By: Nya Wilson

I allowed a secret to consume my identity for five years. And if we’re being honest, my emotions felt so intense that there probably wasn’t much to discover anyway. The journey that followed my Bipolar I diagnosis was quite colorful. I participated in clinical trials for one year, experimented with three different medications, cycled through four therapists and five psychiatrists, joined a monthly support group, and spent 1,825 days becoming hyper aware of the stigma attached to my experiences, thoughts, emotions, and responses.

“It is both

a blessing and a curse

to feel everything

so very deeply.”

Although two health professionals recently confirmed a misdiagnosis, my sensitivity to my mental health remains. I find solace in this quote because the sentiment normalizes my ability to experience emotions fully along with the opportunity to find joy. Nowadays, I see a therapist who enlightens me to the gift of meaningful self­care. Think: a system of practicing self­care to empower self-development versus temporary distractions. What others don’t understand, I choose to make sense of myself. Here are three things you can do to recognize the blessings that come from owning your mental health.

Bring awareness to the situation

The truth is we often take one glance at a situation and own those feelings for better or worse. How we respond then becomes as limited as our understanding of the situation itself. Awareness invites all parts of yourself to an inner dialogue that acknowledges how you relate to those circumstances—wholly. Take note of what seems familiar and the unique ways the current experience affects you emotionally, mentally, and physically. And marvel at how confidently you can speak truth to your emotional state.

Expand your vocabulary

Somewhere along our journey, we each learn how to tell our personal story using specific words, thoughts, and feelings. Although experiences vary, we speak within constraints of language that make us feel safe. Because we became experts in navigating certain emotions. Just as experts thirst for increased knowledge in their field, you can seek opportunities to increase the depths of your narrative. Identify one word that reflects Who You Want To Be or desired experiences, and welcome a new perspective. Here begins a new chapter of your life.

Be generous with permissions

To give yourself permission is to unabashedly honor your mental health and make room for grace. There are many permissions to consider, such as freedom to experience your emotions authentically, seek support or space as necessary, explore hobbies new and old, and redesign your personal narrative. The permissions are directly related to our needs in any given moment. Create a list of what you require to nurture those feels with consideration for your wellbeing, then embrace the adventures of personal growth.

May these exercises incite dynamic conversations within and attract the many blessings that come with a deepened understanding of self. I care about myself enough to find strength in my mental health journey. Please give yourself permission to do the same.

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Nya founded Dialogue Nyne LLC to nurture and empower justice-related populations through meaningful self-care practices. She recognizes self-care as an active reflection tool for heightened awareness, potential, and emotional intelligence. Nya earned a BS in Television, Radio & Film from Syracuse University and a Master of Communication from Bond University in Australia. Journaling for self-discovery and devouring Reese's Cups bring her great joy.

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