Mental Health: Take Charge Feel Better
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five Americans is affected by mental health conditions. Did you know that there’s a connection between cerebral palsy, anxiety, and depression?
As reported by Cerebral Palsy Alliance:
One in 4 children with cerebral palsy have behaviour problems. At greatest risk are those with an intellectual disability, epilepsy, severe pain or a milder level of physical disability. Problem behaviors include dependency, being headstrong, hyperactive, anxious, or prone to conflict with their peer group, or exhibiting antisocial behaviours.
Children with cerebral palsy may also have emotional problems such as difficulties with their peer group and strong emotional responses to new challenges. Teenagers and adults with cerebral palsy may be more prone to depression and anxiety disorders.
In addition, a 2019 Annals of Internal Medicine study found that adults with CP are at an increased risk of experiencing mental health disorders compared to their non-disabled counterparts.
Let’s End the Stigma Surrounding Mental Health
We all experience challenging times in our lives. In other words, you’re not alone. Let’s end the stigma (“but you don’t look depressed”) by asking for support, sharing how we’re feeling. In the process, we can raise awareness and change the perceptions about what a depressed person looks like. Above all, there’s no reason to feel embarrassed or shameful. Consequently, you can you change the way the world sees mental health. Join NAMI’S StigmaFree campaign + take the pledge.
Tips to Take Charge of Your Mental Health
You deserve to feel happy (or at least happier). Remember to be your best mental health advocate. Take charge by doing simple things — counseling, exercise, meditation, self-care, and you can begin to lift the darkness — and lean into a more graceful attitude. Experiment, choose whichever ones help you. Good friends, talking to a therapist and workouts help me tremendously.
I also recommend reading books, listening to podcasts featuring people who are thriving with mental health challenges. A must-read is Maurice Benard’s (“Sonny Corinthos” on General Hospital) New York Times Best-Seller Nothing General About It: How Love (and Lithium) Saved Me On and Off General Hospital available on Amazon. Do yourself a favor and buy the audio version. Hearing the author tell his own story is an emotional, uplifting experience. Watch my interview with Maurice on YouTube.
In conclusion, the journey to mental wellness isn’t always easy. When all else fails, have a little faith and remember — one kind word can change someone’s entire day.
(Photo by Vie Studio from Pexels)
Please remember that there’s no shame in asking for help with anxiety, depression, etc. Talk to a family member or a trusted friend. Also, contact your doctor and/or visit a therapist. More importantly, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) if you (or a loved one) are having suicidal thoughts.