I was pleasantly surprised to hop on my twitter page this morning and see that it’s World Mental Health Day. Unlike National Lipstick Day, this is something I can get behind.
The point of the day, I’ve learned, is to help spread awareness and end the stigma around mental illness. The hope is, the more we talk about things like depression, anxiety, ptsd and the like, the less taboo and shame that will exist, propelling more people to speak up about their own difficulties. Always a good thing in my book.
So, to celebrate this day of awareness, transparency, strength and recovery, I would like to share some quotes by some very wise spiritual leaders, teachers and authors that continually bring rays of sunshine to my world.
Like many, I have struggled with depression and anxiety since my teenage years. I have been on multiple medications, in and out of therapy, and have even entered two outpatient treatment centers— one for an eating disorder in college and another one seven years ago for alcohol abuse. I still struggle with daily anxiety, obsessive thoughts and occasional bouts of depression. I choose not to medicate— at least for the time being— but I have zero judgment of those who go that route. Sometimes, it’s absolutely vital.
But I also happen to know beneficial things like meditation, exercise and proper nutrition can be. Furthermore, I know how crucial it is that we talk to someone we can trust about our problems, trivial or life-altering as they may seem. It’s the power of connection— one soul sharing with another— that heals the biggest of hurts.
It’s one of those poetic paradoxes— the more we become willing to touch our own pain, the less we suffer. And not only that, but a beautiful alchemy occurs in which, suddenly, the very thing we thought would cripple us becomes our life boat.
We learn to heal ourselves, one act of honesty and self care at a time. We then transmute our suffering into a gift that we can share with others who are suffering— our friends, family and the wounded world at large.
Your story is sacred not because you achieve great things in the outer world, but because of what you have overcome on a cellular, soul level.
It’s the journey to mental health + wholeness that introduces us to our greatest selves. Our authentic selves.
But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. In fact, the greater your life calling or purpose, the larger the hurdles are that you will likely have to mount.
But if you can hold on the knowledge that this too shall pass and you will be better for it; if you can remember, you are not alone, not ever, not for one second; and that there’s great strength in speaking up and unparalleled grace to be found in sharing your story, well, you’re on your way to wellness, my friend.
“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” —Maya Angelou
“I thank God for my handicaps, for through them, I have found myself, my work and my God.” — Helen Keller
“Nothing ever goes away until has taught us what we need to know.” —Pema Chödrön
“You can accept or reject the way you are treated by other people, but until you heal the wounds of your past, you will continue to bleed. You can bandage the bleeding with food, with alcohol, with drugs, with work, with with cigarettes, with sex, but eventually, it will ooze through and stain your life. You must find the strength to open the wounds, stick your hands inside, pull out the core of the pain that is holding you in your past, the memories, and make peace with them.” — Iyanla Vanzant
“You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love.” — Brené Brown
“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.” — Mary Oliver
“Things that hurt, instruct.” — Benjamin Franklin
“We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.” —Pema Chödrön
“Storms make oaks take roots.” — Proverb
“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” — Buddha
“There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or to accept the responsibility for changing them.” — Denis Waitley
“All change is change for the better. There is no such thing as change for the worse. Change is the process of life itself, and that process could be called by the name ‘evolution.’ And evolution moves only in one direction: forward, and toward improvement. Therefore, when change visits your life, you can be sure things are turning for the better. It may not look that way in the very moment change arrives, but if you will wait a while and have faith in the process, you will see that it is true.” — Neal Donald Walsch
“Out of difficulties grow miracles.” — Jean De La Bruyere
“… feelings like disappointment, embarassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.” —Pema Chödrön
“Loving ourselves through the process of owning our story is the bravest thing we’ll ever do.” — Brené Brown
“A wound is simply saying there’s more work to be done. Do your work.” — Iyanla Vanzant
“There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, to avoid facing their own soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” — Carl Jung
“Touch the hole in your life, and there flowers will bloom.” — Zen Proverb
“I beg you to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someeday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.” — Rainer Maria Rilke
“What makes night within us may leave stars.” — Victor Hugo