World Mental Health Day | Be Kind To Your Mind

What is mental health?

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Health is important for the development of the country. World Health Organization (WHO ) defines health as “ a state of physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. 

WHO defines mental health as mental well-being in which an individual realizes his or her abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community. In this positive sense, mental health is the foundation for individual well-being and the effective functioning of a community.

You must have heard all these technical terms before but what mental health looks like to a regular person?

Mental health and wellness is the state at which one feels, thinks, and behaves. 

It can be seen in a continuum, starting with an individual who is mentally well and free of any impairment in his or her daily life, while someone else might have mild concerns and distress, and another might have a severe mental illness.

Not everyone who looks ok is indeed doing ok and sometimes they don’t even know what’s wrong until they discover and goes behind the root cause of it.

Let’s learn what kind of Mental illness exits?

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To be precise, it could be occasional or long-lasting (chronic).

Some of them 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.

So you know there’s something wrong but couldn’t figure out what it is?

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Well, it could be any of the following issues, Our A–Z of mental health:

1) Depression

Depression is a feeling of low mood that lasts for a long time and affects your everyday life. It can make you feel hopeless, despairing, guilty, worthless, unmotivated, and exhausted. It can affect your self-esteem, sleep, appetite, sex drive, and your physical health.

In its mildest form, depression doesn’t stop you from leading a normal life, but it makes everything harder to do and seem less worthwhile. At its most severe, depression can make you feel suicidal, and be life-threatening.

2) Anxiety problems

Anxiety is what we feel when we are worried, tense, or afraid – particularly about things that are about to happen, or which we think could happen in the future.

Occasional anxiety is a normal human experience. But if your feelings of anxiety are very strong, or last for a long time, they can be overwhelming. You might also experience physical symptoms such as sleep problems and panic attacks.

3) Phobias

A phobia is an extreme form of fear or anxiety triggered by a particular situation (such as going outside) or objects (such as spiders), even when it’s very unlikely to be dangerous.

A fear becomes a phobia if the fear is out of proportion to the danger, it lasts for more than six months and has a significant impact on how you live your day-to-day life.

4) Eating problems 

Eating problems are not just about food. They can be about difficult things and painful feelings which you may be finding hard to face or resolve.

The most common eating disorder diagnoses are anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, and other specified feeding or eating disorder (OSFED). But it’s also possible to have a very difficult relationship with food and not fit the criteria for any specific diagnosis.

5) Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a type of anxiety disorder. The term is often misused in daily conversation – for example, you might hear people talk about being ‘a bit OCD’ if they like things to be neat and tidy. But the reality of this disorder is a lot more complex and serious.

OCD has two main parts: obsessions (unwelcome thoughts, images, urges, worries, or doubts that repeatedly appear in your mind; and compulsions (repetitive activities that you feel you have to do to reduce the anxiety caused by the obsession).

6) Personality disorders

A personality disorder is a type of mental health problem where your attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors cause you longstanding problems in your life. If you have this diagnosis it doesn’t mean that you’re fundamentally different from other people – but you may regularly experience difficulties with how you think about yourself and others, and find it very difficult to change these unwanted patterns.

7) Bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder (once called manic depression) mainly affects your mood. With this diagnosis, you are likely to have times when you experience: manic or hypomanic episodes (feeling high); depressive episodes (feeling low); and potentially some psychotic symptoms.

Everyone has variations in their mood, but in bipolar disorder, these swings can feel very extreme and have a big impact on your life.

What causes mental disorders?

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There is no single cause for mental illness. Several factors can contribute to risk for mental illness, such as

  • Your genes and family history
  • Your life experiences, such as stress or a history of abuse, especially if they happen in childhood
  • Biological factors such as chemical imbalances in the brain
  • A traumatic brain injury
  • A mother’s exposure to viruses or toxic chemicals while pregnant
  • Use of alcohol or recreational drugs
  • Having a serious medical condition like cancer
  • Having few friends, and feeling lonely or isolated

Mental disorders are not caused by character flaws. They have nothing to do with being lazy or weak.

How can you overcome this?

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We know it would sound difficult to you but trust us, it’s really important and it will surely help.

1) Get help when you need it:

First and foremost, the most important thing you can do is to get treatment for your condition or encourage those struggling to do so.

Seeking help is a sign of strength — not a weakness. People who get appropriate care can recover from mental illness and addiction and lead full, rewarding lives.

2) Join a support group

Don’t isolate. If people don’t tell anyone about their struggles with mental illness, no one can help them. Many local and national support groups offer programs and resources.

3) Value yourself:

Treat yourself with kindness and respect, and avoid self-criticism. Make time for your hobbies and favorite projects, or broaden your horizons.

4) Take care of your body:

Taking care of yourself physically can improve your mental health. Be sure to:

  • Eat nutritious meals
  • Avoid cigarettes 
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Exercise, which helps decrease depression and anxiety and improve moods
  • Get enough sleep. Researchers believe that lack of sleep contributes to a high rate of depression in college students. 

5) Choose your words carefully

Instead of saying, “I’m bipolar,” you may move toward saying, “I have bipolar disorder” or “I struggle with mental illness.” This will help separate the person from the illness. Being kind to one’s self may be difficult. Therapy can help with this, along with practicing with supportive persons. Words can cut deeper than a knife. Kindness and self-compassion are key to healing.