As you may be aware this week is Mental Health Awareness Week (8th-14th May 2017). Like many I have had my own problems with mental health; however, I count myself as one of the lucky ones. I suffered from the “baby blues” after the birth of our first child. It was *only* for 8 weeks (though it felt significantly longer, I can assure you), so as such was not classed as being Post Natal Depression.
Regardless of what “it” was, it was Hell. I class myself as lucky because one morning I woke up and for whatever reason, felt better. “It” stopped. I was back, and ready to begin this amazing journey as a mother. Thankfully it’s something I have never experienced again.
But it terrified me. At the time, it was just scary – I wasn’t in control, I felt like a stranger in my own life. However, that was the least of the problems. The biggest issue was I felt I had no one to talk to. My Midwife was great, but she was busy. I was a new Mum and anyone I hinted to that I felt a bit wobbly, put everything down to my inexperience and lack of confidence.
I say all this, but the reality is this post isn’t about me. It’s about you. I only tell you my own experience in Cliffs Notes form to remind you that the vast majority of us have something lurking in the background, and if we don’t, we sure as heck have the potential to.
You see, we all have mental health. Many might say they have “good” mental health, but let’s get one thing straight here, good mental health does not simply meant the absence of a mental health problem.
Good mental health is really all about having the ability to think, feel and act in ways that allow us to live a full and enjoyable life. It’s the ability to cope when challenges are thrown our way, to pick up the pieces when it all goes wrong, and keep on moving on with a genuine smile on our face (even if occasionally it is replaced with tears and screams of rage).
Here are some interesting statistics for you taken from the Mental Health Foundation:
- Mixed anxiety & depression is the most common mental disorder in Britain, with 7.8% of people meeting criteria for diagnosis.
- 4-10% of people in England will experience depression in their lifetime.
- Common mental health problems such as depression and anxiety are distributed according to a gradient of economic disadvantage across society. The poorer and more disadvantaged are disproportionately affected by common mental health problems and their adverse consequences.
- Mixed anxiety and depression has been estimated to cause one fifth of days lost from work in Britain.
- One adult in six had a common mental disorder.
I know we’re all busy, and could argue we have “better things to do”, but why not take a moment to find out a bit more about your own mental health? There’s a short survey available here that will help you understand where you’re at. There’s also signposting if you need any support with anything.
Trust me, you don’t have anything better to do right now. Go on, look after yourself.