Glenn Close is quoted, “What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, and more unashamed conversation.” As a person who has found myself surrounded by people who struggle with mental health every day, I believe this statement to be profoundly true.
I have gone through bouts of depression in my life, where getting out of bed was the most difficult decision for me to make. I considered suicide in my teens, and I self-harmed in my early twenties. To this day, I still struggle with the idea and the stigma that comes from the box checked “depression” on my medical records.
Social media channels are full of people encouraging others to talk about their mental health—to have that unashamed conversation—and yet, it is still often met with negativity and stigma. This is one of the many reasons I created a magazine that would tackle these types of stories. I feel it is important to not see a person as one thing or another, but to see them as a whole human being.
The holidays are not cheerful for everyone. Many people are alone. Many people are thinking about loved ones who have passed, or they are feeling stressed over upcoming family gatherings. While we jingle our holiday bells and decorate our porches with holly and lights, many people are forcing a smile.
When I announced the theme for this issue, my editor, Jodi Anderson, requested to share her personal struggle with mental health, and author, artist, and musician Leah Oxendine reached out, asking to also be involved. I met Leda Pérez at a fundraiser, and when I heard about her position at The Ora Clubhouse, I knew her story needed to be a part of this issue, too.
Of course, there must always be balance, and to that effect, I reached out to the host of the Graceful Confidence Podcast, Lauren Debick. Her positivity and message are truly inspiring. I also had the privilege to interview three of the speakers from TEDx Ocala, and their ideas are definitely worth spreading.
If you find yourself struggling with stress, anxiety, and/or depression over the holidays, you may want to read the tips from this month’s expert, Dr. Mary Driscoll. She offers some guidelines to help you manage your mental wellbeing during a time when you might feel too busy to take care of yourself.
As you trim your trees, stuff your stockings, or spin a dreidel, please take a moment to check in on your loved ones, and don’t forget to care for your mental wellbeing. I truly hope you can spend the holidays in a way that fills your cup.