Barriers to Mental Health



This is an academic paper written for my Fall 2018 English 111 class. This is my work and is not to be duplicated. It is uploaded to the an academic registry but has not been published except for in this blog. Enjoy!

Barriers to Mental Health

On and off throughout Maggie’s childhood, she struggled with feeling depressed and unmotivated. Often when she was feeling like this her parent would tell her to cheer up or shake it off. Maggie never felt comfortable talking to her parents about what she was experiencing because they consistently made derogatory remarks about people with mental health problems. She was scared that they would start calling her crazy or say she needed to be “locked up in a looney bin” too.

Maggie’s parents divorced when she was 13 years old, and she experienced her first suicidal thoughts. Her depression had worsened when she had to move over 1,000 miles away from the place she grew up. To cope with the weighty feelings of depression Maggie developed unhealthy coping strategies. She started drinking alcohol with her friends, binge eating, and having under age sex with much older boys. These behaviors intensified in college where Maggie’s drinking led her to being arrested several times for alcohol related offenses. Not only did Maggie’s behavior worsen, her suicidal thoughts increased as well.

Maggie felt ashamed about her depression and inability to manage it. She was afraid of what others might say if they found out. Because of this shame Maggie didn’t seek help from a mental health provider but from her primary care provider instead. After confirming Maggie was indeed experiencing depression, her primary care provider prescribed her depression medications and sent Maggie on her way. Within a week of starting this medication Maggie experienced an increase in her suicidal thoughts, driving her dangerously close to completing suicide one night. The next day, Maggie visited her primary care provider where she was told the “side effects” were all in her head. The only option she was given was to go back off the medication with no guidance on other options.

Throughout the next five years Maggie coped with her depression the best ways she knew how, by overeating and overdrinking. She stopped using sex to cope when she got married. In 2013 Maggie woke up hung over, after a particularly rough night of drinking, and decided enough was enough. She made the decision to end her life by overdose. Maggie could no longer live with her depressive thoughts anymore. She believed that the world would be better off without her, her family would be better off without her, and that she was just a burden on those around her. Fortunately for Maggie, her husband intervened before she could complete her suicide and encouraged her to seek out mental health treatment. Over the next five-years, Maggie received therapy that allowed her to heal from her past and taught her the tools she needed to manage her depression without relying on her unhealthy coping tactics. Today Maggie can thrive without depression controlling her life.

Stories like Maggie’s are not unusual. According to Sickel, “Nearly half of American adults are likely to experience a mental disorder during their lifetime” (1). Unfortunately, unlike Maggie, many of those people will not receive treatment for their mental health disorders. Among the reasons people do not receive proper mental health treatment are: cost, mental health stigma, prescriptions from a primary care provider, lack of mental health knowledge, no access to treatment, and belief that non-professional resources are just as good. These fall into three main categories: acceptability, affordability, and accessibility. Mental health disorders, if left untreated, not only affect the person experiencing them but society as well. It is important that mental health be treated just as important as physical health or the mental health crises will continue to progress and affect everyone.

In “Perceived Barriers to Mental Health Treatment among Individuals with a Past-Year Disorder Onset: Findings from a Canadian Population Health Survey,” Fikretoglu and Liu argue that “few individuals with a new-onset mental disorder access treatment in a timely manner.” (739). This article focuses on their study, which identifies the perceived barriers to accessing treatment in a timely manner. Fikretoglu and Liu used the Canadian Community Health Survey to determine the findings of their study. Their conclusion was that acceptability barriers, how acceptable seeking treatment is, were the most prevalent barriers of all. In the article Fikretoglu and Liu share some limitations that their study had, like sample size and the phrasing of each barrier in the survey. The honesty and objectivity in reporting the findings of their study makes the article accurate. The twenty-nine resources cited at the end of the article validates its contents. If someone wanted to understand the different types of barriers that prevents people from seeking out mental health treatment, this article would be very useful.

