7 Ways to Calm Your Hurting Mind
According to the National Institutes of Mental Health – 51% of the U.S. population will suffer from a mental health issue at some point in their lives. Since people do not want to be seen as crazy, stupid or defective, fewer than half of those who suffer from mental health problems ever seek help. Many people living with an undiagnosed mental illness have an imbalanced brain, the result of years of brain neglect or mistreatment that adds up to the kind of mental fogginess most doctors can’t diagnose or fix.
Regrettably, the conversation on mental health remains shrouded by misconceptions and harmful stereotypes. Many people with mental health problems feel that the stigma and discrimination they experience from their family, friends, employer and society itself, makes their symptoms worse and delays the recovery process.
If you are one of the millions of people trying to overcome the deep-seated stereotypes associated with mental illness, here are 7 steps for living a stigma-free life:
- Get Treatment- Perhaps you’ve been hesitant to seek out help due to concerns over being diagnosed with a mental illness and the social stigma that can come with such a label. Getting treatment can help to relieve symptoms and provide hope for lasting change in your life.
- Beware of Isolating- Though isolating yourself during difficult times may feel like the safest option, closing yourself off from the world can actually aggravate your symptoms. You must resist the urge to shut out friends, family, and people who offer you encouragement and support.
- Educate Yourself- If you have been diagnosed with a mental illness, learning about it can help provide answers and reduce stigma and shame. Be sure to separate the facts from the myths and keep in mind that this knowledge may be useful in educating others about your condition.
- Share Your Story- Since mental illness is so prevalent in our society, consider sharing your story with others. Opening up about your own struggles can be cathartic for you and at the same time, provide comfort and inspiration for those who are suffering from similar symptoms.
- Avoid Labeling- Know that you are a person, not a diagnosis. Since your identity is not defined by your illness, avoid using diagnostic terms to describe your condition, like: “Sometimes I’m so ADD” or “I’m so depressed. Instead, try to understand that these are states of feelings that will pass. So try to describe your feelings in ways that express just that, like: “I feel anxious right now” or “I feel down.” But know these feelings will pass. Words are powerful.
- Join a Support Group- Many community and church groups, as well as mental health organizations like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), offer assistance and education for people with mental illnesses. Attending a group can provide reassurance and also reinforce many of the healthy habits listed above, particularly steps 2 and 4.
- Get Answers with Brain Imaging- Imaging changes everything. Brain SPECT imaging can reduce mental health stigma by showing that mental disorders stem from biological and neurological problems rather than character flaws or personal weaknesses. By removing the guesswork from the process, SPECT can offer real answers and targeted treatments for a wide range of psychiatric conditions.
At Amen Clinics, we can help you and your loved ones overcome the pervasive stigma and suffering associated with disorders like ADD/ADHD, anxiety, depression, brain injury, addictions, memory issues and more. We have spent decades helping people improve their mental health and can help you, too. Call us today at 888-288-9834 or visit our website to schedule an appointment.