Mental health in America is a growing crisis. If you or someone you know struggles with problems associated with mental health and wellness, don’t let negative stigmas keep you from talking about it!
In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) described an increase in the proportion of adults reporting recent symptoms of anxiety or depression from 36.4% to 41.5%.
Believe it or not, the hardest part of living with mental health conditions isn’t the symptoms or the management of the symptoms, but dealing with the fear of judgment or rejection. While many celebrities and public figures have attempted to demystify the prevalence of such issues, there are still widespread misconceptions about mental illness and how people function with these disruptions.
Here is the deal… We need to flex mental health, for better or worse!
Facts and Myths
Despite what the movies may have you believe, having a mental illness does not mean you are “crazy”. In fact, it means you have an illness with symptoms like someone with diabetes. Another myth is that stress causes mental illness. This is only partially true since stress may trigger an episode or cause symptoms. There are many things that contribute to mental illness but the cause is not yet fully understood.
How Do You Talk About It?
Being forthcoming and vulnerable with friends and family about your struggles is not easy, but there are some things you can do that may make it easier for you and your loved ones. If someone reacts badly to your diagnosis or your concerns, give them space. Give the relationship some space and try to understand that they may not know how to respond.
Many people’s opinions and prejudices are from media misinformation. As a society, we are not talking openly about mental health problems, so people’s ideas of what it is like is a dramatic portrayal seen on TV and in movies. Stereotypes come from media distortion combined with a lack of knowledge. Provide facts and educate them (and yourself).
Understand Any Negativity
Though it can feel demoralizing if your support system is not understanding and compassionate at first, it can be helpful to acknowledge why they feel the way they feel. Know in your heart that their reaction says a lot more about them than it says about you. Read that again. And again.
Take Care of Yourself
It might feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders, especially if you’re worried about being accepted, but this is not your problem to carry. It’s theirs. Prioritize your own wellness with therapy, rest, healthy food, and habits that you know will make you feel better. If you’re finding it difficult to cope with others’ reactions or fear their reaction, self-care first.
If you need help coping with mental health or support in helping family and friends, contact Tx Harmony Counseling at (832) 352-1600 or contact us here.