How do we heal together?

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Alyx and Brandon have been together for five years and are deeply in love – but they’ve also had to grow a lot. Both have struggled with anxiety and feeling like they’re not good enough. This week, Alyx asks Brandon how they can take care of themselves while caring for each other.

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Dr. Monica Band is the host of this show and consultant with the Jed Foundation. Chrystal Genesis is our supervising producer. Giulia Hjort and Rachel Lightner are our producers. Andi Kristindottir is our engineer. Tess Novotny is our associate producer. Mixing and original music by Bobby Woody. Additional music by Andi Kristinsdottir. Special thanks to Kelsey Henderson. Jackie Danziger is our VP of Narrative Content. Executive producers are Jessica Cordova Kramer and Stephanie Wittels Wachs.

This series was created with The Jed Foundation, a non-profit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for teens and young adults. Find ways to manage your emotional health, cope with challenges, and support the people in your life at 

This series is presented by Hopelab, a social innovation lab and impact investor supporting the mental health of adolescents, ages 10-25, especially BIPOC and LGBTQ+ youth. Learn more at

This series is also presented by the Stupski Foundation, returning resources to the communities it calls home in Hawaiʻi and the San Francisco Bay Area by 2029 to support just and resilient food, health, and higher education systems for all. Learn more at 

This series is also presented by the Lumina Foundation, an independent, private foundation committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. Learn more at

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To follow along with a transcript, go to shortly after the air date.



Dr. Monica Band, Alyx, Brandon

Dr. Monica Band  00:00

This episode is brought to you by the Stubski Foundation. The Stupski foundation is donating resources to the communities they call home, Hawaii and the San Francisco Bay Area to support food systems health and higher education for all because change can’t wait. Learn This episode includes conversations about anxiety and self worth. Remember to be kind and patient with yourself. And if you need to take a moment to pause while listening. We’ll be here when you’re ready.

Brandon  01:19

The first time that I saw Alyx was at a lunch table as a freshman. And my first reaction was just cute.

Dr. Monica Band  01:35

That’s Brandon, he lives in St. Paul, Minnesota with his partner Alyx. They’re both 23

Brandon  01:41

I didn’t get really a chance to get to know Alyx or get to you know really interact with her until later. And my first real memory was when we went to one of those freshmen events. It was a organized karaoke event for Asians or Asian Americans. And we sang a duet together and I was very impressed with her voice and it sounded really nice when we sang together and I was like, Oh my gosh, that’s really really cool.=

Alyx  02:10

For me, yeah, it was like that Troy and Gabriella scene from High School Musical singing that duet together. That’s kind of what what I envisioned but we had met like before then many times. It wasn’t Ed Sheeran song.  I think that was the moment that yes, I’m pretty sure me and Brandon were like very much noticing each other.

Dr. Monica Band  02:37

Alyx and Brandon have been together for five years now. Alyx is a social media manager and Brandon’s a music teacher. And earlier this year, they moved in together. In this time, Alyx and Brandon have asked each other all the big and small questions to get to know each other on a deeper level. Like what’s the perfect karaoke? Do it for our range? And what do we need to feel loved and fulfilled? Building any sort of healthy relationship romantic or platonic hinges on getting answers to these kinds of questions that can help you decide whether your humor interests, goals and values align. They also teach us about how we communicate in the day to day and in those more challenging moments. becoming the best partner you can be isn’t always intuitive. It requires pushing yourself to reflect on your feelings, words, actions. And this can be particularly difficult if it wasn’t modeled at home. And an Alyx and Brandon’s case. Their personal struggles have led to communication roadblocks, like when Alyx’s anxiety gets in the way of seeing the other side. Or when Brandon self doubt prevents him from opening up. Today in the last episode of season one of our show, Alyx and Brandon focus on a question that can help them better understand what didn’t work in the past to discover what can work in the future.

Alyx  04:01

How do we continue to heal together and not apart?

Dr. Monica Band  04:05

This is I need to ask you something and I am your host Dr. Monica Band.

