It’s been over a year that we’ve all been wearing physical masks over our faces, trying to slow the spread of COVID. We carry it around in our pocket knowing when you put it on and when it’s ok to take it off, building into our daily routine.
People struggling with mental health issues often wear their invisible mask publicly, never taking it off around others. They may feel pressure to conform or embarrassed about their feelings so they hide their true selves from their family, friends, and even strangers on the street.
But what happens when the mask comes off?
Just like when we take off our physical face masks, removing the mask of mental health has a lot of similarities:
- communication becomes clearer and more authentic
- you’re able to each see the whole person
- you become more vulnerable
That last one is scary! In a world of COVID, no one wants to feel vulnerable. However, in regard to mental health, being vulnerable in our day to day lives can lead to healthy expression and processing of emotion. It also can provide an increased sense of trust in relationships and overall positive change.
As we continue to wear our physical masks, try not to layer it with a secondary invisible mask. Remember that it is ok to not be ok, and to ask for help when needed. 1 out of 4 people will struggle at some point in their life with a mental health issue.
Although this week is a dedicated mental health awareness week, we all need to find time to check in with one another. We need to ensure everyone has a comfortable place to take off their masks.