Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. If you have listen to at least 10 episodes of YBO, you’ve probably heard me mention mental health at least twice. 

What I want people to remember the most about mental health is:

If you suffer from a mental illness remember it’s okay to NOT be okay. Your mental illness does not define you. Seek help if you need it. Be kind to yourself. You are enough. 

If you do not have a mental illness still take care of your mental. Be open to educate yourself. Be kind to those around you. Ask your friends and family how you can help.

You never know who is dealing with what. Sometimes our friends and family will show us signs and we can’t ignore them. I want everyone in my life here for a long time, if I am unable to help then I want to direct them to the help they need. 

The pictures below represent more truth around depression and anxiety, different forms of self care and a reminder that we all should be working toward having healthy mental states. 

Mental Matters because YOU matter…

Self reflection

I have not been consistent with my blog post lately and it’s for a few different reasons. First, my mental health hasn’t been the best and when I am depressed all my creativity goes out the door. Second, my work life balance is shit! And for someone who works part time, that’s a big problem. 

It took a bit of digging but I finally realized the root of what’s keeping me down. As much as I hated to admit, I had lost myself. Years ago I had named my Gemini twin “Lola” and I embodied this free spirited, spontaneous, fearless persona. 

Two years ago I got into a relationship with a great guy but he is so opposite of who I, Lola, was. He accepted me for who I was and never once tried to change me, however I changed without even knowing. I got into a relationship and was so happy with my mate that I stopped doing the things that had my self esteem and confidence at an all time high. I used to go shopping alone, out to eat alone and even hit the bars and clubs alone. My boyfriend hates shopping with me and despises bars and clubs. 

Without even knowing I just stopped all of that. On May 8, 2019 I realized that’s what I have been missing. So now I am on a journey to incorporate that part of me back into myself. The last time I got dressed up and felt super confident out and about was before me and my boyfriend made things official. I can’t say I know for sure what made me stop doing those things. Honestly, I think I just got wrapped up in being in a relationship. 

I am going to use my happiness list and make sure that I go shopping twice a month. Doesn’t have to be a spree, but a new shirt, dress, or accessories will excite me enough. I want to go out twice a month, which gives me a reason to wear the things from my shopping and feel confident in not only myself but going out alone again. 

It’s easier said than done to pay attention to your mental health but once you figure out what’s bothering you make a plan and execute so your mental health is healthy. We can scream mental health all we want but making sure it’s actually healthy is the real goal. 

Has there been a time where you had to self reflect and make changes? 

Mental matters because YOU matter…

Maintaining Mental Health in Relationships

Even for those who do not suffer from a mental illness, keeping a healthy mental state is vital. We don’t want to be insensitive to our significant other, family or friends who deal with a mental illness and may need some extra attention. 

When me and my boyfriend started dating, I expressed to him that I suffer from depression and anxiety. It was something he was familiar with from a previous relationship, but he wasn’t very educated. I also let him know “if my mental illness becomes too much you can leave.” At that point I wasn’t in therapy or taking care of myself. He assured me that he didn’t want to leave and would help me as much as he could. Since that moment he has taken time to be educated, understand me, and offer support. I try my best to not be too dependent on him as to not be a negative trigger to his mental health. 

So what are some ways we can maintain our mental health in a relationship, whether you deal with a  mental Illness or not? I’ve come up with a few things that will be sure to keep your friendships, family relationships, or romantic relationship running smoothly. 

  1. Know that it’s okay to not be okay. Don’t hide what you are going through. Someone may be able to help by listening, suggesting professional help, or suggesting self care. Putting on a front when you really aren’t doing the best will only hinder you. Expressing what you’re feeling can be the start of figuring out how to fix it.

  2. Say no. I was told “No, is a complete sentence.” Don’t be scared to say no to your friends, family or significant other if what they are asking of you is too much. You always have a choice and shouldn’t feel the need to always say yes. They will understand. 

  3. Seek outside help. As much as we want our loved ones to support and help us, sometimes we need more help than they can give. Going to a professional doesn’t make you crazy or weird; it’s hard for a lot of people to admit they need help. The great thing about professional help is that it’s their job to help you get and feel better.

