Mental Health Awareness

My Junior year of college was an emotional time. I think it was a combination of the realities of entering the real world, failed attempts to solidify post graduate plans, and a co-dependent relationship that put me in an emotional spiral. I didn’t know that I was spiraling. I didn’t know that I was depressed. Thankfully my mom knew and she sent me to a therapist. This single intervention helped to demystify the stigma that surrounds mental health for me. I gained a sense of self-awareness and a sense of empowerment with regard to advocating for myself by participating in therapy. I also learned, from the strongest woman that I know, my mom, that it is OK to get help. 

 I felt that it would be beneficial to close out Women’s History Month by focusing on the importance of mental health awareness. So I decided to reach out to Trenye Black, Licensed Mental Health Counselor and creator of Therapist Married To Navy for this month’s Influencer Spotlight. Learn more from Trenye and if you are interested in getting more information to help support you or a loved one in the area of Mental Health, you can access the various ways to reach out to Trenye at the end of this interview.

 

Hi Trenye. Thanks for participating in the interview with me. Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?

My name is Trenye Black and I’m  a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Florida.  My passion lies in the development of children, families, and the reintegration of positive and healthy lifestyles for families. I am a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. and Divine Nine Alliance. My husband serves as a Chief in the U.S. Navy, and together we have five daughters and a pit bull.  I am the creator of Therapist Married To Navy. I created my blog with the ultimate goal of promoting positive social change through a nonjudgmental lens. My blog focuses on military life, adversity, resiliency, trauma, parenting, relationships, self-love and anything that promotes positive social change and enhances your skills to become a better you.

 

What would you say your greatest accomplishment has been thus far?

Wow! I have had some really great accomplishments thus far, some big and small, yet they are all accomplishments.  But if I had to chose only one… it would definitely be the fact of me currently working on my dissertation despite me having a child in high school and being a single parent. It is extremely humbling to look at myself from the outside, embracing the resilient moments I endured.  So many people doubted me and I even doubted myself at times. I can remember days where personal pep talks, reflection on my “Why”, were the sole reasons I was able to maintain speed. So I always look back at that moment and say, “I can do (all things through Christ who strengthens me) and be anything in life with hard work.”

 

Do you still find that the topic of mental health is not addressed appropriately in certain communities?

Although I believe the topic and dialogue of mental health has come far, there is still a great deal of understanding and acceptance needed.  In particular, mental health is talked about more in our communities, schools, churches, Greek organizations etc.…. However, the stigma surrounding mental health is still present. The stigma is partially due to environmental biases. In my environment, mental health was not a thing (at least that’s what I grew up believing). Personally, I don’t think I really understood what mental health was until my mom was hospitalized (I was 18 years old at the time).

 

What are some of the more common mental health issues that women face and why?

I would say the most common mental health issues women face are depression and anxiety. This may be due to biological, hormonal and social factors.  Women roles have changed over time.  Not to negate the importance of our men, nevertheless, women carry a lot of responsibilities, from being a wife, mother, career women, volunteering, and the list goes on.  Women tend to put themselves last so their family can thrive, it’s in our natural makeup of nurturing.  Undoubtedly, not caring for oneself eventually takes a toll. I often tell my colleagues, “Listen to your body.” But also knowing the symptoms of the common mental health issues doesn’t hurt either.

 

How do self-image, self-worth, and self-love play a role in our mental health as women?

All of the above refers to self-esteem, how we feel about ourselves.  When we feel good about who we are, we typically are more powerful.  Powerful in a sense to where we perform well (our responsibilities as a wife, mom, Christian, volunteer, etc.). We are respected in our personal and professional relationships. Women who truly exhibit positive self-esteem are more likely to have good physical and mental health.  Women who have high self-esteem create healthy balances of life and boundaries. Self-image can definitely cause mental and emotional issues, which in fact, decrease self-worth and self-love.  Social media has made it a nonstop comparison show for us women.  Then you add filters… I can go on about social media issues.  Ultimately, if you have low/poor self-esteem, I would suggest some self-reflection and thought towards what you think is affecting your self-esteem. Identify if it is imaginary or real. If it’s imaginary, what’s behind the thought? If it’s real, what plans are you going to implement to work towards improving your self-esteem?

 

 Self-care. Why do we tend to overlook the importance of mental well being when discussing self-care?

Someone on Facebook created a short video clip about self-care and relaxing (not sure of her exact verbiage), but I couldn’t agree with her more. Self-care can be so many things.  But let’s dig deeper into Mindful Self-Care… “Mindful” self-care and relaxing are two separate entities (in my opinion).  I define mindful self-care as me taking care of myself, mentally, physically and spiritually.  Mindful self-care is forcing myself to do something that is absolutely necessary in order for me to thrive.  For example, running or working out is my self-care.  We all know the release of endorphins decreases stress.  A facial is pampering/relaxation and will probably never be used for me as a mindful self-care strategy.

But I think women tend to overlook the importance of mental well being with regards to mindful self-care because many really don’t understand what it means and the true value of self-care.  We tend to think a pedicure or shopping is self-care, but in reality how are either of the two “truly” helping us mentally, physically or spiritually?

 

 What are some of your personal self-care “go-to’s” or routines that you would recommend to others?

As I have discussed earlier, there is a difference between self-care and Mindful Self-Care…and I am pro both. Overall, self-care means taking time for yourself and doing what works best for you to allow yourself to live purposefully.

-I wake up earlier than my twin girls to practice mindfulness, sip my coffee and sometimes a quick workout (depending on my schedule for the day).

– I set time blocks for social media because it is easy to get distracted on what my family, friends and subscribers are saying and doing. I have a daily to-do list (which is something I incorporated during spring break for effective time management).

-If you follow me on my social media platforms you would see that working out/running will always be my go to for mindful self-care.  Working out helps me mentally, physically and spiritually.

– My twins and I have established Sundays as our time to get rid of our strict schedules. We typically try to watch TV, while eating dinner and we use Sunday’s as our “in-home” body positivity days.  We tend to do our facials, nails; the twins will try different natural hairstyles, etc.  Just doing what we can to live comfortably in our bodies.

 

What would you say to the woman who has considered therapy or other means of mental health support but feels that it may diminish how others view them? 

I know the importance and value of our perception to others.  I live in a small town, where everyone knows everyone.  Therefore, I work hard to maintain a positive vibe in all aspects of my life (but I’m also human, so I fall short) because the last thing I need is for someone to notice a therapist not practicing the skills she teaches.

Some people are proud to say, “That’s my therapist”, while others want to keep it a secret.  Either way is fine, but when we allow other people’s perception of us to decrease our value and health (mental and physical), that becomes the bigger issue. There are so many reasons why mental health support is beneficial and why I will always advocate for mental health. Mental health support is not to solve the problems of what the world consider us as, it is to resolve our own problematic behaviors, beliefs, and feelings so that we can shed light upon the world.

 

You can connect with Trenye at one or more of the following:

Blog: https://therapistmarriedtonavy.com

IG: @mytherapistmarriedtonavy

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/TherapistMarriedToNavy/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/TMTNavy/


Danielle Boyd

Hi!

I'm Danielle. I'm a wife, mother, and educator residing in Durham, NC. I am here to share my take on life through my own lens. I hope that my writing inspires you to live the life you've been given with purpose. Thank you for reading. Feel free to leave questions and comments as I would love to interact with you!

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