May is Mental Health Awareness month. Not that discussing mental health should only be limited to just a month (if you know me I can keep talking about it!), but it’s definitely a good start to bring focus.
Growing up in a conservative, South Asian household, mental health was one topic that was never encouraged at the dinner table. As I looked at the people around me, the thought process was similar. The generation I grew up in focused only on the problem that’s physically present, not the problem that can’t be seen or even expressed. By the age of 16 my anxiety was through the roof, along with an eating disorder. To the world I was this social butterfly who had her life together and knew exactly how to please others. Truth was, I was far from it. So I took steps that went something like this:
Step 1: Explaining to myself, “It’s not even a problem, I am happy and just making a big deal out of nothing really!”
Step 2: Why is everything circling around these problems in my head?
Step 3: Should I tell my parents? My siblings? My boyfriend? My best friend? Nah, they might think I’m dramatic.
Step 4: Ahh the internet! Let’s dig for some self help strategies.
Step 5: (someone close voicing their concern) Oh no I’m fine!
Step 6: (by now this is affecting how I think, interact and even make decisions) Maybe I’ll try therapy because I’ve hit rock bottom.
Truth is, yes, seeking therapy isn’t always glamorous and never a quick solution. However having a constant battle in your head and being alone when you don’t have to, are not either. I can say for sure that going to therapy was one of the best decisions I made. The stigma attached to mental health needs to, and will, end gloriously. And I look forward to the day we all include therapy into our day to day lives!