“You cannot build a deep connection with someone who is disconnected from themselves.”Yung Pueblo
Series: Mental Health Awareness Week
This week I am hosting a 5 day series on the blog for mental health awareness. Every night this week I am posting a new blog at 7pm central time! We will be discussing where to start in finding counseling services, how to be a friend to someone going through mental health struggles or healing, and how to maintain what you learned in therapy after services are completed. I will also be sharing my perspectives of how depression affected me with a poem and my notes from therapy in the past.
Mental health is important to me because it affects everything in my life: my emotional well-being, my relationships with my friends and family, my dating life, finances, my confidence, and how I cope and grow through life’s seasons and changes. We don’t talk about maintaining mental health as openly as we do physical health (like working out or going to the doctor), and my hope is that we can open the conversation and realize we all go through things. We are not alone. It only feels lonely because we aren’t talking to each other about these issues.
My journey through mental health counseling
My mental health journey began in 2017 at my university. I tried to get help after a tough break-up in 2016, but I was turned away and given a pamphlet called “how to get over a break-up” because at the time I did not have suicide ideas or an eating disorder. It was a terrible feeling to be turned away from help, but I think it was a reflection of that particular counselor evaluating my needs, not the clinic as a whole. After a year, I still was having social anxiety, PTSD symptoms from the breakup, and deep sadness, so I decided to go back to the counseling center for a new evaluation. I advocated for myself and I wanted to get help. I ended up getting connected with an amazing therapist who was a PhD student, and I realized a lot about myself, how I process events and emotions, connect to others, and how to cope with loss.
When I was at grad school in 2020, I decided to go back to counseling to address some feelings and fears that I had after a car accident. I also felt I had trouble emotionally connecting to other people in groups. After I finished individual counseling with my counselor, I joined a group therapy program for a semester. I loved it! I was with 5 other girls from the university and a counselor. Since this was the height of COVID, we met on Zoom every Monday night for a couple of hours. The group focused on interpersonal relationships, and how to recognize our emotional and physical reactions to what our peers share. I learned that awkward silences are okay, and we practiced ways to have deeper conversations in a safe place.
My hope for this week is that we can talk about mental health counseling like we do going to a doctor for some other ailment. The stigma that getting mental health services somehow means you are “crazy” or that is is taboo to talk about is non-sense to me. No one should be made to feel like getting help for mental or emotional problems is embarrassing. It changed my life for the absolute better, and I want the same for you. God can heal us through His own miracles of healing, but He also uses people to work through and heal too.
Petit à Petit,