Hi everyone, its Tannaz Hpour and Welcome to a new episode of Minutes on Growth. Last week was mental health awareness week in the United Kingdom and I thought that I would dedicate this episode to mental health. When we break our arm, the majority of us won’t think twice about going to the hospital and getting an Xray or when we catch a cold we might go see a doctor, or we might immediately incorporate more vitamin C fruits and herbal teas into our diet. The point is that with physical health we take action. Most of the times it is an immediate action, but the same can’t be said about mental health. Having good mental health impacts the quality of your life. When you go through a period of poor mental health, you might find the ways you’re frequently thinking, feeling or reacting become difficult or even impossible to cope with. While I am so pleased that many countries and organizations are incorporating mental health awareness week into their agendas, a lot of work still needs to be done. We need to address the stigma around mental health and remove it as a taboo subject in our society. The only way we can do so is by talking about it and raising awareness. I mean, I have been to countries where there are still people who think that you should only see a therapist if you are crazy, and societies that dismiss anxiety and depression as real issues. My parents got separated when I was a teenager, and because they had a civil break up I never thought that I was impacted by it. A couple of months after their separation, I headed to a new country to commence my undergraduate studies. I started drinking heavily and one weekend I ended up passing out. I woke up in the hospital feeling terrified and alone. My university had a policy for underage drinking which stated that in the event where an incident occurs where the ER is involved, the student must complete 2 therapy sessions. During the first session, I realized that I had unresolved issues inside myself. I found out that there was anger and pain within me. I didn’t quite comprehend where the root of my issues lied. I always thought that I had a normal upbringing, and my parents were both relatively active in my childhood, so I wondered why I felt the way that I did. once my mandatory sessions finished, I started to look for a therapist that I felt comfortable with and started therapy. its been almost a decade since and I still have a therapist that I communicate with when life feels dark and I need some light, insight and inspiration.
There are so many different types of mental health problems out there such as depression, anxiety and panic attacks, anger, phobias, eating disorders, borderline personality disorder, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Post traumatic stress disorder, paranoia, bipolar disorder, sleep problems, stress, self-esteem, self harm, and many more. Some of these have similar symptoms so you may experience the symptoms of more than one mental health problem or be given several diagnoses at once, or you might not have any particular diagnosis but still be finding things very difficult. everyone’s experience is different and can change at different times. It is important for us to talk about them, to feel comfortable addressing them, and most importantly to be kind and patient with ourselves as we figure it out. There are ways for us to help ourselves as well. For example, by staying aware of your mental health, nourishing your social life, trying out peer support, making time for the therapeutic activities, looking after your physical health and even contacting specialist organizations. Moreover, there are many treatments available such as talking treatments, cognitive behavioral therapy, Arts and creative therapies, complementary and alternative therapies, and even medication.
I just wanted to give a few examples of how to self-care when facing different problems. With depression, you can try to talk to someone you trust, or try peer support. Peer supports brings together people who have had similar experiences to support each other and many have found that it helps them share ideas about how to stay well, connect with others and feel less alone. You can also try mindfulness and meditation, look after your physical health ( which includes getting good sleep, having a good diet, looking after your hygiene, doing some physical activity and avoiding recreational substance use). It can also be useful to keep a mood diary so that you can track any changes in your mood and notice if any activities places or people make you feel better or worse. You can also try to spend time in nature, many have found that some time away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life can be calming. Looking after yourself and doing things that you enjoy can help support your recovery and improve the quality of your life. For those suffering from anxiety all the above work too and you can incorporate breathing exercises into your daily lives. Take time to inhale and always remember to breathe. It’s the simplest thing but we tend to forget it in panic attacks. If you are having trouble sleeping at night as a result of anxiety, depression, or stress, you can take action by giving yourself some tech free time before bedtime, by establishing a routine where for example you only enter your bed when you’re feeling tired and waking up at a specific time, or by doing something calming such as listening to relaxing music, having a bath, doing breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, visualization, or meditation at Night. If you are unable to go to therapy, there are many wonderful organizations out there that provide Materials on these issues. I obtained most of this information from Mind Organization UK. There are also many Community groups that you can join, or if you tight on time , there are many social media accounts led by certified life coaches, spiritual teachers, and psychologists that offer valuable advice on their platforms.
Do not worry. You are not alone. Mental health problems are a common human experience. They can happen all kinds of people from all walks of life. And it’s likely that when you find a combination of self-care, treatment, and support that works for you, you will get better.
Thank you for listening, talk to you soon.