It's Okay Not to Be Okay

May 20, 2017

This week, I was finally able to do something that I believe would mark a major turning point in my life. It's too complicated to explain actually, but in an overview, I have lots of issues that I've been keeping to myself for years. Until recently, things started to get a toll on me. It started to affect my work and my personal relationships with people. I knew I had to do something about it now. And yup, it finally happened - I did a consultation and asked help from a psychologist.

Talking about someone's mental health always had a stigma in our society, but recently, things are beginning to change. I was actually inspired to finally go to a professional upon watching the Korean drama Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo. The lead male character was consulting a therapist because of a childhood trauma. The next inspiration to me was the series 13 Reasons Why, and I just loved all the discussions that followed through because of this show. One of my favorites is the one linked below.

One of my major takeaways from my recent experiences is learning that I am not alone, and that there are people out there that can help me. Having someone to talk to about your problems is very helpful. I was actually surprised how my perspective has changed after having that talk with the psychologist. Saying your problems and issues out loud, and knowing that another soul is listening, has a therapeutic effect itself. What they say is true - the more you talk about your problems, the less power it will have over you. But of course, it's not all talk, taking action to resolve it is the next step. Another great thing with talking to mental health experts (aside from the fact that you can say all of your problems without bias and judgment), is that they are skilled to assess and recommend things to do to lessen the negative feelings, anxieties, etc.

I've always been a gloomy person (which I have mentioned in posts here and there) and so I wanted to know what I could do to lessen the negative triggers. I realized keeping myself busy lessens my tendencies to listen to my negative thoughts. Aside from that I also realized that having pets (I have a cat, and just recently got a puppy!) can be a source of happiness. Breathing exercises can also calm the mind in the scenarios when you feel overwhelmed about something. I told myself I'd go back to doing yoga, to improve my mind awareness and also to strengthen my muscles (and hopefully burn the fats 😂). Also, I'll continue to invest on experiences (travel, concerts!) because it's good for my mental health. Plus, the real challenge for me - connecting with more people, because I learned that interactions with people give me my doses of happy vitamins!

Still, it's all a continuous battle. Just like the physical body, our minds need a special kind of care. Know that there's nothing wrong talking about mental issues - all people experience it, in varying levels maybe - but it's completely normal.

Apparently my experiences are very relevant, because May is Mental Heath Awareness Month. See relevant talks about people who have struggled with mental issues below. Thank you TED for posting this!

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