Mental health isn’t real.
It wasn’t until I realized I was facing my own demons that I realized we too could experience it. In college there were several moments where I thought I wasn’t capable. I would breakdown to my mother and ask her to pull me out of school, but she would always tell me no. My parents are the “keep it to yourself and leave it alone” types. We’ve always had occasional I love yous and supportive of each other, but this was different. We were taught to get over it, internalize it and move on. The stress of coursework, self discovery and many other transitions made it difficult for me to handle.
Nevertheless, I made it through.
However, out of guilt of not wanting to share or complain I taught myself to bundle all of my emotions internally. Even though I would pray I still felt empty, not completely centered and I find myself here again. The following weeks would be marked by a fluctuation in my weight and measuring my self-worth in the space between my thighs. There would be periods when I thought I had recovered, but I just got better at hiding it. I had several friends who went through counseling and always thought, “I’d never do that. I don’t like opening up to people.” People can be counseled in marriages, addictions and personal topics, but it isn’t for me.
Often times I felt I was compromising my identity to avoid internal confrontation and I decided I never wanted to do that again. I think it’s healthy to have an open dialogue about mental health and its affect on us. As I’m learning to overcome, I wanted to share three of my daily reminders to keep your mental psyche healthy:
1. Stop Internalizing
Because of the stigma, it seems hard when you realize you have so much negative energy inside of you and need to release. I think Solange’s Cranes in the Sky said it best about handling these situations. “I tried to keep myself busy, I ran around in circles, Think I made myself dizzy.” We try to do so much to rid ourselves of something, that we end up losing. I had to learn to take steps outside of myself and talk about it. Side note – I still haven’t been to a counselor, but find good friends make things a bit easier. Once you let go of your ability to hold on, you can begin to breathe easy again.
2. Positive Thoughts Lead to Projection
Be honest, no one thinks positive all of the time. I used to trick myself into believing that what you put in isn’t what you get out. That sometimes the end result could be much worse and this was detrimental to my health. I mean, the definition of detrimental is to cause harm. So I started changing my attitude which in turn lead to changing my actions. Your thoughts are everything, they can inspire action or admit defeat. Think wisely.
3. You Are Not Alone.
Everyone is going through the same emotions and there are so many virtual resources out there. I recently found, JOYday Movement and it’s a breathe of fresh air. The founder, Morgan, was experiencing her own struggles and recognized that there is this unspoken rule about dealing with mental health in our community. The goal is to change the narrative about Mental Health and its effects on us . Be apart of the JOYday Movement and normalize the conversation. I won’t say that you’ll become fully healed or that won’t relapse into negative emotions, but this is a start.