotions are valid
It is completely okay to be sad. It’s a normal emotion. We need to learn to stop masking our hurt for joy when we aren’t okay. Don’t be ashamed to talk about your emotions and don’t let anyone make you feel like your emotions aren’t valid.
It’s okay to ask for help
Don’t be afraid to ask for prayers. Prayer is so powerful, so surround yourself with prayer warriors who will pray for you in times of need. Seek counseling. It’s time we start normalizing therapy and its benefits.
Talk about it
I keep restating this point because of its significance. If no one talks about mental health, nothing will get accomplished. Talk to your family members, your friends, colleagues, and anyone else in your life.
You aren’t alone
Yes, it’s okay to be a Christian and struggle with mental health. Yes, it is okay to be a Christian and seek therapy for mental illness. At the same time, hold firm to the truth that God is with you. Cry out to Him, because He wants to carry your burdens.
The focus for National Mental Health Day in 2019 is suicide prevention. I wrote a previous blog on this topic that I will link at the end of this blog, and those words still remain in my heart.
Spread kindness to whomever you encounter. Like I said, we all have days where our emotions are concealed behind a mask on our faces. Some days that mask is barely hanging on.
Words are powerful, and have a different impact on everyone, so we need to make sure that we are speaking words of encouragement, not words to bring others down.
Check on your loved ones, seek help and trust in God. The impact of suicide is devastating. Please do not suffer alone.
We can all play a role in removing the stigma around mental health.
Suicide prevention article: http://taytalk.blog/2019/09/11/the-world-would-not-be-a-better-place-without-you/
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255