By: Trischan Laing
Growing up, I thought therapy, yoga and meditation was ‘white people sh*t’.
It’s not that I didn’t think it was important. I just didn’t think it was important for me. In Jamaica, mental health is taken seriously- in theory. We talk about it when someone kills themselves but outside of that it’s mostly a joke. I come from a religious background and it is believed that God will fix all our problems and there is no need to pay a stranger to hear your business when God will listen for free.
I struggled with my mental health for most of my teenage years as I was insecure about my ample bosom and my oozing acne pimples. Compounded upon by being constantly being away from home (I attended an all-girls’ boarding school) everything was amplified. At the time, it felt like a lot for me to handle. But, I masked it well. I got good grades and I was very involved in extra-curricular activities. I was also the supportive, quirky friend who ensures that everyone else was okay. But, I hardly ever was.
After leaving high school, things got a little better. I found myself more comfortable with how I looked, started medical school, and found an amazing partner but I still was not happy. I was content but I did not wake up captivated by my purpose or felt that my life added value to society. The indifference of life or death at the time was okay to me. I was merely going through the motions, existing and constantly worrying. In retrospect, I can’t seem to remember what I was worried about but boy, was I worried.
“I was also the supportive, quirky friend who ensures that everyone else was okay. But, I hardly ever was. “
I wanted things to change, I wanted to feel better but I didn’t know how.
In January 2018, I challenged myself to read 24 non-medical books for the year. I love reading and it’s one of the few things that makes me drop my shoulders, unclench jaws and just live in the moment. The book that was pivotal to my growth and happiness was Be Obsessed or Be Average by Grant Cardone. I desperately wanted to be passionate about something, I wanted to discover my north star but I was so afraid of failing that I didn’t want to try anything. After I finished this book, I struggled and made an attempt to come out of my comfort zone. I didn’t succeed at a lot of the things that I tried, in fact, I sucked at most of them. But, just trying new things made me feel like my life wasn’t stagnant.
I tried dancing, bowling, meditation, and I joined the gym but the one thing that stuck was writing. You see, I’m not new to writing but trying new things made me work up the confidence to share my writing and start my blog. And it has filled me with so much purpose to see people from all over the world reading and benefitting from something that I wrote. I was able to combine my medical knowledge with my newfound writing passion. This encouraged me to exercise and make healthier food choices. And I’m now happy to say for the first time in years, I don’t look in the mirror and think ‘ew, gross’.
Mentally, I’m still not where I want to be. But, just as how we get physically ill and visit the doctor then we also need to get help when we don’t feel mentally well. Writing this piece has been especially hard for me because it’s the first time I’ve ever said these things out loud or even admitted them to myself. But, they are my truths and by accepting them I feel empowered and better able to encourage others. If you haven’t found your passion, then you are not alone. But don’t be afraid to try. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. And most importantly, learn to love and accept your journey no matter how flawed it may be because these are the things that make you, you.