World Mental Health Day 2019

World Mental Health Day 2019 - She Sweats Diamonds - bouquet of pink roses - pink baby's breath

Today is World Mental Health Day and I wanted to open up a bit more on a topic I’m fearful of talking about at times.

A few years ago, I shared my struggle with anxiety. Since talking about it, I’ve questioned whether I truly “have it or not” and whether it’s stress versus anxiety.

Why?

Because for the sake of those who are dealing with it at a deeper level, I don’t want to say I have a mental illness when I may not struggle with it myself.

To me, it would be so disrespectful to my friends who are in fact wrestling with it (and some, have been for years).

I’ve asked myself time and again, “Do you really have anxiety or are you thinking you have ‘something’ over one experience?” and “Oh, look. It’s been awhile since you’ve felt like you had anxiety. Maybe it was stress.”

And then I read this from a Health.com article, “Another tip-off that anxiety might be involved? You wake up feeling wired, your mind is racing, and you’re unable to calm yourself down.”

Yep. Been there.

This happened to me a few years ago and it was to a point where I couldn’t calm myself down to even get dressed and go to work.

That day, I stayed home and “slept it away” in hopes that when I did wake up, to not feel what I had physically felt.

Part of me doesn’t want to admit that I have anxiety.

And I say this because I didn’t feel this way before until several years ago. It’s not that I’m not admitting I may be struggling with anxiety. I just don’t want to admit it because I know some people who struggle with the “deep stuff” and it’d feel/look like I’m, well, acting.

Then I realized that there are various mental illnesses out there and various levels of mental illnesses.

It doesn’t matter if depression, anxiety, and the like is mild or serious, it’s still depression, anxiety, etc.

Sometimes, I feel like my anxiety has improved. However, lately, I’ve been asking my friends to pray for me because I feel it coming on the horizon again.

Honestly, it comes and goes. And lately, it’s showing up more often than I care to admit. To keep myself from physically feeling it, I’ve studied Bible plans regarding anxiety. I also meditate, do yoga, and take extra vitamin D (I personally think of it as my happy pill).

I truly hope that the steps I’m continuing to take will make it go away forever and never come back. And I admit this to you because in the past, I went through a period of depression without even realizing it.

My goal is to not go through the motions and to always be self-aware as well as aware of how those around me are feeling.

That said, I leave you with what one of my friends, who has battled and still battling depression, said earlier this week about mental health:

“Being upset for a moment or day doesn’t mean you’re depressed. Worrying about a big presentation at work or a test at school doesn’t mean you have anxiety. One bad day of sleep doesn’t mean you have insomnia. Going from happy to sad cause something happened to you doesn’t mean you are bipolar. There are so many more (ADD, schizophrenia, OCD…etc).

For some reason, people act like they want to have mental illness. They wear it like a badge of honor. These illnesses are absolutely horrible. I have suffered through multiple of them and know people who have suffered through all of them. You don’t want it. Please stop belittling the fight that some people are in on a daily basis who are just trying to be a functioning member of society. The more people joke about them, the less people who are actually suffering will step forward. Help end the stigma. Help ease the fight of those who are in it.”

I do not take this topic lightly and am very sensitive about it as I have friends who are/have been battling with mental health issues.

Please know that I NEVER want to romanticize mental illness.

Whether you need help navigating depression in a friendship or want to know if it’s okay to not be okay, just do one thing: seek to understand. That’s the best thing we can do for ourselves and those suffering from any kind of mental illness.

Please know that whether it’s World Mental Health day or not, this topic is and should be open for discussion.

I wanted to talk about mental health today to help remove the stigma so feel free to talk about it here, support, and/or educate me/others on this subject in the comments below.

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3 Comments
  • Moonsparkle (ZM)
    October 10, 2019

    Thanks for sharing, Huong. As you say, there are different levels of mental illness. Everyone’s story is vaild. I’m sorry to hear your anxiety seems to be coming back lately. I have anxiety and have periods when it’s worse than others. OCD is still seen as a joke. I remember years ago telling a dentist I had it and he seemed to laugh. There are different types of OCD as well, but the main one you hear about is to do with cleaning. Thank you for the post and hope the anxiety eases again soon. 🙂

    Zania

    • Huong
      October 18, 2019

      Thank you for your thoughts, Zania. He was very disrespectful to laugh at you, the patient. I will say that I studied communications for my degree and I learned that health professionals don’t know how to communicate well with their patients because when it came to their course load, they would skip those classes to study for the science ones they deemed were more importamt. I once saw a video recording of a doctor bringing in a box of tissues and putting it next to a patient before he sat down and told her the diagnosis! Granted, the patient and other adult were actors, but the doctor didn’t know that. It was an experiment to prove that most doctors lack communication skills. I appreciate your support and well wishes as well. How are you doing with your anxiety?

      • Moonsparkle (ZM)
        October 20, 2019

        Thanks for your reply, Huong. 🙂 Yes, I couldn’t go back after that. 🙁 That’s interesting, I’ve found that some doctors are good when it comes to the physical stuff but not so much with mental illness/disorders. I had one when I was a teenager who didn’t understand at all, so I switched doctors. The thing is she was what we call a GP here in the UK, meaning “general practioner”, so they are not specifically trained in mental health. I think things are starting to change though, with all the recent awareness around mental health. My regular GP is quite good and I recently saw a doctor who was understanding.

        My anxiety is up and down but I’m trying increasing my antidepressants a bit (under a doctor’s advice) and also am currently attending a mindfulness course. Hope you’re doing ok. 🙂

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