Stressors. Work? Family? Kids? Parents? Pressure we put on ourselves? Lack of self confidence? Inadequacy? Fear of failure? If we are stressed already just reading those then the rest of this is for those of us who feel that way.
There is an idea that we are predisposed to some sort of mental health issue. I know from my own experience and research that I was predisposed to trauma. I was far more likely to feel it than most other people. The fact I had something to be traumatised by is neither here nor there really.
We can push on in life and keep our problems to ourselves. It is nothing new. We all do it. “Keep your head down and just struggle on” is essentially what we the British, at least, built our entire empire on. This idea that the only things that bother us as the things we let bother us is outdated and, frankly, harmful.
Certainly in the late 1990’s attitudes here changed with the death of Princess Diana. Public outpouring of grief was frowned upon at first but eventually embraced by the press. The Royal family was forced to play catch up with the public’s new mood. We were venting and it was healthy. Bottling it up was going to do nobody any favours. Those who perhaps took it too far in the eyes of some were probably just transferring their own grief, in their own lives, to that of the loss of the late Princess.
Eventually, at some point, for us to truly be free we must cut off these stressors. If that means going through the grief we feel we need to then so be it. I remember when my Uncle died about 6 years ago that I felt bad for feeling grief. We weren’t especially close but we spoke fairly often. I felt as though my grief was somehow less important than other members of the family. I went through the grief but with a lot of guilt. So guilt then became my stressor.
Sometimes we are very reluctant to accept some things in our lives are stressors. How guilty would we feel if our children are stressors? How much guilt if we acknowledge our partner is? Moulding these stresses is just as important as cutting the ones we can do without. If you don’t like a situation then change it. It doesn’t mean walking out on your loved ones at just means explaining how they make you feel in a grown up way, preferably, with a set of solutions to hand.
We can keep going with our heads down, struggling on, ignoring the signs and hoping for the best. Alternatively we can shatter the strict roles society tries to impose upon us and talk it out. Share our feelings. A woman does not need to be a perfect mother, she can make mistakes and she can be tired. A man is allowed to speak about his emotions and even to cry.
The failure to do this can push that predisposition for some sort of mental health issue to the forefront. When we are utterly broken and being medicated will then be the time that we start to take control? Wouldn’t it be better for all concerned if, instead of bottling it up, we just let the genie out?