Today is World Mental Health Day. This is something that is always close to my heart.
There often is a taboo about mental health that makes people not want to speak out about it. So they hold it in. It doesn’t need to be made known to everyone in your life, but you need to be able to accept it for yourself. Some fear they will be viewed differently. Be considered weak. That people will think they are crazy. They won’t understand. These labels they have in their head make them label themselves.
First, we are all a little crazy in our own respects! And no, not everyone will understand. That’s okay. You cannot let other people’s views on mental health prevent you from acknowledging it for yourself. I’ve learned people have a difficult time understanding it if they cannot relate to it. It goes both ways, and that is 100% respectable.
People that love you for who you are will continue to love you. I deal with anxiety. It is not always present, but it can overtake my life at times if I give in to it. Years ago I was hesitant to even admit it to myself, thinking it was ‘something I’ve made up in my head’. Ignore it, it will go away.
A big factor that played into this was what I thought Chris would think of me. I love him to pieces, but I can recall many times in the past him making a comment about mental illness that affected me. Whether it was something on TV, etc. But I learned to not let that influence me. Simply, he didn’t understand it’s not something people can ‘snap out of’ or really even have control of.
Over the years I’ve learned that Chris’ remarks were because he cannot relate with anxiety, depression, etc. It is hard to grasp if you’ve never experienced. And I’ve learned that just because they cannot put themselves into your shoes, does not mean they think any less of you, think you are weak, or love you any differently. But in the communication you have to understand that you are wired differently. It is okay to lean on your family, friends, and loved ones. Even if they don’t relate. They’ll love you anyway.
No man is an island. Sometimes you need to release the power it has over you and speak about it.
This topic is close to my heart because I have had a family member succumb to mental illness. And you cannot help but ask “what if”. Could something have gone differently? That is also why I am a believer in mental health awareness. I believe if it were not as taboo people may be more inclined to seek help if needed.
This year I recognized the anxiety I was dealing with simply was interfering with my everyday life too much. I’d exhausted avenues to try to deal with it, manage it. So I finally gave in to some of my own fears and saw my doctor about medication. I told her it was a last resort, and I didn’t want to feel like I was dependent or that it was a crutch.
Her explanation was perfect. If someone is on blood pressure medication, they need it. It levels out their body, to keep everything functioning as it should. The same goes for our brain chemistry. Everyone’s brain hormones and chemicals are different. Sometimes they get out of whack. It is not our fault, and it’s okay.
I am not ashamed to say I deal with anxiety, and am on anxiety medication. I can attest to the difference it has made for me. Since going on the medication about three months ago, I’ve had zero anxiety attacks and a much better outlook. Could part of it be in my head, like a placebo effect? I’ve often wondered this myself. But about a week ago my first prescription expired, and I was off it for five days. It took a couple days, but by day four I was on high alert. Anxiety attacks were right around the corner if I were to let myself succumb to it. Those days were hard, but I admitted to myself I needed to continue to medication.
And I’m okay with that! Because I feel like a better person. I am able to live my life without anxiety interfering and continue doing the things I love. I also know that makes the people around me happier as well. My long drawn out point is this – It is okay to ask for help. Don’t expect yourself to be perfect, and don’t think your superman or superwoman. If you know you don’t feel like yourself, respect yourself enough to be the best version of yourself!
Be kind, for everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about.