The American Dream
It’s okay to take a break – take the break. Prioritize your health because the only thing that is guaranteed is this exact moment. The past is behind us and the future is uncertain. Live your life and find your peace.
Everyone wants to live the American Dream – a life of equality, opportunity, and success. But, somewhere along the lines society created the narrative that success is defined by our possessions and the number of 0’s in our bank account. We’ve been taught that to live this “dream” we must work ourselves to death – literally from all the stress, exhaustion, and mental illness. It was all a lie.
Success looks different to every person, but I think one thing everyone can agree on is the desire for peace and joy in our lives. I bet you didn’t write “misery,” “tears,” or “depression” in your manifestation journal. It’s easy to look happy and put together on social media, or force a fake smile around your coworkers and peers at your 6-figure corporate job, but the people who are truly successful are the ones who are genuinely happy, even behind closed doors. The ones who sleep peacefully at night. The ones who find joy in the smallest of moments because they are present in those moments.
You’re alive, but are you really living?
We’re doing it all wrong. We don’t need to sacrifice our peace to receive our blessings. Life should be fun! There is so much opportunity in the world, that we should never be settling for things that do not bring us happiness.
Getting rich isn’t easy – finding love isn’t easy – learning confidence isn’t easy – battling mental health is NOT easy… Life is never easy! So hard work is, at times, necessary, but as entrepreneurs, nurses, IT specialists, and working women, we must listen to our bodies and know when it’s time to take a break and ask for help. That’s when the real hard work comes in. God didn’t put us on this Earth to work our lives away. We all have a purpose and it’s just a matter of finding what that is and stepping into it.
Make sure you’re living life for you and not anyone else or according to anyone else’s definition of “success.” Find out who you are, what your passion is, what you enjoy, and then turn it into your reality. Everything you want is attainable. Just believe in yourself and make it happen.
Life is precious, so you never take the little things for granted. Be grateful for the life you have now, while working to achieve more. When you change your perspective, you will see the beauty in life no matter what you go through. Remember, someone always has it worse. You’re blessed.
Mental Health Awareness
Thank God for the courage of our generation. We are breaking stereotypes and speaking out on things that matter. Older generations suffered in silence because they were ashamed and confused by the things were feeling. Mental health wasn’t talked about then. Today, we are bringing awareness to mental illness and normalizing getting help. Over 970 million people worldwide are dealing with either a mental health or substance abuse disorder. This is another pandemic and no one should feel alone in experiencing these emotions.
Check on your loved ones! We have been taught that depression looks like isolation, tears, and cloudy skies. Now we are seeing that it can also look like socialization, smiles, and rainbows. Not everyone wears their emotions on their sleeve. There is no description of what mental illness looks like. Some people prefer to go out and pretend like they’re happy so that they can enjoy a short escape from their reality of suffering. Others just want to be locked away in a room and left alone.
If your best friend was struggling with suicidal thoughts, would you even know it?
Cheslie Kryst, Miss USA 2019, jumped to her death from the 29th floor of her New York City apartment on January 30th, 2022. The world was shocked. From the outside looking in, she had it all. She was a college graduate who earned not 1, but 3 degrees and went on to become a lawyer. In 2019 Cheslie was crowned Miss USA and made a huge impact on many lives around the world. After passing on her crown in 2020, she went on to live out, yet, another one of her dreams by becoming an E! T.V. correspondent and even being nominated for 2 daytime Emmy Awards. Cheslie was able to meet many of her favorite celebrities, such as Taylor Swift and Rihanna during red carpet interviews. She was a model and an influencer on social media and, not to mention a very talented athlete as well. Her life looked glamorous and her laughs and smiles on TikTok and Instagram were just confirmation that she was living the dream…
But she wasn’t. She was struggling and nobody knew. The signs are not always clear. Check on your loved ones.
May the souls of Cheslie Kryst and Arlana Miller, the young college freshman from Southern University who committed suicide on May 4, 2022, rest in peace.
We All Need a Little Help
There is a stigma associated with reaching out for help that makes those in need feel like something is “wrong” with them. There is nothing wrong with asking for help. Life is not easy and none of us have done this before. We all need help. We all have our own stories and traumas that we’re trying to heal from.
About 1 in 5 adults in the United States will experience mental illness. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of severe sadness, guilt, worry, mood swings, tiredness, or withdrawal please seek help. We need you here. You are important. You matter.
There are many resources available to help you. I am no therapist or mental health expert, but listed below are some recommendations and tools that have helped so many people around the world who have been a victim to mental illness.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) Talk to a trained mental health professional.
Crisis Text Line: Text “SIGNS” to 741741 for 24/7 access to anonymous and free counseling.
Betterhelp.com: Find a therapist that you resonate with.
Make sure you reach out to your doctor or another trusted professional to ensure you are receiving the right treatment.
If you are unfamiliar with the signs that accompany someone who suffers from mental illness, check out this short reading: Warning Signs.
How You Can Help
Listen more than you speak. Sometimes the signs are right in front of us but we’re so absorbed into our own lives that we ignore them. If a loved one comes to you and feels comfortable enough to confide in you, listen. Not everything needs a response. It feels good just to let it all out sometimes.
One thing for certain, do not ever be the person that changes the topic of conversation to make it about you and your problems. You will have your time to talk, but right now you just need to be there for your friend. It doesn’t matter if you feel as though you have had it worse, or other people have it worse, everyone is affected differently and handles their emotions differently. It shouldn’t be a competition on who struggled worse. That’s not something to celebrate.
Offer your support, make sure they know you are there for them, and provide a shoulder to lean on and an ear to listen. That’s all it takes sometimes.
Keep the conversation going. You can never talk too much about the topic of mental health. By simply having these conversations, you are doing your part by normalizing mental illness and minimalizing the stigma so that people who are struggling don’t feel alone or as though something is wrong with them.
If you are open, share your own stories about mental health and trauma. Transparency is golden because it is authentic. It is a reminder that everyone has their own battles, but it is possible to defeat them. Your story could save someone’s life.
It may not be visibly noticeable that someone is struggling with their mental health. They could seem “normal” in public and then go home and cry themselves to sleep. There’s a lot that we don’t know and may not ever know. Be gentle. Be kind. Compliment someone today. Pay for someone’s food. Start a conversation with a stranger. It won’t hurt and you don’t know the impact something so small could have on a person’s day (or life).
Always be the person that you wish you had in your life. Just by being nice you are doing your part and can make a big difference in the world.
Make the Call
If a friend or loved one is displaying signs of suicide, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to learn which local resources are available to you. 1-800-273-8255
There is always something to live for. Things won’t always work out in our favor, and we’ll be forced to redirect our lives. When that happens, it just means you’re getting closer to living out your true purpose. You’re not a failure, there’s just something better waiting for you. You are here for a reason and I hope you know how important you are. I hope you keep going.
With much love,
Likely Maybe Studio