May used to be when the hubs and I celebrated our upcoming anniversary and headed out on our annual trip to the Indy 500. We have been doing it since 2005 and we married in 2006. So many memories. Fast forward…….
COVID did it’s thing and kept us away in 2020 and 2021. This year we ARE going back, right? Then we took a glimpse at the limited flight options and prices. Yikes. It was not in the cards. Such as life. We decided we would have to hold off one more year. We will watch it on TV again and text our Indy buddies and get the live updates and shenanigans.
May is also Mental Health Awareness Month and since 2018 I have been writing blogs about mental illness, specifically anxiety, and my personal experience with all the things. Taking time to reflect on where I am in my journey, bring awareness and sharing lessons learned along the way. The world has certainly changed, and I have been reflecting on a few things.
I am struck by how far I have come, how much knowledge I have gained and put to good use for myself and my family. I feel good with where I am at.
How lucky I am to have resources, content, experts and supportive friends and family at my disposal.
How much people are really suffering and the negative impact COVID has had on mental health. That includes those that were already suffering that are now dealing with new barriers AND a whole new set of sufferers.
4 out of 10 adults in the US have reported symptoms of an anxiety or depressive disorder.
Check out the stats by state. Eye opening to say the east.
A Little Goes a Long Way
I find when people are suffering, they don’t often know where to turn for help or even can recognize that what is happening to them is not “normal.” They aren't aware of the resources available. We too often assume when someone is struggling there is a standard protocol for help initially – pharmaceuticals and therapy. I personally do not think you have to dive into the deep end so quickly. It can be overwhelming and for some straight up scary. This can create more unwanted anxiety. My thoughts? A little really does go a long way. Start small, online resources, talk to a friend, read a book, write in a journal. Does pharma and therapy work for some? Sure as hell does, but it is not one size fits all.
So how do we get those resources in front of people? How do we build awareness? Give easier access? Our schools are doing a much better job of talking about it and giving access to resources and so are employers. However, it really starts at home in my opinion. Not all people are lucky enough to be in a home with parents, siblings, supportive family. Some people are alone. So, normalizing it, encouraging discussions at home, and sharing that with friends, extended family, and community members outside the home is key. If we all talk, share, and show kindness AND less judgment I believe it matters. I believe it helps. No act is too small. Encourage everyone to educate themselves on mental illness and how to treat it, support it, and live with it. Let's be clear thought, we must meet people where they are at.
It is not one size fits all.
I recently signed up for a yearlong membership in a “Wellness Collective” with a Naturopathic MD. She is an internationally recognized consultant for integrative and alternative solutions for mental health. Her work is a gift. I have been absorbing her content for almost two years and when she announced this program, I went all in. The membership is designed for those who want to become holistic mental health experts for themselves and their families. Yes please! I am loving the experience and I am hearing about the experiences of others. The information on herbs, supplements, and the mind/body is pure gold BUT the perspective of hearing from others about THEIR story is priceless.
Every person has their own history, experiences, and challenges. Everyone has their own tips and tricks. It all matters. The how we got here, where we are going, take one day at time story is different for every single human. Sometimes we talk and sometimes we just listen, and both can have an equal amount of impact AND IT COSTS US NOTHING. In most cases we gain something – perspective, gratitude, friendships, and the list goes on.
Check out my resource page and share this blog. It’s May and every little bit counts.
Pay it forward my friends.