I love the Global Leadership Lab, The one in October wasn’t different. I enjoy the chance to give and receive hugs from my sweetest friends. Who I would normally connect with by leaving hearts on their facebook and Instagram posts. there is something about the presence of a person that makes friendships beautiful, which makes communities thrive. I enjoy GLL because it gives me a chance to cultivate new friendships that remain part of me. In October I met and enjoyed every moment with Tanya. I laughed so hard I fell off the table several times. My heart was so full when I returned to the Bay Area I looked at all the pictures I made Kukie take and they just left me with so much joy.

However, last week I noticed a certain kind of darkness clip in silently. A kind of sadness, I am very familiar with. The kind that I can not explain but I can handle. It was anxiety. I have anxiety, I have struggled with it since I was 13, Some days are better while other days I am so overwhelmed with anxiety that I feel like I am suffocating. Last week, as I was getting ready for work I felt tired, I felt “what’s the point? with four months left in my fellowship worries of where I will be after the fellowship or the projects, I am working on not taking off flooded my mind, what if it all goes wrong? It felt like my head or the room was spinning I was so overwhelmed by this. I have a routine when I am overwhelmed with anxiety, my partner created a self-check-in list for me which helps me calm down, it includes things like reminding myself to breathe, telling myself that it will be okay, that this is only a temporary feeling and that I will be okay no matter what. Sounds simple but these reminders help so much in calming my anxiety. (We will talk about that in the next post) I also text or call a friend when I am feeling overwhelmed this helps in knowing I am not alone and I have support.

I am sharing this because I realize that we all need to talk about this. Maybe someone needs to be reminded that they are not alone and it is okay to ask for help. I am writing so that we can start a conversation about mental health and end the stigma surrounding this. Everything starts from something, we each need to take care of our mental health. We need to check in with ourselves and be honest about what we need. If we are struggling with anxiety, depression, bipolar or not even sure what we are feeling we need to be honest about that and ask for help. There is no shame in struggling mentally, having anxiety doesn’t mean I am a bad program designer it just means I need a little more help some days to be the badass designer I am. Culturally, I was raised to be strong, to be fine when I was little I was so confused why I had days where the coming week would worry me so much that I didn’t want to go to school. I faked being sick because I just couldn’t do it, So it has been hard accepting I have anxiety and getting past “something is wrong with me” or I am crazy.

Lastly, I want to remind you that it is OK to not be OK. Your relationship with yourself, your feelings is more important. If you have low days acknowledge them and feel them. If you are overwhelmed with low days ask for help. ASK for help anyway. If you are not struggling with anything be very kind with your words. Be very attentive to the statements you use when you joke with friends as that may be what is stopping someone from getting help. Let’s have these conversations, let’s ask questions. I mostly want to remind everyone who may be going through the lows of Lows and struggling with anxiety and depression that you are not alone. YOU have friends, resources and family that want to help, you are not a burden.