Pulling Mental Health out of the Shadows
Disclaimer, if you or anyone you know, family or friends suffer from mental illness, we strongly encourage you to seek out professional assistance. Mental health is the invisible monster that hides in the shadows. It's the fog that can be felt but not seen. Mental health issues present in a myriad of ways, depression, anxiety, narcissism, bi-polar, grandiose expressions etc. Today's episode speaks to those who live or have lived with a loved one who has a mental illness. Laura Lamb Nichols, an accomplished Estate Planning Attorney, breaks down her life riding shotgun with her mother's mental illness, how she continues to move through her own life and has achieved success. Laura's philosophy is all about continuing to swim upstream. It takes a lot of courage to swim against the current. She also shares her continued efforts to stay on top of her own mental health so that she can be the best version of herself, and provide her daughters with the ability to overcome challenges.
When we attend school K-12 we learn all of the basics in math, English, and the sciences. We fail to educate our kids on real-life issues. How to budget, run a household, and deal with trauma. We will all face difficulties in life relative to our own experience. Some may be asked to juggle more than others, but in the end, we all need support and education when we feel swallowed whole by the dark. How do we deal with death, illness, old age, trauma, injury, financial hardships? We all have wounds, the quiet anchor or hook lurking in the shadows that tends to repeat itself throughout our lives. If you experienced abandonment as a child, you may be hypersensitive to benign circumstances in life that have the feeling of abandonment. Someone may not return a call, and it could feel like a total rejection and in reality, they may have missed seeing that you were even reaching out. Understanding our original wounds can go a long way in helping us manage the stresses that daily life hands us on a platter. We can stop ourselves before a full-blown reaction erupts and instead question if we are really knee deep in rejection, or does it just feel like it? Did we just attach an unrelated event to an old familiar feeling?
The study of epigenetic's is discovering that it is possible to inherit emotions from those who came before us. It also is proving that we can overcome this genetic inheritance if we change our environment, beliefs, and expressions of life. We don't have to be doomed to emotional traumas and behaviors. One of the first steps to changing our own mental health is to become aware of our own shadow. What are the parts of our personality that could use some work? What are the feelings we are ashamed of? What irrational reactions to circumstances could be worked on? Becoming more self-aware is critical. We need to know when we are out of right relationship with ourselves and identify where we feel it in our body. If we can recognize that a constricted stomach and rush of adrenaline is attached to a fight or flight response, the chances are, we will be able to pause and reflect about the situation that caused our body to have a reaction. From this place, we can talk ourselves off the edge of the cliff or at least reach out to someone we trust and ask them for a hand returning to equilibrium.
Laura talks about an English assignment and how the comparison of the two books changed her perspective on grief. Sometimes we have to fight hard for the brighter light and be able to hold a vision of a successful future. Once grief has visited us, it becomes a lifetime companion. It ultimately changes who we are. Grief takes up residency in the center of our soul. Over time, we build a new life and new memories around the grief. We still visit it from time to time. When we do, it doesn't take much to trigger the same emotions we experienced when it first came. The difference is that we learn to navigate a new life full of beauty that circles its wagons around our grief. It allows us a moment to visit but ultimately pulls us back to our new life and successes.
In so many cases, our mental health becomes compromised when our soul, our essence has been wounded or neglected. Our soul needs to be cared for and nurtured. It craves connection, growth, reflection, and love. Today's episode sheds light on one woman's quest for healing. When we hear the story of others, we foster compassion and connection. If we will afford ourselves that, we can create a foundation for healing.
“I love you more today than yesterday but less than tomorrow” ~ Robert Charles Lamb.
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