Getting Real About Mental Health
Getting this raw and vulnerable in a blog post isn’t really my thing, but in the spirit of encouraging good mental health practices, here it goes…..
Today is Bell Let’s Talk Day and I think it’s time I opened up about something that I don’t often discuss online or in social media – mental health and specifically, how I deal with mine.
You see, here’s the thing – I very consciously choose to only present a certain side of me on social media. I think about every single thing I type, everything I post and everything I like. I choose to present a positive, happy and optimistic version of myself because this is what I’m willing to share with the world. I am very aware of the fact that I have choices in what I post online and can for the most part control how my image is put out to the public. This is because a) I am for the most part just genuinely that happy, but also b) I’m a professional saleswoman and hyper-conscious of the fact that my image online (and offline) matters.
I portray myself in such a way that I’m sure 99% of people who look at my profiles would think
“She’s got a perfect life.”
Well let me tell you this: my life is not exempt from the struggles, challenges, heartbreak and hurt that come with being human. I am not happy ALL the time. I’m not energized and excited ALL the time. I feel so angry sometimes and I feel incredibly depressed sometimes. I have my vices and I’ve walked a fine line with alcohol at points in my life that resulted in hard lessons learned. I’ve had days where I wanted to just RUN away from my life and everyone in it. I’ve had days where I’ve hated the world and days where I’ve just felt sad….
I know what it feels like to hurt and I’m sure you do too.
But do you want to know what I always tell myself when I’m feeling like that?
That there are people in this world who love me, that I love myself and that this day – this sad, angry, depressed, WEIRD day – is just 1 day. When I can recognize what’s happening with my mental state, I give myself the grace to understand where I’m at and what I’m capable of that day. Then, I just take the day to sit with it, be with it and make peace with it. I tune out the world and allow myself the time to wrap my brain around how I’m feeling because once I’ve got a grip on it, I can make my game plan. I also make a promise to myself that tomorrow will be better and I’m going to choose happiness. But when I need that day, I give it to myself because I know the difference it makes and my mental health is worth it.
These are also some of my best days.
I might be feeling through the floor blue, but I also might spend that morning drinking coffee, having a good ugly cry and listening to Jann Arden or the Cranberries. I’ll get lost for a few hours in the lyrics and the melodies while I sit with my sad self and acknowledge my feelings. Or maybe I’ll snuggle in and get sucked into a thrilling mystery novel or some kind of trashy love story. It doesn’t matter. As long as I’m reading something that has nothing to do with business or education, I can just sink right into the story and tune the world out around me.
Or maybe, I just Netflix and chill.
As a woman in sales, I have come to find that these days are vital to my mental health. Sometimes in this career, it gets exhausting to have to be ‘on’ for everyone all the time and if I can’t even solve my own problems, how am I going to solve my clients problems? Or sometimes we are riding in one of those sales valleys for a bit before we start climbing that peak and we’re feeling discouraged and depressed. Or maybe sometimes, it’s just the biological case that Aunt Flow showed up with her raging fury and we just don’t have the energy to do ‘people’ that day.
The point is:
I have learned to recognize the days when my mind, body and spirit needs the down time and because I believe that the best investment a person can make is into themselves, I invest the time wisely.
I have absolutely experienced crushing depression that comes from the blows of just living life. I have a critically ill child. Death has touched a little too close to home on occasion. I’ve made mistakes, I’ve said things I shouldn’t have and I’ve hurt people I love. I’ve stumbled through and been awkward AF more times than I can count. I – me – Lynsey Dalen – am not perfect and neither is my life.
But what I do know is that I’m a good person who is just trying to be the best version of myself that I can be. So yeah, shit gets hard sometimes but that’s for me to deal with personally and privately. I do not owe it to anybody to post about the tough stuff and it’s never about being inauthentic, it’s about maintaining boundaries and privacy in my life which for me, are part of my good mental health practices. Everyone deserves that and I choose to exercise my authority over what is and isn’t made public knowledge.
I encourage you to exercise your authority too! I hope you maintain social boundaries and use filters when you feel like you need to because this is YOUR life and you have every right to decide what you share with the world. I realize that it’s not always 100% in our control, but we definitely have a degree of control and if you’re surrounding yourself with the right people, they will understand and respect your boundaries too. You do not have to keep up with the ‘Social Media Jones’s’ and your value is not determined by likes or comments. You are a distinct and unique human being who has every right to make your decisions about what’s best for your own mental health. It doesn’t matter what that looks like online or to anyone else for that matter.
So if I could send you away with my final thoughts on maintaining good mental health, it’s this:
Always remember that social media is not real life.
Please do not compare yourself to anyone online ever because what you see is a product of the choices they are making in what they choose to post. It’s never a truly accurate representation of what they might be living day to day so just don’t worry about what anyone else is doing. DO YOU and only you. Make yourself a promise that you’re going to show up for yourself everyday and do the things that light your soul on fire. That’s authentic!
Ask for help when you need it and make sure to review your group benefits booklet (if you are covered under an employer sponsored plan) to see what kind of resources you have there. All too often people forget that you have access to therapists, psychologists and potentially an EFAP (Employee & Family Assistance Plan) that can help get a treatment plan started. EFAP’s are also a totally confidential service so neither your employer or HR administrator will be aware that you accessed that portion of the plan. No matter how you’re feeling, there is someone out there or a resource out there that can help.
Please just take the first step.
Ladies, I am feeling SO optimistic about 2020 and I want to see everyone succeed this year so if you’re reading this, I’d like to leave you with a plea for a call to action:
- Please take care of your heart, mind & soul like you take care of the rest of your body.
- Please make smart choices about how you internalize/engage with social media.
- Please find the resources to invest in yourself and the things/time you need to maintain good mental health.
If you can make that investment into yourself, I can promise you my friends – your ROI will be through the roof!
Take care and I’m sending you all my love,