I was on Twitter a few weeks ago and saw this post. It was such a thoughtful post that I had to reach out to the writer (her name is Christina Lattimore) and tell her how much I appreciated it. I appreciated it so much that I wanted to share it with you guys. I get a lot of behind-the-scenes notes about depression, coping, and striving for happiness and mental health. As I have shared a few times on this blog that I am a big proponent of counseling and therapy.
If you are on the fence as to whether or not you should seek professional help, let this post be the sign. -K
by Christina Lattimore
The energy of the mind is the essence of life~Aristotle
I usually don’t write in real time, but I felt this was relevant to recent events*. Someone asked me last night, “So how did you know you needed to go see a therapist?” To be honest, I couldn’t remember the exact moment I said “Let me find a therapist”. I remember I did have a close friend that I discussed the topic with, but I don’t know if she suggested it or I mentioned it first. What was important, is that I knew it was time to get help…. but why at THAT moment? My answer, I was tired of feeling how I had been feeling and I wanted to get back to being myself. Despite appearing to be content with my life at the time, I wasn’t happy. I was actually very sad, over eating, taking EVERYTHING personal, crying often, and either not sleeping or sleeping my days away. That is not the life I wanted for myself.
After I finished a lengthy phone conversation with my friend, the questions stayed in my mind. “So how did you know you needed to go see a therapist? “When should I find a therapist?” In the end, I gave an honest answer, but it didn’t stop me from thinking about how I would answer the question if I were asked by someone else. After much thinking, I composed a list of MY top three suggestions.DISCLAIMER: I am not a mental health professional, a doctor, nurse, life coach (though some people may disagree)-I am just giving my opinion.
After the death of a loved one.
I would encourage people who have lost a child, a parent, a sibling, a best friend or a spouse to talk to someone, a friend or loved one, about their feelings. If the person you lost was extremely close to you, or if there are feelings of guilt or extreme sadness, I would suggest grief counseling. Everyone deals with death in different ways, you need to make sure you are coping with it in a healthy way. Many times we have feelings of guilt, thinking about what we could have done to prevent it, or we often think about things we wish we would’ve said or done before they left us. Talking through those feelings with a professional can make the difference between letting their death consume you and letting their life inspire you.
If you are a ‘bag lady or bag man’.
Did you have an unstable childhood? Have you had several failed relationships? Do you have anger issues? Do you blame you failures in life on other people? If so you should consider seeing a therapist. Many times the feelings from a bad situation stay with us, and we don’t realize it. An absent parent can often lead to abandonment issues and a lack of self-love. Staying in a bad relationship can destroy your self-worth, and make you question everyone’s intentions, preventing you from developing healthy relationships. Many people think they are justified in feeling how they do, like it is normal because they have lived through these bad situations. At some point, we have to place those ‘bags’ on the ground and walk away. Carrying around those constant negative feelings, leave no room for love and happiness in your life, and everyone deserves to be happy and loved.
When things are changing (or you want them to)
I feel like this statement may be too broad, but it is the best phrase, to sum up, my feelings. Although, change is inevitable, it is difficult to initiate. We may be able to adapt to change that is forced upon us, but what about when we want to change our lives? Many people are in the processes of changing or want to change their job, their relationship, their lifestyle, their religious beliefs but find that it is difficult. Many people want to get rid of anger issues, trust issues, abandonment issues, body image issues, feelings of guilt, and feelings of insecurity. Many people stay in their current state because they don’t know what lies on the other side of change. There is an element of fear of the unknown. Often we settle in our unhappiness because that’s part of life, right?? I believe it doesn’t have to be. I think if you want to change, you can, but not always on your own. A therapist can help you deal with the growing pains of change. They can help you look at life with a different perspective, but you must be open to it. Life is stressful, expressing your feelings in some way is healthy for the mind.
*This was written about a week after Mike Brown was shot and the unrest began in Ferguson, and a few days after Robin Williams committed suicide.
Chrissie K has learned that mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of and mental health is just as important as physical health. She hopes to increase awareness and erase the stigma, especially in the Black community, by sharing her own story and encouraging others to share theirs. Chrissie K started Speak Away the Stigma last year, to promote mental illness awareness.
Twitter: @SPEAKawaySTIGMA @iamChrissie_k
FB: Speak Away the Stigma
[info_box type=”alert_box”]If you want to practice self-care, you have to care for your finances. My book, The Happy Finances Challenge, is designed to help you learn to make money decisions that will lead to long-term financial happiness in just 42 days. [/info_box]