Therapy is My Self Care

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and in support of those who deal with a mental health issue, or know someone who does, I am rocking this AWESOME T-shirt (designed by @StylesbyKourtney) to let you know that you are not alone in your battle.

There is a negative stigma, especially in the Black community, that is associated with the terms “mental health” and “mental illness.” We have conditioned ourselves into thinking that mental illness is supposed to look a certain way. In fact, some of us know that we are struggling with depression or anxiety at this very moment, but we have a problem with seeking help because we have convinced ourselves that counseling is for crazy people and, “I’m not crazy.”

We are very prideful people, so many of us have trouble seeking help from others period. We see it as a sign of weakness, and we think about what other people may say. Well, I am here to tell you that mental illness does not have a certain look and it is us “everyday looking people” who knows that the struggle with mental health issues are real. It takes STRENGTH to admit that you can’t do it on your own.

If you aren’t taking care of yourself both physically and mentally, there’s no way that you can effectively help others be great. We can’t pour from an empty cup and we need to stop trying to. (Read my post: When the Well Runs Dry)

Self care isn’t self-diagnosing and self-medicating. It’s not scrolling through the ‘gram comparing yourself to others. Self care is not drowning in a pool of your own tears shed from the depressing thoughts that you are afraid to admit you have.

Self-care is sprucing up your outer appearance so that you can feel better about yourself on the inside. So care is logging off of Facebook for the day to enjoy the sweet sounds of nature as you walk through the park. Self-care is seeking the help of a professional “when the rainbow is enuf.”

“Therapy is my self care.” Writing is my self-care. Reading is my self-care. Relaxing is my self-care. What is your self-care?

Thank you Kourtney for bringing awareness to such an important issue! If you are interested in purchasing this shirt or similar t-shirts in support of Mental Health Awareness Month, please visit @StylesbyKourtney on Facebook and Instagram.

When the Well Runs Dry

“Everyone is not your assignment. That’s why you’re drained.”

Have you ever tried pouring from an empty cup? I know it sounds like a silly question, but seriously…I know I have to raise both of my hands in response to that question because I am definitely guilty as charged. Like many of you, I have a habit of taking on other people’s issues as if they are my own. I am not one to sit around and simply talk about a problem all day and night. I have always been about allowing my actions to speak louder than my words. So when someone calls me with a problem, I am quick to jump into action and help them look for a solution. Oftentimes, I AM the solution.

Time, money, free labor and a whole bunch of other randomness that I know they wouldn’t dare ask of anyone else are just a few of the things that I am called upon to do for people. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy giving back to those who are less fortunate than I am. In fact, I remember a time (not that long ago) when I was down to my last…lacking the mental capacity and physical strength to go about each day…lacking adequate financial resources even with a full time job. So trust me, I know that the struggle is definitely real. I know that the roles can be easily reversed one day and that I could be the one in need, but I thank God for his favor. I thank Him for being a miracle worker and a provider.

I have always felt like I was doing the will of God by helping others. All of my close family and friends know that I will give them the clothes off of my back–even my last dime if they needed it. I help out of love…I give out of compassion; however, the problem occurs when the giving becomes an expectation or when people become dependent on me helping them. They know that they can count on me to be the “Yes” girl who saves the day every time they call…all because I am too afraid to say, “no” out of the fear of being a disappointment.

I recently stumbled across a quote that read:
“Sometimes you don’t even realize that you are actually drowning trying to be everyone else’s anchor.” I really hate to admit it, but this is how I have felt on several occasions. Because I give so much of my time and effort to others, there is nothing left for me at the end of the day. After being stretched out thin and in so many directions, I am out of energy, money and time and I have nothing to show for it. For almost 10 years I have allowed this to be my story…drowning deep in the depths of my own kindness.

It actually kind of hurts knowing that certain people only reach out to me when they need me for something. I know that it may seem like common sense to some, but it has been a lesson learned for me. I simply cannot pour from an empty cup–filling the lives of others when I am lacking myself. I can’t continue to drown myself because I am constantly putting all of my energy into saving everyone else. No more going broke because I am paying everyone’s bills. No more trying to be everything to everyone for the sake of their happiness. No more doing so much for others that I lose myself in their problems and lose sight of my own. Someone told me long ago that me attempting to play savior to everyone may very well be me blocking the lesson in their life that God is trying to teach them. Therefore, I must remind myself daily that everyone is not my assignment and somehow, someway they will be okay without me coming to the rescue all of the time.

I must learn to be selfish and take care of ME first. If not, then we will all drown.

(C) 2019, L. M. White (Shy Girl Speaks)