Last week we ‘celebrated’ World Mental Health day. How many of you did know World Mental Health day falls on the tenth of October? No worries if you didn’t.
I have to say I wouldn’t know either if I didn’t stumble upon it on my friend’s Instagram stories. If it wouldn’t be for the Instagram stories, then definitely for a sudden surge in articles related to mental health ever-increasing problems across other media channels.
Yes, ‘celebrating’ the importance of mental health is genuinely excellent. The only thing I find sad is this. As soon as the day is over, we go back to our regular lives. Wast majority of us will store the mental health into a file and rediscover it again the year after.
Despite the ever-increasing people suffering from mental health issues, we don’t realize the following: Our mental health deserves attention 365 days a year. One would think that in such an ‘advanced society’ [sarcasm], it would be the opposite trend.
The thing is your mind, emotions and feelings are with you and shape you 24/7.
So, my question is:
How often do you check in with yourself?
How often do you check in with your family, friends, colleague by asking a simple question as to how are you doing?
Every single day of our lives, we experience events that trigger an endless amount of emotions on an ongoing basis. Often, we go through months of an emotional roller-coaster without giving it much of an attention. We keep going despite the state of our mind. Why?
Well, because we have work to do, family to take care of, targets to meet, promises to fulfill. Sometimes it looks like we often feel accomplished only because numbers or social conventions tell us so. Yeah, we do not feel great all the time, but looking at the next person, who does? And no matter how we feel at the back of our mind, we keep going.
When it becomes too much, some of us like to escape for short holidays. Few people will try to resolve their mental health issues using mobile apps. Some and probably more of us want to pretend these things don’t affect us. They don’t exist in our world. They can’t. We are not weak. Feeling down a few days, a few months in a row doesn’t mean something is going on. Maybe we are just tired from work. The thing we really need is not a therapy, it’s holidays.
Unfortunately, the more you try to hide or push your problems to the back of your mind, the stronger they will backfire.
And they will backfire hard.
My friend thought holidays will solve her problems
One of my really good friends wasn’t feeling herself for the past two, maybe three years. She went through rough times in her personal as well as professional life.
Despite being encouraged by her friends to seek out help, to talk about what is troubling her, she thought taking holidays would sort this out. She took plenty. However, holidays are just a short term patch for a long-lasting problem. And so it happened, she hit the rock-hard bottom. It took her about two-three years to admit, whatever she was going through was not going to be healed during one short holiday.
One day, I just found a short message about her going back home, taking a few weeks off.
Sometimes, we are going through hard times, but we don’t want to accept it’s happening to us. Other times, we won’t admit it because we don’t want to look weak. It’s a harsh world out there. And more often than you’d think, this is a cultural thing. Talking about mental health is still a big taboo in many countries. Therefore, many suffer in silence. Even my mom, who just needed to talk to someone else than my dad and me, was too ashamed to go to a therapist. What if someone from her work would see her there?
So what is the lesson from my friend’s story?
A mind has an immense power over our physical body.
It can make us feel like we can do anything in the world. It can make us walk on a very thin line between life and death.
- Do not wait until the very last moment.
2. If you start recognizing you don’t feel well (no matter what you do), do not suppress it.
3. Do not be ashamed to admit (especially to yourself) you are struggling. In no way it is a sign of weakness.
4. You are not alone. There are other people out there going through a similar phase, unfortunately.
5. Remember that all your emotions and feelings are valid. Even a small, bugging feeling can evolve into a monster. If you let it happen, act sooner than later.
6. Take care of yourself every day, not only on the tenth of October.
7. From time to time, reach out to your family, friends or close colleagues. Not only on the tenth of October. It costs nothing to ask: “How’s your day going on?” Let me know if you need to talk. I’m here if you need someone to listen.
8. Remember that your mind and its health matters more than money, more than your company’s targets, the number of followers on social media accounts. You know what I mean.
Sometimes, dealing with our problems, I snot a glittering journey. As long as we start doing something about it, our lives and lives of people we care for will get better.