May is Mental Health Awareness Month. As someone with a degree in Public Health, I cannot stress enough about how important it is to take care of your health. When we talk about taking care of our health, we usually mean physical health. But it’s just as important to take care of your emotional health and mental health. In honor of May being my birth month and Mental Health Awareness Month, here is my most open and honest post ever published. Keep reading to find out why I really started blogging and why it’s important to manage your mental health.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month
About Mental Health Awareness Month
Since 1949, May has been considered Mental Health Awareness Month in America. The observance was led by Mental Health America (MHA) and other affiliates. Through media, local events, and screenings, MHA and their affiliates have spread mental health awareness. Their efforts have reached millions of people and the non-profit organization continues to spread awareness about mental health. Although mental health is a taboo topic, it should be discussed more often and openly. If this is something you strongly advocate, you can find ways to get involved.
Why I Really Started Blogging
On my about page, I talked about why I started blogging. I wrote that I started blogging to help revive my love for photography. But that’s only one reason why I started blogging. The main reason why I started blogging was to tackle my anxiety.
Before I started blogging, I used to have really bad anxiety. During my last year as an undergrad, I juggled between school, work, and socializing, and I let toxic people stay in my life. Those toxic relationships and my lack of self-esteem worsened my anxiety. It would get so bad, it took a toll on my mental and physical health. My heartbeat would race and I couldn’t stay still. My mind would race, imagining unlikely scenarios, and often jumping to conclusions. I hardly wanted to eat and I lost 10-15 pounds. It would get so out of control, all I could do was just break down and cry myself to sleep. I often preferred to sleep than be awake because it was the only time I wasn’t thinking or feeling anything.
Learning to Love Myself
In order to become a healthier, self-loving person, I had to do something about my anxiety. I started meal prepping and eating smaller portions more often. For my physical health, I got a gym membership and I started attending yoga classes. For my emotional health, I started journaling and blogging again. I stopped giving toxic people my time of day. On top of that, I stopped caring about what people thought or said about me. And for my mental health, I started seeing a therapist at my university. Basically, I put myself first and made it a priority to take care of my wellbeing.
Related: 5 Healthy Ways to Manage Stress
Slowly but surely, I became a more confident and self-loving person. It definitely takes time and patience but change is achievable if you truly want it. Occasionally, I still have small episodes of anxiety but I’ve become more aware of my emotions and learned how to handle them.
Previously, I was embarrassed about expressing my emotions and asking for help. I thought it was a sign of weakness but it’s actually a sign of strength. Mental health is a serious topic that needs to be discussed more often. No one should ever be embarrassed to talk about their mental health. If you ever feel like you’re alone and hopeless, know that you’re not. There are plenty of mental health resources to help you, even if you can’t afford a therapist.
Disorders that often co-occur with mental health disorders are not talked about enough. These co-occurring disorders could be drug addiction and substance abuse, among other things. Believe it or not, substance abuse also entails alcohol use. According to DrugRehab.com, “Of the 23 million Americans struggling with addiction, nearly 14 million also suffer from some form of mental illness, either stemming from or leading to substance abuse.“
For more information about mental illness and co-occurring disorders such as substance abuse, please check out DrugRehab.com. Their site goes into further detail about the symptoms, causes, and treatment of mental disorders and drug use.
Furthermore, the link between alcohol and suicide is not discussed enough. Although many people self-medicate with alcohol to forget about their problems, alcohol could worsen other factors that contribute to suicide such as mental health conditions, problems at work, and problems within interpersonal relationships. According to AlcoholRehabGuide.org, “Alcohol has been found in relation to nearly one-third of suicides – a significantly larger concentration than there are people who suffer from alcoholism in the general population.“
AlcoholRehabGuide.org also states that:
If you are contemplating suicide, please stop reading and call 1-800-273-8255. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is open 24/7 and allows anyone to speak openly and anonymously. They provide an online chat as well if you feel more comfortable not verbally communicating.
If you noticed a loved one has a problem with alcohol or has been acting out of the ordinary, you can speak with a dedicated treatment specialist at (877) 624-1853. A dedicated treatment specialist is available 24/7 to provide you with the tools and guidance to intervene in your loved one’s life. For more information on alcohol and suicide, please visit AlcoholRehabGuide.org.
How do you manage your mental health?
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*Disclaimer: I wrote this post based on my own experiences and gathered some resources I found on the Internet. If you or a loved one are struggling with alcoholism, substance abuse, thoughts of suicide, or other mental health issues, please reach out to a licensed professional.