It’s About Compassion: Mental Health Awareness Month

This month is Mental Health Awareness month, and when thinking about what to write, I realized I needed to break it down into a few posts. I am passionate about mental health and discovered this when I was in nursing school. I remember taking a class and learning about holistic health. How we as nurses should treat the whole patient, not just their medical symptoms. If you’ve ever been in the hospital or are currently battling a disease, you might have first hand experience on how it can effect every part of you. Your health can take a toll on your emotions, your spirit, and your mind. Looking back, I’m so grateful my school introduced me to this concept, because health is so much more than our physical bodies.

After working as a nurse for a few years, I decided to go back and obtain my master’s in psychiatric nursing. Being a middle child, and a person that has always had friends span different groups, I often found myself in the workout role. The one that bridged the gap, mended miscommunications or worked to de-escalate a situation. I found myself comfortable in listening to other people’s situations and trying to help them through them.

What I discovered is that mental health and illness isn’t something in one place, a certain group of people, or only in treatment centers. It’s within all parts of our community because everyone experiences difficult moments or may be actively working on themselves. And that’s ok! There is such a stigma about expressing our emotions, anxieties, or struggles with maintaining mental health. And I hope that can change soon. People who are struggling with internal battles deserve the same love and support that patients with a heart condition, cancer, kidney disease or other physical ailments receive. Everyone deserves to be treated with compassion, and it really can make such a difference in the lives of others.

Dark Days

These days, things are anything but easy. Some days, its taken all of my mental courage to keep it together. I have felt down, and low, and have had moments of uncertainty and tears. If I’m feeling the darkness of COVID and isolation, I can only imagine what those battling mental illness are feeling. These are tough times, times that can darken mental illness into complete blackness.

It’s unfair.

It’s unfair for life to hand you something that you have to learn, to understand and wrap your head around. Through the doctor visits, medications, therapy, you’ve worked hard toward progress. Towards a better understanding, a better handle of your disease..and now this.

It’s unfair.

It’s unfair for life to come along and derail the progress you have made. To make you fight each and every moment harder, longer, and by yourself.

It’s unfair.

Know there are people out there who love you, who are waiting to see you after all of the restrictions are lifted. Life wants more from you. I do not know you, but am rooting for you, cheering you on. I wish you light during these dark times.

If you are feeling unsafe please please reach out to someone. Friends, family, anyone that can help.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.1-800-273-8255

We could use some love right about now

Hi everyone. I’m not going to sugar coat this, these times are tough. Whether your juggling children and work, or sick family members, or just trying to safely wrap your head around the state of our world, the word “challenge” comes to mind. If I’m being honest, I’m not feeling 100% sunny either. You can only block out so much of the negative before it starts impacting you. It did that to me yesterday and I found myself short on patience. (Which is when I feel the worst about how I act.)

So I’m trying to dig myself out. I baked banana bread yesterday and that helped a little, but sadly it wasn’t a cure. So what else? What else can I do to make myself feel better? What do you do when you feel lower than normal?

Exercise does come to mind, but eh. I do plan on taking my kids for a walk, which is always an adventure. They’re 7 and 5 and still get excited over how many worms they can find on the sidewalk after it rains, or pointing out cool things they see. Seeing the world through their eyes helps me, and even writing this tweaks at my heart. See, I can’t just crawl into bed and give up for the day. There are two beautiful beings, my two hearts, that walk around on this world….a world that has been turned upside down.

I’ve explained why we have to stay home from school and from their friends. I’ve told them that there’s a virus making people sick and to keep from getting sick or spreading it to our friends and family, we need to stay home. I told them that we want to keep Gigi (they’re 96 year old great grandma) healthy. They’ve accepted this and occasionally ask questions. But for the most part, they’re happy to play at home and do their school work.

I do know this isn’t always how it is. There are fears and anxiety children feel. These are real and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Children need us to help them figure out their emotions, and we need to be there for them. We are their protectors, we are the adults in this relationship. I will pray for everyone out their and send thoughts of support. I can’t do much more than that, and I know it doesn’t really help, but I hope just knowing someone is thinking of you, rooting for you, wishing you peace and calmness maybe gives you a little extra strength. We all could use a little love right now. Let’s try to do our best to be kind to one another because we’re all in this together.