If you have already been following along then you know that May is Mental Health Awareness Month. This month I decided to shake things up! I’m sharing mental health stories, guest blogs and open conversations about mental health from you!
Today’s post is a guest blog from Ashley Shihab, a Certified Life Coach. She will be sharing her take on the mental health stigma and how we flip the script!
Rewriting the Mental Health Stigma
A person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being
Why does ‘mental health’ seem to have a negative stigma attached to it? The words really shouldn’t be any different than the words ‘physical health.’ Mental health is a part of every single one of us and is a piece of our overall health (newsflash – mental health affects our physical health, and vice versa. It is all connected). Our health is one of the most, if not the most, vital assets we have, and yet many of us put our mental health on the back burner to stressful jobs, overcommitted schedules and poor lifestyle habits. Or worse, we don’t consider our mental health at all.
Why doesn’t mental health come first?
A lot of us (myself included) have a hard time working self-care into our schedules. We allow ourselves to reach burnout before we take action, which is not a healthy way to live. Maybe it’s because we feel like taking care of our mental health is too self-indulgent, so instead, we let ourselves suffer. Recently someone told me that they felt ashamed for focusing on their own mental wellbeing. Ashamed! What is going on in this world that allows anyone to think for a minute that focusing on bettering our mental state is looked at as a negative thing?!
Are people even aware that their mental health is at risk?
Perhaps it’s a lack of education. Some people only associate mental health with disorders such as depression or severe anxiety which causes them not to realize that they too have mental health that needs tending to. My own mental health journey began when I realized that I just didn’t feel good and I knew that I deserved to and could feel better.
I really couldn’t put a finger on what not feeling good meant. It wasn’t the same feeling as having a stomach ache. And I wouldn’t say I felt depressed. I just felt like I was living my life partially in the dark. And I wanted the sun to come out and shine its light on everything. This feeling led me to self-help books, which led me to therapy, which led me to life coaching, which led me to become a Certified Life Coach. Now I’m living a life where the sun is definitely out and shining.
How do we rewrite the stigma?
Now more than ever, we need to rewrite the stigma surrounding mental health so that we can all get the care, help, and support we need to truly be happy. Technically I’m a Millennial. And I like to think that this generation is going to be responsible for ending the negative stigma attached to mental health. I hope we actually empower humanity to make our mental health a priority. Working on your mental health isn’t always about the stuff we perceive as dark or scary. Sometimes it’s about taking a good life and making it great. After all, we all deserve to live great lives.
What Ashley wants you to know is just because you’re not actively suffering or experiencing a mental disorder does not mean your mental health shouldn’t always be a priority. I know often times when I speak on mental health journeys, I talk about real diagnosed mental illnesses. But it’s important for us also to acknowledge that mental health is important no matter where you fall on the spectrum.
Rosé & Ruffles