The first step to getting mentally fit (or mentally in-shape as Mattie would say) is to educate yourself on different mental health topics. One of my biggest issues with the topic of mental health is that people like to group certain actions with one specific mental illness. People fail to realize that someone can act in so many different ways because of their mental state; some ways you may not even realize.
For me, I have dealt with anxiety for awhile now and even though I have it under control more than before, I still find myself acting or feeling in different ways that I cannot really explain. For example, sometimes I get extremely quiet and in a mood where I really do not want to be bothered. For some, this may simply be a sign that they want to be left alone. However, sometimes this means I am having anxiety about something and need some space to figure things out.
Anxiety disorder is not only in the form of someone freaking out and having a noticeable mental breakdown. Sometimes, our mental breakdowns are strictly mental; meaning that we do not necessarily show them.
There are times when I cry uncontrollably, throw or hit things, distance myself from the world, or even do all of these things at once because my anxiety gets a little too real for me.
It even has an effect on my body with chest pains, a pulsating feeling in my stomach, shortness of breath, and a tightening in my muscles which causes spasms. There are plenty of times where I am experiencing all of these symptoms and still walk around with a smile on my face. There are even times when I do not even realize how much anxiety I am feeling until these symptoms come along.
Someone once told me that anxiety is just a “mind thing.” It really hurt me because I knew they didn’t quite understand what I was dealing with. Anything that affects your health, your mental wellness, and your overall well-being is more than just a “mind thing.”
I say all of this to say, I wish people would become educated on mental illness and its effects on a person. So many people deal with these things and they may not even tell you; they may not even know it themselves. We have to stop looking at this issue as being “crazy” or a little “off.” The reality is it’s a norm in our community, we just do not know how to deal with it or address it.
We must stop thinking so close-minded about mental illness and be aware of all of the facts. The internet may give you a list of symptoms for each form of mental illness, but please be mindful that it is a lot more complex than a list. A person who is not saying a word may actually be saying a thousand words that they simply cannot express.
Michaela Carter is the founder of ADashOfMichaela.com, a blog that focuses on inspiration and lifestyle topics. She is also a contributing blogger to RocsiDiaz.com and a newspaper reporter for TheTrueCitizen.com. Michaela is a recent graduate of Georgia State University where she obtained a Bachelor’s in Journalism. You can keep up with her and her blog on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest @adashofmichaela.