Acceptability, or mental health stigma, is the negative perceived beliefs, or attitudes, around mental health. In Maggie’s story she experienced stigma when she heard her parents talking about people being “crazy” or needing to be put in the “looney bin.” Mental health stigma can be noted in the way society talks about mental health and those with mental illness. This can cause those experiencing mental health disorders to feel ashamed or perceive their struggles as unacceptable to those around them. The higher the perceived mental health stigma, the less likely someone is to seek out mental health treatment, no matter how severe their mental health struggles may be. Often this is because they have already witnessed the consequences of mental health stigma like not getting hired for a job, getting fired from a job, deteriorating relationships with friends/family members, being treated differently by medical professionals, and not being able to sustain romantic relationships. It can be difficult for someone to seek treatment if they fear for their job, relationships, and reputation.  Fikretogia and Liu found availability barriers to be second in barriers after acceptability barriers. Acceptability barriers were reported “four times as often as availability barriers.” (743)

Availability barriers are barriers that involve the availability of timely mental health treatment. This can include long wait times to see a mental health professional, a mental health professional not being available in the surrounding area, and a mental health professional that accepts insurance not accepting new patients. In the study conducted by Moskos et al., parents who sought out treatment reported access to services as one of the barriers (184). Wait times for mental health treatment can be up to six months in some cases. These wait times are one of the reasons more people are seeking out mental health treatment from their primary care providers instead of a mental health professional. However, that does not necessarily mean people are receiving quality care from their primary care providers. According to Mark Olfson, “Research … has confirmed that the quality of mental health care tends to be lower medical settings than in specialty settings” (561). Another problem that arises when primary care providers are the ones responsible for mental health treatment is that they cannot provide mental health therapy and can only prescribe medications. Medications are not always necessary in the treatment of mental health disorders, but therapy often is. Like in Maggie’s case, primary care providers sometimes prescribe medication without any monitoring or guidance on other mental health treatments. Availability barriers are not the only barriers that encourage people to seek out their primary care physician, accessibility barriers do as well.

Accessibility barriers are all things that can prevent someone from being able to access a mental health professional when there is one available. These include: cost of treatment, child care, lack of knowledge about how to locate a mental health professional, cost of transportation, and no time. Cost of mental health therapy fluctuates depending on the location and expertise of a therapist. If someone is fortunate enough to have health insurance, their policy may only cover part of mental health treatment while some policies don’t cover any of it. In the study conducted by Jones et al., “affordability was the top reason for unmet needs, cited by 39% of (their) patients” (431). People most likely to be affected by mental health barriers are in a lower socioeconomic status. This makes them less likely to have access to transportation or be able to afford to miss work. Sometimes child care can prevent a parent from accessing mental health services even if they can afford it or have transportation. Children are not often welcome in a therapy session. Some parents don’t have another person they can trust to watch their children, or cannot afford to have someone watch their children, during sessions. According to Fikretoglu and Liu, “having one more child aged 6-11 years old in the household was associated with almost a 3 times increased likelihood of perceiving an accessibility barrier” (742). Even if someone can afford or attend mental health sessions, he/she may not know how. Due to the lack of education or the miseducation around mental health some people do not know how or when to access mental health services. This affects their ability to access mental health treatments.

A major shift needs to occur in the medical setting and in society in order to decrease barriers to mental health treatment. Better, more in-depth, education around mental health disorders and treatment has been proven to make major shifts in people receiving proper mental health treatment. Sharp et al. conveys in their study that even something like a mental health education program in a classroom setting can shift people’s perceptions.

The results of this study suggest that a mental health education program that focuses on modifying negative or inaccurate opinions about mental illness, low treatment expectations, and lack of knowledge regarding treatment options may improve attitudes toward seeking professional psychological help, as well as modify some opinions about mental illness (Sharp, Hargrove, Johnson & Deal, 436).

Mental illness is pervasive in society today. Most people will either experience mental illness themselves or knows someone who will. Without properly educating our policy makers, medical professionals, and society, people will continue to experience unmet mental health needs.

Policy makers are an important piece in shifting the perceptions and beliefs around mental health care. They can create laws and policies that make it easier to access mental health care, as well as make it harder to be discriminate because of mental illness. According to Sickel, “Working individuals having a mental illness may experience increased workplace discrimination or pressure due to their health status” (4). Policies preventing mental health discrimination in the work place are necessary throughout the United States, not just in “some states.” Even if discrimination was not an issue it is important that policies require work place flexibility, so employees can access their mental health treatments without the fear of losing their job or income. Mandatory mental health training for all employees, as well as those in charge, could aid in not only understanding those policies but understanding the importance of mental health treatment. Finally, policy makers must be educated so they see the value in mandatory mental health treatment coverage for every health insurance policy. This would only be a start because we must also improve the availability of mental health treatment as well.

