And we all have emotional and mental health issues large and small too. Life is a journey of understanding ourselves and others and there are challenges that test us all, both peaks and valleys. Most of us don’t coast through life.
When clients worry that they aren’t coping well, that they are too sensitive to all that is going on in the world, that they are anxious about their kids or their families, or that they have too many fears; I don’t feel a need to label that or judge that. They may call it anxiety or depression and you can see that it weighs on them.
I have told clients that they have a mental illness called life. I am not trying to diminish how mental illness affects someone’s life but more to say you are not alone and you are not broken. Our world is a bit broken and you are doing your best to deal with the crazy. Honestly anyone who is at complete peace with our whole world can’t be sane. Why? Because we live in a crazy, busy world with high expectations. Generations ago parents didn’t have to read up on GMO’s, fair trade, sustainable living, pipeline leaks, environmental disasters, political unrest, foreign diseases, economies of other countries, vaccination schedules, this diet or that diet. Their brains weren’t bombarded with “reality” shows and “news” about things that aren’t news. They had television shows that made them laugh like Johnny Carson and Carol Burnett. No high drama ER shows or cop shows to deplete their adrenals. No Facebook to compare lives with others. No Pinterest to compare super mom skills. If you brought the best brownies to the bake sale you didn’t have to take a picture and post in anywhere. No one knew if your birthday cake was a flop unless they were there.
This fast paced life and feeling like you can't keep up or measure up can lead to depression, anxiety, and more. Herbs can surely help but really as an herbalist my job isn't just about recommending herbs. It is about lifestyle changes that help others to improve their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health and achieving balance is a large part of that.
We need to practice more compassion and grace towards ourselves. We need to take a moment and reassess what is most important in our lives. This might mean slowing down or letting something go and we need to allow themselves to do that without judgement. Honestly one of the hardest things I think about mental illness is how alone and separate it makes people feel. In Cherokee medicine those are two of the conditions that cause depression. You can feel alone and separate even in a group if they are not loving and supportive. The second hardest thing with mental illness is to feel that there is no way out. It is a journey but there is always a way out. Sometimes those changes take time but only you can guide your life where you would like it to go. And let me tell you that you are not alone in this struggle. Here is one easy task to start with. This is a simple task and will lift up yourself and others as well.
1. Smile at every other mother you come across if you can. She needs that support as much as you do and possibly more!
My next blog post will have more thoughts about what you can do to try to have more balance and joy in your life.