The hurt and pain run deep, and these internal undetectable scars and wounds often go unnoticed, sometimes for years.
Then a traumatic, life changing event triggers the onset of symptoms which now become recognisable as part of a routine. A life long pattern of practices that when looked on with 20/20 vision, which always comes with hindsight, points to mental health issues, or what I call invisible scars.
Invisible because despite the progress made in mental health treatment, the topic is still somewhat taboo in our society. Despite breakthroughs in science, the invisible nature of what happens in our brains makes it fearful. It is terra incognita, the unknown land, and we are all fearful of the unknown.
Here’s what the professionals do know about brain health though, a lack of chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine and some others can effect our moods, perceptions of reality and our relationships with others.
Diabetes is a disease which means the body does not make enough insulin or does not react to insulin levels produced. If we thought of serotonin and dopamine the same way as we thought of insulin, would society still view mental illness with such taboo I wonder?
A major trigger in mental health is stress. Stress is part of life, there is no changing that. But when people lack the coping skills to deal with stress, they develop ‘other’ less than healthy ways to divert their attention from the stress.
Be it drinking, taking drugs, gambling, or fighting, the myriad of ways to avoid dealing with stress head on are not just unhealthy, they are dangerous. None of them allow a person to grow and develop coping skills needed to deal with stress.
One of those ways is to reach out to others, make connections with people, confide in them. Create a circle of friends that you know you can call on day or night, a judgement free zone of people who know and love you and want to help you live a long and happy and healthy life.
Know the stress triggers that start the negative thoughts rolling, be tenacious about following up on therapy sessions, and take prescribed medications for your specific mental health issue.
We all have issues, we all have invisible scars, so reach out, call a friend, call five friends, and take care of yourself. Know that you are one of many people who feel this way.
America has a 6% lead on Ukraine in the World Health Organization’s ranking of mental illness around the globe. America is 26% and Ukraine is 20%. Mental illness has nothing to do with money or wealth, Nigeria scored lowest in WHO’s ranking!
People in less developed countries are happier than those in developed nations? That’s interesting. Are people happiest when they have less financially and have limited choices? If we can afford less does it mean we just have to accept our lot and our definition of success is different? Who knows, maybe in countries like the US people have been fed this line of rubbish that to be successful you must be rich, beautiful and talented or gifted and there is more widespread sense of failure which leads to depression?
If our definition of “success” is causing a sense of failure and triggering stress and possibly even depression then it’s our definition of success that needs to change. If we want to be successful does that mean we have to be perfect? I don’t think so.
There is a list of words that we should never use with children and on that list is “You’re the greatest!” According to online parenting advisor Kaboose, comments like these, “can create pressure for perfection.” Perfection does not exist, except in the eye of the beholder. It is an individual perception of effort and achievement.
There’s nothing wrong with doing the very best job you can do, and accepting that some individuals will appreciate it and others will not. Being happy with your effort and knowing you did your very best, that’s success. Knowing you are unique and being happy in your own skin, that’s success.