In today’s way of life bad mental health has become the norm. Burnout happens to many of us. Anxiety, depression, paranoia, eating disorders, and other issues and illnesses are more common than we think, and yet most who suffer from any of these conditions encounter little support or understanding. What is the importance of mental health nowadays?
It’s something that should be taken more seriously. The tough love approach of “get yourself together” or “you’re not the only one going through a hard time” isn’t going to work.
The Thing About Tough Love …
“Get yourself together”. How often did I hear that when I went through burnout … It’s OK to tell a child that when it is throwing a tantrum, or someone who is acting out, but it is not OK to say this to someone who is suffering a mental health issue or illness. It is an entirely different scenario.
When you are going through burnout, you are not always in control of your actions or even your words. So, those well-meant tough love phrases often have the opposite effect of what they intended. They really do not help.
Tough advice just makes you feel worse, because you feel bad for what you’re doing and because your friend or acquaintance seems to have no understanding for your situation. You feel guilty, as you are aware that what you’re doing isn’t correct, but at the same time you are annoyed, since your friend has absolutely no idea what you’re going through and if he/she had any idea they would not have said those words in the first place.
When you have burnout, you often do not have control. Your brain is literally burned out. You forget how to do the simplest things such as dialing a phone number or – like it happened in my case – switching gears while driving. Your filter is gone as well. You speak without thinking about what you’re saying and how you are conveying it.
Your marvelous brain that does so much work is dying for a break.
When you have burnout, you may feel mentally and/or emotionally exhausted, empty, powerless, even cynical, you may find no joy in your daily life. Depression is also part of having burnout. Your performance decreases, you feel completely overwhelmed and can’t meet any expectations, not even your own.
Having someone tell you that “we all got our own problems, you know” is like a slap in the face. Whenever I heard that, I said nothing, because there was already no understanding. I had no energy to explain.
Although I am talking about burnout here, because that was my experience a few years ago, the same applies to someone who suffers anxiety or depression. When you haven’t experienced a mental health issue, it is hard to comprehend it. I have been there myself. Years before I had my burnout I did not understand much about it either. I learned …
Mental Health Awareness Month
So, although now many people are taking mental health more seriously than before, it still isn’t enough. This is why mental health awareness has become a popular hashtag in social media and why mental health awareness month has been created.
Mental Health Awareness Month is in May and its purpose is to raise awareness of those living with mental health issues to help reduce the stigma that often comes with it.
Mental Health Awareness Week
Then there is Mental Health Awareness Week, which was established in 1990, for the same reason, to educate and increase awareness and comprehension of people suffering from mental health issues. The dates of this week differ, depending on the country.
In the UK, for example, Mental Health Awareness Week will be held from 10 to 16 May 2021. In the US it will take place from 3 to 9 October 2021; in Canada 4 – 10 October. European Mental Health Week is in May (10-16).
Mental Health Day is on 10 October.
The Importance of Mental Health
It is not easy to live with someone who is suffering from a mental health issue or illness, but it is certainly also not easy for someone going through burnout or depression and finding only reproaches from his/her loved ones.
How can you best handle the situation if a friend or relative is going through burnout?
Many who suffer from mental health issues isolate themselves because of a lack of understanding. I did the same thing when it happened to me. I found only reproaches, and a few people even left my life – in hindsight, I suppose that tough times truly reveal who your friends are. So, in order to avoid any more trouble, I isolated myself physically and from social media until I got better.
It was a hard decision to make, because the last thing you should do when going through burnout is being alone, but it is due to a lack of awareness from others that many who suffer burnout or other issues choose to avoid contact with them.
This is why there are so many initiatives to raise awareness about mental health, so that no one has to battle their demons alone.
What’s the Difference Between a Mental Health Issue and Illness?
Everyone has mental health just like physical health. At one point in our lives we may struggle with issues that will unbalance our mental health, affecting our emotions and thoughts, our ability to solve problems, our social connections, and even our understanding of our surroundings.
Anyone can have poor mental health at a certain time. There are days when you feel down, depressed, or stressed. Burnout is a mental health issue, it can be cured, just like you can heal from a flu or an injury. The healing process can take time, though …
Mental Illness is different. It affects the way people think and behave with others. It can lead to problems functioning in social, work, or family environments. It could be a mild form such as phobias which interferes in your life in limited ways. The more severe form could require hospital care. (source: heretohelp)
Common examples of mental illnesses are: anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders, addictive behaviors, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, dementia, psychotic disorders, etc.
Mental health issues aren’t always easily recognized by others. Even so, when my friends and acquaintances knew that I had burnout there was still no understanding.
Moreover, a neighbor who knew what I was going through even came yelling at me, unprovoked; perhaps he was stressed and needed a punching bag. After the incident, I was shaking for days … Under normal circumstances that would not have been my reaction.
The lack of support was my inspiration for starting this website, to provide some help. We need to take mental health more seriously. The majority of us work so hard, and while some may pride themselves on eating healthy, what’s the use if you’re constantly putting your brain in overdrive? Just like your legs, it needs a break from time to time. When others don’t get that break and suffer the consequences, it is important that we are supportive.