When I started talking about my own self-care as it relates to mental health, I had no idea July was minority mental health month. I am not a minority, but I can definitely empathize with the challenges associated with getting help if you feel like something is wrong.
In that spirit, NAMI has some amazing resources and I hope you’ll check them out. If you want something a little more accessible to kick off with, Emilie and Bridget did a fabulous podcast on this topic recently. Stuff Mom Never Told You is not a new podcast, but I recently started listening to it religiously when Emilie and Bridget started hosting, so it’s new to me. But I was on a roll with the mental health piece so I also listened to this old episode about maternal mental health the other night (it does make washing dishes a little more exciting) and I really got me right in the “mom gut.” Talking about mental health during and immediately following pregnancy is hard. There’s such a thin line between normal and not normal.
Please, please, please – talk to someone if you feel like something is wrong. It can be discouraging if you can’t find someone to listen. But we are out there, people who love you and want to hear your story.
To my own “stuff”, I had my first therapy appointment on July 26th. It was such a relief to be with someone who started out by saying I wasn’t crazy for feeling overwhelmed and emotional. It was a relief to be with someone who said we would take some actionable steps to deal with stress. While I am not at all opposed to medication, it was nice to be with someone whose first instinct wasn’t to medicate me. A wholistic approach is exactly what I want and need.
I also recognize that as a white woman, being in therapy is such a privilege. I am not faced with social stigma that comes from seeing a therapist. I am better able to pay that co-pay. If it does come down to needing some medication, that is something that can be managed. In unpacking my invisible knapsack I can arrange to see a therapist that shares my racial and socio-economic background. If you are looking for someone who looks like you (representation matters so much!) please check out Ourselves is Black. They offer a state-by-state directory of mental health professionals of color. You can also visit the Black Mental Health Alliance for state-by-state resources.
Sometimes self-care takes on a sexy veneer. There’s something very chic about having a bubble bath, getting a mani/pedi, or having a facial. There is almost never anything sexy about crying in an office because you feel overburdened and like you’ll never feel like yourself again. But this part of self-care is way more important than soaking in the tub or having pretty nails.
What can you do to commit to taking care of your own mental health? What can we do together to help you get there?