Signs of Strength

This story following the news of a rapper’s recent admittance to a behavioral health hospital brings up an interesting question that always coincides with mental health: Am I struggling because I’m weak?

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How do you define strength and weakness? What does it mean to you? Why do you believe what you believe?

Everyone struggles at one point or another. It doesn’t help anyone when we label those who aren’t struggling “strong” and those who are “weak”. That belief creates an environment where people who need help refuse to ask for it because they don’t want to be seen as weak. And those who have already asked for help and received it feel guilty about doing so.

How do you define strength? How do you define weakness?

Unfortunately, a lot of people see strength as some kind of test. If you can survive ___ and be alright, then you can survive anything. Everyone is different though. I can maybe withstand a tragedy that would knock someone else off their feet for days and vice versa.

And unfortunately, a lot of people define weakness as vulnerability. Crying, shouting, withdrawing, getting anxious, or becoming emotional are all associated with weakness. Opening up about a mental health struggle requires bravery, but in the eyes of some people it’s not brave at all.

To struggle is to be human. A struggle is a sign that you are in the middle of a storm and you haven’t given up yet. That is the epitome of strength.

If those who associate struggling with weakness haven’t experienced their own storm, they will at some point in life and sometimes it takes a personal experience to fully understand what makes someone weak and what makes someone strong.

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