Our physical health is at a stage now where it is talked about openly and honestly enough that people feel comfortable getting help for the various physical health issues they may be experiencing, from having to make a doctor appointment to get advice on Pruritus Ani treatment cream, to going to the hospital for the pains caused by various infections. The stigma that surrounded a lot of physical health ailments so long ago has practically been eradicated over time. We now face a similar kind of stigma around mental health – but it is one that is far more severe than the one surrounding physical health ever was. In fact, it is stifling, suffocating.
Mental health is arguably both the most important aspect of health to strengthen, and the most difficult. Important, because mental health correlates a lot of what feels possible in general. When we are struggling mentally, our brains have a tendency to switch off, and physical activity, mental capacity, emotion response…all of it goes out the window and everything is left up to chance and chaos – a dangerous cocktail at the best of times. And more difficult because getting from A to B is not as black and white as it is for most cases of physical health. When we are physically unfit, we can work towards active solutions by exercising and eating healthier. Mental health is harder to correct, it feels darker and more closed in. Thankfully, there are two key ways to combat mental health struggles, and it is important to pay attention to them.
Understand mental health for what it is
First and foremost, understanding that a breach in your mental health is not a breach in sanity or strength, is crucial. No good has ever come of believing that mental health struggles are a result of poor character. The stigma surrounding mental health is, frankly, incredibly damaging. Treating mental health struggles like they are something that can be easily fixed with the switching on and off of a button is irresponsible, illogical, and disappointing (to say the least). If an athlete dislocates their knee, they are not told to just get back up and start running again. A mental strain is no different. Mental health issues are a disease, and should be treated as such – with care, with kindness, and with understanding.
Know the channels available to help – and where to find them
When mental health indicators like anxiety and depression kick in, it can be all-consuming. Over time, the strains become more and more profound to the point that it eventually becomes too much and the individual can lose sight of everything in their life – including the fact that there is nearly always at least one channel, or one person, that is willing to help them clear their way through the fog and back to clarity. As well as friends and family (the obvious channels) there are professional assistance programs and outlets such as support groups, emergency hotlines, hospitals, and psychiatrists. Reaching out is the first step, and the rest follows on from there. Perhaps not easily, and perhaps not without significant setbacks, but the rest will follow. Recognise that it is not a quick journey – like anything else, it will take time, and you will have to learn to be patient with yourself during that journey (and after you have reached the destination).