At a young age, many of us were taught to keep our emotions to ourselves. We were noted as too fragile if we let even the slightest emotions get to us. What if we changed this narrative? Since the beginning of quarantine, many have realized their mental health is not where it should be and have decided that going to therapy is a good route.
According to the CDC, the percentage of people on antidepressants between 2015 to 2018 is at its highest, at around 20 percent. This means that 1 in 5 people suffer from a silent illness, and from the outside, you can’t even tell.
Why is safeguarding mental health important? Odds are that you probably know someone who is suffering silently and is afraid to look for help, afraid to be stigmatized and put into a category. We tend to believe that when we are most vulnerable, we are weak. But in fact, studies show that when we are most vulnerable, it allows us to feel more and think positively. Yet, the idea of emotional openness has a negative connotation.
Brene Brown is a research professor who has made various TED talks regarding her idea of vulnerability and the quantification of human emotion. She is a social worker, an academic, and a public speaker. Her perspective on vulnerability considers that avoiding vulnerability does not allow you to fully engage with your emotions with others.
“Connection is why we’re here. It’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. This is what it’s all about. It doesn’t matter whether you talk to people who work in social justice, mental health and abuse and neglect, what we know is that connection, the ability to feel connected, is — neurobiologically that’s how we’re wired.”Brene Brown
The pandemic has completely changed the way we look at human connection and emotional connection to others. The easy answer is, we do need human connection. Zoom is a great way to be connected to others, but it does not allow for a more intimate social connection. Is it difficult to determine mannerisms.
What does social distancing have to do with vulnerability, you may ask? If we are not fully connected to our surroundings and mannerisms of others, we lack a sense of emotional connection, which in turn limits our conversations.