Sharing about my mental health troubles- May is Mental Health Awareness month
I wanted to share with you my story about Mental Health. Being an Asian American, many Asians who come to America especially the older generation don’t even believe in mental health.
I was told by an older mentor who happened to be Chinese American, “Who has time to think about things, if you keep yourself busy then you won’t have time to think about depressing topics” Although that might be true, short term, feeling the emotions instead of ignoring it whether it’s due to working so much that you don’t have time to deal with personal issues. Being a workaholic only gets you so far but eventually, when we come home which we all do at some point we will eventually have to deal with our demons.
The why: Especially while we are going through a pandemic, humans are naturally social organisms. Even if we are introverts, we crave some human interaction even if it’s less often than extroverts. I’ve been told I’m one of the most extroverted people out there so I can only speak from my experience. Focusing on my mental health has helped me be able to be more productive at work and feel like I can bring my full self to work.
The how: Depending on what health insurance you have, one of the most common objections I hear when hiring a coach or therapist is the cost. The way I see it is if I’m operating at 100% efficiency it is worth the investment even if it comes out to thousands or tens of thousands of dollars a year. Let’s say I make 135k a year, after hiring a coach I have the potential to make 185k with the right support. When I first started using a coach/therapist the gains weren’t as exponentially but with the right practice and the continued support you will find that you will find a job that you enjoy and you will be able to have appreciation for all of the experiences in your life that have made you the unique person you are today.
To give you context, my father left us one day without saying a word. His absence in my life during the Sophomore year of high school was a pivotal moment in my life. I told myself that if my own father doesn’t love me who can I really trust? I lived most of my life trying to fit in. Not being Asian enough for Asians because I was born in America and I have never been to Asia before and not feeling American enough simply because of the color of my skin. We moved around a lot and my dad was not the best businessman so he owed money to folks. To make a long story, short I had a lot of emotions and things to process. For people who have never tried therapist/coaching before. It takes years to unpack some of these experiences so don’t expect it to be a quick process if you’ve had a lot of things happen in your lifetime.
My mother also had a tough life because his father died in the Vietnam war and when she escaped from Vietnam to the US many of her friends died or were raped by pirates. I can have compassion as to why my mom turned out the way she does. Mental health I can see how environmentally it does pass through generation as intergenerational trauma is a real thing.
When I was working, I was laid from a few jobs due to performance and the inability to focus on the right activities. I remember feeling really down I had a roommate who was the not the best influence in general due to many of his own issues/ I remember feeling scared to go see my first therapist but grateful that I have good health insurance enough that they cover therapy. It was nice to have someone to talk to and share things without feeling judged. I immediately looked forward to going to therapy. Around the same time, I had a friend who posted on Facebook that he was going through a coaching program and was offering a sample session. I didn’t know what coaching was. Wasn’t that what my Cross Country and Track coach did? Little did I know how much that was going to change my life. I remember feeling sorry for myself for being out of shape. I was so fit at one point being very active and weighed a lot less when I was running all of the time. Sports is interesting where you don’t think about your problems as much for that hour or so. It was a great escape away from reality.
Working with my first coach was great. I started feeling confident in myself. Chris really helped me set small obtainable goals like run one mile, and then run two miles. We had weekly accountabilities I started having confidence in myself again. Coaching takes time and it takes vulnerability to be able to admit to ourselves that we aren’t perfect. To work on things despite how we feel in the moment.
I started attending Accomplishment Coaching, Tony Robbins, Next Level Trainings, Landmark Worldwide, and then I was suddenly noticing that my life has shifted drastically from someone who was barely making enough to pay for rent and now to this beautiful life where I get to potentially bring coaching to thousands of people every day. It’s such a rewarding experience to know that my legacy is what I want to create instead of being a victim due to my circumstances. Yes, some may argue that I was not dealt a great hand where I was born was one of the murder capitals of the US. I can also reflect and argue that it was the perfect circumstances but I appreciate it a lot more because I know what it was like to live a life scared of how I am going to pay rent every month.
This is dedicated to anyone who is afraid to talk to their first therapist. Any company that has an EAP, make sure you take advantage of that. I used up all of my available sessions when I was at LinkedIn and it made the world of a difference. For companies that offer that next-level support like CoachHub where we can pair up with an executive/business coach, this resource will only help you excel in all aspects of life.
Some of the breakthroughs I’ve had with my coach/ therapist are the following.
- Noticing that I set up my life where I was only spending time and were friends with POC. Being curious about is that the life I’m committed to living? What would it take to be connected instead of assuming things but hearing and learning about different cultures and people’s backgrounds?
- Imposter syndrome around being the only Asian in sales typically in most of my teams I’ve been on and empowering that as an advantage, not a disadvantage.
- Better and more of an honest communication with my managers, directors, loved ones, family, and my spouse.
- Taking responsibility and reinventing myself instead of being a victim. Not letting circumstances whether it’s financial, socioeconomic obstacles dictate my life.
There have been so many other breakthroughs but I wanted to share with you the power of having a therapist in conjunction with a coach. It’s a powerful combination and I have been able to make exponential gains in virtually all aspects of life because I was able to focus on my mental health and wellness. The airplane mask analogy for peoples who are givers . It’s not selfish to take care of yourself so that you can be fully actualized and be able to contribute to society at its highest level. My call to action for you reading this if you’ve made it this far is to have that uncomfortable conversation that you have been putting off with your therapist/ coach. If you haven’t worked with a mental health professional before, take that plunge and have that first call without any preconceived notions and reach out to me if you want to discuss any of these topics in further detail.
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Davidson Hang is currently in Sales at Cheetah Digital which is a Marketing technology company located in NYC.
Davidson is an avid networker, personal growth- life and business coach.
He loves spreading the love and regularly helps people create and design the life they want for themselves.
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