We are coming into Mental Illness Awareness Week (October 6 – 12, 2019); an important time to address mental health as the seasons are changing, and the grey days can affect our emotional well-being. In an article entitled “My Mental Health is Your Mental Health” by Marissa Lair and featured on the Canadian Mental Health Association website, we meet Marissa, a young woman who speaks about her own story of feeling misplaced. Writing about her own experience upon graduating from college, she states:
“It wasn’t until I graduated from post-secondary and entered this limbo area of not yet being a working professional but not within the comforts of the education system that I suddenly had no identity or direction. There’s no instruction manual and there are no supports in place for this transitional period in life. I felt isolated and unheard after returning to my hometown. I could feel myself becoming increasingly drained. More emotionally exhausted. More unhappy. I pushed myself in a job I didn’t love until my physical body gave out. It was at this point I recognized that my mental health needed as much care as my physical health.”
It was at this point that she began talking to peers; identifying with others as to the similarity of their stories. As she gathered greater validation for her emotional struggles, she began to piece together the common thread of the narrative, realizing that if she had a story to share, so did others. As a result, the Facebook page HERstory: Women’s Empowerment Initiative was born.
While it is true that everyone’s story is unique, we can all attest to some time in our life when our emotional health suffered; at the hands of circumstance or genetics, feelings that threatened to overwhelm us, feeling lost to what was happening in our heads. I love the title of Marissa’s blog post – my mental health is your mental health. Because it is so true – our similarities, despite nuance, is what ties us to each other. Thinking about it in this way helps to chip away the stigma, allowing others to also share their story.
To read the article: https://cmha.ca/blogs/my-mental-health-is-your-mental-health
To check out the Facebook page, Herstory: https://www.facebook.com/herstorygreybruce/
Photo credit: http://Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
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