Catherine Norwood, LMHC

Catherine Norwood, LMHC

Catherine is a therapist, licensed foster parent, and a former foster child herself. She hopes each of the individuals she serves will be able to find meaning within themselves and in relationships with others.

This woman was so filled with shame. If shame were a color it would pour out of her eyes, staining her cheeks. I sat across from her letting my eyes fill as well. I could normalize her experience — not just because I am a trained therapist — but because I have thought those very same things too. If you are reading this, please help me to NORMALIZE MENTAL HEALTH.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on reddit
Share on email
Please note, the information in this post is not a replacement for personal medical advice.

She sat on my couch in tears. She told me she was certain she was the only one who could ever think such horrible and awful things. This woman was so filled with shame. If shame were a color it would pour out of her eyes, staining her cheeks. I sat across from her letting my eyes fill as well.

I could normalize her experience not just because I am a trained therapist but because I have thought those very same things too. If you are reading this, please help me to NORMALIZE MENTAL HEALTH.

The Numbers Don’t Lie.

Earlier this month we observed World Mental Health Day. This day that shines a light on mental health and helps decrease stigmas. It’s during this day that we see statistics that highlight how normal mental illness is. The statistics share 1 in 5 people will experience mental illness each year (NAMI, 2019). We are told 56.8 million visits to physicians offices each year occur due to a mental health concern (CDC, 2020). And we learn that suicide is the second leading cause of death in 10 to 34-year-olds (U.S. News, 2019).

The numbers are staggering, but what is even more significant is that these numbers are real people with real lives. NORMALIZE MENTAL HEALTH to take mental health issues out of the shadows.

Are you 1 in 5? How about someone you love?

Maybe it’s your father who fears COVID and won’t leave the house because it is the only place he feels safe. Perhaps it is your neighbor who just lost her child after trying to conceive for five years only to have it end in another miscarriage. Or your co-worker who is going through a divorce and crying quietly in her office just to wipe her tears and get back to work. Maybe it is your child who is bullied and no amount of intervention can stop it while you worry that he won’t be able to keep enduring it. Perhaps it is you sitting with your bills, overwhelmed with the growing numbers and thinking you’ve let your family down. Or it’s your sister hiding in her closet and drinking another glass of wine knowing the headache will follow her in the morning, but she just can’t seem to put it down.

Everyone feeling and struggling alone. All feeling that they are the only one going through such a unique and painful struggle because it’s “taboo” to talk about mental health issues. NORMALIZE MENTAL HEALTH to make it ok to not be ok.

Your Story is Unique, Struggling with Mental Health Issues is Not.

While the battles we face may be unique, the emotions we go through are not. Happiness are joy are more prized than sadness and hurt. We idolize “perfect” and “put together” and feel “less than” when we see ourselves with mistakes and mess ups.

We want try to match ourselves to the version of perfect that we see in our minds. “I want to look just like her,” we say. “I want our family to be just like his.” We want to compare our behind the scenes with the other person’s highlight reel, which convinces us we will never be good enough so why even try. The human experience is complex, and every experience impacts our mental and emotional health because every experience solidifies a belief we hold. NORMALIZE MENTAL HEALTH so that we don’t feel the need to compare ourselves to airbrushed versions of reality.

You are Good Enough. You are Not Alone.

Maybe the belief is that we are not good enough, so when we get fired we say “I guess I was right about that.” Our core programming, our core messaging pulls from our experience and keeps us in a habit of feeling bad about ourselves. We hate ourselves for the very thing that makes us human. We ridicule ourselves for the shaping of the evolution of the brain. And we beat up on ourselves because we feel angry that we can’t find another way.

But can I stop you right there? Can I sit with you in this space for a minute? Can I take your hand and remind you that this is normal? That you are okay? And that there is some hope? Can I normalize that you are not the only who who has felt this way while telling you it is okay to have your feelings, to question, and to worry.

You are human, having a human experience and you are not alone. So today and every day I will say NORMALIZE MENTAL HEALTH. And know we are here for you

Related Articles

Depression
Mental Health Awareness
Amy Reihman, MS, LMHC

Just Feeling Down? Or are You Suffering from Depression?

You may be reading this — now knowing that depression is not as rare as you once thought — and wonder “Do I have depression?” One of the most common misconceptions that I hear is the idea that in order to have depression a person must feel sad all of the time or cry frequently. While this can be a symptom of depression, it is certainly not the only one.

Read More »
college during COVID-19
Mental Health Awareness
Leona Childs, MA, LMHC

The Challenge of Adjusting to College during COVID Times

Adjusting to college is hard enough without adding the curveball of COVID into the mix. You may be someone who welcomed the changes brought on by the pandemic. The reality is some people are ok with or even prefer the “new normal” and others do not. The truth is that it is okay to not be okay AND it’s also okay to be okay.

Read More »
Borderline Personality Disorder
Mental Health Awareness
Kelsey Lamb, ARNP, PMHNP-BC

Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder

There are many people with intense emotions who struggle with feeling lonely, misunderstood, and believe there is something wrong with them. If you feel this way, please consider reaching out for additional support and guidance. You deserve to enjoy life no matter your diagnosis.

Read More »