It’s mental health awareness month as most of you may know by now. I could say so much about this topic being that I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression for almost all my life but it’s a hard subject to discuss.
I’m a first generation American, being raised by immigrants puts an added pressure on you growing up. My mother was a single parent as well, a true warrior woman so that came with with even more pressure, our first priority was to never be a burden on anyone and to never give anyone any added reasons to look down on us. Minorities already have a list of things stacked against us, adding onto that was a big no-no. There was no room for an anxious, over-emotional, socially awkward kid.
I remember by palms being so sweaty and my face and ears feeling so hot every time I had to go around the room to say hi and kiss cheeks with the elders. I hid in bathrooms a lot as a kid. My mom was a social butterfly and she always would point out how opposite I was to her to her friends because I was miserable in social settings, even though I really tried hard to put on a mask. So many of my episodes were brushed off by my family as dramatic or crazy and it was rough because I sometimes didn’t even know why I acted out irrationally, I just did. I couldn’t control my need to touch things a certain number of times or to fold things a specific way, there were things that needed to be my way or I felt like I would die. Extreme, I know. I was really quiet in my pain, I never could get out of my own head and whenever I tried to ask for help I would just cry because I didn’t want to give my mom one more thing to worry about.
I had several big episodes that resulted in seeking help but admittedly, I have terrible follow through with doctors. Sometimes I was okay for long periods of time but sometimes I was debilitated by my anxieties and OCD. When I follow my routine and remember my breathing exercises, it helps. I have learned and created my own ways to cope but sometimes do have to seek professional help, I’ve never taken meds but I have considered it during moments where I feel I can’t control my mania. I don’t judge anyone, whatever you need to do to keep your mental state well and keep your sanity, please do you. Don’t ever let anyone tell you it’s not okay to treat your mind. Your mental state is the most crucial to your overall health. There’s no reason you shouldn’t have a wellness plan for your mental health. I used to be so scared to talk about it openly but nothing is more important than mental clarity and healing.
If you ever feel overwhelmed, anxious or off, make sure that you talk about it, surround yourself with people who don’t judge you and who support your mental health and support your healing. Be around people who have your back and allow you to speak up so you don’t feel insecure about it. And allow yourself to seek help when necessary, you’re not alone and should never have to suffer alone. Find support and offer support to your friends and family, you really never know when someone may be struggling.