Mental Illness is not something to be hushed up or feel sorry about. It is a vast subject and I am not qualified to speak about it. However one thing I can speak about Mental illness from the perspective of a Professional Life coach is what I am trying to dive in.
Anything to do with the mind or the brain is a touchy issue at least in our culture. When it comes to doctors specializing in this area it is shockingly low and from my perspective does not look like it is going to improve soon. Reasons are many which I do not want to touch upon at this moment.
However, over the last one decade of working as a Professional Life Coach I have come across quite a few people who are going through mental illness or have someone in their family who is going through the same. Most of them are looking at dealing with this as discreetly as possible. However what is shocking is that most of them ignore it thinking that it is just a phase and do not muster up enough courage to visit a doctor.
When I worked with Daisy Cinthia couple of years back as her “Executive coach” she did bring about the issue of her teenage daughter going through depression. Even though Daisy was a single mother, she had managed to do well for herself and her daughter. However, couple of years back her daughter was diagnosed with clinical depression and went through the treatment for couple of months.
During our Coaching engagement, Daisy did feel that her daughter was slipping back to depression since she had stopped all medication and was refusing to take anymore or even visit the doctor.
Daisy was perplexed with the attitude of her daughter and did not know how to deal with it. However, when she got to know the real reason for her daughter not accepting the relapse of depression shocked her and me as well. Her daughter thought that anyone visiting a doctor for mental illness would be labeled as someone cuckoo in the head.
This made her daughter so frightened of the consequence after her friends and family would come to know about it that she tried to avoid it as much as possible and in the process slipped into her previous state of being clinically depressed.
However, once Daisy realized what was happening and after having a lot of positive self-talk, she and her daughter did manage to visit the doctor and the last I did hear from Daisy was that her daughter was knocking on the door of a complete recovery.
Mental Illness Is Just An Illness
Now, when it comes to mental illness people go overboard and feel it is the end of the road for the person who is suffering or going through one. However, you need to understand that Mental illness is just like any other illness and it can happen to anyone irrespective of the gender. So, if you are someone who think that you and your family is immune to Mental illness then you can’t be more wrong.
Once people begin to understand that Mental illness is just like any other illness and there is no stigma attached to it then our world will be a better place. Educating more and more people that Mental illness is just an illness is critical and according to me should be done on a war footing.
With India already consisting of the youngest population in the world and will continue to be young for at least couple of decades it is imperative that the younger generations are physically and mentally fit to take the country to the top 3 Economies of the world.
How To Focus On Mental Wellbeing
I keep talking about why it is important in being physically fit to become successful. However, working on the mental well-being is also critical. Your physical and mental well-being are two sides of the same coin. So, you just cannot ignore one and focus on the other. Both does complement and take strength from each other. Some of things you can do from today to focus on your mental wellbeing is
1.Maintain a regular and consistent sleep cycle of 7-8 hours
3.Eat healthy and include at least 3-4 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
4.Manage your stress level on priority
5.Drink at least 2-3 Lts of water every day.
6.Exercise for at least 4-5 days a week for 60-75 minutes every day.
See what I have mentioned above is not something which each one of you cannot do irrespective of what profession you are in. I have worked with some of the biggest CEO’s, Entrepreneurs & bureaucrats. Believe me they always give more priority to the above-mentioned points. In fact, one of them did say that “Satish If I do not take care of myself then how can I take care of my own company and thousands of my employees” So working on your Mental wellbeing is and should be sacrosanct in your book and there should be no compromise in this area.
One of my previous blogs focuses on how to make meditation a daily habit.
My Own Mental Wellbeing Strategies
Even though I do follow each of the points mentioned above to the T, I also work on a few other things to be on top of my own Mental Wellbeing curve. Some of the things I do and would strongly advocate each one of you to practice is the following activities which shocks the brain.
1. Sometimes, I eat or brush my teeth with my left hand (I am right handed)
2. I walk backwards for some distance in a safe place.
3.Work on small activities like crosswords, Sudoku or any other brain games which can be done in less than ten minutes.
4.Take a new route occasionally when I drive or go for my walks.
5.Play at least 4-5 different games in a week. Every sport activates different parts of the brain.
6. Cutting ties with gadgets for couple of hours a day. I call this my Gadget-free hour.
7. Wi-fi and all data is turned off before I go to sleep.
8.Eat more of food rich in Omega 3s.
My Advice For Someone Experiencing Mental Illness
If you are someone who feel that you are knocking on the doors of a mental illness, then first things first is to just accept it and acknowledge the fact that it is in your best interest to visit a doctor. Yes, Google is there for most of the answers however for somethings in life Google is still not the answer yet.
Forget about what your boss, friends and clients do think. They are not going through the illness. You must face it and dwell it going forward.
See the below video of how Les Brown who was labelled as “educable mentally retarded” overcame great odds to become one of the greatest speakers the world has ever seen.
So, take the first step in your road to recovery by fixing up an appointment with a qualified medical practitioner in your area.
As I type this words I did read an unfortunate news about a highly decorated Police Officer taking his own life. This, I feel could have been avoided if he had stepped out and taken help from a Qualified Doctor. Over the years I have read about people in high posts in bureaucracy, business and the corporate world succumbing to this silent killer, which unfortunately does not show any symptoms for an untrained eye. Before it is identified, more often than not it is too late.
Graham C. L. Davey, Ph.D. a Professor of Psychology at the University of Sussex, UK talks about the stigma associated with mental health by individuals and societies at large.
I do wish more and more people come out and talk about Mental illness and One person whom I can think of doing an exemplary work when it comes to talking about her own challenges with depression and her journey of overcoming it is Deepika Padukone.She is a role model for me when it comes to speaking about depression which is one of the deadliest Mental disorders and making an honest effort in trying to remove the stigma attached to it in India. With more and more celebrities like her coming forward to talk about it I am sure the world will be a better place going forward when it comes to people associating stigma to Mental Illness.
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