If you clicked on this, you're likely a fan of my IG or my blog. But you also might be thinking about/debating finding a therapist. Let me be the first one to tell you, it is ALWAYS a good idea! Especially considering we are in the middle of global pandemic! We've been asked to adapt to a new reality at a frantic pace without any guarantee of a timeline to return to normalcy. Masks on, Masks off, Bars Closed, Bars Open, Masks back on and stay 6 feet apart! As an extrovert who's been locked inside the four walls of her house more often than not, I hit my breaking point.
Don't worry, I didn't pull a Jack Nicholson in The Shining on anyone! However, I did open my office window (more than once) shouting "Good Morning" across the street to Sharri, my neighbor who walks with her seeing eye dog daily. She's blind and I know I've scared the crap out of her on more than one occasion. Can you say starved for human interaction?!
I also sobbed openly on my kitchen floor telling my fiance Kim, "I would take care of COVID-19 patients too if all of my friends worked on my unit". (She's a nurse who is close friends with her coworkers.) I cringe just thinking about the fact that I really said that but times got desperate!
The thing that has helped me navigate this crisis, maintain my healthy relationship, and keep my sanity, is my therapist. Honestly, I've had several therapists throughout my life. Coming out (while being a Jehovah’s Witness in a strict religious household) was really hard for me. I battled both depression and thoughts of self harm. A past abusive relationship got so physical, I had to call the police to get myself safely out of our house. Despite all the physical injuries and emotional scars, the reason I found the strength not to go back to that relationship was having a good therapist. Therapy literally helped save my life.
Mental illness still carries a stigma that directly correlates to the amount of people willing to seek out help or treatment. This is especially true if you're part of a minority group. And then there’s the problem with having access.
Rates of mental illnesses in African Americans are similar with those of the general population. But only one-in-three African Americans who need mental health care receives it. (www.psychiatry.org)
LGBTQ individuals are 2.5 times more likely to experience depression, anxiety, and substance misuse compared with heterosexual individuals. The rate of suicide attempts is 4 times higher. (www.psychiatry.org)
I'm writing this because July is 𝗡𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝗠𝗶𝗻𝗼𝗿𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝗠𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗮𝗹 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝗹𝘁𝗵 𝗔𝘄𝗮𝗿𝗲𝗻𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝗠𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗵 and because I want to try and help change that stigma for someone. I hope that one day, going to see a therapist is as normal as going to the doctor. No one is shamed for getting an annual checkup or wanting to get a broken bone mended. Seeing a therapist should be no different! When I look back at the times I've made my mental health a priority and sought out treatment, I have NOT ONE REGRET. The only reason I'm still here to write this is because I did.
When I make my mental health a priority, my friendships are better. My relationship is stronger. I function at my fullest capacity at work and am the best version of me possible. I made the choice to love myself enough to get the help I needed. I'm here to encourage you to love yourself enough to do the same! 💕