With the 2nd presidential debate just last night, and the destruction and devastation of Hurricane Matthew, there is a lot of hurt and conflict going on in the world around us.
I am from a small rural New England town. I grew up with deer in my backyard, tractors making people late for work, and always seeing at least 2 people you know at the grocery store.
I grew up sheltered.
My high school had challenged me to think outside the box. I was in a safe place, and difficult discussions were often out in the open. I could almost feel my heart grow bigger, and my mind opening wider when I was able to see things from another perspective. I wasn't much of voice back then; I was a learner. I was a listener.
It is not just a bad thing nor just a good thing to grow up sheltered. There are pros and cons. What had worried me was that I felt I could only hear or see things one way. I had to believe what the majority believed, because those were my roots.
This year, I left my small town for the city. As much as I have grown throughout the years, I have finally reached a stage that some of my peers had already gained confidence for within their freshman year of high school. Their voice.
I can now say, I have found my voice.
My Papa was a humanitarian. He had a "Type A" personality, but when it came to human beings he was able to show love for "as is." He most likely did not believe in the word perfect, however, he was perfect to me.
He was compassionate, a realist, and a patient man.
He spent his career as a counselor, which fit his demeanor greatly, however I do not believe you need to be a counselor in order to be the kind of person he was.
He was caring, patient, straight-forward, and determined.
I think of the three P's of things that he has taught me, and will use them to share with you all.
You just don't know what people are going through.
That cashier you were complaining about "being rude", who knows- maybe she's getting a divorce? Maybe she's losing her job? Maybe she's been fighting depression, but today she managed to get out of bed and show up for work. Maybe she was rude. Maybe there just aren't excuses. But maybe just maybe- that is not who she is.
That is just a random scenario that I refer to when thinking about perspective regarding others.
You don't know everyone's story. You do not know who you are passing on the streets.
To me, World Mental Health Day is everything about standing together.
We are all broken in one way or another, or we all have been broken in one way or another.
Approximately 1 in 5 in the U.S. experiences mental illness in a given year.
1 in 5 ?
There is no need for me to explain why there is something wrong with that. If that statistic is correct, and that many people are fighting for their mental health each day, why is stigma still an issue? It is happening all around us. No disability, no diagnosis, not ANYTHING, changes the fact that we are all human.
Mental Health does not just mean take care of yourselves.
It means take care of each other.
A Boston social work student, using writing for healing. Sharing the peaks and valleys of an empath's mental health journey.