Mental Health Week (First Look)
Welcome to the pre-launch party of OMG's Mental Health Week. Consider this post as the swanky cocktail event where you've come to network with the keynote speakers, connect on a more personal level and pig out on hors d'oeuvres and champagne.
Cue the refreshments Heather!
Now that the Moët is flowing... Let's begin our evening together. My name is David, and I will be your master of ceremonies. I, like Kanye, will also be asking myself interview questions, along with our beautiful and talented guest writers for next week's blogs. I promise to keep the rants, talk of Taylor Swift and general pompous confidence to a dull roar — bear with me.
Before we begin the Q&A portion, I'd like to share a bit more about why I decided to host an entire week dedicated to mental health.
Mental health is something that's not black and white. You're not necessarily stuck with any one of these issues or moments forever. I want people to understand that as twenty-somethings, we're right in the thick of where things get tricky in life. We face an abundance of challenges in a relatively short time — some good, some not so much. With graduating college, working in the real world, romantic relationships, starting families, making big purchases and navigating the ins and outs of friendship in your twenties — it's no wonder why a Xanax (or two) with your mimosa at Sunday brunch sounds so appealing.
Get to know the contributors that you'll be hearing from next week:
1. Why are you passionate about the mental health of people in their twenties?
David Self: For as long as I can remember, I have struggled with anxiety. I saw it in both my parents from a very young age, and whether adopted as what was "normal", or a true unbalance, it was here and here to stay. In 2013, I was also diagnosed with depression. I was put on anti-depressants (which made me fat and even more depressed) and told to try to be "less stressed" about things in life. Sure, why didn't I think of that? I've faced (and overcome) a lot in my life, but still continue to battle and understand my overall mental health and well-being.
Erin Marrs: I think a lot of the things people in their twenties go through are disregarded as 'moodiness' or 'adjusting to life without family support' etc. It's terrifying to reach out for help in the first place, let alone being met with disregard, dismissal and/or condescension. That was the hardest part for me, being faced with the 'Why can't you just be happy' conversations. Asking for help is the strongest thing a person can do, and yet it's stigmatized as a weakness. It's ludicrous.
Danielle Clampett: We face so many changes and challenges in your twenties. It’s extremely overwhelming and the never-ending changes can really take a toll on our lives. Mental health can present itself in many different shapes and forms. I’ve found that sharing my experiences with others is really therapeutic (and necessary.)
2. What is something that you wish people take from the posts that are coming up next week?
DS: I really hope that people walk away from their computer, tablet or phone with a new perspective. I feel that there's a stigma around mental health, and that's not okay to me. At one point or another, we go through stuff that weighs on us mentally. This can affect our relationships, work and even the perception of ourselves. I hope that people can learn something from our experiences and find inspiration to face their issues head-on and work through them.
EM: If someone says they have a cold, their boss sends them home no questions asked. But if someone has an anxiety attack, or a migraine because Martha wears too much perfume, it's seen as an 'excuse to get out of work'. I wish people would understand Hidden Illnesses. Personally, I have literally run away from people to avoid conversations because my social anxiety causes me to black out and I can't control my actions, my bones are misshapen because of genetics so I can't do the 'fun' physical activities with everyone else and I'm teased as a 'wet blanket', and my tendons and blood vessel casings lack elasticity and, so what counts as a 'minor bump' to other people is actually an enormous pain to me. But I'm seen as a 'wimp'. Just because you can't see Chrohn's or Celiac or whatever doesn't mean there isn't pain.
DC: I want people to know that they are not alone. What they are feeling or going through, someone else has too. I definitely feel like mental health is a topic that is swept under the rug and not openly discussed. I want people to know that it’s okay to be open and honest with how they are feeling and they shouldn’t be ashamed. My mom always says it takes a big person to ask for help and it’s so true.
3. What has been the hardest part about writing the posts for next week?
DS: For me, it was difficult to open that door. My close friends and family know that I've dealt with anxiety and depression, but it wasn't something that I shouted from the rooftops. I've grown tired of keeping it all in, and feel that it's time to get it out there to show people that it is normal and that it is okay to talk about.
EM: The hardest part was writing this forced me to me to really think about my dad. it's not that I don't think about him all the time, but writing the post really made me come to terms with how I'm actually feeling.
DC: Well for one I don’t love writing, so actually putting my thoughts together was a challenge; but it was also hard to re-live and think about these issues that I try so hard to not really think about. (Because they instantly give me anxiety, obviously.) However, I know that’s not helpful and it’s time to share my experiences with others. Us millennials have got to stick together!
We're going to be getting deep next week. Save the energy from your sex jokes — and get ready for the raw stories of the contributors. I'm incredibly proud of the work we've put into these posts and hope that you find them as enlightening and empowering as I do. Stay tuned, the first of seven posts goes live this Sunday, July 31.
Check out the posts:
Sunday, July 31: OMG To Living with Anxiety
Monday, August 1: OMG To 20-Something Panic
Tuesday, August 2: OMG To Overcoming Depression
Wednesday, August 3 (BOLT⚡️): The Real Housewives Guide to Anger Issues
Thursday, August 4: To Understanding Grief
Friday, August 5: OMG To Clearing the Emotional Clutter
Saturday, August 6: OMG To Living Life Positively
Not everyone loves scores — but I'm obsessed with this movie (Gatsby), this score and this track in particular. I can't listen to it and not be in a good mood.