October is Emotional Wellness Month and to show my support, I am sharing practical tips, tools, and truths to help spread awareness. During my healing from depression and suicidal thoughts, I had to take a few reality checks. Here are a few things I had to take into consideration.
1.Mental Diversity is real.
Mental illnesses are valid and just as important as it is for you to eat everyday. NO one is exempt from it and it can begin as early as 13 yrs of age. If you start to notice a drastic change in your behaviors, please seek proper treatment and diagnosis to know your status.
2.Healing is NOT linear.
I am a firm believer that time heals and reveals. This is not something that will happen overnight. However, with the right attitude and support system progress will have built up in no time.
3.Progress looks different on everyone.
Every case is unique and every person will experience it differently. Not every person will exhibit all the common symptoms of their particular disorder. Also, whatever symptoms they do experience may vary in intensity and severity. Each person will be affected in a different way because of their own unique nature and personality. This applies to the healing process as well. It will look different according to the extent of the adversity that will be over come.
4. It is not a personal failure.
Scientists at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), an organization devoted to research, prevention, and treatment of mental illness, have determined that mental illnesses are dysfunctions of the brain. Malfunction of the brain can affect one’s thinking skills and intelligence, emotions, feelings, and relationship skills. Know your triggers (stress, insomnia
5. You can fight against stigma.
You can do your part to help by spreading truth, reducing stigma and increasing public awareness about this serious health problem. Please support these efforts just as you would for breast cancer or any other physical disease.
6. You are not alone.
I have first-hand knowledge and experience. I am a person who lived with depression and suicidal thoughts. I am so glad I reached out to let it be known what I was about to do. That was the pivot in my awareness and healing. Where I am now on my journey proves that people can live happy, healthy and productive lives despite a mental health condition.
7.Information and help is available to you.
In this day and age of technology, you have access to any information right at your fingertips. Aside from toll free help lines, there are also free apps and digital therapy available (www.talkspace.com) . You don't even have to leave your home. For more information about mental health, the prevalence and impact of mental illness, and opportunities on how to get involved, visit these websites:
8.Healing is your responsibility
Andrea Dykstra once said “In order to love who you are, you cannot hate the experiences that shaped you”. You can’t control what other people think, say, and do, but you do have control over yourself. Action is essential to your progress and transformation. I encourage you to take responsibility for the situation that created the wound. Blaming others for your misery is so easy. It takes courage to put in the work for change.