Mental health is always something I've been an advocate for but until the last few years I didn't realize how much I wasn't caring for my own. When I was younger I had experienced physical, mental and emotional abuse which eventually lead me to essentially shutting off my emotions and dealing with the ones that tried to come through with toxic coping mechanisms, primarily alcohol. It wasn't unusual for me to be blacking out at least 3 or 4 times a week but I never really thought of it as my way of dealing with my own mental health. To me it was just a party all the time which were filled with lots of stories that people would tell me about that we'd laugh about but internally I was severely embarrassed. I made comments and did things that were hurtful to people I cared about.
After years of heavy drinking I finally had a moment that caused me to stop drinking for about 4 months which allowed me to really think about why I was doing this to myself. I eventually allowed myself to indulge in alcoholic beverages but I controlled myself. As years went by I still couldn't help but notice my constant thoughts of depression which were never suicidal but they were definitely dark thoughts that I couldn't shake. I lacked motivation to do things that I loved to do and felt my creative flame kinda extinguish. I even put on the infamous happy go lucky mask.
To be honest to this day I still struggle with this but something that has changed is I started to finally see a therapist and got back into yoga as well as meditation. There is still a long road I need to travel to get myself to a place of strong and healthy mental health but seeing the changes that I have since I've taken the first couple steps has really motivated me to keep going. Mental health is so important and organizations such as The Beautiful Mind Project are as equally important to help people like myself and the millions of others who struggle daily to get to the best versions of themselves. Everybody's path is different and as well as their story, some more severe than others but they are all equally important and all deserve the right to access to get the help we need.