It’s world mental health day today. When I mentioned this to a friend, they said “it seems like it’s mental health day every day!”
At first I took slight offence, but then I realised two things. The first being that, for someone with a mental health condition, IT IS ‘mental health day’ every day. Looking after my head, heart and soul is a full time job…24/7, 365 days of the year. The second thing I realised is that, their observation proves that the conversation around mental health has shifted from being some dirty little secret, to being on forefront of news agendas. This has been a huge change in recent years, and one I’m grateful for.
This aside, I still have my frustrations. Mental health maybe an ‘on trend’ issue right now, but in many environments, I still hear it being talked about in a negative manner; as if people with mental health conditions are a bit of a pain (pardon the pun). If you don’t have some horrendous story to tell, then your not really that bad. This is such a load of BS. Perhaps you are reading this thinking that people with mental health are fragile, vulnerable and a bit unhinged! Well if you are…you better include yourself in that, because the truth is we ALL have mental health. Every single one of us.
You don’t need to be admitted to a hospital or treatment centre, or even be diagnosed with a mental health condition, to warrant help or support. Just as we all experience aches and pains in our physical bodies, the same goes for our heads. Stress is one thing that affects us all. Life is stressful, and most of us just get up and paint the smiles on, to the detriment of our long-term health. We wait until we get really sick, before we realise that we could have listened to the signs sooner.
Don’t wait until you need scrapping off the floor. Don’t walk around thinking you are immune to life’s pressures. Allow yourself to take some time out. There is no ‘I’m not sick enough’ when it comes to your mental and emotional wellbeing. You don’t feel well physically…you don’t hesitate to book an appointment with your GP. Why is it any different when your head heart or soul is hurting?
So today is a an opportunity to take a few minutes to ask yourself how you are feeling? I don’t mean, is your back still aching? I mean how do you feel in your core? Are you existing or living? Do you need some support? Is your fuel tank running low?
It’s also a reminder to check in ask family, friends or colleagues how they are, not just today but any day.
I neglected my soul for many years and the consequences made me seriously ill with anorexia. The signs were there, but the ‘terrorist’ was allowed to grow inside me until it became so big, it needed an army to fight it. Don’t wait that long. Look out for yourself today and everyday.