Mental Health: The Most Important Puzzle Piece

Happy Sunday!

Wow, it’s been one of those weeks where I did not have time to write, but I am back this evening with advice and hopefully encouragement. I will begin with a personal story, and maybe you can relate to me. Two years ago, I decided to move to Austin, but what I did not know was how much better life would be by making the transition.

I was in a job that has 0 room for moving up the ladder, and I was less than trilled of just getting by. My mental health was declining, even though I was not drinking anymore. At 28 my parents still felt the need to tell me how to run my life, my home, my relationships and my food habits. At that point, they both decided it was perfectly normal to disobey my boundaries and try to meddle in my personal business. But that’s what parents do, right? That is how they show they love you by always interfering and telling you how to live? WRONG! It was an added stress I did not need, not to mention working in Philadelphia at a dead-end job. I started creating a vision board, and on that board right in the middle was TEXAS in big, bold letters. I knew I had my answer from God, and I needed to move quickly.

I hopped on a plane with a friend, and we arrived in Austin March of 2015 to explore. Little did we know that SXSW was happening when we went downtown. We both thought it was just a really big party town every night, but we later discovered the truth of the music scene. We had 1 week in Austin and our second week in Houston to decide which town would be my next home. As I boarded my plane, my parents called to lecture on how I should act while in a new environment. I needed to be on high alert for drugs, guns, gangs and anything dangerous. I also needed to dress like a nun and be in bed by 9pm. These lectures, even before my vacation, always seem to turn into negative arguments with regret attached to hanging up the phone. Why did I let them bother me? I wanted to explore that thought while on my trip, and I found the answer while in Houston our second week.

I let them bother me, because all I ever knew was living in a small town and nothing else existed outside of our family. The world was always sheltered, and you needed to earn your travel after working 5+ years. You couldn’t take vacation unless they said it was okay. When I arrived in Austin, I felt home and free. I knew it was the place I was meant to live, and I needed to make a decision when I arrived home in Pennsylvania or I wouldn’t hear the end of the negative thoughts. After arriving home, I decided to take the risk of putting my home up for rent and look for a job in the Austin area. As fate would have it, on the same day no less, someone decided to rent out my house and I accepted a relocation package to move to Austin for my new position. I was thrilled to say the least, but my family would not speak to me. They told me I was abandoning them and it was wrong to pick up and leave. So I should stay in a dead-end job, keep living in a neighborhood that I didn’t want to live in, and see snow and darkness every winter? NOPE! BYE! I could not wait to make my move, but of course I knew a lecture was coming from them. Sure enough one night a knock on my door brought my father over with steam rolling off the top of his head. I had 1 more week in Pennsylvania before I made one of the biggest decisions in my life.

He laid into me telling me I was wasting my time. I was upsetting the family, and I was leaving everybody behind who loved me. Why did I need to go? The first thing I did was laugh at him. I calmly explained that I did not need anybody’s approval for my decisions anymore, and if I were to be judged than let God do the judging. He screamed at me for being honest and open, but I already made up my mind. I don’t change my mind for anyone let alone someone yelling at me in my own home. I told him he had 1 week to make things right with me or he wouldn’t be hearing from me once I arrived into Austin.

The time came to pack the car and get ready for my 2 day adventure with my friend and mom; reluctantly she agreed to make the trek with me. We left on a Friday morning from my parent’s house, and it was around 6am. I said goodbye to my sister, Gus the dog and finally my father. It was the very first time I can remember him saying he loved me to my face. Part of it guilt on his end and the other part was control. No longer could he show up unannounced, but I could anticipate every conversation would be some sort of lecture with stipulations. I did not care at that point. I felt released from the mentally unstable environment, and I began my own journey or self-discovery.

Today, I talk to my family more than once a week. They still struggle with boundaries, and I do not expect that to change today or tomorrow. They do however see how happy I am, and I honestly would not change a damn thing. I shared this story, because mental health is an important part of your life. Without mental stability, your puzzle is not complete! We may struggle finding time for ourselves, because we please everybody else. We then start to wonder why we are not cared for or loved by someone else. The reasons lie within ourselves; mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. All four help us balance, and if one is out of whack we tend to feel unstable. Think about the next time someone or something throws you off your game. How were you affected? Maybe your weight went up overnight or your car broken down, and you become emotional because they happened within 2 hours of one another. You let it ruin your day or week, and then your emotions start piling up with negative thoughts. Your mental state is compromised, you overeat, forget to work out and you’re on a downward spiral! Yes, I exaggerated, but it can happen to the best of us.

If there’s anything to take away from this long blog it’s this: love yourself and follow your passion. You were made for a purpose, and you are capable of living a beautiful life. Put your puzzle pieces together one step at a time, and trust they will align. The voices in your head are only voices. Keep positive and keep loving yourself mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually! I am here if you need to talk about it!!

Xoxo B

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