Tomorrow is World Mental Health Day. Many around us will focus on how to lift your spirit, get back on your feet with positive affirmations and to make an effort to find the light again. I’m going to ask you to be compassionate and embrace the darkness.
Be compassionate and embrace the darkness
That doesn’t mean I believe positivity exercises won’t improve your mental health. To be able to benefit from such, however, you will have to accept all of you. Before you can even imagine you will be OK again, embracing the darkness is just as important.
In addition, compassion is needed to unlock yourself. Believing it is wrong to favor the dark hours in a day or the wish to retreat from the world around you, is not helpful. We are all unique individuals. Some of us prefer the night, the moon, dark colors, melancholic music, etc. I believe, we all have that side within us and denying that part can be even more destructive as pretending to be happy all the time.
Being compassionate towards yourself and thus embracing the darkness is therefore crucial in learning to love yourself again. Required to find the balance compatible to your uniqueness. Life can be harsh and denying the suffering and decay, part of life, will not lead to the well-being we all are striving for.
“If I prefer darkness, I must be mentally unhealthy.”
Grieving over a loss of a Beautiful Soul for more than a view months, some people start to think they are depressed. Feeling more energetic during the night, under the moonlight, can make you feel you’re a freak. Don’t feel like getting up in the morning every now and then, or regularly spend time away from the noise of life, one could start to believe being a weirdo.
Being mentally healthy is NOT about being happy all the time. It is definitely NOT about changing yourself to fit in: with a person, a group, or where ever you think you need to fit in. IT IS OK TO BE NOT OK.
Yes, it is important to take that difficult first step to seek help, when you question your mental health. When you feel gloomy all the time, have lost interest in life in general and can’t even find pleasure in your dark moods and thus side: it is crucial to find someone to talk to.
Skilled helpers (psychologist, psychiatrists, therapists, mental health coaches) are trained to help YOU find YOUR answers to YOUR questions. Including the answer to the question: Am I mentally ill?
Please, don’t fall in the trap, thinking you can handle all on your own. There is no shame in seeking a listening ear or any other form of help.
Acknowledging the dark side in you (we all possess!), I believe, will decrease the taboo around mental health problems. Talking openly about your preferences, your emotions (the good and the bad), your thoughts… This will also increase understanding of the diversity among us. Depressive feelings, anxious thoughts, overwhelming sensations are part of life. There is no reason to feel guilty or ashamed.
While many of us are highlighting the positive of life tomorrow, during World Mental Health day, I invite you to embrace your darkness. What dark colors do you like? What melancholic songs do you choose to listen to when feeling sad? Which place do you prefer to retreat to, those moments the world feels too overwhelming and loud? Become aware that the dark can be just as beautiful as the light.
Every now and then: Show compassion towards yourself, and to others, creating that safe place to embrace the darkness.
What’s right for me may not be right for you!
You are and will remain responsible for your own health, your own well-being, your own environment.
When in doubt about your physical and / or mental health, about your life, about specific food choices… A doctor, specialist, dietitian, nutritionist, therapist, or other caregiver may remove your doubts.
Just to be sure: I do NOT endorse criminal thoughts and behavior, sometimes also referred to as darkness, dark side.