One of my interns at The Armstrong Center for Hope recently shared an interesting statistic: The most common lie is, “I’m fine.” Sometimes, we utter these words in the rhythm of polite conversation. A co-worker quickly passes in the hallway, asking the perfunctory, “How are you?” While the co-worker barely listens for the response, I render the proverbial, expected exchange as a courteous return: “I’m fine.” At other times, however, even when we’re asked by a caring and trusted family member or friend, and when we definitely are not fine, the same words roll easily from our tongues. Whether it’s our finances, progress at work, or our health, we can sometimes ignore situations that are pleading for our attention. We may feel embarrassed about our circumstances, or feel overwhelmed and too paralyzed to act. Meanwhile, without adequate attention to our problems, they usually get worse. This can be especially true when it comes to symptoms of mental illness, such as feelings of sadness, panic, shame, anger, and excessive worry.
So what do we do when we feel trapped by our pain? Believe it or not, making a change in your situation may not take the enormous effort you may be imagining. Sometimes the process of getting help simply starts with making up your mind that you are sick and tired of being sick and tired (thanks, Fannie Lou Hamer!), and that something has got to give. After that very important shift in your mindset, the next step is to employ the very tools that you’re already using to read this: your phone or other web-connected device. Although one critical component of mental health services is confidentiality, it is reasonable for you to consider seeking support outside of your local area. Or maybe you’re not quite up to a face-to-face conversation, but would really benefit from a nonjudgmental listening ear, or chat session. Here are some local and national mental health resources to explore:
- Explore http://www.nami.org and click on the “Find Support” tab
- Call the Disaster Distress Hotline: 1-800-985-5990
- Visit http://www.mentalhealth.gov/
- Connect with the Crisis Text Line: Text START to 741741
- Visit psychologytoday.com, click on the “Find a Therapist” tab, and enter your ZIP code.
- Reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Perhaps you are aware of some other useful mental health resources. Please share them in your comments!
À Votre Santé (“To Your Health”),
Tonya D. Armstrong, Ph.D., M.T.S.
Licensed Psychologist, Author, Singer/Songwriter, Minister, Producer, Entrepreneur