To varying intensity and duration, we've all struggled with our mental health at some point in our lives. Experiencing these issues are part of the human condition, part of our life cycle just like birth, aging, and death. Yet, mental illness does not garner the same level of empathy and societal acceptance as physical illness. While we take time off when we are physically ill, it is unheard of in nearly all workplaces for employees to take a "mental health day" off work, to just stay at home, when they are on the brink of burnout and desperately need to re-charge. It would make a huge difference if companies provided even one paid holiday for employees to take care of their mental health without having to lie in order to do so. Feeling forced into lying is part of what perpetuates the stigma around mental health.
As Socrates said, "the unexamined life is not worth living". Self-analysis is necessary for all of us to understand our blind spots, and to be equipped with the right tools to initiate meaningful change. It takes strength and trust to be vulnerable in session. Vulnerability and honesty are necessary for growth. If you are in therapy, this is a great time to honour yourself for all of the work that you have done thus far, and to celebrate the fact that your enhanced self-awareness impacts the lives of the most important people in your life. Relationships are on the path to restoration and revitalization because of you.
Habitual self-care and going to therapy are acts of generosity towards yourself and others. I hope one day mental illness will be recognized as a normal, inevitable response to life's accumulated daily stresses and unexpected curveballs at certain stages in life, and people validated by loved ones for the courage it takes to seek therapy as part of their healing.