Recently, a story in Inc. was written about suicide and bipolar disorder by Jeff Bercovici (https://www.inc.com/jeff-bercovici/austen-heinz.html). The article swirled in my head for days until I opened a blank sheet and started to write. The article was well-written and stirred up several emotions. I felt deep sorrow for Austen Heinz who committed suicide and a sense of sadness for the writer who has taken on some of the responsibility for someone else's actions. I applaud Jeff for bringing the issue to the forefront. I just wish discussions on mental illness can take place before there is a death accompanying the story. There simply has to be more dialogue about mental illness and the workplace. I agree whole heartedly that someone is less likely to advertise about their disorder because of the stigma associated with mental illness. But, there is mental wellness that should be talked about, as well. There are thousands of people living with a mental health challenge that has turned the corner and are experiencing mental wellness. Everyone experiences mental health, but there is a spectrum that range from illness to wellness. Illness can take many forms while mental wellness is something to be celebrated. Mental wellness is when someone is eating properly, getting the rest that she needs, taking good care of her mind by exercising, meditating, practicing mindfulness and a host of other activities that strengthen the mind, body and soul.
I can assure you that there are several factors taking place when a person decides to take her life such as isolation, not eating properly, self-medicating, obsessing with a variety of unhealthy thoughts, not sleeping and the list goes on which indicates mental illness. But, mental wellness is far different and can support a person even when they are going through a personal storm. Mental wellness can be achieved through the following activities:
Seeing a Therapist
When someone feels that the sky is falling and that life isn't worth living she really needs to seek medical attention through a therapist or psychiatrist. You simply cannot go at this alone. Having someone to talk to allows you to hear what is going on in your head and it gives a therapist a chance to help you course correct.
Taking medication doesn't mean self-medicating, but rather having a true prescription given by a doctor who can determine what antidepressant or drug would work best for you and your ailment. This is where the problem occurs. Someone going through a difficult time with a diagnosis will often resort to self-medicating which can lead to overdosing. Being mentally well means having a doctor's prescription and being responsible in taking the prescribed dosage.
Discussing how you feel
This is probably a more difficult thing to do, but you need to have someone in your life whom you can share what you are experiencing. It may seem that you are alone, but you are not. Someone is often there just waiting to be there for you. Unfortunately, because of the stigma associated with mental illness people suffer in silence. Being mentally well is being able to disclose your condition and voice how you feel with someone who will empathize and support you.
This may sound trite but it is very powerful. You have to let go of the negative thoughts that will trap you in place of despair. Being mentally well is to focus on what is going right in your life and directing your thoughts towards things that are mentally healthy. If you find that you are obsessing about something that makes you feel angry, sad or depressed, change your thinking by blocking those thoughts and replacing them with positive thoughts.
There is so much talk about mental illness; however, mental wellness is a part of mental health and needs to be discussed so that people feel comfortable talking about their recovery and life with mental health challenges. Maybe then this will curtail the stigma associated with mental health in general.