Alyx  04:18

I think the first instance of Brandon asking me out was oh gosh, I had come back from a get together with friends late at night and my roommate who was the person who introduced us by the way, she had let him into my room so I came into my dorm room and he was there and I was like not looking cute like I had just come out from this get together as like you do as a freshman and you come back all late and tired and branded had chosen that beautiful moment right there to ask me out on a date the next day and I was mortified. But I was also like, Yes, this is what I wanted. This is exactly how I planned it. Brandon, you’re itching to talk, what do you want to say?

Brandon  05:07

So let’s a little bit more context. Her roommate was our go between she was constantly grilling me interrogating me asking me, do you actually have feelings? Or are you just trying to play around and just, you know, like, actually do care? And I was like, Yes. And then she ran away with that. And then later that night, she let me know that the feelings were mutual. And so then I rushed all the way over there, because I was like, I want to do this right away. If the feelings are mutual, let’s go.

Dr. Monica Band  05:38

You were thinking with your heart, you were Love Struck by Cupid’s arrow, and you couldn’t wait one more night to just ask her out. What a fun story.

Alyx  05:49

I mean, knowing knowing the kind of person Brandon is right now, that is the only way it could have played out. Like, if you didn’t say something now, the moment would would leave. So I’m glad it happened.

Dr. Monica Band  06:02

Okay, so I heard the initial attraction feeling’s mutual. But that being said, though, what does attract you both to each other?

Brandon  06:13

I would say with every relationship, the beginning always usually starts with physical attraction. And when we got into really realizing different parts of each other, then that attraction grew. So now, the list goes on and on. There’s like, the attraction that comes from understanding that, that Alyx is a safe space for me always. And knowing that somebody is going to be at my back at all times and will support me.

Alyx  06:40

I think I’m similar in a way, but I feel like my attraction starts out after I’ve been able to create an emotional bond with someone. So for me, attraction is all about personality. It really is that like, how you present yourself and express yourself, and that’s the kind of energy I guess I was getting from Brandon. He’s very much extroverted. I’m an introvert. So I think initially, that’s what kind of drew me in.

Dr. Monica Band  07:04

We’re talking about emotions. So let’s just bring mental health right into the conversation. So at this point, each of you are kind of in your own separate, but to your point connected healing journeys. But when you both first met, you might not have known fi highs and lows, struggles and wins of that journey. So Alyx, when you first met, how were conversations about mental health?

Alyx  07:32

Yeah, I mental health was and is super important to me, I, you know, grew up realizing that maybe I was experiencing something that maybe other people weren’t. So I had spent all those years figuring out more about myself going in and out of, you know, therapy. And also, I spent a majority of my life hiding who I was from my parents, from my siblings, from my friends, hiding a lot of my mental health from them. So going into this relationship, I hit a lot of myself, I feel like in the beginning, almost like curating who I was, to Brandon, making sure I wasn’t showing my anxiety, which at the time, was huge for me, because I was starting freshman year of college, like you go in with a bunch of anxieties that aren’t even just related to making friends. It’s just like, going to a new place, you know, came with a lot of anxiety and a lot of this stuff. So I felt like every, you know, meeting with Brandon, but also just in general, or showing up in life was me hiding a part of who I was, because I really didn’t have that comfort level where that community where I felt comfortable talking about it.

Dr. Monica Band  08:40

I love the phrase you use there curating parts of yourself, being very conscientious of how you’re showing up and not quite sure if safety is on the other end to show up as your full self or your authentic self.

Alyx  08:54

Yeah, 100%. I grew up in an Asian American household, and like, we didn’t really talk about feelings or mental health. And so for me, it was almost like I already tried talking to the people that are supposed to unconditionally love me about my mental health and was it was received really unwell. So, you know, it’s really hard to navigate that and definitely curate your personality and kind of like, it’s almost like you’re going out there with a radar and trying to see like, okay, who’s ready to talk about your mental health, and that’s scary for a lot of people. Because, again, a lot of people aren’t at that place yet.

Dr. Monica Band  09:28

I think, to your point of having those early, like core memories of really being vulnerable and mountain that not being well received, to say the least that fear can build and then inform our future decisions as to who we open up to even though logic dictates they’re different people, you know, they’re choosing to be here. emotional side says, If you share who you really are, you will lose them. And you want to keep them in your life. Right. So don’t say anything. Brandon. I’d be curious to know So what are some things you feel you struggle with? When it comes to your mental health? And how did it show up in your early phases of your relationship?