  4. Practice self care. Practice doing things that make you feel good and/or happy. At times we get lost in what our friends, family or significant other likes that we stop doing the things we love. Make those things a priority again. 

When it comes to your mental health you want to take it seriously. The people around us are an everyday part of our life. In order to keep our relationships healthy we have to keep ourselves healthy. There’s nothing wrong with wanting support from them but we have to be careful with how much we put on others.

How do you maintain your mental health in your relationships? 

Mental matters because you matter....

The Journey

If you listen to our podcast, then you’ve heard me talk about group therapy numerous times. But what got me there? And how am I coping now that I am no longer in group? 

In 2017 I left a job that was mentally abusive. The experience there was to the point where my manager wasn’t trying to accommodate me to attend one on one therapy. I have dealt with depression since I was 12 years old. This was my second time seeing a therapist and I felt like it helped. I decided to leave after my supervisor stood there and watched me struggle to help about 25 people by myself. I felt upset, sad and just overwhelmed because my job kept showing me that they did not care about me. I had reached my breaking point; I couldn’t take my health not being taken seriously anymore. 

I took some time off and worked a few jobs here and there but never lasted long because I was ignoring my mental state. My doctor had suggested group therapy twice and I kept pushing it away. I had finally got hired at a full time job with great pay and I just knew I would be okay after starting work; wrong! I started having anxiety attacks and began isolating myself from my training class as well as work as a whole. My anxiety got so bad, seeing my job made me want to throw up. 

I finally decided to start group therapy June 7, 2018. It was not an easy feat and on day one I wanted to run. But I stuck it out, going 5 days a week from 9-2pm for two weeks. Then, 3 days a week 9-12pm for 4 weeks and my last week I attended group for one more day. I learned many skills to cope with my anxiety and depression. Group therapy wasn’t a cure all or permanent fix. I still have moments where I feel extreme moments of anxiety and depression and I try my best to use what I learned. 

The journey to group wasn’t easy. I chose to ignore the signs that I needed to go because I did not want to feel crazy, stupid or weird. I left group feeling great that I was able to get the help I needed at the right time. My favorite quote I learned from group is “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now.” Simply put, don’t beat yourself up for waiting to help yourself. Be proud that you did seek out professional help when you did. Dwelling will get us nowhere. If you or anyone you know needs help try to encourage them to get the help they need. 

I attended group therapy at Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital Milwaukee, WI 53202. I recommend it 100% 

Know that it is okay to walk away from a job environment that isn’t healthy for your mental health.

Mental Matters because YOU matter…

Toxic Positivity

Has anyone ever told you “Someone has it worse than you” or “Positive vibes only”? The problem with phrases like these is that they promote toxic positivity. Google defines toxic positivity as “the belief that if you just stay positive it will allow you to power through whatever obstacles you encounter.”

I can’t count how many times people have told me “just stay positive” or “things could be worse.” I understand that they think they are helping but their words promote “Even though you are going through this, someone has it worse so be happy.” I’m sorry for people who are in worse situations but that doesn’t mean my situation and/or feelings are null and void. 

There’s nothing wrong with being positive and trying to speak light into your friends/family who are going through a rough time. But, the problem with toxic positivity is that we are pretending that negativity doesn’t exist. Thinking positive and posting quotes doesn’t help the issue or make someone genuinely happy. Not allowing someone to feel the sadness, anger or any other negative feelings is forcing them into delusion. 

Let’s change the way we give positive feed back to each other. There are days when we just want to vent and whine without having “positive vibes” shoved down our throats. Putting pressure on yourself or someone else to be happy all the time can make you unhappy. Below is a chart that we all could use to show a little bit more empathy to ourselves and others. Other ways to get your emotions out are journaling or meditating. Let’s put an end to toxic positivity and add healthier ways to deal with our negative emotions.

Mental Matters because you matter…

“A normal human behaviour is to accept the emotions as they come and go, so when you hold onto positivity and refuse to acknowledge anything remotely negative by driving it away with more positive thoughts, you are ultimately paving the way for unhappiness”

I’m In Control

The biggest thing I took away from group therapy was learning not stress, care, get frustrated, or angry over things that are out of my control. 

