Besides grieving and experiencing the guilt, sadness and anger that accompanies when someone close to us dies by suicide, I was left with an empty space to fill. I could have gone one of two ways. I could have tried to fill that void with things that would only have masked the pain I was in and sunk into a deep depression, or I could fill that empty space with actions that made me feel whole again. And this is how my journey brought me to music.
My name is Sarah Mazaheri Jones. I am a psychiatrist. And I want to tell you why choosing a career in mental health would be a beautiful option.
We do all the normal things while overriding the insecurity and uncertainty that self-stigma hammers us down with. We manage that, which takes a certain strength. So be proud. Take time to practice some self-care in your own inimitable way. Live your best life. You deserve it.
Mean people suck. In my first draft of this blog, that bumper sticker sentiment was all I could type. It’s a natural response to an emotional situation, but I know better. Responding in anger only fuels more intolerance. I have enough to deal with just managing my mental illness. Advocacy is not a license to bully. Leave that to the narrow-minded. Then help them change their mind through peaceful interaction.
Finally, a few months ago, I opened up my drawers, armoire and closet and got rid of 90% of my clothes. As soon as I ditched the mentality that I should be fitting into my clothes and embraced the idea that my clothes should fit my body as it is now, and my life as it is now, I immediately felt a sense of relief. By letting go of all the old clothes, I was removing the opportunity to compare or shame myself back into a body that was never truly mine to begin with.
Pop culture had shaped my views on mental illness and psychiatry, so I approached therapy with some trepidation. Would I have to lie on a couch while the therapist sat out of sight, furiously scribbling notes in a journal? Would I be forced to talk about embarrassing things from my past? Would those notes be sent to my insurance company for billing purposes the way my medical records are made available upon request?
After the three-week stay in the hospital, where they changed up his meds because he had become psychotic, he hasn’t settled yet. I implored them to keep him through the transition. I mean, changing serious, anti-psychotic meds after ten years is no small thing.