Besides concluding that this summer was quite possibly the best of my entire life (and a stark contrast to last year’s) I came to a number of realizations: I wasn’t as happy as I could be. In order to be happier, I needed to live closer to the mountains, I needed to follow my passion and work in a mental health related career, and I needed a vehicle (to get me to the mountains obviously). For any of this to happen, I had to make some serious changes.
There are rational fears. There are irrational fears. There is biology and there is psychology. Fear leaves us awake at night. Fear makes us run. Fear can consume us. Predominately, fear keeps us safe.
We live in a world where we are constantly waiting. Waiting for the day our parents finally let us take the family car for a spin. Waiting until we graduate high school. Waiting for our 19th birthday to take that first (legal) sip of alcohol. Waiting for the next best thing.
They say that everything happens for a reason – and while I’m not sure how much you (or I) buy into the whole fate mentality – I recently had a moment of clarity. In spite of the fact I have experienced what was by far the most challenging year of my life, for the first time ever, I felt truly and genuinely grateful for it.
Mark Twain hit the nail on the head. It’s human nature to compare ourselves to others. Factor in the culture of today’s social media oriented society, and the ‘life highlight reel’ of others is constantly shoved in our faces. Needless to say, if you’re having a bad day or struggling with personal hardships, constantly seeing everyone’s best self makes it very difficult to come out on top.
The prioritization of physical health versus mental health is an issue of contention in today’s society. Despite a shift towards mental health literacy, it is evident that regardless of our education, background, or personal experiences, when comparing mental to physical health, many of us (myself included) are guilty of favouring physical illness as a more legitimate form of disability.
How can I justifiably advocate for people to openly discuss their personal experiences with mental illness and addiction when I haven’t done so myself? THIS IS MY STORY.