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The journey of navigating my mental health


Mental health is such an important thing for everyone to prioritize in their lives, but that is not something I learned right away. 

I come from a family where mental health was not always something to talk about. My family always described it as something people used as an excuse to not fulfill responsibilities, to not go to work, to not be a version of their best self.  

I have gone through my fair share of traumatic events in my life, but never felt like talking to someone was an option because people in my family have always tended to put on a brave front and bottle things up. If no one around me ever talked about their feelings or things that were bothering them, I grew up with the idea of “why should I?”  

As I have grown up, I have learned that it was not a healthy method for me or those around me. I have come to the understanding that talking about what is bothering me is just as important as making sure I eat three meals a day.  

One of the hardest conversations I have ever had with my family was mentioning that I wanted to see a therapist. Immediate family always viewed therapy for “crazy people,” never for people who just needed an outlet. It took me 22 years to build up the courage to even mention the idea, but it is one of the best decisions I have ever made. 

I have been officially going to therapy for two months now and it has already impacted my life so much. I never truly realized what a negative approach I took to thinking or just how much I had bottled up before I started therapy. 

I thought I knew how important mental health was prior to starting my journey with therapy, but it was not until I began therapy that I realized I had no real understanding of how to take care of myself when it came to my mental health.  

It is one thing to acknowledge my mental health and its problems, but it is a whole other thing to learn how to take care of my mind and maintain good mental health. Learning about my triggers, learning about why I do things the way I do, and learning different methods to help me when everything around me feels overwhelming. 

While I have come to an understanding of the importance of taking care of my mental health, I am nowhere near where I know I can be. The first step, however, was acknowledging that I needed help, and with so many great people and resources around me, it was possible.  

Just because there were people in my life who made seeking mental help seem wrong, does not mean that I did not cross paths with people who made me see the benefits of asking for help.  

Surrounding myself with people who make me feel encouraged, loved and heard are what I prioritize now. Learning to change old habits is hard, but also makes me feel like I am finally headed in a direction that leads to the best version of myself. 

Emily Autumn Velasquez is the editor-in-chief and may be reached at [email protected]; @byemilyautumn on Instagram; @emilyautumn20 on Twitter. 

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About the Contributor
Emily Autumn Velasquez
Emily Autumn Velasquez, Editor-in-chief
Emily Autumn Velasquez is the Editor in Chief for the Prospector. She is a senior, majoring in multimedia journalism with a minor in rhetoric writing at the University of Texas at El Paso. She is also a freelance photographer/videographer with hopes of continuing a career in sports journalism when she graduates in December.
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The journey of navigating my mental health