MHAM Submission - Morgan Klaif
Stigmas around mental health are what make it hard for a lot of people to deal with it. Embracing your mental health, and using it as a power tool, will allow you to continue loving yourself, not be ashamed and know that it is normal. Finding the median between the want to please others and the need to live a sustainable life can be difficult. Do not let the fear of not doing enough consume you.
Finding help is also just as hard. Not knowing who else may be affected, not understanding the reason why this is happening, not finding similar people similar circumstances and not receiving the same level of respect as anyone else can be scary. Do not let the fear of not being able to seek help consume you.
After being diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder in middle school and not being able to function, I needed to find help. After spending time with five different psychologists, I was finally recommended a volunteer opportunity with an organization I was a part of when I was younger... the YMCA. After a year of volunteering, I have now positioned myself into a full time position with them, have been working with them for the last seven years and my anxiety has reached a level of which I am able to maintain with few setbacks.
I was able to do that by learning more about mental health. I started by getting trained in mental health first aid. I was able to learn more about generalized anxiety disorder and other illnesses, which allowed me to be more open about it, talk with others and provide support. Finding support is important and I have a few tips that has helped me:
1. Wellness plan. Wellness is defined as the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort Physical activity can be increased, always speak about your mental health without being afraid of the actual name of it, never minimize your internal feelings and always reach out for help even if it may not feel needed.
2. Self definition. There is always more to a person than just their illness. Do not let your illness define you but instead use that illness to help define your mental health. Ask yourself questions to define your own self.
3. Education. Educate yourself and others on mental health, and by doing so, these stigmas will start to drift away. Learning about your own mental health will give you the opportunity to share it. Teaching others about your mental health will give them the opportunity to share it. Sharing it is what leads to understanding and acceptance.
4. Coping mechanisms. Everyone functions differently in ways to manage their mental health. Music, quiet spaces, reading, going outside or whatever it may be, may work for some and may not work for others. Find what makes you comfortable and use it.
5. Love yourself. Do not be ashamed, love who you are and always watch how you think of yourself.
You are beautiful.
You are normal.