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Speak Out

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

Do you or someone you know struggle with a mental health issue? Perhaps anxiety or depression has overwhelmed you, or anger and resentment have become your unwelcome companions. After many years of social stigma, people are finally publicly acknowledging their mental health problems. Celebrities, professional athletes, and others who we admire are speaking out about their personal struggles with psychological issues. They have shown courage to speak up, get help, and stop hiding or running from their issues. Many of us have a difficult time acknowledging our shortcomings and problems for fear of being judged, rejected, or ridiculed. Instead, we remain silent sufferers hoping that our issues will go away with time. Maybe pride or mistrust get in the way of our ability to share our struggles. Some of us are convinced that expressing our pain makes us look weak and inadequate. In reality, holding onto our pain and keeping it inside weakens us. It takes great effort and energy to hide our pain from others which in turn weakens our physical, emotional, and spiritual being. Shutting others out also prevents them from offering support and encouragement.

As mentioned above even people who seem to have it all, including fame, wealth, and success are acknowledging their personal struggles. Some who are new to positions of power and wealth may have difficultly adjusting and choose to indulge in self-destructive behaviors and choices masking their emotional problems. However, others are working through these struggles in spite of their success in other areas of life, and are now going public to let others know about their difficulties. Hopefully their intentions are to normalize others' struggles and encourage them to get the help they need. Maybe realizing that even our heroes and superstars are not immune to mental health problems can motivate us to acknowledge our own pain. It helps to know that you're not alone, others struggle with similar problems, and that there are ways to cope and heal.

We all need hope that things can get better when we are in a dark and lonely place. As more and more people speak out about mental health issues and the impact on their lives, the more likely we are to reach out to get help. In fact, acknowledging that you have a problem and need help solving it is a crucial first step. Often when we share our issues with family and friends we quickly find out that they have had a similar problem themselves. They may even share what helped them or the benefits of seeking professional help. Everyone is different and finding what works best for you can be a process that takes some time. For some, exercise is the key, others lean on their faith, or work on mindfulness, meditation, or journaling. Sometimes professional help and possibly medication are the best options to help you through your problems. The point is to not ignore or deny your emotional difficulties, but instead find solutions that work. Talk openly with others about your issues since they may be a valuable resource. And recognize that we all encounter conflicts or problems that set us back, but that acknowledgement helps us to move forward.

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