How are you? We’ve all been asked this question many times, right?
But how many times have we really told the truth about how we actually feel?
We all are going through so much, especially these days. Everyone is fighting their own battle, trying to escape from their own demons. And that’s how we grow.
We’ve proven that we are quite good at sharing our happiest moments on Instagram with others. But when we are fighting a battle that nobody knows about, we rarely share with anyone.
It’s ok not to be ok
I don’t know who needs to hear this, but it’s ok not to be ok. I also wanted to be strong and deal with my sh*t on my own, and I was doing it well for quite some time. However, there was a point in my life where I could no longer help myself, and I felt like I needed professional help. It’s great to have our friends, but they can do only so much.
Of course, like many people, I also postponed this step. I was giving myself all sorts of excuses: I’m fine; It could’ve been so much worse; It’s too expensive; Maybe I’m just overthinking it, what others will think, etc. Sound familiar?
There’s still so much stigma around prioritizing and taking care of your mental health. We are more worried about how we look than how we feel. And I’m not talking only about seeing a psychotherapist. Remember Naomi Osaka who refused to do press at the French Open as an act of protecting her mental health.
Here are a few more examples. Ending a friendship with a toxic friend, breaking up with a disrespectful partner, quitting a job that doesn’t allow you to have a work-life balance, walking away from a situationship are all ways of putting your mental health first.
It’s ok to need help
But more often than not, we need support and help to gain the courage to pursue what’s best for us.
I was postponing setting an appointment with a psychotherapist for years. It was never the right moment. I guess the pandemic and two painful break-ups made me realize that I should push myself to do it, or I would never heal from whatever was making me put myself in situations that caused me pain.
We humans are such interesting creatures. We claim we want what’s best for us, but then we end up being hurt. We blame others when we are the ones with the power to prevent this from happening. We are the ones who allowed the person or situation to hurt us in the first place. Easier said than done, I know. It’s all because our decision-making is often driven by powers and beliefs within us that we don’t know about.
There are so many reasons why one might need help. Whatever the reason is, swallow your pride and reach out for help. Investing in your mental health has a slow but insanely high return on investment.
It doesn’t get easier with time, but you get better
The first step is the hardest. I promise. I was shaking when I called the psychotherapist for the first time. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I knew that it was a step towards taking care of the most important person in my life – me.
I’m at the very beginning of this journey – only 8 months in. But I already know that it’s gonna be a long one. And it doesn’t get easier with time. It could be one of the hardest things you’ve ever done. There might be a lot of resistance, tears, pain, denial, disappointment, hopelessness. The good news is that at some point you’ll see a little spark of light, and it’s a sign that you are getting better.
Remember you might bump into a hard moment that will make you wanna quit. Resist the temptation and keep walking. The price of healing, I guess, is high. You pay with patience, tears, moments of desperation, and hard work.
Therapy is unsexy. I still haven’t learned to remove my make-up before my appointments, but I’m getting there.
It’s your responsibility
Nobody will do the work for you. You pay for the trainer, but you need to do the sweating. The work doesn’t stop after you finish your session with the therapist. And everyone’s progress is happening at a different speed. Failures are inevitable but so is deep personal satisfaction.
Pass it on
When I started this healing process, I didn’t want to tell anyone. Not that I was ashamed of it, but I wanted to keep this as something personal. However, part of the stigma is because many people either don’t talk about it at all or talk about it with shame. I started sharing with some friends and tried to make the conversation as casual as possible.
I think we should normalize these kinds of conversations. What if we talk about it just like we talk about going to the gym? Everyone looks up to people who are taking care of their physical health, right? Let’s motivate people to pay more attention to their mental health as well.