Written by: Frank Stankowicz
Edited by: Claire Lang
My name is Frank Stankowicz, RN, aka StankNasty. I am a registered nurse and a professional hip-hop recording artist and performer. Since I was 10 years old, I’ve been diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. For as long as I can remember, hip-hop music has been part of my life. I’ve always been drawn to it and how therapeutic it is for me.
Hip-hop music was there for me during fun times, stressful times, and all the time. It positively impacts my life because of the lessons I’ve learned through hearing artists’ stories. Hip-hop music constantly reminds me that the world is much bigger than myself. It shows us that everyone’s story is different and that each human experience is unique. Through rap, I’ve learn how different each individual is and that being different is okay. It’s also taught me a lot about humility.
Creating my own music helps me connect with people and communicate messages only possible through hip-hop. As an artist, I continue to develop and perfect my craft. Dedicating energy to my music has taught me self-discipline, adaptability, and the ability to organize my thoughts and feelings.
From Rapper to RN
Similarly, I became an RN to connect with people from all walks of life and help others live healthier lives. As RNs we’re constantly trying to improve, and the same goes for writing, recording, and performing rap songs. I’ve grown and shaped myself into the individual I am through rapping and nursing. Both professions allow me to influence and change people’s lives for the better.
Mental Health and Self-Care
Due to my mental illnesses, there are extra stresses that I cope with on a daily basis. When asked how I find balance, I tell people it starts with knowing yourself and committing to self-care. When we don’t have our ducks in a row with health and well-being, it’s difficult to perform to our best ability. As someone who spent years in therapy, practicing cognitive behavioral therapy/self-talk, and taking medicine, knowledge of self and self-care is now second nature to me. If we don’t take time for ourselves, it’s difficult to feel mentally sharp, physically healthy, or emotionally stable.
When self-care isn’t of great importance, other aspects of our lives feel as though they’re crumbling. Hence why time management is key. I implement self-care in my daily routine to ensure I give back to myself each day. Self-care ranges from eating a healthy diet, exercise, adequate sleep, regular hygiene practices, minimizing or abstaining from drugs and/or alcohol, using healthy coping skills/outlets to deal with stress, taking prescribed meds, etc. My daily routine allows me to function at my highest level for patients and immerse myself creatively as a music artist.
The biggest misconception of self-care is that it’s selfish and self-centered. Some people may feel guilty taking time for themselves, as opposed to dedicating that time to others. However, this is a misperception and misinterpretation of what self-care really is. Self-care allows you to ground yourself so you don’t “pour from an empty glass” or “run on fumes”. Carving out time to routinely engage in self-care practices allows me to reflect and learn about myself physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Finding a balance is not always easy, but it is absolutely possible. It comes down to self-discipline and making a choice of what you want long-term versus what you want short-long. There is so much out of our control, but the paths we take are largely influenced by our decisions. Rapping and nursing empowers me and allows me to help others find empowerment within themselves.