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  • Writer's pictureJoshua U.

Mental Health Awareness Month: Why Therapy?

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and has been since 1949.

The green ribbon for Mental Awareness Month

The 'green ribbon' pictured above is the international symbol for mental health awareness.


To speak personally for a second, I'm thankful every day for my passion in the field of mental wellness. I couldn’t imagine a living a life not taking it seriously.


I tell people this all the time, but when I decided to map out what The Recess Bell would eventually become, the platform was initially supposed to be solely mental health centric. As the ideas evolved over time, I went in a different direction — but I still wanted to have a mental wellness subsection on the platform; hence, mental-ity.


Depression & anxiety are the two most common mental health afflictions in the world. I’ve had to maneuver my life around both disorders from ever since I was young, and to this very day. It’s like living life waiting for the other shoe to drop at every waking moment. It’s equal parts exhausting and spiritually draining.


In 2018, just before my 21st birthday, I attended my first ever therapy session. Beforehand, I definitely remember being skeptical of how much sitting in a comfortable leather chair for an hour and openly talking about my trials and tribulations would actually help me through my battle with depression. Deep down, the idea of speaking my issues out into the open to another person terrified me. Keeping all my trauma bottled up within my soul wasn’t the ideal way to go about things by any means, but speaking them out into the air would make them real.


After my first session, I was admittedly still skeptical about pursuing therapy long-term. After the intake portion of the session took place, it really just felt like from that point forward, at least to me, a mopey whining session.


If my hired therapist wasn’t, you know, hired, and it was just a casual conversation with a stranger or friend, they might have walked out in the middle of my moaning & groaning to get some air to save from suffocating under the weight of my thoughts.


But at the end of the day, it did feel slightly relieving to finally vocalize some of my pain and to have somebody across from me help rationalize everything that I was saying. That feeling was enough to bring me back for the next session the following week.


And I’m so glad I came back.


I’ve been in therapy since. A few gaps here and there over the past 6 years, but largely? I’ve been locked in. It’s developed into a wildly positive asset for my life.


If you’re reading this, haven’t ever given therapy a try, and don’t really see how it would help? I respect that, but allow me to make the case for why therapy is so impactful.


I grew up in a Nigerian-American household — an extremely conservative upbringing. As a young boy, I was trained to not cry when sad or disappointed, because men were supposed to be strong and fierce. Crying was introduced to me as a sign of weakness. So, naturally, I carried that mentality all the way into my adulthood. On the latest Always Be Creatinepisode, I spoke on the fact that there was a 10-year period from 11-21 years of age where I did not cry one singular time. Looking back, that’s insane to think about.


I believe that human beings are simply not built to harbor all their trauma within the soul over long periods of time. Think about it like this: Computer systems & hard drives are vast in the amount of information they can hold, but they all have storage limits. Once you come close to reaching the storage limit on a device, the device may start to malfunction, glitch and slow in speed. That’s until you remove some files and downloads from the software, and before you know it, the machine is operating at an optimal level once again. Human beings, in theory, are the exact same way. We approach our healthiest mentally when we’re consistently dealing with our emotions and trauma in healthy, clean ways, such as exercising, journaling, and throwing our 'baggage' in the trash on the regular by doing things like going to therapy. We do NOT even come close to approaching our healthiest mentally when engaging in vices like alcohol, drugs, "doomscrolling", etc.


This Mental Health Awareness Month, let's try to be as cognizant as we can about that. Healthy coping mechanisms over unhealthy ones. It should eventually lead to you treating yourself much better on a consistent basis, which should raise your self-esteem, which leads to you treating others better. All this stuff goes hand-in-hand, and, hopefully -- it won't just be for the remainder of the month -- it'll become a lifestyle change.

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