“Mental health is not a destination, but a process. Its about how you drive, not where you are going.” 

– Noam Shpancer

No words were truer said. Having a healthy mind needs to be cultivated daily. Mental health can be exasperated in the wrong environment.

Take me for example. I was a strong healthy person until I went through a series of stressful events. Eventually my anxieties were manifested. Once they surface its hard to put them back in the box.

Personal Note:  I think mental health should be taught in high school. That’s when stress starts crushing our young people. Studies, peer pressure, possible problems at home. This can be debilitating even to the point of suicide. Learning how to cope with stress at a younger age is paramount to getting through those tough years and being a healthy adult.

Mental Health & The Silent Killer

Psychiatric disabilities cover a wide range of conditions, including eating disorders, post- traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorders, depression, and other psychiatric conditions. Psychiatric disabilities are very common.

It amazes me how many people silently suffer with mental health problems.

Mental health issues can be called ‘The Silent Killer’. I know I’m plagiarising the term, but it fits in this case too.  What does it kill?  It kills a person’s soul. Who you were meant to be is covered in quick sand sucking the life out of you.

Why is it silent? People suffer in silence trying to cover up what they think is shameful. You can feel less of a person for not coping doing the simplest things.

Full Blown Phobias

Case in point: Take someone that is afraid of spiders. I mean truly freaked out with spiders. Sure, a lot of us don’t like the creepy crawlers in our space and can’t wait to capture them and set them free. (I won’t say kill it. I know some that would take the time to release it outside.)

Full blown Arachnophobia looks very different.

Physical symptoms of a spider phobia may include:

  • dizziness/lightheadedness
  • upset stomach
  • nausea
  • sweating
  • shaking or trembling
  • shortness of breath
  • increased heart rate

This fear sends signals to your body as if you were going to die.

Option 1: Get rid of it.

Option 2: I’m going to die.

Some say it could be an ancestral survival technique or a bad experience in the past with spiders. That is an interesting concept, that more than good looks are handed down from our parents. Is it actually fear of the spider or the fight or flight reaction built into our genetics? Now that I can understand.

Fear and anxiety are influenced by many genes. Phobias can run in families, both genetic and environmental can contribute to developing a phobia. For instance, if a young person develops anxiety or depression, its likely inherited.  If manifested in someone over the age of 20, it could be triggered from a painful experience.

It is often suggested that a combination of counselling, medication and/or cognitive behavioral therapy can help with this problem.

Genetics or Trauma

Bipolar for example can develop in an offspring. So, if a parent has it then the susceptibility can be handed down. If the offspring then suffers some traumatic event it can trigger it.

When you look at mental health so many factors are out of our control. Who our parents are, our environment and what ever trauma we suffer in life. Then causes of depression can include faulty mood regulation by the brain, genetic vulnerability, stressful life events, medications, and medical problems.

Mental Health  – Time To Buckle Up

May I suggest put on a Suit of Armor? I am talking about a protective suit of steel to deflect or absorb the impact of what life throws at us. In this situation a Super Cape won’t do.

Its time to go to war! What happens internally usually has a connection externally, and that we CAN control. After all we are talking about unleashing our power to take charge of our life.

What do we have control over?

#1 – A Good Night’s Sleep

First getting a good night’s sleep is huge, big, bigger than huge. I know from experiencing insomnia.

Do what you have to do to lock down good sleep. Lack of sleep gives you daytime tiredness and difficulty paying attention, focusing on tasks or remembering. Lack of sleep even extends to increased errors and accidents. Irritability, anxiety will soon set in and the whole world looks worse.

I would actually get anxious every night before bed anticipating the struggle to sleep. Trying to sleep was work. Putting a plan in place from not eating past 6pm, not looking at devices 2 hours before bed. Take sleep meds 2 hours before bed and then the breathing and mental exercises. I was exhausted but could not sleep.  It was like when the house was shut down and everything was quiet my mind said “now that I have your attention, lets talk”.

There are many options out there. Its worth your time to start here for good mental health.

