Mental Health Awareness Day cover image

Mental Health Awareness Day

Matt Trask • October 10, 2020

Read Time: 3 mins

self care life

2020 has quickly turned into the year of self care. It should be no surprise why. There is a pandemic, natural disasters, an incredibly divisive political race, economic woes and good lord so much more. More and more people are preaching the topic of self care.

Self Care: the act of taking care of yourself by doing things to relax yourself in stressful times. Things wrapped up in the "self care" blanket include: turning off social media, binging a favorite show, bath bombs, a good cocktail, a nice cup of coffee, your favorite book, some good music, walking with your dog, getting in some exercise, cooking and I can keep going. The idea is that you set aside time to recharge.

Another component of self care that is more prevalent but still a hushed topic: talking to a therapist.

I did. And holy shit wow. In fact I remember the first day I did. The weekend before I was a wreck. Stress was eating at me, I wasn't sleeping, I had these terrible intrusive thoughts. Kieran was over and noticed how off I was. I did a quick search and found someone who I thought I would click with. A few emails later and my first theray session was set up for the next day.

Oddly enough I woke up that day feeling even worse and feeling sick. This prompted Kieran to come over, ready to take me to the hospital but I convinced her we could skip that and just go get some gatorade and cookies from Kroger. Cookies always do the trick. I powered through the next few hours of work til my first appointment. An hour later I emerged from my office and Kieran was greeted with someone who seemingly just had about 5 tons of weight lifted off their shoulders. She even commented how she noticed I was showing signs of being my goofy self. However the most important thing is that I didnt stop after this first session. In fact, when I mentioned to my therapist the next week about Kieran's comment, he had a nervous response basically saying "yea thats great, but one week wont fix you" which I already knew.

10 weeks or so later I look back on this even with a lot of emotion. It was a huge turning point for me. I grew up suppressing my emotion and not knowing how to handle certain situations as an adult such as how to make friends, how to maintain friendships, how to have those hard conversations I needed to have and many more.

Prior to this, I would just grab my bike and ride away the emotions but I learned that this just suppressed the emotion versus me dealing with the emotion and processing it. It's been huge, and funny enough my cycling has gotten better too because now I go out with a purpose to ride versus a purpose to hide. It helps I hired a cycling coach to give me a training plan (easily my second best decision I've made this year) but the point still stands.

Today, October 10th, 2020 is Mental Health Awareness Day. If you are looking for some self care in your life, find a therapist. Even if you think you have nothing to talk about, I promise you things will come out that will lift the weight off your shoulders. This is one of those things that we need to be open about. Normalizing talking to a therapist will help so many people, especially men. Men are taught early how to avoid emotion and not talk about things. I was one of them. I couldnt imagine making it through this year without talking to the therapist I've been working with. Each time I finish the session refreshed and ready for the next challenge.

Just like we need to take care of our physical bodies, our mental bodies need to be taken care of as well.