According to Jones, Lebrun-Harris, Sripipatana, and Ngo-Metzger, “more than 40% of patients with mental health problems seek care in the primary care setting” (426). Since the primary care setting is often the first-place people seek mental health treatment it is important that the medical community have more mental health information and training. Due to the shortage of mental health professionals in some areas, and long wait times, primary care providers may need to treat patients until they can be seen by a mental health professional. According Olfson, the best model for how such treatment can be implemented is the integrative care model (569). This model consists of collaboration between primary care providers and mental health professionals, but it also includes more mental health education on the primary care level. This would mean that primary care providers would need to work together with mental health professionals to create a viable treatment plan for their patients. This plan may or may not include prescription medication and may or may not include mental health therapy. What the treatment plan includes will be dependent on what the integrative team decides would be best for the patient for them to manage their mental health disorders.  

In “Utah Youth Suicide Study: Barriers to Mental Health Treatment for Adolescents.”, Moskos et al. examine barriers to mental health treatment by interviewing family members and friends of Utah youth who died by suicide. These suicide deaths occurred between June 1996 and November 1998 and included youth 13-21 years of age. Trained professionals conducted the interviews which lasted approximately two hours, and the information from those interviews helped to identify the barriers of health. The top five barriers this study discovered were that the youth believed nothing could help, that seeking help was a sign of weakness, they were reluctant to admit to having problems, they denied having problems, and were too embarrassed to get help (183). This study was published 11 years ago so the information could be slightly dated, as are the references. Due to its date the source would be most useful if paired with similar, more recent sources. By doing so the accuracy can be verified. Despite its date this source was valid for the time it was written.

For people to decide to seek treatment, and prevent them from taking their own lives, society must also be educated. Acceptability is one of the top barriers, and in several studies the top barrier, for people seeking mental health treatment. Education of society will not only help diminish mental health stigma but also help people identify they need help. Most of the barriers noted in “Utah Youth Suicide Study: Barriers to Mental Health Treatment for Adolescents” could have been mitigated by more mental health education in society. By educating society not only will people know when they are experiencing mental health problems, but they will also know where to seek treatment. This education will help to show that seeking treatment for mental health symptoms is just as acceptable and intelligent, as seeking treatment for physical health symptoms. Physical symptoms can be the first signs of mental illness that people perceive which leads to them seeking out the primary care provider. According to DeGruy, “Mental distress, symptoms, and disorders are usually embedded in a matrix of explained or unexplained physical symptoms” (1). By educating not only primary care providers, but society as well, people may be able to better identify when they are experiencing symptoms of mental illness even if they are physical symptoms. This will help decrease the amount of people will unmet mental health needs.

Without better education about mental health problems, not only will the rates of unmet mental health needs increase, but suicide rates will increase as well. Many people who attempt suicide succeed, unlike Maggie. Death by suicide not only affects the person who dies but those around them as well. Close friends and family wonder what they could have done to prevent this unnecessary death. Suicide of a close friend or family member can trigger those around them perpetuating the need for mental health care.

Overcoming the barriers to mental health and preventing unnecessary deaths by suicide starts with education. Mental illness is a real health crisis, and without proper treatment it can be just as debilitating, if not more so, than physical illnesses. Unlike physical illness, there is not enough information about how to treat and care for our mental health. There is also not enough acceptance in society about treating mental illness. With education not only can we more easily identify mental health problems, but we can properly treat them as well. This will help dramatically decrease the amount of unmet mental health needs and increase the number of people receiving treatment like the kind that changed Maggie’s life. 

Bibliography

DeGruy, Frank. “D Mental Health Care in the Primary Care Setting.” Primary Care: America’s Health in a New Era, National Academies Press (US), 1996.

Fikretoglu, Deniz, and Liu, Aihua. “Perceived Barriers to Mental Health Treatment among Individuals with a Past-Year Disorder Onset: Findings from a Canadian Population Health Survey.” Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, vol. 50, no. 5, 2015, pp. 739–46.

Jones, Emily., et al. “Access to Mental Health Services Among Patients at Health Centers and Factors Associated with Unmet Needs.” Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, vol. 25, no. 1, 2014, pp. 425–436.

Moskos, Michelle A., et al. “Utah Youth Suicide Study: Barriers to Mental Health Treatment for Adolescents.” Suicide and Life‐Threatening Behavior, vol. 37, no. 2, 2007, pp. 179–186.

