Are you having a tough day today? A tough night? Maybe, you’re having a tough life … just a lot of days and nights strung together that never end. It would be easier to say what you face is not a big deal.

I have a little news for you.

It is a big deal. My sense is that many individuals connected with the facial difference community are battling mental health issues on a daily basis.

This stuff is like a never-ending “black hole” which causes more pain. Harmful thoughts and behaviors, ranging from addictions to self-harm like cutting and even the ultimate pain killer — suicide, happen behind closed doors. Yes, actual closed doors … and this is not a metaphor for whatever is happening inside your heart and soul.

Some days, it’s hard to think straight. Even talking openly about mental health issues, especially with the plethora of information available to all of us, can be seen as taboo to some people and societies around the world. This is sad and must stop now.

No Fun With “The Funk”

I have had my own battles with anxiety and depression. Depression itself has been labeled “the black dog” by professionals and others who have written and/or spoken bravely about their own battles.

Let me just say that “The Funk” is definitely not fun. I’m not down with this beat at all. I can go about my day or night, working and handling the day-to-day business of life. Life goes on, just like the sun rising in the East and setting in the West. It never stops. Yet inside, where no one really knows my deep, dark secrets except myself and the Universe, there is no spark to live. Sunshine and blue skies don’t impress me. Health and fitness? Forget going to the gym. I’d rather pull the covers back over my head, or spend excessive energy in obsessive-compulsive ways. Again, more self-harm rather than self-love or love, period.

This “funk” can either last days, weeks or months. A recent outbreak in my life lasted five months. Even with some great events happening in life and business (for which I’m extremely grateful), and with slivers of sunshine and unicorns here and there, I could not shake it. Thankfully, I was able to take assertive action and correct my path. Now I’m getting back to the balanced place within myself mentally and emotionally which brings more joy, peace and happiness.

Hardcore Cases Call For Hardcore Help

Let’s face it, though. While all people have that assertive energy within them, calling it up from inside and making a shift into sane living, a lot of people just are not able to make it happen. I’m thinking about those beloved and troubled men and women suffering from mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Mix in trauma from multiple surgical procedures or environmental situations, and what you end up with is a hardcore case.

Hardcore cases need hardcore help for their livelihoods. I don’t mean someone should get in their face and yell and scream. That will not work. Family members who think they can sway their son, daughter or parent to get better will learn the hard way: they can’t help a whole lot.

In the facial difference community, I know there are a lot of loving and caring families who make sure healing and wholeness are provided on a daily basis. Yet no matter how much love is poured out, people can lose themselves in horrid mental conditions. It involves more than a facial difference. It just does.

Tenderness Is A Solution

One path I do know that helps a lot is showing considerable amounts of tenderness and kindness. Getting to the heart of the matter, when mental illness runs rampant and hope doesn’t seem to be around … tenderness toward the sufferer and caregiver alike helps.

Yes, there are those stress-filled times where one might want to scream and yell. “Does anybody know what I am going through here?” is said silently or loudly while driving in a car. I can imagine parents and children driving away from seeing craniofacial teams or plastic surgeons filled with frustration and anger over the lack of information when it comes to emotional health situations. They do occur, you know.

Tenderness, though, is one solution. It’s not the be-all, end-all fix. When mental health issues arise and are not addressed, then major problems will exist.

Find the help that you need. Get the support that you seek. Know that you are not alone on this path because of the power of people in the facial difference community around the world.

Originally published at on August 30, 2016.

Image courtesy of Unsplash

Originally published at