Hi Comfizz readers!
Over the next few weeks, I will be writing about several elements surrounding the invisible disability of mental health. In these posts, I will be discussing various mental health matters & sharing my own mental health experiences, as well as including some useful mental health contacts & some tips I find help me.
This week is the NHS’ #SelfCareWeek which ties in nicely with me starting this mini blog series. I will be including a self-care post closer to Christmas which I am super looking forward to writing. Mental health is something I have a lot of experience with & is also something I am very passionate about.
So, what is mental health?
Having a look around in various different books & online, it is apparent that there are lots of things that come under the umbrella of mental health. We can narrow mental health down into many sections & the topic can understandably be very sensitive to approach on a lot of levels, but I do feel society is getting better at discussing mental health & working towards erasing the stigma. However, what actually defines mental health?
One definition I found online is:
“Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act” – mentalhealth.gov
Mental health can be affected in many ways by having a stoma & this is definitely the case with me. However, my stoma saved my life & has given me a quality of life, which I never had before. This means I am alive to actually put things in place to help me deal with my mental health worries.
What is mental health to you?
Mental health to me means a lot of things, but I would class myself as mentally healthy when I can go about my daily life without much struggle fighting off the bad things in my brain or bouts of anxiety. To me, it’s having the resilience to get through the day whether it be full of good things or has some bad things thrown in there too…or if it is a complete write off! I feel mental health is just as important as physical health, and that the two do go hand in hand. A lot of the time if I am struggling physically (fatigue is a bummer for this!), then mentally I start to slide. This is then a vicious cycle of the mental side of things adding to the physical side of things, such as increasing stomach aches, more frequent and watery stoma output, aching joints, feeling run down & being even more exhausted. To then get yourself out of that cycle can feel near impossible whilst you’re in it, but that is another story!
What does mental health mean to those around you?
I asked a number of people around me “what is mental health?” and also asked a few of them to describe what being mentally healthy would mean to them. Here are the answers I received:
Ben, my fiancé: “Mental health to me is being aware of feeling both good and bad and accepting that it’s okay to feel both.”
Mum: “Mental health is to do with your brain, thoughts & feelings and being mentally healthy means being able to do things without bad mental feelings”
Dad: “Mental health is about your state of mind and having resilience. It’s being able to engage without adverse mental consequences.”
Instagram – @crohnswithme: “Good mental health to me is feeling completely free of any internal demons.”
Instagram – @thegrumblinggut: “Mental health is more than just a state of mind.”
Instagram – @lizzietinsman1: “Mental health encompasses the ‘whole’ you… You can’t just treat one aspect, they all matter!”
Instagram – @brittany.pea: “The most important parts of our body that we often neglect or don’t take care of!”
From this, we can see that mental health can mean different things to different people and also that mental health does play a big role in our lives & really needs to be taken seriously.
You are not alone & in my next blog post..
One of the most important things I think we need to remember (& I am guilty of losing sight of this at times) is that even if it feels like it, we are not alone. There is always someone who will be feeling or has felt the way you feel & that in itself can bring some comfort. That isn’t to say that you need to compare yourself to whether other people have it better or worse. In my opinion, that’s not what it is about. Someone else’s struggle doesn’t invalidate yours and it isn’t a competition. Your feelings are valid.
Maybe have a little think about what mental health means to you between now & my next post. Doing this can help you put things into place maybe if you are struggling to get yourself into a slightly better place. For example, if it means being able to sleep without as many restless nights you could do some research into tips for better “sleep hygiene” or your bedtime routine.
Next time, I will be digging deeper into the mental health topic, exploring mental wellness vs mental illness & the invisibility that does indeed, & sadly in a lot of ways, come with this.