Today, January 31, is #BellLetsTalk day. This has become a yearly campaign that helps raise money for Mental Health Initiatives in Canada. $.05 is raised every time that hashtag is shared on twitter, the photo frame is added on Facebook, the SnapChat filter is used, and their social media video is viewed. Get going and share the hell out of that hashtag on social media. This is a great initiative that gets the conversations starting about the impact of Mental Health issues and will hopefully end the stigma that surrounds the topic. Mental Health is absolute key to being able to live a healthy and fit life. Today I just wanted to address the area that always seems to be ignored or wanted to be pushed under the rug.
Mental Health issues effect millions of people all around the world. It is a dark topic that many people do not talk about because they feel ashamed or scared. They are scared that people will think they are weak or people will tell them to suck it up or man up (both of those are unacceptable words of advice who is feeling down). We need to end the Stigma surrounding Mental Health Issues and encourage people to talk about what they are going through. Lets get a conversation going and help those in need.
For those of you who are struggling, you are not alone. It is okay to not be okay. Your feelings are valid and you should not be ashamed to feel down, scared, depressed, anxious or any other of the thousands of emotions that you may be feeling. Things will get better, I promise.
Personally, I’ve been dealing with varying degrees of depressions and anxieties since my dad passed away three years ago. My dad was and is my role model and shaped who am I today. I miss him everyday, but I know that every day is an opportunity to continue on his legacy and show people the type of person he was. I’ve felt lost, sad, angry, and scared. I’ve felt like I was just coasting through routines without any joy. I’ve had that cloudy feeling and that feeling as if you’re watching yourself from outside your body. I’ve dealt with panic attacks and crippling anxiety. It’s been a long, tough, daily battle. All that being said, I’m in a great place right now and finally feel like I have everything under control. The ONLY reason I am at a good place in life is because of the help of a strong support system of friends and family. It took me a long time to talk and open up about my feelings because I had those stigmas mentioned above. I was afraid to admit I needed help because of that societal pressure to be strong and push those feelings away. Once I started talking with my family, friends, and therapist, I was really able to get a handle over these feelings and process through them.
Talking to someone about these feelings that are so personal is extremely tough. People will continue to close themselves off until we end this stigma surrounding mental health. They will put on a false smile. They will say they are okay. They will want to keep to themselves, so if you notice someone is down on themselves or having a rough go of it lately, offer a helping hand. Simply letting them know that they are worth it and you are thinking of them can help ease their mind. Let them know that what they are feeling is okay. Offer them an ear and just listen. Let them talk and show them that you will not judge them. People will process through their own pain and feelings in their own time. Try to not rush them through it. Simply being present and offering to listen and not try to fix them, will help in so many ways.
If you are experiencing any feelings of anxiety or depression, please know that it is okay to talk to someone. Reach out to a loved one or a close friend and let them know you need someone to listen.