The shift ends, the fellas and ladies gather in the kitchen over groggy coffee, discussing plans for their off days. “What have you got going today?” one says to another. “Well, I’ve got counseling at 9:30, then I was going to clean my gutters.” “Me too! Well, not the gutter thing, but I’ve got counseling at 1 this afternoon. It’s been so helpful on a lot of levels.” A younger member of the shift now chimes in: “Wait, you guys are in counseling???” “Yes,” they reply, “and it's great.”
We need to normalize the active pursuit of mental health. I’m happy to say a version of the conversation described above actually happened to me recently. As a long time beneficiary of counseling/therapy for a vast list of reasons, having it openly talked about around the kitchen table was both refreshing and signified a great leap forward. The brain, like any other body system, is susceptible to faults and trauma. Yet while we’re quick to run to the doctor if a bone is sticking out of our leg, we’re much more likely to attempt to “walk off” injuries and issues with our minds.
Don’t. Need some help? Talk to someone! I’ve lost several friends to suicide, and I know others are struggling. This is not to say everyone has issues with mental health. I remember often in my career feeling normal and wondering if I was broken because I DIDN’t have PTSD. But, with jacked up sleep schedules, constant nervous system stressors, bizarre family impacting work patterns, and steady exposure to traumatic nonsense, we are certainly more susceptible. If you need help, get it. If you’re already getting help, I encourage you to share the benefits at the kitchen table. It could save a life.