May is Mental Health Awareness Month and I want to talk about my journey. Over the past few months, I’ve been focusing a lot of my own mental health, thus my lack of posting. I had noticed that it was deteriorating and making my life more and more difficult. I was having constant panic attacks and just was not functioning. Going to work was a struggle. Being around friends and family was a struggle. I was starting to put everything on hold and sinking into a really dark place.
Back in February, I started seeing a therapist. We set goals for what I wanted to accomplish by going to these sessions and every week, we meet and try to work through my anxiety, fears, and me being able to open up and be vulnerable. Several months in now, I’m feeling like I’m making progress. Some days are still incredibly difficult but I feel like I’m learning how to let myself feel and not just numb my emotions. I’m understanding them better and learning how to talk to others about what I’m going through. All of this is a huge step for me.
With that short look at what I’ve been working on, I wanted to share some things I’ve learned.
Therapy Isn’t Failure
I spent years of my life refusing to see a therapist because I thought that it meant that I failed. That I was crazy. That it just wasn’t for me. These professionals are there to help you work through whatever you are going through. If you think that you’re in need of help, seek it.
Let Yourself be Vulnerable
Learning to be vulnerable is important to working on your mental health, especially if you are seeking help from someone else. Even if you’re just talking to a friend about what you’re going though, you need to learn how to be open. I know that I am still struggling with this but it is so important.
Find What Sparks Joy
No, we’re not Kondo-ing our lives but find an activity that brings you joy. Or that helps you channel other emotions you are experiencing. For me, I turn to painting, photography, and hiking to spark joy and to focus on what emotions I’m going through. Each makes me happy but I can also use them to either express emotion or to spend time focusing and understanding it.
Keep a Journal
It may seem silly and it can definitely be difficult but if you decide to see a therapist, consider keeping a journal. Use this to take notes of things you want to talk about, to track your progress, and anything else you think is relevant.
Share Your Story
When everyone becomes comfortable talking about their story and their journey, we take away the taboos and stigmas around mental health. We can help others feel that they can make that leap and get help or talk about what may have been burdening them their entire life.
What are your mental health tips? Have you see a therapist before? What has your experience been? Lets chat in the comments and support each other!