November 26, 2021
Ithaca, NY | 31°F

BlogsWhat I Wish I Knew…

What is your experience with mental health?

Something that is super important for everyone no matter the age, is mental health. I, Frankie Walls, am a number one mental health advocate. Especially since mine is not always great. For the longest time, I thought my mental health was something that could sit on the back burner. Until very recently, it still seemed taboo for people of color to even seek out therapy or talk about the need for medication. 

Weirdly enough, I think the pandemic helped with the taboo and stigma around mental health. With everyone being at home and isolated, the idea of talking to someone definitely seemed more appealing. Even with the number of people who seemed against it.

It was also not just a cultural thing for my family — talking to someone and airing out our “dirty laundry” was seen as another way others could bestow their judgment on you and who raised you. At least that’s what my brother always said. He always wanted me to go to him when I had an issue. It was a nice sentiment but doesn’t help when the issues involve family. 

Something about mental health that isn’t always talked about a lot is the medicinal side of things. Depression or whatever mental health issues you are dealing with can also be treated differently. My therapist recently brought up the idea of antidepressants to help with my depletion of energy and lack of motivation halfway through the day. I saw this as a great idea.

The other week when I broached the idea of trying antidepressants or supplements, my mom seemed against it at first. It took some convincing from a family friend — and a long game of telephone which resulted in too many people knowing my opinion — before she seemed more comfortable with the idea. 

Don’t think this is a call to action saying that everyone needs to get medicated it’s not. However, it is good advice that everyone should talk to someone. Someone who isn’t related to you or a family friend. Someone who can be objective and tell you when healthy boundaries are okay. 

That you don’t always have to forgive right away, or even at all. I have been struggling with my mental health a lot more recently. There were a lot of extenuating circumstances that kept piling on, and I’d say the newest peak is when my older brother died in July.  

Intensive emotions are something that I experience a lot; I get really sad and I cry for no reason. Sometimes I even shut down and go silent for a day. That’s okay and normal. Feeling things is okay. If you don’t, you’re just numb. It’s okay to feel things and be sad, but you have to continue on with living life and sometimes that can be really hard.

Prioritizing your mental health and putting your feelings first is so important. Sometimes it won’t feel like it and the need to put work first will show up, but don’t be afraid to put yourself first. You are the most important. 

Frankie Walls can be reached at fwalls@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @super_ge3k