My Journey to Better Mental Health: Choosing a Psychiatrist

I've been on a personal journey for the past few years. One that renews me physically, emotionally, and mentally. It's a step by step process, and I've done pretty well with it, although I have had some road blocks and been pushed backwards a few times, this is the entire reason I always loved the saying "An arrow can only go forward, if it's been pulled backwards" and no truer words have ever been spoken. 

I've been doing great with the physical part of my journey which has been making my workouts more regular and just eating healthier by cutting back on carbs and cutting out sugars and heavily processed foods. You would be surprised by how much better I feel physically. It wasn't even about losing weight, because I was always average weight for my height, even after kids. It was more about just getting healthier because heart disease and all kids of cancers run in my family. The thought of all that weighs pretty heavy on me mentally, so I wanted to do something about it. So even if my day comes, at least I can say I did what I could. 

Which leads me to the mental and emotional part of my journey. And that's the part that is a little harder for me. 

I've only recently started opening up to my husband about the massive amount of stress I've been under from thinking (obsessing, really) about my health and family history. That helps ease some things a little bit, but truthfully, other than be an ear and a shoulder, there's not much her can do for me. This is where a psychiatrist comes in. 

Now, I could ask my local friends for recommendations in my area, but I guess I'm still not ready to admit that I don't handle things as well as everyone thinks I do. To my friends and family, I am a hero of a sort. I constantly hear from others how I'm an inspiration because I have every reason to be down all the time, yet no matter what I'm going through, I still manage to keep a smile and make others laugh or feel good. That's the part of me that is both a great quality, but also a horrible one. Because, you see, I spend more time focusing on being there for others and not enough time being there for myself. 

I've never been afraid of dying until recently. Now I'm terrified. I don't want anything to do with death. I don't want to hear about it, talk about it, learn about, or see it. That's a strong conviction from someone who once applied for the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science as a career path senior year of high school. It's like I did a complete turn around. And the trigger was my mom's breast cancer diagnosis. I've obsessed over it ever since that day she called to tell me. Even though she's been clear of it for years, she still suffers health problems from it, including having a stroke recently. I watched her go through the hardest times, and wanted so badly to give up. I know my mother to be a strong woman, and to see her want to give up, made me realize just how hard all this was on her. That's my biggest fear for myself and my husband and children. To have to watch me at my lowest and realizing that I'm not as strong as I appear. These thoughts literally consume me every single day and that's absolutely no way to live your life. 

I've done a few posts about mental health and how important it is to take care of yourself, but I realized I needed to take my own advice. So I actually went through the process of answering a quick questionnaire to help me choose a psychiatrist for myself. Did you know that you can actually choose the gender of your counselor, whether they provide Christian based counseling or a non religious one, someone over the age of 45, and even a gay counselor? You can even choose any combination of those factors. I'm pretty sure I would be extremely limited if I were to just use a local psychiatrist, so the fact that I can be choosy when using online resources blows my mind. This is my next step I'm taking to better my mental health. I need this. I know it took me this long to get this far, and I'm sure I will still hesitate to make that first contact with someone who can truly help me learn to breathe and let go. This is a big deal, and it's baby steps for me, but I keep telling myself that it's what I need to do right now. 


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