September 8th, 2019

Justin Mikita: You don't need to go through it alone

Justin Mikita opens up about his journey to becoming a man of more words and why it's so important.
Mental Health | In the Barber Chair

I've definitely suffered from anxiety and mild depression in my life. It’s an ongoing struggle that you have to pay attention to. You can’t just ignore.

There’s a lot of inherent shame in the queer community, and as a gay man, I know that many of my friends and those within the LGBTQ community have had to go through a journey with their mental health, including myself. Sadly, this is something that a lot of gay men deal with to start.

I’m also a cancer survivor. I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease when I was 14. As a 14-year-old going through cancer I was really resilient. What was more challenging, however, was the journey afterwards and my struggle with PTSD and the life-long effects of going through that experience at such a young age.

It’s important to be a man of more words to help to publicly break down the stigma surrounding mental health, but it’s equally important to maintain a dialogue with yourself – talk to yourself and listen to your body. Recognize when you need to get help and what outlets/tactics help you to feel better. For me, I love to cycle, I love going to the gym, I love music. Those are things that help me to feel stabilized when I’m experiencing a rough patch.

“Make sure you have people to lean on, because you can't go through it alone and what you don’t often realize is that you’re not alone - everyone goes through something.”

Make sure you have people to lean on, because you can't go through it alone and what you don’t often realize is that you’re not alone - everyone goes through something. In today’s world of social media, it’s not always easy to see if someone is struggling through the glitz and glam that is portrayed online. The reality is however, many people battle with their mental health and that struggle impacts everyone’s day-to-day life.  Being more open and vulnerable with those you love and those around you and being willing to ask for help is really important.  

I'm so lucky to be married to an amazing partner who I feel comfortable going to and talking through things with. But the biggest victory for me in my mental health journey has been giving up on the idea that I could do it alone and going to a therapist. Initially, just sitting down with a professional once a week was a challenge for me personally. However, I was able to move past that and today I'm privileged enough to have someone I meet with once a week and can just talk through things with. Some days I feel like I have nothing to talk about and other days I feel like I don't have enough time in the world to get through everything. I’m super proud that I’ve been able to let my guard down, break through those barriers that I created for myself and finally feel comfortable speaking with a therapist. The reality is therapy is a tool that is there to help you.

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