May is Mental Health Awareness month. Over the last few decades our nation has drawn more attention to the fact that we need to provide equal care to our state of mind, at least as much as we give to every other part of our body. There is an obvious line drawn in the sand when we consider the level of care that we give to our brain versus every other vital organ. It’s almost as if the brain is an imaginary part of us, rather than the one organ that essentially dictates the manner and speed at which the remainder of our body operates…i.e. if our brain is not functioning properly we will feel the effects of that. So I have to ask — what is the hesitation to go seek help? Why is it that we shun the thought of medication for the brain when necessary, but we would rarely second guess approaching treating the heart in such a manner?
God has given us resources through His creation: tools, medicine, knowledge and practitioners — we need to use them to our benefit. We do not need to live in silent pain. So what does this mean? This means if you are someone who continually battles with feelings of hopelessness, sadness or are just in a period of emotional transition that you just can’t seem to shake yourself out of – GO GET HELP. Make an appointment to see a therapist today. Your friends are wonderful, but you know that they are limited in their ability to provide the professional help that you need…when your vision is blurry do you call your friends to examine you? No you go to the optometrist – you get what I am saying right?
One of the most important things you can do if you are a friend to someone who chronically battles with symptoms of anxiety, depression or any other type of mental illness, is to understand this – it is your responsibility to strongly encourage them to go seek professional help. At minimum, you are pointing your friend towards the mental freedom they so desperately desire and as we’ve seen in recent days, you could be saving a life. Please do not attempt to minimize their struggle. Leave this to a professional to take the time to attentively sort out the details. The reality is that the courage it took for them to share their pain is in short supply. And the point in which they are reaching out is likely indicative of a much longer season of silent imprisonment burdened with emotional anguish and instability.
Finally, mental health needs to be maintained. Making sure that we take time to rejuvenate our energy, clear negative influences off our plates and invest in others are some examples of ways that we can live healthier lives. My mental health is maintained through taking time to gain insight about myself, by filtering the messages I choose to believe and aligning myself with my purpose. In addition, I surround myself with like-minded people who are deep wells of laughter and wisdom and I am open to allowing them to speak truth into my life as needed. I encourage you to take time to develop a healthy regimen to maintain your mental health as well, your mind will thank you for it.