Lizzo has been outspoken about the fact that Cuz I Love You has been in the works for years, but something about the timing of this release just seems all too perfect. It was released right before May, Mental Health Awareness Month. Songs from the album like, “Juice” and “Truth Hurts” (from the deluxe version) are dripping with self love and confidence in her lyrics. “Soulmate” literally says, “I’m my own soulmate!” …what other evidence do you need? Oh, and girl represents Minnesota damn well! She’s thrown in some funky nods to Prince on this album too – “Juice”, “Tempo,” and “Exactly How I Feel” being the most obvious reminders of this.
Ciara, on the other hand, is no stranger to female-empowerment anthems. I’ll point to “I’m Legit” with Nicki Minaj as evidence of this. It shouldn’t have surpised us that she’d continue the same sentiment on Beauty Marks, which just came out on Friday. The whole thing was released through her own recording and entertainment company. How cool is that!?
I’m loving “Girl Gang” and “I Love Myself” from the album, and I bet you will too if you’re a woman looking for a confidence boost.
Both of these women are killingMental Health Awareness Month because the messages that are part of their music are so important. They encourage us to accept and love ourselves as we are. They’re “pump up” anthems when we’re having a bad day.
I’m so glad that they’ve given us a confidence boosting soundtrack while we celebrate ourselves as we are.
If you’re following me online at all, you’ve probably read that I had a breakdown earlier this year. This is the story of how I found treatment in my city; Rochester, Minnesota.
Before I talk about how I got treated, there are a few things you should know. My mental health journey truly started in my teens, but I didn’t know how deeply it consumed me then. I just simply thought I cried a lot and that was it. At the time, my parents were going through a divorce. Who wouldn’t be upset about that? It must be normal, right?
I was still crying and shaking in my early twenties. I thought, “You just moved away from home, and you started a new job, it’s normal to feel some anxiety about that – right? It’s normal to cry about that sometimes, right?” No. It’s not normal to be doing that three to four times a week or more. At least, it wasn’t for me anyway.
Then I blamed my job. I thought, “It’s the environment around me at work. If I quit, I’ll feel better.” So, I did, and I found a great opportunity in Rochester that brought me here in July of 2016. I did feel better… for a month or so. After that a whole new series of stresses at work caused me to cave until I was suicidal on June 4th.
So it begins….
You’re probably asking why I was on that day. Ironically, I actually had a great day on June 4th, 2018. I remember it because we had a “Twins Day” at Target Field and spent the day hanging out and eating hot dogs.
When I got back to the office after spending the morning in the Cities, I was hit with a written reprimand informing me that I needed to pay closer attention to copyright rules when crediting photos and creating content online.
The tone of this written reprimand was threatening. It threatened my employment. It shook me. While I understand that corporations do (and can) expect you to obey their policies, this shocked me as I wasn’t approached about this verbally beforehand. I wasn’t shown how to correct what I was doing wrong until after I received this notice – then, I didn’t make those mistakes again because I was taught. To me, this notice came out of nowhere and I was truly afraid that I’d be losing my job.
I was afraid that if I couldn’t make it at “this job” that I wouldn’t “make it” at any others. Maybe society just didn’t see me as fit to be part of it if it centers around what you’re doing for a living? That really was my spiral. I got worse from there. I wanted to grab every pill in my apartment and just drown myself in them in the hopes of never waking up again. My husband put a stop to that.
A week later, on June 13th, I had another breakdown. This time, it happened fifteen minutes before I was supposed to be on the air on Quick Country 96.5. I jotted down my notes for the show that day and just started sobbing. It was uncontrollable. It seemingly came from nowhere. It was the worst anxiety attack I’d ever had. My only thought was, “I can’t pretend today.” I knew what that meant. I didn’t want to spend that day on the air pretending that I was happy and confident when I wasn’t. James Rabe (a saint) shared an office with me, and brought me to the ER after I said I wanted to go. I didn’t know what else to do but go.
When I arrived at Saint Mary’s Hospital, I figured honesty was the best policy so I did inform the nurses that I was suicidal.
I was given two options: become an in-patient, or begin an outpatient program the following week or so later. I chose outpatient because I didn’t know who I’d be sharing a room with had I been an in-patient. I thought about my safety (I wasn’t told if I’d be with fellow depression and anxiety sufferers or someone who needed different attention) and the fact that I’d miss my apartment.
I was placed in the Mood Program at the Generose Building and stayed in it from late June to the first week in July. Some of it (not all of it) was covered by my insurance. We focused on coping skills and how to craft a routine we’re comfortable with to stay out of those dark places. We were active. We did yoga, stretching, and were playing group games. We talked about how depression and anxiety affect us and the people around us. It was intensive group therapy that wasn’t easy to open up in at the beginning. We really did get out all the bad juju.
I did feel like I was taking better care of myself by the time it was over.
Unfortunately, I fell into depression again a month or so ago, but I’m taking the corrective steps I need to take and completing them day by day to pull myself out of it. So far, it’s working! I ended up with coping skills that I didn’t have before group therapy. I’ll always be grateful for it.
If you’re local, you should know that there is help in Rochester. We worry a lot about what insurance will cover or won’t, but trust me – ASK QUESTIONS. There is always a way to get the help you need. I’m glad that I did.
My mental health story may never end. What I did learn this past year, however, is that I was in a fantastic physical location for treatment for such struggles.