It’s Mental health awareness week and the theme is Act, Belong, Commit. There is now evidence that conditions like depression and anxiety are prevalent in our society and often people experiencing it can feel isolated and alone, even when they are not. The purpose of this campaign is to get people talking and sharing and provide information about wellbeing and support. New evidence in psychology research shows connection is the key.
I personally have been affected by mental illness, I lost my mother to mental ill health in 1999 after a long battle and ironically doing her masters research on the topic that broke new ground internationally. My siblings have struggled with bi-polar, depression and anxiety, my friends and new people I meet daily tell me stories about their tough times. I too have had my own challenging times where I needed to seek help in overcoming panic attacks, anxiety and mild depression and recovery from a toxic relationship with someone who had substance abuse issues. Brene Brown is right we often feel shame in being vulnerable but there is also a wealth of strength to be found there. My purpose in life grew from my experiences of adversity.
No doubt that we all at some stage face what doctors call mental illness but the truth is humans are not designed to be happy all the time, there is a lot of pressure for us to appear that way, industries based on that very lie and it is our job to remove the stigmas attached to conditions such as depression and anxiety, and be there for people who need a helping hand in the darkness. No matter what we must always remember we are not alone, at any given time there are networks of support and people who care and at the very least who will listen. A problem shared is a problem halved.
In practice I use mindfulness techniques to help clients build self awareness and turn toward thoughts building a positive dialogue with themselves, reframing that can lead to an upward trajectory for mood and condition or at the very least a space to be with who they are at the time without avoidance, sometimes sitting with the pain helps you transcend it. Mindfulness also provides a non-judgemental space for self reflection, feeling down, depressed, anxious is not bad, it is not a failure, it is a condition and all conditions pass eventually, someone to hold your hand in the darkness can make all the differnce. Reminding yourself this through mindfulness and learning to observe the body, thoughts and feelings without attachments, fear or judgments allows you a little more space for self generation of your condition and insight.
There are no quick fix answers for mental health and sometimes we just have to accept life is like a vast ocean with ups and downs and sideways but this doesn’t mean you have to sail alone or stay in rough waters permanently. Learning some mindful techniques to sail through life you can learn to steer yourself in a more calm condition and be less reactive to the natural ups and downs life will inevitably bring. There are many ways to get support, friends, mentors, doctors, personal trainers, wellbeing professionals, life coaches, even IG has a host of wellbeing dedicated pages that can provide a space for you to feel belonging and be a little reminder you are not alone.
Reach out and connect with someone and don’t be alone in the dark, we are all in this life together and we all just want to be accepted and loved. Each and every one of us has a responsibility to look out for the next person and ensure a sense of community belonging exists.
In coaching I work with clients on wellness strategies, sometimes along side doctors treating mental illness conditions and sometimes alternatively in the capacity of life coaching and mindfulness training, even as an add on to business coaching because it is easy for business people to become stressed and when stress becomes chronic, mental health suffers. If you would like to talk to me about wellness please don’t hesitate to call or email confidentially.