Updated: Sep 2
Mental health is wealth is a common saying that we all need to literally take seriously in my view. Given a choice between millions and mental health, personally I would choose mental health. I sometimes interchange it with mental wellness. I am a Mental Fitness Coach and Trainer but there was a time when I was not mentally healthy or mentally fit.
I was suicidal
In 2014, I almost made it to the suicide statistics. I did not have the emotional resources to deal with the consequences of a decision I had made from my heart, trusting it. I created precarity as I risked my livelihood and that of my kids for a mere human being.
With hindsight, I did not love myself fully, or know my worth. I allowed a human being to have so much power over me such that their unceremonious withdrawal from a commitment I assumed sealed, shattered me completely. I wanted to die by suicide. I was not investing in my mental wellbeing. I did not have any tools to handle emotional difficulty. I know I am not alone. Could I be talking to you?
Home and Away Suicide is an Achilles Heel
I live in Nunavut, a place where the suicide rate is ten times that of other provinces and territories in Canada. I come from a family which has been directly impacted by suicide, suicide attempts and ideation. Intergenerational trauma, systemic injustices, poverty, sexual abuse and other forms of abuses and being jilted or betrayed are some of the reasons why suicide is rampant. Mental health struggles are real but more often than not, we have a tendency to judge and stigmatize those who are vulnerable.
I have heard that back home, suicide rates are on the increase and men are impacted the most. I digress here to share some disturbing developments that are shedding light on the toxic nature of the system of patriarchy. Many men are dying by suicide because they are failing to regulate their emotions when they find out that their partners are unfaithful.
I have also heard that women are having a party, telling the men to pray, bath, wear shorts and perform some sexy moves; the same messages women from my culture get when their men are being unfaithful. As women are emboldened by knowledge of their rights and are fed up of male infidelity, some are hitting back. The negative impact of toxic masculinity is now manifesting. As a mother of both female and male it is worrisome that our children are having such toxic relationships that are leading to murder and suicide.
We have said it before, boys and men must be raised to feel the full range of their emotions and to express themselves. As parents oftentimes we teach our sons to be stoic and avoid sharing how they feel especially negative emotions. Empowering our sons and daughters to be mentally fit is a worthy investment for all parents, otherwise our children shall perish from some mental health issues that are avoidable.
Finding a Reason to Live
We have a tendency to think that suicide will take our pain away but that is not true. Suicide transfers the pain to those who remain. I was not thinking like that when I had the ingredients all set for my earth exit. I sent a text message to my daughters to announce my death just before I left this cruel world. Thank God, my son was in the next room, he was my reason to live. Thinking about what he would wake up to is what shocked me back to sanity.
Many people are not getting that moment of realization to find a reason to live. They are just overwhelmed by pain embarrassment, stress, frustration and they act to stop it instantly.
So they complete the process.
We Must Invest in Our Mental Health
One thing I have learnt is, I honestly did not want to die. I just needed to hear that I am worthy, I am loved, I am beautiful, I am marriage material.
I went to Connect for Counselling. That is one way of investing in our mental health.
Even though I was a qualified Counsellor then and knew everything, I could not heal myself. I was a leadership development designer and trainer but I could not lead myself! I felt like a real fraud. Some community members called me their hero but I felt like the worst coward.
Some whispered loud enough for me to hear, "She is selfish. Why did she not ask or help?"
If you have been there, you know that talk right? Mentally ill people do not pretend. Depression is real. I was diagnosed with acute depression. I was not faking it. Dear friends emotional difficulty is real. Mental health struggles are real.
Mental health is mental wealth. The question is are you investing in it?
After Counselling I reached for my mbira and composed Mbira Dzangu a song that is now healing many whom I have shared it with. Mbira healed me. Mbira reminded me of who I am. I am Worthy. I am loved. I am beautiful. I am marriage material. I have a husband who loves me now. I now trust myself to be ok, no matter what happens in my life. My happiness is in my hands. I had to learn to love Francisca first! We must learn to love ourselves first.
Our mental health is wealth. Are we prepared to invest in building our mental muscles so that whatever challenge comes our way, we will see only gifts and opportunities not suicide as a problem solving option?
So how do we invest in our mental health?
We can begin small and then keep adding some actions that help us to be mentally healthy.
We can use our traditional wisdom to find peace within. In my case, my mbira heals me so I play it.
We can come up with self care plans to make sure that we serve form full cups.
We can engage in dialogue about how we feel- not promoting the culture of silence.
We can raise our hands when we are not feeling mentally well and seek help from qualified professionals.
We can watch our language when we talk about mental health and when we address people with mental health challenges.
If you are curious about mental fitness training you can visit us and book a free session. At Mothers United, we help mothers to who are mentally burdened to become mentally fit so that they unleash their power personally, professionally and parentally and are happy from within, have healthy relationships and perform at their best level. If you would like to invest connect with us for a free coaching session https://www.mothersunited.ca/booking-calendar/free-transformational-call?referral=service_list_widget, Also view the mental fitness programs we offer: https://www.mothersunited.ca/the-mentally-fit-mama and https://www.mothersunited.ca/sage-kids
Invest in Mental Health. It is your Wealth
I wish you wealth!
Your Sister on CALL