When I was back in elementary school, among all of the inspirational and motivational posters plastering every hallway, I remember seeing one that particularly stood out; "A mind is a terrible thing to waste". And it truly is! I believe we should take care of ourselves mentally pretty much before any other thing. That's why the level of stigma associated with mental health issues has always been confusing. They are arguably the most important. Sure, nobody likes being called crazy, slow, retarded, or any of those other negative labels our cruel human race likes to dish out like hot grits in the morning, so we have since been conditioned to completely ignore the signs of an unhealthy mind. The human brain has always been a fascinating topic of interest over the course of my entire life; mine as well as everyone else's. I'm not sure if this is scientifically correct, but I've always believed that malfunctions of our bodies, in general, tend to begin and end with the brain (perhaps I should've gone into the field of neurology instead of psychology).
In saying all of this, I'm very proud to announce that this past week, I finally got myself into therapy! It's something I've been wanting to do for a VERY long time. I wanna say since my mom died, but more than likely before that. The process of finding a therapist was actually quite daunting if I must say. I tried to look one up through my insurance website, and most of the offices I called had wrong numbers, full voicemail boxes, or simply weren't taking any new clients. If I weren't as persistent (and generally doing nothing all day) as I am, I could easily see how someone could be turned off by the entire process. Miraculously, an office called me back and scheduled me for an intake appointment. I was so excited! A person to sit there and listen to all my problems in life, judgment-free?? The dream! Even with the negative associations, I've never had any qualms about seeking therapy. I think everyone could benefit greatly from talking to a professional about what's going on in their lives. Another common misconception is thinking that something is WRONG with people who do get help. "Oh, you're seeing a shrink? What's WRONG with you?" Nothing is WRONG with me, I'm just trying not to waste all the power in my beautiful mind by thinking it's already perfect.
I've actually only had to intake part so far, so I'm not sure exactly how the sessions will be or the things they will recommend or suggest. I did tell them that I wasn't necessarily interested in medications. It's just a personal choice really. I believe I can function fairly adequately in life for now, but if I ever felt like I really just couldn't, I would look into something to give me a balance. A lot of people like to take drugs to cover up a problem instead of taking the time to fix it. I admit I've taken things Adderall before. It really does help with focus and productivity, but I'm sure understanding the root cause of why I'm so unfocused and unproductive in the first darn place would better help in the long run. Never taken Xanax, but I'm sure it's the same principle. Unfortunately, there are some people who become a danger to themselves or others due to imbalances. This is where I become a bit torn. Medicine could definitely help keep them out of harm's way, but are they no longer themselves?
I've never talked about this before, but a few of my family members have a history of mental illness. Two of my uncles on my mom's side had pretty serious ailments. My mom isn't around for me to clarify all of this, but I'll just go off of what I remember her telling me (and maybe I'll ask my dad later, if I think of a good enough segway between, "hey dad, how's it going?" to "so tell me more about mom's mentally challenged uncles"). One of my uncles had mental development issues. My mom used to say he never talked or said one word but was the sweetest person you'd ever meet. He died when he was very young, I think in his 20s. I never met him. My other uncle was my mom's oldest sibling. She use to tell us stories about him all the time. She said he use to see things and people that weren't there. She said he would always think people were "after him" or out to get him, and had many conspiracies. It pretty much consumed his life from the way she told it. Perhaps he had some form of schizophrenia. I don't remember if she told us how he died specifically, but I wanna say it had something to do with the voices in his head. He also died young, and I never got a chance to meet him either.
Overall, mental health is nothing to make fun of, or even be afraid of for that matter. It is a part of life. Taking care of your brain should be just as important as taking care of your body, inside and out. I know that this country or maybe even the entire world doesn't see it's importance as one needing immediate attention, so it will probably be a while before mental health is seen in the same light as our body health, but we can certainly take steps on our own. If you find it difficult to set up an appointment with a therapist like I did, there are still things you can do in the meantime. Meditation is probably the closest thing to self-therapy I can think of. It helps to tune out a lot of the distractions that can stir up all sorts of problems. Even simply taking long deep breaths can help us recenter in times imbalance. Whatever helps you come to a neutral point really. Neglecting to recognize our mind and body as one cohesive unity can sometimes have dangerous repercussions. Let's help one another the best we can by supporting the road to a healthy life. If you need any more tips on finding a therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist, you know where to find me!
P.s. Ok fine, I admit, the photo doesn't have much to do with the subject matter, I just thought it was really cute. (But also, it is known that pets help greatly with mental health!)
P.p.s. I really am super excited to start my sessions. I have so many things to get off my chest! My hope is that by talking through these issues with a professional, I can learn to better manage them in such a way that they won't be a hindrance to my progress and success in life. I've been holding my own self back, but I'm ready to get out of my way!
P.p.p.s. I actually wouldn't say no to some Adderall though.