Navigating Mental Health - Cara's Story

May is Mental health awareness month. It's something so close to my heart for multiple reasons and I know the importance of creating a dialog around mental health. 
 
It's bitter sweet that it's now so readily talked about... on one hand I'm grateful because this is how we can rid the world of the negative stigma attached to mental health. On the other, I'm sad for the previous generations who struggled in silence, or were ridiculed for the way they felt. 
 
Ultimately, it's for all those reasons we need to keep the conversations going.
 
I'm a big believer in the power of vulnerability and being open and honest. After all, there are very few things that we'll go through that aren't relatable.
 
For years I've battled anxiety and depression, and I assumed it was a genetic thing that I'd just have to cope with. Starting therapy was something I really wanted to do because I wanted to understand myself better. It wouldn't be until 2019 that I'd  begin therapy, and later learn I had PTSD* which honestly explained A LOT. (don't you love that?)
 
I’d think to myself:
 
"Why do I react a specific way in situations?" "Why does that trigger me?” "Is my anxiety a normal level or do I worry more than I need to?"
 
Fast forward to today, here's what I've learned from my experience with embracing my mental health:

Therapy is the purest form of self care.

You are able to go deep into yourself with a trained professional to help you understand yourself better, which is the true key to achieving knowing what will make you happy.

Be willing to unlearn.

Previous generations didn't have the same understanding of mental health or trauma , so unlearning some of the things we were told or taught in the past might be impactful in establishing a healthy future.

I'm not afraid of medication.

A friend said "would you be ashamed of taking an iron supplement if you needed it? No. Then why would you be ashamed if you need a serotonin vitamin?" She was so right. Now everyday, I take my "vitamin" and it made a big difference for me.
+* Personal story: After communicating my PTSD diagnosis with my family doctor, it gave her the insight to adapt my medication. We switched from a standard anxiety medication to one with success on PTSD patients and the way the brain processes trauma. The brain is WILD! The change in medication was a game changing experience for me, and I feel like the real me again. This was an insight I couldn’t have gotten without therapy

Therapists have a ton of wisdom to share.

Human brains are complex! A therapist can help you navigate situations that arise in life that can be uncomfortable, confusing or distressing. WE ALL HAVE THEM. That could be resolving conflict or confrontation, family issues, or everyday stress and fear. It feels comforting knowing if there's ever a time when I feel unsure, I have somewhere and someone to turn to and talk it out. Together we will work towards the answer.
 
I found a ton of relief with in person therapy, as well as online. Ultimately when Covid hit, online therapy was the best option, and still is with my hectic schedule.
I've personally had a great experience with www.betterhelp.com
It's affordable and you can pause it whenever you need.
{You can even find discount codes online!}
 
My hope is to shed some light on the positive impact that prioritizing your mental health has - no matter the stage of life you are in. 
 
Sending love and light from my journey to yours,
 
Cara
 
*This is based on my personal experience. I strongly encourage you to talk with your doctor and/or a therapist about which treatment plan is right for you!
 
+ Finding the right medication can be a challenge. It ultimately took me 3 different prescriptions before I was able to find a balance that worked for me.
Stay hopeful, and communicate with your doctor about how you're feeling

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