Mental health is simply the state of successful performance of all our mental functions. This is difficult to describe but when one is mentally healthy one is able to perform there day to day activities successfully and is able to manage healthy inter personal relationship, be able to cope with change and handle diversity. While in our normal day to day life we do not observe what mental health is all about it, we only get curious about it once we notice something is wrong or the absence of good mental health and even then most of the times we choose to ignore it.
Good mental health is something that has been ignored by most of us, while we do notice a slight headache we ignore to recognize sudden mood swings, low tolerance levels, being gloomy and blue all the time as a sign that something may be wrong with our mental health. More people worldwide suffer from mental illness than is ever understood, in the United States alone every year around 6% of the population goes through some form or the other of depression and depression is just one of the many mental disorders that exist. Most of the times our failure to recognize this stems from being unaware or being ashamed of admitting that “something is wrong with my mind”.
Is Mental Health separable from physical health?
While popularly it is thought that mental and physical health are separate in most cases one’s mental illness is caused by some physiological changes in the body and indeed many cases of depression in women are caused in and around the time of menopause or in men when they are going through nights when they don’t get enough sleeps because of work pressures. The body goes through stress and is fatigued by it and because of that the mind also reacts to it and develops some sort of disorder.
The other way round is more obvious and when the mental health of people deteriorates the body takes its toll and that is more visible.
What this essentially means is taking care of ourselves physically is also an important aspect of maintaining our mental health.
Public Attitude about Mental Health and Illness
Even in developed societies like the United States where there are a large number of information sources and any one can just go to the internet and take self diagnostic tests to see whether they are suffering from any form of mental disorder a large number of cases go unreported. This is because of the public opinion that mental health is a given and there is some degree of stigma associated with the fact that a person’s mental health is suffering from one reason or the other.
People suffering from one type of disorder therefore will go through a long phase of denial where in they will refuse to acknowledge that something seems to be out of ordinary. This will translate into the patients developing multiple disorders which will become more difficult to cure or even diagnose. It will also result in the disorder getting deeper entrenched and will make it that much more difficult to cure it as well.
Use the Internet
Awareness is the key to fight mental illness, awareness about the fact that more people than you can imagine suffer from it in some point or the other in their lives and awareness about the fact that once diagnosed it can be easily treated through a combination of talk therapy and medication.
Internet is a good source of information and you should learn to leverage it to your best use. The first step is to understand what changes in behavior are you experiencing which is possible to do for most people in the early stages. The next step after making a list of symptoms is to take a few self diagnostic tests which you can do anonymously and see where it takes you. There are a host of mental disorders and chances are that after taking a few of these tests you would be led to specifically one or the other. Then you can do more in depth study about it and even if you think it not necessary visit a doctor at least once to double check whether you are suffering from that particular disorder, something else or it was just a false alarm.
The key thing to remember is the faster you realize what is wrong the faster and easier it will be to cure that thing.
Author: Kitty Barker – Kitty often writes for and with Depression-Assistance.