Why Mental Health Matters
Updated: Jul 16, 2020
Did you know that May is Mental Health Awareness Month?
If anyone is familiar with the Strength's Finder, you must know that one of my top five strengths is Developer (free Strength's Finder test here). I really enjoy chatting with friends and family about different ways to incorporate personal development in my own life and others. In fact, my brain is basically hardwired to be thinking about how to improve 24/7. I'm often looking for ways to improve my mental health too. Mental health is a subject that I think often becomes overlooked and when it does, the consequences inevitably appear.
I recently connected with Carmen on Instagram (we started talking about the Enneagram, is anyone surprised?) and was intrigued by her passion for mental health. I think it is incredibly important to listen to people's stories and Carmen has one that needs to be shared!
Hey guys, I’m Carmen! I’m so excited to be here and talk about mental health with you!
To give some background on myself, I grew up on Hatteras Island. It’s an extremely small area. My high school graduating class consisted of 38 people. (Crazy, I know.)
Growing up in Hatteras was hard. Everyone knew everything about everyone - and there wasn’t much to do around there, so people loved to talk. You didn’t really have a choice in who you hung out with because there weren't a lot of people to choose from.
Differences weren’t normalized. The thing is, more people means a larger variety of people. It’s also more comfortable to be yourself in larger groups - because if someone doesn’t like you, you can just become friends with someone else. We didn’t have that option. But with differences not being normalized, mental health wasn’t ever talked about. So, I grew up with 4 mental disorders - and I literally had no idea because I didn’t really know what those things were truly like.
I didn’t know you could be depressed without being suicidal. I thought having anxiety was only for the people who couldn’t leave their homes. I thought that bipolar disorder was only for the people who were insane. I thought OCD was when you were obsessed with germs or cleaning things. Boy, was I wrong. In 2018, I was diagnosed with all of those disorders.
I only went to see a psychologist because I thought I had ADD. So once I’d done the testing and gotten my actual diagnosis, I was extremely surprised but things had actually finally started to make sense.
Thankfully for me, I’d met an amazing friend away at school, Abie, who also had mental health disorders. She was able to guide me through that hard time. She talked to me about medication, listened whenever I needed, and gave me any advice that I asked for. I was so inspired by her. Abie had so many of the same problems I had, and she coped with it so well. And not only was she able to cope with it, she was able to help someone else through it.
She inspired me to grow in so many different ways. I listened to all of the advice she gave, read books, researched online, watched documentaries, journaled - literally anything that I could do to make myself better. And once I finally started to feel better and get in a good place in life with my disorders, I knew I wanted to help other people do the same thing. I wanted to be someone’s Abie.
That’s why I started my blog The Sustainability of Positivity. I wanted to start the conversation on mental health and show people how they can get to a good place, even with disorders. I wanted to help people grow in the same way that other people had helped me.
Now that you know a little bit more about me, I want to share my four mental health tips:
1. You have to stay in good physical health. Whether you realize it or not, physical health and mental health are dependent on each other. Think about it like this: If you’re not sleeping enough, eating poorly, not exercising, not staying hydrated, or getting outside. How do you feel about yourself? How is your mood? Do you still feel bright and cheery? Or do you mentally feel tired, sluggish, cranky, and unproductive? I know that I do.
2. Use your resources. Come talk to me for a full list.
Talk to someone. Vent to a good and trustworthy friend. Speak to a therapist. Talk to your mom. Whatever you feel comfortable with.
See a doctor about medication if you feel like that would be the right step for you.
Read books on personal development and self growth.
Journal. I literally think of journaling as a form of self-therapy. You will end up discovering so much about yourself, I promise.
Follow positive people on your social media. Let good people influence you.
3. Find something to live for every single day. Find something that makes you happy and excited to get out of bed every day.
4. Do not let yourself stick with bad habits. Stop the excuses. Start showing up for yourself. Make the changes you need to, or else things won’t get better.
I really enjoyed sharing this with you and am super thankful to Madi for having me here. If you’d like to reach out to talk or just see more from me, my website and socials are below. :)