My mental health has been dancing on a wire for almost a decade. To be honest? I’m not sure if there is a safety net below because I’ve always been too scared to look. Ideally, the world would genuinely take mental health as serious as physical health. Not just hosting conversations about mental health, creating “zen rooms” or social media campaigns, but implementing laws that can prove this world cares about the inside as much as the outside.
Ideally, everyone would have a therapist from the moment they were born and insurance would cover it. Unfortunately, the world expects us to figure ourselves out.
During quarantine, many of us were forced to look inward which may have or may have not caused many breakdowns and a questionably healthy addiction to a show that definitely shouldn’t be your comfort show.
When I looked inward, I found that there was a pile of unexpressed emotions, ignored memories, and untold stories. Since I couldn’t afford to get help, I had to seek therapy in things. For a while, I thought because I overshared and answered questions, I was being vulnerable. To my surprise, there is a difference.
Vulnerability is intimate, a hug, a brave act.
Oversharing is rushing in, ripping the band-aid, a frantic act.
After that harsh breakthrough I found that I had a lot of stories to share, to read, to write.
Isn't it amazing that there are so many ways to tell a story?
Here are some things I’ve been doing since therapy is way too expensive:
Xen Thoughts (the podcast)
I replaced a journal with a podcast.
It started with a voice note. I was having an intense conversation with a friend, so intense I couldn’t type. Voice message it is.
Then, it hit me. This works way better than a journal. Not me voice messaging a friend, but leaving a voice not for myself. I’ve never kept up with a journal. I find that when I’m feeling anything I talk to myself, not pick up a paper and pen. I found that speaking into my phone helps me to actively practice vulnerability.
I decided at around 2 am that I was going to make a podcast called Xen Thoughts with little to no equipment. That night I dreamed of the cover. The next day I made it and recorded the trailer with little to no thought in fear that I’ll talk myself out of it.
I use my phone and it genuinely feels like I’m talking on the phone. I love that you can hear the train in the background and I love that I’m putting myself out there.
Emphasis on the ish. Realistically, I’m just taking photos and putting them on Instagram. I bought a new camera that was so expensive that I’m scared to breathe on it.
It gives me a reason to put clothes on and fix my hair and paint my nails. It gives me something to look forward to. Sometimes when depression is kicking my ass, I begin to melt into my mattress. So if posing in a bra is going to help me get up, then thank you Savage Fenty.
My history with food and exercise wasn’t so great. I either did too much or too little. Finding balance is something I struggle with. Lately, I’ve been eating more and working out not to look a certain way but to feel a certain way. I want to feel capable and strong. I want to prove to myself that I can get through this hour full body workout. I want to be able to run when I’m older. I want to be able to do a pull up one day.
Exercise has been a good way to let go of emotions I hold on to:
I pride myself in saying that I’m a free-spirit, but even fairies have boundaries. I thought that having walls was the same as having boundaries. Silly me.
I pride myself in saying that I’m blunt, but really I'm just scared of confrontation so I get defensive.
I admitted to myself that I hate being perceived because I do care about what people think about me and the external pressure stresses me out.
I admitted to myself that I resent both my mother and father.
I admitted to myself that there’s still a lot that I don’t know about myself.
I’ve never been consistent and I've never been able to make a short video. I decided to give it another go. There’s something so magical about taking what’s in your head and bringing it to life. Magic is real and we don’t need a wand to do it.
Spending and Saving Money
I’ve somehow saved and spent the most money I’ve ever saved and spent. How? I got a job that pays well. You cannot save unless you make more than what you spend and that is just not possible for everyone.
My relationship with money could use some work but there are three things I’ve learned:
- Money allows you to be happy.
- Just because I have money doesn’t mean I have to be greedy. What I spend will come back.
- I don't need to explain why I made a purchase. I deserve nice things.
- Poor people deserve nice things too.
Booking Flights for My Mental Health
I went on my first vacation at the age of 21. I’ve never been on a family vacation and no. I’ve never been to Disneyland. I find that I’ve missed so much and I’m rushing to catch up. Rushing to see the world. Rushing to show my mom the world. I want to see who I am when I’m not in my own world.
There’s something so comforting to see that the world is bigger than me.
I think life is just forever trying to figure shit out. Trying to figure out how to take care of oneself while going to work, exercising, eating healthy, getting some rest and having some fun. Doing it all seems impossible so when all else fails, do what you can want.