A few years back, even mentioning the idea of ‘my mental health’ would be embarrassing. It would be embarrassing because I am a man. I am supposed to suck it up and just get on with it.
In fact that sounds ridiculous, I think that was very much everyones situation back then, male or female, tall or small, old or young.
No one wanted to open up about the idea of mental health issues and there was certainly a limited knowledge about it in my social circle…
…I guess that’s why self medication in various forms would kick in.
I grew up in a world where people would use various ways to avoid the conversations and it was not always pretty.
It is a different world now and I am so thankful that mental health issues are much more openly talked about. I always urge people to seek ways to have the challenging conversations and to open up about the deeper feelings that might be driving their underlying situation.
I know it is never that simple and people do need the time and space to explore where they are at in that moment, but they also need to know that the services are out there and that they are able to provide that safety net.
We all have a responsibility to share.
The moment that I took the step to seek help during the height of the divorce I was going through was one of the defining moments in my life.
It took me time to get around to making the call, but it was the best thing that I could have done at that moment in my life.
I had the number in my phone for days and I looked at it often. Then one particular day I sat in the car for three hours trying to think things through but couldn’t get a clear thought. I needed to talk to someone.
Eventually without thinking, I pushed the green dial button and the call was answered almost instantly.
The subsequent conversations got my thoughts straight and made my awareness of what would be driving my negative thinking so much more clearer.
From that moment on I never stopped seeking to learn and build my knowledge about what drives us, what blocks us as individuals and what can be the best coping mechanisms and coaching tools that are available to help others (and me) get that clarity.
It became my passion and has grown into so many opportunities for me to be able to give back by playing it forward.
One of my take-aways from that period in my life is to always ask myself “how I am truly feeling?”
It is very easy to establish that you have a painful leg, stretched back, pulled muscle or strained wrist, identifying a physical pain is straight forward, but it is never easy to stop and say how am I feeling psychologically…
To identify a mental pain…
…and then knowing the accurate words and the meaning of the words to properly describe correctly how I am actually feeling.
So when I ask myself the question now and my answer is; I am anxious or nervous, sad, happy, frustrated, fearful… I am able to properly diagnose in the moment and then use the correct remedy to work myself through the situation.
It takes practice to get this awareness because we are aways too keen to react, rather than take the time to understand.
But I ask you to hold the question close and ask it often and to share it with others.
‘How am I truly feeling?”