Some People Just Don’t Understand (Your Mental Health Struggles)

man sitting with knees up resting closed hands on forehead

They Don’t Understand

Have you every had a conversation with someone who doesn’t even begin to understand mental health issues? I was recently talking with a close relative about a mutual relative who suffers from depression periodically. She says that there are only 3 things to consider: “We either live in the past, the present or the future. When we focus on anything other than the present, it can cause anxiety or depression and one just has to stay in the present and they’ll be fine.” Sounds simple, right?

While there is some validity to that point, but she just doesn’t understand that mental health struggles are not simply a will of the mind. Often times, there are physical or emotional issues causing them. A hormone imbalance, chemical imbalance or a history of trauma. Her statement basically dismissed the reality of the struggle. Ugh. She is not someone who is open to understanding things she doesn’t know about, so I chose not to engage further in the conversation. For my own mental health!

With that being said, I am happy for her that she has never had to deal with the heavy weight of either depression or anxiety. In the past couple of years, talking with others who haven’t suffered, I have found that many of them just don’t understand. I don’t blame them, as it is something that is hard to fully comprehend or let alone truly explain to others.

What To Do? Where To Turn?

Don’t get angry with those who don’t “get” what you are going through. In the same way you may not “get” the struggles of someone going through cancer treatments or diabetic issues, others may not understand your trials.
Because of the disconnect at times, I think it is important that those of us who deal with depression or anxiety find someone who can relate or at the very least, empathize. There is nothing more difficult than to be dealing with a mental health issue and feel like no one understands or cares about what you are going through. What can you do?

  • Find a therapist to talk to.
  • Friends or family who are sympathetic.
  • Seek out websites, blogs, social media. There is a huge community of those dealing with mental health challenges and it is amazing the support you can find there.

The bottom line is we ALL have stuff we are going through. Most of us have no idea what the other person is dealing with. Find support where you can and choose to be kind to one another.

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Words Matter…So What Are You Saying?

Words Have Power written on chalkboard

Today I have been inspired by a sermon I just heard about WORDS.  Words can either give life or give death.  (Reference: Proverbs 18:21). The words we say can either uplift someone or tear them down. They can either lift us up or tear us down.

Remember the old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me”?  We all know that is so untrue. Sometimes words slung at us in meanness, anger,  jealousy or judgement can be very painful. I imagine most of us can remember something negative someone said to us in our past. Whether it’s our recent past or our childhood, we can still recall it today. It hurt. It stuck with us for days, months, years, decades.  On the flip side of that, if we are repeatedly spoken to with positive, uplifting words, that sticks with us as well. But I have heard it takes 5 to 10 positive words to counteract the impact of one negative word or statement. For some reason our brains hold on to the negative much longer.  Negativity can come in the form of gossip, criticism, judgement or pure anger. Read my post of Putting Up Emotional Fences to help block out some of the negativity.

So, what are we to do?  How can we use our words to make the lives of others better? Find positive attributes to make comments on whenever possible. Encourage others to be their best, to go after their dreams, to discover who they are. Be the light in a dark world. It is amazing to think what an impact we can have on others.

In the book, The 5 Love Languagesby Gary Chapman, he explores what different ways people in general receive love. One of the ways is Words of Affirmation.  I would venture to say that most of us appreciate a true heart-felt, thank you, a compliment, a way-to-go or other encouraging words.  I challenge myself and those of you reading this to find ways in your own life to use words of affirmation with the people in your life. From experience, I know that some may be resistant to hearing these words if they are not something they are used to hearing or used to you saying to them. Stay the course. Use this time to be an encourager of others.

Conversely, if someone has said negative things to you in the past or even currently, be willing to forgive and realize they are dealing with their own things, perhaps a lack of their own self-worth. You have heard the phrase, “Hurt people, hurt people.” That doesn’t mean everyone who is hurt, will hurt someone else. But most people who do hurt others, were hurt themselves. Perhaps you can speak words of affirmation into their life, if that is possible. Even more importantly, if you don’t currently have someone in your life who is speaking life-giving words to you, speak them to yourself. Change the negative tape that plays over and over in your head. Start receiving affirming words from yourself.  If you are open to reading the bible, I encourage you to seek out what God says about you and your identity.  Just a heads up…He thinks you are pretty awesome and He loves you!

Final thought, start speaking words of affirmation to those around you today, including yourself!  You are amazing and have only just begun to be your best self!

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Too Much Drama. Is It Okay to Share?

woman hiding face in hands

Too Much Drama

You know the seasons of life when it seems like everything goes wrong and just when you think you are going to catch a break, the bottom falls out? Yeah. Me too.  I have tried to be a person who shies away from drama.  I would hear some people constantly complaining about all these awful things that keep happening to them, one after another. And I would think, “C’mon. There is no way all this is happening to you at once. And if it is, you must be doing something to bring it on. Just a drama lover.”

Well, I have since rethought those sentiments. When multiple things fell upon me and/or my family. All stress inducing things. The difference in me and “those other people,” is that I try not to talk about all of it much.  I guess that made me feel superior in some way. But my realization now is maybe that isn’t the right approach.  I mean, I am somewhat a private person and don’t like to share too many details of my “drama”. I often feel that others don’t really care about it or just don’t want to hear it.  But that might be an inaccurate perception on my part.

Is it Okay to Share?

The people I do confide in love me and care for me and sometimes just venting to them is a huge help. But somehow I feel like I am burdening others. What about you, do you ever feel like that?  I know there is one person who I can talk to and won’t judge or act indifferent to my problems. I talk to Him usually alone and in the quiet.  Even so, it is usually very cathartic in sharing our burdens with others.  Just for a listening ear.

What I have learned through this messy, difficult time is that we will ALL go through different seasons in our life. Some will be joyous, others heartbreaking. Some amazing, others horrible. We needn’t be afraid to share our hard times with others.  Find someone you trust to talk to. Just the simple act of sharing, can lighten our load. Yeah, it is okay to share.

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Doing Good for Others Provides Benefits for Us As Well

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was working on my Goals for the Month of January.  I had 3 goals in mind.

  1. Start up a Home Management Binder.   Did that.
  2. Start a new way to Save Money for Vacations.   Started that.
  3. Do 3 positive things to help others, habitually.  Ok…that one I am having a harder time with. I have decided on one of the things. Donate regularly to our church food bank.  But I still haven’t come up with the other 2 things. I am looking for inspiration.  Should it be something for a family member?  A friend? A stranger or an organization?

 

I just don’t know.  Until I figure something out, I will try to look for opportunities to be a blessing to those I come in contact with in some way. Whether it’s just saying something nice, flashing a smile or holding a door open.

I have heard numerous times that one way to help us to live our best lives is to be involved with others in a positive way. Give of ourselves to others. Time, money, encouragement, whatever it may be.  When we look for ways to be of service to others it takes the focus off of us and our problems, whether they are real or perceived. Doing good and helping someone else, blesses us as well as them.

Think about 2 people in your life who you could do something nice for.  The cashier at the grocery store who looks like she is having a bad day? Your sister-in-law who is struggling financially? Think of ways you can help them. Step out of your comfort zone and tell the cashier how much you like the necklace she has on. Or the color of her hair.  Give your sister-in-law some cash to help her out…a little or a lot…anonymously or upfront.  You get the picture.  Look for ways to do seemingly random acts of kindness.

By doing so, you step out of your comfort zone and work on living your life to the fullest. Making someone else’s day, makes your day too!

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