Arianne Brown: Why putting in the work of mental healing is so important – for everyone

Good mental health practices have been around for as long as humanity has been a thing, but for some reason I thought I was an exception.

Good mental health practices have been around for as long as humanity has been a thing, but for some reason I thought I was an exception. (Shutterstock)



Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — A wise person once told me that parents need to put in the work so their children don't have to.

It doesn't matter that this wise person was likely an Instagram meme and may not have even been a person at all. What matters is that it was wise advice that I have finally begun to implement in my life.

The "work" I am referring to is mental healing, and it has come in many forms including breathwork, meditation, yoga and therapy.

I know, I know, I am late to the game. These things have been around for as long as humanity has been a thing, but for some reason I thought I was an exception. After all, I am physically healthy, eat well, exercise daily and smile for the camera. In other words, I put frosting on a heaping pile of garbage every day and call it good.

Because that's what you do, right? Fake it till you make it. If it looks good, it is good. If you look on the positive side, all the hard stuff won't matter.

Right?

At least that's what I was led to believe.

But what I have come to realize is when you put frosting on garbage, the garbage will never taste like frosting — or cake, for that matter. What will eventually happen is that the frosting will sooner than later, start to reek of the toxins below.

Now, everyone's "garbage" is different. For some, it might merely be a fly on an ice cream sundae; for others, the flies are swarming on actual fly food. One cannot just pretend the fly isn't there, or slather sweetness on something rancid and hope for the best. Believe me, I've tried.


Now, everyone's 'garbage' is different. For some, it might merely be a fly on an ice cream sundae; for others, the flies are swarming on actual fly food. One cannot just pretend the fly isn't there, or slather sweetness on something rancid and hope for the best. Believe me, I've tried.

Without getting into specifics, life has been hard — like really, really hard for this here person whose words you are reading right now.

Thankfully, a wise friend once told me that we all have a tragic backstory. This wasn't a social media meme, but a real friend. She was a friend of mine during one of the most difficult times in my life, when I lost my older sister to suicide. Even at that trying time, I didn't want to acknowledge the tragedy of my story, her story — our story — because it hurt too much. I didn't want to dig deep; instead, I reached for the tub of frosting.

Sadness would often prevail, but not for long — because who has time to relive trauma when you can shift your thought process to someone or something else? And if you have the time, why not spend it doing other things? Because the power of the shift in thought — a.k.a. distraction — is great ... and extremely temporary.

This, I have come to know.

Because a wise (and young) therapist recently told me that each one of our experiences needs to have closure in order to move on — including (especially) the traumatic ones. When we avoid the trauma — even by doing good things — our minds will always circle back to try to find a solution. Because the mind needs the truth to close the chapter and move on.

Sometimes the truth is as simple as "I don't know why that happened to me, but I won't repeat the pattern," or "What happened wasn't OK. And if I knew what I know now, I would not have let that happen."

Because the wise person behind the meme I once read and read, again and again, was right. If I put in the work to improve my mental health, hopefully, my children will be the beneficiaries of an estate that spans the ages.

Have you taken the time to put in the work? What has worked for you? Let us know your experiences in the comments.

Mental Health Resources

If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health crisis, reach out to one of the following resources.

Crisis Hotlines

  • Utah County Crisis Line: 801-691-5433
  • Salt Lake County/UNI Crisis Line: 801-587-3000
  • Wasatch Mental Health Crisis Line: 801-373-7393
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Trevor Project Hotline for LGBTQ teens: 1-866-488-7386

Online resources


About the Author: Arianne Brown

Arianne Brown is a mother of nine awesome children and a former collegiate runner who is blending those two worlds one written word at a time. To read more of her articles, visit Arianne's KSL.com author page.

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