“Hi! How are you?”
“I’m fine thanks, you?”
“Yeah I’m okay thanks.”
How many times do you hear that conversation? How many times are you a part of that conversation? We ask one another countless times a day, but I for one often expect the same answer. It’s not that we don’t care, but sometimes we’re distracted, aren’t we? It’s coffee time after church, our child is crying, we’re on our way somewhere else, never ending situations were there isn’t time to really connect.
In a time where there is undoubtedly more awareness that mental health matters, it’s vital that we don’t stop at just acknowledging that mental health issues exist – we need to go further and try to understand them so that we can look after ourselves and those we love.
So what do we need to look out for? It’s not about us diagnosing ourselves and our friends – but it is about knowing the possible signs that someone might need some extra help. Have they being complaining about not getting enough sleep or feeling constantly exhausted?
Have they lost their appetite or found they’re comfort eating? Are they finding that feelings of sadness or anxiety are stopping them from doing things they enjoy?
If the answer is yes to these questions – it doesn’t necessarily mean that there is mental illness involved – but it does mean talking to a doctor might be a good idea. Low mood and exhaustion can be a sign of many different things, from thyroid problems to conditions such as anxiety or depression.
And if you recognise something of these things in your own life – don’t feel like you have to suffer alone – as Ann Voskamp so beautifully puts it: “Shame dies when stories are told in safe places.” When we are able to start talking about our mental health, become more aware of the issues around it, we can start to break down the stigma of mental health and ensure that every woman is able to get the help she needs.
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