Mental Health Days

Everyone needs a mental health day once in a while – a break from everyday stresses and pressure, a day to just enjoy life and do what you want or to do nothing at all. However, there are people who never get a break because every day they wake up with “it.” What exactly is it? That’s a good question, and it’s different for everyone. Nowadays, we hear more than ever about anxiety, depression, and other mental- health illnesses. Has it always been such a big issue in society or is it more prevalent these days? It’s an invisible illness, and you can’t always see that someone is suffering. People may be smiling on the outside, but they can be feeling so much more on the inside. Or they might be feeling nothing at all. Self-awareness is important, and if you know you have issues or suspect someone else does, seek help from the experts. There is no reason to suffer alone. Mental illness does not have the stigma it once did when people were less informed.

Here are some symptoms to watch for:
Feeling consistently sad or empty
Feeling hopeless or worthless
Loss of interest in hobbies or activities
Lack of energy or wanting to sleep too much
Difficulty concentrating
Insomnia
Weight loss or gain
Thoughts of suicide
Ongoing headaches or stomach aches

If you have one or two of these symptoms once in a while, that is pretty normal. There is a big difference between just feeling down for a day or having some anxious moments and experiencing these feelings daily. Sometimes it’s good to self-diagnose that something is off and not getting better. Don’t keep it to yourself. Discuss it with family or a friend and seek medical help. It can be terrifying to tell someone for the first time that you are concerned about yourself or someone else. But taking this first brave step puts you a little closer to help and feeling better.

If you or someone you know is thinking of suicide, call 911, especially if there is an immediate threat. You can also reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255.

by Gayle Barnes