Depression. Anxiety. PPD. Bipolar Disorder. Seasonal Depression. OCD. PTSD.
With September wrapping up and October starting, I thought now would be a great time to talk about mental health. More importantly, our mental health. September is Suicide Prevention Month and October is Depression Awareness Month.
Apparently, I am supposed to keep it a secret that I have been to a counselor on and off for the past 15 years. But, I am not. Apparently I am supposed to be ashamed of the fact that I take a pill each day to keep my sanity. But, I am not. In fact, I am proud of my self. I am proud of myself for recognizing that life is hard and I need some help keeping a level head. I am proud of myself for staring my anxiety in the eyes and saying “not today, baby.” I have no shame in telling you that I have seen therapists & counselors. I have seen counselors for my life in general. I have cried to counselors as they taught me how to parent my child. I have gone through medication roulette finding the “happy pill” that keeps my head in the perfect balance of sanity and stress. Here’s the thing, Its Ok to not be OK.
I have no idea why the subject of mental health is so taboo and such a “hush-hush” topic. It effects EVERYONE so why don’t we talk about it like we do the weather, sports, and politics? I think it is because for so long admitting you needed additional help, whether it be in the form of counseling or medication, was seen as a weakness. I am here to tell you that I think that admitting that you need help is BRAVE. Deciding to seek help from a close friend, counselor, or dr is no easy choice but its HUGE and so damn important!
As a mom, we juggle so much that it is damn near impossible to worry about ourselves. That is the problem, we put ourselves behind our kids, our spouses, our jobs, our homes, our friends, our communities, hell we even put our dogs before ourselves. We make sure everyone and everything is taken care of and more often than not we forget about taking care of the most important piece of the circus act…OURSELVES! By the time we get around to ourselves, its often too late, we are already overwhelmed, on the verge of a breakdown. Thus my October challenge for you: No Tricking, Just Treating. Dedicate the month of October treating YOURSELF. Put your mental health on the forefront of your mind this month. Trust me, one month of putting yourself first won’t hurt a thing…in fact I think you are going to see a huge *positive* difference.
Taking care of yourself, mentally, can look like a number of things. For some it could be a trip to Target alone and rather than looking at the kid’s shoes, you buy yourself a pair instead. For others, a coffee date with a bestie could be just what the Dr. ordered. For some, a pedicure and a good book could do the trick. Some of you are going to pull the “I am so busy” card to which I say “Fine. Take a long hot bath one night after everyone is asleep.” Anything. SOMETHING. Do something, big or small, once a week for the entire month of October to TREAT YO’ SELF!
Our mental health is top priority. You’ve heard the saying “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” and as cliché as it sounds, its true. Be sure to put yourself on your to-do list. And, if you find yourself in a dark place and needing help, please reach out to someone. Asking for help isn’t weak, it is STRONG. Ask for the help. Reach out to a friend. Reach out to a dr. Reach out to me! It is OK to not be ok all the time.
If you, or someone you know, is struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, please call National Suicide Hotline at 800-273-8255.