Green is for Springtime. Hope, growing pains, shared joy. And Mental Health Awareness. Even though every person is unique, can we unite for mental health?
Mental Health Is…
- Listening to loved ones.
- Not saying “Everyone feels that way.”
- Watching for red flags.
- Checking in: “I noticed you’re going through a lot, want to talk?”
- Educating oneself on common signs of mental illness.
- Not misusing terms: “I’m so depressed about canceling my weekend!”
- Adults creating a safe space for kids to share emotions.
- Not saying “You’ll grow out of it.”
- Normalizing therapy as a tool.
- Checking: “Do you know where to seek support in a crisis?”
- Having someone you can call on a very bad day.
- Asking “I need this done but I’m struggling. Will you please help?”
- Sometimes medication is a part of the health equation.
- Calling out misinformation: “Oh-see-dee is not an appropriate term for obsessively neat.”
- Most people will struggle with mental illness during their life, so health care matters to everyone.
- Calling out ageism and sexism: “Everyone can struggle with mental health, feminine, masculine, aged or youthful.”
- Watch for: Losing enjoyment in things you love.
- Watch for: Unsustainable coping techniques.
- Journaling your thought patterns.
- Self talk: “I’m doing a great job meal planning!”
- Noticing when media is causing anxiety.
- Knowing when we care for the body we care for the mind. And when we treat the mind we treat the body.
- Showing the same compassion to yourself as you would show to others.
That’s a sweet list, if I do say do myself! I love a good bullet point journal before and after a video chat with my therapist.
My therapist uses the word “curiosity” a lot! She helps me with curious examination of my beliefs and motives: “Why do I feel nervous? What can I do differently? Who would be happy to help me? How can I meet my immediate needs? If I try, what are the best and worst possible outcomes?
Sometimes, Mental Health feels like a familar, oft-trod meadow whose knolls I have memorized. To me, mental illness often feels like dual realities. The soothing simplicity of fact overlays the imbalanced crackle, like a dying star, at my core. Both realities exist together. On a bad day, I suddenly sieze, fist clenched, caught in a wave of fear. Desperately clinging to my task list, I fight for calm. Anxiety is there. I’m safe, though. It’s there, I’m safe.
You know what? Sometimes people distance themselves from mental illness. It’s not necessarily intentional. It could be your choice or theirs. Needs change based on where we are in our lives. Close friends or family might not be who we need. It’s okay.
In the future, we’ll become capable of new things. Friendships will morph. Some people will be surprisingly supportive in a crisis! Depending on the people involved, difficult times can reinforce a relationship.
My parents, for example, have made every effort to listen to me while I battle my own monsters. Would I feel I could trust them if they had not consistently shown up for me? Definitely not.
If you don’t know how to help a friend, just be available for the quickest coffee break, notice their strength, compliment their work, and know your support matters.
Yesterday, I discovered a podcast from 2020 about Young Adult books. ALSO, they gush about one of my favorites, Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier. Two podcasters (with impeccable taste) praise this underrated coming-of-age tale of self-love.
I felt excitement. I felt whole. My present self connected with my teenage self. This is the beauty of a story that bleeds truth and poetry. I am not an ABCD (American Born Confused Desi), but, as a neurodivergent teen, I strongly related to Dimple Lala’s lonesome angst. 📚
‘And it now occurred to me that maybe the whole point was, in fact, to lose yourself. But not in the sense of confusion–in the sense of connection to something bigger than yourself…Getting lost to be found.’Tanuja Desai Hidier, Born Confused
What do you need? How can you be more curious? More prepared, educated, supportive? How can you be more YOU as you struggle to move forward? Green means go! Every single step is monumental in the mental health battle.
Thank you for reading. ☀️
I would love to recommend another bookish podcast I’ve been enjoying! Sisters Arya and Belle produce fun, nerdy content. Also, their Mental Health Awareness episode inspired me to create today’s post! 💚