Isolation Nearly Ruined My Physical and Mental Health

Ryan Brown, URMND Founder and CEO

I am not the most social guy. Actually let’s take it a step further, I am not a social person whatsoever. Growing up in a large family and being in a career where I am constantly around mentally vulnerable people who need attention, I value my time where I get to be in total isolation for hours at a time.

There are points in my life where solving people's problems for hours on end can get to be overwhelming and I have to take those "mental health days" from work and not leave the house in order to stay sane. My mom will be the first to tell you that I don't always come to every family event or function.

Even though I believed I was doing the best thing for me by isolating myself, research is proving that I could possibly be destroying my physical health. According to a 2016 study by the Heart Journal, loneliness and social isolation are associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease and strokes. As an African American man, I am already more likely than any other race to suffer from both heart disease and strokes, so adding social isolation can be an added risk factor to my health.

On a personal level, I am at a higher risk than most twenty-somethings. Heart disease runs in my family. I lost three grandparents to some kind of variation of the disease. I love the unhealthiest of foods and I was diagnosed with high cholesterol during a routine physical AT THE AGE OF 12. I definitely didn’t know exactly what that meant then, but my mom made it clear that life for me is probably going to be a little different when it came to making sure I was in good health.

As far as my food choices I have tried everything:

Vegetarian (I love chicken and seafood too much).

Pescatarian (Expensive and there are only so many ways you can cook a damn fish).

Vegan (What a joke).

But the key for me was knowing that I had to keep myself in the gym, make sure my diet was at least half decent and I was mentally sharp and not absolutely losing my mind for the sake of a paycheck.

It’s not that I hate my job or my field (I am going on ten years, so I really hope I like it), but I think it is important to consider that I don’t think people are built to be sitting at a desk eight hours (or more) a day, five days (or more) a week, 240 days (or more) out of the year. Just the thought that I have potentially reached my potential in my field is not only sad, but exhausting. I commend people who have had the same job for 30-plus years because that takes so much commitment in order to build someone else's dreams instead of worrying about your own.

URMND is something that I feel that is not only addressing a need, but it is something that I felt was needed for myself to stop dealing with the status quo that became my life.

I wanted to be excited about creating, working with other creators, introduce myself to other business owners and do everything on my own terms. Owning and operating a business means constantly talking to people, setting agendas and failing over and over again in order to put the best possible product out there for people.

Putting myself out there was never an easy thing for me. I keep just about everything about my life private but branching into journalism this year, I have learned to be more open with my life. It has been therapeutic to be able to be more expressive outside of a pen and notebook that is usually locked away and never sees the light.

I am definitely not the spill my guts type yet nor do I ever plan to be. I am protective of my space, the people that are around me and I always try to be aware of oversharing when it comes to creating and writing. I stay true to my roots, but at the same time understand that growth means always learning and embracing what is uncomfortable. Being an introvert is dope and I enjoy my private time with commercial-free Hulu more than anyone, but being more social is giving me everything I have ever wanted and improving my physical and mental health at the same time.

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