We are all accustomed to wearing masks, and I am not talking about the cloth face coverings we wear for safety. I am referring to the “Masks” we wear every day. The ones that tell the world everything is Ok, I am happy, I am having fun, I am glad to be here. We feel as though we have to wear them; because society tells us we should feel a certain way.
We put them on when we go to work. We put them on when we go out with friends. Sometimes, we even put them on around our closest family and friends. Every time we put one on, it becomes a little heavier and harder to wear. Yet, we continue to put one on. Why do we do this? Is it because we are so conditioned to do it that we don’t even realize we are until it is too heavy to continue to wear? Or is it that we are too afraid to let others truly see who we are? Are we afraid to see ourselves? Perhaps it is a mixture of all the above.
My mask is heavy, and lately, I find myself needing to take it off more and more. The weight of it seems to be pulling me further and further down. I am afraid that if people see me without the mask, they will run away. Yet, I am terrified that if I don’t take it off, it will bury me.
It is my hope, my prayer, that one day, society will be wise enough to acknowledge the fact that mental health is just as important as physical health, to realize that the two go hand in hand. To realize that if your mind is not well, your body will become ill also and vice versa. It is my hope that the stigma will be taken away from mental illness so that people will not be afraid to seek help if they need it. I pray that when they seek it, it will be available to them.
I ask you to do me a favor. When you see someone who is “not themself” or “too happy” or “too hyper” or even if they are just irritating, stop, take a breath and ask yourself why. Is their mask getting a little heavy? Are there things going on that you don’t know or understand? I ask that you simply be kind to them. Trust me; kindness goes farther than most will ever imagine.
Much love to you all, and remember, it is ok if you need to take your mask off.