Discussing mental health seems to make people uncomfortable. Albeit, we’ve come a very long way since the start of the century where people were made to feel morally corrupt or impaired for having mental health issues.
There is still plenty of stigma around mental illnesses; ranging from addiction, anxiety, OCD, eating disorders, schizophrenia, personality disorders, –just to name a few. Not to mention the many sub-types of the various psychological disorders found in the DSM-IV.
Aside for explicit diagnosed mental health issues there is always the major factor of excessive STRESS that can wreak absolute havoc in the otherwise mentally healthy person’s life.
Continuing to discuss stress and how it exacerbates mental illness is a top agenda for the world’s leading health professionals.
Making sure this topic garners the attention it deserves is one of my main goals for dearfitkris.
It’s estimated that more than 1 in 5 women have experienced some lapse of mental well-being within the past year.
That’s a ton of women.
My mind immediately goes to myself, my two sisters, my mother, and my grandmothers.
That’s over five women just right there.
An article in Psychology Today states that women are 40% more likely to develop depression than men and 2x as likely to develop PTSD.
Luckily, there are so many precious and valuable resources available to people who are struggling.
There are also many efforts within online forums and communities to END THE STIGMA ON MENTAL ILLNESS which is so incredible.
I believe one of the most beneficial actions we can take to end the stigma for those who suffer from psychological disorders is to simply talk about them.
Just as a person with diabetes might divulge information and facts about their condition, how they treat it, as to normalize the checking of blood glucose level and administering of insulin, someone with a psychological illness might wish to do the same. And if they do, they should feel comfortable and safe in disclosing their personal health information.
Tips for self-care, mindfulness, and effective practice of meditation should be traded enthusiastically and regularly.
People with mental health disorders shouldn’t be made to feel like they did this to themselves or that they have failed in someway.
For instance, an individual who has depression should feel comfortable discussing how–just as a person with diabetes, they don’t choose to have this condition, how they treat it, and their triumph in managing their symptoms.
They should revel in the fact that they have been brave enough to see a medical professional, and had their condition diagnosed.
Seeking medical help is the most important part of recognizing when something isn’t right.
Leaning on friends and family for emotional support is helpful, but it can only get you so far.
Mental health is not something that should be brushed aside because people think it’s incidental, or worse, because people are ashamed.
No one should be made to feel like a bad person for their mental health condition.
We cannot choose what happens chemically in our brains, but we can choose how we decide to deal with a perceived malfunction going forward.
It’s important to make the choice to talk to a trained medical professional when you notice things are off or when your stress load is getting to be too much and you’re having trouble winding down.
Think about your deteriorating mental health like any other physical illness. You cut your finger. You notice the cut on your finger hasn’t gone away, you assure yourself it’s nothing and it will subside on it’s own (think of the cut as the panic you feel daily when driving and your finger as your mental health). You let weeks go by and now your finger looks worse– like it might be infected (your panicked thoughts seeped into other areas of your life now and are affecting just more than your driving) before you know it you can lift your finger (you don’t want to leave the house).
But how could this be, it was just a little cut?
How could this be, it was just a little anxiety?
Don’t set yourself up for bewilderment that your symptoms have completely taken over your life. Take these signs of imbalance seriously.
I implore anybody who has recognized symptoms of waning mental wellness seek the help of a licensed psychiatrist, psychologist, or social worker.
Ask your primary care physician for recommendations for mental health professionals and explore the wealth of resources online that are available to you.
If you are in college, your school should have a wellness center with trained psychologists to assist you in times of need. These services are usually of no cost to you.
See if a trusted friend or family member would be willing to accompany you to your appointments and do something fun with you afterwards.
Now with the Spring semester beginning, it’s important to recognize when we feel overwhelmed, then take time for ourselves, and get the support that we both need and deserve!
Let this post serve as a reminder that YOU ARE NOT ALONE in your struggles.
You are vibrant, resilient, and there are people out there who want to help you manage your stress.
If you or someone you know is struggling check out the resources available at the National Institute of Mental Health.
Be well xx.