Friday, February 5, 2016

Are You Well?

Last week on Twitter, Canadian phone company Bell sponsored a #BellLetsTalk day to spread the word that it's time to talk about mental health. Glenn Close released a video addressing trying to end the stigma of mental illness last week as well. And that's great and I agree! But I think there are a lot of people that don't have mental illness, so to speak, but are also not well. Let's call it mild depression. And let's talk about it. 

I'll go first... in 2001 I was super stressed at my job and had some relationship issues that were making me sad and I was just out of sorts. And when I shared that I wasn't feeling great I downplayed it so no one really took me seriously because by nature I was a mostly a happy person. I was the one others came to tell there problems to. Only after I got into a car accident did I finally start to take the issue seriously. At first I tried medication which took the edge off but wasn't really what I needed so I got a therapist and did some real work on myself. 

It snapped me out of the funk enough so that even when the next year a bunch of things started going wrong that were out of my control (deaths, breakup, job change) I was able to cope. One big breakthrough I had came during a weekend seminar I took when I noticed that if I was in a good state my shoulders were relaxed and I could breath normally and when my shoulders were off so was I. At that moment I knew I would never let myself get that stressed and exhausted again. So now whenever I catch myself getting super tense or feeling off I can reset myself because I know how to think my way through the anxiety.

Recently a few friends have come to me sharing that they are having a hard time with this issue or that and when I suggest that they either go talk to a doctor or a therapist they resist. 

We don't have to be mentally ill to kick our mental health up a notch. This can mean everything from evaluating our sleep habits, alcohol consumption, stress levels, unhealed childhood trauma... whatever it may be.

Here's the thing, depression sneaks up on you. Depression doesn't mean someone has mental illness, per se, it might just mean they are exhausted, that there is real stresses they need help with, that there might be a nutritional or hormonal issue that might be wearing on their body. Who knows?  

What I do know is that people die if they don't take care of themselves. If depression goes untreated it can lead to physical illness and further mental issues and for a couple people I've known even suicide. It's not something to just ignore. 

So how are you? Really?

If you haven't been your best please at least get some more rest. If that doesn't help tell someone you aren't doing great and see if you can get some advice from a professional. 

Don't live your life numb or sad or not well. People who care about you are busy with their own lives but I assure you they would want you to stop them and ask for help because they want you well. The burden on your friends and family doesn't come from getting you help it comes with dealing with someone they care about who won't get help. 

And if someone is caring and brave enough to share that they are concerned about you please don't brush them off or be embarrassed or ignore their concerns. If they notice you're not you lately take that as a cue to check in with yourself and see if now might be a good time to get a physical and maybe reassess where you are with other life matters. 

We all deserve a good life! That won't always mean sunshine and rainbows but if you're not good-- get help. I want us all to be well so we can partake in the joy of life :)