Thursday, October 10, 2019

World Mental Health Day

It doesn't matter if you hide it well, or never tell a soul about your unraveled feelings you keep bottled up, the fact is, we all suffer with mental health one way or another. You may be independent and highly functioning, or you can be debilitated with agoraphobia due to your panic attacks. Bereavement also goes down as part of mental health issues and so does behavioral issues, like uncontrolled anger. We all share this common human element that we feel ashamed to share publicly. Fear of abandonment, depression, manic depression (bipolar disorder) and even hormonal imbalances, which can contribute to mental health issues. Chronic pain can put you in quite a depression as well. Pain is the most common factor for debilitating depression. Whether it is circumstantial, inherited or developed over time, we can all admit that we had or still have suffered from a mental health situation. And there's nothing to be ashamed of.

Myths and Phony Boloney Statements Made

"They're just lazy." Fear and anxiety can sometimes limit what a person is willing to do. Many people refuse to exercise due to their heart rate increasing, leaving them to panic and then have their heart palpitate, thinking it's a heart attack. They develop what's called PVCs (Premature ventricular contractions, are extra heartbeats that begin in one of your heart's two lower pumping chambers (ventricles). These extra beats disrupt your regular heart rhythm, sometimes causing you to feel a fluttering or a skipped beat in your chest. With more exposure to exercise and knowing what is triggering them can put relief onto the person so they'll continue to exercise without the fear behind it. But one of the myths told when someone with anxiety doesn't exercise is, "Oh, they're just lazy."

"They don't like me because they never hang out anymore." Social anxiety is another common thing people go through. Even the most independent of all people can develop social anxiety. So whenever you invite your friend over who has social anxiety, remember that it doesn't mean that they don't like you, it just means that they may feel a bit more anxious that day. Do not take someone's isolation personally. For real, it's not you---it's them. And the more you start understanding social anxiety, the more comfortable your friend will be and more opt to take you up on your invites.

"It's all in your head."  Well, yeah. But that's even more reason to take this seriously. Our minds are convoluted with fear and unraveling thoughts of 'what ifs.' It's interesting to see someone tell another person who is suffering with anxiety or depression to just "cheer up" or "you can change your entire mindset!" It's not that easy. It's possible, but it takes a lot of time and hard work with a professional, and sometimes medication if need be. You're dealing with a mind that's unlike your own. If you know somebody with anxiety, depression, PTSD or bipolar disorder---take it easy on them. Our mental health can sometimes determine our physical health as well. Many of us develop psychosomatic symptoms, which can feel just like a heart attack. It can cause back pain and cause fibromyalgia flare ups.

A Blessing or a Burden? 

From personal experience, I've witnessed how people react once I'm in a crisis mode. When I first lost my mother, everyone was so kind and generous, offering anything they could do for me, and if I needed to reach out to just call or come over anytime. But after the funeral, you won't hear from those people....possibly ever. When I lost my home and moved into our new house---I started getting rebound anxiety attacks. The adjustment was huge for me. Whenever I would reach out, I would always get abrupt answers, sometimes harsh, telling me to "calm down" or "you need medication" and worst of all, complete silence from some. Here's my theory on this as of now: find resources so that you never have to make that call to a friend or relative who resents you for having these mental health crises. Let's face it---people have enough on their plates, so taking on our issues would possibly be too overwhelming for them. And many times, people don't know how to say "No, I can't help you." And that's okay. For me, I have 1 psychiatrist, 1 psychologist, 1 mental health peer (in case I need assistance at home or if I need to run errands but too anxious.) I have a crisis patient advocate who will evaluate me over the phone or come to my location to see if I need to go to the ER or simply need to calm down. I can call these people during the day or 2am when I'm shaking like a leaf in the corner of my room. They're professionals, my friends and family are not. This is what they do for a living, so instead of reaching out to someone close, try gaining the resources so the "burden" is less for all of you. Remember, you ARE a blessing to many. You are NEVER a burden. Some people just have too many burdens of their own to take on new ones. I respect that.


It's OK Not To Be OK!

You are NOT weak for asking for help.
You are NOT crazy for having mental health issues.
You are NOT a burden.
You are NOT faulty.

You're simply a human being living in a faulty world. Sometimes it's all you can do to not self-medicate and throw in the towel. Your life has purpose. You're entire reason for being here is greater than you even realize. And when you have that 'ah-ha' moment of why you're here, you're going to feel calmer, more confident in who you are and why you are here at this very moment. Sometimes things just don't make any sense whatsoever. Ooooh, life's one big mystery. Yeah kinda-sorta, but when you sit back and look at the bigger picture, you have a bigger plan for your life. You have a much bigger purpose waiting for you. Self-love is important. Positive self-dialogues are imperative for your mental health. We listen to our minds more than we ought to. If you have negative thought patterns, you'll end up believing that "you're ugly" or "too fat" or "too skinny." You'll believe the lies your mind conjures up. By instilling positive self imagery on yourself, on the way you look and who you are inside--watch how you start feeling better little by little.

Be good to yourself, kinder to yourself. Forgive yourself more. Learn to adapt a whole new respect for who you are and what you do for others. Find purpose before you find out your real purpose. Do things ON purpose. Don't let anyone tell you that you 'need this' or that you 'need that,' unless it's from a health provider.

Have faith!

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com
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