Don’t Ignore Your Mental Well Being
(A Personal Story by Toni Campagnoni)
About 10 to 12 years ago, I went through my own personal experience with depression – something I hadn’t expected. Somehow I was naïve enough to think that knowing about mental health issues would insulate me. I learned a few things, like I usually do, the hard way.
- Burying your head in the sand doesn’t make it go away. Pushing forward with your life and trying to ignore it isn’t a real solution
- Eventually, long-term stress, grief and lack of self-care will catch up with you. Depression may come from the cumulative effects of one stress layered on top of another – physical and mental.
- Cutting yourself off from friends and activities just lends to further isolation. When you’re depressed you may want to stay away from people – but it doesn’t help.
- Talking about it is the first step and the most important. Often, our family doctor is the person we may trust to know what to do. Having a family physician sensitive to the importance of mental wellness is a huge help.
- Depression causes changes in our brain chemistry and medication may be needed so our brain cells can communicate more effectively. In some families, there may be a genetic predisposition. It may be hard to find the right one at first – but don’t give up.
- You may not need medication – contrary to what some advertising says. Sometimes therapy and lifestyle changes are enough.
- Thoughts that there are no solutions and it is all hopeless are part of what depression does to our brain; that’s why suicidal thoughts may occur. If left untreated, devastating results may occur.
- If you don’t change how you manage your problems and take care of yourself – you won’t have a lasting recovery.
- You need to take time for what you enjoy in life or you won’t get any joy out of life; this is part of the “maintenance program.”
10. There are ways to find inner peace even if there is chaos around you. Turning to faith and meditation can have a profound long-term impact. Mindfulness-based practices are proof of this; our Mental Health Clinic is offering this program.
In the end, bad things do happen to good people. We need to be kind and take care of ourselves and others. Like Winston Churchill said “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” I would add, don’t go through it at all. Talk to someone and if you need to see a therapist – do it! There are public and private services available.
South Shore Health: Mental Health Services: www.southshorehealth.ca/programs-and-services/addiction-mental-health/mental-health-home
Canadian Mental Health Association: www.cmha.ca
Toni Campagnoni & Associates Inc: http://www.tcpsychologicalservices.ca/
South Shore Psychological Services