The First Step
The terms mental health and mental illness are used interchangeably. However, mental health refers to the psychological, emotional, and social balance of the individual. Acceptance and mental health go hand in hand, because it is the first step one takes towards healing.
For progress of any sort, it’s necessary to begin at square one. Only then can an individual move forward. Diving in and expecting miracles to happen overnight is unrealistic and the same is true when it comes to one’s mental health journey.
To find out more about mental health, illness and the stigma attached to it, click here.
Why is accepting mental illness difficult?
You wake up one morning and you skip a meal. You don’t think anything of it. Two days later, you decide against a shower. That evening you bail on a plan for no apparent reason. Your patterns change infinitesimally and it might take a few weeks or even years, but one day you’ll have to confront the fact that you’re struggling with mental illness.
Mental illness sneaks upon us. We can’t pinpoint a single moment when we snap, and there’s a shift from being okay not to be okay. I’ve had a number of my friends confess that they refuse to give voice to their worries, because the second that they do, it becomes all the more real.
The reasoning is simple – “If I ignore it, it’ll go away.” If only it were that easy.
Humans tend to resist change. This also factors into why it’s so difficult for us to acknowledge and accept that there’s something wrong when it comes to our mental health.
Acceptance and mental health – Why is it important?
- Burying mental health concerns in work is in pointless and can quickly become toxic. Denying that we have a problem keeps it at bay, but it is like a dam with ever-widening cracks and turbulent, unrelenting waters on the other side.
- Keeping busy, having plenty of distractions is helpful, but it is also living in denial if you’re doing it to keep from acknowledging what you’re going through.
- Another worrisome occurrence is when we tend to beat ourselves up for not feeling okay. The added pressure is unhealthy and hampers healing.
- Comparing ourselves to others whom we think are doing better or have it all together is also detrimental. The first step towards effective healing comes with acceptance.
There are two things to be remembered when dealing with such situations: The first one is that there is absolutely nothing wrong and no shame in having dreary days. The second, and more important, is that you aren’t alone. Read that again.
Look into the mirror and see a friend.
From personal experience, I would like to tell you that the very second you go against your instincts and concede, a considerable weight lifts off your chest. The unending conflict in your subconscious is resolved. You feel freer, more comfortable in your skin and ready to take on the world.
When you decide to focus inward, seek out who you are and make peace with it, you’re miles ahead of who you used to be, and that’s all that matters. Once you are ready and you acknowledge that you’d benefit from some more help, consult a mental health professional. It’s important to find the right fit, so take your time!
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I graduated with a triple major in Psychology, Sociology and English. In the future, I aim to work in mental health care with a special focus on children, adolescents and their families.
In my free time, I read, experiment with different types of tea, play with dogs and document beautiful sunsets.