Olfson, Mark. “The Rise of Primary Care Physicians in the Provision of US Mental Health Care.” Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, vol. 41, no. 4, 2016, p. 559.

Sickel, Amy E, et al. “Mental Health Stigma Update: A Review of Consequences.” Advances in Mental Health, vol. 12, no. 3, 2014, pp. 202–215..   

Sharp, William, et al. “Mental Health Education: An Evaluation of a Classroom Based Strategy to Modify Help Seeking for Mental Health Problems.” Journal of College Student Development, vol. 47, no. 4, 2006, pp. 419–438.

           

Update

I know it’s been awhile since posted in this blog. As you may remember last year I went back to school in order to pursue a degree in Psychology. I’m on a time crunch to achieve my PhD and become a licensed Psychologist by the time my spouse is retired from the Navy. In order to do this my time and focus need to be on my schooling. This means over the last year I have slowly backed away from my coaching business. Recently I announced I have stopped coaching. Since my spouse moved to Connecticut on military orders I just couldn’t do it all. Even though the kids and I will be moving to Connecticut this summer he will be deploying in 2020 so I will be in the same situation.

Ever since getting a new mental health diagnosis of Bi Polar II on Valentine’s Day, and starting my new medication, I have had time to reevaluate what’s going on in my life. As much as I enjoy coaching it’s not going to help move me closer to my goal especially if I cannot maintain my GPA because of it. Where does leave us? I will still be hosting The Inspired Women Podcast, maintaining The Inspired Women Community Facebook group, doing my Facebook lives every Monday-Friday on my Facebook page, and of course speaking any chance I get. All of those are ways to connect with me and learn what I am learning along with what I already know. I am always willing to share my knowledge and I hope you will continue to stay connected with what I am doing.

Coaching over the last 2 1/2 years has been such a life changer for me. I grew more confident in myself, learned about business, created amazing connections, and was inspired to pursue new goals and dreams. I’ve outgrown it because I want to help women on an even deeper level than I do with coaching. Many women have experienced trauma or childhood programming that has held them back. I want to help them heal and overcome those things so they can be successful… whatever that means to them. Becoming a licensed Psychologist, I believe, is the way to achieving that dream. Plus I find what goes on in our minds fascinating.

I will continue to post in here on occasion. So I hope this doesn’t mean goodbye but I know for some of you it may. Thank you for allowing me to be part of this journey with you.

XoXo

Megan Hall

5 Signs You Might Want To Break Up With Alcohol

5 Signs You Might Want To Break Up With Alcohol, Megan Hall, Life Coach, Motivational Speaker

My relationship with alcohol started when I was a teenager. Growing up I didn’t have very many if any examples of healthy relationships with alcohol. It was everywhere I went. In my young, impressionable mind this made it seem like alcohol was necessary. Birth… alcohol. Death… alcohol. Sad… alcohol. Happy… alcohol. The only people I saw break up with alcohol were alcoholics.

Alcohol was my liquid courage. Alcohol was my buffer. I didn’t have to deal with my social anxiety or any other feelings for that matter when I was drunk. People seemed to accept me when I was drinking. I finally fit in! As a nerdy introvert this was life. The unfortunate thing as much as much as alcohol seemed to improve my life it had it’s dark side. My relationship with alcohol would sometimes become dangerous and toxic like a bleeding ulcer and a DWI.

5 signs that you might need to break up with alcohol too

1) On more than one occasion you had to apologize for your behavior while drinking. 

2) You have blacked out while drinking…. multiple times.

3) When you drink you drink to get drunk. You don’t stop at one or two drinks.

4) Drinking has caused problems in your relationships with other people.

5) You drink to relieve stress or to numb out emotions. 

This doesn’t necessarily mean you are an alcoholic. You, like me, may be able to go a long time without drinking and may have not feel the need to consume alcohol during that time. You just might have a toxic relationship with alcohol. That may mean like any toxic relationship you have to create some space between you and the other part of the relationship. Alcohol will never change but your relationship with it might. For now it’s probably time for a break.

Personally I know my relationship with alcohol has prevented me from showing up as my best self personally and professionally. A nagging voice in my head (hello higher self) has been saying I need to call it quits. I haven’t set a limit on this so I don’t know if it will be 6 month, 6 years, or forever. This will help me have time and room to grow and heal. It’s my goal to be the best version of me I can be. If that’s your goal too and you resonated with the signs it might be time to take a break. I’m here to support you.

