Willingness: An Important Factor in Finding Peace with Your Mental Health

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This is the fourth post in a series from the rest of the week on finding your healthy within by Meredith Terpeluk.

Yesterday, I wrote about how important it is to practice acceptance in moments when we don't have much control over our circumstances - or in my case, my body after surgery. I also mentioned in the blog that I have gained weight since with this injury.

Yuk, right?

Well, here's the deal. I've got a secret for you.....

I know we all have that instinct that tells us, "Oh no your weight is up! Drop it!"

But the truth is we need to look at this in a completely different way.

Instead of taking the weight gain as an opportunity to beat ourselves up and fail another diet - we need to step back, take a breathe and realize the other opportunity we have.

We can actually take this and go within to look at what else might be going on, like with our mental health.

But it takes WILLINGNESS to let go of that "Losing the weight is the answer," so we can get to "I must go within." 

There are many reasons why this is such an important shift. One of them IS so you don't have to be a lifetime member of the yo-yo dieters club.

But another one is so you can look at EVERY aspect of yourself, including your mental health and find more lasting health. 

Instead of letting your instinct take you RIGHT to that diet, you can say, "Okay, what's going on in my mind."

"What's been happening in my life and how have I been reacting to it?"

You don't have to BEAT your head over the stick or have a panic attack with it. Y

You can approach yourself with love and compassion and look within.

WILLINGNESS to look beyond the weight.

WILLINGNESS to go beneath the surface.

#WILLINGNESS

So, people wonder if I'm some sort of trainer, food police or the ultimate healthy person because of the name of my brand.

Far from it.

I work on the inner journey, guiding people to a place where they can find healing and solutions right there - instead of keeping their perspective so small on the surface. I don't "fix" them, I meet them where they are, and guide them to the next doorway of action, whatever that may be.

So in order to GET to that place of being OKAY with looking at that most feared place - our mental health - we have to be WILLING.

Let me explain a little bit more....

My journey to awareness of my mental health has been a long one - that started with counseling here and there as a kid after my parents divorce, but didn't really kick in as necessary to treat until regular panic attacks. I found a therapist who led me in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and changed my life. What I didn't know was that was just one little aspect we were approaching, almost a surface thing that was caused by a bunch of other internal things going on with my mind, my brain itself, my thoughts, and my feelings. I don't know where I'd be today if I hadn't faced that mess up there in my mind.

I want to share just a few of those things here - the things I would NEVER have known if I hadn't looked at the mental aspect. Maybe they will help you approach it with a little more self-love.

  1. That panic attacks aren't something you can overcome with willpower.
  2. That beyond the mental health issues, there may be a behavior issue that is blocking you from healing - like addiction.
  3. That addiction is a disease of the mind and body and will tell you that you don't have a disease when you do in order to keep you stuck in it - no matter whether it's a drug or a behavior.
  4. That the huge stigma that eating disorders are purely something you can see on the surface is completely wrong. It hides more than most people know.
  5. Eating Disorders aren't about eating as much as our thinking.
  6. Anxiety, Depression or any other mental thing CAN be genetic. In some cases you can address it with behaviors but sometimes it DOES take other measures.
  7. ADD does NOT mean you are less than or broken. You are creative (which is a good thing), and the way your mind functions is just different than the linear way the world approaches things.
  8. Willpower wil NOT cure whatever may be going on in your head like a diet.
  9. Positive thinking is one thing. But a spiritual journey with a power greater than you.
  10. Mental Health is completely ignored in many cases of obesity or other physical health issues - and it could absolutely be the biggest factor. We MUST consider it at every level of care and not judge those people who might struggle with it. No one, absolutely NO ONE has a perfect mind.
  11. Physical change - good or bad - can be hugely impact by your mental health. Don't ignore it.
  12. I am a life coach who helps people change their lives, but in the end I'm a woman who knows that when all else fails, even the way you are thinking - it is the Lord who is there for us. He is the one who reminds me through the word that HE is bigger than my thoughts and understanding.

I could write about 100 things I've learned. But what I can tell you is this:

Each thing I've learned makes me more WIlLING to look at what's going on from the mental aspect.

Let me give you an example:

With Dad's passing it was a year after he was gone when I finally realized I may have something else going on mentally.

With my surgery on my shoulder? It was almost a month into recovery that I realized my mental health was playing a factor.

I never thought about it before surgery, because I was focused on the procedure itself - and so was the doctor. But when I was laying there one day in physical therapy, letting my PT move my shoulder in painful ways, she said something about how long the journey is. Thankfully  I have to remind myself of that every single day of my life.

But somehow it made me sad. I walked out of there, googled "surgery and depression" and BINGO, there were the articles of people sharing the struggles about how down they were. Finding these showed me I wasn't alone and made me realize, "Duh - of course!!" 

A surgeon does surgery. A therapist does therapy. A physical therapist helps with the healing process. But no one is there to help with the inner healing process of getting healthy again or at least is on the "team" of people who inform patients of this factor on the journey. 

I went to my next session, looked around and realized how much more work these PTs probably do than they are paid to do. Then I thought about all the people getting physical therapy who may have mental health stuff going on and have no idea how much it affects their recovery. Of course, then I think, "There is a need for a Healthy Voice in surgery recovery!" (Of course - I'd love to write a book right now, but that's why I'm writing a blog.)

Then yesterday I go in for my six week checkup with the doc. He tells me how I'm positive and the recovery is long but I've got a good attitude and attitude is everything with this.

Nice compliment!

But also I knew it wasn't a trait that has come naturally.

Yes, I had a father who was an incredibly positive influence on my life.

He believed that I could do anything in life I wanted. He planted a seed for my approach to life - a huge one.

But I also had something his inspiration could never give me - and that was this....

The WILLINGNESS (at the age of 31) to finally look beyond the weight fix and go beneath the surface. With a lot of tools and people walking the journey with me - I've gotten there. Dad was one of the people who helped me start that healing process, and I'm grateful today to be on a spiritual journey where I always feel like he's still with me. But the journey of grief is a whole other topic for another time. 

***

My hope with this blog is that anyone who may need to address their mental health finds some courage within to face it. I also hope that anyone that has ever has surgery (of any kind) may find this blog somehow and realize they are not alone and that the mental health IS a piece of the puzzle. 

If I had the money for a national advertising campaign, I'd design a billboard saying this:

Pay Attention to Your Mental Health if you want to be HEALTHY FOR LIFE!

- Brought to you by Your Healthy Voice :)

Lol

Tune in tomorrow for a blog on the emotional aspect and the thing you might need to address it. In the meantime, check out the rest of the series from this week.