You are the driving force of, well, you. There are things that happen along the way that may morph or shape that driving force, but it comes from within. Scars, or motivation, or an illness dictate the way we take care of ourselves. How can we help ourselves ensure we are moving in positive, healthy, or happy directions?
Where Do I Begin?
Checking in on yourself is a great place to start. How are you feeling with yourself? Are you happy or satisfied? Do you feel like something is missing or there is too much chaos around you? Checking yourself and your mental state is taking a deeper look at yourself and assessing if anything needs tweaking or perhaps major changes. Here are a few questions to help you gauge where you are.
- How do I feel about where I am in life? This is a bit of a loaded question. This isn’t like you didn’t become the astronaut you thought you would be when you were 5. This is asking how you feel about where you are in life today. No matter how you got there.
- Are you doing things that you enjoy? Do you go out of your way to find time to do things that make you happy? Doing things that make you feel good can help your self-esteem.
- Am I ok? Do you sometimes feel lost or concerned? This is an important question that you need, to be honest with yourself.
Sometimes, we blow things out of proportion or we don’t recognize the importance of something that has happened. Life can take twists and turns you never saw coming, but we need to adapt. Try and find the positive and focus on that. Keep working toward the positive things in your life- even if you don’t feel like it in the moment.
If you have reflected on some parts of your life that you feel like you need to change, it may be time to take some action. Mental health is an important aspect of all of us and assessing your own is a wise thing to do. If you have a thorn in your side you aren’t going to leave it there because it hurts and it is causing you pain. The brain feels pain, too. Whether it be your pride being hurt, a loss, or a bad time in life that you haven’t shaken it causes pain. Mental health is not being “crazy.” It is asking yourself if you are ok, and if you aren’t- finding out why you feel that way. You are not less than, or weak, or failing if you are not happy all the time. Human beings were not built to feel happiness all of the time.
Mental illness is common in America. In 2017, it was found that nearly one in five adults in the U.S. lives with a mental illness. These illnesses, unfortunately, often go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Mental illness symptoms affect thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. These symptoms can range from mild to moderate to severe. They can affect your ability to concentrate. Extreme mood changes, excessive feelings of guilt or shame, often feeling confused can all be signs that your mental health isn’t where it could be. There are mild disorders that with a little help and treatment can be managed and life will get better. There are other disorders that need more intense help and treatment, and life can get better and more manageable. If you or someone you know shows any of these signs or behaviors, reach out for help.
Substance abuse can also be a problem and will affect your mental health. Drinking too much and more often than you should, can affect your body, mind, work, or family life. Your own prescription medications that you are thinking about more and more. Drug addiction is a disease that affects your brain and behavior. It makes it difficult to control your use of drugs. It is a gradual, but powerful, force that can drive some right to rock bottom. Some people become addicted to illicit recreational drugs, such as cocaine or heroin. Some people can become addicted to medications that their doctor has prescribed. Most addictive drugs affect your brain’s reward system by flooding it with dopamine.
This results in a pleasurable high that can motivate you to take the drug again. Over time, it is likely that you’ll become dependent on the drug to feel “good” or “normal.” You can develop a tolerance to that drug, forcing you to take more and more. Withdrawal symptoms keep a lot of people using. They are your body trying to rid itself of the toxins that drugs are. Chemically, your brain is out of sorts. There is help for that.
How to Help
Mental illnesses, substance abuse, and addiction do not always look the way we think they will. Anyone is susceptible to their brain chemically changing and then needing some help to get it back on track. No one should ever feel ashamed asking for help. These problems and disorders do not go away on their own and they come back worse if left swept under the rug. How to help yourself? Be honest with yourself. Reach out to other people that will be honest with you. Are you feeling like yourself? Are you so far away from yourself you have forgotten what that is?
The answer is reaching out for help. Do some research, I hope this article helps in any way possible. Make a call, for you or someone you love.