Are You Sad, Stressed, Depressed, or Anxious? You Are Not Alone.
It's the final day of Mental Health Awareness month so I wanted to write something about the topic before the day wraps up. I'm happy that the Royal Family in Great Britain has been so vocal about the issue. Their Heads Together initiative https://www.headstogether.org.uk/about-heads-together/ aims to remove the stigma that still surrounds mental health issues for some reason. If you're dealing with depression or anxiety or addiction, you know it doesn't help when people tell you to, "just smile" or "suck it up" or "just stop." The stigma is something I tried to address last year in my May 31st blog post. I hope that some of you were inspired to get professional help after you read it. If you missed it, or if you just weren't ready to take action then, here is an excerpt:
In all my years of being a DJ on WOBM, I’m not sure I have ever shared with you my personal journey of how I got professional help for a number of issues. Since this is the last day of Mental Health Awareness Month, I’ve decided to ‘go public’ with my past struggles. My hope is that my story might inspire you or someone you know to take a step towards feeling better. Help is available, no matter what you may be going through: relationship issues, anxiety, depression, addiction, compulsive behaviors, etc. I’ll put a website and hotline number at the bottom of this post so you can get some guidance and support.
My first visit to a therapist was related to my fear of driving. I had 3 accidents in a short span of time (black ice, a deer, and an inattentive driver) and kept reliving the crashes in my head. I was really anxious being in a car and started to make excuses to avoid going places. That’s when I knew the phobia was interfering with my life. The doctor said the crashes caused a mild case of PTSD! I’m better now, but I still struggle with driving in bad weather, which I’m working on.
Another round of therapy came after my divorce in 1995. Those appointments helped me get clarity on the relationship I want with myself as well as my future spouse. I came out of those sessions feeling stronger and wiser and open to loving again.
Do you know anyone who bites their nails, picks their skin, or pulls out their hair? Those are all body focused repetitive behaviors that I learned about while in therapy for my eyebrow pulling. After suffering silently for years, thinking I was the only person with this ‘strange habit’, I was relieved to learn that the hair pulling disorder has a name. It’s called ‘Trichotillomania‘ and about 2 in every 50 people have some form of it. A site that is full of information and support is http://www.bfrb.org/ Whether you’re the one with the condition or you’re the parent or partner, you’ll find links to a super supportive community of people who understand and can help.
Therapy and support groups have been beneficial to me and many others that I know. Locally, Ocean Mental Health Services is a valuable resource if you’re looking for some guidance and/or treatment for a mental health issue.
If you’re dealing with any of the challenges mentioned above, aren’t feeling like yourself, or if you’re not enjoying things the way you used to, you might benefit from talking to someone.
Visit http://oceanmhs.org/ or call (877) 621-0445. I know that taking the first step can be hard, but there are brighter days ahead if you allow yourself to get help. We all deserve to feel our best.