Written By: Krista Dunbar
The topic of mental health is not only a difficult subject to talk about, but a relevant one. In today’s world of constant connectivity and social connectedness through multiple technological platforms, it’s so easy to glorify our schedules, to-do lists, relationships, and so much more. It’s also so easy to let ourselves get caught up in this world so much that we forget to stop and take an inventory of how we are doing emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Only when our lives begin to show the effects of this do we begin to do something about it. And often, by that time, it takes a lot of work and effort to come back.
Not only have I personally struggled with anxiety multiple times and throughout different seasons in my 27 years, but I have friends that struggle with it as well. Mental health is one of the most important things to take care of whether it’s in the highest points and seasons of happiness or in the valleys…but it’s necessary to keep track of the signals and triggers before it hits the lowest lows. Not only that, but as you get older and life happens, it’s easy to forget that your hormones and mental stability are so important for your general well being.
It’s Okay To Not Be Okay.
That one piece of advice from my best friend was truly my saving grace. In the moments of darkness, identity confusion, and swarming thoughts…I held on to the fact that even though I was going through mental struggle…I wasn’t alone, it wasn’t embarrassing, and I was okay even in my season of not being okay. Life is full of ups and downs…and our body is made up of so many hormones. It’s normal to have seasons of low but when it’s a time of extreme low, don’t be too proud or prideful to seek help. I was embarrassed to let someone know I might need the help of a trained professional…but that few hundred dollars were some of the best I’ve ever spent. In the words of Seth Cohen…counsellors are a “third party observer with absolutely no judgements about your personal life.” They are there to be a sounding board to offer a listening ear and to provide safe counsel for you to find the light at the end of whatever tunnel you’re journeying through. Counsellors help you find some threads in your story that might lead you to freedom from your internal battles.
One of the best things I’ve learned is the importance of self care. I always thought it would be selfish to hone in on my thoughts and feelings to take care of me first…but that’s exactly what you must do. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to care for others well either. Self care gives you the permission to sit down and listen to what your body and soul are saying to you. It’s the opportunity to find freedom from those thoughts and feelings you try to keep tidily trapped inside. It’s a chance to quit judging every move you make and your intentions behind them and just live.
If you are reading these words and they resonate with you…don’t be afraid or too prideful to ask for help. You’re helping others by helping yourself.
I find that my anxiety hits me when I’m too busy glorifying my schedule and busyness to find rest and refuel my soul. For me, that means locking myself away in the office to journal, read the Bible, and pray. If I don’t spend time doing this and choose other things that I feel meet a more immediate need (whether that’s true or not), I begin to experience those symptoms of anxiety.
Even Jesus took time to rest and recharge. Through His actions, we see that He made time with the Father a priority…even if the crowds were following behind.
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
“Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” Mark 2:27
“But he who listens to me shall live securely And will be at ease from the dread of evil.” Proverbs 1:33
“But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.” Luke 5:16
I’m not a counsellor and have no certifications or expertise in this area…just my own life experiences. Please don’t hesitate to seek out a counsellor to dig through these things with you!
Also, I found this article very helpful on the topic of self care:
You will be okay…even if you don’t feel like it because…it’s okay to not be okay!