As much of a cliché as it might sound, these are unprecedented times. The world of social media has allowed a higher knowledge transfer between individuals on socio political issues, failing economies, a view of the uncertain future and other life dynamics. Add the COVID-19 pandemic into the mix and you have high levels of emotionally overwhelmed mental states. According to the World Health Organization, one of the leading causes of disability is depression and the second-highest cause of death is suicide. With these stats, it is earth-shatteringly important to shine a light on mental health and the psychological support being used to treat it.
Mental health comes on a spectrum of conditions from healthy, coping, struggling and unwell. Timely help in the form of psychological support can mostly prevent it from going from one stage to another. Unfortunately, the stigma around psychological challenges have been so high that those who have discussed their issues with other have often been perceived as being “too sensitive” or “weak,” preventing many from seeking help.
Our emotions are built with a threshold, just like an elastic band, if you stretch it too much for too long, it snaps. If humans don’t pay attention, holding onto overwhelming emotions for too long can result in snapping. This leads to depression, amongst other emotional challenges. Remember, just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
Is mental health treatable?:
While a diagnosed mental illness isn’t completely treatable, it is definitely manageable through medications and therapy (as prescribed by your mental health practitioner). Seeking help and psychological support can help immensely -- consider therapy as the “High Intensity Interval Training” for the brain. It doesn’t always feel great during the session but has remarkable results long run.
Our role in helping others:
The most challenging aspect of mental health is the lack of visibility into
what someone is going through emotionally. Everyone is carrying emotional baggage and the best thing we can do to play our part and help others is to extend empathy, support and flexibility. Don’t forget to check in on people you care about regularly.
How to keeping your mental health in check:
Connect with your emotions, spend time with yourself and know your emotional needs. Make sure you listen to your intuition and your body. It is important to disconnect from any source when it starts causing you to burnouts. Ensure you have healthy boundaries around your life, so you are your priority. Remember, a healthy self is vital for a healthy family as your mental health impacts your families and loved ones directly.
We are the biggest critics of ourselves, setting impossible goals and expectations. It is important to know that it is ok not to be perfect, it is ok to slow down or take a break. When you go through a rough patch, give yourself a pat on the back for getting through it. If you are unable to love yourself, no one will. You owe yourself that.
Regulate your routine:
Make sure you have a regulated routine; balance is the key. Excess of anything can be toxic. Eat well and healthy, sleep at least 8 hours, exercise, divide your day between work and leisure, and make sure you unwind at the end of the day and take regular periodic breaks to recharge.
Sometimes the support of family and friends helps us overcome challenges. However, when nothing else seems to be improving your condition, seek professional psychological help. One of the most important things to know is that there are a variety of professionals extending psychological support, such as life coaches, therapists, psychologist and psychiatrists, etc. You might not resonate with every mental health practitioner – this is common. It doesn’t mean that therapy doesn’t work, it only means that your relationship with your practitioner probably isn’t the best fit for you. Feel free to change until you find someone that resonates with you.