Friday, January 8, 2010
by Jill Nutter
IF taking care of yourself usually shows up on the bottom of your to be done list it’s time to make a change. Women especially are at risk for depression because we tend to be the first line of defense in our families to take care of others and not us. As a Licensed Independent Social Worker counseling nursing students, I deal with mental health issues every day at work. But what many of us don’t think of until we get depressed or suffer from anxiety is what does mental health look like? What is a definition of mental health as opposed to mental illness?
One definition of mental health is:
1. psychological well-being and satisfactory adjustment to society and to the ordinary demands of life.
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2009.
My definition of Mental Health is the absence of disease and the enjoyment of life. I like to say the absence of dis-ease. Just like any other part of the human body the human mind can have illnesses. You can read up on all of these problems at http://www.nami.org/ . You can help stamp out the stigma against those with mental illness just by becoming informed and sharing your knowledge. I think Jesus demostrated the objective of mental health when HE said:
There are many ways to relieve stress in our lives (my top pick is massage, bet you couldn't guess). I think other effective strategies are 1) Talking about your problems with someone you trust, 2) Pray and seek God’s wisdom for your particular concerns, 3) Set healthy boundaries, in other words, learn to say no. Resource: Boundaries (When to Say YES When to Say NO To Take Control of Your Life) Dr. Henry Cloud, and Dr. John Townsend, and 4)Excercise that releases endorphins and helps you feel better.
One of the biggest mental health disorders that we all know something about and many writers suffer from is depression. Did you know that Sir Winston Churchill suffered from depression; he called it his Black Dog. http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/
But there is hope for people who suffer from depression, anxiety and other forms of mental illness. Medication is not an evil word. Unfortunately, some people, Christians too, think that the need for medicine to help you feel better emotionally is some kind of crutch. It’s not. It’s no different than taking medicine you would take for any other illness. So if you think you might be depressed or suffer from another form of mental illness please seek professional help from a good therapist and/or psychiatrist.
There are many mysteries yet to be solved regarding the human body. The health of the spirit is also related to the health of the brain. Please remember that the brain is part of the body and those who suffer with any type of mental illness are due the same respect as anyone else who has cancer, diabetes, thyroid disease, etc.. It’s just different. Taking care of you means taking care of your brain, too.