It’s Mental Health Week, and despite our ever-constant removal of stigma from mental illness, there are still a lot of common misconceptions about those who suffer from a mental illness. We’re here to break down those barriers, and unravel the common misconceptions about mental health.
Misconception #1 - Mental Illness Is A Sign of Weakness
A common stigma attached to those who suffer from a mental illness is that they’re weak. This is a huge issue, as there is no correlation between strength and mental health. You can lift 100kg above your head and still suffer from panic attacks. You can suffer from depression and be a heavyweight champion. Invisible sickness is just as prevalent as a physical one.
There are so many ways you can help yourself and others with mental health and wellness. Practicing meditation is a great way to lower your levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), but it doesn’t have to be traditional forms of meditation. You don’t have to sit and chant “om” to meditate; you can practice yoga, listen to relaxing music or even do some gardening. Keep a garden shed from MyDeal in your backyard, and tend to your garden when you need to relieve yourself from stress.
Misconception #2 - You Can Just Snap Out Of It
Another huge issue that people with mental health issues face on a daily basis is being told to “snap out of it”. Think about it as if this person had a broken leg. Would you tell them that their broken leg was a character flaw, and to jog it off? No, that’s silly. Just because you can’t see a mental health issue, doesn’t mean it’s not there. Recovery takes time, and you can’t flick it off and on like a switch; the brain doesn’t work like that.
Misconception #3 - People With Mental Illnesses Are Violent and Unpredictable, And Should Be Locked Away
If someone suffers from a mental illness, it doesn’t mean that they’re violent and unpredictable. Those who suffer from anxiety and depression, will often lead normal-looking lives. In fact, some of the world’s most famous and successful people suffer from mental illness, such as Prince Harry and JK Rowling, who have opened up about their mental health. It’s something that you have to work with, not against, and it does not mean you should be locked away in a loony bin with a straight jacket. It’s not the 19th century, people.
Sometimes all you need to do is sleep. Sleep is a huge player in the role of mental health, and if you don’t get enough hours of sleep a night, over time you will accumulate sleep debt, which plays havoc with your decision making and cognitive function. Take an afternoon off, or take a mental health day from work (yes they exist, and yes you should take one) and sleep for the day. Make sure you have a soft duvet quilt to snuggle into, and make sure you keep yourself away from work tasks for the day.
Misconception #4 - People Shouldn’t Feel Anxious
Dr Lillian Nejad from OmniPsych shares her breakdown of this common misconception. “When people seek treatment, they want to rid themselves completely of anxiety. Anxiety is a necessary human experience that serves a useful function to help us effectively respond to threats in the environment. If people can view it as part of the normal range of emotions that everyone experiences; rather than a scary emotion that must be avoided at all costs, then there is less fear associated with anxiety and the physical responses associated with it. Anxiety seems at odds with people’s need for comfort and security because of the highly unpleasant physical responses that accompany it; however, it is essential to our safety and survival. If we can appreciate the function that anxiety serves, then this can reduce the fear associated with it.” Find out more about OmniPsych by following them on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Eugenie Pepper from The Key For Me shares her personal wisdom. “The first thing you should do when suffering from anxiety is check out all the things that could be causing the anxiety. Anxiety can be cured through vitamin or mineral supplements (omega 3, Vit D & D, amino acids, zinc, selenium are some deficiencies that can cause stress.
I have always been an anxious person and regularly suffer from anxiety. In the last couple of years, my anxiety had reached the point in which I have to say was severely unbearable.
The symptoms were very physical.
- Heart beating
- Unable to sleep
- I was not able to focus.
I visited a doctor who was into preventative medicine specialist.
I was given quite a few supplements to take including magnesium, L-theanine and activated vitamin D, selenium. I no longer have anxiety. I also meditate if I feel stressed as anxiety is vicious cycle - stress can deplete the body of essential nutrients which leads to anxiety in some people. Meditation and yoga is scientifically proven to relieve anxiety and we the key for me.” Find out more about The Key For Me by following them on Facebook and Instagram.