Today is World Mental Health Day, and although I’ve shared an abundance of tales on why your mental health takes number one priority on a day to day basis, I wish to write about the in-depth importance on checking in with those around you.
Yesterday, I went to see Joker in cinema. The film highlights the wicked truth behind those living with mental health issues. I was incredibly baffled by the storyline (which I won’t spoil), but it truly taught me that how you act towards someone who may be suffering can impact them in ways you’ll never fully comprehend. The Joker isn’t simply a man who loves crime, but a man who suffers from his mental illness. How he is treated by others provokes a character in him just ready to explode. It was quite refreshing seeing a film that although is completely fiction, fixates on real life issues.
On that note, today I want to discuss the importance of checking in on family members and friends on a day to day basis. If the last few months has taught me anything, it’s taught me who will bend over backwards to ask me if I’m alright, and who will simply make a run for it when the people around them are having a bad week. Is it a crime to ask someone you’re supposed to care about, if they’re okay? If they’re having a good day? If they’re feeling better? Every single person carries a weight of personal issues, but at the end of the day, it’s about who stands by you when you’re suffering.
Having said that, I’m not encouraging you to run through your Facebook friend list on a day to day basis to make regular check-in’s. I’m not suggesting that you ignore your own needs or mental state to offer yourself up to the point of exhaustion. I’m just saying, in a general way, check in on the people around you. My rule of thumb is, if someone is on my mind in any shape or form, even if we aren’t that close, but they’ve impacted me and moved my life in some positive way, ask them how they are.
Have you ever tried to tell someone how you’re feeling, but end up talking about their problems instead?
It’s natural as human beings to become selfish, to worry about ourselves, our future and our lifestyle habits. One thing I’ve learned while speaking to others is to give people the time they deserve to speak up. Consider yourself a powerful friend if someone close to you has turned to you for help. This is their time to talk about their problems and this is your turn to listen.
I’d be lying if I said that my mental health has been on a perfect steady line, I think like anyone else, I have both my good days and bad days. I get stressed about the usual things, work, money and family, but who doesn’t? One thing, in turn, which has picked me up when I’m feeling a bit off, is that little, but powerful message sitting in my inbox. “How are you today?”. Yeah sure, sometimes we don’t feel like telling anyone how we are. We prefer to withhold our emotions and pretend that everything is fine. But knowing that there is someone out there who cares about how you are, is one of the most powerful tools for your mindset. If someone has chosen you to be that person they open up to, take pride in knowing that you’re obviously important to them. So with that in mind, don’t reject them. Don’t turn their problems into your own. I’ve had people tell me that they’re too stressed to listen to me. I’ve had people promise that they’re there to listen to me, and in turn betrayed me days later. We’ve all met our fair share of people who haven’t obliged us. So if you’re reading this and someone has made you “the chosen one”, be grateful. You’re obviously a great friend in their eyes. What comes around truly does go around, so if you look out for others, I’ve no doubt they’ll look out for you too.
On that note, Happy World Mental Health Day. Make the most of today by sending that text to someone who crosses your mind. Even if it’s been a while. It never killed anyone to be kind.