Remember YOU ARE BRAVE, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, YOU ARE WORTHY & YOU ARE ENOUGH!!!

XoXo

Megan Hall

 

 

How to Deal With Mean Girls

How to deal with mean girls, Megan Hall, Life coach, motivational speaker

This week’s Fri-YAY episode of The Inspired Women Podcast I chat about mean girls. When I was younger I thought when I became an adult I wouldn’t have to deal with mean girls anymore. I was wrong because mean girls become mean women. Mean women have access to many more ways of being mean.

When we were kids mean girls might push us, call us names, say mean things, or exclude us. Mean women do all of those things and even more. Mean women have can black mail or black ball you. They can do things that can permanently effect your position in a certain group or company. Mean women can be ruthless.

How to deal with mean girls aka mean women

1) Start with it’s not you it’s them. You are enough just as you are. 

2) Stop trying to “fit in” with them. This is just adding fuel to the fire they can smell in-authenticity. 

3) Distance yourself from them. The more you allow yourself to be around them the more it will hurt. 

4) Stand up for yourself and what you believe in. When they come at you don’t attack them instead stand your ground. 

5) Surround yourself with women who support you and make you feel good about yourself. 

We just want to be accepted right? Especially if we spent most of our lives trying to fit in but never really feeling like we belong. Often times mean girls are part of a clique and we want to belong to something like that. If someone is being mean to you, making your feel like you don’t belong, or tearing other women down you have to ask yourself if you really want to be a part of that. Don’t stoop to their level.

So many times in my life I tried desperately to fit in. Every time I walked away feeling rejected and empty inside usually after being the victim of some mean girls. As women mean girls have developed a subtler ways of being mean. It’s not always blatant. It wasn’t until I really took the time to discover who I was, what I stood for, and how I wanted to feel that I realized these kinds of people just weren’t worth my time. Instead I took time to find those women who were worth it. They often have been the victims of mean girls too.

If you want help discovering who you are check out this article I once was lost & Finding the right community for you. Remember YOU ARE BRAVE, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, YOU ARE WORTHY, & YOU ARE ENOUGH!!!

XoXo

Megan Hall

Finding Your Why

Finding Your Why, Megan Hall, Life Coach, Motivational Speaker

If you’ve been in the personal development world for any length of time at all you might have heard about finding your why. Every one has a why or the reason behind everything they do. The stronger your why the stronger the motivation for achieving your goals will be. Your why is really the fuel for your fire.

Sometimes we feel stumped when trying to discover our why. Our why might even come out without any oomph. We wonder where that passion everyone is talking is. We might scream to ourselves “I don’t know why?!?!” out of pure frustration. The problem is when we don’t have a solid why it can be really easy to give up on our goals and dreams.

finding your why:

1) Play the why game. Ask yourself why and when you answer ask yourself why for that answer. Keep doing this until you cannot answer the question anymore. 

2) Find a quiet place to journal. Just keep writing about this goal/dream until you have uncovered that deep why. 

3) Talk it out with someone. This might be your coach or your business bestie or someone else but someone who can ask you the right questions. 

4) Ask yourself if this is really something you want to do. If you are struggling to find a why then it may be because this isn’t what you really want. 

5) Revisit it. If you truly want this thing but are struggling to find that “why that makes you cry” then write down what answer you do have and revisit it later. 

There can be a lot of pressure to discover your why. Give yourself grace. Your why is a tool to help you stay motivated and connect with others. It is not a life or death sort of thing. It’s absolutely ok to say this is not my goal/dream or to say I just don’t know my why right now. Don’t let it be the thing that prevents you from moving forward.

Your why might also mold and change with time. Sometimes moms with young kids are motivated by being the best mom for their kids. When their kids grow up their why is likely to change. Change is not scary and is perfectly acceptable. Allow you why to grow with you and continue to reveal new layers of it to yourself and others.

Remember YOU ARE BRAVE, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, YOU ARE AMAZING, & YOU ARE ENOUGH!!!

XoXo

Megan Hall

5 Ways to Show Respect to Your Fellow Humans

5 Ways to Show Respect to Your Fellow Humans, Megan Hall, Life Coach, Motivational Speaker

There is a lot of disrespect going on in the world today. I feel like we have lost sight of the one thing we all have in common… our humanness. Even though our beliefs, perceptions, and experiences are all different we all have the same internal make up. To be considered a living human we all need brain function and a heart beat.

