Wed Jan 29th is Bell Let’s Talk Day. Are you talking about mental health?
Do you talk about mental health struggles like you would if you were sick with an illness or injury? Do you talk about going to counselling like you talk about going to the doctor’s or dentist’s? The more we talk about mental health and counselling, the more we break the stigma. The more we understand how common mental health struggles are, the more empathy and compassion we can offer, instead of the criticism that people struggling with anxiety, depression, trauma and addictions often receive.
We don’t have to share everything. Boundaries are essential when we are healing. But when we share about the bad days just as much as we share about the good days, we help take some of the pressure off of ourselves and others to pretend we’re fine when we’re not.
Life is hard. Relationships are hard. Parenting is hard. Balancing work and family life is hard. Meeting the demands of work or school is hard. Peer pressure and the pressure to succeed by doing more is hard. Doing all that while trying to heal from trauma, abuse, bullying, a chronic illness or grieve the loss of a loved one is even harder. Let’s be gentle with ourselves and others. Let’s not make it any harder.
Talking about our struggles can help, not just ourselves. When we talk about what we’ve learned, what we’re doing differently and how these changes are helping, we give others hope and a road map. We remind each other that it gets better.
No one has it all figured out. Coping is a skill. Our tears are not something you should have to apologize for but rather something to own as part of this hard, yet beautiful human experience. There is healing and clarity about what we need that comes after the tears or the “confession” of our painful reality. And hope. Because if I’ve learned anything over the past 15 + years of counselling others and learning to be vulnerable and raw and real in my relationships, it’s that the pain doesn’t last forever. It gets better. We get stronger and wiser. And the more we talk about it, the less power it has over us. The shame and sense of loneliness is replaced by self-compassion and support. The hopelessness is lifted as we feel empowered to keep trying, keep learning, keep growing and keep healing.
So let’s keep talking, not just on Bell Let’s Talk Day, but every day. If FCC has helped you on your journey, we invite you to share a little of what helped with family or friends or co-workers or neighbours. You never know who needs us right now.