Saving Our Mental Space

Hello dear readers!

Today I’m coming at you again with a post about mental health. Exactly the content you were looking for today, I know!

I am a very introverted person and I’ve had to learn how to manage myself so that I don’t overwork myself or use up all my energy on things that aren’t really worth my time. It’s a delicate line to walk and I don’t succeed nearly every time.

We all know the detrimental effects that can be felt when we push our physical limits too far. Something could go wrong or we could get injured and then be out of commission for a long while. At some point we are forced to take a step back and realize that we can’t take on everything all at once. It just doesn’t work that way.

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I want to take it a bit further and offer up the idea that maybe we’re not just pushing ourselves physically but also mentally and emotionally. We already have schedules that get filled up far too quickly and we’re having to find space to squeeze this new thing into them. But I find that regardless of my actual schedule, I often still end up giving away space in my mind for things that don’t really belong there.

My brain moves a million miles a second. It’s exhausting just being in my head sometimes. But yet I still end up taking on the problems and burdens of everyone around me which then makes everything even more exhausting!

Mental health is finally being talked about more and I’m so happy about it! It’s a great thing that the world is finally starting to see mental illnesses in a similar light as physical illnesses – hopefully more people will be able to get the help they need without having to deal with the stigma and backlash that comes from it.

I truly think it should be a normal thing to turn something down, not just because it might not fit into your schedule, but also because you might not have the mental capacity for it at the time. I have many times when I have absolutely nothing on my calendar for the evening, but someone texts me at noon and asks if I can help with something that night. Most of us, if we don’t already have a prior commitment would feel guilty if we didn’t do so. But what if I’ve already had a really tough morning and that evening off is what I need to get through the rest of the week? Does that count as a good reason to say no? My personal opinion is to say yes, it is a legitimate reason.

More people just need to acknowledge and understand the fact that just because someone seems okay or in good spirits does not mean they really are. I have days where my anxiety is nearly crippling and I still make it to work and I still smile and keep a brave face on. My coworkers are awesome, but the customers I deal with sometimes have no idea that their attitude or their way of dumping their crap on me just because I happen to be sitting in front of them is a major trigger for me. They don’t know, but it comes down to the saying that floats around Facebook sometimes: “Always be kind because you have no idea what that person is going through.” And it doesn’t just apply to being rude, but also to being emotionally taxing.

I am very very blessed to have close friends who understand what I go through and will usually check in with me before they lay out their own problems. I love my friends and I never want to turn them down but there have been times where depression is trying really hard to drag me down and I simply can’t be the support system that they need. In those cases, it’s not going to help either one of us.

There are people, some of them in my own life, who would say that people have just gotten too sensitive about everything. This often presents itself as that “problem with millennials,” which is so silly to me. I think instead that people have simply gotten a lot more outspoken about how they are feeling. People are finding the courage and the space to express the fact that they are hurting. The bottom line is that we need to learn to respect that. I don’t think people are necessarily hurting or feeling more than they did fifty years ago, it’s more that the space exists now and the idea is more prevalent that those feelings and pain are valid and legitimate.

I’m glad that mental health information is more widespread now. I’m glad that more space exists for personal expression and emotions are being more accepted as valid instead of weaknesses. The next step is to really see that it’s not our job to fix everyone else’s problems or explain everyone else’s feelings. We need to learn better how to handle and balance our own issues so that then we can support our friends and family better on their own journey.

This is something that I’m personally working on. I don’t have a lot of mental space to spare. Between focusing on my marriage and my family while still battling anxiety and depression, I have a lot to deal with. Knowing that I don’t have to fix my friends’ problems though but instead just support them through whatever is going on? That helps me balance things out though.

I rarely have a soapbox moment but I guess this could be considered one of them. Most of this probably doesn’t actually make a lot of sense together, but it’s been on my mind lately so I decided to cobble a bunch of thoughts together. Maybe it made you think a little bit too. At least I hope so.


Lots of love and kindness, because today’s world can be incredibly cruel.

Katharine Marie

Posted by katharine_marie

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