Own your mental health
Those people you've heard of. The ones that make you uncomfortable, make you watch what you say, make you a little unsure and distrustful. You know, those with MENTAL HEALTH. They are quite intimidating aren't they. There is stuff going on inside that we just can't see. They need medicine to help with this stuff, and counselling and perhaps even reasonable adjustments in their workplace. Luckily, that is just something that happens to other people. Right?
Ah, perhaps it's not that simple.
Right now it's the beginning of February and I am acutely aware that my New Year health kick is a month late. I am at the tail end of yet another cold, am carrying quite a bit of extra Christmas (cough OK not just Christmas cough) weight and I am definitely not eating as healthily as I should be. To most of us, our physical health is always on our mind; a large part of how we live our day to day life. Do we go to work or stay in bed when we are feeling under the weather? Do we take extra care of ourselves and cancel plans with friends when we have a headache that we just can't shift? Do we rush to the doctors the moment we suddenly discover a suspicious mole or lump?
You accept that you have physical health and that sometimes it is good and sometimes it is bad. You try your best to keep it more on the good side but we know that sometimes it's impossible and you just have to take the rough with the smooth.
So, can you accept that you also have mental health that acts in exactly the same way?
The fact of the matter is that we ALL have mental health.
It is not something that only belongs to others, that is to be whispered about and frowned upon. Mental health isn't some weird, shameful secret. It is just YOU. It's a massive part of who you are and your mind needs care and attention in exactly the same way as your body does when it is suffering.
It's time to own your mental health. In the same way that a physical infection will progress and worsen when untreated, so will any feelings and emotions that are causing you pain. It doesn't need a label. Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder...perhaps this is a diagnosis you may have one day, in exactly the same way as you may be diagnosed with Asthma, High Blood Pressure, Cancer. Or, you may wake up feeling completely rubbish one day and find it carries on for longer than it has before. You may struggle to socialise when normally you are the life and soul of the party, or find yourself feeling tight chested and nervous because of all the change going on in your life. Whether it be a long term, life altering mental health problem or a few days of wanting to hide under the covers and turn off your phone, your mental health is just as vital to look after as your physical health is. Don't be afraid of it, don't try and fight it. Own it.
Don't be afraid of the term mental health. You are not mental. You are amazing. You may just need a little time out to get back to your peak. In the same way I need to get back to exercising and eating more fruit, maybe it's time to have a look at what you need to make yourself feel happier this year. It will be worth it.