A long five years since I turned 50

A long five years since I turned 50

If 50 was all about celebrating still being alive, 55 is more about just being tired. It feels old. It is getting harder and harder to find the things worth celebrating, but I know that they are still there. It just takes more work to focus on them than it used to.

Most importantly, I know that being alive at this age means I can still make a difference. I

Are We Past Stigmatizing Mental Health Issues?

Are We Past Stigmatizing Mental Health Issues?

Nothing tells me that we still have a long way to go when it comes to stigma like learning about a clearly distressed young man getting killed on a subway while other passengers sat and watched. Because his situation was uncomfortable. His manic behavior made them uncomfortable and all of the compassion for other people who struggle with mental health issues went right out the window in this case. This wasn’t a well-put-together person speaking calmly, this was very different. The same core issue – mental health – but different results. One group is acceptable. The other not so much.

That’s stigma.

There’s a New Form of Stigma Around Mental Health and It’s Extremely Dangerous

There’s a New Form of Stigma Around Mental Health and It’s Extremely Dangerous

If you can’t read that, or Twitter starts blocking embeds again – at the mention of a pediatric psychiatric hospital Rep. Cox said “You might want to check that place for grooming”.

Yes, the very mention of providing mental health care for children is met with a suggestion that it is a place for grooming. Because, of course, anyone who encourages kids to talk about their mental health is out to groom them for sexual abuse.

This is a dangerous path that we are on.

Heal Without Judging How Others Heal

Heal Without Judging How Others Heal

The same can be said for inpatient treatment, therapy, exercise, gardening, micro-dosing, meditation, religion, etc. There are so many things that have worked for some people in healing. The list could get long, but no matter how many items we add, one thing will be true for every item. They all worked for some of the people some of the time and never for everyone all of the time.

Healing is hard. Those who are trying to heal from trauma deserve our respect and encouragement. They don’t need a ton of judgment about how they are healing. Stop making it harder with your judgment.

Friendships Matter Much More than the Value We Place on Them
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Friendships Matter Much More than the Value We Place on Them

It’s worth thinking about your friends and recognizing that we need all kinds of friends. We need loose connections, and we need tight connections. We need long-term friends, and we need friends for a season of our lives.

In short, we need each other. I’m afraid this is something that has gotten lost in our culture. It’s certainly gotten lost in our priorities, and I consider myself as guilty as anyone.

I also know that being guilty of not prioritizing friendships has hurt me. It’s likely hurting you. It is hurting all of society. It’s time we started valuing close friendships again.

How Shame Keeps Us Disconnected

How Shame Keeps Us Disconnected

The context for this quote is a handful of stories where someone felt ashamed of an event or something that they’d allowed people to believe about them that wasn’t true. Marisa goes on to talk about how when we have something we won’t discuss, it creates a separation from other people, and that separation can take away from humanness. Our interactions with other people are blocked off. We know we aren’t sharing our whole selves with the people we should be. That block can protect us from potential pain, but it also prevents us from having all the benefits of having close relationships with other humans.

Doesn’t that sound exactly like growing up keeping our abuse secret?

We grow up with shame around something that was never our fault. That shame prevents us from fully connecting with other human beings. That lack of connection harms our mental health as adults. We struggle to heal without one of the most powerful tools in our arsenal as human beings, other people. We keep our secrets and hide our shame, meaning we will never know the healing power of being accepted and loved by those who know our whole selves.