Happy Mental Health Awareness Month
With regards to May having been Mental Health Awareness Month, it was only fitting to write about the topic that society has attached a certain stigma to. God forbid, we should never talk about having anxiety. We should suffer in silent frustration whilst our OCD spirals out of control. We have been made to feel like we cannot ask for help whilst our depression refuses to let us climb out of bed. The list goes on.
We do not talk about things we should be talking about
Many us have been indoctrinated into thinking we cannot be open about our mental health the way we do about our physical health. It is uncomfortable. It is taboo. Do not discuss it at the dinner table unless you want an awkward shift in the atmosphere. Do not normalise it. Keep it quiet. We are made to feel like we cannot openly speak about the condition of our mind. This is the case for so many people whose mental health is suffering, it is unreal. Due to having had this attitude towards the topic for so many years, to not be able to adopt the subject of mental health into a conversation has unfortunately become a normality.
However, one of the wonderful things about time is that it brings change. Things never stay the same and the universe and all it possesses, is constantly evolving. New mind-sets battle the old and outdated opinions are replaced with refreshed sentiments. The number of individuals being open about their mental health is increasing day by day.
If you have been brought up in an environment that welcomes mental health issues with open arms and does not dismiss them, you are so blessed. If you have been brought up in an environment that shuts down mental health issues with excuses indirectly blaming the individual for feeling some typa way, I hope you are fighting to turn that around. We cannot help the way we feel. Chemical imbalances exist. Sometimes our brains are just picked for them to exist in. This is completely okay. We need to climb on the roofs of the highest buildings and yell about how okay it is.
You are not weak
It takes a lot of courage to live with mental health issues. You are not weak because you rely on medication to help you through the day. You are not any less of a man or woman because you see a therapist weekly. You are waking up each morning and fighting to make sure your day flows with ease.You are being consistent in making sure that you are prepared to combat life. This takes so much strength and energy and you should be beyond proud of yourself for continuing to invest in yourself in this manner.
If nobody is around to tell you…
1. Bite the bullet and visit your doctor. If you can, take a friend/family member who knows of how you are feeling.
2. Listen to positive music and speeches when it feels like the silence is too loud for your ears.
3. For your own sake, please make sure you surround yourself with individuals who love you unconditionally.
4. Invest your time in people who possess pure patience, loyalty and honesty.
5. Always carry a bottle of water and a packet of tissues with you.
6. Visit places that make you feel calm or excited, whether alone or with somebody you trust and feel comfortable with.
7. Take your medication.
8. Do not hold back from your therapist. Trust them.
9. Run your hands under cold water when you feel panicked and slowly pat them over the nape of your neck and on your cheeks.
10. Furthermore, remember to focus on breathing through your nose and out through your mouth whilst staring at a steady moving object.
11. Write down how you feel.
12. Try and fit in some form of meditation and/or exercise into your day, preferably in the mornings.
Here is some short guided meditation which I use as soon as I wake up.
Some happy music (I put together a playlist).
A colourful visualisation for the mornings which you can watch whilst having breakfast or on your commute.
Finally, a tumblr dedicated to mental health awareness with useful content.
These are some of the things I can think of from the top of my head which have helped me a lot over the past few months. Feel free to add your own to the list as you discover them.
This is for you
Mental Health Awareness Month is for those who shower after days of staying in bed with the curtains drawn. It is for those who walk to therapy by themselves and are not given a hug goodbye before they go in. It is for those who leave their homes and go back several times to check they have locked the doors. It is for those who visit their doctor alone because their family and friends do not understand enough to come with. It is for those who have panic/anxiety attacks and rush to the nearest lavatories to calm themselves down. Mental Health Awareness Month is for letting the world know that you are significant. That you are a warrior.
Look after yourself
Love yourself and feed yourself food which will nourish your body. Remember your coping techniques. Remember to take your medication. Remember to live.
Happy Mental Health Awareness Month.
Keep on swimming. The soft shore is waiting to welcome your tired feet.