Summer is a frame of mind.—Roy Clarke
Summer: the season of sauna and sassafras tea; time for fans and flights to faraway spots, for A/C and I.C (Air Conditioning and Ice Cream); time to drink in the yellow nectar that pours forth from the giant yellow star that saves the hurtling planet on which we live from being another bleak rock.
In summer, the sun is all too hot, all too real. It is a truth we cannot blink away. Summer makes us honest.
And with sun-like warmth and honesty, our mental health recovery can only improve. Such honesty may be found in BRIDGES peer-to-peer educational classes and support groups. Our pain “forces [us] to be honest,” writes Helen Perry. “It doesn’t get any realer than that.” For it is only by confronting past and present traumas that we become more “real." We who have mental illness are the Story Keepers; we need to be Story Sharers.
And as I visit mental health courts, residential care facilities and a forensic psychiatric hospital to promote BRIDGES, I hear the health that comes from Stories Shared: of a woman for whom love brought only self-hatred, of a transgendered woman with an enduring heart despite unendurable abuse, and of a man no longer as shattered as the glass that once was his trundle-bed - all being tended by treatment and Telling Their Truth.
Think of your life story as climate control. As long as you dwell in the cold, unplumbed depths, you will know only the darkness. If you would be warm, then Tell Your Story. It heals.
Glenn Close said, “What mental illness needs is more sunlight.” So go on. Face the Sun. And remember your sunscreen.