I’m starting a blog about mental health.
I’ve had a bunch of experiences lately that have made me think a lot about this stuff. In the past several years that I taught junior high and high school, I’ve had students with Autism spectrum disorder, or special accommodations, or who have experienced stresses and traumas (and some who caused traumas!). That time teaching included working at a residential treatment center for teenage girls with addictions, eating disorders, and behavior problems. Now that I’m back in school myself, I’m currently taking an abnormal psychology class (the course where you start self-diagnosing yourself with everything you read about). All these things have been showing me that mental health matters!
But why, really?
Well, because I have depression myself. And that’s super hard to say publically! But my experience with mental health, along with all these other experiences I’ve had lately with others’, makes me think that we need to be able to talk about this stuff. Don’t you agree?
Mental health affects all of us. We all experience sadness and anxieties, and all have some maladaptive behaviors. And I can guarantee that even if you don’t have a specific, diagnosable issue, you know someone who does.
Which brings me to my last point. Have you ever looked around the room during a work meeting or at the movies and wondered about the lives of the people around you? Have you ever thought something like, “People have no idea what I’ve been going through”? I’ve wondered about this kind of stuff a lot. Mental health issues are usually so silent. I don’t usually tell many people when I’m having a hard time—so I’m pretty sure other people don’t usually tell me when they are, either.
So I wanted to try something. I created a survey, and I’m hoping, if you’re reading, you’d be willing to take it. It asks about if you’ve ever experienced different things related to mental health. It’s four questions long, and it’s totally anonymous. My goal is to be able to share the agglomerated (is that the right word?) results next Saturday so hopefully you all can see, too: What are all those people around me experiencing?
And I hope you’ll come back and read more soon. The goal of the blog isn’t to share any magical advice for how to fix mental health, but to advocate and educate, to encourage and empower. It’s to offer some empathy, to share stories and hopefully offer some humor. It’s for ideas for what works, for hearing from you and about your experiences, and for learning from each other.