hanoi, vietnam: tea talk
I am someone who has struggled with severe anxiety my whole life. Someone who has had a negative track of obsessive, dark and self-destructive thoughts repeatedly circling through my mind. Someone who has toxically held onto the past and has lived in the assumptions of her mind rather than the reality of her life. Someone who has found it hard to get out of bed. Someone who has put a smile on externally when internally is filled with demons.
Many people upon meeting me would not expect me to be someone with anxiety. Many people upon meeting me would not expect me to be someone that has been in therapy for three years. This is a constant reminder to me that we do not know what someone else is going through. We can do our best to smile to all, to talk about mental health issues to break down stigmas and to lend help, a hand and love.
Traveling has helped my anxiety considerably. Ironic as there are definitely stress-inducing moments while traveling. However, it has helped me to be fully present, let go of the past and live in the now. This week in Vietnam, however, has been my most anxious yet. I have noticed myself succumbing to negative thought patterns that I have learned to listen to less. I have noticed myself returning to old patterns where I do not trust my mind. Thankfully this has happened before, so I remember, "this too shall pass." However, finding Tea Talk was incredibly serendipitous.
Tea Talk is a cafe aimed at improving the mental health and well-being of the Hanoi community. Tea Talk's sponsored charity, CORE, makes it easier for individuals to receive counseling by providing expert services and a more comfortable environment via the cozy cafe.
Going to see a counselor, going to a doctor's office, etc. can have be intimidating and hVWE negative stigmas attached to it. The reality is anyone, no matter their problems, can receive help and develop coping mechanisms. Tea Talk and CORE make this easier and more approachable by providing a welcoming and caring atmosphere.
I was so grateful that co-founder, Nguyen happened to be in the cafe yesterday morning. It was amazing to meet her and some of Tea Talk's staff. I am so inspired by her drive to talk about these issues and make mental health and well-being more accessible in a tough environment to do so. The Tea Talk and CORE teams are full of amazing people (lecturers, students, counselors, social work professionals, etc) that are making a big difference. Nguyen explained there are sessions held to bring groups together to have conversations, as well, not just 1-on-1 therapy. I also heard moving stories and testimonials of the impact the space has had on people of Hanoi. The empathy, support, care, love and tools provided by Tea Talk is life-changing in facilitating happiness again.
As someone who has first-hand experienced the benefits from therapy, I am so inspired by Tea Talk's initiative to break down stigmas and help people get help. It was a great reminder that we are not alone in our anxieties and people are there to help and to love.