Conversations on mental health <3
Growing up in the early 2000’s in the Ventura County foster care system, I had a handful of things I was embarrassed about; getting picked up in the big county vans, returning to school in the fall with a different foster family than the one I had when school let out for the summer, and my payless shoes. Mental health was not on that list. I knew it was required that I visit a psychiatrist once per year to be evaluated. Foster care is traumatizing, but usually less traumatizing than the reason you were placed in the system.
I would walk in to the psychiatrist’s office ready to answer questions and look at pictures. I never worried about my mental stability because I felt “normal”. Many of my friends took medication in the mornings and before bedtime. My foster parents would say it was their “vitamins”, but I soon realized those pills helped my friend(s) listen and play nice. “No biggie” I thought, and moved along to brush my teeth. Talking about and understanding mental health was easy for me.
Unfortunately, not all of us grow up surrounded by people with various mental illnesses, and thus many of us are judgmental and unbelieving of just how common it is for a person to experience periods or a life of mental unwellness.
It is okay to not be okay all the time and mental health is a continuous journey. With all of life’s stressors and responsibilities it is easy to feel overwhelmed and/or not pay much attention to our own wellbeing. But, please remember to take time for yourself, even if just thirty minutes each day.
----Bre (Office Manager)