"Hi, How Are You?"

I hate the radio.

When I was in the market to buy a car back in 2015 my list of needs went as follows:

Hatchback or station wagon (I know you’re judging me, and I don’t care)

Good gas mileage

Bluetooth capability or auxillary port

In retrospect, I should have included leather seats. You might think it’s because I have a kid and a dog and who wouldn’t want easy cleanup after those two but really it’s because of me and the fact that I regularly spill my coffee while throwing my purse into the passenger seat. It’s not unusual for my car to smell like steamed milk.

Anyway, there is entirely too much talking on the radio. I would rather not spend the twenty minutes in the pickup line at school listening to a DJ’s stream of consciousness; the voices in my head are plenty. Unfortunately I got a new phone and have yet to sync my new phone with the bluetooth in my car (the bluetooth lady won’t allow such activity while driving and of course it’s not until I’m driving that I remember to do this) and I last saw my auxiliary cord the week after I bought my car. So I’ve had to suffer at the hand of the three FM stations in Myrtle Beach that don’t play more commercials than music, Cardi B or latin music.

It was beginning to take a toll on my sanity.

Then I heard a commercial for “Hi, How Are You” Day.

I’m a huge fan of National Days and designations, National Donut Day and National Wine Day are personal favorites, so I immediately pulled up the website on my phone (at a stoplight of course.) Turns out “Hi, How Are You” Day is an event benefiting a project of the same name that is looking to inspire new conversations and end the stigma surrounding mental health.

Can I get an amen?

Today, January 22, 2019, is the second annual “Hi, How Are You?” Day, a day where you’re “encouraged to check in on a neighbor, friend, co-worker, family member or loved one and ask ‘Hi, How Are You?’ - and to really mean it!”

Diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2002, I have spent a majority of my life struggling with mental health issues. It’s been an ongoing adventure featuring trial and error experiments in medications, talk therapy, and homeopathic remedies (sunshine and regular exercise can be surprisingly helpful) but the one thing I have learned over the years is that coming forward and being honest with the people in your life is one of the more beneficial things you can do in this position.

For those of you wrestling with mental health issues: not only be kind to yourself but also allow others the opportunity to be kind to you. Be open with the people in your life. I can’t guarantee that every time you disclose your less-than-pleasant parts you’ll be met with a welcoming and an open-mind. Hell, I’ve even had a licensed therapist who was judgmental and disapproving. Talk about a setback. But as the famous philosopher Pinterest says “don’t be afraid to fail, be afraid not to try.”

For a long time I avoided it. I didn’t want the pity, the stigma, the shame; but for every person that pitied me, stigmatized me, shamed me, there were a dozen others who knew my struggle, who showed me genuine kindness, who brought me up.

I encourage everyone to be the latter. Be genuine. Be kind. Be sympathetic.

And take the time today to ask someone “How Are You?”

For additional information on “Hi, How Are You” Day and the “Hi, How Are You” Project please visit their website, www.hihowareyou.org.

#Hi #HowAreYou #HiHowAreYouDay #mentalhealth #mentalillness

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