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How’s Your Mental Health?

I know, I know. Not something you want to talk about. But, I think we should.

In light of everything that has happened this past week, I wanted to reach out to you all and do a mental health check together.

How are you feeling? Are you struggling in any way? Is there something on your mind that’s bothering you? Are you content? Happy? Bored?

Let’s chat.

I can start first.

And it’s going to make me extremely vulnerable but I feel that if I open up, maybe many of you will too?

Judgement-free zone, here. If you’re here to tear people down, then you should see your way out. Rising tides, y’all. We are more the same than we are different. We’re 100% human.

Everyone, at some point or another, goes into a dark place. If not for a minute or two, everyone at some point goes there. The key is whether you come out of that dark place or not.

I would say that for most my life I was pretty happy. Sure, I had regular teenaged moments. I hated my parents, I hated the world, yadda yadda.

But going through the self-discovery phase of high school and college, I don’t recall ever being super down. I loved high school and college. I felt like the community at these places were a second family to me.

It wasn’t until I turned thirty last year that things started to shift. I’m not sure I can correlate it with age 100% but I know I never really felt the way I did until recently.

I want to say part of it is when I moved back to the town I grew up in, I started to get really nostalgic and in turn, I would find myself sitting on the couch sometimes just randomly crying. I would be really emotional and angry.

I thought perhaps, instead of burdening my husband and my close friends with all these random thoughts I couldn’t dissect, I should seek professional help. I researched and began seeing a psychotherapist.

It was terrifying. The whole week or so leading up to the appointment, I was thinking, “am I really doing this? I can’t tell people about this, they’ll think I’m crazy. Therapy is for crazy people. Am I crazy?”

In fact, coming out on the other side of therapy, I feel that therapy is actually therapeutic and I feel that many others should take advantage, if their situation allows. <— That’s a whole ‘nother topic I’m not going to touch on too much. I’m just going to say that I feel health insurance in the United States should focus more on covering therapeutic means of helping someone instead of always drugging them at the first utter of, “I’m anxious,” or “I’m sad.” I feel that we all need to dig deep down before writing these ‘scripts. That’s just my personal thoughts on this. I don’t believe drugs are the answer to everything. Absolutely if someone needs it, by all means take them, but I don’t think that should always be the first thing to do.

I digress.

Individual therapy with my therapist was good. But I would say that group therapy for me was even better.

I know what you’re thinking and it’s what I thought and it’s what my therapist told me everyone says when it’s first brought up to them. “HELL NO.”

I’m really glad I gave it a shot.

Every Tuesday night, there were six of us in the therapist’s office. We’d go around the room and do a check-in of everyone’s week and then the rest of the night is asking more questions about specific events that the person may or may not have gone through during the week, asking them to open up more about it, etc. It was kind of like a vent session but with strangers. And I think that’s the best part because even though they’re strangers, you have the most ways to relate because they know NOTHING about you and can’t judge you on anything. I mean, it’s a judgement-free zone anyway but you know what I mean by that. Like there is no pre-disposition or pre-conceived notion of who you are/were.

It was really enriching and rejuvenating. To hear that I wasn’t alone and to get solid advice and to hear others struggling in the same but different light.

We all struggle. We all have moments. No one can force someone to do something. But I urge you — if you’re feeling lost, disconnected, sad…please seek professional help. It doesn’t have to be paid. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and you can TALK to someone. Any time of the day. Any day of the week. YOU just have to do it.

1-800-273-8255. Your lifeline is waiting on the other end of that phone. Please take it. There is so much left to live for. I promise.

I know this is a difficult topic but the national suicide rate right now is too high and with two high-profile suicides this past week and the show 13 Reasons Why being out there…I just felt the need to say something and I know we all can relate — whether you believe it or not.

To all my dearest readers, I just want you to know you aren’t alone. Reaching out for help is not shameful. I think society also needs to change its mindset on mental health. Just because someone is struggling doesn’t make them crazy or doesn’t make them ‘want to die.’ It’s their own journey and it’s probably them reaching out for help. Or maybe, they aren’t reaching out and if you see signs that they should seek professional help…by all means, PLEASE talk to them. You could very well save their life.

Reaching out for help of any kind takes courage and bravery. Will you do that for me, please?

Ellen Bennett of Hedley & Bennett said it best: In the days, weeks and years ahead, let us remember to be kind to each other, listen to each other, support each other and as Anthony always did, break bread with each other. His curiosity and sense of community knew no bounds, and that torch must be carried forward.

Love you all and thank you for allowing me to share my story and journey. Even as I’m hovering over the ‘publish’ button on this post, I’m filled with thoughts of, “are people going to treat me differently now? Are people going to judge me? Are people going to think they can’t be honest with me in fear of me going off the deep end? Am I going to lose friends? Is this embarrassing? Am I over-sharing? Should I even be sharing this?” I certainly hope the answer is ‘no’ to all these (except the last one, haha) and I hope this is a jumping pad for everyone to start the conversation.

No one truly knows what one is going through unless you ask, talk, listen, and support.

Big hugs and lots of love,
Julie

Sara

Sunday 1st of July 2018

Thank you for this heartfelt post; beautifully said. Sending big hugs to you. Yes, everyone falls into that dark place now and again. We do need to pay attention and reach out to those in need.

Thank you for sharing...

Sara

Sunday 1st of July 2018

I just want to apologize for saying something about the advertisements on your blog. I feel terrible about it. I was having a bad day. I had tried to watch TV and there were so many commercials I forgot what I was watching! So I got on my iPad and checked your blog and saw all the flashing dentist ads and well...I got upset. I shouldn't have taken it out on you. All the blogs are like that now and I just need to get use to it. It's not your fault. If I had a blog I would want people to pay me for ads. You have a lovely blog and wonderful recipes. I am sorry if I upset you. :(

Julie

Monday 2nd of July 2018

Thanks, you didn't upset me at all. You gave your opinion on something and I told you exactly why I have ads. Nothing to be upset over. Thanks for apologizing though but truly, it's okay! Appreciate you!

Peg

Wednesday 20th of June 2018

Hurrah, Julie, for your courage! People who are depressed don't speak out, because they don't want to burden the loved ones in their life. You're speaking out reminds us that there are people that love us and want to hear from us. Thank you.

Julie

Saturday 23rd of June 2018

Thank you so much. You're so right ?

Jessica

Monday 11th of June 2018

Kudos to you for having the strength and thoughtfulness to dedicate a post to this.

Julie

Tuesday 12th of June 2018

Thank you so much

JenJ

Monday 11th of June 2018

Thanks for sharing. It has been a rough week. Shoot it seems like longer. I've always had what I would say are not so pleasant thoughts. I've always felt like I was mistake or I'm not supposed to be here. Have I every talked to someone about it? Nope. Do I need to? Probably. Maybe I will at some point. I do have moments where I will kinda go "ghost" and withdraw from people and things. But thankful I do have friends/family who do reach out when I get like this and I do appreciate it.

Julie

Tuesday 12th of June 2018

You gotta do what feels right to you but don't be afraid to seek help!