The Reference Mental Health has been magnified in the last two years with the Pandemic.
According to the The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):
“In 2020, the Helpline received 833,598 calls. This is a 27 percent increase from 2019, when the Helpline received a total of 656,953 calls for the year”.
With isolation, the strain of our routine and lack of communication with our peers and family.
I wanted to bring some attention to different areas of our Daily Lives where our Mental Health is challenged and how we can manage our health.
There should be no shame in understanding that we need to nourish our Mental Health.
The Definition of Mental Health: includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act.
Some days are better than others. For Moms and Dads, we find ourselves as the Captains at the Helm so with that responsibility we should take the time to listen and tend to the warning signs of Burnout, Feeling Anxious, Tired, Sick and Behaviors.
To the awareness of a more serious Diagnosis of Mental Health that you should seek Professional Help for.
Types of mental health problems
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Bipolar disorder
- Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD)
- Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
- Dissociation and dissociative disorders
- Drugs – recreational drugs & alcohol
Medical News Today sites that:
“There is no physical test or scan that reliably indicates whether a person has developed a mental illness. However, people should look out for the following as possible signs of a mental health disorder”:
- withdrawing from friends, family, and colleagues
- avoiding activities that they would normally enjoy
- sleeping too much or too little
- eating too much or too little
- feeling hopeless
- having consistently low energy
- using mood-altering substances, including alcohol and nicotine, more frequently
- displaying negative emotions
- being confused
- being unable to complete daily tasks, such as getting to work or cooking a meal
- having persistent thoughts or memories that reappear regularly
- thinking of causing physical harm to themselves or others
- hearing voices
- experiencing delusions
We spoke with Experts to shed some awareness and insights on how to help you with those coping with Divorce, Grieving, Boundaries/ Burnout and Anxiety
Recently, we spoke with Julie from Hello I’m Grieving
Recently, I lost an uncle . It is such a terrible loss to our family.
My Aunt was married for 40 years, and they had known each other since Jr. High.
I was not sure what to say. All I knew is that my heart broke and my emotions weighed heavy.
How do I help my aunt ? What do I say to her during this time?
Julie from Hello I’m Grieving states being straightforward is the best approach
“Don’t put the responsibility on the Griever. Stating directly what it is you can do for the Griever”.
Here is how I can help, don’t add another stressor by requesting an answer from someone who is not thinking straight.
Be specific :
I will bring you dinner tomorrow at 6p.
Help with the daily routines to help alleviate the stress.
Be direct with open communication:
I do not know what to say but I am here for you
Just be there, water the plants, walk the dog, bring a magazine, and just sit and be present.
How to help along the process:
Set timers on the anniversary and check in once a month. Just to send the message that you are thinking of them. It is simply appropriate to check in and ask How is your Grieve going? So, it is not to be overlooked and forgotten. Allow the Griever to know in this safe space in your relationship and they can share as little or much as they want to .
Grieving and Mourning: Internal and External:
How to note the difference? Taking our Feelings , our thought process that is internal. There are so many feelings and attempting to sort them out is considered Grieving. Mourning is more external such as behaviors like crying, mood swings and how they are expressing themselves during this process.
How do we allow ourselves when we lose someone to move forward and accept?
This is what I mean when I talk about “saying hello to grief” with my brand Hello I’m Grieving. That for us to move forward and keep living on is that we must start with acknowledging that we are grieving and that this is a painful journey with so many unknowns and emotions. We try to protect ourselves from this hurt and protect other people affected from the loss from hurt and the true key is understanding we must go through the pain to get through the pain. Being able to acknowledge the grief is the first step to being open to living on as we will carry this grief and love we have our whole lives. Also, I always encourage people to try different ways that they can find help and support. If one way doesn’t work for you to keep trying and be curious about what could help. Readers can check out the recent Say Hello To Grief Challenge on my IG page that offers up many different things that people can try. This is also why I created the Hello I’m Grieving Brand so that people can have ways to signal others that they are grieving and have a way to express this. It is also a way that we can break down the barriers of why people shy away from discussing. A community member recently told me that she ordered one of my t-shirts because gone are the days that we simply wear black to show people who are mourning.
Divorce taking a toll? Our Conversation with Dr. Elizabeth Cohen helps share some tips to help you through this process
When couples are getting divorced, when do you advise they share the news with the children?
Layout the information if the plan is established in place.
Ideally having as much information as possible to have the kids feeling well prepared and the kids feeling there will be stability.
Information to share:
Such as moving dates, the timeline so the kids know what to expect.
Share the days of the week they are spending with Mom and with Dad.
Have little Details in place for them as well such as , who is taking them to soccer and picking them from school and helping with enrichment programs drop offs.
