Did you know that May is Mental Health Awareness Month?! One of the most common things I hear in my personal life and professional work is how isolating dealing with your mental health can be. With the historical stigma and everyone trying to make the best of life during a pandemic, it can be hard to say, "I'm struggling with this."
Common Misconceptions About Mental Health
#1 Struggling with your mental health means you're crazy. Truth: You're not crazy. Having a mental health issue or diagnosis is a battle with many symptoms. Regardless of what you are experiencing, you are not your symptoms. #2 You can outthink and pray away your mental health issues. Truth: There are many aspects contributing to your mental health symptoms including biological, physical, and environmental factors. Subsequently, it will take a variety of supports, skills, and approaches to improve and manage your symptoms. #3 Mental health issues only impact certain demographics or "types" of people. We all have mental health! Yes, there are certain factors that make us vulnerable but we are all susceptible to those factors over the course of our lives. #4 Having mental health challenges or mental illness means you are weak or lazy. Symptoms of mental health issues such as anxiety and depression include fatigue, difficulty concentrating, poor sleep, poor appetite, loss of pleasure, hopelessness, etc. This is not to be blamed on your character or your integrity as a person. You need support to improve your symptoms. #5 You are to blame for your mental health concerns. With biological, physical, situational, and environmental stressors to consider, there isn't one cause to blame and thus, you are not to blame. There are steps you can take and skills to acquire to improve your mental health.
Just as we all have spiritual health and physical health, we also all have mental health. It's okay to make it a priority and it's also okay to experience challenges. Taking steps to manage the quality of your mental health is a demonstration of strength, not weakness! You can do this!