Mental Health Awareness
What is Mental Health? We all have mental health and it is just as important as physical health. Thinking that when someone mentions mental health, it refers to illness, is wrong and we need to break that stigma. We can have good mental health or poor mental health, according to life circumstances, stress, and what emotionally affects us. If you are in good mental health, you feel fulfilled, satisfied, that you are in control, confident, relaxed, and resilient. If you are in poor mental health, you may experience anxiety, depression, being trapped, or lacking strength for motivation, extreme sadness, and tiredness. The list can be long and fight against your own thoughts exhausting and endless.
Not always we will be able to detect we are in poor mental health status, actually most of the time; however, there are signs to keep in mind and be aware of, so you can seek help or help someone close to you:
- your sleeping and/or eating pattern has changed
- you have unstable mood swings
- you find yourself disconnected from everything you like and everyone close to you
- you feel down most of the time
- you have difficulty concentrating and completing tasks
The World Health Organization has released a black dog called depression video to explain visually what depression feels like.
Mental Health and Covid-19
Covid-19 is certainly impacting people's Mental Health, for various reasons, some of them because people chose to leave numbing what was on their minds and now find themselves at home, alone, to confront their fears and self enemies.
Just remember to be kind to you and the ones around you. We are all in this pandemic situation together, and there are a lot of things happening that are out of our control.
We all have different wars to battle, so be aware of any signs, and don't be afraid to share what you are going through - it's ok not to be ok.
My personal story
Mental Health is a dear cause to my heart because I've been through depression. Twice in my life actually, and none of them spotted by myself. I was lucky enough to have people around me paying real attention to all the signals and actively listening to what I was going through. In both times, I denied it completely that what I was feeling was depression and rather preferred to blame on fatigue and lack of sleep - both signs of poor mental health. The first depression was not as intense as the second one, where I found myself struggling for a couple of years without realising I was not far from burnout, until the end of 2018, where after accomplishing a career goal, I ended up in the hospital with an anaphylactic attack. I was tested for any allergies, but deep inside I knew that was all triggered by stress and it was time for me to wake-up. See, not everyone experiences the same things or have the same battles. I fortunately never had any suicidal thoughts and that was a wake-up call to the numbness I have been living for a few years. Unfortunately, not everyone has the strength to get back up on their feet, and to be honest, in my case, I was just lucky.
It still took me more than a year to emotionally recover from the shock, a job change to finally seek what deep inside has always been my dream and a lot of self-work. I started to meditate and do journalling using apps like Headspace and Youper (respectively), and both helped me to learn how to do these my own way and pace, which was great to switch off from the phone screen. When finally found myself having a proper routine (I used to work in hospitality, an industry that loves shift patterns), I created a sleeping routine too. The routine became so important in my life! I've also started to exercise, and as much as I like to say it's not my favourite thing in the world, it was actually crucial in this healing process.
When I started to talk openly about my depression I found more people than I expected going through the same, so do not feel you are alone or do not be afraid of sharing what you are going through as you may be helping another life. I feel now happily confident and taking care of myself became a priority in my life, which leads me to why I have not posted in a while. I recently had two big losses in my family, one after the other and I had to take my time to grieve. Being away from social media helped me to feel grounded and as much as I like to write here, I still need to listen first to what my mind and body need.
Be kind to one another, and yourself.