Mental Health Awareness Week: This Year, We’re Celebrating Our Generation’s Strength

By: Rawan Khalil

This Mental Health Awareness week,

I want to celebrate our strength.

I want to write poems about the things we went through, the pitfalls of the last few years and about the battles we fought and came out from gasping for oxygen leaning on ourselves and if we are lucky enough- our friends. 

I want to stand up for us- for those who suffered, for those who will suffer and for those who are currently suffering.

I want to celebrate the hopeless, shattered and broken individuals who are trying to stand up after fighting in hell, who get up in the morning put on their clothes then go to school, university or work with a smile on their face when they had to cry themselves to sleep, then cry themselves to wake up. 

I want to applaud those with social anxiety who go through wars within themselves and survive them. 

I want to scream and say: It’s okay not to be okay, and it is okay to be okay. It’s okay to take a moment to breathe, to grow and to heal. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to be happy, in pain and healing all at the same time.

I want to mourn the beautiful souls who have given up and took their own lives away. I am sorry there was no one for you to talk to, I am sorry if the people around you didn’t care enough to understand you, to ask about you or to check on you. I am sorry you are no longer here.

we wish you were still here

I want to celebrate the selfless individuals who put others before themselves, who put their broken pieces in a box to try to piece them back together at night when no one is watching to only realize that the shards of glass will cut them again.

Ask about your strong friends. Ask about the ones who are always happy, who try to make you feel better when you’re down because you will never know if that happiness is a facade or not. Check on the cheerful friend, the always-busy friend- the one that seems to always-have-everything-sorted friend. Check on your friends. Buy them chocolates. Make them cards. Shower them with hugs. Show your friends you care. But, do not forget yourself.

Be gentle with yourself. Love yourself. Treat yourself. Make YOURSELF a priority- protect your peace, purge your space from toxicity and cultivate love- self-love. Stop ripping yourself apart, pointing out all the ways that you are not good enough because someone didn’t think you were because someone couldn’t see your worth. It’s their loss. Focus on you. Prioritize yourself. The world doesn’t revolve around them- do not do things for people, do them for yourself. 

Stop undervaluing yourself.

Give yourself breaks and kind words. Give yourself space to grow and validate your feelings. Forgive yourself and permit yourself setting boundaries.

Start valuing yourself.

Know that you do not only learn from awards and success, that you do not only learn from the celebrities and successful people around you but you also learn from the battles you fight, from the wounds and scars, from the healing process, from the mistakes, the tears, and the pain.

There is this unspoken stigma about mental health, this notion that we -teenagers- are not old enough to be going through a lot, that our workload is never suffocating, that we are not stressed and if we talk about mental health we are told to shut up because we have no idea what we are talking about. What could we be experiencing that is worse than what the adults are going through? 

And, then we end up in a place where only adults can be depressed, where binge eating disorders do not exist and social anxiety is just mere exaggeration. 

Break the stigma.

Know there are people that care.

Celebrate your own power.

May our gold continue to flow and our light continue to shine. 

May we fight our own demons till they tremble.

May we heal and achieve mental and internal peace.

I am eternally thankful for the supportive and loving community I am surrounded with, for those who care enough to listen and understand.

Love,

Rawan

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