WTF is Mental Health?

Today’s offering is not for everyone.
You may think that. You’d be wrong but I respect your opinion.
Mental health is a subject that affects each and every living person. We all have it, but like physical health, some have no mental health problems and others have many. This in part comes down you looking after and maintaining your health be it mental or physical and in part it comes down to external factors. That factor is the same across but forms of health though. STRESS. If you put enough stress on a muscle, ligament or bone it becomes damaged and can break. So what do you think happens when stress in its many forms is applied to the mind? We become mentally unwell. If left untreated it gets worse, like an infection, exactly like an infection.
Mental health is a term that people like me throw around and discuss with relative ease as we’ve some understanding and likely a negative experience of it. For others though this can be a daunting term that conjures images of Schizophrenia, Anxiety, Depression and Suicidal Thoughts. Pretty deep stuff. These are all manifestations of poor mental health but do not represent it entirely. These examples conjure their own images in peoples minds and that is often not of a ‘normal person’. But its amazing how many people, once you ask them a few personal questions, realise what state their own mental health is in. Mental health affects us all.
Maybe a more clear description would be:
‘Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.’   MentalHealth.Gov

Like I said earlier I’ve had my own experience of mental health which I’ll share in a moment from a Facebook post written many, many months after my first panic attack. But first I need to say that my entire reason for this post is to let you know that there is help/support out there for you. If you need it please reach out. Do not suffer in silence. I’m not talking about getting a Counsellor or Psychiatrist, that’s later stuff. I’m talking about… talking. To a friend, to a stranger, to a GP. to me, to your family, to your neighbour. This is truly the first step to getting the support as once that conversation starts, you will be able to seek the appropriate professional support. Here are Some useful links

So here’s my experience, if it rings a bell with you then let me know. I hope it helps.
Came close to another panic attack today, if I’m honest I still feel on the verge of one but part of my coping mechanism is to talk to someone about it. In this case I chose to write it down. I have only experienced this on less than a handful of occasions and have no idea how people manage them when they happen more regularly.

It feels like being punched in the stomach, only the nauseous feeling doesn’t subside it grows, like a fire of negative energy. Almost like a constant hunger that nothing will satisfy and yet there is no desire to eat. Just a constant churning like a cement mixer filled with rocks, growing and growing.

My throat goes dry and words and breath both become distant and hard to find. With each breath i take i find the next one only seems further away. My chest tightens and feels as though a mountain has been place upon me. Each breath heavier than the first and though you want and need a breath each one gets more fearful as you don’t know if you can take the pressure.

Once I get past the stomach, chest and throat trauma we get to the brain collapse where every worst possible thought floods your brain within a split second and yet feels like it could last forever. There’s no hope, no light nothing… Just loss, emptiness and despair. Loneliness even in the most crowded of places and every negative feeling or emotion floods your system at once. Before it dulls and everything goes numb.

I feel I’m through the worst of it right now but the anxiety of it returning remains. The fear seems to be the worst part rather than the attack itself. And yet, life goes on. ‘SUCK IT UP AND GET ON WITH IT’ one part of my brain tells the other that’s crumbled in the corner cowering.

Putting it down in text has helping the cowering part to stand up, dust off and say ‘F¥€K YOU’ to the anxiety and I feel better. There is a root to this feeling that is going to be around for a while and I know what I need to do to come out of the attack, can’t stop it happening but can at least manage it.

My sign off to this is DON’T SUFFER IN SILENCE! Please speak to someone, anyone and share the burden. Too often I feel as a bloke and as a dad I need to bottle it and deal with it. But I can assure you that talking about it works much better.

If any of this sounds familiar please like, share or comment.
Thanks for reading.

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