Q & A with Emily Wu Truong
How do you define wellness?
Wellness is the ability to balance our strengths and weaknesses and the good & bad in life. Practicing this is easier said than done, but with tools and daily practice, it is not impossible. Most acknowledge that we need to exercise to be physically fit, but we need mental fitness too. We need to find the tools to help us gain contentment and peace of mind when circumstances are out of our control.
What was life like before you found wellness?
Despite my down-to-earth & personality, I grew up with low self-esteem. No one noticed how bad my negative self-talk was – it was a subconscious voice that reiterated my self-disappointment. There were signs that I was depressed, but no one said anything. Believing that I had to be perfect to survive this life, I held unrealistic expectations of myself, & I was never proud of me.
Finding wellness helped me discover my purpose in life. It was the best feeling in the world. I took steps to find help for myself and became determined to normalize the conversations on mental health and suicide by sharing my story. However, I couldn’t do it alone. After meeting advocates from all over the world, life is good. Initially, my advocacy work was lonely. Now, it feels good to know I’m not alone.
What do you do to live well?
For self-care, I attend support groups from Recovery International & my local NAMI chapter to consistently surround myself among other individuals. I’ve also become a fashion statement for the cause as well. Most people don’t know that the lime green ribbon stands for mental health awareness. So I use my creativity wearing the color to stand out and represent mental health to change people’s attitudes around mental health. Part of my wellness has also included mental health advocacy. Over the last four years, I’ve attended multiple mental health conferences to educate myself, shared my personal story, organized community forums and support groups to highlight other resilient individuals and to create safe spaces for underserved communities of color to openly speak about their own concerns.