Mental Health Awareness Month
Mental health and physical health are intimately interconnected, with one often influencing the other. In fact, mental health is just as important as physical health, and neglecting it can have severe consequences on one’s overall well-being.
Studies have shown that poor mental health can lead to physical health problems, and vice versa. For example, chronic stress and anxiety can weaken the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to infections and illnesses. Moreover, depression and anxiety can also increase the risk of developing chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
On the other hand, taking care of one’s mental health can have a positive impact on physical health. For instance, engaging in regular physical activity can improve mental health by reducing stress and anxiety, boosting mood, and promoting better sleep. Additionally, maintaining strong social connections can provide a sense of support and belonging, which can help individuals cope with stress and adversity.
Furthermore, mental and physical health share common risk factors, such as poor nutrition, sedentary lifestyle, and substance abuse. These factors can contribute to both physical and mental health problems, highlighting the importance of addressing them as a whole.
It is also important to note that mental health conditions are highly prevalent and can have a significant impact on individuals’ quality of life. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately one in four people globally will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives.
Across Inspire, members share details about the highs and lows of their mental health journeys, offering advice or encouragement to other members.
Managing mental health together with other health conditions
Some members are dealing with the mental health impacts of living with a rare disease, cancer, or other health condition.
Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disorder in which antibodies destroy the communication between nerves and muscle, resulting in weakness of the skeletal muscles.
“It is hard when no one can see what we go through. I find it helpful to talk to my therapist and other people that suffer from similar autoimmune diseases. They are empathetic and supportive and understanding.” Go to post
Pulmonary fibrosis is a condition in which the normally thin, lacy walls of the air sacs in the lungs are no longer thin and lacy, but get thick, stiff, and scarred.
“For many of us, myself included, receiving the idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) diagnosis was emotionally horribly difficult and I was in a funk for months. My family is both open and not open to talking about my health; and I never know which way the wind is blowing at any given time. So, most of the time I just share the results of my latest test or scan. This blog is a godsend. So are my closest friends. I have spinal stenosis, which is quite similar to OA of the back. My doctors encourage swimming and walking. Doing both has helps me be physically strong and mentally calm. Many people go through pulmonary rehab to learn how to correctly exercise and breathing techniques. I also take antidepressants and see a psychologist who specializes in “health psychology.” It is a fairly new specialty for people with chronic health issues. My psychologist is deeply committed to helping me find the coping skills to help me get through any bad days. I hope this helps. Please keep posting!” Go to post
“I think the most important thing with this IPF, is to maintain a positive outlook on the life we have been given! Don’t dwell on the disease, because we all will pass from this life someday and none of us know when! Just put all that into the back of your mind and close that door! Live life to the fullest….help others if at all possible…it will keep your mind positive! Take antidepressants if you need to…most of what you are feeling is actually anxiety not depression and antidepressants help with anxiety.” Go to post
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a severe, sometimes disabling extension of premenstrual syndrome.
“I lash out and then I’m ashamed for my behavior. It’s a vicious cycle. I’ve been in recovery for seven years which gives me a lot of tools and still find myself in these awful, skin crawling, irritable beyond measure moods. Guess that’s why it’s described as a mood disorder. But man, if I could not have this every month it would be so nice. As far as forgiveness, being in these groups helps where I can read other women’s experiences. I have contacted peer support so I have someone specific to reach out to when it gets really bad. Being extra gentle with ourselves and doing self care too is important. Hot tea, essential oils, baths, soothing music, prayerful meditation. We need to remove the crisis through these ways I think and then we can start to forgive. I’m going to try more journaling and writing too, see if anything comes out that way.” Go to post
Managing a mental health condition
Many Inspire members are managing mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and more. These members share their experiences and help support other members who may be seeking advice or encouragement.
“My heart goes out to you. Feelings of not being good enough, lack of trust, not feeling deserving etc. are present because of the traumas you have been forced to endure.. I believe therapy with the right counselor is your best choice. Preferably one with gray in their hair as yours will be a challenging journey. You did not cause this nor want this but it has been bestowed upon you by very ugly sick people. It is not in any way your fault and you are struggling with the aftermath of it all. I want you to know that yes you do deserve to be happy. You are a beautiful person who has been injured physically and mentally. But that does not mean you cannot take steps to heal yourself . You need love, support, and encouragement from your support system and a wise caring counselor to guide you . Sometimes it may take a change to arrive with the right fit. Please do not give up!” Go to post
“When people feel sad, they may withhold this emotion out of guilt or shame. Other times, you may feel sadness, but be unable to cry. Watch a movie, read literature, or listen to music that speaks to your emotional state to help you shed those tears.” Go to post
If you have ideas or questions about how to support your own mental health, start a post in your Inspire community today. Sometimes, talking about what you are experiencing can be an important step in finding improvement in your mental health.
“There is hope, even when your brain tells you there isn’t.”– John Green