Wellness Wednesdays #1: Mental Health Visibility
Today is the start of a weekly series where I will ask a question related to the themes on my blog (mental health, self-care, community, poetry, etc.). I am trying to get people talking, build a sense of community and increase awareness about mental health, a topic I am intensely committed to. I want to see what’s going on in people’s heads, hear their stories, and gain some perspective and solutions. This week’s question is:
Are you open about things surrounding your mental health ? If yes, what sparked you to be open about it, if not what are your reservations?
My answer to this question is the whole premise behind this blog: Welcome to In My Mental Mind
Aaronica Cole of, The Crunchy Mommy answered:
One of my degrees is in Psychology and I believe in getting the help that you need. I was sexually abused growing up and the effects of this on my psyche reared it’s ugly head in high school and I saw a therapist then. Seeing her helped me so much. But I think people are embarrassed about needing help when we shouldn’t be. When WE need help, that’s the easiest thing because it’s us who control our decisions for ourselves. It’s not easy to make the decision or share it but once we accept that we all need help in some way, shape or form and it becomes normalized, it’s so much easier to get help. And getting mental help is something that needs to be normalized so that everyone can see that it’s ok.
Megan MacPherson, of the blog, Simply Megan and YouTube channel of the same name answered:
Yes, I am open about things surrounding my mental health. I even wrote about it, wanna hear it? Here it go! https://wordpress.com/post/simplymegantransformation.wordpress.com/72
[editor’s note: below I will share a part of that blog that definitely resonated with me, definitely read the whole thing to understand why she is passionate about mental health and healing.]
“My heart has been cracked wide open to experience an influx of emotions from love/bliss to pain/loss. I have healed wounds that I was unaware existed. I have loved in spaces and places that I thought were scarred over. I have learned that slow-paced, methodical and consistent breathing, thinking and doing are key. I have been introduced to new love(s) that have impacted my life in ways that served to catapult me into becoming the best version of my own Self.”
Tonja Stidhum, screenwriter, currently promoting her Wing Chick campaign answered:
Over the past few years, I’ve developed a reputation of being super transparent about my depression and suicide ideation online. I think a combination of the strong desire to feel less alone coupled with acquiring a therapist was the recipe to a wellness pie. There was something therapeutic in and of itself about reaching out to this virtual web of strangers and friends alike. People often ask me, “how do you do it? how are you so brave to share such a vulnerable part of yourself?” And to be honest af, I’ve learned this about myself: I am extra comfortable inviting a huge crowd all up and through my business; yet, I constantly struggle with that same vulnerability via a one-on-one interaction. Maybe it’s the vanity in me; maybe it’s the creator in me: I want to be SEEN. But, the thought of sharing that same piece of myself in an intimate one-person exchange? Is crippling. I think it’s because the stakes are higher.Two years ago, I wrote a piece about my suicidal ideation on Very Smart Brothas. It was very-well received (even posted on another other site), but one particular comment stood out. One reader said that my post allowed them to survive one more day. They were on the brink of ending it all, and my transparency helped them feel less alone, thus less hopeless. I vividly remember spending that day in tears, overwhelmed by the reactions from strangers, friends, and co-workers (the latter two of which, had no idea I suffered from this, as I’m an un-proud pro at this depression/anxiety code-switching game). I knew then that I was meant to share my experience as a gift to others. And I strive to incorporate mental health awareness in upcoming creative projects. BUH-LEE DAT!
I am open about my mental health status sometimes with people who I feel understand mental health. At other times I am very guarded, because of the stigmas. Not just within the Black community, but in the world as a whole. I think there is a lot of awareness around it, but some people still see you as a burden, think you are not intelligent, and will label you as weird.