Why my Mental Health comes first

Cristal Ruiz
Oct 10, 2017 · 3 min read

As the youngest in my family at one point, I learned to hide. Not hide and seek, the game, but hide my feelings and thoughts.

I attempted to bottle all my emotions in, but eventually I would explode. I would burst out with anger, by yelling and slamming things. This was during elementary school and boy did I misbehave. I wasn’t a bad kid, but a confused one at best. I was trying to figure out why my dad was always out in bars and hit my mom.

I was 8 years old.

I wanted love and attention but it was the least of my parents priorities at the time. They were barely surviving their daily duties.

Slowly, life at home became better. My mom set boundaries and my dad had to learn to respect them. He stopped drinking and hitting my mom. Life at home became more stable, but it wasn’t the best.

Mental illness affects 1 in 5 adults according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

My mom had depression and my dad had a lot shame from his childhood. I wouldn’t find this out until my adult years.

In my college years, I learned my wounds were still there. Gradually, I became more self-aware of the baggage I had. I sought counseling at school and talked about the pain I still had.

Now, I am in a better place where I am all about self-help. Not because I am broken but because I want a better life especially from the one I had as a child.

I have anxiety and it’s manageable as long as I do my part and get out of my head. I’m currently taking self-care more seriously and am working on not judging myself.

I have to make the daily decision to thrive and not just survive.

My mental health routine now consists of going to church, daily prayer and meditation on bible passages, weekly groups, monthly therapy sessions, listening to podcasts and reading about mental health.

I am learning to put myself first because without my cup ☕️ being full, I can’t be myself or give to others.

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