COVID-19 · health · Mental Health

My Thoughts During Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental Health Awareness Month is nearly over, and I’ve had productive time to ponder life, especially during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Living in isolation in my apartment and social distancing from people have presented an opportunity for my true introvertedness to revive itself, and admittedly I’m glad it did. By indulging in my introverted tendencies, I’ve become more myself again versus wearing the mask and putting on an act in front of people – this is not me saying I’m fake, but it’s definitely a light switch when I have to interact and be extroverted. In reality, I get anxious and nervous at the thought of being around people.

Mask - Persona 5 - Mental Health Awareness Month

Some of my goals in life is to enforce the importance of mental health and taking care of one’s health, as well as fighting the negative stigma associated with mental health. In the past, “taking a mental health day” was another ordinary slang phrase to me that I used loosely, but since my young adult life, it’s evolved into a bigger, more meaningful statement. My mental health is my number one priority, and I’m glad I was able to use this time alone to properly focus on it, like I have been promising myself for the past few years but never made ends meet.

What have I been doing to dedicate to myself? Here are a few things:

Twitch TV Streaming. After my 12 Days of Streaming charity run in December 2018, I took a long hiatus from streaming, because I was focused on work, maintaining a social calendar, finding an apartment and adjusting to the next chapter in my life. That all said, I fell off the sobriety wagon, and my life took a turn for the worse – another episode of a depression trough, so I didn’t have the motivation to stream (or do much else for that matter), because I was not in an unhealthy mindset.

But, during this pandemic, spending time by myself, I found the motivation to stream again. It doesn’t feel like an obligation anymore, and I genuinely look forward to playing video games and hanging out with the community. I feel back at home within myself to be able to dedicate time to my streaming and viewers around the world who hang out and support me.

Content Creation. As a creative, I’ve been struggling to find inspiration to create content to help others or provide a form of entertainment. My book projects have been on hold — I haven’t written poetry or started my novel back up.

But, with more time on my hands and less obligations to make appearances out and about, I have the opportunity to create content. I’ve revamped my website for a more sleek look, I’ve been writing more blogs on a regular basis, and I’ve started venturing into designing infographics, with hopes they can help others.

Above all else…

Loving who I am again. For years I’ve been struggling to love myself for who I am and not let the approval of others play a big role in it. Because I haven’t had to be around people, feel the social pressures of being liked or catering to others, I’ve only had myself to live with, and being alone in this time has helped me grow to love myself again. It’s been a large weight off my shoulders to not have to worry about people and fulfilling obligations, except for myself. I do what I want when I want, and there’s no looming cloud of disappointing others.

Call it selfish, but I honestly would rather be called that and be comfortable in my own skin than be miserable, anxious and depressed most days trying to appease others and worry about them. Granted, there have been moments where I worried about others and felt like I’d be forgotten during the pandemic, but I’ve made peace with it that if that’s the cold, hard truth, then it is what it is and it’s beyond my control. At the end of the day, I’ve only got myself and should always choose to love and worry about myself because no one else will.

Where is all this going?
The point I want to drive here is mental health is so important, and we should always strive to take care of ourselves, and in addition, be better people to each other. We never know what people are dealing with, and the things we say or do can impact others more than we know.

What struck me in the last couple of days is reading an article about Hana Kimura’s sudden passing away. Hana was a member in the current Terrace House season, and she had a big heart and cared a lot about people. She was a sensitive person and showed her emotions and feelings frequently throughout the season. According to the article, she encountered cyberbullying from others online, which led to her having depressing thoughts and engaging in self-harm. I haven’t caught up on the latest for the cause of death, but the circumstances around it on their own were enough to sadden me. All my love, positive thoughts and prayers of strength to her family and friends during this tough time.

Hana Kimura - Mental Health Awareness Month

Reading this article, it’s another thing to remember that it’s important to take care of ourselves and our mental health. If unchecked, it could be dire. I believe we should treat each other better and share love not hate and care for one another. At the same time, it’s also practical to understand we can’t control people and how they act, so that’s why we need to focus on ourselves and become stronger to overcome the negative energy people put out. It’s no easy feat to not care what people think or say, but we sure as hell can try. No one deserves to endure these types of negative interactions.

I’m not trying to come off preachy in this blog post, but I feel so strongly about the mental health space. It cannot be emphasized enough that it’s incredibly important to take care of it before it leads to irreversible outcomes. None of this is to say I’ve got everything figured out, but I will  share the wisdom I’ve acquired from learning in my life. My own experiences have led me here today. It’s been a long treacherous journey, but this is the best I’ve felt in a long time and I’m grateful to finally be happy with myself.

If you want to hear about my journey and the roller coaster my mental health has ridden, you can hear about it in more detail in an episode of the Ronin Uncensored podcast hosted by Joshua Lee Ronin. In this interview from late February of this year, I discuss the four years I was living in Los Angeles, my transition from Los Angeles to Houston, how I traversed my anxiety, depression and addiction, and more. I also dive into exploring possible roots stemmed from early childhood.

What more can I say to further stress the importance of mental health? It can be fragile and requires  effort to maintain healthily, but we only have one life and we owe it to ourselves to live our best life. If we don’t do it ourselves, no one else will. Conversely, while we focus on ourselves, we also need to know we are not truly alone – that there is a community on a grander scale who feel the same way we do, and we can work together for a larger cause to fight the stigma and help boost each other up. We may not know each other’s stories, but we can empathize with each other’s feelings.

So, how are y’all taking care of yourselves during the pandemic? If you’re comfortable, please share so we can all get more ideas ❤

Thank you for reading!

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