Mental health isn’t something that we should brush under the rug. A lot of the time, when you have symptoms of depression or anxiety, anyone that does want to speak up, may not, because they’re worried someone will tell them to “suck it up” or “pull their finger out”. And however much they wish that they could do that – they can’t, because that’s not how it works.
Having a mental illness isn’t a choice. It’s not like just having a bit of a bad day and saying you’re depressed; there is a big difference. Depression is like a dark cloud above your head that follows you around wherever you go. It’s like heavy chains that are placed on your shoulders, and you’re expected to carry them around by yourself – constantly, every single day. You begin to lose interest in things you once enjoyed. You won’t want to leave the house or socialise, and you’ll just end up being consumed by all of the negativity.
So as you can see, this isn’t a light matter, and you need to get the help that you need so you can enjoy life again.
Here are some ideas as to what to do if you’re struggling.
Seek help from a medical professional.
This is very hard for a lot of people, because it means taking that big step and opening up, and essentially, asking for help. A lot of people fear this because they are worried about being judged, but it’s so important that you realise, that a doctor is trained and skilled to deal with all forms of mental health. They are there to give you support and advise you of how to manage. They may decide to give you medication, but you mustn’t think this is a bad thing. A lot of the time, there is no specific cause of why you’re feeling so low, it’s just an unfortunate imbalance of chemicals in the brain, and the medication helps level those out so you feel balanced again. Or they may suggest you have some talking therapy once a week, where you go and speak openly about any issues you’re struggling with, and they will listen, and give you techniques on how to overcome these problems.
Encourage yourself to get active.
The last thing you may want to do is go to the gym, and that’s not what’s being asked of you – although if you feel like you were up to it – try it out. But exercising is not only to boost your appearance and fit into those old jeans; there are so many other benefits to it. It’s good for your heart, it prevents illnesses, and it is even said to add extra years to your life. But it doesn’t just help your physical health; it helps your mental health too. When you exercise, no matter how you’re feeling beforehand, you will be stimulated to release endorphins in your brain, and these endorphins make you feel happy. They work to relieve stress and anxiety, and leave you feeling great, even euphoric at times. So try and push yourself to workout. This doesn’t mean you have to do anything drastic, even running around the block is a brilliant start, while being able to have the fresh air to breathe in. It’s all about the baby steps; then once you start feeling more confident, you can go further and push yourself even more.
An animal for emotional support.
This is a form of support that you are now able to get, but they can only be prescribed to a patient by a licensed mental health professional. These animals are there to help you with any struggles you’re having, like in stressful situations for example. They alleviate symptoms by providing you with a sense of stability and love, and companionship, and affection. Take a daily activity, like having to post a letter at the post office, or going to the store to buy some milk – if you have a mental illness, you may not feel like you’re able to do that, especially not alone. Your anxiety levels will rise, you may even get a panic attack thinking about having to leave the house and interact with other people. Now imagine if you had an esa dog with you, walking by your side, giving you the support and comfort that you need. Sure, leaving the house may still be a little intimidating, but now you have your very own companion to help you get through it, and make it an easier experience.