Welcome back! Last week, we talked about Schizophrenia. If you missed that blog and would like to catch up, click HERE.
This week, we ask the question: What Is Mental Health? We talk a lot about mental illness in our society, but what does it look like to be mentally well? This writer believes that being or feeling mentally well can look like different things, on different days, for different people.
Someone who lives with long term and disabling depression may feel “well” on days they can get out of bed and shower. To someone who doesn’t live with clinical depression, that may not seem “well” and, in fact, may seem very ill.
My dad used to tell people that I have a “one octave” personality. I don’t get too high, and I don’t go too low…I stay in a one octave range at all times. Some people have a two or even three octave range of emotions and still live their lives without unusual stress. Others, however, have a one, two, or three octave range of emotions, and life is much more challenging for them. We are all different, and come in every color of the rainbow. Isn’t that lovely?
For the purposes of this blog, we will define mentally well as a baseline from which to measure. “Normal” is not a word anyone should ever use when talking about mental health. We each have our own “normal” and even that will change from day to day. The only thing we all have in common is that we have a baseline from which to measure, and that baseline is our own, personal normal.
The question of mental wellness is this: is your mental health interfering with your ability to lead a happy, productive life? Do those close to you tell you that you are having problems coping? Do you get fired from jobs due to lack of anger management? Have you lost relationships because you were emotionally unavailable, too controlling, not responsible, or too “clingy”? If so, then does this mean you are mentally unwell? Let’s see what some of the warning signs may be for mental illness.
Mentalhealth.gov says this about warning signs:
“Experiencing one or more of the following feelings or behaviors can be an early warning sign of a problem:
- Eating or sleeping too much or too little
- Pulling away from people and usual activities
- Having low or no energy
- Feeling numb or like nothing matters
- Having unexplained aches and pains
- Feeling helpless or hopeless
- Smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual
- Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried, or scared
- Yelling or fighting with family and friends
- Experiencing severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
- Having persistent thoughts and memories you can’t get out of your head
- Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
- Thinking of harming yourself or others
- Inability to perform daily tasks like taking care of your kids or getting to work or school“
They go on to say that “Positive mental health allows people to:
- Realize their full potential
- Cope with the stresses of life
- Work productively
- Make meaningful contributions to their communities“
Mental wellness means being able to experience your life in a manner that is meaningful to you. If what you want in life (a job, a relationship, friends, and hobbies) is too difficult for you to not only achieve, but maintain, then you may want to consider checking in with your doctor to get an assessment. There are many forms of treatment available and not all of them are medications. We will go further into treatment modalities next week. Mind-Body-Spirit: It’s the Osteopathic Way.
Until then, be good to yourselves and each other.
Love wins. Regardless of where you are at in your journey of mental wellness, you are always of value. You are loved. You are needed. Never forget that. If you need a reminder as to what love looks like, then watch this video. Take a break from all the negativity that this world expresses...rest…walk away from that which hurts and take some time to remember what is meaningful… ENJOY…