Stress can express itself in a multitude of unpleasant ways. Things that used to require less thought may take up more of your brain space now. Everyone responds to stress differently and some people are just more prone to depression/anxiety/etc. It's not your fault.
Some general tips for keeping your brain healthy:
Keep a regular sleep schedule I make a rule for myself where if I haven't been able to focus for an hour, I go to sleep.
Take care of your body! Exercise, see the sun, and eat regularly.
Make sure to keep in contact with people. All you have to do is reach out.
If you feel really burnt out from work, try taking a day where you don’t do anything work-related to reset. Don't blame yourself for being “unproductive” on a mental health day.
When might you need therapy?
You are never not “bad enough” to not need therapy – it doesn’t have to be forever and you may feel like you don’t need it anymore once you’re through a particularly difficult life experience or you might need something more long term. Both are ok! Therapy can realign your relationships and make your friendships stronger. Here's some questions to ask yourself:
- Do you feel like stress overwhelms you and it’s all you think about?
- Do you talk to people only to unload on them?
- Do you feel like your emotions are out of your control and you feel a way you don’t want to for long periods of time?
How to find a therapist:
- Usually, the first appointment with a therapist is kind of like an interview – you’re making sure that you fit together
- It can be really hard to find a therapist and word vomit your life story over and over, but it is important to not get discouraged. There will be someone who understands.
- There are a lot of great providers in Berkeley that can meet more specific demographic needs (like if you are Asian-American and want to find a provider that understands parental pressure or if you feel more comfortable in a different language), the Tang center has a page where you can sort providers by sex/age/ethnicity/specialty
- The pandemic has made therapy much more in demand which is bad in that lots of providers in Berkeley are booked up, but good in that now that things are online, you can really see anyone in California
- Many have a website/email where you briefly describe your concerns before meeting
What do I tell people in my life?
- You don’t owe anyone an explanation, tell people when you’re ready, but it is good to have someone you trust that can help you through it. It might be easier if this is not an immediate family member, could be an aunt/cousin if you need some distance.
- If you need to tell a roommate to get out, just tell them that you have a private meeting
- Honestly sometimes I’ve just walked around empty neighborhoods where no one I know lived
- There are also support groups ran by the tang center where you can talk to people with the same problems
- You are not alone. Mental illness is like any other chronic condition, just more stigmatized.