The Mind-Body Connection, aka - Mental Wellness

For the last four months, I have been going through a major illness.  My body is not well.  I have been battling chronic headaches in addition to several other problems.  One day, I woke up in tears.  I ran to my primary care doctor and bawled my eyes out.  He listened to me and recommended an Infectious Disease Specialist to look into my case.  Much to my dismay, this doctor didn't really take me as seriously as I needed him to.  Combine this with a chronic foot condition leaving me in daily pain and an ortho doc unable to find a cure and you'll get someone who had completely unraveled.

I found myself on a therapist's couch.  I knew WHY I was there, but I didn't really even feel right being there.  In the hours leading to my visit, I debated cancelling the appointment.  I was sitting outside in Le NewKon asking myself questions.

"Why are you going to a damn therapist?"

"Fokes are going to think you're crazy.  Wait.  They already do.  Now it's documented!"

"If you go to a therapist, I heard your life insurance premium will go up."

"Just go home and rest.  Why waste her time?"

I walked in anyway, realizing that what I was going through wasn't getting any better and I needed some professional help from an outsider.  Truth be told, I didn't want another person to just tell me to "pray about it".  I prayed daily and woke up after broken rest with the same pains.  Maybe God put this woman in my life to help me.

I sat on her couch and immediately got nervous.  I wondered if she'd get me.  I didn't know what to do or say.  My mind was going a mile a minute and she asked me in a calm voice..

"What brings you here to see me today?"

I gave her the rundown about my health and the loss of my roadie in December.  I was transparent as hell, and she was very blunt.  For an hour, she came with the realness.  Time flew by and I made my appointment for my second visit.  I actually looked forward to it.

Well, visit two came and this time, she started off our session with something I knew, but never held on to:

" don't take care of yourself at all.  You do everything for everyone else.  From what you wear to where you go, it's always for others.  You're physically ill, but you're tending to a sick grandmother.  You overextend yourself.  You have so many things YOU need and want, but you talk yourself out of them because you are always wondering how others will be affected.  You can't be what your husband and kids need unless you take care of yourself FIRST!"

Annnnnnnd, cue the waterworks..

I had successfully convinced myself that I was selfish if I put my needs above everyone else's.  I would skip doses of medication because I didn't want to fall asleep while cooking.  I was sitting around sick as hell and still trying to be everyone's person.  Dr. Ades told me that I needed to begin cutting the phone off and doing what I'm supposed to be doing.  I cried because I knew this.  Between sobs, I asked her "what do you do when everyone leans on you?"

She said "people lean on you because you've shown yourself to be reliable.  Nobody leans on something unstable.  If you can't do something because you're sick, they'll just have to find another person or another way to do things.  Nobody's going to catch on fire if you can't help them this time."

I thought to myself.."I'm not sure about my daddy, though.  His truck DID catch on fire once."

In just two sessions, I realized that I've spent 14 years of my adult life taking care of everyone else first.  It's earned me a wonderful reputation and placed me high in the minds of many, but now that I'm in a situation in which my body is failing, I see that I'm suffering from this.  It's not to say that I'll be a jackass, but I need to follow the orders of the well-paid cats in white coats.

If your mind is not healthy, your body can't be healthy.  What I'm going through is very stressful, and I needed to be under the care of someone who could help me deal with the issues in my life at this time.  For many people, you could take a look at my Facebook pages and see happiness.  You see pictures of a smiling Tam who finds humor in everything.  That's because I've successfully convinced myself to never let others see me when I'm feeling low.  Occasionally, I will reveal some low points.  However, I think back to the morning after Taniya died.  I was at work in tears, but when the phone rang, I snapped out of it.  I didn't want the customers knowing I was hurting.  I didn't want to be THAT person that murders the mood being all depressed.  But the reality is that this has been tough mentally.  I am thankful that all the praying gave me clarity to seek additional help.

People are overjoyed that we are able to get one free doctor's visit per year for a basic checkup.  However, I wish more people celebrated the access to mental health professionals.  I went through my Employee Assistance Program and they provided 8 free sessions with a therapist.  Unfortunately, not too many others have this access or think they even need the help.

Look, seeing a therapist doesn't make you "crazy".  It's a part of your overall well being.  Therapists can help you deal with stress, grieving, or even give you tips on how to maintain if things are going well.  You aren't crazy when you go to a dentist to get your teeth cleaned, nor are you crazy for getting an annual at the OB, so why would it be crazy to get a mental health check?

We never know what people are going through and honestly, what they're going through is none of our business.  However, if they have a trusted professional, they can get the help they need.  We can confide in our friends and family, but why not a third party who is LEGALLY to keep your business out the streets?  It's a safe place and that's all some of us need to get out of the darkness.

Take care of yoselves out there, fam.  And don't think you have to be depressed to get some help, aight?



Tam P said…
Proud of you namesake.... Like for serious
EarthWindFire82 said…
I proshate it, mane. I need my whole delegation behind me!

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