• Mental Health In Agriculture | Season 3 | Episode 5 | Elevating the Discussion

October 03, 2018 2 Comments

Some days are hard.  Some months and years are hard.  Sometimes it’s a job problem…too busy, not busy enough or maybe financial stress.  Sometimes it's a family thing…sick kids, aging parents, money, land, life.  Sometimes though, everything in the world can be right and the days are still hard.  Sometimes, despite having every reason to power through, you just feel like you can’t.  Have you ever felt like that?  You’re not alone.  Does someone you love struggle?  You are not alone in that either.

There have been times in my life where the days seemed really, really hard.  From the other side and some perspective, I know how to keep it at bay.  Mix in a supportive family, some sunshine on my face and a run down the path each morning, I am in a good place.  These are things I have learned about myself over the past 37 years…but it doesn’t seem to make it any easier when I am in the middle of those hard days. 

Do you have those hard days?  Are you wondering, like I was, what you can do to help yourself through them?  What you can do to turn the tide for yourself?  We are all very different and sometimes it isn’t as easy to pinpoint what the problem even is much less figure out how to change it.  Are you trying to figure out how you can help a loved one through the hard days, or months or years?  I’ve been there too, and that can be just as hard and maybe even harder because you can’t change it.

I most definitely don’t have the answers but I do have a few ideas as told through the stories of a few of my FarmHer friends, featured on the upcoming episode of FarmHer on RFD-TV.

Michelle Jones

@bigskyfarmher

www.bigskyfarmher.com

Michelle is a FarmHer from Montana.  She shared her personal story on her blog about her dive into postpartum depression following the birth of her second child.  For Michelle, the weight started to lift when she shared her struggles with her family and doctor as was able to go on a medication that started to help her heal.  Knowing you can ask for help is important, getting it is even more important.  If it’s not you, but a loved one, help them get the help they need.

This is face of someone struggling with postpartum depression …. It has taken me months to realize I was struggling, months of suffering from increasing sadness, desperation, and an inability to enjoy a lot of things I used to. It didn’t happen overnight. It didn’t even happen every day. But it happened. Slowly. Last night as I was sitting on the bathroom floor sobbing for no real “reason”, generally not paying attention to Will as he took a bath, and Tate played quietly with his toys, I realized something was very wrong. I suddenly couldn’t make it through a day at home with my babies. I didn’t want to. I couldn’t function. I needed help. As soon as I admitted it to myself, and later to Travis, and finally today to my doctor – a weight was lifted. I’m not supposed to feel this way. It doesn’t have to be like this. Knowing there’s a reason, having the ability to get help, afford a prescription, and have access to a counselor has already lifted a huge weight off my shoulders.”

Image Courtesy of Lesley Kelly

FarmHer Lesley Kelly

@highheelsandcanolafields

http://highheelsandcanolafields.com/ 

Lesley Kelly is a FarmHer from Saskatchewan who is passionate about elevating the discussion around mental health in agriculture through the Do More Ag Foundation. 

"You can have an immense impact by your words and your conversation. Talk more, ask more or listen more. By doing those things you can really help someone or seek the help that you need." 

 

FarmHer Shelby Watson-Hampton

@the_farmed_life

https://www.robinhillfarmandvineyards.com/

Shelby is a FarmHer from Maryland who has an amazing family.  Unfortunately, her family experienced tragedy when her older brother committed suicide a number of years ago.   Shelby’s family and community aren't the only ones I've met dealing with this issue, and unfortunately, they won’t be the last.

“There is so much shame, stigma, pain and other emotions associated with losing loved ones to suicide, that people weren’t talking about how to stop it, or address those ‘survived’ by it. It was considered more polite to push the feelings down, ignore them, and try to move on, than risk discussing a difficult topic or bringing up the painful feelings. But obviously, that wasn’t working.”

Coming together with other families in the community,  Shelby and her family joined the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and formed a local chapter and walk team. Over the years hundreds of people have joined their mission, to reach out to those who are suffering and their families to help make a positive difference in the world around them, raising over $100,000 for suicide awareness and prevention programs.

I have hard days.  Knowing this about myself and accepting it is the key in helping myself through it. What works for me might not work for you or for a loved one.  Open up the discussion, reach out to those around you for support.  Listen to those around you who need a friendly ear.  Give grace to yourself and to others.  If you don’t have anyone to reach out to, or don’t feel like you have the resources, in the U.S. you can reach out to National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800.273.8255.




2 Responses

Sean Ewing
Sean Ewing

October 09, 2018

Excellent article. Mental health in general is a difficult topic to address. It seems even more so in the agriculture community. Many that should seek help feel they can’t or won’t. I have started a forum at scrambledag.com for those who feel unable to share with family or friends. It is a platform where they can share feelings and experiences and offer each other the comfort and support of knowing someone else out there is struggling with many of the same challenges. Please take a minute to check it out. Thank you for this post.

Susan
Susan

October 09, 2018

Wonderful article…the more we talk to each other about these issues the more people will realize that they are not alone. The more conversations we have the less stigma around the subject. Thank you for including this article.

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