Today, May 14 starts the Mental Health Awareness Week and we are very happy to have a special Guest. Michael Nulty the Author of “Getting Beyond What Is”.
When you experience a traumatic or extremely distressful situation, your life can quickly fall apart. You become consumed by what only can be described as an avalanche of emotions, feelings, and thoughts flooding your mind, and body. Struggling to cope with everything, feeling overwhelmed, somewhat down and a little ashamed of how your life has deteriorated can suddenly shift from, what is a mental health concern, to a mental illness such as depression, anxiety disorder, substance disorder or even feelings suggesting that your life is not worth living.
A single conversation about mental health has the power to change lives. Your friend, co-worker, family member or even yourself may very well be one of the 1 in 5 people who are living with a mental illness today. Because no one can tell from the outside if someone is suffering from this invisible illness we have no option but to talk about it.
This is Mental Health Awareness Week and I want you to join with Me On Focus and myself in promoting Positive Mental Change. Telling someone that they are not alone as they struggle to cope with their mental health concerns, existing disorders or the shame of having their life fall apart is one of the greatest gifts you can offer. It’s not who you help, it’s how you help.
So firstly what is mental health? Well in simple terms mental health is our emotional, psychological, and social well-being, affecting how we think, feel, and act about everything in our life. And mental illness is a physical illness of the brain that creates a disruption to that same thinking, feeling or acting that makes it difficult to cope with sometimes the simplest of activities in our daily life. Many factors contribute to mental health problems including biological factors, such as genes, brain chemistry. life experiences such as trauma or abuse or a family history of mental health problems.
Why is talking about mental health, difficult? Unfortunately, our society treats mental illness differently to other illnesses, making people suffering from a mental illness scared to talk openly about their condition for fear of being labelled “unstable” or something worse. There is a built-in sense of shame for those with a mental disorder that gets reinforced by the unintentional wrong messages pushed out by everyday people in our society. Comments like “ You don’t look ill”, “why don’t you just snap out of it” create this view that a mental disorder can just be turned on and off or that people dealing with a mood disorder are just looking for attention and sympathy. The stigma of shame stops people talking about their feelings, especially men, causing them to ignore their symptoms and getting the professional help they need. Do you know that nearly 60% of adults with a mental illness didn’t receive mental health assistance in the last year? If you are concerned about your own mental health you should talk with someone.
Why is talking about mental health important? Although we can observe the outward effects of mental illness, symptoms are often misunderstood especially by someone who has never know what it’s like to live a day with depression or anxiety. As a society, we also need to stop thinking of mental illness as something to be ashamed of and start thinking of it as a serious health concern that significantly changes and takes lives. It is the responsibility of those of us who have lived and are living with a mental illness to show our friends, co-workers and family members the real face of mental illness and to say proudly “That although I have stood alongside you all these years I have suffered in silence from my mental illness and it is time for me to be afraid no more”
Starting the conversation about mental illness, whether it’s something you’re dealing with yourself or trying to help someone you love, is hard, I know that for sure. For many years I wore the happy mask hiding my anxiety and depression from everyone in my life. It was only after a few suicide attempts that I was left with no choice but to get the help I needed to begin the journey out of the darkness into the light of the life I have today.
Breaking the stigma begins with each of us talking about our mental health in the same way we would talk about our physical health. Everyone in the world today either knows someone or has their own story about their mental health struggles. Together we can change the way the world talks about mental health.
We would love for you to share your story with us. The most powerful stories are not just those about struggle pain, and fighting to survive but, how as an ordinary person you were able to seek help, get the right treatments, manage your illness/disorder and accomplish the extraordinary, recover and lead a full life
By Michael Nulty – Author
You can read the book review of “Getting Beyond What Is” by clicking here
You can listen to the Podcast Version here or in any other platform listed below.
You can also listen to the amazing Michael Nulty’s Interview Podcast by following the links below…
Thank You for Reading and listening to our Podcast