Saturday, May 8, 2021

LIFE: Is Happiness Really A Choice? -Mental Health Awareness

We are going to discuss mental health which is a sensitive topic to many. Since May is mental health awareness month, it is a great time for us to learn more on the topic. There are many subjects under the mental health umbrella that can be spoken about. The topic I want to speak about is happiness. There has always been a division on weather happiness is a true choice. Happiness may be a choice when there is no underlying disorder involved, but even then, it is sometimes difficult to stay on the sunny side. But what do you do when your usual vises for coping and staying in the sunshine do not work? Just being devil’s advocate here! If happiness is easy to obtain, why don’t more people attempt to acquire it? Add a mental health condition to the mix, happiness appears unobtainable.

To better understand if happiness is really a choice, we need to look at the definition of the two key words: Happiness and mental health condition. Merriam-Webster writes, a mental health condition (also known as a mental disorder) is marked primarily by sufficient disorganization of personality, mind, and emotions to seriously impair the normal psychological and often social functioning of the individual. Happiness has many variations to the definition because the state of happiness is personal to everyone. What that means is what makes you happy may not result in happiness for the next individual. The definition of happiness we will use is the positive balance of emotions. Remember, the positive balance of emotions can be imbalanced by a mental health condition.

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Not being aware of mental health conditions may make us use our words ineffectively. Although these phrases are innocently used, they can be offensive to someone with a mental health condition. When individuals use these phrases, they believe they are giving individuals a confidence boost. The opposite is occurring with the phases listed below and may cause the individual to become more withdrawn and ashamed. Here are a few of the common phrases:

  1. Just snap out of it!
  2. Why are you so sad all the time?
  3. Try a little harder.
  4. You do not look sad or depressed.
  5. Just shake it off.
  6. "It's all in your head" Schimelpfening, N.
  7. "It's your fault" Schimelpfening, N.
  8.  "You're imagining things" Schimelpfening, N.

Surely, we all heard many of the phrases mentioned and can come up with many more. The negative impact these phrases have on a person with a mental condition can be detrimental and may make them reluctant to come forth for assistance. Honestly, these phrases have a negative connotation in general. We forget words are immensely powerful. The result we want to achieve, is for people who need mental health assistance (or anyone needing assistance) to feel free to reach out. Remember, the fear of being ostracized, looked at differently, or weak should not even be a forethought.

In one of my previous blog post, www.lovelifebutterflies.com.on Monday, October 19, 2020, I wrote about Life: Counseling and Support Groups in Minority Cultures. A discussion was made about the two different types of support systems and why they are beneficial. I would like to state, you do not need a mental health illness to seek support. Early assistance in any life stressors or change can be therapeutic and may assist with a positive balance of emotions. But for this blog I want to provide some free national resources for mental health condition assistance. A few resources are:

  1.  National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). www.nami.org. 1-800-950-NAMI (6264)
  2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). www.samhsa.org. 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
  3. Mental Health America. www.mhanational.org. 1-800-985-5990

Now that we have some resources, how do we go about making a conscious change and opening the door of communication? The only way this can be achieved is to continue to educate oneself about mental health and share your knowledge. Find out what resources are available for mental health in your area and provide when needed. Not everyone is comfortable with mental health conditions but being understanding and having patience is a start. Everyone must start somewhere😉.

*As always, thanks for reading! You may subscribe via e-mail on the right, and share comments in the comment section below. I know mental health is a sensitive topic. You may share your comments anonymously😉. We can start change together! Thanks in advance!*


APA References:

Schimelpfening, N (2020, August 7th). The Worst Things to Say to Someone Who Is Depressed. VeryWellMind. Retrieved on 2021, May 7th from https://www.verywellmind.com/worst-things-to-say-to-someone-who-is-depressed-1066982.

Merriam-Webster. (n.d). Mental Disorder. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved on 2021, May 8th from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mental%20disorder.

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