Mental health- you hear the term batted around endlessly but..
What is mental health? And do i have it?
“Mental health” includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. Over the course of your life, if you experience mental health problems, your thinking, mood, and behavior could be affected.
Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including:
Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry.
Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse.
A Family history of mental health problems.
“The Secret of Change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the Old, but on building the New.” - Socrates
Depression, anxiety or panic attacks, Post traumatic stress disorder (ptsd), obsessive- compulsive disorder (ocd) and eating problems/disorders- are just a few of the vast list of mental health concerns reported on the news, in the papers and on social media on a daily basis. But what do they really mean?
Depression can be characterised by a prolonged period of low mood that can appear to over come an Individual with no cause. A short questionnaire is often used to aid diagnoses that asks you to grade how you have been feeling over the past two weeks. This is normally carried out with your GP.
Anxiety is the flight part of your fight, flight or freeze response, sometimes this can go into overdrive and result in panic attacks. Cognitive behavioural therapies are often advised to support you with these feelings and can be very effective.
Post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD is a mental health problem you may develop after experiencing traumatic events. The condition was first recognised in war veterans. It has had different names in the past, such as 'shell shock', but it's not only diagnosed in soldiers.
Statistics show physical assault is the highest ranking cause of PTSD.
OCD, obsessive-compulsive disorder has two main parts: obsessions and compulsions.
Obsessions are unwelcome thoughts, images, urges, worries or doubts that repeatedly appear in your mind. They can make you feel very anxious or experience “mental discomfort”
Compulsions are repetitive activities that you do to reduce the anxiety caused by the obsession. It could be something like repeatedly checking a door is locked, repeating a specific phrase in your head or checking how your body feels.
OCD will often “flare up” due to stress or not feeling as though you are in control.
Eating problems, An eating problem/disorder is any relationship with food that you find difficult. Many people think that someone with an eating problem will be over or underweight. People might also think that certain weights are linked to certain eating problems. Neither of these points are true. Anyone can experience eating problems. This is regardless of age, gender, weight or background. Around 25% of all people diagnosed with eating problems identify as male.
“What is normal for the spider, is chaos for the fly”- Morticia Addams
Remember this is your mental health journey, don’t compare your thoughts, feelings or progress to the person next to you.
People that live with mental health challenges can often have over lapping diagnoses and one set of symptoms does not fit every person that is diagnosed with a condition, our mental health is complex and is as individual as you are.
Treatments vary hugely from talking and regressive therapies, exercise and life style changes through to medication and other more specialist therapies. Treatment and support is progressing and growing at a rapid rate leading us to learn more about mental health everyday.
“Your mental health matters, you matter”
If you identify with any of the above, or wish to read more or explore other possible disorders please follow the links below:
Mind mental health charity for support and signposting to more information.
Depression Uk a National Self-Help Organisation helping people cope with their depression.
Anxiety UK is a UK national registered charity formed in 1970 for those affected by anxiety disorders. It is a user-led organisation, run by sufferers and ex-sufferers of anxiety disorders.
PTSD UK is the only charity in the UK dedicated to raising awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder – no matter the trauma that caused it.
OCD Action is recognised as a strong voice for people with OCD, a vital source of help and the Charity that makes a real and lasting difference to anyone affected by OCD.
BEAT is the UK's leading charity supporting those affected by eating disorders and campaigning on their behalf
Alternatively call your GP or if you feel that yourself or someone you are supporting is in immediate danger due to a mental health crisis please call 999.