The month of May is Mental Health Month or Mental Health Awareness Month in the States. It has been observed since 1949. (source)
There is an annual theme, and this year, it is “Risky Business”. It is to educate people about habits and behaviors that increase the risk of developing or exacerbating mental illnesses, or could be signs of mental health problems themselves.
Mental Health America (MHA) identified 6 types of risky behaviour:
Based on my recovery journey so far, along with what I’ve learnt at CoDependents Anonymous, I’d say these 6 types of compulsive behaviour are carried out as a form of escape, avoidance and denial. Compulsive behaviour is typical of an addict, any kind of addict.
Believe it or not, the one thing people like to escape from the most is FEELING THEIR FEELINGS.
Feelings and emotions can make one uncomfortable, painful and difficult to bear. It is a survival instinct to stuff them, so that these “inconvenient” emotions don’t get in the way. But they inevitably manifest in other kinds of expressions, such as this list of 6 “risky” behaviours.
My (ex-)therapist, Steve, taught me that feelings have to be let out, they have to be expressed, in healthy ways. That’s just how it is. If they’re not, one will carry a lot of baggage (years of pent-up feelings swept under the rug) which will likely result in dysfunctional lives.
Steve’s way of putting it is cruder but to the point: you will be constipated. Everything is just stuck inside you, making you uncomfortable and waiting to burst out. Notice how some people lose their temper and rage? It’s likely they’ve kept a lot of anger within and they’re finally exploding—which may end up hurting others and themselves.
It’s always a good idea to do a feelings check-in with yourself every now and then. To take stock of how you’re feeling, whether Glad, Sad, Mad or Scared. To be aware of how you’re feeling is an act of self love and awareness/consciousness, since feelings are an important—and necessary—part of our human existence.
Relevant reading : Emotional Awareness
My reflection and personal take on Mental Health
Mental health matters in my country
The realm of “mental health” matters is unfortunately backward in my country. People are still coming to terms with more common special needs like Autism, Down Syndrome, Dyslexia, clinical Depression…
Over here, it’s tough even finding support groups for ADHD sufferers (maybe I’m not looking in the right places?) and there is HUGE stigma attached to mental-health-anything. Such great lack of education and understanding which leads to ignorance. I’m afraid to even tell people I’m in therapy or go for CoDA meetings, where I believe it is not that taboo in places like the States.
And unlike in the States, where one can use health insurance for mental health issues, once you’re diagnosed here, it is akin to being condemned, because you’re taken as a “high risk” individual (for instability and suicide) and you won’t be able to buy most types of insurance. What bollocks! This is one of the reasons I’ve not gone to get myself diagnosed, though many a time I’ve seriously considered it.
There, I’ve said it; I’m undiagnosed. But I suspect I have the following, based on my symptoms:
Unintentional blogger turned avid advocate
When I started this website/blog, I never thought myself as a *blogger*. But now I’m pretty much a passionate advocate of #mentalhealthawareness.
I’m also happy to share about what Codependency is, since not many people know that it’s a thing. Could also be my way of Tradition Five of CoDA (“Each group has but one primary purpose — to carry its message to other codependents who still suffer.”)
This online platform was started to document my mental health recovery journey, and also to create an income opportunity for myself.
Through my various social media accounts, I’ve met others like me, which thankfully makes me feel less alone in whatever I’m going through.
I’m happy and honoured to say I’ve met some kindred spirits and treasure their friendship. I call this community my “recovery fam”. I’ve also come across the vibrant discussions on various mental health issues, which I really enjoy. Finding my place and voice as a #mhblogger so to speak, was a pleasantly surprising turn.
Mental health stuff is not limited to the clinically diagnosed sort, but anything that can prove debilitating and impair one’s daily living or quality of life.
For your mental health
I will leave you with some things I’ve learnt along my mental health recovery journey…
How’s your mental health today? Have you checked in to see how you are doing, mentally? Is your mental health in check? Or do you need to schedule a mental R&R for self-care, stat?
Remember… #bekind to yourself today 🙂