(MAY) YOUR MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS BE WITH YOU

By: Cortney Welch – BS, CSCS

If you didn’t understand my Star Wars reference in the title, this blog may not be for you; just kidding. May is Mental Health Awareness month, therefore I will be diving into yet another dimension of well-being that is commonly overlooked. I am not a psychologist or psychotherapist of any sort, but I do know some great ones if you are interested in learning more or need help. 

This topic is special to me because I have just recently taken control over my own mental health in the last year. I also decided that I wanted to be transparent about my experience with everyone, in case someone else is curious about starting therapy, etc. I can not even begin to explain how much of a difference I feel and see because of it. Previously, I had a very skeptical view of therapy before even considering trying it. About the same time that I injured my knee, was the time that I decided to give it another shot with someone I personally knew and really enjoyed speaking with.

Jaime Masotti has been a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor since 2008 and holds active licenses in Florida and North Carolina. She is the owner of Choose Your Way Therapy and coaches virtually, which is super convenient. (1) I will brag about her because I have been super successful as a result of her guidance, tools, and continued support every step of the way. I know several people who struggle with a mental health disorder and don’t know where to even begin. The purpose of this blog is to inform you that it is okay to not be okay and that using your voice and taking charge of your mind is worth it in every way.

I suffer from high-functioning anxiety and a slight form of PMDD. I have been this way for as long as I can remember. It was challenging for me to focus on one thing at a time, and I had constant mood swings, which consisted of very high highs and very low lows. Meaning, some days I was either really happy or really down in the dumps. I found ways to manage my symptoms, or so I thought, but I was struggling in silence telling myself it is okay to feel this way and beating myself up for not being strong enough to just deal with my emotions. Finally, I had enough of feeling sorry for myself and battling a constant circle of bad mental habits. My journey of mental health clarity really began right after my ACL injury. Those of you who have seen me throughout this journey know what I am talking about. I will dive more deeply into my experience with my torn ACL later this year, but I knew that I was not strong enough to handle my first major injury on my own. At first, I thought, okay, I will do therapy only to help me get through this difficult time with this injury, and we will only discuss my knee and my feelings about it and move on. Boy, was I wrong! Jaime is an amazing listener and asked me all of the right things at all of the right times. I have discovered more about myself by talking with her than I have ever known about myself. In each session, we uncover the deeper meaning behind some of my intrusive thoughts, and she offers me guidance on how to handle various situations. I am so thankful and grateful for her, and I highly recommend her to anyone seeking professional therapy.

Even though we usually dedicate one month to awareness of various diseases or disorders, it is important to know that there are resources available year-round for these conditions as well. Awareness is step one in your journey of health and well-being, which, according to Colorado State University, includes eight dimensions.

“Wellness comprises eight mutually co-dependence dimensions: emotional, physical, occupational, social, spiritual, intellectual, environmental, and financial. If any one of these dimensions is neglected over time, it will adversely affect one’s health, well-being, and quality of life. A well-rounded balance of these wellness dimensions provides holistic harmony to one’s personal well-being.” (2)

Action is step two in your journey of health. You have to take action in order for any changes to occur. The National Alliance on Mental Illness has a great toolkit on its website filled with resources for free programs and direct lines for talking with someone in a time of need. (3) I have attached this toolkit pdf to the blog as well! 

Another talking point that I would like to bring your attention to is that of our young people’s mental health. “Mental health conditions can also begin to develop in young children. Because they’re still learning how to identify and talk about thoughts and emotions, their most obvious symptoms are behavioral. Symptoms in children may include the following:” (3)

  • Changes in school performance
  • Excessive worry or anxiety, for instance, fighting to avoid bed or school
  • Hyperactive behavior
  • Frequent nightmares
  • Frequent disobedience or aggression
  • Frequent temper tantrums

I bring this up because several adults feel as though their children are acting out or misbehaving, which is possible, or there could be some underlying causes. I am not telling you this to tell you how to parent, but rather to be aware and curious about the behaviors. 

Two more local businesses that I have recently discovered and also offer mental health resources are: The Healing Playroom and Here Tomorrow. The Healing Playroom is a very unique type of family therapy for children and their parents to heal, cope, and handle difficult dynamics. (4) This awesome resource is conveniently located right next door to Momentum as well. One of the therapists, Kristyna Richards, and I are also hosting an awesome teen girl summer program at Momentum called the StrongHER Series: Empowering Girls Inside & Out. This is our first year offering this unique program which includes an hour and a half of group therapy and an hour and a half of personal training in a group setting as well. The girls will have different focus points for each workshop, such as confidence building, improving communication techniques, and coping with various stressors. The girls will also receive a workbook at the end with tools and resources of their own. If you have a teen whose age is 11-15 and are interested in signing up, please see the attached flyer and reach out to me. Here Tomorrow is another great organization that is dedicated to providing community resources and accessibility to help regardless of culture, background, or financial barriers. (5) They also have a direct hotline for speaking to someone in a time of need!

My hope is that this blog makes you more aware of mental health and encourages you to seek help if you or someone you know is struggling. I have had an amazing experience and gained tremendous benefits from seeking my own professional help. Mental health is just as important as physical health. Please share and take advantage of the plethora of resources for mental health awareness this month and every month. First, become aware and then, take action to learn more and find support.

References:

  1. https://www.chooseyourwaytherapy.com/about
  2. https://www.csupueblo.edu/health-education-and-prevention/8-dimension-of-well-being.html#:~:text=Wellness%20 comprises%20of%20light%20 mutually,being%2C%20and%20quality%20of%20life.
  3. https://www.nami.org/Get-Involved/Awareness-Events/Mental-Health-Awareness-Month
  4. https://thehealingplayroom.com/
  5. https://heretomorrow.org/about-us/mission-vision-and-values/

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