Humans aren’t perfect. We all come with our own imperfections and we all make mistakes. One of the biggest mistakes we make is not respecting other peoples humanness. We often come from a place of striving for perfection and judging all those who aren’t doing so as well. We weren’t meant to be perfect. Instead of shaming each other for those imperfections we should be respecting each others differences.

5 ways to show respect for your fellow humans

1) Listen with an open mind and a closed mouth. Even if their perspective is different than yours. 

2) Stop discriminating against people because they are “different”.

3) Admit you don’t know everything and be willing to learn. 

4) Release the assumption that everyone needs to think, act, or look like you. 

5) Treat them how you would expect to be treated NO MATTER WHAT!

If we were just born in a different country, family, body or environment we could have different beliefs, perceptions and opinions. Who can say that the way we are or think is right way. Sometimes there can be many right answers to the same question. How many ways are there to be a good human? There is an infinite number of ways.

When interacting with this world that is sometimes full of hate and negativity try not to forget our shared humanness. Don’t be that person that feels like they know everything, are always right, and refuse to learn anything new. Learning and growing is a part of being human. There will never be a day that we say “I made it! I’m perfect! I know everything I could ever need to and I make no mistakes.”

Remember YOU ARE BRAVE, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, YOU ARE AMAZING & YOU ARE ENOUGH!!! Your fellow humans are too.

XoXo

Megan Hall

How to Support Someone With Mental Illness

Mental Illness, Megan Hall, Life Coach. Motivational Speaker

Two weeks ago social media was in a stir over the death of two celebrities, Kate Spade & Anthony Bourdain, via suicide. During that week I saw some incredible support for those with mental illness. I also saw some very inconsiderate and ignorant comments about suicide and mental illness. Some of those comments even came from people in the wellness space. It’s as if mental wellness did not fit in the physical wellness space.

It’s hard to understand what it’s like to be in a place where suicide seems like the only option until you are there. I remember when I was younger thinking that suicide was selfish and that I could never do that. As I share in Suicide Awareness episode of The Inspired Women Podcast my first suicidal ideation came when I was 13 years old. Even after that I didn’t quite understand what brings someone to make that ultimate decision because I didn’t act on my ideation. It wasn’t until the time that I was acting on it that I could really understand.

How to support someone With Mental Illness

1) Check on them. Don’t just assume that because they seem ok that they are really ok.

2) Be a listening ear. You are most likely not a therapist so don’t try to diagnosis just listen. 

3) Encourage them to seek out a mental health professional. Diagnosis should come from a mental health professional not a friend or a primary care physician. 

4) Validate their feelings. Nothing is worse than having someone tell us that our feelings are invalid. 

5) Educate yourself. Learn more about signs of mental illness and suicide. Be a willing student. 

If you have never experiences mental illness or suicidal ideation it can be difficult to understand. It’s important we set aside our inherent biases and judgement so we can support those around us who are struggling. It’s not up to you to “save” someone with mental illness but it is important to support them. Each person has to make their own decisions when it comes to their mental health. When we are informed and supportive we can help with those decisions.

Just because someone may seem “happy” or “successful” that does not mean they aren’t struggling. Many of us have spent years learning how to fake being “ok”. That doesn’t mean the signs won’t be there just that we need to look a little closer to see them. Many times today’s society is too busy to see those signs. If you lose someone to suicide know it’s not your fault. It’s not that they didn’t love you or they thought you were awful. They were struggling and probably thought the world would be better off without them in it.

Remember YOU ARE BRAVE, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, YOU ARE AMAZING & YOU ARE ENOUGH!!!

XoXo

Megan Hall

If you want more information on the subject of suicide prevention please listen to Episode 73 of The Inspired Women Podcast.

32 Lessons I’ve Learned

32 Lessons I've Learned, Megan Hall, Life Coach, Motivational Speaker

This week I will celebrate my 32nd trip around the sun. Looking back there are so many lessons I’ve learned but in honor of this birthday I am going to share 32! Many of these things I’ve shared over time in The Inspired Women Community or on The Inspired Women Podcast but this is a consolidation of all of that. Will these lessons always be true? Maybe! In the next year I will probably learn new & different ones.

32 lessons I’ve learned in 32 years

1) Life isn’t always fair. 

