Friday, May 27, 2022

Why Every Month Should Be Mental Health Awareness Month

 


If you haven't been affected by the events of the past 2-3 years, then you must have the luxury of living on another planet. The pandemic has caused a domino effect on businesses of all sizes, public health, and the increasing crime rates in cities across the nation. While it's nice to see articles confirming that we're alright or our ongoing sadness is just a phase, getting a handle on things early is the best method of prevention. Although some mental issues may be more severe than others, stabilizing your mental self before another life event hits home may be the safest way to turn over a new leaf.

Sidestepping the Problem

While I have no degree or even college credits in mental health, it does impact my life greatly. Being raised by a bipolar mother has its challenges because your scope of knowledge is based on whatever extreme mood swings are taking place at the moment. Lucky for me, I had something of a village to ensure I didn't steer too far off the cliff - but I still took many bad habits into adulthood.

One of those is negativity. Bad thoughts about people, things, and ideas that are more than just an opinion.  While bias towards a certain race of people is still common in 2022, mass murder of a specific group (and then justifying it to the media) is an example of how mental illness can escalate.

Although I would eventually learn how to distinguish myths from facts about mental health, I learned there was more to it than just "being happy". Earlier in the year, I was watching an episode of grown-ish where one of the main characters was experiencing a chain of events that affected her productivity and mood. In my opinion, this was kind of simplistic but I'd imagine this is how it starts for a lot of people.

Tackling Trouble on Arrival

This doesn't solve all problems but it's one way to keep current problems from escalating. And some things just take time...or you may have to accept that it will never be solved. When I discuss certain events with my mother, 99% of the time, she doesn't remember. Is it selective memory or just the aging process? I'm teaching myself how to stand strong with the understanding that my past doesn't define who I am today. Areas of which I had no knowledge or understanding are works in progress.

Dusting Off Self Regularly

Going through a bad phase and having a mental episode (even if it's not violent) aren't the same thing. This is to say that if you find yourself constantly dusting off your shoulders, it may help to look within. Before my cancer diagnosis, I wondered why I seemed to attract such toxic individuals in my life. 

Backstabbing, always with a vicious narrative, lying, and manipulation seemed to come with a lot of people I'd run across in my life. Unfortunately, many of them felt that because I was a larger person, I'd tolerate it because I had no other options.  I may have been low on options or people that did right by me but I never tolerated anything beyond my comfort level.

So, this is just to say that getting to the root of mental or emotional problems early can make a difference. It can also prevent you from going on life-altering meds or seeing a professional on a mandatory basis.  While May is one of the longer months out of the year, self-care should be a year-round thing that changes as we change.

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