10 Lessons Learned from My Mental Health Journey
  1. Mental health is just as important as physical health: It seems so obvious that we all have mental health as well as physical health. However, I only viewed mental health in terms of mental health problems. But when I changed my perspective, I realized that I needed to take extra special care of my mental health. It is a vital aspect of whole health, and it helped me to prioritize it.
  2. Acceptance: It was so important for me to accept my health issues. And with this, came the grieving process. We grief the loss of loved ones, but we rarely grieve the loss of our old selves. It is vital to go through this process.
  3. Observe your feelings and question them: I never wanted to feel negative emotions. I pushed them down deep down inside and kept going. But you can’t do that forever. They will catch up to you and come out in some part of your life. You will find yourself feeling angry and frustrated. This is the time to observe your emotions and question your actions. This insight will help you to emotionally regulate and allow yourself to let go and move forward.
  4. Self-Care will be your best friend: I was the type of person who put other people’s needs ahead of my own. I was the “yes” girl. It became too overwhelming. I was running on fumes. It began to affect all aspects of my life, and it led to a vicious cycle including guilt and shame. Learning to take care of myself was one of the best things I have ever done. I learned that self-care is subjective, and it takes on many forms. Get rest and make those appointments, but also let go the negative people and thoughts in your life. Both of those things fall in the self-care category and are equally important.
  5. Advocate for yourself: I cannot stress this enough. Trusting yourself and speaking up for your needs is vital to helping you get in the habit and momentum of advocating for you. I would trust everyone else before I would trust myself. Everybody and everyone had an opinion, and it gave me more anxiety when I choose their opinions over my gut instinct. It is great to go to professionals, but don’t forget that you know yourself more than anyone.
  6. You will realize that you are not alone: You may feel alone, but you will find out that you are not alone. Your senses will be heightened, and you will be able to see through to the human side of others; the side that shows that we all struggle.
  7. You will see the beauty in the small things: As I mentioned earlier, your senses will be heightened. You will be more present, and your perspective will allow you to see the inspiration in the small things. You will begin to be grateful for what you have and learn to cherish it.
  8. You will feel lost: There will be a transition from before your diagnosis to your acceptance of it. I felt very confused and lost. I wanted to continue forward, but I also felt a connection to my past. Be gentle with yourself during this period, lean into the discomfort, and realize that it will pass and serve a purpose.
  9. You will find your purpose: I used to search for purpose. I just wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. It was frustrating as I knew I had a calling towards something, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. But as I got to know myself more, my purpose continued to unravel.
  10. Be prepared to lose people: This is a hard pill to swallow, but it was inevitable. It will hurt and you will feel isolated and lonely at times, but you will find your right people. The people who truly love you will be there. You will need to assist them with your needs, but they will be there when it gets difficult. The people not meant for your life will make it clear by not showing up. Watch actions over words and trust yourself so much that you can let go of those people and turn to you and your support system for peace and contentment.
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