People think I’m strong.
They see the things I have in my life, they experience the subjective reality of how I act in their presence and encounter the image I project to the world via my online persona.
I appear to be strong because I continually put one foot in front of the other.
I march on in the face of all obstacles and make the best of any bad situation. I don’t accept my current limitations as future prevention’s; instead I embrace the uncertainty and find solace in the pursuit of personal growth.
Where others shrink during times of pressure I thrive. I detach emotionally and pursue things rationally without cognition or thought for my own feelings.
I’m never standing still, if I’m not moving I feel like I’m in freefall and I scamper to find the next thing to occupy my thinking and time.
I derive my happiness from my success but also from what I share with my family.
I don’t rely on that as a source for inspiration though, while I insist on spending each day trying to make the people I care about most smile, feel safe and secure and have the things the need to subside comfortably.
I place others happiness above my own, often to the detriment of my own confort.
And then I construct a facade. I erect walls to keep the prying eyes out. I shield any potential for pain by pretending it doesn’t exist. I ignore and hide it.
What sets me apart from others is my ability to be unflinchingly consistent in my convictions from day to day.
I rarely deviate from the average of my feelings. I have very few ups and downs and experience life from a pensive perspective.
I spend a lot of time with my thoughts analysing the consequences of each action. When I’m left alone for too long this can lead to a lingering sense of doubt. I think about the past and what I have done and worry about the future I will forge.
Doubt consumes me when I’m left to wonder.
I’m guilty of under sharing because I internalise everything as a safety mechanism.
I’ve experienced things in my life I’ve never shared with another soul. I’ve locked away the feelings and escaped them through ignorance. Occasionally they rear their ugly head and disrupt my flow.
Does that make me strong or a coward?
The conventional wisdom perpetuated by the public at large is that men are strong and women are weak.
It is that people who keep calm and carry on are strong.
So why are young men at the highest risk of suicide?
What are those who ignore their problems the people most likely to suffer from depression?
We have constructed a narrative that stops people feeling like they can be vulnerable for fear of looking weak.
Rather be emotionally unhappy than be accused of not being a man or being weak.
You cry like a girl and you have to man up.
Our unrealistic expectations lead to the conditions we experience. They cause the hurt and our inability to cope.
The people who are struggling the most are often the people who appear strongest.
What sets strong people apart is their ability to function on a day to day basis as if nothing is wrong before falling apart in public.
They then possess the ability to reconstruct themselves away from the gaze of questions and concern.
But that’s what sets us up for the fall.
That’s why when something tragic happens the stories you hear are the surprise and horror. How the person was incredibly happy and not that type of person.
We need to look closer and understand people are people.
Our emotional needs might all be different but we all experience lows.
We are all going to encounter trouble, despair and hurt at different periods in our life.
We need to alter the reactions and expectations.
The assumption from most is that the mentally strong are able to compartmentalise the issues they are facing but that merely suppresses the issues to arise later.
Instead, we must pursue strong mental health.
The mentally strong should be those who share how they are feeling and work through them by consciously understand their feelings, by facing up to them and realising the reasons why they are feeling the way do.
The mentally strong are those who endow themselves with the opportunity recover.
Recovery isn’t forgetting about a problem it is growing from it and learning to accept what has happened.
That’s what it should mean to be mentally strong.
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