A More Personal Look at My Mental Health Journey | Mental Health Awareness Month

A More Personal Look at My Mental Health Journey | Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and it feels like the perfect time to share a more personal story.  For as long as I can remember, depression has been a shadow companion.  It wasn't until adulthood that I received a formal diagnosis, but the signs were always there.

In 2016, a series of stressful events pushed me to the edge.  Anxiety became a crippling force, and medication became a necessary crutch.  Therapy was offered, but at the time, it felt like just another burden on an already overloaded plate.

One night, a simple statement from a friend – "God got you through it, like he always does" – became a turning point.  Sometimes, in the midst of darkness, we forget the light we already carry.  This simple reminder shifted my perspective.  I learned to approach challenges differently, focusing on what I could control and letting go of the rest.  It was a simple philosophy, but it kept me stable for seven years.

Then, in September 2023, loss and illness struck my family.  My auntie passed away from breast cancer, and my mom received a dementia diagnosis.  The familiar darkness of depression returned, along with a suffocating anxiety.  This time, medication wasn't the answer.  I craved healthy coping mechanisms, tools to manage my emotions without relying on prescriptions.

In October, I took a leap of faith and started therapy.  It was the best decision I could have made.  My therapist was a guiding light, helping me untangle the knots of my anxieties and navigate the complexities of my emotions.  We addressed my need for strong boundaries, and I developed a toolkit of coping mechanisms to face whatever life threw my way.

Therapy wasn't just about fixing problems; it was about rediscovering myself.  I reconnected with the joy of helping others – it truly puts life's challenges in perspective.  And I discovered that crafting wasn't just a hobby, it was a form of therapy in itself – every creation an expression of my inner world.

On May 3rd, 2024, I celebrated "graduating" from therapy.  I'm incredibly proud of myself for prioritizing my mental health.  There's a stigma, especially within my community, that therapy is a sign of weakness.  But I urge you to challenge that notion.  Give therapy a try, even if it's just a few sessions.  Find a therapist who resonates with you, someone you feel comfortable confiding in.  Mental health is just as important as physical health, and there's no shame in seeking help.

This Mental Health Awareness Month, I encourage you to take inventory of your own well-being.  Do you experience feelings of overwhelming stress, isolation, or changes in sleep or eating patterns?  These could be few of the many signs that therapy could be beneficial.

Therapy helped me unearth parts of myself I never knew existed.  It was a journey of self-discovery and empowerment.  My mom's health is improving, and while aging parents present new challenges, I face them with the tools I gained in therapy.

Remember, therapy is self-care.  It's a commitment to your mental well-being, and just like taking care of your physical health, it's an investment in your overall happiness.  Take care of yourselves.

 ~Capree B.~



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