Discussion: It’s okay if I’m not okay
May 6, 2022
By Chiara Noble
With National Mental Health Awareness month falling in May, it just feels right to discuss this topic. Keep in mind that I am not a doctor or a licensed therapist. Still my genuine care and concern for people along with me and my son’s personal journey has helped to shape me into the mental health advocate that I am today. Mental health knows no race or color, no age or religion. It happens to the best of us. I was talking with someone today about my anxiety and this is something the person and I have in common. Let me explain. Many people cannot understand how something as simple as feeling anxious can be a real life mental health disorder. But it’s true and trust me it’s no fun. Generally, when people think of mental health, they think of the disorders that are on a greater scale such as Schizophrenia, Autism, and Bipolar disorder. But we list the top 3 most common disorders as major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
We often misunderstand mental health because it is hard to define. I want to talk a bit about the ones that are more common, but often go unnoticed. We don’t recognize these symptoms in others, so how could we notice them within ourselves? Some symptoms of depression can include feelings of sadness or hopelessness, loss of interest/lack of pleasure. Along with short temper, irritation, tiredness, memory loss, sleep disorders, crying uncontrollably and reduced appetite and weight loss. Now that’s a lot to digest. I don’t believe that if you have one or even a few of these symptoms that it automatically means you are suffering from major depression. But—if you find yourself in a tailspin where your bad days are outweighing your good days. Or if you can’t seem to muster up the strength to get out of bed in the morning. Talk to someone and just know that it’s okay, if you’re not okay.
Moving onto anxiety. This is one I know all too well. There are some common things that can cause one to become anxious. Such as things which can result from work, school, personal relationships, emotional trauma, financial concerns. Stress caused by a chronic or serious medical condition, a major event or performance. Side effects of certain medications, alcohol consumption, drugs such as cocaine and a lack of oxygen are among some reasons. Again, a lot to digest. Now, everyone has at least experienced one of the following listed above, but there are key indicators on when this may or not becoming an issue that should be addressed. If you find yourself with exaggerated tension and nervousness worrying about daily life. Or if you are having chronic issues falling or staying asleep, or even find yourself in a state of panic, sweating, heart racing, dizziness, numb or a feeling of being paralyzed; you might be suffering from generalized anxiety. If someone tells you it’s in your head and to get over it; Don’t listen. Some people can manage day-to-day anxiety on their own, but others require medication and that’s okay too. Whatever it takes. But you can live through it.
OCD can be trickier. I learned in a training seminar recently that while we often find ourselves saying, oh I have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). That because we may “seem to obsess or displaying compulsivity” that it can be quite offensive to someone who relay suffers from the disorder. (Just putting that out there) Symptoms can be obsessions or compulsions, or both. Symptoms can be mild and gradually progress in severity. They include persistent, repeated and unwanted thoughts, urges or images that are intrusive, and compulsive or ritualistic behavior to get rid of the thoughts. If untreated after a prolonged period, it may lead to complications such as Contact dermatitis from frequent hand-washing. Among the list is inability to attend work, school or social activities because of repetitive actions, troubled family and social relationships, poor quality of life, and suicidal thoughts and behavior. But just like all the other disorders, there is help!
I hope that this information was helpful to you and please continue to educate yourself on these and any others that you may want to learn more about. And by all means, pay attention to each other, look out for one another. These signs are very visible if you take the time to care and notice. Please don’t allow anyone else or even yourself to keep you from seeking treatment. You owe it to yourself and we all deserve to be well, and no one should have to suffer in silence. Remember, it’s okay, if you’re not okay. God Bless.
Thank you for joining me for Friday at Sundown. Remember… Just Breathe!
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