“How are you, really?” It’s a question we just don’t ask enough. Sure we ask our friends and family, how are you? But the normal response is good, fine, ok, etc. It’s so rare we actually take the time to talk about our true feelings. So when Kenneth Cole reached out to me to join their “How are you really” challenge with The Mental Health Coalition I didn’t think twice. I immediately wanted to be a part of this very important message.
During these tough times, many of are struggling with negative thoughts. And people who are living with a mental health condition are struggling even more. My journey with mental health started when I was 13, when my father died by suicide. For years I dealt with it through anger and numbness. I never wanted to face how I was really feeling.
As years went by I went from hating my father to hating myself. Even though I was so young when it happened, I blamed myself for not stopping him. I constantly thought if I was just a little nicer, if I was just a little more aware, if I just cared a little more he’d still be with me.
Nobody (except my mom, who I avoided talking to about it) knew about my self-loathing. I dealt with it by working harder, being better and just trying to be “perfect.” It worked… for a while. But after keeping all my feelings locked up for so long I started looking for an escape. Sometimes this came through travel. Other times it came from boyfriends, who I felt could whisk me away into a new life. It temporarily worked. But more often then not, my bottled up feelings started begging to be released, resulting in a mixture of fatigue and anxiety. Finally I realized what I had to do: I had to really look at myself.
“If you’re searching for that one person
who will change your life…
take a look in the mirror.”
I realized that that I had to deal with my feelings if I was ever going to feel good again. So I asked for help. It took me a long time to find a therapist that I trusted but I finally found one in Kathryn Lubow. Finally, after over 20 since I lost my father to suicide I’m finally able to forgive him… and to forgive myself. I’m still not over it. And I don’t think I’ll ever be. But I feel ok, really.
For more on mental health, please visit The Mental Health Coalition . I also have talked about my personal journey if you want to read or watch:
- Being Kind to Yourself
- Breathing Through Frustrations
- Learning to Live in the Present
- Letting Go of the Fear of Rejection
- How to Write Yourself a Love Letter
- Four Ways to Get Out of a Funk
Over on Instagram Stories, I’m sharing how you can join the “How are you really” challenge. The more we talk openly as a society, the more we can help destigmatize mental health. It’s especially important these days, as so many of us are living in isolation during these hard times.
Speaking of living in isolation, I took a note from my friend Krystal’s beautifully creative #isolationcreation images she’s been posting on her Instagram feed. I was walking Jack Jack and found this beautiful mirror on the street. I Lysol-ed it down and brought it onto my balcony. I dressed up with nowhere to go and truly looked at myself in the mirror. And after so many years, I finally smiled at what I saw.
Of course, Jack Jack came on the balcony after I snapped a few pics. So since this blog post was way heavier than my normal posts, I figured I’d end it on a lighter note with my Isolation Creation with JJ. I hope it brings a smile to your face!