MENTAL HEALTH. A subject i still have a hard time talking about even with having more than four years of therapy under my belt. When i was growing up, I was taught that therapy was meant for “cuckoo” people and self-care was selfish. My family was good at sweeping issues under the rug and letting them stay there, only to come back to haunt us later on.
I was an avid runner, soccer player, and “doer” that never liked to slow down. That was until I got injured. Surgery meant no running for at least 6 months, no soccer for at least 1 year, and no more constantly “doing stuff”. This is when my downward spiral began. I found myself calling into work frequently, most days I couldn’t get out of bed, I couldn’t eat and I felt no interest in the activities I once loved. I was depressed but i didn’t know it.
Luckily, my friends noticed that I wasn’t coming around as often and that my demeanor had changed. So they suggested I go to counseling that was offered at my university for free. I fought it for weeks but i finally made an appointment. And that’s where my journey began!
I was later diagnosed with depression, anxiety and an eating disorder. I realized that I wasn’t depressed because of my injury, I was depressed because i’d spent 26 years running from my problems, literally and figuratively. For years, I’d used drugs, alcohol, sex, exercise and food to cover them up. It took me having to slow down to realize that i was not okay and hadn’t been for a long time.
There is more to this story, of course. I’m still here fighting. I now practice self-care and I play outside as much as possible. And I STILL go to my weekly therapy sessions. Even writing this post is apart of my journey.
I wrote all of this to say:
It is okay to talk about mental health. It’s okay to reach out to a loved one that is struggling. It’s okay to change the way you and your family deal with mental illness. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to be the first in your family to go to therapy. It’s okay to have self-care time. It’s okay to not be okay all of the time.