World Mental Health Day – Awareness.

 

World Mental Health Day

The 10th of October 2018 – we have dedicated this day and date to increase and spread knowledge and awareness towards Mental Health, worldwide.

What is Mental Health? The functioning level of psychological and emotional well-being considered healthy from the absence of any mental illness due to the right balance of behavioural adjustments.

Simply put, having a clear state of mind at all times. Is this even possible, during these times that we live in? Has there anyone who has not been affected by mental illness during their lifetime?

It has somewhat become apparent to put ‘Us’ aside and prioritise externalities.

We see changes happening around us, every day and certain behavioural patterns on our colleagues at work, mates in school, closest friends and even at home by family members. Most often, we choose to ignore because we do not understand what exactly are the reasons behind these dramatic changes in their behaviours. Or our own.

Mental illness affects everyone – from that one person who is suffering silently or loudly, to their loved ones supporting them, young and old, poor and rich, educated or not! Because it comes without warning. Because it does not choose its’ victims by a voting poll but the situations and the way we handle it, is what causes the long-term damages.

The following are some of the common types and signs and symptoms of mental illnesses that affect children from ages 8 to 12, teenagers, younger and older adults.

What are the common Mental Health illnesses?

  1. Depression – feelings of severe despondency and dejection; also the most common mental illness which is always the first and at the top of the list.
  • overwhelming emotions, extremities in projecting feelings, silent or talkative
  • breaking down in tears, not having a reason to cry, despaired and hopeless
  • feeling pessimistic and hostile of their situation, defensive and irritated
  • extreme lethargy and fatigued, not interested in any daily activity, discouraged
  • suicidal thoughts and risky actions that cause self-injury and harm

 

2. Anxiety – feelings of worry, nervous and agitated without any particular reasons.             Usually a reaction of feeling uneasy to one or more phobia and/or a result of isolation and withdrawal.

  • Social anxiety, fear of meeting people, communicating and even travelling either alone or public transportation
  • Childhood traumas that cause a lifetime of an unhealed wound, post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Emotionally unable to express themselves freely due to bitter, fear and loneliness.

 

3. Obsessive – Compulsive Disorder ( OCD ) – a mental illness which in itself has two parts and the person usually will experience one or the other, and at most times both.

  • Obsession, constantly disturbed by repetitive thoughts which are unwanted. This does not necessarily be a focus on one thing that is particular, it could be anything and changes from one obsession to another.
  • Lack of focus and attention. Easily distracted by their own thoughts.
  • Compulsion is what the person does to control their obsessive thoughts. This is something the person has a slight control of since they know what they are doing like arranging and ordering things in a certain way, cleaning and tidying to keep one busy

4.  Eating Disorders – abnormal and extreme eating habits due to concerning body shape and size. Affects both men and women and the particularly the younger

  • Anorexia Nervosa is an emotional and psychological disorder which causes the person extreme weight loss of the constant fear of weight gain.
  • Starving themselves to lose weight and the body suffers malnutrition due to lack of essentials
  • Bulimia Nervosa an emotional disorder which due to their obsession to lose weight, bouts overeating and forcing themselves to vomit and purge
  • Also exposing their bodies to extreme health risks

 

As a woman who has suffered depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder ( OCD ), I can tell you that it was never easy to be me, to be in my head. But I managed and took control of my mental health by focusing on my overall health and surroundings.

A person is not fully recovered from these illnesses but with the right guidance, support, and care any long-term damages could significantly decrease and kept under control.

How do we do this? By identifying the symptoms of Mental Health illnesses.

What are the symptoms of Mental Health illnesses?

  • Mood disorders – unpredictable and rapid changes in moods throughout. E.g: Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorders in women, Anxiety.
  • Personality change – a dramatic change in projecting themselves as in their appearances, opinions, actions and exaggerated emotions.
  • Hopelessness and overwhelmed – portraying to have given up or given in to the situation, not seemed to have control of the situation, good and bad.
  • Withdrawal and Isolation – staying aloof from the outside world, anxious and nervous, changes in self can cause fear and confusion.
  • Poor self-care and risky behaviour – alcohol and drug abuse. Ignoring their health, hygiene, well-being. Could also be threatening to others due to their indulgence of illegal substances.

If you can recognise any of these changes and symptoms on somebody or even yourself, it is time to seek help.

There are many campaigns and programmes which are readily available in your country. Your local medical and general practitioners are there to give you all the information that you need to identify, diagnose and help you take the first steps for recovery.

These are just some forms of help that you or your loved one could be receiving right now to tackle Mental Health illness:

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy ( CBT ) a concept which is based on your thoughts and mind, emotional and physical energy and senses, that works with the positives that could help you keep negative and destructive behaviour from your life.

