When I was a senior in high school my family and I moved across the state and I had switch schools for what was supposed to be the best year of my life.
I lost all my friends. My girlfriend started sleeping with my best friend. And I lost all interest to play any sports or to even do any of my school work. I went from an all-star honors student to failing all my classes and nearly dropping out of high school.
I was lost. I didn't know who I was. I didn't know what I wanted. And I didn't know where I was going. I was struggling and I didn't know how to ask for help. In many instances it seemed like a better idea to just end it all than to keep living out what seemed like a meaningless existence.
But what I began to realize during that process was that the more I tried to fight how I was feeling, the worse I felt. Any kind of distraction, avoiding, or numbing only seemed to provide temporary relief followed by an even deeper spiral into the darkness. But as painful as it was, when I made myself sit with the experience was when I actually started feeling some shifts taking place.
I realized that trying to solve the what seemed like a mental problem with mental solutions (thinking and talking) didn't get me anywhere. When I gave myself permission to move into my body and feel all the feelings and sensations without trying to change them was when the healing finally began to take place. It also dawned on me that what I was experiencing was exactly what I needed in order to grow into who I had the potential to be.
I share this story because the topic of mental health has been coming up quite a lot for me lately and so I wanted to share my perspective.
Firstly, the whole idea of mental health is misleading. Mental health isn't just a mental problem. Your mental,emotional, physical, and spiritual health are all connected and influence one another. So talking about mental health without also addressing all the other aspects of health misses the point.
Secondly, the idea that we should or shouldn't feel, act, or be certain ways creates complexes and splits us up into pieces -- usually what we label as the "good" parts of ourselves and the "bad" parts. And then we end up constantly fighting against the "bad" parts, not realizing that you waste a lot of energy and nobody wins when you're fighting against yourself.
Lastly, recognize that where you're at is exactly where you're supposed to be. We create a lot of challenges for ourselves simply by focusing on things we can't change (past) or things that haven't even happened yet (future). This moment is all you ever have. And paradoxically, unless your survival is in immediate jeopardy, all problems lose meaning in the present moment. What is is just what is.
Any of the challenges you're facing right now are exactly what you need to help you grow into who you have the potential to be. The more you victimize yourself or repress/distract/numb/avoid those challenges, the more you miss that opportunity.
I invite you to go check out the IG Live I did this morning where I get even deeper on this subject. You can watch here.
I hope this helps.