Updated: Oct 31
October has marked Mental Health Awareness month. And recently, I've had some thoughts...
The way Mental Health Awareness Day (on the 10th) is celebrated then quickly forgotten (read that recent post here); and the almost deterministic attitude of much of society on mental health and mental health conditions.
I may hold this view because, as a counsellor, I don't treat serious mental health conditions. But I've realized that I share the side of the more recent, hopeful perspective when it comes to these. In light of this, please hold the rest of these words lightly. If it feels like a resource, it's for you 🤗.
While views on mental health and illness have shifted notably over recent years, there still seems to be a finality and almost defeatist attitude by some when it comes to many mental health conditions.
The focus on the label of the mental health condition takes preference in how we view and sometimes treat what's going on, instead of dealing with actual symptoms.
(Words from the brilliant psychologist Susan David.)
I recently received a phone call from a dad whose daughter is struggling with anxiety. "Ok, we know that she has this issue and is going to battle with it forever; can you teach her skills to make it easier to get through her day or what is your approach?"
[Cue mindful pause 😂]
My view is this- Research, and personal and professional experience has shown that we are able to overcome great challenges; our capacity is able to grow to handle more; we learn; our brains literally change!.. it does not get more hopeful.
This is not blind optimism - it's hope.
And the benefits of this practice are innumerable- hope has been shown to foster resilience, buffer loneliness, lower levels of depression and improve wellbeing, and so much more. Read more here.
It's absolutely not about being in complete denial either. It's about holding the very real issues we face loosely (as you are able to!), and allowing ourselves to get vulnerable and honest about how this is affecting our lives today.
It's about facing the symptoms not the label.
Our mindset during any challenge is critical . Going through relationship problems, addiction issues, financial struggles... and the same when we've received a scary medical or mental health diagnosis. How we view it influences what we see.
May our capacities grow day by day to face the challenges we could not yesterday ❤
If anything has come up for you while reading this, I would love to support you or answer any questions. And I would love your thoughts on this too! Please reach out to me here or reply to this email.
With much love and hope for healing always,