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Bee Honest About your Mental Health

Bee Honest About your Mental Health

May is Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States and this month we are asking our friends, family and colleagues to bee honest about their mental health.

When it comes to mental health, we all make excuses. Sometimes the excuses are valid, like when it comes to our finances or prior commitments, but other times we simply just do not feel up to doing the things that we previously promised. The reality of living with mental illness is that sometimes there is no tangible reason for why we feel the way we feel. Some of us experience depression and anxiety that is event-based, or we are able to operate through the constant lull of having a mental illness. Some days, however, are different. Some days, for what seems like no reason at all, we cannot do the things we set out to do.

This can cause us to feel guilty and ashamed of ourselves when we have to cancel plans or reschedule.

When it comes to mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression, it can be incredibly debilitating to which most may not understand the full affect. Some days it may even seem impossible to get out of bed, much less follow through on plans you made a week ago.

It’s important to speak up and be honest with how you’re feeling, especially to friends and family who may not get it.

On days like this, keep your loved ones or colleagues up to speed by carefully articulating your capabilities and action plan: “I am unable to do X today. I need to slow down and take care of my mental health. I am making an intentional choice to engage in much smaller activities today to mentally prepare myself to try doing more tomorrow.”

If you need a mental health day, take one. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health.

We appreciate that this is often easier said than done – work, family commitments, responsibilities, children – all of these things can make it difficult to prioritize yourself and your wellbeing. If you have the privilege of working from home, opt to work from home when you’re feeling unable to make it out the door. If you do not have this option, try having an honest conversation with your employer about your mental illness, how it affects you and that you may opt to take a sick day for your mental health rather than physical health in the future.

Instead of citing a physical symptom in that sick day notice email, consider disclosing your diagnosis and noting the flare-up like you would with chronic physical pain. Or, simply let your employer know: “I am not feeling well, and I will need to take a sick day for my mental health.”

It’s okay to take a mental health day. This is not something you should ever feel ashamed or scared to do. We all need to take time to recharge, refuel and rest after a long week, month or even year of hard work. Especially during these difficult times, prioritizing our mental health has never been more important.

You are important, you matter and your mental health matters – no matter how insignificant it may feel to you. If it affects your life, it matters. You are not alone in your struggles and there is hope.

If you are between the ages of 18 and 30, consider attending our free support group for adults which takes place every Saturday from 12:30 – 2:00 at the George Town Public Library. This is meant to be a safe space for those struggling to share, listen and learn ways they can better cope with their mental health.