There is no denying the amount of suffering present every single day for millions of beautiful souls on this earth. It can be seen almost anywhere. It makes no difference your age, gender, race, political party or tax bracket. The boundaries are very much blurred when it comes to our current understanding of mental health.
However, we live in a world where mental wellbeing, and its vital role in whole-person-health, has steadily gained awareness in the general public in recent years. We have seen professional sports stars and celebrities sharing support and using their platforms to raise the questions that push forward the conversations of mental health. Let me just say, I’m grateful the conversations are finally taking place. Awareness is rising and healing is underway. Can anyone seriously admit to not having at least one conversation, no matter how uncomfortable it was, about depression, anxiety, or anything else mental health related in the past year? How about five years?
Make no mistake, mental health awareness will continue to increase as individuals and communities realize the power behind embracing a perspective of whole-person-health. The concept that it’s better to care for and treat the entire person, rather than compartmentalizing the body and only treating the symptoms of distress. From my experience, the ability to heal only comes when the root of the issue is identified, accepted and used as a springboard for growth and change. Maybe it could be compared to kindling for a fire. The acceptance of whatever is at the core of the distress is necessary for the logs on the fire to really blaze. You can’t just start a fire on a log by lighting a couple of matches and waiting for it to be up in smoke.
Fire or no fire, mental distress is sweeping the planet at an alarming rate and the time for healing is now. The sooner each one of us accepts the responsibility of aligning our whole, authentic self and taking the steps necessary for growth and change, the sooner we may begin to heal. No one can make the change for you. No one can do the work for you, no one is going to force you and no one is coming to save you. Health and wellbeing is something each one of us has to do for ourselves. You can go to as many doctors, chiropractors, nurses, shamans, guides or spiritual healers as you please, but true healing will not occur until after you gain the awareness that healing ultimately comes from within. My hope is that I can help others gain this awareness and take the steps toward a life full of joy, peace, meaning and love.
Fortunately, just because healing comes from within, it doesn't mean that healing is done alone. In fact, connection and support enhance healing and growth in ways that could never be accomplished alone. We are social creatures. We rely on others. It’s impossible to thrive on this planet without connections to others, so it's borderline ignorant for us to expect that we have to walk the path of our healing journey without the company of others. This is how I see myself, in my role, as a healthcare provider with my clients. Someone there to walk the path with you, someone who may be able to help you find the light within yourself capable of facing any and all obstacles life throws your way.
First and foremost, I want to connect in a way that forms the bonds necessary for trust, honesty and respect. Regardless of one’s current place on the continuum of health, I will meet them there, inspired and hopeful for the opportunity to help create lasting changes for others. There are many tools being utilized in the mental health landscape, but I will briefly describe mine as lifestyle or mind-body medicine. Whether the treatment plan includes medication, therapy, exercise, meditation, or nutritional support, I am confident that we can find a personalized plan aimed to enhance health and wellbeing.
By Justin, DNP, ARNP, PMHNP-BC