Yes I believe in karma. I also believe that sometimes shitty things happen to good people. Adversity does not discriminate.

2) Just because someone is family doesn’t mean they are good people. 

We have to set those boundaries with family. Just because someone is blood or pushed you out their vagina it does not mean they have the right to a spot in your life.

3) It only takes one decision to change the trajectory of your life. 

This can be good or bad. I’ve made decisions that changed my trajectory for the worse then later made decisions that changed my trajectory towards the better.

4) Profanity does not mean someone has a limited vocabulary or that they are not intelligent. 

Y’all some of the most intelligent people I know swear and they believe that profanity just adds to their vocabulary. I mean sometimes we just need a shit added in there for emphasis.

5) Change isn’t always a bad thing. 

In most cases change is good. As we age we learn and grow in new and amazing ways. In order to do that change is necessary.

6) We need friends. 

Friendships are necessary for our physical, mental & emotional health. Not any friendships though. Those friends who lift you up and support you.

7) Forgiveness is necessary. 

When we don’t forgive we drag that shit around with us forever. It’s not hurting the other person it’s only hurting us. By doing this we are allowing that person to continue to hurt us long after the initial hurt. That’s no way to live.

8) Even though we have come a long way we still have a long way to go.

Seriously though! The fact that there still is some very racist, homophobic, bigoted people out there on the planet means we still have a long way to go.

9) What you want today may not be what you want five years from now. 

What I wanted at 27 is no where near what I want today. I had full plans to be a personal trainer and make my own work out videos.

10) Everything we put in our bodies effects our bodies. 

Whether that’s what we are eating, what we are listening to, the air we breathe, etc… It all makes a difference.

11) There is no such thing as perfect. 

There’s just not. Embrace those imperfections because we all have them.

12) Technology is helping and hurting us at the same time. 

Look at how much we are on our phones or computers in a day. It’s addictive.

13) Our physical, mental & emotional health are all important. 

If your mental health is shit eventually your physical health will be and vice versa.

14) There will never be a point where we look and say “I made it.”

It’s human nature to keep striving towards something new. There’s never a time that we know everything and have done everything we want to.

15) Mental illness does not discriminate. 

It doesn’t matter what race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, socio-economic background someone is we are all susceptible.

16) Being you is the best person you can be. 

No one else can be you except you. Trying to be someone else is just being a second rate version of them.

17) Every human is equal. 

We all have a brain, a heart, & lungs. We all bleed. There’s is nothing that makes one of us better than another. If we were born in a different environment or had different experiences we might be someone else entirely.

18) Your experience in a situation will be different then someone in the same situation. 

Our beliefs, perceptions, opinions & past experiences taint our current experiences. That doesn’t make anyone right or wrong.

19) No one is safe from adversity. 

We all experience it in our lifetimes. Adversity doesn’t discriminate.

20) Hard is hard. 

Who really wants to win the game of who has it harder. I know I don’t.

21) No one can tell you how you feel or how you are suppose to feel. 

Our feelings are ours alone. No one has the right to dictate that.

22) Success is individual. 

Your definition of success and my definition of success are two different things. Don’t let anyone dictate that for you.

23) There can be more than one right answer. 

So many times we see things in black and white when actually there is a whole spectrum of color out there. Sometimes there can be more than one right answer for the same question.

24) Your intuition is one of the most valuable tools you have. 

Trust it!

25) You can never say what you would do until you’ve been in that exact situation under those exact circumstance. 

Today I saw someone say “I would never take my own life.” This is someone who stated they have also never experienced mental illness. You don’t know until you are there.

26) It is never to late to pursue your dreams. 

I know women who have pursued a new career later in life. They are rocking it too!

27) Just because someone’s life choice isn’t your own doesn’t mean they are wrong. 

We just naturally want to be right but leave it be. Just because you do something doesn’t make it right. It would be so boring if we were all alike.

28) Our experiences shape who we are but that doesn’t mean we are stuck that way. 

At any point in time we can decide this is not how our story ends.

29) Someone’s opinion about you has very little to do with you and everything to do with them. 

It’s all about their beliefs, perceptions, and insecurities. Their judgments about you have so much to do with that. Until they work through those it won’t matter what you do.

30) Apologies are absolutely necessary. 

If you do something wrong apologize. If you hurt someone’s feelings unintentionally apologize for hurting their feelings but don’t apologize for what you did not say/do.

