May is one of my favorite months here on the blog because I love getting to recognize one of the aspects of health + wellness I’m most passionate about: mental health. I’ve never been quiet about my struggles with anxiety + panic attacks, but about two years ago – when I revamped the blog – I posted about my personal struggle with anxiety. When I realized how good it felt to open up about my anxiety and saw how many people it touched, I promised I would continue to be a voice for those that still felt unable to speak out.
My heart behind advocating for mental health and those who suffer from it stems from a few different reasons. One, is that I believe that not talking about it makes it worse, not only for ourselves but for human nature as a whole. The more it’s stigmatized, the less people speak up; the less people that speak up, the more we trap our thoughts inside; the longer we keep our thoughts inside, the more susceptible we become to being completely consumed by the thoughts + misery that already work so hard to suffocate us. The funny thing about anxiety is that the best way to feel better about it is to talk, but anxiety constantly tells you “you’re annoying,” “no one wants to listen,” “no one really cares that much,” and so you continue to stay quiet because the lies inside your head are screaming so loud. But as soon as I started opening up about my experiences, I felt free, and I hope to help others find the strength to do the same.
My second reason is because after years of feeling like I was alone and that no one understood what I was going through, I needed to be one more voice in the world reminding others that they’re not alone. There are people that understand, but more importantly that there’s a God that sees us and has compassion on us in our times of weakness.
Lastly, because I know there are people who might not have mental health struggles themselves, but know someone who does. Mental health can be hard to understand when someone hasn’t experienced it for themselves. My hope has always been to provide insight for those who want nothing more than to be able to understand and help the ones they love through mental health episodes.
So what can you do to get involved with Mental Health Awareness month?
Talk about it. Write about it. Sing about it. Paint about it. If you don’t struggle with chronic mental health, you can make a difference by voicing your support to be there for those that need to talk about it. There’s no one right way to raise awareness. I also like to support organizations like IDONTMIND that benefit mental health organizations – their mission is to end the stigma surrounding mental health by wearing what you feel and creating the opportunity for discussion.
I don’t mind talking about my mental health. “Help break down the barrier of stigma and bring hope to those who are struggling and afraid to speak up. Together, we can create change in the simplest way possible: by starting a conversation.”