Activity: Take a piece of paper and fold it in half. On the left, write a list of things that are in your control. On the right, write a list of things that are out of your control. Having a reminder can help keep your mood from fluctuating. 

The reason I love this activity so much is because whenever situations would arise I would simply ask myself “What is in MY control?” Recently I started a new job and during my first week of training I was only allowed to shadow. Work was slow and then out of nowhere four customers walked in. There was only one other teller who was already assisting someone. I started freaking out then I remembered, I am in control of my emotions. There was no reason to worry because I couldn’t help them even though I wanted to. I had no control over my training policies, so I just told customers “we’ll be right with you” and they were content with being acknowledged. 

I still use this technique due to it working so well for me. Once you can admit what’s out of your control you can stop stressing over things. It will help keep you from being flustered and/or stressed and keep your mental positive. Take the blame off yourself if it is out of your control. When I feel like I’m losing control I love listening to “In Control” by Mocity. Not only do I get turnt up but it really reminds me that I have control over certain things.

Mental Matters because you matter…

“In Control” by Mo’City on Apple Music and Spotify

The Happiness List

When’s the last time you did something that made you happy? Often times we talk about “self care” this or “self care” that and we actually forget to do whatever self care we had in mind. 

Every couple months I make a happiness list just to see what currently makes me happy and how often am I doing it. I challenge everyone to make a happiness list with 5-6 activities that make you happy. Next to each activity write down how many days and/or weeks it’s been since you’ve done those activities. Then, make a column and write down how many times you’d like to do those activities, once a week, twice a month, etc. 

Reflect and change your list as much as you want. Always make time for the things that make YOU happy. 

What are some things you haven’t done in a  while that make you happy? 

Mental Matters because you matter...


LaCie’s Happiness List

The black ink represents the first time I made a list, which was July 25,2018. The Pink and Purple ink represents my answers today. It’s nice to see that you’re doing things that make you happy more often.

The Positive side of Being Selfish

Sel•fish / (of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one's own personal profit or pleasure.

The word selfish is mostly associated with a negative definition (see above). But why is being selfish so negative? Why do we tell people that picking themselves is bad for them to do? Being selfless is great but in my opinion being selfish at the right time for you is more admirable. 

During my time in group therapy, one of the therapists asked “What are some ways we NEED to be selfish?” A few answers included: when it comes to getting sleep, when personal time is involved and when it comes to our health. The therapist went on to ask “If you are sleeping for work and a friend calls you and ask for a ride because they are too drunk, how many would go get your friend?” We all looked around and raised our hands. Every single hand was up. We were then asked “if you’re friend called the next night drunk and needed a ride, how many of you would go get them?” Everyone raised their hand but me. 

I love my friends and would DO anything for them. However if I stressed the importance of me getting sleep and I’m always getting called it seems like I’m being forced to be selfless because who would just leave their friend out? Most of the group was shocked that I said I would not get my friend. My response was “I would call an Uber, Lyft, or taxi and make sure they got home safely but if I have to be at work at 6am and I’m picking you up at 2am, I’m going to be the one upset and grouchy in the morning.” 

It is okay to be selfish. Most people feel like because their friends and family ask them for favors they have to make time for it. If you have your day planned and someone asks you to do something for them, you may find yourself having done none or very little of what you actually want to do. Your mind tells you that you’re being selfless by helping them but in reality this was your only day to do all of these things. 

Have an even balance of how selfish and selfless you are. You always have a choice. It is okay to say no. Being a bit selfish will not hurt any of your family and friends, especially if they love you. The only thing THEY are going to do is call someone ELSE and ask them to do the favor. The main reason to be selfish and put yourself first:

  • You can’t give it away if you don’t have it. 

    - Make sure you give to yourself first and you’ll have much more to give to others. If you are exhausting all your time to others you will never have time for yourself. Do not let anyone guilt trip you for not doing what they want you to do when they want it.

What are some other moments where we need to be selfish? Do you have an even balance of being selfless and selfish in your life?

Mental Matters because YOU matter…