Real Stories

Don’t Forget About You

We all have busy schedules, whether you’re employed, a stay at home mom, or a student. All women find it hard to have enough time in the day to achieve everything, but there is often one thing that is overlooked or pushed to the side for a later time. Self-care.
Self-care is a necessity. We all have ups and downs, but everyone needs to be nurtured and helped through the downs (since they are often sadly unavoidable). You can always fix your favorite food, watch your favorite shows, take a long bath or shower, dedicate time to your hobbies, or tend to your plants. Simple things like that are sometimes all it takes, but never be ashamed of reaching out to others for advice or company if you need it.
Therapy is something I highly recommend everyone try, even for those not necessarily going through a hard time or struggling mentally/emotionally. I grew up with the impression that if you went to therapy, something was seriously wrong with you. Therapy shouldn’t carry a stigma, and the same goes for mental illness. I was once at a lunch outing with my roommate and their mother, and we ended up discussing therapy in a way I had never considered it before.
Her mother said: “Just like they require physical check-ups at the doctor, I think mental health is just as important, so therapy should be required too.” That statement acted as the switch that ignited the lightbulb in my head; I couldn’t help but wonder why therapy wasn’t required like a physical. I still think about that conversation to this day and I thoroughly believe therapy should be required.
It would encourage healthy communication at an early age and catch warning signs of emotional or mental distress/illness. This would have a significant difference in the state of the child as they grow, therapy able to reassure them that they aren’t alone in their feelings and provide necessary, possible further actions to help prevent or control them (such as a psychiatrist or medication if necessary).
Therapy has helped me through very difficult times in my life in just the past year, both from a professional therapist and through informal therapists like my closest friends. I was walked through my issues, behaviors, and feeling in the current and in retrospect, able to pinpoint origins and causes for them. It being a free service at my college was a big plus and push, offering up to 12 free sessions each year (which was enough for frequent visits). At orientation it was actually mentioned multiple times by staff, encouraging us to go even if it was just about exam stress, which I really appreciate from my campus.
Therapy brings a sense of clarity and an objective perspective, my personal experiences leaving me with a sense of lightness and appreciation after each session. I was able to grow and be aware of my feelings and how to healthily navigate them. I understand therapy may not work for everyone, but if you haven’t or have been hesitant, I highly suggest trying it. You could even suggest it to your friends as well, which I have done this past year when my close friend was going through hardships. In the end, they were glad they did it and it was beneficial for them to at least try!
Seeking help from a therapist can be a place to vent and guidance, but there are times where they may suggest you see a psychiatrist if they feel you may have a mental illness like depression, body dysmorphia, or an eating disorder to name a few. If you have these or show signs of them/are diagnosed, there is nothing wrong about it. There are numerous people in the world that have similar experiences and have those diagnoses.
There are always people who like to think they’re better than someone because they don’t have a mental illness, or think that people with them are “dangerous” or “weird.” Well, those stigmas and opinions don’t help anyone. We need more understanding people in this world who will assist others and treat everyone as equals or lend an ear.
I have two younger siblings with various levels of autism, my significant other has bipolar II and depression, and my close friends have dealt with depression as well whether it be someone they know or themselves. Stigmas help no one and only facilitate the problems we have in society today. Bullying is also a facilitator and needs to be addressed in schools, despite the claims of a “no [bullying] tolerance” policy.
My sister recently admitted that she was being bullied at her school, to a degree I never experienced growing up. My mom asked me for advice and I said my sister should talk to the school guidance counselor. She seemed shocked, saying “They have counselors in middle school?” I replied saying that there are counselors in all schools, surprised and slightly concerned that people may not know that. I hope she takes my advice, it being a good first step in the right direction considering that my sister apparently also told my mother that she feels depressed.
Even though my sister is young, that doesn’t invalidate her feelings and experiences. To this day I’m reminded by my close friends that my own feelings are valid and encourage me to trust myself as well as my judgment. Whenever I hear those words it warms my heart and they will always be valuable to me, and I want to pass them on to you. You’re feelings and experiences are valid. Trust yourself and stay confident in yourself because your judgment is good.
So look in the mirror and say “I’m beautiful,” or “I’ll get through this.” Reach out to your friend you haven’t heard from lately and ask them how they’re doing. Tell the people you care about that you love them and support them. Give someone a push in the right direction today if they need it, including yourself. Text a friend and ask for advice if you need it (it’s never a burden to ask for help, but I also need to remind myself that it’s not). Opening up isn’t a weakness, it’s a sign of strength.
There is no one else like you, so love yourself, chase your dreams, and live the life your younger self would thank you for 💗

by Megan Holt

I'm a current student at UNC Charlotte, pursuing a BFA in Illustration and minor in English. I've written a book and am currently working on my second one (my works are currently unpublished). My career goals are to become a video game illustrator and/or writer, as well as an author. I love to draw, read, and write. A lot of my writing is inspired by Stephen King and John Green to name a few. I write to entertain others as well as myself, reading able to provide an escape from reality. My creativity is an effective outlet for me and is a trait I'm proud to have. I believe everyone can write and that all forms of art, visual and literary, are extremely valuable in society. I hope to inspire others through my writing whether it be through advice or entertainment.

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