Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever's worst
Perfection is a disease of a nation, it's the soul that needs the surgery-
Beyoncé- Pretty Hurts
Let me introduce you to former miss USA 2019 winner Ms Cheslie Kryst. The above video was her winning moment in 2019 when she was crowned Miss USA.
Fast forward to January 2022. Cheslie committed suicide by jumping off the balcony of her high rise apartment in New York. She was only 30 years old.
It's hard to imagine such a loss of life when looking at Cheslie. From the outside she appeared happy and had already accomplished so much; but she is another example of why taking care of our mental health is never to be under-estimated. At only 28 years, Cheslie made history as the oldest Miss USA to win the beauty pageant in 2019. To be only 28 years old and yet be the oldest woman to win such an established pageant, also highlights the pressures women face from society, in regards to growing older. But that is another story.... the focus of this blog post is to remind us again on how necessary it is to take care of our mental inner wellbeing (your mind, emotional wellness, physical wellness)
On the outside, Cheslie appeared to have it all, she appeared happy and had so much going for her; A lawyer, Miss USA 2019, Entertainment journalist meeting inspiring people in the industry such as Mary J Blige, Denzel Washington, she was a much loved daughter, sister, but yet, no one expected that it would all come to such a tragic end, so young.
Suicide among the black and ethnic groups is rarely spoken about due to mental illness still being something that isn't easily recognised within families from black and ethnic minority groups. Culturally, a person suffering with depression or a serious mental health problem, can get dismissed or overlooked by those closest to them. The person suffering can be labelled many things until it is too late to see the underlying issue. Lastly, the person suffering with a mental illness may not even recognise there is something wrong.
One place to start in taking better care of our mental health is to start being truthfully honest with yourself when you are not feeling ok. Having a positive attitude is important in life but.... it's also ok to not be ok and put together all the time. You do not owe anyone to always be ok. You are allowed to not feel fine.
Mental health can very quickly turn into a serious mental illness such as depression, when we fail to take notice of negative emotional changes within ourselves. The same way if you notice a constant yet subtle pain in some part of your body and yet continue to ignore it, this can turn into an illness. Let us not be ashamed or embarrassed to admit to ourselves and those around us when we are not feeling ok. If you are struggling to get help or understanding from those closest to you then seek help and support elsewhere such as counselling or your local doctor. The voice inside a person's head that leads them to commit suicide or other forms of self harm can be corrected with the right support; but it takes the person suffering and those around them, to recognise when something isn't ok.
So next time you look in the mirror to check your outward appearance, take a moment also to do a self check in, and ask yourself: How I'm I feeling today?
Keep your answer honest and truthful. It takes courage to be honest and truthful with anyone....including ourselves. From my own battles with mental health; I have learned one tool to help me recognise when my mental health is declining is to be REALLY honest with myself and how I feel about any challenge I am dealing with that I am finding hard at the time. Every day, check in with yourself and be honest about how you feel regarding any situation you are dealing with.
If you don't like the answer- take one small action every day to make a change. If you can't change the situation then work on changing your mindset because some situations that cause us unhappiness and pain, we may not be able to change them....but we can always learn to change our mindset to help us accept what we cannot change and still live a fulfilled life.