I’ve been working on my mental health for about nine years now. It comes and goes in waves. It sometimes stays longer than I would like, but sometimes disappears in an instant. It has its own way of dealing with things that are hard to control. In reality, it’s more of learning how to manage your mental health more than anything. I choose the word “manage” because it really is something that you can’t control. When I think about managing my mental health, for me, it was about seeking out the correct guidance for the emotions I was feeling during my life.
I first went to speak with a therapist about my mental health, specifically anxiety, about nine years ago. I was scared and nervous to voice what I was feeling to another person that I had never even met before in my life. I went for a couple of months and eventually felt good enough to stop going for a while. I was able to learn tools to help manage the anxiety I was feeling.
I learned that these emotions were coming in different waves at different times in my life. For many years, I tried to just speak to people I was comfortable with, whether that be friends or family, about what I was feeling – although everything wasn’t always being voiced to them.
I really didn’t want people to know that I was dealing with anxiety. I was worried and almost became more anxious since I didn’t want anyone to “find out” I was talking to a therapist. At this time in my life, I didn’t realize that my mental wellbeing was more important than literally everything else in the world. Nothing else should have mattered to me. If I’m being honest, I just really didn’t want others to think or look at me differently.
Then, about ten months ago, I was hit with the biggest wave thus far in my life when it came to managing my mental health. When I lost my best friend, Sean, it felt more like losing a brother. I hadn’t lost anyone this close to me outside of my immediate family, so I wasn’t exactly sure how to manage it. Grieving when you lose someone to suicide is different because this type of tragedy happens so unexpectedly. Losing Sean was more like getting hit with a train that I had no idea was coming.
My family noticed I was struggling to manage my mental health, so they spoke with me about going back to talk to a therapist – and I did.
I decided that I need to make my mental health a priority again and return to therapy. I realized that I could talk about my feelings with a therapist while also being fully and completely comfortable in my masculinity. Speaking with someone about your feelings should not be perceived as a weakness. It takes strength to admit that you need support and to share that with someone else, especially a complete stranger.
You are not alone if you are struggling with your mental health. It does not make you any less of a man or a woman or person to ask for help. Outside of talking with someone, I recently adopted a dog and made her my emotional support animal. It’s amazing how much an animal can change your perspective on a lot of things in life. I’ve learned the true meaning of “a man’s best friend” already in just a short six months. I can honestly say that Remy has positively contributed to my mental wellness.
The key is to figure out the right way to manage your own mental health. Just because you may suffer from mental health issues doesn’t take away from your chances of being successful and, most importantly, being happy with the life you live. Being happy with your life is all that really matters at the end of the day. Celebrities like Terry Bradshaw, Serena Williams, Brandon Marshall, and Michael Phelps speak about managing their mental health and look at all they have accomplished in their lives.
Nine years ago, I was scared and nervous to speak to someone about my feelings. But the truth is, it doesn’t make you any less than who you really are. No one can help if they don’t know what’s going on.
You are the first person that can help yourself. Getting the help you need to be the best YOU is what matters the most. It’s what mattered most to me.
Anthony Coburn Jr. is a Management Trainee for Enterprise Holdings in Clearwater, FL and a class of 2012 Salesian gentleman. He considers himself a huge sports fan, specifically of the Philadelphia sports teams (Go Birds). He also enjoys spending time with his friends and going to the beach in his free time. You can find him walking his dog, advocating for mental health, and spoiling his new niece, Adrianna.
14 Replies to “Managing What Matters”
Proud of you, son
We are so proud of you and the MAN you have become. Always remember we will Always Love You no matter what.
Mom Mom & Pop Pop Angelini
Praying for your continued well being and happiness. God Bless you.
Ant… I cannot find the words to express how impressed & proud I am of you. You’re choice to share your story has moved me. I hope it will be a source of strength to others. Thank you… Sean IS proud. 😘. Mrs. C.
You are an amazing man. Using the right tools to help guide to yourmental health path
I am proud to be able to say …you were my student.
With caring thoughts,
I am so proud of u Anthony. Proud that I know you. You are a beautiful person inside and out and always have been. You have a wonderful family and so much to be thankful for and proud of. Thank u for sharing this so others may benefit from your experience and wise words. I will also share your story..
Love u lots!!
Awesome and extremely well presented!! Great job Ant
Anthony, I hope that everyone I know gets the chance to read your words of wisdom and if needed seeks the help that you found. So glad to see that you’re doing well and I’ll follow up with your parents this summer when I run into them at the beach. Coach
I am so glad to hear this weve struggled with issues of our own with our children. One of them got seriously sidetracked tried self medicating. Its been a long road took him 14 years to figure it out ! Hes doing well right now but always takes work. Im proud of him and proud of you !
Be proud of yourself and working toward a better you. Asking or seeking out support shows strength. Continue to work toward your healthy future.
Your are a strong man Anthony I could learn from you. l am proud of you. Your Fighting Irish cuz Danny
Very well said! This is such a great message for young men who are probably among the most reluctant to seek help. I have been in psychotherapy for many years and consider it every bit as important as seeing my Primary Care MD. Thank you for sharing your story!
I went on your Mom’s Facebook page to get Baby Adrianna’s complete name and found your article. I had “Goose Bumps” reading it. You are an Amazing Young Man. God Bless You and give you strength to carry in with a Terrific Future. Love, Aunt Anna Brown
As I said in my text to you. Thank you for sharing your story so that others may get the help they need.
I am so very proud of you for the courage to let others know your story.
Sean was lucky to have you as a friend.