Mental Health Awareness Month

Here we are at the end of Mental Health Awareness Month, otherwise known as May.  I’ve watched so many great memes, articles, and personal stories come up on Facebook over the last several weeks that, in many ways, it’s been hard to jump into the conversation.  The poignancy and elegance of those written accounts of personal struggle have spoken for themselves so this month I’ve waited until almost the eleventh hour to say anything and I will keep it brief.

The amount of energy and effort it takes to face each day while struggling with a mental health issue is tremendous.  I’m constantly impressed and inspired by the courageous people who do that, whether I know them personally, professionally, or through articles and posts.  I’m constantly humbled by those who carry on despite these struggles, who continue to pursue meaning and happiness in their lives, who parent their children, make music and poetry, engage in friendships and community, who show up to work or to seek employment.

The thing about mental health issues is that you can’t see them from the outside.  There’s no placard, bandage, walker, or wheelchair that alerts someone to the emotional suffering of another.  The stranger sitting next to you on the bus might be hiding a raging panic attack, the classmate you never really talk to but think is pretty smart might be at the depths of despair.  You can’t always tell, in fact, you usually can’t tell.  Even after over 20 years of being a psychotherapist, the admission of someone’s struggles can take me by surprise.

That’s why I’m asking now, at the end of Mental Health Awareness Month, to remember to be kind to others.  You don’t know what they are going through.  And if you are struggling with your own issues or those of someone you love, please reach out for support.

My psychotherapy practice currently has openings.  If you are in the Bay Area and seeking therapy, please feel free to give me a call.