Mental health awareness week is slated for October 7-13 Th, but mental health awareness is a daily reality for me. I have a lot going on in my life…managing my life with HIV, taking care of an aging parent and special needs adult son, sadly I sort of let my self-care slide a little. Until I realized something familiar creeping up on me, tiredness, insomnia and on the verge of tears every day. I had been through this before and I knew it was time to put myself back into psychotherapy. I’m not ashamed to admit that I need help, regardless of the stigma associated with mental health. And the word “psycho” doesn’t do much to break that stigma. To some people it may conjure up frightening images of Anthony Perkins in the 1960 movie Psycho, pulling the shower curtain back with a big knife, ready to stab Janet Leigh to death. Also, people use the term “psycho” when describing someone who they feel has really lost their mind. And please stop calling it an illness, it’s a health condition, people in need of mental health don’t want to be seen as being sick. Mental health stigma prevents people from seeking psychotherapy.
But, you can call me looney if you want to, I know when I need help, I seek it and it helps improve the quality of my life. I first sought the help of a family therapist ( I like that term better that psychotherapist), years ago when I had some troubling events in my life. First, my father passed away, then a year later my sister passed and the same year a friend and co-worker. A few years later I was diagnosed with HIV. But, I never slowed down after losing those loved ones. As a single mother, I had to keep moving, working, taking care of my family, I never fully grieved my loss. Then HIV stopped me in my tracks, it was the straw that broke the camels back. Grieving the lost of family and friends was compounded with the shame, guilt and fear of having an HIV diagnosis and holding on to that secret for ten long years. I wrote about those years of hiding my HIV status and how holding on to that secret made me depressed, in my new book The Underground Woman: From Prisoner To Freedom. Available now on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Underground-Woman-Prisoner-Freedom/dp/1722610808/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1538106036&sr=8-3&keywords=asha+molock
“Due to HIV stigma and discrimination, I was a prisoner of my own insecurities, shame, guilt and fear, as I hid my HIV status from family and friends—until I gathered the strength to set myself free.” Asha Molock
Never be ashamed of anything that you do for the betterment of your life. It takes a strong person to admit that they need help and then take the necessary steps to get that help.