Monday, October 31, 2016

Mental Health Check-up: Step 2

When was the last time you considered getting a mental health check-up?  Especially in countries where we have access to good health care, many people get regular physicals along with assessments when something is not working right so why don't we get regular mental health check-ups?

Our mental health is as important, if not more important than our physical health (I will leave that one for a debate at a later time), yet when have you ever had a mental health check-up?  For most of us this would be never.  As a society we have only discovered the importance of good mental health over the past few decades.  Now we are seeing mental health issues rising to epidemic levels.  Something needs to be done to stem the growth of this issue and it begins with regular mental health check-ups.

This can be done through visiting a mental health professional who can help you to assess your issues, or you can try to do a self assessment.  Similar to our physical health, with some knowledge we can do an assessment on ourselves to begin the process.  We may not be able to diagnose ourselves but we can at the very least centralize where the symptoms are coming from.  We can do the same thing with our mental health but the process will have us searching within ourselves rather than in the physical realm.

We have established that we need to want to change first in the previous step, and now we need to identify what the problem is.  Use your behaviors and how you are feeling to begin the assessment.  Do you feel sad, angry, anxious, frustrated, or other emotions that are happening outside of your control?  Only you can tell how you are feeling and discovering what those feelings are is the beginning to better understanding your inner self.

Ask others that you trust how they see your behaviors.  It is often difficult to get some honest insight from those who care about you, but if you can handle possible constructive criticisms, this can be very helpful in identifying things about yourself that you may or may not be able to see.  Those close to us can share insight into whether they perceive us as being down or depressed, frustrated or angry, or maybe simply conflicted and lost.  Each piece of information will bring us closer to understanding where our issues may lie.

I have been struggling physically more than usual for the past couple of weeks now.  I did my own mental health check-up this morning and discovered that I am feeling a little frustrated and a little down.  Once I discovered this, I dug a little deeper to understand why.  I am frustrated because I like to be an active person and this illness has kept me from that for longer than normal this time.  I decided to push my self a little past my comfort level today so that I can feel like I have accomplished more and expect that this frustration will pass as the day goes on.

I reflected on why I am feeling down and much of it comes from the same place as my frustration.  I am also struggling to write as much as I would like since the illness has caused quite a bit of 'fog' in my brain, and the words do not come out as easily as normal for me.  I am pushing myself a little in this respect as well because I 'want' my condition to improve. We often have to push ourselves out of our comfort zone if we want to see improvement in our mental health.  Exercise helps to strengthen us both physically and mentally.

I will continue with step 2 as my clarity increases over the days to come.  If my plan to push myself works, I will be pushing forward sooner than later.  For now I will suggest that you do a self assessment and start working on the easiest parts first.  Care about yourself and do regular mental check-ups and you will begin to see yourself more clearly.  Become an expert on you!

Be well

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