Last week it felt uncomfortable talking about my own mental health. 💙 Expressing something meaningful in 2,200 characters or less is challenging when I feel awkwardly exposed.
I talk with anyone face to face, on the phone or via text about my emotional health, even joking about how it affects me, yet I still feel afraid and even ashamed to put it in words that stay around forever. I think this is because my mental health is just a part of me – it doesn’t define me.
What will people think? What if it affects my kids negatively – their friends see my posts? What if their friends see something less in my ability to help them in any way. What if my children are judged because of me? I see faces of people I know now and from my past in my mind reading my words, thinking less of me. These are people who love me and don’t care if I share these things, yet somehow I still feel these things. This is what anxiety does to us – makes us question who we are and just how much we have to offer.
I’ve been a youth leader off and on since Mike and I got engaged – for the better part of 17-18 years of the almost 21 years we’ve been married. I’ve spent countless hours talking with youth about mental health – their experiences, my experiences, where our experiences meet and how God factors into our experiences. I am not a mental health professional by career, but I am a mental health experience professional, because it’s the life I live. Yet, in the back of my mind I still feel like an imposter speaking about this because my education is in teaching high school English and my experience is in raising five children and being a creative in my business.
It’s the mix of these fears that holds me back from sharing. But, our fears don’t have to hold us back. In sharing we can feel less alone. Unity comes in sharing. In unity we can understand and better help each other. If we’ve learned anything this last year, we’ve learned we need each other to get through the ups and downs.
Even though I make jewelry and love what I do, I hope to create a safe space here where we can discuss the ups and downs and how we can help each other.
What’s your one piece of Monday advice today? 👇