What’s the difference between…
A) Adam had to pullover on the side of the road during his morning commute because he had diarrhea. He never wants anyone to know about it.
B) Ashley has been unusually sad lately. It is hard for her to get out of bed in the morning and go to work. She has been turning friends away for social gatherings and isn’t sleeping too well. There’s a history of depression in her family. She’s too afraid to tell someone and doesn’t want anyone to think she’s crazy.
Adam had an embarrassing moment at one point in his life and keeping that a secret isn’t a big deal. Ashley however seems to be having a serious struggle and should talk to someone about how she’s feeling. If only it were that easy, right? If only our serious concerns came out like diarrhea. I often feel that if we were unable to hold in our concerning thoughts about our own health, that we’d in fact be healthier.
I wish for people to feel comfortable enough to talk to someone about their health concerns, especially those involving mental health. These are concerns that you should not hide. Yes, you may feel embarrassed about them, which can be a difficult emotion to overcome, but concerns such as these can be life-threatening, unbeknownst to you and your loved ones.
The most rewarding part of navigating my own mental illness is hearing another story. Since I made the decision to start blogging about my depression and anxiety back on September 11th, 2018, I’ve had so many people approach me with questions. Often times they just need someone to share their experience with. I feel...honored, happy, and encouraged when people feel safe enough to talk to me. I’m not knocking on anyone’s door. I have nothing written on my forehead. I do not send out mailers. I’ve shared my story and it seems to be working.
It’s not just my blog though. My wife and I have had many conversations with people about our time here in North Carolina. Sometimes she’s having them in my absence and vice versa, and other times we’re together. Just depends. Regardless, the story of our struggle usually comes into play. Lots of our neighbors want to know why we have a big ass bus in our driveway. Or a new friend might ask us what we do for a living. We decided a while ago that it’s just best to be honest. We have nothing to hide. It’s not always easy sharing what some consider personal information, but it has only proven to provide positive experiences.
It’s as if people are just coming out of the woodwork. Maybe I do have something written on my forehead. I like to think people can see my heart on my sleeve and it just invites them in to chat.
Just the other day a neighbor drove up next to me as I was standing in another neighbor’s lawn. Right out of the gate she spilled her beans and just opened up. She asked me about resources and what steps she could take to help herself and her boyfriend. We barely know each other, but we’ve spoken a handful of times about random stuff. She knows a little about our bus and our reasons for it. Whatever it is that we’ve shared with her, she felt safe enough to share with us too. That’s important.
This is why loving your neighbors matter. It doesn’t have to be the same love, like the love you have for your spouse or your children. I mean, it’s basically the same concept, but different feelings accompany different types of love. At least that’s what I think. Being kind, offering your yard tools, inviting them over for a cookout, etc, are all ways that you can express to your neighbor that you are there for them. They may just need you in a serious matter. They may come out of the woodwork after hiding for far too long because some nice person made them feel like it was okay.
To bring something out of the woodwork is to bring it out of hiding and into the forefront. Your mental health should be in the forefront of your life. Get that shit out and feel better soon.
Ps. Diarrhea can be a serious thing too, so don’t run away from the runs.
I just want all people to learn and grow together.