31) You don’t need another person to complete you. 

You are more than enough just as you are. Don’t put that kind of expectation on someone else.

32) It’s 100% acceptable to ask for help when you need it. 

Whether it’s seeking out a therapist or asking you spouse to help more around the house or asking your friend to watch your cats. The worst thing that they can do is say no.

That’s it! I’m sure there are more things I have learned but I’ll keep it to 32. I would love to hear what lessons you’ve learned just comment below. Remember YOU ARE BRAVE, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, YOU ARE AMAZING, & YOU ARE ENOUGH!!!

XoXo

Megan Hall

 

Ending the Stigma

Ending the Stigma, Megan Hall, Life Coach, Motivational Speaker

I remember when the first time I saw a therapist. My husband had to ask his work to leave early so I could go to my appointments every week. I remember being so worried that other people would find out and judge me. Over my life time I had heard so many people make cruel comments about people who were in therapy. That stigma is part of the reason I didn’t want to go in the first place.

Fast forward five years and I will tell anyone who will listen that I see a therapist. Why? It changed my life! So much so that I am pursuing a degree in psychology so I can help others as well. I openly share my story to help dismantle the stigma around mental health. Each time I share I hope that it will encourage others to go seek out therapy as well.

How we can help end the stigma around mental health

1) Seek out therapy ourselves. Others won’t learn just by hearing but by seeing. 

2) Share our mental health struggles openly. This doesn’t have to be with strangers but with those closest to us. 

3) Support others who are struggling by being empathetic not judgmental.

4) Speak out when we hear someone making ignorant comments about mental health. 

5) Surround ourselves with mental health advocates who are willing to talk about mental health. 

Mental health is just as important as physical health. Society doesn’t see a problem with seeking out a doctor when we have problems with physical health. It is ludicrous to think that it’s not also just as acceptable to seek out a therapist when we have problems with our emotional health. If we want to make total body health acceptable we must start here.

I am going to keep sharing my story and I hope you will as well. Let’s work towards ending the stigma around mental health together. Then perhaps more people will seek the help they need before it’s too late. If you want to hear more about my mental health journey you can tune into The Inspired Women Podcast or read Dealing With Depression and What I Learned From Being Clinically Depressed.

Remember you are beautiful, you are brave, you are amazing, and YOU ARE ENOUGH!!!

XoXo

Megan Hall

 

Stop Tolerating Other People’s Bullshit

Stop tolerating other people's bullshit, Megan Hall, Life Coach, Motivational Speaker

Can I be real with you for a second? We tolerate way too much bullshit. Many times we do it because we don’t want to be mean or we can’t imagine what someone will say if we don’t. Guess what? We aren’t being mean and what people say about us is none of our business. That’s all about them not us. Stop tolerating other people’s bullshit.

When I was in college the first time around we read a book on bullshit. Yes there is a book on bullshit. It’s short, sweet and you can get it where ever books are sold. I haven’t read the book in awhile, like 12 years, but what I remember most about the book is how it points out that we tolerate to much bullshit. It’s not untrue. We, as a society, are so polite that sometimes we become too polite. During the process we fail to set boundaries with other people.

How to stop tolerating other People’s Bullshit

1) Learn to say no. Without excuse, without reason, without anything… No is a complete sentence. 

2) Stop spending time with people who drain you. Just cut them loose.

3) Be you unapologetic-ally. Stop pretending to be someone your not just to impress the bullshitters. 

4) Find your limit. We each can only tolerate so much bullshit in a day. Some times bullshit is unavoidable so know your limit.

5) Get real with your soul. Is this path really the one your suppose to be on?

That last tip might have thrown you for a loop. Why does the path I’m on really matter? We often tolerate other people’s bullshit because we think we have to in order to get where we want to be. Once we get there we realize this is not where we wanted to be at all! That’s because we don’t take the time to check in with ourselves and get real about where we are going.

No matter what your goals and dreams are you shouldn’t have to tolerate other people’s bullshit. It doesn’t make you polite. Instead it emotionally drains you or mentally exhausts you. That’s just not a life to live. Be merciless about setting boundaries. You only get one life, might as well make it a good one.

Remember YOU ARE BRAVE, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, YOU ARE AMAZING, and YOU ARE ENOUGH!!!

XoXo

Megan Hall

PS You can check out these resources on boundaries: Creating BoundariesBoundary Basics, & What’s in Your Space.