Today is World Mental Health Day. I wanted to open up and share some of my own experiences with you guys surrounding mental health. I think the more transparent we are about our own struggles, the more we can encourage each other to be vulnerable and open with the people closest to us. It’s so important to ask for what we need, and admit that we are not always okay. I hope my story inspires you to take action if you’ve been feeling like you need to take a first step, but haven’t yet done so. The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone, and that working through mental health issues is a journey.
For so long, I thought therapy wasn’t for me. I wasn’t suicidal anymore, I wasn’t hearing voices, and I know I’m not crazy. I’d often think, Why do I need to talk to someone and get help? Well, last year was tough for me. Without getting into too many details, I was at my lowest low, and so unhappy with life. And then that tough time passed, and I survived. I worked, did life, but then, fast forward to a couple of months ago: I noticed myself feeling down and mentally exhausted again. My best friend, Jared, has been telling me for months that I needed to see a therapist. I had heard a few of my other friends mentioning that they see a therapists, but I still didn’t feel like I needed to see one. I always felt like they were being dramatic. I didn’t see the benefit of it. I would think, So, I spend time telling a therapist my problems and the problems are still there, so how is therapy going to help me? Also, therapy is expensive and takes time. Most days, I don’t even have time to sleep 7 hours or go to the gym, or eat a meal that’s not rushed. How would I find time to find a therapist?
But, I realized that so much of my energy was going to making my readers and followers happy, and not making myself happy. The truth is, I spend much of my time alone. Sure, I have a “glamorous life” by society’s standards; however, with every job and lifestyle, there are pros and cons. I get to see so much, and meet such inspiring people, but it doesn’t allow me to build a solid base and foundation at home in LA. My boyfriend lives across the country. When I am in LA, I’m usually catching up on sleep and emails. That means I don’t have time to nurture my relationships with my family and friends here. Don’t get me wrong, I have an amazing life and am so grateful for the gifts the world gives me daily, but I have struggles too. I had a pretty dysfunctional childhood, and I know I can push people away as a defense mechanism. I was seeing a lack of self care manifest in different ways in my personal life: challenges in my relationships, lashing out on loved ones, anxiety and stress that kept me up at night, and fear of the unknown.
It was time that I took some of my energy out of building a life for all of you to see, and put some into building a life for me to feel content and happy. So, last month I finally started therapy. (Honestly, this was only because Jared kept telling me I needed to see one. Since then, I have seen my therapist several times.)
Here’s what I’ve learned so far.
1. You don’t need to have a severe ‘mental health issue’ to go into therapy.
So many of us have issues that I often times, I feel like everyone is just crazy, and that is just life. You don’t have to wait until shit gets to it’s worst stage, or until you’re at your lowest point to see a therapist. You can choose to begin nourishing your life at any time. I believe strongly (now) that we can all benefit from talking to someone who isn’t biased. From my own experience, I’m understanding my actions better, why certain things give me anxiety or stress me out, and how to communicate better.
2. The problem is deeper: why understanding your childhood is important.
I didn’t realize how much certain events in my childhood impact the way I live today. The way I was raised, my parent’s divorce, and significant life events have definitely shaped who I am – but it goes so much deeper than that. Since I was very young, my family didn’t stay in one place for too long. Almost every three years, we moved houses, schools, etc. That definitely allows me to live this crazy lifestyle (I mean, I travel 300 days out of the year. When my friend Benita was on a trip with me to Paris during men’s fashion week – which wasn’t even that busy – she told me she couldn’t live my life because it was too hectic.) Having two working parents who were divorced and certain childhood traumas impacted my childhood, and I was forced to grow up faster. I had to learn to be independent and responsible. Because of this, I also have very high expectations from other people: expectations which are not always healthy. I’m learning that I cannot force people to be like me… if that makes sense? I mean, I’m still learning and discovering myself through therapy. I know now that I have a long way to go.
3. Therapy is an investment with a guaranteed return in investment.
Fuck, therapy is SO expensive. Depending on your insurance plan, you might get therapy covered or some portion of it covered. But I’m not going to lie: therapy is costly. However, it is self-care, and it’s an investment in yourself. I don’t drink alcohol or party. I have a gym membership, but like I take care of my body. Also, I know I need to take care of my mind and emotions. I’m investing in myself, and myself is the biggest asset I’ll ever have. Without a healthy mind, I won’t be able to do all the things I love and want to accomplish. Therapy is one of the best ways to improve myself, and I know further down the line, I’ll be making a return in investment because I’ll be a better version of myself.
I talked more about starting therapy here: