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Mental Health. It’s often a topic that most of us ignore and instead many of us who suffer from a mental illness, suffer in silence. Looking after your own mental health is just as important as recognising that someone you know is in need of help. I’m not sure I like the term mental illness because it has this negative stigma attached to it and I think that in turn makes talking about it, even harder.
Mental health problems can come in all forms of ‘illnesses’, from anxiety to eating disorders, depression to seasonal affective disorder – the list is endless. As human beings, we’ve become conditioned to believe that having a mental health problem is a sign of weakness and that instead of actually talking about it, we just bury our heads in the sand.
Now I’m definitely not going to give any professional advice on how to combat these issues because I’m not qualified and I’d feel uncomfortable talking about issues that I’ve not been through myself. However, I can speak from personal experience that looking after your mental health is important and that simple things such as talking to someone or giving yourself some self-care can help towards keeping your mental health in check.
Talk To Someone
It’s one of the most obvious things but talking does help, especially as many of us just bottle up what we feel, which can make things worse. Just venting or talking through your thoughts to a friend, family member or a therapist can be the first step in helping combat the situation.
And I’m not naive to think that’s the solution to every mental health issue but I think being able to talk to someone about how and what you’re feeling can really make a difference in educating others about mental health and that it’s something that requires more discussion.
Write It Down
Like many others, I suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder) which is where those who don’t normally encounter mental health problems, find that they experience depressive symptoms at the same time each year, most commonly during the winter.
For me, I’ve found that blog writing has massively helped my state of mind during the colder, darker months because it’s my preferred way of getting out my feelings. I tend to sometimes stumble over what I want to say when I talk but with writing, I have that opportunity to sit, think and edit what I want to put across.
Look After Your Body
I hadn’t really paid attention to this previously but what we put in our bodies actually affects our mental health too. For example, if I eat junk food, I’ll feel myself getting more sluggish and my mood will be much lower. If I don’t exercise, this can not only have a physical effect on my body but also a mental one too.
Eating fruit, getting enough sleep and pampering yourself all contribute towards a better state of mind so find those elements that make you feel like ‘you’.
Never Give Up
Mental illnesses are cruel because it’s all within the mind and trying to make sense of it to other people is difficult when the only person experiencing what you’re feeling is yourself. It probably makes that person feel alone but it’s important to never give up.
And that’s easy enough to say but you deserve to have a long and happy life, everyone is entitled to that.
Removing The Stigma
And I feel like this is something we can all work towards and that’s removing this negative stigma towards mental health. By actually talking and educating each other on the vast scope of mental illnesses, we can hopefully find a way of combating each and every one of them so we no longer have to suffer.
There are so many services that help those in need so if you suffer or know of anyone who does and don’t know how to handle it, start with these services that the NHS recommend.
Do you look after your mental health? Let me know in the comments below.
*Disclaimer – This is a collaborative post. All words are my own.