Hello my fellow learners and thank you for being here! The Learning Curve is a place designed to share unique, individual stories with the goal of creating an environment that embraces inclusivity and diversity without bias.
I previously announced that starting in October, each month will have a different topic that the articles will be focused on. With a great number of suggestions and survey responses, I saw that a lot of you requested this month be focused on mental health.
You asked and I will deliver!
I will set out to find sources who can speak wisely on the subject. I think mental health is finally becoming less of a taboo subject and I am so excited to engage in conversation with each of you about the matter.
With 2020 being the year that it was, it makes sense to be curious about mental health. How do I get out of this funk? Why did I gain so much weight? Will I ever go back into the office? These are some of many questions a lot of us are asking ourselves right now because we are still suffering from the impact the pandemic had on our lives.
As your reporter, I want to be as transparent with you as possible so that we may have honest conversations with one another and avoid any misinformation.
Mental health is something I grew to be extremely passionate about during my undergraduate career. I suffer from anxiety and bouts of depression that took quite a while for me to get a handle on. I was embarrassed for a long time to admit I went to therapy, or was prescribed medication for the issues.
The more I learned about anxiety and depression, however, the more I became an advocate for those also suffering. I personally believe we are all too hard on ourselves when an ailment is not physical like a cough or runny nose. We almost have to see it to believe it.
Mental health affects us all in some way shape or form. Perhaps you also suffer from mental illness, you know someone who does, you have worked for a narcissistic boss, the list goes on and on. The point I try to make, though, is society is just now becoming comfortable with these discussions. If you are reading this article, I hope you come back to see what other people say about mental health in their interviews!
For now, I want to leave you all with some tips that have greatly helped me deal with my anxiety and depression:
1. Finding ways to still accomplish something: Some days I woke up and would have been content sitting on the couch the whole day. Rather than working on homework, I found myself indulging in tons of guilty pleasure television—I’m talking Kardashians, America’s Next Top Model and everything in between. My therapist told me one day that even if I cannot bring myself to do the items I set out to do that day, I can still have other victories. This can be as simple as changing out of your sweatpants, taking the trash out, washing the 3-day old wine glass or even just making the bed. It sounds silly, but it worked for me! I often found that once I did one small task, it motivated me to do another. Then, I was able to look back on my day and feel like I accomplished so much more than I would have if I had remained distracted by Tyra Banks all day (though I still love that show).
2. Journaling: I write everything down. Grocery lists, happy thoughts, funny quotes, angry tangents and, ironically, my job revolves around writing as well. I just recently began a 365-day guided journal by Jacqueline Kademian that is intended for self-exploration, healing and reflection. Another fun recommendation is the “What’s Your Word” cards. Each has a deep question that you can ask yourself or others; I turned this into a daily journal prompt to focus in on myself and my needs.
3. Therapy, therapy, therapy: My therapist helped me be able to separate rational from irrational worries. While this is, and still remains, challenging at times, the more you practice, the easier it gets. I also find that surrounding myself with close friends is equally therapeutic; being able to discuss intimate life details with the people you trust the most.
These are just a few of the things that have helped me cope; I cannot wait to find more answers about mental health and share them with all of you! Stay tuned for October’s articles!