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What is Mental Health?

Updated on May 18, 2016

Mental Health and you

Have you experienced trouble with your Mental Health?

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A logical look at it

I'm going to start with a comparison to physical health as physical health is much easier to quantify and appreciate.

Your physical health is important, looking at your life as a whole you will likely sustain multiple physical injuries. Some more severe than others, looking at the averages mostly will be minor. Further than that some people live with long term physical health problems and others have to deal with some physical health problems that last for a certain period of time etc. Ranging from something small like a cut knee to the other end where someone is unable to walk and need a wheelchair to get around.

In my eyes mental health is exactly the same, in your life you will have to deal with mental health problems. The law of averages will mean that most will be very minor, however some people will deal with bigger problems for certain periods of time and further than that some people will deal with these problems long term, possibly indefinitely.

Mental Health Stigma

People talk about raising awareness about mental health and combating the stigma. I'm sure that while you scroll through facebook sometimes you see something like this, I know I do.

Through my experiences I think that this comes from the focus being on people who have 'mental illnesses' i.e. ongoing mental health problems.

Through living with 'Mental Illness' myself and part taking in therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy, I have in turn raised my awareness of my mental health and how to notice mental health problems in my day to day life to try and stop things getting out of control. Through time and recovery I have started to notice often slight mental health problems is almost everyone that is very close to me.

When I first started to feel that I was having serious problems with mental health, which was after I suffered an Injury (read about my injury here) my first dealings with mental health stigma was from my girlfriend at the time. At that time I was coming to realise the long term implications of the injury I suffered and I was having periods of feeling very depressed about it. When I spoke to said girlfriend about this she told me 'you're not depressed, you suffered a head injury but you're not one of those people' she then followed this up by saying 'I'm not saying mental health problems are bad or should be frowned upon, I'm just saying you're not one of those people.
This conversation stuck in my head, years later I now that this exactly sums up the stigma of mental health. The 'stigma' is that people have things separated in their heads, that there are people with mental health problems and people without. While this may be true just think about it we don't group people on physically injured and not. Yes there are things for disabled people but this is the extreme. Mental Illness is the extreme, Mental health problems are something that you probably have had at some point in your life and if not, you likely will.

Mental Health and me

Mental health first really came into my conscious awareness about a year after my Injury (read about my injury here) When I was facing the start of what turned out to be an ongoing rollercoaster of issues with mental health. However having said that, in hindsight I can see that I was very anxious when I was younger which affected me most when I was in high school and I became very shy for the majority of the time in high school. Though after leaving school to study and then work I became more comfortable in situations, despite still having a certain extent of anxious thinking. However it was never a problem that game me troubles with anything. Till after the injury when my anxiety levels went through the roof and as a result I had years of insomnia to deal with.

Another example is that I can remember times where I felt depressed, you might call it grief because I was 10 years old and my grandmother died. Yes that is true but it is also depression as your brain is overwhelmed with feelings of sadness, emptiness. As the definition of depression states

'a mental condition characterized by feelings of severe despondency and dejection, typically also with feelings of inadequacy and guilt, often accompanied by lack of energy and disturbance of appetite and sleep.'

That was how I felt at the time, and following my injury and suffering and getting help for 'depression' I realised that it was the same thing. They had just been put in different boxes. But for me the only difference was the severity and longevity.


Mental health an YOU

Have a think about it, I doubt that many people are born with mental health problems. You never hear of a newborn baby with depression or anxiety etc. Thats because most mental health issues are caused by the experiences in your life, these experiences start from the moment you enter this world as especially your earlier years in life, while your brain is still developing. This is not to say that we can place blame on others or certain experiences for mental health problems but can think about these things to try and learn or figure out how to deal with these problems.

As I said earlier in my comparison to physical health most issues with mental health will be minor and will not cause a major upset in your life. An example being a light graze on your finger, at the time its uncomfortable. Maybe you need to put a plaster on it but in a day or two it will be fine.

So take a moment to have a think back on your life, have you experienced any of these? no matter how little and don't disregard because you know what made you feel like that.

- Anxiety (feelings of worry or nervousness)
- Depression (feelings of emptiness or bleakness)
- Drug abuse(excessive drug consumption, this includes things like alcohol and caffeine)
- Insomnia(inability to sleep)
- Gambling addiction(frequent need to gamble)
- Mood swings(dramatic changes of mood)

This is just to name a few of the more common mental health issues that people are faced with

Mental Health and you - Answer again

Have you experienced trouble with your mental health?

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Myths and Facts about mental health

Everyone has troubles with Mental Health?

Mental Health problems are often talked about in the extreme cases so many people separate themselves from this. But everyone has a mind, and with that everyone should know that what goes into your mind and your brain (especially when you are young) will have either a positive or negative effect on your mental health. So what I'm saying is that mental health 'problems' are normal. I believe that on some level we experience different levels of different mental health 'Problems' in our lives. But for some people these are more severe cases i.e. long term. So when you think of mental health don't think of people that live with mental health problems as different than you. Try to understand and think about how you have dealt with possibly a much more minor version of what they are going through.


Mental Health

I hope after reading this your think of mental health slightly differently than you did before you read this. While you may not agree with everything that I have said it is good that you are thinking about this and that hopefully you may discuss this with some people.

Overall the point I am making is that everyone should know how it feels to experience mental health problems, the difference is that most people experience mental health problems in minor cases.

Thanks for reading , whether or not you agree with everything I said I hope you enjoyed it. Please feel free to comment below and share any thoughts or feelings you have about this.


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    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 

      3 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      I believe that everyone should spend a week in a mental health unit. It changes a person's perspective on mental health. I know, it did mine. My first time there was due to needing changes in my hormonal medications, and I simply needed monitoring. The second time, I was suicidal, and needed a new outlook on life. There are several members of my family diagnosed with mental health problems. For the most part, we function normally in society. One of my daughters, however, was born with mental health issues, and has had them all of her life. The rest of us came by it through our life's experiences. I, too, believe that there are varying degrees of severity, and try to be careful not to judge others who have these issues. It helps to look at it as being similar to physical health issues. We have a problem and we simply due what it takes to deal with it.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Anxiety comes once in a while but I deal with it and it never debilitated me. Maybe, it affected my sleep but I do something to resolve it.


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