Mental health in every human life is as important as our physical health. I was in denial of this and had no idea there’s anything as mental health. Until I have seen a person on the street displaying some incoherent habits, I never thought we have mental disorder that does not portray like that.
According to WHO, mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.
Ankara Palazzo Pant: Olivercouture
Sometimes, I wonder why a lady cannot stay in a job for a long time nor a relationship, why she black out so often or even forget too many beautiful moments of her life. Then I realized we have disorders like PTSD, Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Autism, Substance Abuse, Anxiety Disorder, Eating Disorder, Schizophrenia among others.
While just exhibiting symptoms cannot be said to be the reason for saying one has a mental health disorder. Until a proper heath diagnosis has been carried out, it is impossible to be sure. Imagine missing your period and throwing up, only to take a pregnancy test and finding out you have toilet disease and malaria. Hence, the importance of taking a proper test before confirming your mental health status.
My Mental Health Story
Some years back, I was shattered. I was in a relationship and then in the twinkle of a night, it was gone like a ring of smoke. At first, my initial reaction was crazy because I laughed and cried at the same time. Then I started going down memory lane and wondering where everything went wrong. And then I started blanking out. Many times in a day, I would switch from the real me to someone I don’t even know.
Some days, after a beautiful moment or day, rather than relish over it, I would break down and start crying. I would fear that’s how life always starts before it gets worse. I started working on a project and I dropped it almost immediately. Everything that seems to excite me no longer do. I was loosing interest in so many activities and I see everyone as evil who will hurt me if I let anyone in. Hence, I shut everyone out completely, I became a recluse.
Many times, I tried searching for happiness in different ways but it always come back to be a dead end. It started opening a dark past of my life I had shut away.
And I started putting the two stories together. Someone once told me that when we don’t confront our past, it somehow find a way to come back to hurt us, especially a suppressed past. I decided it was time to put all these together and prepare myself to be better.
I wish I had spoken to a health professional or psychologist then and gotten a better help because it took me months to finally get better. The truth is in the last few months, I have blanked out too often and went down that road but since I became more mentally aware, I have started to do better.
What You Need to Know About Your Mental Health
1. It Could Be Genetic or Environment
According to Don Mordecia, national leader for mental health and wellness at Kaiser Permanente: What we can definitely see is that there is a genetic predisposition. Genetics can increase your risk, but it is not a guarantee.
However, environment most times lead to mental health conditions. This ranges from stress to poor nutrition to substance abuse, death, divorce, neglect and family life.
Hence, a genetic predisposition and environmental factors could increase the chances to mental health symptoms.
A lot of people grow up in a toxic environment, I did too and this contributed so much to how I perceived life. It affected me but I never knew how much impact it was until I was faced with a terrible event that brought back my suppressed past.
2. Speak to A Mental Health Professional
Just as we have medical doctors for various physical health illnesses, we have counselors, therapist, psychiatrist and psychologist dedicated to ensuring our mental health well being.
It is important to find one and speak to them. I volunteer for a non-governmental organization called Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative who is dedicated to ensuring we eradicate the stigma associated with mental health and also educate people on it.
We have a good number of in-house counselors that you can talk to and get help as well as psychologist – both paid and free. These amazing humans are always there to help us get better and unburden our pain.
3. Speak Out
You are never alone. For every mental disorders, chances are that there’s another person who is suffering same. I subscribed to a newsletter, The Mighty, and it has helped me understand there’s even a community of people who go through different forms of mental disorders.
Share what you are going through with someone, and try to get help. I know this can be hard considering the fact that most people would confront you with the, ‘Others have it worse so suck it up’ line. But it is important to have a friend whom you can trust to help you walk through this journey. And someone you can always pour your heart out to and would listen without being judgmental.
4. There’d Be Good and Bad Days
A lot of times, there’d be black and terrible days. Some people tend to self harm or become suicidal during these days. If you happen to be a friend to someone with mental health disorders, help them through these stages. Talk to them and be there for them so they do not feel alone.
There’d be days where they are the happiest in the room and at the top of their moments. Make sure you are with them too, sometimes, such days do not last the whole day.
I’ve had days where you’d wonder if I won a lottery and when I get back home, I’d cry all night long without having a reason for crying. A lot of times, I resort to writing.
5. Find a Therapeutic Activity
Before I started blogging, I had several journals I write in. Whenever I feel low, I’d share the pieces of my heart with a ink on a book. A lot of people who get to read this pieces always exclaim but only a few knew I was talking about myself.
Recently, I stumbled on one of these books and I was laughing through each lines. This is one of the reasons I started blogging, to find an outlet to let go of these feelings and to connect with like minds. If you follow me on Instagram, you’d find some of these writings on my page.
6. Take A Test
If you are unsure about yourself but you think you exhibit any symptoms of mental health disorders, please click here to take a test. If it’s a serious condition, try to speak to a psychologist or therapist. Please note that the result is not a confirmed result until you speak to a professional psychologist or therapist.
Mental Health Matters
We need to be an advocate of mental health and continue to speak about it. Let’s ensure we educate everyone around us on its importance and how to be more emphatic towards suicidal friends.
My blogger and mental health enthusiast friends decided to use today being the World Mental Health Day to share our story. You can read their mental health story on YhitsChioma and Isiomanonye’s blog.
Help us connect with more people by sharing this post and pinning this image on Pinterest.
Do you have a mental health story? Leave it behind in the comment section and let’s have a conversation.
Photo credit: Sam The Creative
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