Almost Mental Health Month

May is Mental Health Month and although I know mental health/emotional health/mental wellbeing should be on the minds of everyone everyday of the year, I am also thrilled that there is a time dedicated to it solely. The only problem with one time dedicated to mental health awareness is that it keeps the stigma alive. It brings attention to an area of health that should be as popular as the discussion of physical health. It makes it “special” like women’s history month or black history month, two other months that house topics that should be normalized every day of the year. This is what makes it tough to celebrate, despite it holding such a personal place in my heart.

I have battled with anxiety and depression since high school, where my control mechanism manifested in disordered eating to the point of hormone imbalance. Untreated, these emotional struggles combined with questioning my sexuality escalated to the point of suicidal ideation (first rock bottom) when I was in college. I felt all alone in this world. When I fell in love in 2015, my struggles brought me to a second rock bottom-one that ripped my heart into pieces. Struggling to commit, my anxiety had wrapped a tourniquet around my heart, resulting in a diagnosis of OCD (relationship themed OCD). This diagnosis was both the worst and best thing that has happened to me.

This was the height of my mental health struggle as well as it’s evolution. Being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder gave me a direct line of sight into treatment, recovery, and personal growth. Mental health is a complicated melting pot of life events, ingrained beliefs, cognitive errors, behavioral patterns, and much more and to learn about these facets does NOT make anyone weak, but in fact, the complete opposite. Have you ever tried to dig yourself our of suicidal thoughts, the throughs of depression, an anxiety attack, or even simply put, a funk? Ya, it’s incredibly difficult and requires an absurd amount of emotional strength.

Everyone should be encouraged to take care of themselves, from physical health to financial health to emotional health. It is all a holistic approach and self-awareness, curiosity, and a willingness is a fantastic foundation to begin your journey into personal growth, self care, and becoming your best self-all often categorized as mental health.

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