With Thanksgiving and Christmas nearly upon us, let me ask you a question: do you ever feel overwhelmed drained having a hard time just breathing smiling?  I know I do. Sometimes in the shower, I just hang my head into the water and cry or I find myself pulling the blankets over my head to hide from the world outside.

It’s Ok to Not be Ok Sometimes

The holidays are definitely difficult, with loved ones being gone. It brings sadness among the celebration. As CNAs, we face difficult challenges in our careers, from the lack of support not being seen as a professional, being underpaid, working in a stressful environment, and of course COVID. No wonder we as CNAs find ourselves emotionally depleted.

But I am here to tell you that it’s okay to go through these steps in our lives. It’s ok to hang our heads and cry, yell, or just pull those blankets over our heads like I do (and still do). Did you know many people do not seek help or treatment (like me)? Many are unaware that the feelings or emotions that we have are symptoms of stress, depression, anxiety or PTSD. These are indicators of our mental health.

Mental Health Awareness is Important

But you would think with all my training to become a CNA I would hit the nail right on the head! However, with us being CNAs we do not take care of ourselves enough. Did you also know that some are afraid of the stigma around mental illnesses (such as me)? There is a fear of discrimination and judgment, and even the lack of support from loved ones coworkers, and friends.

My journey of facing mental health began when I heard the word leukemia. Then two years later, the word cancer. The word leukemia wasn’t really the problem, or at least I thought it wasn’t. But when cancer was uttered, the sadness and feeling of just being lost–all my emotions that I thought I had under control–came out of nowhere. Once I realized something was wrong with my coping skills, everything I was doing made sense to me. The anxiety,  fear, and cold sweats were normal.

What I Have Learned on My Journey

I have also learned during my journey that I was normal, and that was very important to me (that I wasn’t the nutty one). I learned it was ok to say “no,” and to recognize that I am a strong person. This journey didn’t break me. I AM surviving.

So, do yourself a favor and seek answers. Listen to your body and mind. Never talk yourself into thinking “it’s nothing.” There may be some bad days but I can promise you that you WILL be ok. Seek help and treatment. Take the step in the right direction, and learn how to not be afraid. Live your life to the fullest. As you read this article, remember you are not alone.

Remember this quote: “My story is not a sad story, it’s a real one. It’s the story of a girl who fought through a storm she thought would never end.”