The education system does not teach much about mental health. Due to this lack of education and awareness, many people go years struggling with mental health disorders and do not even know it. However, it is quite recognizable in yourself and others, if you know what you are looking for.
There are many signs that people with mental health disorders demonstrate. A sudden change in behavior is a big indicator. Symptoms include persistent sadness, anxiety, feeling of emptiness, hopelessness, helplessness, loss of interest, decreased energy, low appetite or overeating, irritability, difficulty concentrating, early-morning awakening or oversleeping, and/or thoughts of death and/or suicide.
These symptoms are present in depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and attention deficit hyperactive disorder, which are all mental health disorders. The cause of these disorders vary from person to person. One cause is a traumatic event or series of events that have occurred or are ongoing, and have not been addressed and/or coped with properly.
The brain tends to remember the bad more than the good. As someone who has overcome mental illness, please know that you are not alone and that it is very possible to overcome any disorder. It took me years, but with the combination of correct testing, medication, therapy, and planning, you can manage your mental health disorder enough to live with more control over your life.
Mental health is your state of well-being in which you realize your own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and are able to contribute to your community. My mental health was great growing up despite the horrible upbringing I had endured.
During my childhood and throughout high school, I knew my abilities, despite being degraded daily. I grew up in an abusive household. Seeing police cars at my house was a normal thing. Crying myself to sleep, wishing for a way out happened too often I ditched school consistently because people, even the teachers, told me I was too stupid to graduate, let alone go to college. Yet, I never gave in. The way that I coped with life was by using everyone’s destructive words and actions towards me as motivation to prove them wrong.
Sports helped me have more of a focus and be productive on and off the court. Sports gave me more confidence and made college a reality. I ended up graduating from one of the top college preparatory private high schools in the U.S., and I was the first person in my entire family to accomplish this. I cried on graduation day because after all the trauma I went through in life, I finally found my “way out” and I got a scholarship to play NCAA Division I sports in college.
I was excited, but college was not what I expected it to be. People were out and about all hours of the night, drinking, partying, jumping on cars, and were completely reckless. I did not fit in in college at all. Growing up in Hawaii made me very naïve. My gullibility led to me being sexually assaulted my freshman year of college.
A guy on the football team asked me to help him study for our upcoming geography test because I was getting a 92% in the class and he was failing. I was always raised to treat people the way I would want to be treated and if I needed help, I would want someone to help me. So, I agreed to help him study. He asked if I would come to his apartment to review. I did not think anything of it, but I learned very quickly to always meet in public places.
Surprisingly, this was not my breaking point. I just transferred and went to a junior college in California to be with my boyfriend of two years. This was another learning lesson; never follow someone. All decisions need to be made in your best interest.
I ended up breaking up with him after two months of moving there for him. He was not going to school, was not working, and was not splitting the bills evenly. He was living off of me and cheating on me. Yet, that still was not my breaking point.
After that, I did not care about being in a relationship. Guys just kept using me, so it got to a point where I just decided to focus on myself and getting back to the Division I level, which I did. Everything seemed to be going my way for once, but then, my breaking break came.
I was dating someone in the NFL but he was very abusive and hit me. Shortly after, I lost my grandfather who was the only person that ever supported me, was there for me, talked to me every day, and loved me fully. I had never felt so empty. I feel like I died. I was so low. I had nobody. I felt so alone. Nobody understood me. Nobody cared.
My college roommate said she had a busy day so when she left, I purposefully overdosed, laid down in the bath tub, and just closed my eyes. I did not care anymore.
Somehow, when I woke up, I was in the back of the ambulance. The paramedic told me that my roommate had come back home early, found me, and was the one who had called the ambulance. I really thought I was going to die and at that moment in the back of the ambulance, my grandfather came to me. I felt him there with me, holding my hand, and I just started crying.
I was admitted into the hospital. Psych ward is horrible. I was able to transfer out into the inpatient intervention program. It was a nice facility, but the people there were very odd. Majority of the patients there were older and had some type of drug addiction.
We were required to go to group classes at the start of the hour, every hour starting at 9am until 5pm. In these group classes, we all shared pieces of our stories, and for the first time, I did not feel alone. The only thing that made me feel crazy was the fact that I could relate to all these drug addicts.
This crazy chapter of my life was such an eye-opening experience. I would never wish this upon anyone which is why I want you to know that you can take preventive measures to help yourself and others.
As a parent, check in with your child daily, no matter how old they are. Be involved with your children no matter how busy work is or how many kids you have; no matter what is going on in life, you need to be involved in their lives.
As a self-care measure, be more in tune with identifying your emotions. If you ever feel alone or feel like not being on this earth anymore, call your best friend or close family member. There is a hotline but calling someone you are close to is more beneficial.
Your emotional well-being, your spiritual well-being, and your physical well-being, all effect your mental well-being, and vice versa. There is a direct correlation between your emotional health, spiritual health, physical health, and mental health. The better your spiritual, emotional, and physical health is, the better your mental health is as people with medical conditions have a higher risk for mental health disorders like depression. Vice versa, people with depression are at higher risk for medical conditions. Therefore, every aspect of your health needs to be addressed.
There are many ways to improve your overall health. Your spiritual and emotional health can be addressed through meditation, journaling, and art. These are all healthy and helpful ways of coping and bettering your spiritual and emotional health. They are positive ways to deal with your emotions, identify your emotions, ground yourself, and learn more about yourself.
Exercise is a way to improve your mental and physical health. Exercise is a safe and healthy way to cope with mental health conditions because it increases chemicals in the brain to act as an antidepressant. Also, it helps with physical health because it minimizes your chances for health conditions. Exercising for a short 20 minutes helps improve your mental and physical health. The better your physical health, the better your mental health, and the better your mental health, the better your physical health.
Hundreds of thousands of people lose their lives to mental health disorders. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. and on average, there are 129 suicides per day. These are staggering sad numbers that can be prevented by being more in tune with yourself and by being aware of the people around you.
Even if you think your health is good, do a self-reflection. I guarantee that a self-reflection will be beneficial to you because no matter what the status of your spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health is, there is always a way to improve one aspect of your health. Better health will be better for you and the people around you. Spread awareness, light, and good health with in, and radiate your energy to help make this world better.