Brandon  10:09

I would say, I didn’t really take care of my own mental health because of the nature of growing up Asian, and also because of being male mental health was not spoken about. And then tying that with one of my biggest mental health challenges right now, which is a lack of self worth, a complete lack of self worth. This leads me into this kind of complete and utter devotion to Alyx in the beginning, and not caring about my needs at all, which is not very healthy. And part of that mental health journey through our relationship was learning about what my worth is, what my needs are, and also just this mindset that’s inherently toxic and unhealthy.

Dr. Monica Band  10:58

The way that you both are describing what you know, now you are showing and demonstrating you have certainly done and continue to do a lot of work you are invested in your mental health. So how did you both work through some of these mental health concerns?

Brandon  11:18

Hearing Alice’s side and understanding that there was a curation in the beginning is, you know, this good to hear. And I did not know that. But now that I look back on it, my first instinct was like, What can I do to make outs feel better? And what can I do to fix the situation?

Alyx  11:38

I think, in the beginning of our relationship, I had like self destructive tendencies, I often like wanted to self sabotage the relationship because part it was part of like, kind of wanting to validate my own intrusive thoughts that told me like, I wasn’t good enough for this relationship, because of my anxiety and everything that I was battling internally, because it was almost like every time there was like a roadblock, or like confrontation, I would like run away and get really emotional and have like a panic attack. But I don’t think Brandon at the time, knew what I was feeling, because I never told him about my anxiety in that way.

Brandon  12:13

You know, whenever we had like, a difficult conversation, and then it would lead into trying to take a break or break up my thought process, like, why are you trying to throw this away? And also, Alyx, sometimes would have these assumptions of what I actually feel and think, and then, you know, tell me those, and I’d be like, what, and always having to reiterate that those are not what I actually feel. And one of the biggest realizations for me was these are not controllable thoughts. And at that point, I realized, maybe we should be seeking professional help, because I could not fix this issue. The language at the time would have been I failing her, or I was not enough for her.

Dr. Monica Band  12:57

I imagine that was very difficult in so many ways, but to your earlier point, it was pushing on the buttons of your own self worth. So if I am hearing this, and I’m having someone pull away from me, even though I know that that’s not them doing it, that it’s still hitting those emotional wounds that I have, and it’s saying, Yeah, you’re right, you’re not good enough to stick this out, or there’s nothing you can do. Yeah,

Brandon  13:23

That really sucks. And then, like, it really drove home self worth issues. It was like, unhealthy thought, a thought process of how a relationship be, which is, you know, complete devotion and providing everything, realizing that I can’t, and then it just nose diving into while you’re a failure.

Alyx  13:45

That was a really pivotal moment in our relationship, because at that time when he was you know, suggesting, possibly going back to therapy or seeking professional help, I had told him straight out, I did not have a good experience like, and it just so happened that after that conversation, he was telling me he can’t be there for me in the way that I need to. And I was thinking that oh, no, this would affect our relationship. So I made the commitment to seek out that help. And I came upon this amazing therapy funding from the Asian mental health collective. And because of that moment, that was driven from conversations with Brandon, where he was being genuine. And I would use the word burnt out from, you know, my anxiety and the way that I was showing up in this relationship. And for me, a lot of my anxiety was taking away some of the agency that I had in my relationships because it definitely was making me feel things and think things of myself that wasn’t really conducive to like being a good partner or being a good friend.

Dr. Monica Band  14:48

And I’ll add to that at the end like accepting and receiving love believing it’s true. I’m going to return to a word you shared Alyx, which is burned out you recognize that Brandon was burnt out? How do we feel about that?

Brandon  15:04

I don’t like the word burnt out. Because burnt out has a connotation that you are done, or that you can’t go on anymore. It was never a kind of point where I was like, I can’t do this anymore. The reason that it sucked was because I had to realize that I don’t know everything in being in relationship. And I don’t know how to help my partner, and realizing that I couldn’t do that. That’s what really hurt. So being driven to that points, I think was really important. And realizing that I need to provide what I can and then if I can’t let go.

