So, what do we do? We can definitely take advantage of the suggestions made by Lindsey Holmes in that HuffPost link above. We can also acknowledge that without available therapists, many of us are going to have to do the best we can for ourselves and each other. We are going to have to muddle through this, and the only way to muddle through is by supporting each other. No, we are not therapists and we shouldn’t really try to be. But, we can be human beings who care enough about other humans to offer support. Whether that be in person, through text or calls, on social media, etc. we can all offer something to each other. We can all share our stories and our struggles because right now there’s simply no excuse for anyone to feel like they are struggling alone.
So, the thing I want us to talk about this year is not just encouragement to call a hotline or to reach out to a friend for help, or even to tell our stories and erase the stigma around mental health issues. I want us to consider doing more than that. I want us, as a society, to figure out how to provide hope. As much value as there is in all of those other things if I can’t provide some hope that things will get better, that we are working and advocating for things to get better across all areas of our culture, then I can’t honestly say that there is a reason for someone to hope, and at the end of the day, the thing that truly prevented me from taking my own life when I was at my worst, was the hope that life wouldn’t always be that painful.
As it turned out, my life wasn’t always that painful, and even in times of pain, I can look back and remember that.
How do we provide that hope for others who have been beaten down and worn out with life right now? Where does their hope come from?
I heard someone on the radio use this phrase to describe herself as we were out grabbing a few last-minute items to assist with riding out Hurricane Ida. She was talking about evacuating her home in New Orleans at 10:30 last night, driving to Alabama to seek shelter, and then doing the show remotely from there.
Here, we aren’t in as much of a need to evacuate, we are further from the coast and the storm surge, but it’s still going to be a long, dangerous couple of days. So, we are spending a lot of time, and both mental and physical energy, preparing to possibly be without power, for needing to leave if the house is damaged, and so forth. It’s a lot. And that is on top of all the mental energy necessary to deal with large COVID outbreaks we’ve had in recent weeks, all of the recent events in world news, and the various personal and professional challenges that we are also dealing with.
Running on fumes is a really good description of how I think most of the entire state feels today, and yet, there’s a storm coming that we are all going to have to deal with, while everything else just continues on as well.
We need each other now, as always. We need our community. We need our connections. We need to know that we are not alone in this. So, let me, in the midst of my own exhaustion, do this one thing. If you’re feeling hopeless, angry, anxious, depressed, etc. because of the state of the world, or the state of your job, the losses you’ve suffered, the issues you are fighting for, the struggle to hang on to hope, you are not alone. I am with you. I see you. I share your exhaustion, frustration, anger, and your need for rest. Whether we’ve talked about this personally, or if you’re simply holding this all in and trying to keep it together, I see you. I’m with you. We are together in this, and we should share the little bits of hope with each other. They may be hard to see, but the more of us who are dedicated to looking for them, and sharing them, the more of it we’ll draw strength from.
I had to follow my own advice yesterday, and do something that wasn’t easy, and made me feel weak. I had to admit that I’m not OK
Thanks to Professor Miranda Wolpert for sharing some of the details of a recent study looking at the details of mental health research funding. For me these three points underscore some of the issues we have: Despite growing awareness of mental health in recent years, funding for mental health science has not increased: Global investments in…