Although mental illness can present a sense of unpredictability, there has been one word that has stuck out consistently for me throughout my journey: listen. The importance and use of this word has had a significant impact on my interaction with mental health and I hope that others may experience the same.
Remember to listen to yourself. I talked a little bit about this in my post entitled lazy; acknowledging your boundaries and respecting them is important. It’s good to push yourself, but equally as necessary to be aware of triggers that could cause you to fall into a tailspin. Know that it’s okay to say no and it’s okay to take care of yourself. We are complex creatures and there is always more to learn about who we are, but in order to do so we have to listen to ourselves.
Take the time to listen to others. Sometimes we need to get out of our own head. Someone’s words may help us see the different options that anxiety has closed us off to and another’s words of advice may get us out of the trap depression can have on us. Find someone that will speak truth into you, that will encourage and lift you up and walk along side you.
Let others listen to you. It can be hard to be vulnerable and share with others how you are really doing. It’s easy for us to try and keep it in, rationalizing it with, “I don’t want to be a burden,” or “my problems aren’t really that bad.” This is not truth: you are not a burden and your story matters. Let others in and share with them what is going on. You don’t have to have all your words in order or be able to explain in perfect eloquent sentences what you are feeling. What matters is that you let others gain a glimpse of what makes you, you.
Taking care of our mental health is so important, vital to every aspect of our lives. Listen. To yourself. To others. To each other. Because without listening, we won’t hear, and without hearing, we won’t grow, and without growth, we won’t change. So, listen.