As I write this post, I’ve cried maybe seven times in the past three days. It’s been a bad week and while I’m doing my best to put one foot in front of another, I’ve been in a funk. Admitting I’m not at my best at the moment is hard, but even harder would be to pretend everything is fine and ignore my mind and body. So, in quite the opposite fashion, I’m sharing my struggles in hopes of starting a bigger conversation around mental health.
The suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain were a bleak reminder that our country (and the world) has a long way to go in terms of understanding mental health. Following their deaths, I posted on my Instagram stories that I see a therapist. In the past, I’ve struggled with depression and still deal with anxiety. It’s something I don’t talk much about but that has nothing to do with shame. I haven’t mentioned it because it’s so normalized to me. Talking with my therapist is like going to the gym or grocery store, it’s something I need to do to stay healthy. It’s not a glamorous or fun thing to talk about, but I have no problem sharing.
People were so kind when I spoke about it that I felt guilty not speaking about it sooner. Not that anyone should feel like they have to share their mental health status, but by not saying anything, I’m contributing to the issue this country has. People are afraid to admit they are struggling with mental health for fear of being judged. However, if we looked at mental health the way we do any illness, we’d all be better off for it. Telling those with the flu to “just feel better” won’t cure their sickness, in the same way, those struggling with depression or other issues simply can’t “just cheer up.” If we can change the conversation and our thoughts about mental health, perhaps people would be more willing to talk about it.
I started seeing my counselor when I was 24. I was struggling with pretty much every aspect of my life and I needed a third party to help me work through things. As a psychology major, I had few qualms about seeking help but making the initial appointment was absolutely hard. Of course, it was (and still is) stigmatized and I was the only person I knew seeing a therapist, so there was a bit of shame initially. Once I settled in and started talking, it was clear I found the perfect person to help me process my thoughts and emotions.
When I shared my struggles on Instagram, people were quick to respond with their own battles. Depression can be lonely and isolating. I remember putting up walls and pushing my friends and family away. Not because I wanted to, but because I didn’t have the energy to interact with them. Depression is a vicious cycle that feeds off itself. It’s scary and crushing and nobody should have to face it alone.
So, if you need to talk to someone, I’m here of course, but there are also trained health professionals to help. I found my therapist through Psychology Today, the most incredible resource. Just click “find a therapist” and you can search based on criteria like location, specialties, and insurance. It might take a few tries but finding that one person who is able to listen and help is priceless.
To sum this incredibly unorganized post up, hi, I’m Christine and I’m working on myself. For the most part, I am a happy person, but I struggle at times at that’s okay. I’m having a bad week but that happens to me sometimes. I’m not a health professional but I’d be happy to listen to your struggles too.
If you or anyone you know is having thoughts of suicide, call the suicide prevention hotline 1-800-273-8255 chat with a professional online, or text 741741.
Stiles – Did you know there are hippos in rescue? It’s true. This chunk of love is just looking for a family to enjoy his zest for life, sleep, and snuggles. He’s got the cutest smile and you won’t stop laughing at his facial expressions. He’s about eight-years-old but he’s game to play with you, don’t you worry! For Stiles full bio and profile, click here.
Blondie – Okay no for real, I want this dog. She’s a mystery mutt full of sweetness and already has the sitting thing down. She loves the camera and is pretty much up for anything. She loves humans and canines and sheds very little. Blondie is basically a unicorn so if you like all that, adopt her before I do. Seriously. Here’s her profile and application, get her.
This Gentle Pit tee is a go-to and every time I wear it, I’m asked where it’s from. As I mentioned previously, a portion of the proceeds this month will go to Chicago rescues! So, think of it as a donation and free tee. The Gentle pit has so many cute designs to chose from. When you’re checking out, you can select the dogs you want to support. So, you know, go save the animals. Similar pants and shoes linked below.
All photos: Margaret Rajic