According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 1 in 5 adults in the United States experience mental illness each year. Have you ever heard of anxiety or depression? Most people have – whether they have experienced it themselves or had a family member or friend who has been affected by it. Mental health symptoms can become debilitating. Oftentimes, people are not aware that they are experiencing symptoms of anxiety and/or depression.
Symptoms of anxiety
- Feelings of overwhelm
- Difficulty sleeping
- Difficulty focusing
- Tense muscles
Symptoms of panic
- Heart racing
- Chest tightness
- Shortness of breath
- Numbness or tingling
Symptoms of depression:
- Feeling sad, hopeless, or helpless
- Can show up as feelings of anger
- Lack of motivation
- Difficulty focusing
- Feeling foggy
- No longer enjoying activities you once did
When to seek help:
- You cannot complete daily tasks like brushing your teeth, bathing, eating, and going to work.
- Your mood is negatively affecting your relationships and interactions with others.
- You become a danger to yourself or others.
- It is never too soon to seek help.
- Do not compare yourself to others. Your feelings are valid.
- It is okay to not be okay.
- There is nothing wrong with you.
- Nothing lasts forever and this will not either.
Mental Health Stigma
Although the world has come a long way, there is still some stigma around mental health. I encourage clients to think about it like this: If you had a physical illness, you would likely go see a provider who specializes in that treatment area and follow the directives of that provider in order to experience relief from your symptoms.
Some people have negative experiences with mental health providers. That can and has happened in other specialty areas and the individual would likely find an alternate provider who better matched their needs. Do the same with your mental health providers. Some providers might not be a great match and that is okay. The right person for you is out there.
“I can just talk to my friends. I don’t need a therapist.” Having a neutral party with an unbiased view to talk to can help shift your perspective in a positive way. Additionally, a provider with specialized training will be able to provide evidenced based treatment options and supportive modalities as opposed to solely offering advice based on personal experience.
How You Begin to Heal:
Don’t feel like taking a shower? Do it anyway. Don’t feel like cooking? Make a healthy meal and nourish your body. Turn on some music and start dancing. Opposite action provides you with feelings of accomplishment, resulting in improved mood.
Change your environment.
Go for a walk outside. Go for a drive. Take yourself out for a meal. Call a friend and ask to meet up with them.
Believe that this will pass.
One tool that has shifted my clients’ journeys is knowing that their feelings will pass and their situation will not remain the same. This takes practice; however, continue affirming your belief that this will pass until you start to believe it.
This might sound cliché, but practicing gratitude can literally shift your mindset in minutes. What are you thankful for? It is okay to start small. This can include people, places, pets, and objects.
What are your goals? What are you looking forward to? If there is nothing that you can think of, create something to look forward to. Start taking action to move toward your goal(s).
*The lists in this post are not exhaustive. *
Brianna C. Dawson, MSN, PMHNP-BC
Behavioral Wellness for Women
(p) (610) 551-0550
(f) (844) 640-0639