There it is. All public and for the world to see. And now in a blog post for Google to index and cache and be permanently logged into my life’s record.
Yesterday, at 3:30 p.m. to be exact, I went to see my mental health counselor. His name is Kyle.
I’m posting this loud and proud because I’m an open, passionate advocate of good mental health. And as an advocate, I regularly encourage it for others when speaking to people publicly and privately.
I believe regular mental health checkups are just like physicals. You should get them regularly. Just like when we get the flu, and then typically go to our physician for help, we should also seek professional mental health guidance when we have issues we can’t seem to get past.
But that’s not what we do. It’s taboo to talk about mental health. I’ve seen and heard how people use the word “feelings” when referring to mental health. We paint it like some kind of touchy-feely weird thing that we don’t want to get close to …. mainly because I think we’re afraid of expressing those inner thoughts, the ones you have and never share, to anyone else. It makes us feel vulnerable and we don’t like feeling vulnerable.
And that has to change. Now.
Read the headlines and you can see how bad people are hurting. I promise you, it’s worse. It’s the world’s most hushed or silent epidemic.
And if it doesn’t change, these headlines are only going to get worse and more prolific. And the people hurting around you, the ones dying inside, are going to continue to suffer in silence.
I can almost guarantee you that someone you know (and love) right now is suffering with something so deep and hurting so profoundly … but hiding it all under the surface. They wear a mask of a smile, while dying inside.
So today, I want you to know … I live what I preach. I walk the talk.
I have a mental health counselor that I see 3-4 times a year (for my regular checkups) and have consistently for the last three years. And in my life I’ve had several counselors who have helped me work through things I needed an objective, professional assist with. For the big life change stuff — like divorce, marriage, having a child, death, even moving — I have sought and will continue to seek help. And in particular, if I find any combination of those big life events happening in life and I try to make that appointment ASAP.
So last week, I realized I was way overdue for a session with my counselor. I was dealing with some issues that I needed some help and perspective to sort through it all and to manage it better. So I went to Kyle yesterday. I talked it all out. I got and sought feedback and guidance on some things in my life. Afterward, even during, I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. I had new clarity to address certain issues in my life.
And I felt better and healthier for it.
He described this particular session as a “tuneup.” And yes, I feel tuned up. I feel like I’m running at a higher level of performance (and happiness and peace).
But let me say this … I’ll be back to see my mental health counselor. It’s not a one and done kind of thing. Just like I know at some point I’ll get physically sick again and need to go back to my doctor, I know I’ll need another tuneup. And maybe, most certainly actually, at some point, I’ll have something bigger that I’ll need someone to help walk me through it and the emotions that emerge from it.
So here’s the deal. The real reason I wrote this.
I let you know something that ordinarily my own first instinct would be to hide because I want to help you, help yourself.
I figure if someone who runs a 21-person award-winning, profitable company, who is respected in his community and by his peers, competitors and customers, says all of this so publicly, it might give you the courage to take a next step for your own mental health.
So here’s my challenge to you: If you don’t have a mental health professional you regularly see, find one today. Make an initial appointment. Find someone you can trust, has professional credentials and that you feel confident listens and can help walk with you through life’s challenges and obstacles.
Do it for yourself. Do it for those who love and care about you. Then once you do, encourage others to do the same.
It’s the only way we will help those silently suffering while making progress against an epidemic that no one really wants to talk about.
I will tell you … my life, my happiness, my peace, my joy, and those who love and care about me, are all better because I take care of my mental health.