Dr. Monica Band  15:50

Letting go of unrealistic expectations, or the fear of being your True Self are very valid, relatable concerns. Take a new relationship. For example, did you spend too much time crafting that perfect text response? Did you pretend to like that new critically acclaimed French drama, when deep down All you cared about were the holiday flicks on the Lifetime Channel, hiding or curating ourselves is complex. On one hand, it can be a defense mechanism, when we don’t yet trust that person enough to show them our true selves. Or we curate ourselves because we’re hyper aware of how certain parts of our identity come across, like our anxiety. And maybe in the past, when we opened up about those experiences, they weren’t well received. So we were left feeling embarrassed or ashamed. Holding on to that feeling of rejection can convince us that we’re a burden or too emotionally dependent. But in the process of leaving behind our true selves, we also end up abandoning our needs. Being in a partnership means taking that risk and opening up, it means working as a team to carry the load together. More on that after the break. Welcome back. Before the break, we followed Alyx and Brandon’s journey from the late night dorm room proposal to opening up about their emotional hangups. Over time, Brandon began to realize that his self doubt wasn’t a reliable narrator. And Alyx started to recognize that her anxiety painted a different picture of their relationship. But together, they were able to see it for what it was full of promise, love and support. Therapy also played a major role in helping them confront their past and communicate their emotions individually. And together.

Brandon  20:42

I started my mental health journey after Alyx started to get a really good hold of her mental health. And then there was more of a realization that maybe I wasn’t in tune with my own own emotions, I had moments where I would not understand what was going on inside my own head. And then also did not acknowledge and did not know that I had this glaring lack of self worth, I did not, you know, accept that I had that. I realized, I needed professional help. Alyx was pushing it. And then like Alyx, I was fighting because like, I don’t need it, I’m fine. But then I realized that if I don’t, you know, work on myself, then I’m not able to show up in this relationship. And so it took a minute, and I found a Chinese American therapist. But before all that, I had attended a session with the proud Asian men. And that was the first time that I was able to speak to and meet like minded Asian men who are struggling with their mental health, and were willing to share it to other Asian men, when I was allowed to share a little bit about what I was going through. Then being met with so much encouragement, so much love. That was the first moment when I was like, okay, yes, this is working. I feel so good after this. And I want to keep going down the mental health journey.

Dr. Monica Band  22:11

Thank you. I want to talk a little bit. If you’re willing, Alyx, the role in which therapy has helped you play through some of your issues, because I heard you earlier say, I was kind of hesitant to get back into it. I didn’t have the best experiences. I think that’s really normalizing for people to hear. And I’d love to hear really what informs you being reluctant to get back into it?

Alyx  22:34

Yeah, I mean, the first instance that I ever had with a mental health professional was when I was forced to see someone, before that I had only had white therapists or free, you know, counseling from school. And it was almost like I was explaining to these professionals, like what in my culture that I experienced was so traumatizing. But with this Asian therapist, for the first time, I felt like I could just talk and not explain anything, but somehow she would understand it. And that informed a lot of my, you know, experiences with Brandon, I think I was finally able to confront a lot of the issues that I was facing, but also realize that part of it was informed by my culture. And therapy really helped me contextualize that.

Dr. Monica Band  23:24

Thank you for that. And I’m curious to know, Brandon, as Alyx was going through therapy, did you notice a difference at home?

Brandon  23:34

Every single time that Alyx would have a session, she would come to me and say therapy was so good, that I had such a great time of therapy. And as it became more of a routine and definitely seeing just how much work was being done. I was intensely proud. And also, definitely for us in terms of our relationship, difficult conversations were a little bit easier to have. There’s less like defensiveness, where we could actually sit down and talk about experiences with a more bird’s eye view.

Dr. Monica Band  24:06

And what about those pesky assumptions that you used to have to always remind Alyx to put aside when they weren’t yours.

Brandon  24:16

The language changed. Now it’s first time brought in the word intrusive thoughts. And then whenever else would have an anxiety come up, instead of Oh, you don’t care about me. You don’t want to be with me. It changed into I feel like you don’t care about me. And I feel like you don’t want to be with me, and then it changed into baby. I know this is an interesting thought. But I feel like you don’t care if anything, I feel like you don’t love me. And I think it’s the final evolution where it’s a realization as interesting thought, not an actual, like concrete thoughts and beliefs behind it.

