Last week Kid Cudi courageously shared his struggle with depression with his fans and the world. I hope that this starts a trend that enables more people to feel comfortable opening up about their mental health struggles and and seeking help. Mental illnesses can develop from traumas that we have experienced, overwhelming stress, genetic factors, or not learning healthy ways to cope with daily stress. No matter how mental illness develops, there is no reason to feel shame about it. Mental illnesses should be thought of as symptoms on a continuum. Many of us experience symptoms of mental illnesses from time to time and sometimes those symptoms meet criteria for a mental health disorder. We all should take steps to promote our own mental health just like we work to maintain our physical health. That is one reason I started posting Daily Mental Health Tips on my Twitter and FB pages.
Today is World Mental Health Day. A day designated to raise awareness of mental health issues. In honor of this day I’m doing a brief post highlighting three reasons to take care of your mental health.
- Mental illness can get in the way of your productivity
Sometimes people try to ignore signs of mental illness (e.g.feeling down all of the time, not enjoying things, worrying about everything, difficulty sleeping, drinking too much, pervasive irritability, panic attacks) hoping that these symptoms will just go away. However, if the symptoms persist they will likely get in the way of your daily functioning and goals. It is best to address your mental health concerns sooner rather than later so that they don’t get in the way of you doing what you want to in life.
2. Mental illness can cause problems in relationships
Mental illness often manifests as problems in relationships with family, friends, and romantic partners. It is hard to be the type of friend, partner, or family member that you would like to be if you are always feeling depressed or anxious about something. Addressing your mental health concerns through therapy can improve your relationships
3. Mental illness gets in the way of you enjoying life
Living with a mental illness can be pretty miserable. This is the reason that some people with severe mental health concerns consider suicide as an escape from their symptoms. When you have a mental illness it is difficult to fully enjoy life. As Black people, it may be easy to stay in survival mode while navigating the many stressors we face on a daily basis. It is important to remember that life is not just about surviving, it is about thriving. Going to therapy can not only help you address difficult symptoms, it can also help you to boldly live the life you want.