Funny Side Up

Mental health - my perspective

August 13, 2019

Mental health recently became a subject of public discussion again in my circles. This is after a prominent company founder ended his life at the end of July 2019.

My initial reaction was to rant/sub-tweet about it on Twitter but decided against it because -

  • negativity doesn’t help people who suffer from mental health & related issues
  • negativity doesn’t help de-stigmatize and invite healthy discussions about mental health & related issues

This blog post is a streamlined version of my thread about mental health on Twitter. The main reasons of writing such a post are -

  • Twitter is unknown to other social media users (WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc). Discoverability problem.
  • Reading Twitter threads for non-Twitter folks is hard. Readability issue
  • I can provide a deeper context to my perspective

Mental health is important

Everybody’s mental health is important. Cannot stress it enough. Mental health affects our personal, familial, and work relationships. Most of us rely on our mental faculties in our day jobs. So it is imperative to take care of it whenever possible.

Be nice to other people

In the last few months, I have realized that being nice to people gives a positive feeling in the mind. It stems from the fact that we never know what someone is going through. So talk to them, try to understand them, and listen to their problems when needed.

Try to seek therapy

For those dealing with a mental health issue/s and can afford a therapist, kindly go to them.

Mental & physical health are interrelated

Mental health issues are mental stress events that puts the body in a “fight or flight response” mode. This also affects the physical health of the body. I have gone through stress-eating junk food during my depressive phases. That deteriorated my physical health even further and my mental health by extension. It is a vicious cycle, unfortunately. Smoking, drinking, and smoking up also create enormous stress on physical & mental health states.

Mental & physical stresses get accumulated

Mental & physical stresses are like sponges. As you go through tough periods of life, the stress accumulates, and finally forcing the system to a halt.

Try to seek help from family and/or friends

People (including myself) going through depression tend to isolate ourselves. That’s because of the thought - “I don’t want to be a burden for them”. During such times, the mental stress leads to negative thoughts in the mind. There is a famous saying - empty vessels make more noise. The negative thoughts in the mind of an isolated depressed person creates an echo chamber, of sorts. Over time, the mind starts to rationalize the circumstances that led to the depression. This happened to me and a friend of mine.

Family and/or friends can be on the lookout

It is also helpful for family and/or friends to lookout for someone going through depression. That’s because the conscious mind of the depressed person is fighting with the subconscious mind.

Analyze the source of the depression

It is crucial to figure out the deep-rooted / underlying reason for the depression. Either you can do it (if you have the mental bandwidth) or with the help of a close family member and/or friend. The main reacuthis is to eliminate or minimize the effect of the source on you.

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a collection of physical and emotional symptoms that start a week or so before your period. It makes some people feel more emotional than usual and others bloated and achy. PMS can also make people feel depressed in the weeks leading up to their period.

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is very similar to PMS, but its symptoms are more severe. Many people with PMDD report feeling very depressed before their period, some to the point of thinking about suicide.

Premenstrual exacerbation refers to when symptoms of an existing condition, including depression, become worse in the weeks or days leading up to your period. Depression is one of the most common conditions that coexists with PMS. About half of all women who get treated for PMS also have either depression or anxiety.

Source: healthline

Postpartum depression (PPD)

It’s the type of depression you may get after you have a baby. It can start any time during your baby’s first year, but it’s most common for you to start to feel its effects during the first 3 weeks after birth. If you have it, you might feel sad, hopeless, and guilty because you may not feel like you want to bond with, or care for, your baby.

Postpartum depression doesn’t just affect first-time moms. You can get it even if you didn’t have it when your other children were born.

Source: WebMD

I first got to know about postpartum depression from a relative who faced it and Scrubs.

Association

Try to change your association - the 5 people with whom you hangout with, regularly. If you believe they are not constructively contributing (and vice-versa) to your life. There are many seemingly insignificant toxic behaviours and environments that add to our mental stress. Being in an association of positive and uplifting people is super helpful.

Read positive books

I used to agree with memes that just put someone down if they suggested them to stay positive. Now I don’t. Reading books like What to say when you talk to yourself gives a deeper context of how the mind works. Thinking positive thoughts and developing positive feelings have helped me battle depression bit-by-bit.

Improving physical health is beneficial for mental health

My friend and I have seen the effect of having good physical health has on our mental health.


Santosh Venkatraman

Personal blog by Santosh Venkatraman.
Technology, life, and such.