Understanding and Looking After Your Mental Health
Mental health is a tricky one. It’s normally the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about because it’s hidden, it’s personal and it’s judgeable. Unlike a physical injury it’s not obvious; if you’ve got a cast on your leg or your arm is a sling, it means you’ve damaged yourself through some kind of mis-adventure and there will be a story behind it, people will stop and listen to that story. But with mental health the same rules don’t apply.
The impact of Covid-19
Some of us; friends, family, loved ones, have had to endure unseen problems over the last few months, where we have been living with the uncertainty of COVID-19. With constant social constraints, the bombardment of troubling news and the obvious lurking of this viral killer, the recovery from these restrictions will weigh heavier in some than in others. Anxieties will run high with the loosening of sanctions; this is the time where our support and patience is required most toward our most dearest. Supporting, listening and understanding mental health could help save people in the near future. Not being afraid to approach and talk about mental health is the key to helping friends, family and loved ones in the coming months because I’m sure they would do the same when you need them the most.
Problems with the perception
People’s perceptions of mental health, although getting better, is still shrouded in darkness and distrust. Mental health is purely experiential, it is down to that person’s experience, perceptions and reaction. Rather than the result of physics where a blunt force or an immovable object comes in contact with bone, muscle or sinew, the damage is usually unseen. So, where does this mistrust come from? Well we’ve all seen the deranged serial killer, suffering from some kind of psychosis… come on! This is a Hollywood creation to make us hide behind the sofa. The reality is that mental health problems are more subtle and nuanced than this, but our perceptions fix us in the idea that mental health is grubby, dirty and dangerous. The statistics show that 1 in 6 of us experience common mental health problems, that’s a hell of a lot of serial killers, or is it that our approaches to mental health are out of line with the reality of the problem?
Talk about it
Starting to talk about our own mental health is an important mechanism to allow for us to be more mindful and support, not only, our own, but friends and family as well. Approaching mental health in a non-judgmental way, where we appreciate that everyone has had a different journey to come this same point in time and that we will continue on in our different journeys again, is a great way to understand the difference in perspectives we hold. Often talking to someone with this non-judgmental way, listening to them and letting them know you are there for them can help on that road to recovery.