Lately I quite often came across articles about brave women sharing their stories of being abused and their recovery.
Between abuse and recovery was of course a time of self blame, addictions, acting out, dramatic situations, hiding in shame or turning into workaholism and becoming the star, someone obviously worthy of massive love from the masses.
And I appreciate women speaking about this so much. Usually, before you are ready to speak there is quite a lot of inner work done by you already. Reflecting, grieving, working with your inner child, forgiving yourself for what you did not know, forgiving those that were supposed to protect you for not protecting you due to their trauma, getting to know your emotions and how to express them in a healthy way, how to accept yourself with your good and bad days, learning to regulate your nervous system…
A friend of mine once said that for courage, we need love. She said it by the way, without even remembering later she did, when I was expressing my gratitude for those words to her, yet for me it was a mayor shift.
When you feel enough love, you have courage to do what is good for you. The courage to do what is needed. Sometimes you are finally able to do the things you were most afraid of, because of all that love that you finally feel for yourself, in your self, it almost feels like you don’t even need to be brave anymore to do it, you just do it because it is the right thing for you.
But at the times I feel a tad annoyed of the image the journalist give to those women with saying “She speaks openly about her mental health struggles.”
I feel annoyed about how we as a society perceive those who have heart to speak about what happened and their recovery as ones who are having mental health struggles. “She speaks about her mental health struggles.”
Well, of course they do have struggles, because usually you don’t come out of abuse without any damage and it takes time to heal, but they are actually working on their mental health.
I see those women (not just women, also men and those who see themselves as non-binary or however they like to describe themselves) as people who are talking about the importance of caring for your mental health.
About the importance of getting help when you need it.
About the importance of taking time for yourself.
About the importance of knowing yourself.
About the importance of accepting your feelings and emotions.
About the importance of speaking out when you are ready, so others know they are not alone and there is hope for them too.
So, in a nutshell, what basically annoys me is, that we say for those, who actually work on their mental health and are willing to speak about it, that they are struggling with mental health, while most people ignore their issues, act them out on others, avoid looking into themselves, run away from themselves on repeat, stuff down their feelings, work themselves to the ground, pop their pain-killers, shop the things they don’t need and not even really want, because they have to keep up the appearances and we see those people as productive members of society, as somehow being more mentally healthy in their avoidance of their mental health issues than those who are actually aware of them and has worked through them and healed enough that they now have courage and the words to speak about them.
It’s like you would have two people with cardio diseases and one was changing their diet, exercising regularly, becoming healthier and sharing their journey, while the other would continue living the same way old way, continuing to indulge in their unhealthy habits and we would see the first person as having the health struggles and the second person as healthy.
Maybe we say they are struggling with mental health, so we can keep avoiding our own disease.