May = Mental Health Awareness Month—The Personal Side
Years ago, I heard the story of a man who survived the Nazi concentration camps. I have also read behind Corrie ten Boom—who survived them as well. What has stayed with me in these two accounts of horrific torture, loss, starvation, abuse and witnessing death, is that these individuals maintained some form of positivity and hope.
I cannot remember the specifics of the story about the man. What I do remember is that he decided the only thing the soldiers could not take from him was his hope. He determined that he would not give up his emotional fortitude, his hope, his mindset if you will. He was discouraged at times and even watched some of his loved ones be killed, but he maintained his hope that he would be free and that better days were ahead.
Corrie ten Boom talks about her faith and how that kept her going while living in the camps. She believed in a higher and stronger power and she maintained that no one could take her faith away from her. She also hoped for better days and freedom. And eventually, she experienced both.
It is normal to feel discouraged at times. However, when feeling discouraged we must take an honest look at ourselves and our environments to see if there is anything we can do to make things better. If we are feeling down about our marriage, we can try marriage counseling. If we live in what is considered a “bad neighborhood” and cannot afford to move, we can get to know positive people in the community and find support there—through the YMCA, the local church or support groups, etc. If we are part of an organization that is negatively impacting our mental health, we can go through the appropriate channels to try and facilitate change both for ourself and others.
The first step is always to consider if there is anything you can personally do. The next step is to gather the courage to act on it. No matter what you are facing, positive coping skills will help you in any environment. Each person should have a toolkit of positive things they regularly use that bring them feelings of joy, peace and hope.
If you are feeling down or wondering how you can impact the environments you find yourself in, we are here to help. We provide the space and support you need to process what changes need to be made and how to best go about making those changes so that you can experience a higher level of mental health. Our licensed mental health clinicians are here to support and encourage you on your path to healing. Please don’t wait. Contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services today 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment.