MAY / MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH
May is mental health awareness month and I’d like to take this opportunity to write a word or two about mental health and the importance of it. Mental health is just as important as physical health. When we break a bone, we go to the doctor and ask for help, right? We don’t hesitate and make ourselves walk around with a broken leg; we can assume that would be quite painful, wouldn’t it? No matter the fact that mental pain cannot be seen like a broken bone can, after some time it becomes noticeable that something is going on with the person. We start having difficulties doing what we usually like to do; showing up, talking to people, going to work, studying etc. Non of us gets to choose what life puts us through, sometimes we’re just thrown into unpredictable and unexpected life situations that we haven’t been prepared for and have not experienced before. Those situations are extremely complex and hard to deal with, especially in the beginning. Being a beginner is hard with pretty much everything in life. Hardships, difficulties, loss, struggles; they can affect a person’s mental health and cause the development of different mental illnesses which can seriously damage the quality of one’s life. Mental illnesses like depression and anxiety affect all areas of life. The over-all health, relationships, work / school efficiency. Even daily tasks that are usually simple, such as brushing your teeth or making your bed, can seem impossible to do. It’s extremely serious and important to talk about.
I’d like to encourage each and every one of you to express whatever is in your heart and mind. I’d like to encourage each and every one of you to talk about your problems, feelings, thoughts, experiences. I, personally, would gladly hear your story, whoever you are reading this. Whatever you’re dealing with, it’s worth sharing, it’s important and valid.
It’s understand it’s hard to talk about these topics considering the fact that some of us come from families who have never talked about mental health and don’t understand the concept of mental illnesses. However, in order to create a healthier and safer society, in this day and age, we all have internet and so many sources of education, we have the ability to be less judgemental, so the least we can do is read about the basics of mental health issues and how we can provide support for ourselves and our loved ones who are struggling.
And last but not least;
if you’re someone who’s struggling with mental health issues, this is for you.
Let me tell you that there’s nothing to be ashamed of. There is nothing wrong with you. You’re absolutely not defined by your mental illness, whether you have a diagnosis or not. Your brain works in a specific way but it’s not damaged, broken, ruined. You’re still capable of whatever you want to do, but at your own pace. Please remember that it’s not a bad thing if you take your time. Don’t hesitate to ask for help, especially professional help if you’re financially able to afford it. You’re still gonna achieve all your dreams, no matter how far away it might seem when you’re in the middle of a chaos. It might take a little longer but you will. People do love you, they really do. You’re not a burden, people really do care about you. What you’re going through can happen to everyone, no matter the social status, age, ethnicity, weight, or any other factor. The people around you, some of them will educate themselves on these topics and they will be a support system for you, which is extremely important. On the other hand, some might not do that unfortunately, and conversations with them will often be very unpleasant. Don’t take other people’s ignorance very personally, I promise it’s not about you. There are many ignorant people in the world, but also many, many wonderful, caring and non-judgemental ones who are rooting for you, even the ones who don’t even know you personally. Things do get better, so much better. You survive the mess once, and by that you develop mental and emotional skills and tools needed to survive another mess. You will become really good at managing chaoses. At some point, it will no longer dictate your life; it will just be your ‘little’ companion. Coming from me, someone who’s been besties with anxiety since I was 16, I can assure you that no matter the hardships, your life can still be extremely beautiful. And it will be.
ps: I first started writing and expressing myself through letters when I was 16. It helped me a lot, especially because I was very young and I couldn’t afford professional help at the time. I highly encourage you to find something that you enjoy doing that also helps you express your emotions and soothe the pain. It’s also a very beautiful feeling to read back your stories and appreciate how far you’ve come despite everything you’ve gone through.