You get to share and talk about your troubles, worries, problems. Someone who will listen to your fears and help you rediscover and improve.

Prescribed medications for certain disorders such as:

Antidepressants – Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and Selective Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs) to treat depression, anxiety and insomnia.

Anti-anxiety – Benzodiazepines for general and social anxieties, panic attacks.

Antipsychotics – Antipsychotic pills prescribed to treat Schizophrenia and Bipolar.

 

Neurosurgery for Mental Disorder ( NMD ) – a type of brain surgery which is only used in extremely rare cases where the small area of the brain tissue contributing to the mental disorder is destroyed.

 

There are solutions and cures for every problems and illness. But we can together prevent major damages that are caused by lack of knowledge to these issues by simply educating yourself and using these to get the help we need.

Together we can create awareness of the importance of Mental Health.

A Revisited Land, Became My Home.

I visited the UK as a tourist, 18 years ago.  As I arrived at the gates for Arrivals at Terminal 5, the feeling of absolute freedom filled my senses. Right at that moment, I knew, I’ve found my path.

The United Kingdom consists of four countries, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The country’s parliamentary democracy is ruled under the constitutional monarchy, our Queen Elizabeth II is the Head of State. Long Live the Queen!!

Since I was a tourist, I had a list of touristy stuff to do. Places to visit, photographs to capture, food and drink to experience, and so on.

I hopped on the Jubilee Line and walked to Westminster from London Bridge. There it was the Palace of Westminster. I stood there for almost an hour admiring its’ English Gothic architecture, quite a perpendicular gothic revival style, known to be prevalent from late 14th to mid 16th centuries owing to its’ unique characterizations, arches, vaults and archery windows. I went back again, this time at night. It looked stunning than ever!

Big Ben the Great Bell and Clock Tower, is 159 years old and stands tall at 315 feet, has 11 floors ( which is currently under renovation works, 2017 – 2020, there will be a lift! ). The Clock Tower was renamed Elizabeth Tower in 2012 to mark the Diamond Jubilee of our Queen. If you’ve visited England and been to London to see our Queens’ reign and walked the street of Westminster, then you definitely remember your first feeling of the Big Ben Chimes 15, 30 and 45 minutes past the hour. Although the bells have been silenced due to the renovation works, it has not stopped tourists from swarming in and around Westminster to capture this historical British cultural icon!

Tower Bridge – a combined bascule and suspension bridge, that crosses the River Thames and often confused to London Bridge ( you can see the red bridge from here ).

And since you are here, don’t miss your chance to visit Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London. The castle has played a prominent role in the English history and the home of the Crown Jewels of England! I saw an actual Koh-i-Noor diamond ( originally owned by the Kakatiya dynasty ) which was surrendered to Queen Victoria after the British conquest of Punjab.

As my holiday came to an end, I was sad to go. I still had other parts of England and Great Britain to see and explore.

I left determined that I will return someday. This is what I told my mom, I am going back there someday, two years from now actually, and it will be my home.

And I did come back 2 years later.

England –  The country that I adored so much… that I fell in love and made it my home!

God Bless America.

Ever since I was 19, I wanted to visit the Big Apple. In 2016, that dream became a reality!

Finally, the tickets were booked, hotel reservations made and I was flying to the City that refuses to Sleep!!

When I got off the flight, my heart feels this strong emotion, so intense – the feeling that assured me how completely elated was I for this trip of a lifetime and totally flabbergasted!

How crazy is this? Just imagine it – Me, an ordinary person, who spent her life looking at the Big Apple on postcards, was now standing right bang on the middle of It – New York City! I’m looking up those tall buildings that boast dynamic, architectural structures of design and shape. Wow… how humbling is this moment of my life.

I walked into the Empire State Building on Fifth Avenue… it gives me goosebumps just recollecting those memories. A breathtaking and panoramic view of man-made evaluation.

The bustling crowds at Time Square. They were everywhere. So many people!! I was a tiny little ant in this Jungle of all Capitals!!

Central Park – I walked right where they shot Home Alone with the Pigeon Lady! Didn’t see her there nor come across as many pigeons as there were in the movie, but Hey… that’s not the point!

Watching Phantom of The Opera on Broadway – I finally got to tick that off my list, on my birthday. Did I tell you… the show and performance was spectacular and mind captivating??

As every passing day unfold anew, my reality stood tall on Staten Island – 305 feet to be precise, regardless of what may the future bring, She reminded me, one shall not take anything for granted.

I still have more to learn and explore this country and study their anthropology. And I will go back again someday very soon. Yet, I came back a different person, with the desire to dream even bigger.

If this sparks a dream in you, live it a reality and make it greater.