Melatonin helped me, not always but better than before. I found you need to know your circadian rhythm – your own natural sleep cycle. Take the melatonin 2 hours before. For me it was 8pm. A lousy time to get ready for bed when you like to stay up late, but a good sleep was worth it.

“The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night’s sleep.”

– Matthew Walker
#2 – Eat Well

Second Eat Well. There are many books out there about the mind gut connection. Your gut is deemed your second brain. Feeding your second brain what it needs is most beneficial.

“When you stick to a diet of healthy food, you’re setting yourself up for fewer mood fluctuations, an overall happier outlook and an improved ability to focus,” Dr. Cora says. Studies have even found that healthy diets can help with symptoms of depression and anxiety.  Processed and fried foods, sugar and some grains can send you into a nosedive both mentally and physically. They call it the ‘Junk Food Blues’.

“Keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we will not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”

–  Buddha 
#3 – Alcohol, Smoking & Drugs

Third, Alcohol, Smoking and Drugs. It seemed to me people that drank alcohol, smoked and took drugs engaged in these activities because of stress in their lives. Or is it the Chicken and the Egg scenario. Which came first.

I think the mental stress came first and these options were a temporary fix. Over time it ended in addiction. Then when they tried to quit the anxiety was worse.

Substance abuse can trigger or intensify the feelings of loneliness, sadness and hopelessness often associated with depression. An estimated one-third of people with major depression also have an alcohol problem. Substance abuse may sharply increase symptoms of mental illness or even trigger new symptoms.

I experienced this first hand with people in my life. They developed an alter ego with alcohol in their system. Normally loving, giving people, some empaths, turned into dark angry people absorbed with their own needs. Emotions were just below the surface.  Crying, sadness, anxious, and anger … ready to strike if anything set them off.  Bizarre, scary and very sad to witness.

“That’s all drugs and alcohol do, they cut off your emotions in the end.”

– Ringo Starr
#4 – Plenty of Sunlight

Fourth Get plenty of Sunlight. Exposure to sunlight is thought to increase your serotonin levels. Serotonin is associate with increasing your mood and focus and enhances a sense of calm. Sunshine helps people with Seasonal Affected Disorder. It provides a respite from their anxiety and depression.

Added Benefit from Sunlight: helps to stimulate and regrow hair follicles. A little bit of sun exposure each day can actually prevent your hair from falling out. It’s all about getting a good dose of natural Vitamin D.

“What mental illness needs is more sunlight, more candor more unashamed conversation.”

– Glen Close
#5 – Activity & Exercise

Fifth Activity & Exercise. Get Moving! It has a huge potential to create a sense of well-being.  Even a brisk walk increases alertness, energy and mood. Regular exercise can increase your self esteem along with reducing stress and anxiety.

I found when my children were young, I was engaged in many forms of physical exercise. Taught aerobics, weight lifting and walking. I would come home ready to take on the battalion again.

“Exercise is the key not only to physical health but to peace of mind.”

– Nelson Mandela 
#6 – Do Something You Love

Sixth Do Something You Love. Mental health problems, although sadly widespread, are manageable to some extent with some help. Engaging in enjoyable activities, like hobbies or sports, is associated with lower blood pressure, less stress, and higher levels of both psychological and physical function.

Music is a great way to lift your mood, as are playing an instrument, dancing, listening to music or singing.

“Where words fail, music speaks.” 

– Hans Christian Andersen

Writing continues to be my passion.  Sitting down sharing my experiences and researching subjects is a positive outlet where stress and negative thoughts are not allowed.

“Talk to yourself like you would talk to someone you love.”

– Brene Brown

Finally, DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP!

“You don’t have to struggle in silence.   You can be un-silent, you can live well with a mental health condition, as long as you open up to somebody about it.”

– Demi Lovato

In the final analysis its important to know you are not alone and not the only one facing this issue.

Do we have the power to advert, manage, calm down and cope with mental intrusion in our life? Most definitely YES!

A healthy life is all about management weather it be physical, mental or environmental.


“Life is way too short to spend another day at war with yourself.”

– F.A. Davis

 

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