The Award Goes To You

…when being yourself is enough.

  • You deserve an award.
  • You deserve praise.
  • You deserve the feeling of accomplishment.
  • You are deserving.
  • You are incredible.
  • You are enough.

These mantras and well-wishes are all things EVERYONE deserves to hear and feel, but many don’t. And if mental illness is at play, you probably don’t feel any of these things very often, if at all. So how can we change that?

We live in an extremely goal-oriented society, where the act of over-achieving is expected. Where anticipating others’ needs is the norm. We live in a society ram-shackled by all-consuming social media influencers and celebrities — those who meet the highest echelon of achievement, win awards, make millions and millions of dollars for doing and having it all. We also live in a society that loves people who achieve the most. We obsess over the Tony’s, the Grammy’s, the Emmy’s — all events that award the best-of-the-best for their achievements in the best movie, best play, best sport, best song, best anything.

But where are the awards for showing up? For waking up? For just being? There are days when I wake up so exhausted, so enveloped in my anxiety and depression, so overwhelmed by what I have to do for that given day, that getting out of bed is too much, let alone achieving ‘greatness.’ When I’m having a particularly challenging mental health day, my mind constantly tries to convince me I’m too tired to do anything while simultaneously letting me know I’m not doing enough to be worthy anyway. Then, when I manage to do something, it relentlessly lets me know that thing wasn’t done well enough.

And I know I’m not alone in this experience. Shit is hard, dude. Dealing with mental illness is hard, dude. Doing that shit while dealing with mental illness is So. Hard. DUDE.

We as humans make a million decisions in each given day just to survive, and that, in of itself, is pretty amazing. This expectation to be constantly great and constantly achieving the next big thing is impossible and constantly leaves us feeling less than, ashamed, guilty, and worthless. But, you are none of those things. You ARE amazing for just being you because that is achievement, that is accomplishment, that is truly amazing.

We need more environments that facilitate this feeling of accomplishment regardless of achievement level. I am extremely lucky to be working where I do now. The hours are flexible, the required tasks are varied and interesting, and most importantly, I have bosses and coworkers that consistently check in on each other’s health and well-being and congratulate each other on any and all achievements, even if it’s just a nicely written email. I feel excited to come to work and I know I’ll have support when I’m feeling less than excited to do much of anything. I recognize how lucky I am to be a part of this environment, and I am so sorry to those feeling stuck in an unsupportive environment because you too deserve to feel supported, secure, and worthy.

You deserve an award just for being here!

Surviving, existing, being is enough. Dealing with mental illness or not is enough. Failing, learning, passing, losing, is enough. Showing up, staying home, resting in bed, is enough. Working a job, working on school, working on your personal well-being is enough. Spending time with people, a pet, by yourself, is enough. Sharing about your mental, emotional, physical, spiritual struggles and triumphs is all good and is all enough.

You are enough, truly enough, as you are.

Author, Hanna Boleman

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