May 2023 Column
Mental Health Awareness
Mental health has historically been a touchy subject which is hard to talk about within certain places, and there can be a lack of awareness as to what is means as well as the impacts this has as a whole. When it comes to finding help and healing, there can be issues and stigmas surrounding it, especially with certain stigmas depending on the cultural context. Yet, we were created to be whole and God provides means and ways to get us closer to how He intended.
Since the onset of COVID-19, something major has influenced each of us individually. There has been a shift of our understanding, and a shaping of how we interact with everyone around us, as well as the world we live in. Isolation became the norm, and since life was no longer filled with the gatherings and events which kept us busy, we were able to slow down and see ourselves for who we are.
Humanity is broken, and this is reflected in each of our personal lives and struggles. There is a tendency to want to mask and hide behind different aspects in order to hide the parts of us which we want to shield and protect others from. There is hesitancy resting between vulnerability and the protecting of who we are. Time after time again, broken people have proven to break us more, but that is not always the case.
God has gifted us with people, and with hope for healing. Healing is messy, mainly because life is messy. It is a journey that calls us to confront the things which we would rather avoid and brush away, but in all reality we cannot. When talking about the topic of healing, especially in the realm of mental health, it is definitely something that gets a whole lot harder before it gets easier. It needs to be addressed and faced head on in a lot of senses otherwise, there is not a lot of ways to which we can effectively heal.
Oftentimes there is a fear of invalidation of our experiences if we choose to heal. We get comfortable in our realities, and often do not see another way to which we can experience and cherish life. Just because we choose to take steps towards healing, does not mean that the experience and the pain of certain situations goes away. Rather, this offers opportunities of freedom to come from the inside out and overall provide ways to be whole.
Questions for Discussion
Mental health issues manifest in a variety of ways, and the experiences we have with them change from person to person. It is important to acknowledge at times that we are not okay, and that it is okay to not feel or be okay. As we journey together through life, there will remain a multitude of ups and downs, and thus we are able to see journeys differently.