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…

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”