Teamspirit Thoughts on World Mental Health Day

By Kirsty Maxey on Saturday, 10 October 2020

Considering that millions of us are affected by mental health conditions, you’d think it would be something we could openly discuss. Afterall, there is no shame in having a stroke, the flu or a broken leg. But there remains a huge amount of stigma around mental health. Today, on World Mental Health Day, I thought I’d share some thoughts on the impact of another thing that we don’t talk about much, and that is the impact of self-judgment. Because we worry about being judged as weak or unstable, we learn to bury our struggles and not let on that anything is wrong but as we fear judgment from others, we may also be judging ourselves. And if we don’t accept how we are feeling, this can perpetuate a feeling of shame.

But personally, having experienced anxiety and depression for myself, and with my family and friends, I know what it feels like to fall apart and hide in the shame of illness. At that point, I find that if I can find someone to talk to, who will listen, not to offer solutions, but just to really listen, it can make all the difference. It really can lighten the load. But so often we think we don’t want to bother people with our problems. Today, I would say please make that call. I’m also a big advocate of mindfulness, which has taught me that when I think that what I feel is wrong, I’m actually adding another layer to my suffering. When we can find acceptance with our struggles, our relationship with illness can change, there is new found compassion for the times when we can’t get out of bed or get to work, or go to a social function. We become better listeners to ourselves, when our body reaches its limits and we can find patience when we reach an emotional low.

Today, and this year, think about ways to shine a little light on your struggles, be tender with yourself, challenge your self-judgment think about ways find acceptance for the entirety of who you are.