Dr. Monica Band  24:53

And how is that for you as a partner to receive?

Brandon  24:58

It gives me so much more information. Shouldn’t and how I can, you know, reassure and also understand the thought process behind what’s going on generalized anxiety, after knowing a little bit more about it, it is constant, it’s always there. And then it flares up and calms down. And if there’s a flare up, understanding what I can say what I can do to make it calm back down.

Alyx  25:19

Yeah, and I just wanted to bring up as well, because I think it’s important when we talk about, you know, stating intrusive thoughts. For some people, it can be belittling, because it takes a lot of, you know, either healing or understanding of your own anxiety to discern whether something is an intrusive thought or not. And I think if you bring it a feeling to your partner, you don’t want them to say, that’s just an intrusive thought. And I think it’s just important clarifying that with your partner, because if they were to say, that’s an intrusive thought to every single thing, you were saying, it would almost feel like they were ignoring your anxiety.

Dr. Monica Band  25:53

I like how you’re demonstrating in real time, how it’s a work in progress. But to your point, can we make it more of a question? Or does it have to be a statement. So we’re like fine tuning that we have the tools, and we’re just fine tuning sort of how we approach these conversations. Both of you have found support within the API community and how important that piece is to your mental health. Because there is something about visibility and validation there, I think, in a way through those lived experiences, you don’t necessarily have to explain through a common language through common culture. So Alyx, at home, you know, as sort of an onlooker to Brandon’s mental health journey himself. Have you noticed differences?

Alyx  26:38

Yeah, I think going through that process with Brandon, it was definitely not easy. It was a very emotional process where both of us were emotionally processing, it was almost as if I had gone through so much of that, and work through a lot of that, and then to realize that we weren’t in the same state together. And it was hard to acknowledge at first also, on my part, having patience for him and realizing that he was on his own journey. I remember at home when he went to his like, first therapy session, you know, coming to me after saying how much it helped him and him feeling really emotional from that, that kind of off shooting us just really talking a lot about the ways in which we needed to support each other, or the things that we needed that we found out through like our own individual journeys. So I think now that we’re in that journey, we’re very much both cheering each other on, which is really great.

Dr. Monica Band  27:34

So, when your anxiety gets to you, or when those self worth issues, and those thoughts begin to flare up, how do you find coming together? When you’re both having hard mental health days?

Alyx  27:46

Yeah, I think it’s important to understand and love yourself, despite your mental health before you expect others to. And that was, I think, a super hard thing for both me and Brandon to understand as well, because again, we both have self worth issues. Navigating that on a daily basis is just having patience for each other. And understanding that healing doesn’t look the same for everyone. Like, I couldn’t tell you the bad how many bad days I had, or how many of my self destructive tendencies that I kept going back to, and realizing that that wasn’t the end for me. So it’s really just understanding that and being there for each other, and looking past those moments, or just being able to talk about them.

Dr. Monica Band  28:34

Brendon, let’s hear from you. So we still have bad days. How have you found? What helps?

Brandon  28:41

Well, we just started living together. So now, when we are navigating, like our bad days, I think it starts with for me, what does Alyx need in that bad day? Does Alice need space? Does Alyx need food? Does Alyx need comfort spaces last? Because I feel like space can lead into those intrusive thoughts coming in without that reassurance. But sometimes now, or may need space because we need to process and also to let emotions you no come back down. And then if like I have a bad day, what I need to work on is communicating that I have a bad day and allowing myself to feel annoyed, angry, upset about a certain date because I still have trouble with you know, feeling emotions, and then also sharing them.

