When I was a young lad growing up I called my brother dork one time in front of my grandma. Grandma could not believe I called him that word, reason being was that in her time as a kid the word dork had a complete different meaning, the word dork was very derogative but over time the word had taken on a completely different meaning.
If you have seen the movie Back to the Future do you remember when Marty McFly would say “that is heavy” and Doc asking him about why he kept using the term heavy, was there a problem in the future with density? Same word, but the word has taken on additional meanings over time.
Tonight I did a little experiment, I asked my wife “When I say the words Mental Health, what is the first few thoughts that come to your mind?” She thought about it for a second and she responded that she thinks of someone crazy, she is rather blunt, but none the less that was her first thought.
When someone says the words “mental health” what are some of the first thoughts that come to your mind? Do you first think of someone that has anxiety or depression? If someone commits suicide do you find yourself saying he or she lost their battle with their mental health issues, or that maybe that person had been struggling with mental health issues for a long time?
Just saying the words mental health often causes people to tense up, some people would say it’s a scary subject that most people are not ready to talk about yet. The words mental health have begun to take on a meaning of someone who has mental health issues and that person must have something wrong with them, that person probably needs some professional help.
Mental health is a much broader spectrum than just someone who deals with things such as depression or anxiety, mental health is something that affects anyone and everyone, yes you read that correctly, everyone has mental health. Most of us have seen people out jogging or going to the gym because that person is most likely working on maintaining or improving their physical health. Some people like to cook healthy foods because they are concerned about maintaining a healthy body and good nutrition is a great way to make sure your body has what it needs to be healthy. Mental health is no different. Working on maintaining your mental health is just as important to keeping you strong and healthy as it is to go to the gym and work on your physical well being.
If you see a person who is in good shape going to the gym you might not assume they have some sort of problem they are trying to fix or that they are trying to improve their strength because of an injury, if you are like me you might think that person is concerned about their physical well being and the gym is how the remedy that concern. My wife goes to the gym to improve her mental health and her physical well being, her trying to kill herself in a cross fit class is a great mental release for her, as for me things like cooking and wood working are ways I improve my mental health.
Sometimes I have called in sick to work, not because I am physically sick, but I simply had a day that was very taxing mentally and I need a little time to fix my mental health, to unwind so to speak. It does not mean I am suffering from depression, I just need a break, I need a night to collect my thoughts and refocus myself, I use that time to maintain my mental health. Now with that being said, if I don’t work on maintaining a healthy mental health then sure it might lead me down the road to anxiety or depression if I don’t do something to fix myself. It’s no different than eating cake and donuts and fast food all day long, your physical health most likely will take a turn for the worse if you don’t do something to improve your eating habits and your physical well being.
So in summary if someone says they need to work on their mental health don’t assume that person has some serious mental issues or assume that person is “crazy”, it may just mean they are working on keeping themselves healthy mentally, however it might also mean they are seeking help because maybe they are struggling. We need to break the stigma of mental heath is something bad. Mental health is not something we should be afraid of. Don’t be afraid to ask someone if they are okay or if they need any help, a person who is currently in a bad state of mental health may just need to hear that you care and that their life matters, sometimes that can be enough to lift a persons spirits, or it may be enough to give them hope that they can fix their mental health so that they can get back to a healthy lifestyle.
If you are someone who is struggling and not sure what to do, there are several resources you can reach out to. One resource I really like is T.U.G.S. Check them out at http://tugsgroup.com/ They are a great resource for people needing help, also a quick google search will yield you many options to finding help as well.
If you are curious and want to learn more about mental health I urge you to check out my friend Jason Medows, he is the host of Ag State Of Mind podcast, he can be found at https://agstateofmind.com/ Jason’s podcast is geared more towards the agriculture industry but don’t let that scare you, I promise you will hear that most of the stuff he is talking about can relate to your own life or it might relate to someone you know.
Take the time to heal yourself whether its physically or mentally, your life matters, don’t let anyone tell you differently.