As we close off May, we should all keep this valuable message and lesson in our hearts and minds. Simply because one designated month is over does not mean the battle and stigma against mental health are.
We all know someone
who knows someone… hell, that someone could be your or a family member, but mental illness runs deep in our societies veins. Yet, how do we help? CAN we even help? The answer is simple, yes you can. You keep loving, supporting even when times are tough.
For those who have lost loved ones to a Mental Illness and to this day think they could have done more, I assure you, I’m confident you did what you could, and our love is with you. To those battling mental illness everyday, wanting to call it quits, you are strong, brave and have a full, beautiful life to live.
Mental Illness Can Show Itself in Strange Forms
Most people wouldn’t recognize a sufferer (or in my opinion a warrior) even if they had done a triple-glance! Check-in on your loved ones, the funky ones, the stable ones, the ones you forgot about. As someone who suffers from my own mental illness I encourage all readers to really hone in on their family (blood or not) and make sure they know they are loved.. EVERYDAY. Mental Illness is scary, it feels lonely, and it can be isolating at times. Isolation due to submissiveness, isolation due to the feeling of not being understood. Isolation is common and shouldn’t be overlooked. If you or anyone knows a friend or family member riding the wave of a Mental Health issue, SUPPORT THEM. In all my limited years, I feel I could have been saved my pain, my suffering, and my crazy back story, if only I had a little more support and a lot less judgement.
“Tough Love is a Great Approach”
I have heard this plenty of times in the last couple years, if your child, your friend, your partner is suffering, PLEASE DO NOT SUBJECT THEM TO; “Suck it up”, “Don’t be such a baby”, “just smile, it helps!” We’ve heard them all before and if it truly was that simple my friends, we wouldn’t need to have a month trying to break stigma and make the world aware of just how serious, how scary, and how damaging it is not only to the mind, but body. Here is my proof pudding on physical (vague) symptoms when in relation to Mental Health:
- Feeling sad or down
- Confused thinking or reduced ability to concentrate
- Excessive fears or worries, or extreme feelings of guilt
- Extreme mood changes of highs and lows
- Withdrawal from friends and activities
- Significant tiredness, low energy or problems sleeping
- Detachment from reality (delusions), paranoia or hallucinations
- Inability to cope with daily problems or stress
- Trouble understanding and relating to situations and to people
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Major changes in eating habits
- Sex drive changes
- Excessive anger, hostility or violence
- Suicidal thinking
So if you catch yourself wondering if anyone you know is suffering, don’t be afraid to ask and prepare for an open and calm discussion.
Happy May, enjoy the day, but keep in mind we all have different paths in life so be kind to one another and show love and support.