Other people’s emotional wellness can be easily misconstrued. If someone is emotionally well, you would assume that they are happy all or most of the time. However, that is not what emotional wellness means. According to the National Center for Emotional Wellness, it is an “awareness, understanding, and acceptance of our feelings, and our ability to manage effectively through challenges and change.”

Emotional wellness has taken a back burner for most of my life. Out of the eight dimensions of wellness, the emotional dimension was the one I wanted to address the least. Until this year. 2022 was the year I finally went to therapy. Over the years, I have been a huge advocate of therapy and taking care of your mental health. I’ve encouraged friends and family to take care of their emotional wellness, and I acknowledged its impact on overall well-being. Whether it is 1 session or 30 sessions, there is power in seeking help.

The first four months of 2022 hit me like a freight train. I had just crawled out of postpartum depression and anxiety, only to be met with the loss of two grandparents and an avalanche of other life events. When it rains, it pours. I was aware of all the emotions I was feeling. I understood and accepted why I was feeling the emotions I was experiencing. However, I was not managing the challenges life had thrown my way well. I was waiting for Ashton Kutcher to jump out and tell me I was being punked. Unfortunately, that did not happen. So, I did the only thing I could think of; I googled “therapist near me.” That should do the trick.

After the first awkward session was out of the way, it was off to the races. Some days we have serious discussions, and some days I ramble about absolutely nothing. The best part is that I’m learning how to navigate my emotions as they come and find coping mechanisms that work for me. Journaling has been something I’ve become quite fond of. At first, I felt as if I was 10 years old again, making another entry in my diary. After some time, it started to feel like a quiet time for me and my thoughts. Some days it is only a few sentences, and some days, a few pages. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it worked for me.

I’ve learned a lot over the past 5 months. Most importantly, I’ve learned to accept that opposite, seemingly contradictory emotions can coexist. You can grieve during some of the most joyful stages of life. You’re allowed to feel hopeful and scared. Emotions and feelings don’t follow rules.