“If we can talk about sexuality, sexual positions, and sexual preferences out in the open without squirming, without any shame, then why the hell can we not talk about our own mental health. On things that may impact whether we live or die! Because were too ashamed to talk about it.”
Here in Wisconsin we are getting close to having our second season, winter. We have endured the months and months of construction - but thanks to Covid that season has been more of an irritation instead of an inconvenience. I guess even Covid has it’s silver lining huh?
This week Aaron and myself talk about mental health and the impact that S.A.D. has had on both of our lives, and the current impact it is having on Aaron’s. Sometimes S.A.D. appears as just wanting to sleep more, but it can also have the same symptoms as depression up to and including suicidal ideation. S.A.D. is not something to be taken lightly, but it is also not something to immediately freak out about if one of your family/friends is diagnosed/dealing with it. S.A.D. is a very common diagnosis actually according to the Mayo clinic , with over millions of people diagnosed yearly in the United States, with some estimates putting it at 4% - 6% of the population being impacted by this yearly - with 10% - 20% of the population experiencing mild S.A.D. symptoms. Putting that into perspective 4% of the United States Population is close to 13.2 million people annually who deal with this medical condition. If you took the higher end 20% of the population, that brings the total U.S. population dealing with some form of S.A.D. up to 65.6 million.
Let that number sink in for a minute. 65.6 million people each year potentially deal with some form of S.A.D. that impacts them in some way. Now just because someone is dealing with S.A.D. does not mean that they are themselves suicidal or in any way in threat of hurting themselves - though it is possible. What this means is that annually, we have millions of people who are suffering alone and trying to make it through the winter to times when we have more sunlight to help them stave off the effects of this disease. Like it’s “big brother” depression, S.A.D. is something to keep an eye on and know the symptoms of and how to help others dealing with it - because more than likely someone you know is attempting to deal with this disease in some way.
So how do you help your friends/family that are dealing with S.A.D. - especially if it’s not diagnosed? More ideas can be found at the links below.
Encourage them to go outside if possible, or at least open a window to let in natural sunlight.
Encourage them to get some exercise.
Encourage them to talk to their doctor to get officially diagnosed.
Check in with your friends that are “feeling blue” during the winter months to make sure they are doing well.
I have been pretty open on the podcast with my struggles regarding my own mental health and the journey to get better. I have been a big advocate for working to drop the stigma attached to mental health, especially after seeing the reaction of some of the people in my own family and it is refreshing to see others taking up the mantel as well and bringing these conversations to the forefront. This is the first time that Aaron has been as open as he has on the podcast regarding his own mental health issues - specifically S.A.D. and how it has impacted him these past years.(Way to go Aaron!)
I have been frustrated by multiple people due to the fact that whenever mental health is brought up, a lot of people immediately stop talking - almost like the conversation is an “impolite” topic to discuss in “civilized” conversation. But those same people may then go into a long discussion about their date the other night and all the things they may have done sexually with the other person - and yet the concept of talking about mental health is considered taboo.
Part of the goals of our Podcast is to no longer let specific topics be “taboo” for “polite” conversation - and sometimes we do well at it and sometimes not so well - but we are working on it each and every week.
One of the things that Aaron brings up is the song Sometimes by Skillet and while it may not have originally been written regarding mental health how it fits perfectly with how we feel at times when we don’t want to necessarily get better mentally and get over what is going at the time. The lyrics are powerful - and I recommend you listen to the song and read the caption for the lyrics from the final chorus to understand the portion that both of us talk about in the episode.
Sometimes, I don't wanna be better
(Everything is wrong forever!)
Sometimes, I can't be put back together
(Sometimes, it's gone forever!)
Sometimes, I find it hard to believe
There's someone else who could be
Just as messed up as me!
Just as messed up as me!
As far as people being more open about these things, someone I know recently created a Facebook group for those in the construction/trade industries dealing with various mental health issues. You should check out their page - https://www.facebook.com/HardTalksInHardhats/ and join in the conversation especially if you are in the construction/trade industries. While you are on Facebook - go ahead and check out and like our page as well at https://www.facebook.com/UseYourWordsPodcast You can also ensure that when your friend/family is talking about any issues they may be experiencing this winter - especially in the time of covid - that you listen to them and understand and if the issues of mental health start to come up, don’t shy away from those conversations. Lean into them - hard.