I have strong opinions about mental health.
Here’s what I don’t love:
“Mental Health” has, in large part, become a way to systematically pathologize the human condition. Sad? It’s depression. Anxiety? It’s a disorder. So on top of not feeling your best, you also get to feel like there is something actively wrong - or worse, fundamentally broken - about you.
For many, these diagnoses can become a part of your identity (“I am depressed,” “I’m bipolar,” or “I have anxiety”). Too often these labels become limitations and many of us fail to see our potential beyond one particular feeling state.
Here’s what I really want to say to you: it is okay to feel how you feel and it is okay to inhabit different feeling states. It is an important and natural part of our life experience and emotional development to struggle with uncertainty, fear, loss, confusion, and pain.
Don’t get me wrong - I think having an organizing concept like a diagnosis can be helpful if we are using it to understand parts of ourselves and our experiences better. All I’m asking is, just don’t limit yourself. Don’t put yourself in a diagnostic box and let it define you, or feel like it is something wrong, or bad.
Do not settle for “symptom management.” Go deeper, heal your heart.
The complexity of your magic cannot be reduced to a set of symptoms. Please know that no matter what your current experience is, there is a good reason why you feel the way you do, even if you don’t currently know what that reason might be.
The human experience is a challenging one, and if you are struggling, I encourage you to seek support. It can be profoundly beneficial to process your experience and receive support around it. I am a strong advocate of mental health care - I just believe that the system as a whole could be doing a much better job with providing it in a way that honors, understands, and nurtures our humanness.
Here’s what I do love:
People. The complexity of the human experience and the resilience of the human spirit.
Your beautiful uniqueness.
The innate inward pull we all share toward expansion, evolution, and transformation.
That (however flawed it may currently be) we created an entire system meant to support the emotional growth journey of human beings and provide support in times of suffering and struggle.
That mental health is about the science of psychology (i.e. the study of the psyche). And though most people think the word “psyche” translates to brain, or something to do with mental functioning - it actually translates to Soul. Psychology is the study of the human Soul, the human essence.
And what our current mental health system seems to have forgotten, is that psychology is not about finding the problem, it is about uncovering the potential.
It’s about showing up for ourselves, healing past hurts, releasing untrue stories about who we are that we learned from people who are not us, doing the hard work of finding our truth, and touching the space within that is infinite.
It is about looking inward - not outward - for what we seek.
And it is about connecting with and expressing the potential within. The unique gifts we each bring for the betterment of the whole.
As a provider, it is an honor being a witness to people doing their inner work. As an individual, looking inward is some of the hardest work I have ever done and continues to be.
But I believe turning inward to see ourselves fully is something we all must do. The work of knowing and loving yourself is the most powerful and difficult work you can do, but it is the task before us all.
You are so much more than you can even dream. Dive deep, do your work, heal past hurts, and connect with your essential nature. Explore your beautiful potential, and bring forth your gifts into the world.
That, is mental health.
Click here to learn more about our whole-person approach to mental health.