I went to yoga tonight. I’d forgotten it was Mental Health Day, but the instructor dedicated the class to all of those living with mental health issues. I tend to compartmentalize things. Push it all down. Don’t think about it. Try not to worry. But this caught me off guard. And I cried. I cried the whole class, actually. I thought about all of the people I know who struggle with mental health. I thought about friends and family members. I thought about myself. And the tears just kept coming. Persistent and silent until they plopped on my mat.
I have battled some mental health issues throughout my life. Nothing too major. I’ve gone through times when I felt like I couldn’t enjoy anything. Couldn’t fully participate in or enjoy my pretty great life. I have sought help. I have talked to student counsellors, social workers, and psychologists. I have worked really hard to get ahead of it. I have let things slide. Stopped taking care of myself. And it’s affected me, and the people around me.
I picked up the Nancy Tillman book, “Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You” for my daughter recently. It was on sale - and it had a dancing bear on the cover. I was, again, caught off guard when I came to this part of the story:
“And if someday you’re lonely, or someday you’re sad, or you strike out at baseball, or think you’ve been bad… just lift up your face, feel the wind in your hair. That’s me, my sweet baby, my love is right there.
In the green of the grass… in the smell of the sea… in the clouds floating by… at the top of a tree… in the sound crickets make at the end of the day… “You are loved. You are loved. You are loved,” they all say.”
I think it’s fair to say that there is more awareness about mental health now than ever. But there is still stigma. It’s not easy for a lot of people to talk about. It’s not easy to ask for help.
If you are struggling with mental health, here’s what I’d like to say…
You are not alone. Please seek help. You deserve it. You are worth it. You are loved. You are loved. You are loved.