Saturday, May 18, 2013

The battle with mental health; the battle we hide

The issue of mental health seems to come up again and again in the headlines, in our communties, within our families. We spend tons of money and efforts into recognizing and fixing physical health issues but mental health is something we sometimes hide in shame. Like it's a weakness; like it somehow destroys the image we and others have of us. I know there are scientific explanations about hormones and body chemistry that explains why some of us have certain mental health issues, but life is also a draw.

Some of us are luckier than others; some of us are smarter, prettier, skinnier, more talented, more gifted, more fortunate. And we are human; we judge, we envy, we compete. And somewhere, somehow along the way we have to learn how to deal with the disappointment, to make it work with what we got, but that's a lot easier said than done. We get depressed, we get angry, we become full of doubt, lose hope, have our self esteem attacked and tore down. Sometimes it feels like there's more things and people rooting against us than for us.

It's a tough world; life is hard. There was some quoted post going around facebook about building up enough of your child's self esteem so the world can't knock it down. On the other hand some say we are babying our children today, not letting them handle their own mistakes and trying to shield them from disappointments. To one extent I do agree with that. Life is hard and as much as you want to take care of everything and shield your child from the harsh realities of life you can't. So they must learn how to be accountable for their own mistakes, how to move past their own and life's disappointments.

But as their mother, as their parent, we can still and should be their #1 cheerleader, their biggest supporter, the one that believes in them more than anyone else because one day, probably for more than one, that faith, that support, that belief, will be their saving grace when the hardships of the world comes knocking.

Mental health as we're seeing with things like Newtown, Connecticut, the Colorado batman killings, school bullying, parents killing themselves and their own families, and suicide, is scary. Possibly right there behind cancer because we hide it, we ignore it, we pretend it's not there for ourselves or someone we love, and sometimes the resources for help aren't there, but mental health kills people every day. And sometimes they are not the only victim as we have seen recently in the headlines.

As a mother I hope to build my daughters' self esteem so when the difficulties and disappointments of life come knocking, they'll be okay, but I also know as someone who has always been a confident, high self esteem person, that that doesn't necessarily mean it saves you because life is hard and disappointing at times, but it can give them the strength to work through it and not be another victim. Many (many more) people face mental health issues and work through them without being a headline story. But there needs to be more resources and awareness.   

1 comment:

  1. This is a great post and a really important issue. Both Eric and I have mental health issues on both sides of our family and we wonder if it will affect Jack. And we also wonder how we will equip Jack to work with whatever hand he is dealt. I agree that when we make it less taboo and talk about it more we can help others do the same. Once we are talking about it without judgement and without fear we can expand the conversation.