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Cathi Kennedy shares a reflection on a mental health breakthrough, in acknowledgement of this month's Mental Health Awareness Day.

A few weeks ago, if you were near the river walk, you may have seen me walking along, talking to myself, and wildly gesturing with my arms.

Some phrases you may have heard:

You know when you think you see someone you know, so you wave, and then realize you don’t know them? Yeah, that just happened.”

As God as my witness, I will NEVER do another burpee again IN MY LIFE. They can’t make me—I’m a grown adult. What are they going to do—cancel my membership?”

I was actually in the middle of a phone call with my therapist.

Besides being amused at this seemingly one-sided conversation and my blatant hatred for working out, you may also have caught snippets of me verbalizing some hard truths. And once those things are said, well, it’s either face them or bury them deep.

But if I say that, what happens if the answer is no?"

Why is it so hard for me to do that?”

I know I have things in my life that other people dream of having! But …"

I don’t feel I’m worthy of that."

I need to trust that person more.”




Last summer, I had what you might call a breakthrough moment. I faced a tough choice, and it was surprising to me how tough it was. On the one hand, it appeared as if I was getting something I’d been praying to have for years, decades even. So why was it so hard to choose that path? Talking through it, I realized that I had been telling myself a false narrative about my life and the choices I’d made decades ago. Although I ultimately had peace with letting those falsehoods go, I tried to hold on to them and make both narratives true. Guess whatthat doesn’t work. And once I verbalized it allpeace, my friends. Peace!

Sometimes it’s walking on a path looking like a crazy person. Sometimes it’s being curled up on your best friend’s couch, crying until you are dehydrated. But I’m telling you thisSAY the words. Let yourself HEAR what your mind and heart have been trying to tell you.


Click to tweet:
Let yourself HEAR what your mind and heart have been trying to tell you. #catholicmom

When my massage therapist works on my right arm, it hurts so much that I almost cry. I know that kneading out those knots is the only way through, but man, it HURTS. If you ask me daily, “does your arm hurt?” I’d unequivocally say, “no, not at all!” My body has adapted to the pain; little by little, those muscles have knotted up until someone touches it, and then it hurts so much I cry—the same thing is happening with my emotions and thoughts. Adapt, continue like normal. But one day, something reaches that spot, and it hurts so much that I can't think or feel.

I refuse to say any phrase here that sounds cliché: "No pain, no gain." "Work through the pain to get to the other side." You don't have to suffer to get to peace, but you do have to realize what's keeping you from it.

Permit yourself to sit with your feelings once the words have been spoken. You don't have to do all the work right away; realizing what's been said and what it means is the start. You'll know when you're ready for the next step.

Copyright 2022 Cathi Kennedy
Images: Canva