The unsexy side of self-care

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.

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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?

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3 thoughts on “The unsexy side of self-care”

  1. I am glad to read that you are taking care of yourself – self-care is very important, and therapy is something that is not something to be ashamed of. Many people can benefit from therapy, as long as they can find the right therapist that works for them. Though, speaking as a Person of Color, I can say that there are barriers to seeking out mental health needs. MPR did a report on it on the 3rd: https://www.mprnews.org/story/2017/08/03/mn-slow-to-respond-as-minority-mental-health-needs-grow

    To add to what you said, The Association of Black Psychologists also has a Therapist Resource Directory: http://www.abpsi.org/find-psychologists/

    There have not been many studies about Native American attitudes regarding mental health and mental illness – the most thorough (and only) research that I know of is this: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK44242/

    Fortunately in Minneapolis, we also have the Native American Community Clinic: http://nacc-healthcare.org/

    There are some things that I need to do to take care of my mental health that I honestly haven’t been able to do recently, but I am doing what I can with the resources that I have. It’s important to not make feeling better dependent on people, of course, but… well… *shrug*

    Liked by 1 person

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