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Today is international mental health day.  In this article I will talk to you about the importance of taking care of your mental health.

Don’t know where to turn?  The National Mental Health Hotline is a good place to start.

National Mental Health Hotline | 866-903-3787

Let’s start with a quick analogy that I learned from my mother (she’ll be reading this and doesn’t know i’m going to tell this story, but it’ll be okay with her)

Touch The Tent

If you have ever camped in an old canvas tent (1970’s style) you know that unlike modern tents they were not automatically waterproof.  Canvas was strong, and great to provide shelter and the phenomenon of surface-tension would keep the tent dry on the inside even in the rain.  BUT, If you’ve ever spent time in one of those tents in the rain, you know that touching the inside of the tent would cause water to pour in at the spot you touched. Why?  Your finger interrupted the surface tension and broke through the barrier.

My mother used “touching the tent” as an analogy to describe sudden tearfulness that would happen to me when I talked to her about a difficult topic. “Uh oh, it looks like we touched the tent.”, she would say.  A hug always followed.  Rest assured it’s not that I had a mother who would cause me to cry all the time.  To the contrary, she would open herself up to listen to me in a way that enabled me to talk about things that were difficult. It allowed the emotion to come out.

As I think about those tent touching moments, it was always followed by a huge sense of relief.  It felt good to get the topic off my chest. It opened me up to seeing the path forward. It was always a good thing when we touched the tent even when it didn’t feel good at the time.  Having her there to support me through it was a big help too.

As we live our lives most of us build tents or walls around us.  We build up barriers that hold the danger out and keep us safe and comfortable inside.  Sometimes those barriers become rigid and hold us back.  Sometimes they have a negative impact on our mental health.  It is important to let someone else help us break through and see what’s happening on the other side.

Don’t go it alone

If you have something that’s on your mind and it’s difficult for you to think about or talk about then I encourage you to reach out to a trusted friend or therapist. When you seek help, you can begin to see options to solve the problems that are in front of you

Therapists are great listeners (like my mom).  They won’t judge you, and can help you to break through barriers even when you can’t see how.  They will keep you safe and help you to improve your mental health so you can move forward. 

So today, on mental health day, I want to encourage you to reach out and take care of your mental health.  You don’t have to do it alone.  Let someone help you move forward while you touch the tent.

Don’t know where to turn?  The National Mental Health Hotline is a good place to start.

National Mental Health Hotline | 866-903-3787

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