Blended days. Some days I feel like I can handle it all. Other days I feel like I can barely get out of bed. My body tends to be very somatic when my anxiety and depression come creeping out and it is never a good feeling to feel like you can feel everything. My family, friends and relationships have always been affected by my mental health and I’ve strived in the last two years to not let this control me anymore. I am working in a position where my tasks for others often exasperate the difficulties I have in my own life. Keeping track of medical appointments, taking medications and going to all counseling appointments can be so difficult. It becomes even more difficult when I feel I can’t practice what I preach so this is my hope for the future. To really self reflect every day on how well I’ve taken care of my body and my mental health. If I don’t focus on my mental health my body has no energy to do all of the things I enjoy doing. Mental health is a weird thing to me because as a first generation Colombian American, I have had to explain to my parents that it does not have to be taboo (as it often culturally is in their native country). My experience within the mental health system as a worker compared to a client is very different. One of my biggest hopes as I continue to learn in my profession is to provide the most sensitive and trauma informed care to the individuals I work with. Treating “clients” or “patients” like they are people first will really be important to stop the stigma of asking and receiving help. I am not very intricate with my words but I do know that everything in life is intricate and happens for a reason. Please don’t be shy to ask for help.
Stephanie Velez, MSW, will respond to she/her/the/then, 26 Going on 27, first generation Colombian American. Stephanie has resided in Buffalo since 2009 where she was recruited to play D1 college soccer and graduated with a BA/MSW degree. Stephanie is now a social worker and Care Manager that works with people who have physical/developmental disabilities as well as mental health diagnoses. Previously, Stephanie worked as Adoption social worker and school social worker with the BPS committee of special education. Stephanie is a proud mother to her two kitties Madison and Noah as well as a very proud aunt to her first niece, Serena.