Funmto Ogunbanwo, M.S, NCC | Writer, Clinical Mental Health Professional & Founder, Becoming Whole
Would You Rather Be 1 Hour Early or 15 Minutes Late? -15mins late errdayyyy!! I hate having to wait so I can’t imagine being an hour early. What would I be doing while I wait? 😂
Badé Obasa: I remember back in 2018, you had an online project called ‘Out of Heart’ and now Becoming Whole. Tell us the inspiration behind this transition?
Funmto Ogunbanwo: I transitioned and rebranded Out of the Heart into Becoming Whole because I slowly started to feel like Out of the Heart was becoming forced and losing its authenticity. I got the idea during my last year of Uni (2016/2017) and I launched in 2018; with the hopes of spreading awareness on mental health. I was trying to figure out content creation, how to post consistently, what topics to cover, and it all just became overwhelming. I put unnecessary pressure on myself to be perfect and I felt like I had to be the one to discuss everything related to mental health. News flash: I don’t. With all of that going on, Out of the Heart didn’t feel like me any longer. I once told a friend that it felt like I was trying to pile on winter clothes even though it was now summer. I was still trying to hold on to Out of The Heart although the seasons had changed. I got the idea for Becoming Whole in 2018 but didn’t take action and launch till 2020. Becoming Whole is a better representation of who I am. I appreciate all that life teaches us and I want to share that with others. Out of the Heart will always be my baby. Without it, Becoming Whole would not exist, so I am grateful for all that I have learnt.
BO: One thing I admire about you is your continuous desire to invest in your learning and development. Next thing for you is PhD right? Osheyyy when you are big, you are whaaaattt? 😂 When you were deciding where to study your Masters Degree, you applied to several universities including John Hopkins University. However, you mentioned you did not feel peace about chosing John Hopkins and you felt more peace with SMU. Why was peace of mind more important than going to a prestigious school?
FO: Yes o, PhD next by God’s grace and timing. To be honest, I’m not going to act like it was easy for me to turn down Johns Hopkins University. In fact, after the interview, I was kinda hoping I wouldn’t get accepted so I could tell people that was the reason I wasn’t going, not because I turned them down lol. As God would have it, I got accepted, so I had to say with my full chest that I turned down Johns Hopkins. It was not an easy decision. However, as I have grown in my journey with God, I have realized that one of the ways He gives me discernment is through peace - or lack thereof. Although it was hard to turn the school down, I just could not imagine ignoring the lack of peace and uneasiness I felt. Additionally, as I was processing the decision and praying about it, God helped me realize that He is the one that elevates people, not a prestigious school. So that, in addition to the lack of peace, I just had to turn it down. But i am sooo thankful I chose SMU! #PonyUp
BO: During your internship, you worked in an outpatient and partial-hospitalization setting with patients that required a higher level of mental health care, which I know must have been tough on your overall wellness. How did you set boundaries to ensure you were not taking on what your clients were going through?
FO: In my line of work, it’s so important to be able to set boundaries with work. Thankfully, I had some previous practice prior to this internship. My last year of Uni, I was working with at risk youth and that was where I had to learn to set boundaries. One of the things that helped me was talking to my supervisor and classmates about my experiences and getting tips from them. Another thing that helped a lot was just reaffirming myself that I am not my client and I am solely there to help them as best as I can, and it not my duty to fix the client. Prayer also helped a lot. Finally, I would always try to do something as soon as I got home just to take my mind off the day.
What Is The Weirdest Food Combo You Have Eaten? - When I was younger, I couldn’t eat rice and stew. I’ve come to realize that I have acid reflux & that was probably why. So I would sometimes eat rice & butter or rice & ewedu 😭🤢(Judge not, lest ye be judged)
BO: I read and love your feature in SCHICK magazine about self-care. When did you realize you needed to start prioritizing self-care?
FO: Honestly, it wasn’t till I got into my Master’s program that I realized I need to prioritize self-care. My professors spoke about it A LOT, but at first I just kind of blew it off. It wasn’t until I noticed I was getting sick at the end of almost every semester. I was working while I was in school and our semesters were 10 weeks long, instead of the regular 16weeks, AND I was taking 2 classes. So imagine working and taking 2 graduate level classes in 10 weeks. I’m sure my body was like “you need to chill out sis”. And I don’t get sick a lot so, when this kept happening, I realized that I had to do something different. I just started off slow by allowing myself sleep without setting an alarm and noticing what activities make me feel rested and refreshed afterwards.
BO: Talking about activities that make you feel refreshed. You were introduced to therapy sessions during your Masters program. What were your initial thoughts about therapy and how has it impacted your overall wellness?
FO: Prior to engaging in therapy in my Master’s program, I thought therapy was great. For others though, not for me. I hadn’t even considered the idea of going to therapy. But when I engaged in therapy the first semester of my program, I was like “this thing is actually important o.” My view on therapy totally changed. I also became aware of some unconscious biases I had towards therapy that I didn’t even know were there. Additionally, I realized that if this is something I want to do, I need to become aware and work on my own stuff too because nobody is perfect. Once, I finished with my school’s therapy sessions, I started seeing my own therapist a year later in 2018 and it has impacted my overall wellness so much. It is so amazing to have someone help you connect some puzzle pieces and help you become even more self- aware. Therapy has also helped to give me a safe place to not only acknowledge but heal through some trauma and brokenness (which in my opinion, we all need to do). I love my therapist and I low-key think I’m her favorite client 😁
BO: During one of our conversations, we spoke and laughed about our job hunting experiences knowing we have certain educational qualifications yet we experienced rejections bussttt! One thing that I could relate to was how you said the Holy Spirit spoke clearly to you about how you were taking on the identity of your season - which was unemployment. What did that look like to you?
FO: Girlllll. No one prepared me for how difficult the job market is. Long story short, after applying to over 50 jobs and being unemployed for almost 5 months, I finally got a job. When I got the offer letter, I had mixed emotions, so I went on a walk to clear my head and that was when the Holy Spirit said I was starting to take on the identity of my season. Without realizing, I guess I had gotten comfortable with being unemployed and was starting to see myself as “Funmto the unemployed person, friend, etc”. The job search was so challenging, and I guess perhaps I had just given up hope. I am also notorious of getting comfortable and wanting to chill in my comfort zone, so it became easier to just take on the identity of being unemployed (which had become familiar) rather than starting a job and going through whatever challenges that may bring. Anyway, I am grateful for that revelation, so now I am more aware and can catch myself when I begin to take on the (negative) identity of my season.