Ask the Advocates: Mental Health (Part 1)
What does mental health mean to you?
We all have, at times, felt down or stressed or even frightened. For the most part, those feelings can pass but sometimes they can develop into serious problems that can affect your life in so many ways.
Mental health is just as important as physical health. Lucky for me I have a positive outlook. Having a positive mindset has helped me so much in dealing with my heart disease. For me, a positive outlook has helped to improve some symptoms associated with my medical condition. I believe that my mental health has helped me to live a balanced life. I have noticed that having a positive mind has helped me adapt to changes in my life and cope with difficulties.
This is not always the case for everyone. I have seen different ways people deal with mental health issues and how they affect their lives in hurtful ways. Their poor mental health affected them and other people around them. Also, not being open about one’s feelings can harm you. Not just mentally but physically as well. I feel that your mind has so much power on how you are physically. Mental health and physical health cannot and should not be separated.
We also need to understand that mental health doesn’t always stay the same throughout a person’s life. It can change as surroundings change and as you move through different phases of your life. Mental health is very important and we need to begin talking openly about it at a very young age. Children should be made aware that it is ok to not feel well mentally all the time and help them to find ways to feel good. Children and adults need to know that it is ok not to be ok. We can all work to get better. Having the tools to deal with and improve mental health can save countless heartache and lives.
To me, mental health means control and power. Any disturbance in my mental health has the ability to directly impact my physical, emotional, or spiritual health. I’ve experienced heart palpitations as a result of anxiety or a sudden onset of PTSD. Other times I have been physically and emotionally drained, unable to get out of bed because of depression I was oblivious to.
I wouldn’t say I’ve ever questioned my faith or why me; but I have neglected my faith at times due to my mental health. There have been times that my mental health has caused me to not be as vigilant in my prayer life, or unable to worship at church other times. Mental health can be a distraction and cause major interruptions.
As you can see mental health encompasses many parts of my world. I am not willing to allow it to consume the best or worst parts of me. When I have control of my mental health, then I have control and power over my life.
Mental health means everything to me. If we do not take care of our mental health it can have a physical impact on our bodies. I know if I want to stay physically healthy, I need to practice good habits for my mental health as well.
A big part of mental health that I value is letting people handle their emotions on their terms.
For me, mental health is so much more than just “yoga, meditation and being mindful". These are things I can do to make myself feel better, but it is so important to have habits that I know are going to make me feel good and know how to use them in my everyday life. I don’t think there is one right way to practice mental health. It can look different for everyone. Something that helps you might be a stress to someone else.
Keep an eye out for parts 2 and 3 of this series. In the meantime, consider sharing your story about what mental health means to you by clicking the button below!
Do you use exercise to help manage your heart failure?