I Took a Mental Health Day and I'm Not Ashamed

I recently took a mental health day due to an impending hell week (this week). I literally did nothing, save for going to Krispy Kreme and Starbucks with my mom. It was great, honestly. And, while most of my fellow college friends were supportive, it occurred to me that most of my parent’s friends weren’t so happy about it.

You see, my mom (whom I love dearly and she’s so supportive and cares about me and would never hurt me) made a comment while we were in the car that day after I mentioned a friend of mine had recently been diagnosed with anxiety. “It’s like everyone has anxiety these days.” She listed off all her friends, family, and extended family who had been “diagnosed” with it. And, while I’m sure she didn’t mean it to be condescending, I found it to sound a little negative. I then went on to explain to her something I feel is really well known about anxiety:

Twenty years ago, even ten, anxiety was seen to be a personal problem and not a medical issue. It was something you handled on your own and was considered to be an excuse for getting out of stressful environments because people didn’t want to handle their shit.

Well, maybe if people didn’t oppress others or cause stress factors to exist people wouldn’t have any shit to handle, homie.

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I wrestled a lot with taking the day off. Literally couldn’t fall asleep Wednesday night because of it. What if I missed something seriously important in one of my classes? No, I’d checked the syllabi and that was the day that we had the least amount of things to do. What if I missed out on the opportunity to do something fun? No, I wasn’t really in the mood to go anywhere anyways. What if everyone thought I was being lazy and just didn’t feel like doing anything?

And then I told myself to stop.

Because, the thing is, I don’t really care how people feel about me taking a mental health day. I’m newly 19 years old. I shouldn’t be dealing with a lot of the stress that I am, self-made or not. A day to do nothing is sometimes what’s needed to get yourself reenergized and prepared to do anything.

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But what about the people who “can’t” take a mental health day?

Bullshit. Everyone can take one. Yes, I’m aware that’s my privilege talking. I’m aware people work two or three jobs or have kids on the verge of going to juvie. I get it, because I grew up with classmates going through that. So, okay, maybe you “can’t” take one because of societal pressures or inhibitors that are preventing you from doing so. But you can try. And you can reach out for help from those who can.

Don’t be afraid to ask your boss for that day off. Even if you “need" the money, it’s not like you’d be able to use it if you die from a heart attack or stroke fifteen years too young. Not even your kids could use it because death is super expensive anyways and and extra $200 isn’t going to make much of a difference. As harsh as that is, sometimes those are the things we need to hear.

Like me, telling myself that the fact that I couldn't handle all my responsibilities I had tacked onto myself. It was a tough reality that I had to face. And, I took that mental health day. I took it, and I am so prepared to drag myself through this week like it's nobody's business.