Why Mental Health Matters

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This post is about mental health issues and struggles I have faced. I do not claim that my way is the right way; this is just my experience. If you or someone you know is thinking about hurting themselves, the national suicide prevention hotline is 800-273-8255.

Mental health is something that up until the last few years, at least in my personal life, people really didn’t want to talk about. If you struggled with a certain thing related to mental health it was almost considered shameful or you were less than.

This took a toll on me because I am someone who has had mental health issues from a young age.

Hide those thoughts. Don’t speak how you feel. Don’t let people know what you have gone through or they will see you as broken.

See the thing is I am not broken, I have just struggled. I have learned to overcome thoughts that creep up into my head and tell me things no one should ever have to experience thinking about themselves or their life.

I still suffer to this day with intrusive thoughts, but I have learned many coping tools to help me. Sometimes I need to ask for help, and that is okay! I know I have many people I can count on to help me if I need it and I am not scared of getting help from a professional if I need more assistance.

A woman I look up to recently took her life because of mental health issues. The morning she took her life, she went to the beach with her boyfriend and dog. She ran into the ocean to feel alive and she was smiling and laughing. Her name was Lee and she is a prime example of someone who is so happy but also has intrusive thoughts. I donated to a go fund me in her name and if you feel called to do so as well, you can do so HERE

The thing is you never know who is struggling. A lot of times the happiest people are struggling but they are just putting on a front.

I think it is important to talk about mental health and to teach kids that they are totally normal if they aren’t always okay. The youth should be taught that they have someone they can talk to and rely on if they are struggling and not be told that they are weird or alone.

The worst thing is going through something that makes you feel crazy and not feeling like you can tell anyone about it.

The path of a mental health journey is not a linear path and there will be good days and bad days.

There are probably more people in your life that have or currently are struggling with mental health issues. And, a lot of times people have overlapping issues.

I know what that feels like. I am someone who has multiple areas of struggle, and that is okay.

Learning about yourself and what you struggle with is important because if you don’t know why you feel a certain way how can you help yourself?

I know that if I feel like I am slipping there are things I need to do for myself even if they don’t sound like things I want to do. I have learned that what I put into my body and how I move my body are the most important factors in my mental health.

I need to fuel my body with nutrient-dense plant-based foods. The more veggies I eat the better I feel, and there is science backing this. The majority of your serotonin (happy hormone) is produced in your gut. The more good bacteria you have in your gut the happier you are. Of course this doesn’t mean you can’t ever have bad thoughts or feel sad, but eating nutrient-dense foods really does help. I am learning more about the way food affects your brain in a book called This is Your Brain on Food by Uma Naidoo, MD.

Fueling my body is also what I am consuming as far as information goes. Am I scrolling on social media? Am I reading a book that’s teaching me something? Am I watching reality tv or something informative? Who do I surround myself with and are they speaking in a more positive way or always dragging on life? How am I speaking about myself? All of these things matter.

Moving my body is also so vital. I always love coming back to Newton’s first law of motion: “An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion.” This is the same for a body and movement, at least from my experience and what I have witnessed. If you sit you will want to sit more and it will get harder to have the motivation to move. The more you move the more your body will want to continue to move. Of course taking a break is necessary, but the more I move my body the more energetic I feel and I want to move more.

Mental health is a complicated thing, but getting help doesn’t have to be complicated.

I think we should all start being more open about mental health issues we have gone through or are going through.

Let’s teach the youth that this isn’t a taboo topic and that they should talk about the things they are going through.

Kids, and adults, today are experiencing cyber bullying at such a high rate it is nauseating.

Let’s speak up and show up for others.

Let’s speak up and show up for ourselves.

A little kindness goes a long way and it’s okay not to be okay.

Until next time,

-H

Published by Hannah Opp

My name is Hannah and I am a certified integrative nutrition health coach. I love nature, animals, and going on adventures.

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