Tuesday, October 10, 2017

World Mental Health Day

Ann in the Sand.
Was feeling mopey today and the beach cheered me up.
Today the Internet told me that it's World Mental Health Day. I don't know if establishing a day ever actually accomplishes anything, but I'm glad this one exists. I think the world does need to pay more attention to the importance of mental health, and if this day encourages even a few people to start taking theirs more seriously, I'm all for it. I thought I'd share a tiny bit of my mental health story here:

I'm pretty open about the fact that I see a therapist once a week. I need help. I have no problem admitting that. I'm not going to whisper about it or call it something else in my planner in case someone sees it written down. I'm getting help because I struggle with anxiety and have some traumas to process. That doesn't make me a bad person. That doesn't make me "crazy." I'm getting help so that I can manage my anxiety and not let the things that happened to me in my past put a damper on my present and my future.  I'm getting help so I can treat the people I love better. I'm getting help so I can be a good co-worker and a more clearheaded instructor. I'm getting help because I want to live a happy and healthy life. Nothing to be embarrassed about. 

I'm a sharer, though. I'm an open book. I LOVE talking about my feelings. I'm aware that not everyone is this way. Sharing how you feel can be hard, asking for help can be really hard, and finding help can be absolutely BRUTAL. When I was looking for my current therapist, I wasn't feeling my best. I was feeling pretty lousy. I started to look for someone to talk to. A lot of providers just never called or emailed me back. Those who did reply went nowhere. They were either not taking new patients, they didn't take Harvard Pilgrim HMO, or they weren't available at a normal time of day. It can be so discouraging. You finally get to a place where you're ready to look for a therapist and you feel rejected over and over and over again. It can start to feel like it's not worth it because it's almost making you feel worse. 

When my current therapist wrote to me and said that she did take my insurance, she was located a 5-minute walk from my office, and she was available at a normal time on a normal day, I was in shock. I honestly still don't believe her sometimes. A tiny part of me is just waiting for the day when I arrive for my appointment and she tells me that woops, she was wrong, she doesn't take this particular type of Harvard Pilgrim insurance and here's a bill for $1.4 million dollars and have a nice life. I doubt that will happen, and the fact that I still kind of worry about it happening is the reason I'm there in the first place, yay! 

Anyway, trying to find help was shitty. If my therapist moves or retires and I have look for someone new, it will be shitty again. If you're in the process of trying to find help, you probably think the process is shitty, too. I totally understand. But what I want to scream from the rooftops tonight is that it is SO WORTH IT. Taking care of your own mental health is so important and can make such an enormous difference in less time than you probably think. If you feel sad, angry, overwhelmed, or anxious; if something terrible just happened and you need some help making sense of your feelings; if the extreme amount of violence in our country and around the world is shaking you to your core and you need to talk it out, go for it. Get some help. And (I mean this, I really really really mean this, you tiny community of people who read this blog) if you need help asking for help, I'm here to help you. Please never ever hesitate to ask me. 

Happy World Mental Health Day.

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