‘I cried for the better part of an hour and a half. That is NOT a sign of weakness.’: Man speaks up about normalizing mental health

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Mental health talk time.

Stress is not the same for everyone.

If you are neurodivergent, you might stress about things others don’t and have extreme emotions/emotional dysregulation, and that is okay.

You will still have to answer for what you do and say, but you are not alone in these issues.

It is okay to cry.

Again for those in the back, IT IS OKAY TO CRY!

A man with a goatee and grey eyes sits in his car
Courtesy of Zack Sherman

I cried my way through an intense meeting today for the better part of the full hour and a half.

Self-accountability and accepting that you are different is tough.

In years past, I would spend the next five days literally hating myself because I couldn’t control my tears.

Those tears, and any tears really, are a physical reaction to an excess of emotion that you don’t have the tools to communicate.

They are NOT a sign of weakness.

We don’t have to, and really shouldn’t, feel like we are failing, unbalanced, or wrong for crying.

On the flip side of that coin is that we are responsible for setting up systems and pathways to help those we affect with our words or actions.

It isn’t a friend, family member, coworker, or boss’s responsibility to know how to work with us if we don’t talk to them about it.

A man sitting in his car wearing a black hoodie
Courtesy of Zack Sherman

I have many faults.

I have and will continue to make mistakes, big mistakes.

It isn’t anyone’s job or responsibility to understand, forgive, or accept us or our words and actions.

It is our job to be available to them if they want to address us and what we have done.

It is our job to understand and accept that these people may never talk to, forgive, or accept us.

If they don’t we have to take responsibility and accept that.

What isn’t our responsibility is feeling less than for our emotional responses or regulation.

Accept that we might have hurt others and that they have no responsibility to us in fixing what we did.

If they never do, we must accept it and try to grow and know/do better.

In all of this, just know that having emotions is not a weakness, and you are not alone in having those emotions.

You are not alone, and there are many others struggling just like you; I am one of them.

Stop the stigma and talk to those around you to normalize mental health problems so others might learn about them.

Remember that if others mistreat you for your mental health, then they are a**holes, and it isn’t your job to fix them.

No one tells someone to just walk off a broken leg, so no one has the right to tell you to just stop being anxious/depressed/affected by traumatic events/neurodivergent just because they don’t or won’t try to understand.

You are not alone: there are people you can talk to.

I am someone you can talk to.

I will always be willing to help anyone find resources to help with their mental or emotional issues.”

A man sitting on the couch with his cat wearing a grey T-shirt
Courtesy of Zack Sherman

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Zack Sherman of Atlanta, GA. You can follow him on Instagram and Facebook. Submit your own story hereand be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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