May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Did you know that one in four of us will experience a mental illness or disorder at some point in our lives?
As such, I'd like to do my part in raising awareness because this issue is very close to my heart because I am #1in4.
That's right. I've dealt with mild anxiety and depression since my early teen years having two major depressive episodes as an adult.
Are you surprised? I seem so happy, right. Positive minded and upbeat. Always quick with a smile and an empathetic ear. Yes, that's a big part of my personality and so too is depression and anxiety.
Most people just don't get a chance to see that part of me as I've grown tired of the responses of cheer up, snap out of it, we all get down sometimes and it's just in your head, which only serves to illegitimize what is a very real issue and its ignorance plays into the stigma.
It's like telling your neighbor with a broken arm, "It's just in your arm. We all get aches and pains sometimes". We wouldn't dream of saying that, would we.
As with any illness, disease, or disorder some of us are predisposed or are more sensitive to the triggering risk factors of some maladies while being hardy against others. I'm sure you know of someone who regardless of how little they exercise or mind what they eat, have never dealt with high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes. While another can hardly look at a steak or a dessert tray without paying the consequences.
Mental illness is a combination of predisposition and triggering factors. Over the years I have learned of my own triggering factors and monitor my lifestyle and environment for them, controlling them wherever I can. I also practice regular good mental hygiene through my daily meditations, breathing and visualization techniques, and my rotating collection of affirmations. It's no wonder I now teach this and help my clients with their own very real, isolating, and often painful issues, right!
In addition to my own practices, I also have a team – a health team. My health team is made up of my regular medical doctor, my mental health professionals – shifting as my needs change, along with my complementary health professionals like my massage therapist, Reiki master, and energy healers as well as friends and family.
So who's on your team?
Physical, mental, or otherwise, we all need a team to help us become the best version of ourselves. That's why we are all here in first place, isn't it?
"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about." - Wendy Mass