“There is nothing wrong with you” – is what I wish someone would have said to me when I was young and struggling with my mental health/anxiety.
“ Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. “
I found this quote while writing a blog about combating stress for one of my clients, and I thought to myself, “hmm determines how we handle stress, relate to others and make choices, sounds like a f***ing priority to me?”
When you’re growing up your parents teach you the importance of brushing your teeth every morning and night, while taking care of those pearly whites is important that shit can be replaced. It’s called veneers. Ya, know what can’t be replaced? Your brain (well maybe? IDK, I’m pretty sure it has never been done before) The point is, taking care of your mental health should be as important as brushing your teeth.
I’m a dance teacher and in every class at some point during warm up I have the girls do something called a wall split, the lay on the floor for a few minutes using the wall to stretch their hips. The past few weeks I’ve been shutting off the lights and asking the girls to close their eyes and quiet their minds for just a few minutes. They spend all day worrying about school, worrying about the boy who isn’t texting them back, worrying about normal teenager BS – so I’ve been asking them to take this time during class to breathe and quiet their mind. This past week a few of the girls came up to me after class and thanked me for teaching them how to do that – isn’t that funny? All I did was make them sit still and take deep breaths? It is crazy what an impact it can make.
One of the girls opened up about how they have trouble falling asleep at night, she had read my recent blog post about it. I knew exactly how she felt – worried that something is wrong with you, you feel a shortness of breath all the time, your brain never shuts off, you can’t focus because you’re always tired, you’re irritable and snappy because no one understands how you feel or how to help you.
Except, in that moment, I understood her. I wish you could have seen the weight lifted off her shoulders as I explained to her that I knew exactly how she felt. All I could think was, I wish someone would have known what to say to me when I was her age. She texted me the next day thanking me, apparently it was #worldmentalhealthday on Tuesday when we had our conversation.
In my opinion, vulnerability is essential in improving mental health. So, please, in hopes that less people will grow up misunderstood, heavily medicated, feeling like something is wrong with them – let’s talk more about the crap going on in our head. I don’t have all the answers, all I have is what works for me – and if sharing what works for me helps just a single soul, well then I’d say it’s worth sharing.