When we experience emotional pain, so often we turn to distraction or denial. The trappings of the fast-paced world we live in make it even easier to divert attention away from overwhelming feelings. Sometimes numbness is preferable in the face of grief, depression, or anxiety. We focus on work or pleasure, rarely taking a moment to acknowledge our own pain. With the advent of technology, pills, and other more sophisticated ways to numb and distract ourselves, many can avoid facing their real issues for years, or even decades.
Overwhelmingly, the dominant cultural message we receive is that we need to bottle up our emotions, keep to ourselves, and figure things out on our own.
In Prince Harry’s case, a very publicized family tragedy, (the death of his mother Princess Diana) lead to 20 years of “sticking his head in the sand,” thinking that talking about his loss would only be painful and reap few benefits. In a recent interview with The Telegraph, Harry reveals that after decades of partying and distracting himself in various ways, he was faced with two years of complete chaos. Wavering on the verge of a breakdown, Harry sought out counseling and found the much-needed relief that had evaded him for so long. In therapy, he was given the opportunity to process the grief he had repressed for all those years. According to the Prince, counseling allowed him to heal and move forward with the new goal of helping others acknowledge their own emotional struggles and prioritize their mental wellness.
Overwhelmingly, the dominant cultural message we receive is that we need to bottle up our emotions, keep to ourselves, and figure things out on our own. Only recently has the tide begun to turn as we now know that facing our emotions head on is exactly what helps us experience love, happiness, and fulfillment. As Prince Harry described,
“There is huge merit in talking about your issues and the only thing about keeping it quiet is that it’s only ever going to make it worse.”
We are human beings. Our feelings demand to be felt and will at some point boil over in seemingly sideways, and unrelated displays at times. Yet, if we can work through our issues in counseling, we may take our struggles for what they are and move through them. The more we see people in the public eye speaking up about their struggles and advocating for seeking help, the better equipped we are to fight against the stigma of mental health.
At Austin Family Institute, our goal is bridge the mental healthcare gap by providing affordable and quality counseling. With our sliding scale fees, multiple locations, and flexible appointment times, we aim to make therapy more accessible to all who seek help.