Definition of Normalize:
1: to make conform to or reduce to a norm or standard
I love when I hop on Twitter, and I see a tweet along the lines, “Let’s normalize [insert something that should be normalized.]”
There are so many things we have to normalize, but mental health is one (out of many) in particular that I feel strongly about. I love that over the years, it’s become easier to talk about among friends. It wasn’t always that way.
Last year, I had a really bad breakdown, not sure what really happened or triggered it, but I started to look for professional help. I rotated through calls with different therapists for about 3 months. I never got a chance to choose a therapist that worked for me. No one told me that it’s a process to look for one.
You know what’s another thing no one ever told me when I was growing up? A N Y T H I N G about therapy. Nope. Nada. Zip. No one told me how normal it is, how valuable it is, or that it’s not the big bad scary thing to steer clear from. Going to therapy wasn’t your typical after school conversation. It was another Voldemort situation, AKA, “the thing that should not be named.” It may not have felt like that for everyone, but it sure felt like that for me. It finally took about 20 podcast episodes and celebrities (seriously) screaming into my ear to invest in some kind of treatment.
(I lied. I did find one that was great for me, but it was way out of my budget. The fact insurance doesn’t cover that is a whole other conversation.)
Nah, man. Sometimes, people need someone to talk to who isn’t their friend.
I remember the first time I opened up to people that I’m looking for a therapist. I was nervous af they’d look at me differently. Surprisingly, everyone was chill. One person even lmk they had a therapist, and it helped them. In turn, that helped me realize, “hi, yah. The world doesn’t center around you. People are doing this. It’s fine. Do you.”
It’s a normal thing. Crying is a normal thing. Sharing your feelings is normal. It’s all normal!!!! It took me so long to accept that. If you know me personally, I guard my feelings real quick. But I’m learning to be more vulnerable, more open, allowing myself time to myself to unpack wtf is going on in my head. Bottling things up is and can no longer be an option for me. It was detrimental to myself and to my loved ones.
As a kid, therapy seems like one area where the “troubled people” turn to when they need it the most. That’s why people seemed to convince everyone, “You don’t need that. You have no reason to be there.” But in reality, aren’t we all troubled in some way? I speak for myself and admit that I am. I have my flaws, and I’m just like everyone else, trying to manage it.
And that’s something I’m going to hold myself accountable for along with so many other things. I told myself in 2020; I’m working on my mental health, and therapy is one way to do just that. It seems like such a “hot topic” where everyone is throwing those words anywhere and everywhere. But F that. Mental health should always be a priority and not the latest fad. Take care of your mental health. For me, it changes the perspective on everything moving forward. I hope it makes a difference for you too.
That’s part of the reason why I started to blog again. Blogging is a self-care act for me, even if it’s just my boyfriend and a few friends reading it. In a way, this is my brain dump. Hi guys. Thank you. You rock, never change.
And to be totally transparent, I wanted to start a hashtag, but why is it so hard to find an unused hashtag? The closest one I found with no usage is #yeahillgetthere. It’s long, but I think it paints the picture of yeah, I’ll get to the point where I can balance my mental health with everything else. Eventually.
Lastly, I hope you know you’re not alone. When it comes to anxiety, therapy, figuring out the best self-care that works for you, and everything else that falls under the mental health umbrella, it gets overwhelming. There are so many people right there with you, like me.
XOXO, not gossip girl. Just me. Ashley. Duh.