In a time period where pictures and videos of workout updates and meticulously planned meal prep layouts flood our timelines daily, it is important to remember one additional thing:
There is no health without mental health.
The World Federation for Mental Health has designated today, October 10, as this year’s #WorldMentalHealthDay. While the particular focus for this year is on youth and young people (and considering the stories of suicide and attempted suicide that come out about our young people, it’s beyond necessary) it’s important that we also take time to have conversations about mental health in the Black community as a whole.
We’re doing better, but we still have a ways to go.
I’ve struggled with anxiety for the last few years. The kind that sometimes makes it difficult to get out of bed, or eat, or talk to people, or do random basic tasks. The kind that sometimes results in panic attacks in random parking lots when I go too long without re-grouping. It’s not something I speak about often, and I don’t speak about it publicly at all, but in light of recent instances of loss in the media I felt it was worth being transparent. Hopefully this extremely uncomfortable conversation inspires other people to seek out the resources and support that ultimately will help us live our best, most beautiful lives.
Whether it be yoga, doing therapy with a counselor—let me tell you, mine is dope. it took me a while to find one I meshed with, but it was worth it—or spending more time with people that leave your spirit full instead of draining it empty, don’t be afraid of getting what you need.
Even if you aren’t quite sure you need it. Especially if you aren’t sure that you deserve it.
It would be irresponsible of me to not mention that options like counseling and therapy aren’t always cost effective. But if you can make the investment, please consider making the most of your employee benefits or other methods.
You ain’t gon’ get the money you don’t use back anyways.
We’ve seen the impact that poor mental wellness and dangerous coping mechanisms have had on the community. Don’t let your health be limited to your physical shape and capability. Take time to think about the needs of your whole person: physically, spiritually and mentally. Let’s use today as a reminder that living our best lives is more than trips, nights out and Instagram documentaries. The process of living our best lives is a journey toward living lives with full spirits, in environments that make our souls feel at home. It isn’t always easy, but with the right resources we can make it worth it.
Below are resources for counseling and mental wellness. Please share and reach out to these outlets if you or someone you know is struggling, and send us any resources you know of that aren't listed. We don’t need stigma anymore, we need movement.
Lauren Whiteman is from Dallas, she eats Rudy’s, it’s been a while since she’s been to Big T though. She has a couple of degrees from the University of Oklahoma and is now an educator in the Dallas area. Lauren’s work focuses on advocacy, student development, and the miseducation of Black and African American students in higher education. She’s a TEDx presenter and hopes future generations never forget what to do for the 99 and the 2000. For her twitter shenanigans, visit @itsmewhiteman.