Wait what? Is summer over? Is the new school year starting all ready? I swear I was just packing up my daughter as she finished her junior year of college and was SO freaking excited that the year of online school was finally coming to an end. Praise Jesus! That was tough for all people involved, parents, teachers, students, and every innocent by stander out in public dealing with my pent up frustrations and road rage. So much GRACE was given to make it through that school year. Everything we have dealt with in the last year and a half has taught us a great lesson about being grateful for the present. Worrying about the future, being pissed about the past only threatens the mental state of the now and only God knows what the future holds.
It’s hard to live in the present. So much goes on and time passes so fast being an adult. It’s crazy for me to say it’s all ready been 3 months since I launched Happiness Through Grace and over 2 months since I published my first blog post. I’m annoyed that I haven’t written and posted more blogs up to this point, but I am super proud and happy I decided to just go for it and do it messy. Life is always hectic and the perfect time never seems to show up. Being a mom to my four amazing kids is my pride and joy and although they are old enough to do many things on their own, they are still my number one priority. I want to show them what their mama is capable of doing with this new passion but I also want to cherish every moment with them, being present, as they spread their wings into their life’s calling too.
As an anxious, depressed, perfectionist, procrastinator it is often times overwhelming and frustrating doing things when you don’t feel prepared but I am pursuing the next phase that I believe God is calling me to do. I’m bringing the darkness out into the light and talking out loud about mental health without the shame and embarrassment I used to live with. The enemy is not liking any part of it and is working hard to make me believe I’m not qualified but my experiences, and faith are all I need to carry out this calling.
Since the launch of Happiness Through Grace in May 2021, I have shared my story on various social media outlets, recorded a podcast- Juggling the Chaos of Recovery with Moyra Gorski, been a guest speaker for 2 special groups discussing the topic of mental health, sold a bunch of merch to get the word out about talking about mental health and have been approved to put on a mental health awareness 5K in my hometown!! Woohoo! That was more than I could’ve dreamed of and am excited to see where all of this goes.
So far, the impact from those experiences have allowed what typically is an uncomfortable conversation, to be opened up with grace, love, and relief for many individuals. There is a peace and comfort in knowing someone else out there understands the struggles you are facing too. We hold a soft space in our hearts for one another. There is no judgement but a sense of connection and small community.
Throughout this process, I have learned 3 main things.
- Most people are embracing the topic of mental health, however as we have seen in the media recently, not everyone believes it’s as important as physical health, especially for athletes who are used to mental pressures. For those who don’t deal with it on a severe level it’s hard to imagine not being able to function at a level you can control during an episode. People are really trying hard to understand but don’t seem grasp the severity of it at times.
- Most people really do want to try to make you feel better but don’t realize their words can actually make you feel worse. Over the years, these statements have been said to me: “I know exactly how you feel, I don’t ever want to get out of bed for work either but I do it anyway because I have to.” Or “I get sad some days too and cry a lot, I think that’s normal for everyone, isn’t it?” Although those responses are meant to help you feel as though you aren’t alone, they also make it seem as though it’s easy to change your thinking and actions because they are capable of doing it themselves. Don’t get me wrong, somedays I can too, but when I’m in an episode and my chemicals are all out of whack it’s nearly impossible.
- Being open and vulnerable is hard but is also something people appreciate. For those who aren’t used to talking about uncomfortable topics it may become awkward at times. Talking openly about my mental health has shed light on other people’s struggles and has educated so many about what it is really like living with a mental illness.
Statistics from The National Allegiance of Mental Health states the rates of mental health cases has increased by 30% in just the year 2020 due to Covid-19 and suicide is now the number 2 cause of death for individuals ages 10-34. Tragically the stigma and lack of services for mental illness is taking it’s toll and too many are struggling or losing their life. As an advocate for mental health and as someone who deals with mental illness, it is my mission to promote the importance of speaking up when struggling and offering grace to make it through the toughest of times.
Together we can make a difference if we continue to talk about it and start making mental health a priority .