On 10th October we recognise World Mental Health Day. A day on which we work globally to reduce stigma and advocate for increased understanding of mental health needs as well as improved services and supports. However, on this World Mental Health Day we ask you to pause and reflect on an issue much closer to home … ‘AM I OK?’
Sometimes we are so busy working, studying, parenting, doing… doing… doing. And in this flux of responsibilities, roles and relationships, we may not be consciously considering how we are doing. It may seem self-indulgent to stop and think about how we are feeling. Instead, we push ourselves to do more and more and more. However, this is the perfect recipe for burnout, disconnection and increased risks to our mental wellbeing.
Unfortunately, many of us don’t think about our mental health very proactively. But stop, reflect on where you’re at and how you’re going. Your mental health isn’t something that just happens to you. It’s not a passive process. It’s a very active process and how you are feeling is something that you can greatly influence. However, it’s much easier to influence this preventatively than simply reactively.
Close your eyes. Imagine a string stretching across the room that you are in, and on the left hand side of the room is the space where we are emotionally struggling, not doing well; feeling overwhelmed, emotionally distressed, not really well connected with others, and then over the right hand side of the room is where we are really thriving and buoyant! We are emotionally resilient, able to deal with the daily pressures of life, able to experience and manage our emotions really well. We are well and able to fulfil the roles that we choose to and are connected with others.
Still with your eyes closed, I want you to imagine where you currently sit on that continuum. Are you down the left hand side? Struggling, maybe masking beautifully, but inside you recognise that you are not travelling well. Life has become a chore, you are feeling distressed, overwhelmed, disconnected, hollow, distressed a lot of the time.
Or are you on the right hand side? You’re feeling fabulous. You’re strong and optimistic and resourceful and able to deal with whatever comes your way with confidence and you’re feeling connected and buoyant.
So pause and consider, based on where you are on the continuum, do you need support? There are so many ways to get mental health support nowadays. You can visit your GP; get a referral to a psychologist and look at holistic treatment options; there are fabulous evidence based websites and books where you can get support – those based on cognitive behavioural therapy or acceptance and commitment therapy or mindfulness based practices can help you learn skills and strategies to improve your mental wellbeing; you can learn stress management strategies such as meditation … you don’t have to go through it alone. Get some help. Resource yourself with the skills and professional assistance to look after your mental health and to deal with any problems that may arise.
Sometimes we need more skills or knowledge than what we currently have. If you had a heart problem you would see a heart specialist as they have the expertise to help you to get the necessary treatment and recover right? So with a mental health problem you should see a mental health professional to do the same.
And if you find yourself at a point where you are feeling overwhelmed, or where you are having thoughts of suicide, take this seriously. If it was a loved one feeling this way, you would connect them with help. So do the same for yourself. Many people will have thoughts of suicide in their lifetime but you do not have to act on them. It can be scary to feel like you have no other way of dealing with what you’re facing. However,help is available. You do not have to be alone. Get urgent support.
Have compassion for yourself by prioritising your own mental health and wellbeing. Your mental health doesn’t have to be everyone else’s business, but it should be your own.
Written by Tasha Broomhall
Tasha lives in Perth, Western Australia, with her gorgeous talented husband and her three delicious children. She is the Director of Blooming Minds WA Pty Ltd and delivers courses and keynote presentations to reduce stigma about mental. Tasha’s work encourages people to take responsibility for their own mental health and wellbeing and to be proactive in supporting the mental health of those around them. She is the author of books and journals:
- BLOOM! Mental health and wellbeing
- BLOOM! At work, a mental health guide for leaders
- A year to bloom, 52 week guided mental health journal
- Live consciously and bloom, self-reflection journal
All of which are available to purchase fromhttp://bloomingminds.com.au/products/
You can register for her quarterly mental health and wellbeing magazine here: http://bloomingminds.us2.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=30607ee641f723d30c64650ea&id=2123541260
Watch Tasha’s TEDx talk here: