Hulne: Staying mentally stable in an uncertain world

Published 4:00 pm Wednesday, September 21, 2022

The Hayfield volleyball team did something very special this past week.

The team went out of its way to encourage improved mental health within the community as it dedicated its match with Kenyon-Wanamingo to the fight for mental health.

The night began with Hayfield senior Reese Baumann and her teammates wearing shirts that read “You Matter” as they ran through a banner that was labeled “stigma.” The night included a speech about the importance of mental health for students and adults alike and counseling was offered for those who desired it.

The stigma around talking about mental health issues is slowly going away with the new generation, but the ways of dealing with it are not easy.

As someone who has dealt with mental health issues, I felt this was a good time to open up a little bit.

There have been times in my life where negativity and depression have clouded my mind to the point of agony and despair. Sometimes the struggles stem from life events and sometimes they come from nowhere at all.

When your life has been flipped upside down so many times that you don’t know which way is up anymore, things can start to get pretty confusing and desperate.

I am not unique in this struggle and all of us have had one trial or another that has caused us to question the point of it all.

Luckily for me, I have a strong support system of close friends and family. These things are vital for everyone.

I also discovered that staying physically active is a major ally in staying mentally steady.

For others, the battle to stay present and fulfilled may lead to more extreme measures like a trip to the hospital or a prolonged break from work.

Whatever you do, make sure you tell someone about it and make sure you stay occupied. Human beings are driven by purpose and if you allow yourself to give up and check out, it is going to be an uphill battle to get back on track.

If you’ve slipped so far that you’ve lost sense of your own purpose, look for it in others. You can overcome your setback and be a shining light to others who are struggling.

When I was attending high school, we lost two students to suicide in a span of four years and I can still picutre their faces. In a small school like the one I attended, you may not know everyone in the hallway, but you know who everyone in the hallway is.

Unfortunately, there is no way to know who is struggling as we navigate this thing called life. It is important to make everyone feel welcome, even if it is just greeting them with a smile or a nod while walking past them.

It is not lost on me that as I was working on this column, a threat put schools in lockdown all across Minnesota. While I was relieved that nobody was injured, I couldn’t help but think about the fear that was thrust into every student who had to spend a portion of their Wednesday afternoon on lockdown — not knowing what was coming next.

I don’t know what the motive of the threat was, but I do know there have been tragic events in the past carried out by those who felt they were left out or forgotten by the world.

We need to be more accepting and less attacking. The online world of cyber-bullying and echo chambers has put a dent in the unification of our society and it has left many of us thinking that only a portion of the population is worthy of our respect.

What good does it do to win an argument if you’re only leaving your adversary broken and humiliated? Instead of getting angry with someone who disagrees with you, try to understand them and find out why they feel the way they do.

Instead of recording people and posting them on social media to embarrass them, try recording good acts and posting those to encourage positivity.

Mostly, we just need to love one another and care about each other, regardless of where we come from or what we believe.

On my way home from Hayfield’s match on Tuesday, there was a fitting metaphor in the skyline behind me on Highway 56 as blasts of glowing lighting were battling with the darkened sky. Sometimes that’s how life goes.

We find short bursts of positivity covered in a heap of darkness. It’s important to know that those bursts are there and it is imperative that we remember a sunrise is on its way.

Things will get better.