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Putting the “Me” in Mental Health

Find your light. You are worthy.

Putting the “Me” in Mental Health

**I wrote the following passage on Oct. 10, 2021, on World Mental Health Day. The death of Cheslie Kryst on Jan. 30 of this year was … and still is, in some ways … difficult to process: Not just the manner in which her life ended, but also the discussion around mental health, high-functioning depression, and the expectations about being “strong” all of the time. In my most recent therapy session, I talked about how I was feeling, even sharing how I’d interacted with Cheslie on social media several times. As someone who studies parasocial interaction and other communication theories, I understand why I felt a connection to someone I didn’t know. I did not expect the level of grief I have been experiencing. This week was much better for me, and I wanted to share these words below in case you or someone you know might need encouragement and support. Cheslie’s name might fade in the news cycle over the next few days, weeks, months … but mental health is always worthy of conversation. If you’re reading this, I hope it helps you. 


The day after my 31st birthday was my first therapy appointment. I’d always given in to my bouts with depression. I’d just cry, journal, and wait for the feelings to lift. However, this time, my feelings scared me. Night sweats. Blood rushing. Feeling totally out of control of my body. Terrified. ⠀

I talk often about my mental health journey and that therapy saved my life. With that said, setting up that appointment to actually talk to a licensed professional was the optimal decision, and I’m grateful that I’m here to share this with you. ⠀

For two years, I was living in extremely tumultuous times. Between issues at work with racism and harassment, plus being in an emotionally abusive and toxic relationship, I was at a breaking point. ⠀

I was also broke. Money was really, really tight at the time, and my co-pay was $40. ⠀

But I had to figure it out, not only financially but also getting out of my head what other people would think about me going to therapy. I was operating out of fear and denial when I needed to operate out of faith and truth.⠀

So, I cut the cord (cable and internet) and saved about $100 each month. To this day, I still don’t have tons of channels because I don’t watch a lot of TV. Not only was I able to pay my co-pays, but I also swapped out crying, eating, and watching reality TV with regular exercise, including hiking (which still brings me peace). ⠀

God is amazing, and a good mental health professional got me in a place that gave me clarity and confirmation that I would be OK. The coping mechanisms and healthy habits still guide me today. Every day isn’t sunshine, but it’s definitely not a Category 5. ⠀

**Today is World Mental Health Day. There is such a stigma about people with mental health issues. The No. 1 insult: “You’re crazy.” If you hear this, do not internalize it. If you say this to and about others who live with mental illness, stop it. This is harmful and super toxic. ⠀

It’s OK to acknowledge if you have depression, anxiety, and any other type of mental disorders. It doesn’t define you, and you WILL be OK. Help is available, and I encourage you to find your light.

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