Key to good mental health is how you handle whatever happens

Laura Kaponer


Key to good mental health is how you handle whatever happens

The periods in my life when I was the most balanced and stable were not necessarily the most peaceful or happiest times. They were, however, the times I was best prepared with my coping skills and strategies to deal with whatever happened.

After months of having health issues and countless tests with no clear answers as to what was going on, recently I received disappointing news that answered all my questions.

No need to worry, as it was not life or death; however, I am forced to reflect and reevaluate certain aspects of my life.

As I was sitting in the doctor's office I could feel the tears building up. I thanked everyone in the office for their help and wished them a nice night. Then I got into my car to break down and cry.

Here's the thing: Unless you live in a bubble, there is no way to 100% avoid crappy things from happening. And if you live in a bubble, you don't experience wonderful things either.

I enjoy life and the multitude of challenges and lessons it provides me. Even when I don't think I'm enjoying it, deep down I know some part of me is.

When presented with something upsetting, we all have different choices we can make, some healthier than others, and I have a lot of experiencing making the unhealthy choices. That night, I phoned a friend who came over.

I cried, she listened and offered some insight, there was hugging, ice cream and eventually a breath of fresh air with some laughter. It didn't make my unpleasant thing go away - unfortunately nothing can do that at this time. But this was what I needed to make it over the hump.

For me, it's not about having all the right answers or even knowing people that do. For me it's about knowing which resource I need at which time to make it through until the next time. A friend, a support network, is a crucial resource for anyone in recovery.

I know now that I am going to be okay. Earlier that evening, in my moment of emotional avalanche, I did not know that. I am in a rational place to think about my problem and figure out different ways I can approach it.

I allowed myself to be vulnerable enough to admit I needed help, ask for that help, and then accept the help that was offered to me. These are three extremely difficult things to do that might or might not get easier with time.

Laura Kaponer is a mental health advocate and social media blogger, as well as a volunteer with the local chapter of NAMI. #LauraKaponeris1in5 (as 1 in 5 Americans have a mental illness).