World Mental Health Day

We are back to international mental health day. there is a big push this years to encourage people to talk and many celebrities have lined up to be honest and tell there own stories – it is good to talk

Mental health is generally defined as something like,  

‘a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being’.

According to .gov it is…

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.

Are you sane or mad?

I don’t believe in sane or mad models of human behaviour, I think that we are all mad it is just that we all have differing levels of madness that manifest in different ways. Think of it like this…

Imagine a cartwheel. The hub of the wheel is your core self which we might think of as the sane you. Out from the hub extend the spokes of the wheel. Imagine that each one of these spokes is an emotional or mental health spectrum numbered from 1 at the hub up to 100 at its end . So if one spoke is labelled ‘Anxiety’ where would you put yourself on that spectrum, 1 being no anxiety ever at all and 100 being continual full bloom panic attacks? We will all appear on the anxiety spectrum somewhere and depending what is happening in our lives we will be moving up and down sometimes more anxious than at other times.

If we look at the other spokes we will score somewhere on every spoke. There is depression, obsessive compulsive behaviour, anger, bereavement/loss, claustrophobia, agoraphobia, insensitivity, bullying, substance abuse, attention deficit, eating disorders, post trauma…in many ways this is endless. 

Mental health, just like physical health, is not in a static state, it fluctuates depending on what is happening and whether or not we are looking after ourselves. Just as our body will get ill from time to time so will our mind and our emotions. A virus in the body will keep on relocating until the resources of the body muster a defence and destroy it. It is the same in the mind and the emotions. One we get a little thought or feeling and start to ruminate on it, then it will grow and get bigger until we muster the defence mechanisms to overcome it.

Staying emotionally fit requires that we give ourself both the value and the time to attend to our needs. These may be physical, mental and emotional. I am forever asking people ‘what have you done for yourself in the last week?’ Sadly many people answer ‘nothing’ and then they wonder why they do not feel so good. You are the most important person in your life and if you do not look after you then you will never be able to really look after another person.

When you have become emotionally unwell it is usually time to talk. That might be to friends or family or you might require some more professional support from counselling or psychotherapy. You may also require some medication, just like your physical body, sometimes needs a hand to get things right.

The big message for this year’s International Mental Health Day is don’t hold it in and keep it to yourself, talk, share and let it out.

Take care, be happy and keep talking

Sean x

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