Speak.

When you were learning to speak you began one word at a time, perhaps saying Mom, Dad, Dog, Cat, Cookie, or some other word relating to things you cared about most at that time. Your vocabulary grew and you learned how combining words helped you to get what you wanted and needed little by little. We eventually learned how to express happiness, sadness, hunger, love and everything else needed to communicate with others. We knew how /what we felt and were able to share it with anyone around who would listen. As we’ve grown the ability to express ourselves fades a little, we begin to hold more back and internalize our thoughts.

This internalization leads us to share less of us when we are hurt, sad, or confused because we wouldn’t want to appear weak, depressed, or stupid around others. We stop talking about things that need to be shared and start filing those thoughts away weighing down our self-worth and esteem. Often many begin to question the value they bring to the table and find themselves without a place they feel comfortable being themselves. When people fail to see their unique traits as an asset and start seeing themselves as deadweight in any situation this leads a person down a path too may tread to depression and worse.

Many of us live in a culture where depression is frowned upon, mental health isn’t addressed, and visiting a mental health professional is a silent affair. We know that there are two outcomes that can happen when we finally dare to bring up our struggles: Willing ears to listen and reassurance there are better days ahead and a willingness to listen and help in the future when needed but that seeking advice from a mental health professional is a good avenue to pursue as well. The adverse is often a pair of ears that heard but a response that might involve lacing up one’s boots and jumping back into the saddle and not worrying about it so much.

I am an advocate for individual resilience and being able to work through challenges to gain better footing for future struggles. I am however an even bigger advocate for speaking up when it is needed because there are some demons that are too tough for us to battle on our own. Asking for help when you are at the water’s edge is nothing to be ashamed of nor worried about. Please be brave and speak up when you need help, please use your words to share your needs and how you are feeling. We will be better off understanding the true strength and resilience it takes to speak up and say what we need to receive the help that will make for better days ahead.