My goal for this blog is to connect others; to bring together young people, and even more seasoned adults, and let them know their feelings are valid and they do not have to battle them alone.
I mean, let’s be real, mental health is intimidating enough. After running a quick search on Amazon to find a good book on mental health, I was shocked by what I saw. It was depressing (ironic, I know).
The covers of the books were dark and sad and the titles were aggressive or shameful. I do not believe we should address mental illness in such a way that it appears as though something is darkly wrong with a person. Because lets be honest, that person already knows something is not right within their own mind.
Instead, I believe we need to create a safe space to talk about mental health. A supportive environment where one does not feel they must carry their burdens alone; an environment where they no longer feel like an outsider.
I strongly believe our society needs to bring greater awareness to mental health. And this awareness needs to start as young as elementary age students all the way up to graduate and doctoral age students.
We need to have services more readily available for people. We need to get the information out into the world.
If I am being honest with you, I did not even know what a mental illness was until I got to graduate school and my mental health took a major decline. I had always battled with anxiety growing up, which only worsened as I continued to further my education. But when I got to the University of Georgia, my anxiety took over my whole being.
I never felt at ease. The toll of endless coursework and 600 hours of clinical destroyed me. The constant pressure I put on myself to perform destroyed me.
On the countless occasions I’d find myself alone, my thoughts got the best of me. I’d slip into a dark cave, unable to see, only able to hear the whispers of my horrible thoughts as they echoed off the walls of my mind.
It was then I knew I needed to seek help. But how was I to find it?
That information was not readily available…or offered at all during orientation or throughout my first year in the program. I feared that if I expressed my feelings to professors or faculty, they would think I was weak.
On only one occasion can I remember a professor offering a counseling presentation put on by the university counseling center. It was a brief 30-minute slide show followed by cookies. But afterwards, when I contacted the counseling center, I received no response. Five emails and countless phone calls but not one response.
This just furthers my point. Action needs to be taken to bring greater awareness to mental health.
Mental health needs a fresh face and fresh perspective. Therefore, a major focus of my blog will now be on doing just that; providing mental health the fresh face it needs.
The blog will focus on providing information that is easily accessible and creating a collaborative community where you can share your story, feelings, etc. with others going through similar things.
Please stay tuned for more to come. Follow me on Instagram @alexmriddick and Facebook @Carbs&Cobblestone. Where you can feel free to message me, ask questions, and see helpful and/or positive posts to inspire you everyday.