Dr. Monica Band  29:34

So Alyx and Brandon are on a journey together. They both mentioned how much their identities as Asian and Asian American influence the way they communicate, and how they make sense of their emotions and mental health. This is why I think it’s so vital to have a therapist who is culturally competent, who understands history and intersectionality and takes all that into account when helping people live the life they want. This is embedded in trauma informed care. And I see this process as an act of social justice for so many marginalized communities. Alyx and Brandon are a good example of a couple who are aware of the many other cultural factors that contribute to their mental health. But they’re not letting that overwhelm or deter them. After some setbacks, Alex and Brandon are in the next phase of their relationship, newly graduated from college living together and excited to work toward their future. So now it’s especially important to consider Alex’s question how can they continue to heal together and not apart? After the break, we’ll learn more about the loose ends that Alex and Brandon are helping each other tie up. Over the last couple of years therapy has helped Alyx and Brandon overcome past traumas and find strength and compassion for themselves. And each other tools were acquired language was adjusted, and they became better partners in the process. But anxiety and self doubt don’t just vanish into thin air. Even after plenty of sessions with a therapist. Those things depend on our state of mind on any given day, or the unpredictable nature of life that can throw us off course. And that can be frustrating for everyone involved. Let’s listen in. So, Alyx, what do you see as a partner when you’re trying to connect emotionally with with your partner who has said I struggle with expressing my emotions?

Alyx  33:41

Yeah, I’ve always seen myself as sort of a helping hand. You know, sometimes I think that he may be like repressing his feelings in an incidence that would benefit from him talking about it. And I sort of see that as a way for me to facilitate that conversation. I found that for me, and the way that I was helping his needs was words of affirmation and making him feel loved and appreciated and and that I wanted to hear his emotion. So like, I think that’s something that has definitely changed in our relationship. He’s sort of like a teddy bear. Now, you know, and like, we can both talk about things really openly and vulnerably. It’s because we make space for that and we tell each other like one day if he comes in and I see that he’s really tense or that he’s feeling some way of like, bring him to the couch. And I’m like, Just tell me what’s going on through your head. And when he’s going through something. His instinct is first to shut down and not share his emotions. So it was just kind of being there for him and being like just talk your emotions out loud. And then we’ll parse through it together. You don’t have to have an exact word for how you’re feeling.

Brandon  34:52

Yeah, so shutting down was a huge issue where every time that I you know, wouldn’t do something wrong Again, so in my head and have a feedback loop of I am failure, I would have no self worth thoughts in my head, I would circle and circle up until the point where we, you know, shut down, basically. So I think what really kind of helped, you know, get me out of that was being forced to talk. So just just talk just say stuff. And I would just like, say every random thought that was going through my head and let it just come out and not have to have a make sense or have it be an actual coherent thought just not holding it in. Again,

Dr. Monica Band  35:35

another great strategy that I think anyone hearing can apply to their own life, and you moved in together. And you know, there are a lot of other things that come along with that practical things that come along with it, like, who’s gonna cook and who’s gonna do the dishes, right? Like, is there anything that stands out to you, or you’re like, okay, not resolved yet. But we’re doing it, we’re in it together.

Brandon  35:59

I think the first thing is because of my self worth, I need to be told that I am loved. And also, whenever I asked, like, say, I love you, I want to hear it be so bad because I, then if you don’t say back, it’s like, Oh, my God. So like, that will be an example of a non negotiable. And then moving in difficult conversations, I think always come from setting ground rules, setting responsibilities, and making sure that both people feel like they’re doing their part and also being supported in the way that they need to, I am not financially as secure. Alyx’s Alyx makes a lot more than me. Because of my self worth, I’m struggling with that. So that was a huge conversation that we had to have. And also a realization for me was, if you can’t provide in this way, providing other ways in so I threw myself at that, I take all responsibility for cooking, and also cleaning our apartment, and doing laundry and all of the household chores. And Alyx is, you know, working on rent payments, which is different from the kind of standard way of doing it, which I’m learning to accept better, and I feel much more fulfilled, in doing my responsibilities. I keep that apartment clean. And I make good food that Alyx enjoys him, I take pride in that.

Dr. Monica Band  37:27

I really appreciate your vulnerability on this one. Because I actually think in 2023, this is something that a lot of people in relationships are negotiating and going through. But I think to your point, how else can I provide fully as a partner because I have to dismantle the way in which I have been taught and socialized to believe that this is what a man should do. It’s tied to masculinity certainly, and about the way in which masculinity is perceived or are looked at and for you to openly say that I think it’s really powerful to hear and to your earlier point, not just as a man, but as an Asian man at that. So thank you for that. And, Alex, what are some of your thoughts on that? And you know, what it means to be a provider?

