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Being honest about mental health

Artist Toby Allen
I was in the beauty shop last night (where women really go for therapy!) and had an interesting experience.

First, my hair dresser has been doing my  hair for a long time. We know each other pretty darn well. She runs her beauty shop with such a huge heart for Christ - she really thinks of it as her ministry and not just a place where people go to get their hair cut.

A young lady (early 20s) came in, a friend of my hair dresser's. She started talking about her experience recently of being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, and what a scary time she'd had after a particularly bad panic attack.

I spoke up and said, "I know exactly what that's like. I had to check myself into [insert local mental health hospital here] a few years ago."

We had a great conversation. She said that she wished people talked about it more; she would have sought help sooner if she'd felt more comfortable talking about it.

If  you read my blog at all, you know I'm a HUGE proponent of better mental health care, but also that we TALK about mental health. People with mental illness often suffer far too long and needlessly - mostly due to shame, ignorance and embarrassment.

We need more voices in the fight for mental health care in this country. We need to help those who suffer by letting them know they are not alone, and that there are many of us who walk in those shoes.

I hate to think of any young person suffering silently, hurting for far too long, just because they don't know that there are so many of us who understand and that help IS available.

St. Dymphna, pray for us!

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