After the longest night of the year on December 21, we get the light and hope of Christmas, then a New Year. With all that, plus good vaccine news this week, I’m feeling hopeful today.
And still, lengthening days and a new calendar year aren't always enough to buoy us out of the depths. This year, many of us have lost people, places, life events, income, health, security.
With so much change, it’s easy for us to also lose touch with ourselves. Take a moment to check in with your body, your heart. Where do you find yourself today?
Don’t judge yourself for how you feel; just notice it.
No matter where you find yourself in this chart, do one thing to reach out for support. Yes, right now! Call or text a friend. (Maybe when you reach out, you’ll empower them to share their own needs.) Write your thoughts in a journal entry. Ask your spouse for a moment to chat. Call your primary care doctor and make an appointment about your mental health. Take a few deep breaths and pray. The closer to red you found yourself, the bigger the action you should take.
If you find yourself in the red zone, skip all those things and go straight to the pros. Here are some quick ways you can access professional help right now:
If you're having thoughts of self-harm or suicide, call 911.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7. Call 1-800-273-8255.
If you're a youth or young adult, text LISTEN to 741-741. If you're a parent of a child/youth, call 211 from a landline or 1-800-203-1234 from your cell phone.
If you're a veteran, call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1.
Save these numbers in your phone, or put them on your fridge. You never know when you’ll need them—for yourself or someone else.
Reach out when you need help. (Notice how I said when, not if?) Caring for our mental health is a crucial step in attending to our spiritual health. As you read part of Psalm 130 below, remember how deeply our souls long to be near God.
Psalm 130:1, 5-6
Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in [God’s] word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than those who watch for the morning,
more than those who watch for the morning.
More resources at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) CT website: https://namict.org/find-support/crisis-resources