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Mental Health Awareness Month

Happy Mental Health Awareness Month!

I've always valued mental health and the wellbeing of our souls, but sometimes it's hard to implement the things I know are important for my mental health to my daily life. You know, meditation, journaling, saying no, blocking out the negativity, etc. Everywhere we look there is media influence, people have access to us through email, phone call and text, we have gadgets and other distractions, it can be so hard to focus inward and do the work. It's not necessarily that we don't want to, or don't acknowledge that we should, sometimes we simply get distracted and forget.

Journaling has always been a love of mine. Always. I have so many journals, some are full, some are partially written in and I have a stockpile of brand new ones I can't wait to fill. Journaling is a way for me to say what's on my mind, to share my secrets, to admit things I may not be ready to admit outwardly, to write down moments I don't want to forget. Writing helps me keep better track of my emotions and sometimes writing on paper allows me to see things from a different perspective. You know how sometimes, you go to make a point to someone, and as you're saying it out loud, you suddenly realize you were looking at it wrong? Journaling allows me to go through that process without the other person present.

Hiking, photographing nature, reading, spending time in front of a sunset or sunrise, sipping coffee with the birds, these things are all great for my mental health. But, over the last several years, I've wondered if it is enough for me.

More friends and family members began talking about therapy. I started to notice that the authors and coaches I follow on social media often spoke highly about therapy and I began to wonder if it was something I should really look into. I began doing some outreach, looking into what my insurance would cover and what practices were taking on new patients. I researched wait lists and got excited about implementing another way to take care of my mental health. After over a year of pandemic chaos, planning a wedding, buying a house, work stress and the losses I carry with me every day, I felt ready to talk to someone who could offer me a fresh, neutral perspective.

One night, while spending time with some family, the topic of therapy came up. I don't know how it started, but someone I admire made a comment about "therapy being trendy" and that those who are seeking therapy are really just doing it because it is the "trendy" thing to do. These words hit me and made me second guess everything. Deep down, I knew he was wrong, but his words stung. I let them get to me. I let his twisted perspective influence my personal decision to seek therapy. I didn't want to find a therapist because I wanted to fit in, I wanted to find a therapist because I knew there were layers of me I had covered over the years and I was ready to unpack it. I stopped seeking therapy.

Months went by and therapy was still on the back burner. Those words still bothered me (and quite frankly, still do), but I was able to step back and realize, I truly shouldn't care what he thinks.. 1. It doesn't matter why someone seeks therapy. 2. It is none of his business and truly, he'll never even know I am in therapy and 3. My mental health is more important than his insensitive remark. Or anyone else's.

I found a therapist in October 2021. I have been going to therapy every other week since then. I love it! I look forward to my sessions and I always feel refreshed when we sign off at the end of the hour. So far, I haven't had any crazy revelations, but I have been able to start noticing patterns about my behaviors and emotions and have been able to implement some new tools to help me get through chaotic situations. I am still my emotional self, and I have learned that that is okay. I have gotten better at talking myself through situations that come up and having a more productive response when in the past I may have jumped to a conclusion and acted on impulse.

The last several months have been quite hectic.. A lot of chaos and emotion and high stress situations.. Having my bi-weekly sessions with my therapist gives me a safe place to de-brief and work through anything that might still be troubling me.

The reason I am writing this and sharing it with you is because I don't want you to let the social stigma of going to therapy stop you from seeking the help you need, want and deserve. Your life doesn't need to be a mess to go to therapy. You don't have to be depressed or ready to give up to seek therapy. Maybe you don't feel you have a specific reason to talk a therapist, you simply think it may help you find healthier ways to cope with your work stress. Maybe you're really hurting after a loss and you're struggling to talk to your spouse about it. Maybe you actually do think it's trendy and you want to see why so many people are suggesting it!

Whatever your reason may be, if you have been thinking about finding therapy, DO IT! I support you! Take that step, check your insurance coverage, Google search therapists near you, fill out the intake paperwork.

And hey.. I am proud of you!

Be sure to check out National Alliance on Mental Health to learn more about your mental health!

Some resources to find therapists:

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