Mental health ‘issues’ are still, sadly, an issue. You hear now and then about a campaign that focuses on depression, or you see on social media some big celebrity admitting to struggles, but let’s be honest, this is not an open topic discussed over dinner with your family. People don’t tend to talk about it and for me, this is a real problem.
When I went through depression a few years ago, nobody knew about it until I was forced to ask my managers for an hour off every Tuesday to attend appointments with a therapist. I wasn’t ashamed of it, but I wasn’t talking about it either, because physically nobody was talking about mental health. It was only when news spread out around the office that I suffer from depression, that my co-workers would whisper to me words of encouragement, admitting: I know what you are going through, I have been there too. They would speak to me privately one-to-one, not to make me more comfortable, but for others not know about their problems. God forbids us to start a subject in a group! It was like they were ashamed of what happened to them and they were worried they will be judged for it. There was a general feeling that people who never experienced depression or anxiety won’t understand this and instead of giving compassion they will laugh and judge. And trust me, out of around sixty plus employees, more than a third went through depression or other mental health matters. It was shocking. I am not someone who speaks about private life a lot, quite frankly it’s the opposite, but when it comes to feelings, I am a very emotional and open person. I literally say what I think or how I feel without any hesitation, so for me talking about my therapy was never an issue. It was extremely sad and heartbreaking to see my friends & co-workers feeling they cannot openly talk about it.
This has got me thinking why do we allow this to be an issue. When you have a pain in your chest, or a headache, toothache or any other problem in your body, you know what to do. You go to the doctor, or you rely on home remedies, and after a few days, you do feel much better. With mental problems though, you cannot call your workplace and say: Hey, I feel anxious/stressed/overwhelmed today, I need to take a couple of days off. You can’t because being mentally unwell isn’t classified as being sick. People don’t talk about it. At least not often enough or until it’s too late.
Everyone is going through tough times. There is not a single person in this world who doesn’t have a stressful day. It happens to all of us, and in my opinion, it isn’t enough just to say: Hey, chin up, you will be fine. Everyone has a different problem. For some, it can be a relationship break up that is hard to deal with, for others, it can be a financial matter, and others will, unfortunately, experience the worst of all – health problems. We need to talk about how to stay strong and positive during those moments. We need to support one another by giving words of encouragement and showing each other there is a light at the end of the tunnel. There always was and there always will be. You just have to open your eyes and believe it. Don’t be afraid to do so, because it is OK not to be OK. You don’t have to be ashamed.
I have said it before and I will continue to say it, your mind is the most powerful tool in your body. Your brain controls everything, from your thoughts and memory, through speech and breathing, to nervous system and limb movement. It’s the most important organ in the human body, it coordinates action and reactions, allows us to think and feel and receives signals from body sensory organs, whilst output information to the muscles. It’s vital we take care of it. By talking openly about how we feel, we allow ourselves to clear overloading of emotions. If we start talking to others, we will save lives. We don’t have to create counseling sessions with our friends, family or co-workers, but if we can be brave enough just to say out loud: Hey, I do have a problem with this or that, and I really don’t know how to deal with it, we can all help each other to try and solve that issue out, so that person is not left alone with his/her own thoughts. Our society and workplaces have to be more open-minded, we have to start talking about it and we have to make the change.
Unfortunately, and I am speaking from experience here, one bad thought can lead to millions of bad ones. Those thoughts are then a driving force for bad decisions. It takes a matter of minutes of negative thinking for this to be planted in your head for good. From that moment you are a prisoner of your own mind. You cannot be alone with this. You need to speak loudly so you can get help.
We are not alone on this planet, so why do we think we can do everyone on our own? We can’t. Let’s be kind to one another. Let’s be honest with each other. Helping others won’t harm us, not the slightest chance of that. We might though, provide someone with a different perspective of the actual matter, which will then help them recover from feeling down and helpless.
Life can be tough and difficult, but it can also be beautiful. Forget about the past, and don’t overthink the future. Let’s focus on today and what can we do to keep our precious mind healthy. Think of what you are grateful for, what have you achieved so far and what an amazing person you are. Believe me, you can get through anything because once you put your mind into it, you can achieve anything. You only have to believe in yourself. No matter how hard your day is, remember, tomorrow is another day, and there is absolutely nothing you cannot deal with. That’s why it’s so important to look after your mental health.
Your mind is your weapon, fill it with optimistic, confident thoughts and let’s start talking.