For this edition of Talk, I had planned to write about May being Mental Health Awareness Month. I had a bit of writer’s block trying to think of something novel and interesting to express the importance of this month. At Josselyn, every month is mental health month. I went home last night prepared to pound something out. But then I watched the news.
I’m not one who is usually affected by the news. I have this weird ability to compartmentalize. I can count those news days that really moved me, negatively or positively; the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, the attack on the World Trade Center, the inauguration of our first Black President, the day same sex marriage was legalized. Yesterday, I felt like Alexander and one of his terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days.
So, I’m channeling Brené Brown, and sharing very vulnerably that I could not write about mental health Sunday night, because I was very sad, and I went to bed around 7 pm. To watch the stories of not one, but two racially motivated hate crimes, when I was trying to find some positivity, well, it was too much. These stories are not new, but perhaps that is what got to me. I became very tired and disheartened to hear about yet another, and another racially motivated mass shooting.
So, I went to sleep instead.
I woke up the next morning and the sun was shining, the birds were singing through my open window, and it was a glorious spring day. No exaggeration, it was straight out of an old Disney movie. I realized that May is Mental Health Awareness Month because it’s the height of spring, which brings new life and hope. We need to keep celebrating May for the renewal and possibility it brings to our mental health especially when we face these tragedies and other lived realities. It is our mental wellness that allows us to handle the stress and weight of these and other tragedies, problem solve and make good decisions.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month must reverberate around the world over and over, even if the message is not new, so that we can face the darkest parts of humanity and work to make us all a bit more human.
“Grief and resilience live together.” — Michelle Obama