You may have heard about our new anti-stigma campaign by now...our Movement…There is No US & THEM (#WeAllStruggle). I wanted to give a special thanks to the very talented Lindsay Vautour, the graphic designer that brought our campaign to life and created a wonderful visual representation of our movement so we can all wear the message!
The word is spreading quickly and we love that more and more people every day are talking openly about their mental health struggles and understanding that there is JUST US (Not US & THEM) because we ALL struggle at times with our mental health. Right?
I want to get real for a minute and let you know what this campaign means to me. Why? Because everyone needs to understand that we ALL Struggle at times. Every single one of us. Tomorrow you could be the person not able to cope. Every one of us can, and will struggle with our mental health at some point. It really is JUST US! This brings me to my own story and where I found myself this year. It’s been the hardest year of my life. I have been navigating a painful separation from my husband and just experienced, firsthand, struggling immensely with my mental health - without having an official diagnosis. What have I learned? That it was easy to convince myself that my mental health was great and there wasn’t a lot to work on when things were going well. It was in those times of struggle that it became very clear to me that I’m vulnerable to suffering and distress - just like everyone else. Turns out, I’m human too! It’s important to recognize that when we talk about mental health, it’s not just the absence of mental illness. The term ‘mental health’ describes an overall well-being - your mental health is good when you don’t have mental distress and you feel generally well, both physically and mentally.
As a therapist and self described “helper” it was hard to move over and sit in the other chair - the one across from my therapist. Of course it wasn’t lost on me that I was living the message of our campaign - we will ALL struggle at different times in life - our mental health goes up and down continuously, for all humans. Everyone will be at different places on this continuum throughout their lives. None of us are immune to moving down the continuum, as distress is a normal part of life and it’s so important to recognize the signs that your mental health is suffering and when you may need support. And to get that support before you are in crisis. When we face seasons of struggle, we may feel unsure, confused, shameful, upset, and even despair. This comes and goes day by day. There is a lot of learning and unlearning, being caught in cycles of criticism and self-doubt, struggling to accept the truth of various circumstances, figuring out how to accept a new reality, feeling very lost and learning how to forgive, moving forward and recreating ourselves. This is the process of moving up and down the mental health continuum and it is very normal. I truly believe that everyone has a story or a struggle they have experienced that will break your heart. And if we’re really paying attention, most people actually have a story that will bring you to your knees. This is exactly why we can’t “other” people with mental health issues (putting them in that “THEM” category) as we will all be in that situation one day or another. (There is only US) So be gentle with the people around you, and with yourself. And if you are a “helper” then work on accepting help (and recognizing that you need it). It will be good for you and the people around you. Trust me. #WeAllStuggle - Laura
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“To know pain is human. To need is human. And no amount of money, influence, resources, or sheer determination will change our physical, emotional, and spiritual dependence on others. Many of us are willing to extend a helping hand, but we’re very reluctant to reach out for help when we need it ourselves. It’s as if we’ve divided the world into “those who offer help” and “those who need help.” The truth is that we are both. Need is the most beautiful compact between humans.” - Brene Brown