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It’s Mental Health Awareness Month – Make The Untalkable Talkable

Dr. Trujillo is a counseling and sport psychologist dedicated to helping individuals, teams, and organizations build awareness of self, others, and the world to reach their full potential in and out of their craft. She owns a private practice where she seeks to educate, consult, and provide mental health and sport psychology services that are evidenced-based and collaborative.

 
Executive Contributor Natasha P. Trujillo, Ph.D.

For people who are skeptical about the field of psychology or seeking any sort of mental health support, I usually start off the conversation with two different ideas.


A beautiful curly woman at the stairs.

  1. Professionals in our field are often given the nickname “shrink.” However, contrary to that definition, as a psychologist I am here to make you stretch. The goal isn’t to belittle you or make you feel like you are being looked at under a microscope covered in judgment. Rather, the purpose is to help you break through what barriers are holding you back from seeking the fulfillment that will contribute to a meaningful life. If you want to stretch, you need to pay attention to your mental health.

  2. If you tear your ACL, you will likely begin the process of recovery by visiting a doctor and then working closely with a physical therapist. There is no shame, judgment, or unease about this course of treatment the majority of the time. Similarly, when you suffer an emotional injury, why wouldn’t you also seek out the support of a provider trained to help you better understand your brain and work the muscles of your mind to get you stronger and back to life? The stigma is flawed, mental health is no different.


There will be all sorts of information spread this month about mental illnesses, and I could spend some time educating you on the various diagnoses but instead, I want to share insight about how growing your ability to be introspective and truly reflect on the gains and losses throughout life can actually make you stronger, more resilient, and live a more wholesome life.


Cover With Text

I released my first book on April 30, 2024 entitled And She Was Never the Same Again: A Multigenerational Memoir. I have been spending an immense amount of time thinking about what readers can take away from the book. I’ve asked myself how/why can it be useful and what the major benefits are. One thing I’ve consistently settled on is that the book demonstrates how to make the untalkable talkable. It addresses ways to move towards hard topics that are emotionally loaded and taboo. Thus, in the spirit of mental health awareness month AND the release of my book, I want to give you tips on how to talk about the untalkable.


How many topics do you avoid with great fortitude? How many situations or conversations do you try to slither away from or believe aren’t worth the discomfort? How many things do you feel you don’t quite have the words for or question if saying something will be helpful at all? I believe that sometimes there are no words, and that silence and distance can be powerful tools to help us cope with great stress. But, more often than not, I err on the side of communication. I encourage making what is difficult to process more digestible through vulnerability, honesty, active listening, and sustained effort.


It isn’t easy, but neither is life. Straying away from the reality that keeps you stuck will do nothing but make your sensation of feeling trapped more burdensome. I have chosen to dedicate a large portion of my career to specializing in grief and loss in my practice. These experiences are inevitable and are something each and every one of us can relate to on a deep level. No one escapes loss or the profound changes that form within us when it strikes. My intention in writing the book was to bring light to grief and loss in more nuanced ways by truly demonstrating how to make the untalkable talkable.


The book is an emotional ride that focuses on life’s most bittersweet; the gains and losses that make up the universal experiences of humanity. Reading it can be a catalyst for benefits you can experience when you look more closely at the ways grief has touched you and move towards them, as the only true way to handle grief is to go through it.


My book can be a loose guide to help you practice making the untalkable talkable. Through it, you can learn to perspective-take, to accept the gains and losses inherent in each life event, and better understand the complexities of grief and how they show up in your own life. You can build tools to think more deeply through both careful analysis and tolerating emotions both big and small. You can put effort towards connecting with those you cherish the most. You will also learn that grief is much more nuanced than the death-focused way it is often viewed. We grieve all kinds of losses; sometimes it is loss of life, but often it is the losses within life. 

 

And She Was Never the Same Again is about you. It is about your family and your friends, everyone you've ever met, and all the strangers you have yet to meet. It takes you on a journey of gains and losses that stretch generations, cultures, identities, and decades of time. It awakens you to the inevitable and makes you look at things most people want to avoid seeing. It explores near-death experiences; medical, individual, and intergenerational trauma; the stigmatized death of a partner; perfectionism, athletics; first loves; and the gaping hopes that become permanent fixtures within us when those we love the most die. You will feel, you will grow, and hopefully, you will never be the same again. 

 

As we recognize mental health awareness month, I invite you to take a look at some of the things you’ve lost in your life and some of the things you’ve gained in your life. Do you talk about them? Do you think about them? How do you integrate your life experiences into the narratives that form the foundations of your beliefs that guide you through life? Dig in, and pay attention to your mental health. It matters.


 

Natasha P. Trujillo, Ph.D., Counseling and Sport Psychologist

Dr. Trujillo is a counseling and sport psychologist dedicated to helping individuals, teams, and organizations build awareness of self, others, and the world to reach their full potential in and out of their craft. She owns a private practice where she seeks to educate, consult, and provide mental health and sport psychology services that are evidenced-based and collaborative. She works primarily with athletes, performers, and high-achievers to help them find balance in their pursuit of success and acceptance of their own humanity. She strives to help people learn how to simply “be”, and get better at what they do. She has specializations in grief/loss, eating disorders, trauma, anxiety, & identity development.

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