On Taking Care of Your Mental Health and Avoiding Depression

A [social media] acquaintance of my brother is going through a very rough phase of depression and suicidal thoughts, which then brought about our discussion of mental health and depression. Certain matters came up and then I decided to blog about it. Mental health is VERY important. Do not take it lightly. More so, since the current rate of suicides among young folks is becoming alarming. Anyway, here goes a list of things that can help with your mental health:

1.) Seek Help. First things first. If you have physical pains, say in your stomach or your head, you would go to the doctor or find some way to address it, right? Well the same goes for your mental health. You need to seek help somehow. Once you have constant depressive episodes and/or thoughts of suicide, it is imperative to seek help. Talk to someone: maybe family, a trusted friend, or seek the help of a professional. Some people spent a chunk of their adult years in school studying and learning this stuff. They have been trained to help you; to evaluate your lifestyle to determine causes of and kinds of depression; and if necessary prescribe medication for you. Therapists/counselors are everywhere. Use their services. And if you can't afford it, then another suggestion is to look to religious leaders. You don't even have to believe. What we say in my church is "you can belong before you believe". Just seek help somehow if what you're experiencing is too much for you to handle. If you are worried about the stigma (and thankfully people are less critical these days), but you don't have to tell everyone you are going to a therapist. Your therapist would also be bound by ethics to not reveal it to anyone.

2a.) Guard your heart. This is crucial. Everyone is woke these days and that's a good thing. The problem is an overload of information. So on a regular day on social media, people are hashtagging something, or protesting something, or crying about famine and human trafficking, or insulting donald, or racism or colorism, or bigotry. SOMETHING is always happening. Now if you are very sensitive, it's bound to affect you somehow. The helplessness in all of it alone can send you into a spiral of depression. The bitterness and vitriol. The anger. It can be exhausting and overwhelming. TUNE out. Yes, unfollow. Unsubscribe. Do what you can to protect yourself. Now at first, you will feel guilty about that because these activists and woke people are doing the Lord's work by crying out against injustice. But you also need to look out for you.

"Being woke is not an excuse to walk in lovelessness"- Preston Perry

There is only so much you can do. Also you can  NOT change the world. I don't care who you are; nobody can.  So unfollow and get yourself some peace. I'm not saying be quiet about injustice. I'm saying move at your own pace. Protest and resist your own way. The very interesting fact about the world we live in is despite everything going on, this is the most peaceful the world has been in most of history. Yes. Our ancestors were worse than us.  If you feel helpless, then volunteer in your local community. Or just give [no matter how little] to a local charity doing what tugs your heart the most. You'd be surprised how much that can help.

2b) Based on 2a above, study your triggers. How does it start? What is that thing that constantly makes you downcast, and brings heaviness to your heart? Does sexual violence bother you. Then maybe don't watch Game of Thrones. Maybe don't watch Law and Order SVU. Maybe the thought of slavery angers you so much, you can almost feel the anger physically. Then don't follow the producers that have decided to create a new show based on an alternate world where slavery still exists. I did not make that up. I digress. There are lighthearted options. Modern Family, How I Met Your Mother etc. would make you laugh so hard, you'd forget all of life's problems. Whatever you do, guard your heart FIERCELY.  Make sure you maintain your atmosphere.

3.) Try not to always live in your feelings. Your feelings don't own you. You own them. You will often feel sad, discouraged, angry... Don't dwell on them. Don't succumb to them. Speak what's real unto your life. Speak what God has said unto your life. Talk to your soul, to yourself.
Speak faith. Speak love. Speak assurance. Most especially, remind yourself of God's goodness and greatness. You will be constantly tempted to drown in your pool of emotions. Try to resist that temptation. I'm not so naive as to think everyone is a Christian. So even if you are not a Christian, you can still speak positivity into your life. Scientific research has proven how much that works. This obviously does not come easily. But so many things in life don't, and so far you have managed to achieve some of them despite the terrible odds. I'm a cynic by nature and a little bit of a pessimist myself. But I'm also a Christian. A while ago, I had to pick which one to surrender to. You guessed right. I chose to believe Jesus.

4.) This too will pass. My favorite. To be completely fair, there are some tough life situations that won't actually pass, but can be managed. However, MANY things including but not limited to [romantic] heartbreaks ALWAYS pass. Please and please and please, do not give any human so much power over you that their breaking up with you harms your mental health. I promise you, no human being is worth that much. You will be fine. There are literally millions of human beings; you will find another love.

Finally, God isn't afraid of our feelings so go ahead and tell Him how you feel. Also try to take care of your body. The physical can sometimes help the emotional. Eat well, exercise, avoid stress if you can. Immerse yourself in a community of solid friendships and relationships.  Like I always say we have an extraordinary amount of resilience in us, and we are built to weather through storms and survive. We will be okay.



P.S: here are helpful things to do when the waiting period seems like it's going to last forever.

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