Over 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!
- 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!
- 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