Alyx  38:11

Ooh, yeah, I think that has been sort of a huge conversation, this idea of like, am I enough? I think that’s a question that we’ve both asked on our own terms, too many times in the relationship to count, it’s only now just progressed into this financial situation, because we have graduated from college and are expected to do all these things. And even now, today, when we’re in this, you know, financial situation for me, I have never questioned whether I wanted to live with him, if it means covering the rent, because he is also taking initiative and doing his responsibilities. But he’s also there as a partner and as, like a person in my life, who is quite frankly, Pivotal. Like, I don’t think I could go through life without him because he is there as a support figure. And that’s kind of the role that I play in his life as well. So I think we’ve kind of made these roles for ourselves in our relationship to the point where these questions of compromising for each other and making sure everything’s accounted for. So I think it’s always worth having those 4am conversations where we just talk about what we’re feeling, or what our concerns are, even if they’re sometimes irrational or unlogical.

Dr. Monica Band  39:29

So we started with a question, and that question was, how do we continue to heal together and not apart? Do you feel like your question was answered?

Brandon  39:40

Yes. And I think boiling it down, I would say acknowledge your strengths, and acknowledge that there is a balance to taking care of yourself and other people.

Alyx  39:57

Oh, yeah, I think talking about it has just solidified So much more how far we’ve come and how we have actually started to heal together and not apart.

Dr. Monica Band  40:10

Every relationship is about striking a balance. And part of that involves learning to put yourself first sometimes, which can actually end up benefiting everyone else around you too. It’s impressive that at just 23 years old, Alyx and Brandon are talking so openly about their needs, from the non negotiables to the nice to haves. This is something I thought about after every episode this season. Young people are super emotionally intelligent, and the conversations are having put them way ahead of the generations that refuse to go to therapy, or even speak the words mental health into existence. By being so upfront with each other, Alyx and Brandon are showing us how important it is to embrace our true selves. This reminds me of a quote from one of my favorite psychologists, Carl Rogers. The curious paradox is that when I accept myself, just as I am, then I can change. Alyx and Brandon have found spaces that help them accept and honor their culture, like an Asian men support group, and Asian American therapists all through an API mental health organization. And these helped them kickstart their healing. Now, they’re embracing who they are, and that doesn’t take away from wanting to change or grow parts of themselves. When Brandon shuts down, Alyx can remind him that unloading his thoughts is always an option, and that he’s so much more than his paycheck. And when Alyx’s anxious thoughts come creeping in, Brandon is there to fact check which statements are true, and which may be clouded by her anxiety. That’s why it’s critical to have trusted, supportive people around us to help take power away from our doubts and remind us that we’re worth loving. Thank you so much to Alex and Brandon, and to everyone who contributed their time, stories and insights this season. It’s been a pleasure and a privilege. This being our last episode of this season, I want to share that while you’ve met our amazing guests, one of my favorite parts was meeting the people who made this show. We all grew together in the process. That’s all for now. See you when I see you. This is I need to ask you something. And I am your host, Dr. Monica Band.

CREDITS  42:45

There’s more I NEED TO ASK YOU SOMETHING with Lemonada Premium. Subscribers get exclusive access to bonus content. There’s so many things we talk about and we’re barely scratching the surface. Tune in to learn more about what it means to be a perfectionist, to be conflict avoidant. And how to ask for help. I NEED TO ASK YOU SOMETHING is a Lemonada Media original. I’m Dr. Monica Band, the host of this show and a consultant with the Jed foundation. Crystal Genesis is our supervising producer. Giulia Hjort is our producer, and Rachel Lightner is our producer and audio engineer. Tess Novotny is our associate producer. Mixing and Original Music by Bobby Woody, additional mixing by Ivan Kuraev. Special thanks to Kelsey Henderson and the members of our youth focus group. Maria Perry, […] Erica Familia, Kofi Green and Cloud Ben. Jackie Danziger is our VP of narrative content. Executive Producers are Jessica Cordova Kramer and Stephanie Wittels Wachs. This show was created in partnership with the Jed Foundation, a nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevent suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults. This series is presented by HOPE Lab with, Stupski Foundation and Lumina Foundation. Visit I or use the link in the show notes for resources related to today’s episode. Follow I need to ask you something wherever you get your podcasts or listen at free on Amazon music with your Prime membership

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