• Yolanda Hawkins

Mental illness is not a fashion trend

I enjoyed observing various outfits worn at the Grammys but was especially intrigued by Lady Gaga. Not solely on her outfit, but her opportunity to cast a light on mental health. I study psychology and find mental health amongst celebrities to be very interesting. I also had an episode of depression after the passing of my dad. I went through various stages of emotion, anger, sadness, denial. They all were very concurrent with the Kubler-Ross Model “the five stages of grief”. I resulted in pushing down all emotion, as I hate to show any at all. Little did I know, it would come back for me later in physical form. Three years ago I began having hive break outs, waking up covered head to toe. I also had an anaphylactic episode where I had to rushed to the emergency room. Various allergy physicians ran numerous tests where I came back allergic to nothing (nor had I never had any food allergies). As time progressed I began crying on cue, blaming it on PMS, but knowing it was abnormal behavior for myself. I also began waking up in the middle of the night with serious panic attacks where I was like OK, something is wrong. I scheduled an appointment with my primary care physician who sat and talked to me and described his similar grieving experiences. He also mentioned the physical severity stress and grief had on patients when not handled appropriately. I am grateful for my doctor as he did not believe medicine was the answer and wanted me to handle things efficiently. He referred me to a therapist. At this point my ego plunged, I needed help. It was the best decision I ever made. Of course I miss my dad, but I feel relieved and gained a retrospective view that I cannot be angry about things I can’t change. This has brought me inner peace, and from that I am much happier. In addition I have been relieved from prior physical stress symptoms. It is ok to be vulnerable and in tune with your emotions, we are all human! Lady Gaga image courtesy of google search: allure.com 

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