Name it to tame it

Kari Swanson is a Master’s level clinician with 25 years of working in the mental health field. She is the founder of CORE—Choosing Openness Regarding Experiences which is a non-profit organization with the mission to provide mental health awareness and suicide prevention education to Warren County.

Mental health.

Physical health.

We hear these words a lot.

We know what physical health is. We hear how to take care of ourselves physically such as eating well & exercising. Do you know how to take care of your mental health? Mental health is the well being of yourself inwardly, mentally. How do you handle stress? How do you handle sadness, depression? Are you an anxious person? What do you say to yourself when you mess up?

Our society is great with addressing issues below the neck. We see someone with a broken arm or using crutches and there’s no real delay in questioning the circumstances that led to the cast or the crutches. We see someone talking to themselves, crying alone in a crowded place or acting uncomfortable and the natural reaction is to keep moving past them.

We are uncomfortable with other people’s mental health. We are scared of offering assistance in the case that particular person would get angry or have a weapon or become aggressive.

We are living in a society where we have lost connections with each other. Our heads are down, looking at our gadgets instead of the eyes of the person we are with.

Mental health issues have increased dramatically over the years. There are many more people who are anxious, depressed and the suicide rates have increased, especially in our younger population.

We need to talk about “it.”

Whatever your “it” is, you need to define “it,” you need to address “it” and you need to talk about “it.”

You cannot make it better if it is not defined. It does not make you crazy or different from others.

“It” makes you, you.

It makes you real.

There is a saying in the movie Angst, which is being shown this next week to the communities, “you have to name it to tame it.”

What a true statement.

If you, yourself, are not being real with yourself about how you are feeling or the struggles you are going through, how in the world is someone else going to help you? Shutting down is not the answer. Talking about it is.

Many times, the struggles we have in our own heads are bigger than when we name those struggles out loud.

One of my favorite sayings is “you have to say it to own it.”

Saying something out loud makes it real. When you are real then things can be dealt with. It’s scary. It’s uncomfortable. It’s unfamiliar. It can also be relieving and healing.

In the next two weeks, the communities of Sheffield, Russell, Youngsville, and Warren have the opportunity to view the movie Angst, which addresses anxiety in our youth and our parenting.

Students in grades 6th-12th (5th at Beaty) will view the movie in their school environment and parents of younger children dealing with anxiety are encouraged to bring them to the community event. The movie opens up a discussion about anxiety. You can view snippets of the movie on www.angstmovie.com. I encourage everyone to come out to one of the four showings and see the 43-minute film and engage in a discussion afterward if you so choose. All showings are from 6:30 to 7:15 with food being provided from 6 to 6:30. Tuesday, October 16th is at Sheffield High School. Thursday the 18th is at Eisenhower High School. Tuesday the 23rd is at Youngsville High School, and Thursday the 25th is at Warren High School. This is a step towards talking about “it,” defining “it,” naming “it,” and hopefully taming “it.”

Kari Swanson is a Master’s level clinician with 25 years of working in the mental health field. She is the founder of CORE–Choosing Openness Regarding Experiences which is a non-profit organization with the mission to provide mental health awareness and suicide prevention to Warren County.

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