For some reason, when mental health is mentioned most people think “crazy”. If we’re talking about someone’s mental health, the common response is “oh, they’re crazy”. However, mental health is not just limited to the “crazy”; mental health applies to everyone. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
After I had my son, I experienced a flood of emotions that I wasn’t used to having. I wouldn’t classify it as postpartum depression, because I wasn’t sad or any of the other symptoms associated with it, but I became more aware, more sensitive and more in touch with my feelings and emotions. If you knew me prior, you know that all of this was new for me. Not that I was a cold person at first, but I just didn’t feel the same emotions that most would feel in certain situations. Overall I just wasn’t a very emotionally sensitive person.
Now that I have a child, all of that has changed. Imagine being one way all your life and suddenly you feel different, you think different and you now have a whole little person (who grew inside of you and stole a piece of your heart) walking around the earth and is solely dependent on you. I went through an adjustment period. A period where I was just trying to identify what the heck was going on with me. I was experiencing new emotions and had to rediscover who this “new me” was. In the midst of my new emotions, I still had to maintain a career, be a wife and a step-mom, take care of home, the kids and my husband AND deal with the new baby; oh and not to mention I had a very needy and dependent dog at the time.
Sidebar: For all of those who think that somehow a marriage will get rid of your personal struggles or that your spouse is supposed to be some cure-all for anything you’re dealing with, WAKE UP! That’s not a realistic expectation and you will be highly disappointed. YOU and only YOU are in control of your personal sh*t. Point blank; period. Your spouse is not in charge of the way YOU feel; your spouse is not in charge of controlling YOUR emotions; and most importantly, your spouse is not in charge of making YOU happy, YOU ARE!
Ok, back to the topic at hand…
With all of that going on (and more), there was a brief moment where I felt overwhelmed and out of control. To know me is to know I HAVE TO have control, especially over the things that I allow to go on in my life. I had to reevaluate my life and make some decisions that would alleviate this feeling of me being out of control. So, what did I do? I got rid of my dog, he had to go somewhere and be needy and dependent on someone else because at that time, mama couldn’t do it anymore. I was project manager at that time at work, so I stepped down from that role. What mattered most to me at that time was me getting a grip on this new me and my personal stresses and I no longer wanted to be “in charge” at work. And I started going to therapy! Therapy is to your mental health what working out is to your physical health. IT MATTERS! I bet most people don’t know that therapy is covered under their health insurance. Bet you cant get your health insurance to pay for your gym membership.
I’m going to throw some statistics out there for those reading this and I want you to let it sink in. Stress is the basic cause of 60% of all human illness and disease. Three out of 4 doctor’s visits are for stress related ailments, that’s 75%. What do anxiety, panic attacks, depression, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, fears, phobias, irritable bowel, fibromyalgia, ulcers, self-destructive habits like overeating, smoking, alcohol and other drug use all have in common? They are all either caused by or made worse by STRESS!
Not sure if you or someone you know is living with mental health problems? 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
Bottom line, over time and if not properly managed, stress can and will kill you. If at any point you’re feeling overwhelmed or you feel like the pressures/stress of life is too much, PLEASE seek professional counseling. It’s covered by most health insurance and it helps. I am a huge advocate of counseling. Please seek the help you need. People are dependent on YOU to feel better.
Disclaimer: Some of the information in this post was retrieved from different sources. Those sources can be found and credited by clicking on the hyperlinks located throughout the post.
As always. Thanks for reading! Drop comments or questions below.