Mental Health Is As Important As Physical Health
Emotions Are Like Teeth
You wouldn’t skip brushing your teeth would you? You know that you need to pay attention to your physical health. You have to take care of your body, specifically your teeth, every day. We brush our teeth twice a day to prevent cavities, and freshen our breath. This is both preventative and proactive. We know that we want to prevent problems from developing and improve upon our already good oral health. Perhaps we have a dental problem that we know we need to attend to and brushing is one way we do this. The point is, we brush. We do it easily and regularly. Let’s translate that to our emotions for a moment.
We struggle mightily when we are dealing with mental problems because we can’t see them. We tend to write them off, minimizing them. We often receive messages (subtle or not) that we should be “happy” and that if we aren’t then it’s our fault and we feel shame. So not only are we telling ourselves that we don’t really deserve to have our feelings, but if we have an unpleasant one, then we feel worse for having it. Talk about a double-bind! This is ridiculous and unfair to ourselves. Would you say that someone “shouldn’t” have plaque or a cavity, and then if they did, tell them that they’re “bad” for having it? I don’t think so.
What if we worked to care for our emotions like our teeth? What if we looked in the mirror every day and “examined” our feelings the way we look at our teeth (“is that spinach from lunch…?”). Noticing our feelings and caring for ourselves would become something that we deserve, because - guess what - you do! If you’re feeling like life is overwhelming and things are impossible, you can come to therapy and we can help you get back on track. Think of this like filling a cavity. If you are in a good place, you can still come in to check in, gain insight and stay on track (similar to a cleaning).
Emotional Health Matters
The point is, our emotional health matters. Just because it’s intangible doesn’t mean it’s debatable. No matter who you are or how you define yourself, you deserve quality mental health care.
Join us in promoting mental wellness for all and fighting to break the stigma around mental illness. Mental health IS health. It's indivisible from physical health. Your overall well being is dependent on both being prioritized and in balance. Mental health issues occur on a continuum. It's not as simple as checking a categorical box. Everyone is the product of a complex history, genetics, and current combination of stressors and support. Each person's situation must be viewed in context and with compassion. Let's listen more and judge less. Sometimes just your presence is enough to let someone know that they aren't alone. We're all in this together.