I made a promise to myself when I started this blog that I would always write about topics I’m passionate about. One of those topics is Mental Health Awareness. May is the Mental Health Awareness month, raising awareness about the importance of mental health and to stop the stigma associated with it. I experienced postpartum depression after the birth of my first child and have had anxiety for all of my adult life. I’m sharing something so personal in hopes that this will give someone else the courage to seek help and treatment because no one should have to suffer from any kind of mental illness.
Having been diagnosed with anxiety that’s often brought on by stress I was able to recognize the signs of postpartum depression after the birth of my son. I began to experience symptoms a few weeks after he was born, I couldn’t sleep or eat, I was consumed by so many different thoughts running through my head that I couldn’t function, so much so that I was beginning to fear that I wouldn’t be able to care for my child. Giving birth triggered a huge change in hormones, combined with lack of sleep and a big shift in routine caused what I was experiencing. I had no hesitation seeking help because I recognized what was happening to me and that if left untreated I would continue to suffer. My prior history made me more likely to experience postpartum depression. I was monitored much more closely in my subsequent pregnancies, my doctor had me under a preventive care and set up a postpartum plan so I would be better prepared before the symptoms could begin to negatively impact my life.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) mental illness affects 1 in 5 adults which is 18.9% of the total adult population in the U.S. Only half of those affected receive treatment, often because of the stigma attached to mental health. How is it possible that only half of the affected population seek treatment? I’m saddened that people are suffering in silence from depression and anxiety because of the stigma we as a society put on mental health. Did you know that pharmaceutical companies spend more money on ad’s addressing erectile dysfunction than on people who suffer from anxiety or depression? Why isn’t there more companies concerned with supporting the awareness of mental health? This is a big problem, and deserves much more attention than it’s getting.
We have to talk about mental illness so those who are struggling realize they are not alone and that they are not the only ones who feels the way they do. Family members and friends may be the first to recognize symptoms, they can encourage to talk with a health care provider and offer emotional support. Seeking out treatment can be the first step in improving the rest of life. When we talk about health awareness, we can’t just focus on heart, kidneys, or liver we have to focus on our whole health which includes our brain health as well.
To learn more about Mental Health please go to https://www.nimh.nih.gov0