Mentally healthy

F11D99E5-901A-43C2-AAF4-EBAA552BB7D3Over the last few weeks, I have scored average to above average on the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well Being Scale, and my psychiatrist has confirmed that I am “stable”. These assurances have strengthened my belief that I am mentally healthy.

Can you really believe that bipolar has graced me with good mental health? Let me bring you back only a few years to when I was undiagnosed and very unhealthy. I couldn’t even sit in silence for 5 minutes; my mind was just so noisy and scary; and not even my identical twin knew the extent of it. Now, I dare to say that I am more mentally healthy than much of the general public – me with a mental illness!

Contributing Factors:

  • Medicine helps bring about a balance of my thoughts, emotions, and feelings, thereby enabling me to ‘catch up’ with others.
  • Therapy, as stated in my last blog resolved a lot of internal and external conflict which plays a major part in my contentment, giving me an ‘edge’ over others.
  • My lifestyle is now full of good habits – meditation in the morning grounds my day; I pace myself with work tasks; I exercise outdoors; I unwind at night with a book…and I hope socialising will become a regular thing too.

The truth will set you free

I have a great desire to help others become mentally healthy too. On this note, you will never hear a sounder phrase than “The truth will set you free”. I can guarantee you that there are many people in the general public who say “Yes, I’m grand, no bother at all” when they want to say “Someone help me, please, I need help”. My experience tells me that there is no need to be afraid of the truth.

Talking about mental health

Much of our older generation, for instance, don’t want to face the truth of mental illness in our families. They would rather hold strong, be tough, and carry on. While I admire their resolve, if mental illness is covered up, their freedom will remain stunted. 

Many of our schools are lucky because it has become commonplace for students to talk about their mental health problems. Younger people can promote a universal positive change – they can give their parents and grandparents space and sensitivity. Sometimes this means finding the right time to talk about family members who have mental illness. Sometimes it’s good to start conversations by talking about their own experiences.

The mental health continuum

And we all have experience of mental health because we are all somewhere along the scale or continuum, for example, we can range anywhere from bad stress (distress) to good stress (eustress) all in one day. A person with bipolar and a person without bipolar can both be on the same point of the continuum!

Resources:

  • Mental Health Ireland offers five ways to wellbeing: Connect; Be active; Take notice; Keep learning; and Give – MHIWellbeing
  • The Health Service Executive (HSE) offers fun posters to print out that can help lift our mood such as ‘Add Friends to your Tea’; ‘Boost your Mood with Healthy Food’; and ‘The More you Move the Better your Mood’ – HSE#Littlethings

 

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4 thoughts on “Mentally healthy

  1. SaraWIMM November 17, 2016 / 6:09 pm

    I think once you are conscious of your own mental health problems and accepting of them it makes looking after your mental health that bit easier, takes time and practice and we all have bad days but being aware of your mental health is always a good start

    Like

    • dublinwriter101 November 17, 2016 / 7:34 pm

      Yeah totally Sara and there are so many unexpected graces too! Thanks a lot for your comment. Best, Gavin

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Margaret July 21, 2019 / 6:33 pm

    Interesting post Gavin. Came across second programme of three on radio 4 last week ‘diagnosis’ re validity & appropriateness. Made me think about mum & I who both had our first episode aged 42 years. Mum never told she had bipolar until asked at annual check aged 90 years with me present ‘how is your bipolar’? ‘What’s that Marg?’ She asked me. I found out a few months after discharge when a consultant physician read out my g.p referral letter about my swollen legs. I suppose diagnosis or not we were both quite poorly necessitating e.c.t., mum as first line of treatment and me after two admissions when practice out of vogue. Will research the scale you mentioned.

    Like

  3. dublinwriter101 August 13, 2019 / 11:47 am

    Thank you for that heartfelt sharing Margaret. I think the long-delayed news of your mum’s diagnosis of bipolar really speaks volumes. It seems we need to keep the conversations on mental health alive across all the generations. Again I think giving people space and sensitivity is important. And yes, the well-being scale certainly gives you a good indicator of your current psychological health. Blessings, Gavin

    Like

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