Today is World Mental Health Day, a day dedicated to promoting awareness and open discussion of mental health issues. This year's them is "Investing in Mental Health".
I think that this is the hardest thing about therapy for me. I have never thought of myself as worthy of an investment. My focus has always been on making everyone else happy, doing for others as I would never do for myself. Holidays dinners had to include all my nieces' and nephews' favorite foods. It didn't matter how many hours I stood over the stove to do it. It didn't matter how stressed and tired I was or whether there was anything I liked to eat.
School was always about getting the best grades. Making my teachers and my mom happy. In high school I felt the necessity to become involved in every activity I thought might impress a college administrator. It didn't matter whether I chose the classes or paths I enjoyed. It didn't matter how stressed or overwhelmed I became.
This same idea that I didn't matter spilled over into all my relationships. I wasn't worthy of good relationships so it didn't matter how friends, family, or lovers treated me. Because I knew that I wasn't worthy of good relationships, I never really became fully attached to anyone. I kept a small part of me separate, knowing that in the end, people would hurt me and/or leave me. That had always been the way my relationships had worked in the past.
Moving past these ideas and realizing that I am worthy has been the toughest thing. The idea of my limited worth has been so ingrained for so long. It wasn't until my mom insisted that I take time to get help through Disability Medicaid so that I could receive treatment that I even considered the option. I had never considered therapy, because I had never considered myself worthy of it. I didn't consider myself worthy of it, but my mom did. It took someone else showing me that they saw my worth before I could even begin to see my own.
Through therapy, I have begun to look at this. I have begun to see that others, not just my mom, do see worth in me. If they see worth in me, how can I not see the worth in myself? This has been one of the major eye-opening moments for me, simply realizing I'm worth investing in. Realizing that investing in my own wants and needs doesn't mean that I don't care about the wants and needs of others. Realizing that investing in my own needs is a requirement if I truly want to be there for my friends and family rather than be detached from relationships. Therefore, for me, the first step in investing in my mental health has simply been realizing that I'm worthy of being invested in.