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Monday Whazzup Build Good Mental Health By Building Family Community - Make a Difference In The Life Of Another!

Posted Dec 02 2008 9:26pm

Being a part of a family and a community is good for the soul. Our society is often isolationist driven, which encourages poor mental health. Keeping in communication with our friends and family - especially having these people to depend on when you are in need can be the difference between living a happy and satisfied life, or living a life of loneliness, depression, and misery.

A great example of this is the relationship I have with my husband, who is also my best friend. My husband, Luis, and I learned early on in our marriage that I cannot find my way out of a brown paper bag. My history of being lost is extensive. Now something you should know about Luis and I is that we are opposites in almost every way. He is big, I am little. He is dark, I am fair. He is quiet, I am loud. And, of course, I am usually lost. He is usually not.

Luis and Monkey 2

This is Luis and a friend of ours we recently met on vacation.

In the nearly ten years we have been married I have cell phoned him many times, typically once or twice a year, to announce that I am lost – I don’t know where – and he needs to get me home. Never has Luis lost his temper or gotten upset with me over this. The man realizes I am directionally challenged at a deep and genetic level, so therefore focuses on the task at hand – saving my hind-in – and then calmly goes about his business.

Below is an example of a typical exchange between us while I am in “OH-MY-GOD-I’M-LOST-PANIC-MODE” - -

Stressed out and panicked, I realize I have taken fourteen wrong turns and am heading for what looks like “the middle of no where,” I immediately call Luis’s cell phone.

Luis answers with tension in his voice, “Hey, I’m in middle of a meeting.”

I choke on my words and shout, “I’M LOST!!!”

“Okay,” he says patiently (knowing the entire office is listening in to his personal conversation), “where are you?”

“Uh…. If I knew THAT, I wouldn’t be lost!”

“No, I meant what street are you on?”

“I don’t know! But I’m really lost!”

“Tell me what street you pass next,” he says.

Long pause as I drive in confusion.

“Hey! I just passed Main Street.”

“That’s good! Now, what city are you in?”

My answer: “I don’t know. I’m lost!”

I know he’s rolled his eyes because I can hear the office chuckling in the background, “Where were you going? Are you North or South in Chicagoland?”

“Kinda North!”

“Alright, what buildings are nearby? Maybe we can figure it out.”

“TACO BELL!” I shout, “I’m on the corner of Main and Taco Bell!”

“There are only two Taco Bell’s near a Main Street that I know of - are you coming up to a church?”

“YES!” I screech.

“No problem, you’re two towns over; take two lefts, a right, another left and you’ll be over in our territory.”

And suddenly all the lights and sounds and distractions fade. I am no longer scared and it feels like Luis and I are there together. My eyes tear up and my nose prickles and he says, “are you okay?” Smiling while I drive, I tell him, “THIS is why I married you - THIS moment in time! I married you because you take away all the confusion, you hold my hand, and I know I’m not alone. I love you.” I know he’s smiling too.

“I love you.” In the background I hear a chorus of “awww’s” from the office staff and we hang up.

Luis and Shawna 2008

When you build and nurture family and friends, you are building and nurturing a support network. A place where you can feel safe and satisfied with who you are. You can feel better about yourself and less depressed when you have a community around to help you find your way when you are lost (both emotionally and literally); just like my husband, Luis, does for me. It is about building community and about building good mental health.

Build community and share of yourself – make a difference in the lives of others.

Get Healthy! Get Green! Get Community! and

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