Seeking Help in an Imperfect Mental Health System

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Part 2 – Emily’s Story: Seeking Help in an Imperfect Mental Health System

By Emily Wu Truong

In honor of July as National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, Guest Blogger Emily Wu Truong, who received a fellowship from the Entertainment Industries Council’s Mental Health Journalism Fellowship, created this three-part series on Asian American mental health. This is the second article of the three-part series about perfectionism and mental health. 

Growing up, I had no idea how to define myself or love myself. I had no concept of understanding my true worth as an individual because I was so critical of myself. I realized that I hardly ever complimented myself and always needed that external validation from others.  However, it was not until my breakdowns in July 2013, that I had breakthrough moments of epiphany, like a spiritual awakening of my true identity.

This awakening began two years ago after dealing with many frustrating circumstances.  I came to a place in my life where I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I set myself on a mission to learn how to deactivate my emotional triggers. Once I made that decision, a mixture of painful repressed memories came rushing into my conscientiousness.  Emotionally, it was rather overwhelming that I would leave my brain feeling completely mentally exhausted.  These breakdowns then prompted me to seek initial help from the mental health system.

Without anyone to provide me with an orientation to the mental health system, trying to navigate the mental health system was extremely frustrating. 

Continue reading “Seeking Help in an Imperfect Mental Health System”

July: National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

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Part 1 – Emily’s Story: Living with Perfectionism & Depression

By Emily Wu Truong

In honor of July as National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, Guest Blogger Emily Wu Truong, who received a fellowship from the Entertainment Industries Council’s Mental Health Journalism Fellowship, created this three-part series on Asian American mental health. This is the first article of the three-part series about perfectionism and mental health. 

I used to believe that perfectionism was real. Because straight A’s were expected of me, I thought perfection was supposed to be the norm. Growing up, my parents would talk about how they attended National Taiwan University, which was considered the Harvard of Taiwan. They were always at the top of their classes, and indirectly, that led me to believe that “I need to make them proud by doing the same.” I thought I was living in a world where adults were to be perfect, and if I couldn’t measure up, I would have nothing to contribute to society. However, it was not until much later in life that I realized that I was shooting myself in the foot by setting up unrealistic expectations for myself.

While doing some research on perfectionism and its relation to mental health, I found a UCLA research study by Jaimin Yoon and Anna S. Lau on the topic of Maladaptive Perfectionism and Depressive Symptoms Among Asian American College Students: Contributions of Interdependence and Parental Relations. Yoon & Lau stated that “Perfectionism is commonly thought of as a trait that motivates individuals to strive toward important goals and foster excellence. However, a growing literature highlights aspects of perfectionism are linked to negative psychological outcomes, including low self-esteem, depression, and suicidality.” Being able to find research that could validate my personal experiences was eye-opening.

Continue reading “July: National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month”