Kids need to know they are still being cared for and supported by parents.
What is one of the results you have seen work well, when one of the parents is moving out of the house and the kids are adjusting?
Kids to be included and involved in the process in their new space
Decorating ideas from the kids for your new Home and their new Bedrooms.
Make it feel at home, so it feels safe and familiar to them.
Take into consideration items or unique fixtures the kids would love to have in their Bedrooms.
This could include a Brick Wall, Sport related light fixtures to creative personalized wallpaper.
Is there insight that you can share for the couples going through this experience on how to express their feelings with the family or best to keep to themselves?
Breakdown of Helpful Tips:
Be measured in your wording. These are kids and the number one thing to consider is reassuring them.
Be open to questions, let them know you are available to help them.
Never talk negative about the other parent
Keep showing up the as parent
When you need to find a support system, do not confide in your children.
Parents how to tend to the Burnout and setting Boundaries
Why is it hard to establish boundaries?
We never saw boundaries modeled.
As young girls we are taught to please and put our needs our last. We do not develop a body sensation. The Nervous system then passes those feelings.
We are put in situations that are custom such as a hugging family and having this specific experience. If we are introverts and personal space is something we feel a particular way about and we give in to the overly touching ,physical hugs and affection. We become disconnected.
How can we say no with ease and not worry about the fact that we said no?
The high estrogen levels we are wired with energy and desire to help others. When estrogen plummets, we can find balance and set up boundaries in place. We become physically ill, and we are depleted and that is when unfortunately, we set a boundary.
Now where we are distracted and there can be a heavy dose of expectation, we create Overtaxed Parenting.
Moms distribute our time and ourselves as far as we can.
We can say no. It should not be excruciating . We fear rejection, guilt, and shame.
When the goal of what we want and why we keep saying yes are for love and acceptance.
Standing in your power to say at first can be intimidating though, if you try it once you understand how that feels to you. You can be polite in the way you find ways to say “No.”
Send a Thank you card.
Thank you for thinking of me and inviting me to be a part of your Classroom Committee. Currently, I am not available to join in.
Be gentle in your approach. You will learn to see what works for you and reclaim your space.
Anxiety- Let us get deep about this
During this climate of uncertainty, how do we separate from the conversations with neighbors and colleagues that may cause us anxiety?
Information is important because it helps us stay connected with the world around us. Also, our brains want to gain information to keep us safe from harm. However, immersing ourselves in constant anxiety-provoking conversations takes us away from the moment where we are safe, and all is (more or less) okay. Balance is key here. Have the important conversations but also spend time in the moment through mindfulness. Meditations are incredibly powerful tools to help us practice staying present. If that isn’t your thing, practice bringing yourself back into your senses throughout the day. Notice your breath- Is it shallow or deep? Focus on the scent in the air, the taste of your coffee in the morning, the flavors in your meal, the feeling of your sheets against your skin before bed. Even a few moments a day of anchoring in the moment helps us stay in the here-and-now, which lessens anxiety.
As moms we want to be informed with information about the War, Pandemic Updates how much is too much over preparedness?
Every individual has their own level of preparedness that feels right for them. As a mental health provider, my clinical opinion is that if you find yourself ruminating on ways to control bad things from happening and you experience this in a variety of areas in your life, there may be some anxiety present. We all need to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe and being prepared is such an important action we can take to do that. However, spending excessive time in the future does not allow us to stay in the present, which is where our life resides. We may find more peace in letting go of the things we cannot control after taking care of the things that we can.
What are the key signs about worrying too much that it might be time to speak to someone or head to the Doctor?
Worrying too much can be a sign of anxiety, where we are hyper-focused on the catastrophes of the future. The number of symptoms, duration, and nature of the worrying is important in deciphering if there is a need to speak to a healthcare provider. If you find yourself worrying about multiple areas in your life for at least 6 months or more and you experience at least 3 of these symptoms: feeling on edge, being easily fatigued, difficulty concentrating or going blank, irritability, muscle tension, experience sleep disturbance (difficulty falling or staying asleep, restlessness, unsatisfying sleep) and you find it difficult to control the worry, it is a good idea to run it by your doctor or a therapist. It’s important to note that these issues need to impair your life in some way in order to be diagnosed as anxiety.
For Kids, what can we do as Parents do be sure we help them if they are struggling with Depression?
Therapy is such an important space for someone struggling with depression, kids included. Parents can discuss ways to be a support for their child with the therapist as well. Children may feel sad at times, and it doesn’t mean they have “depression.” It is extra important for parents to maintain an open line of communication about their child’s feelings, experiences, and needs that includes support, understanding, validation, and acknowledgment. Children have emotional needs that include the need to feel seen, heard, understood, connected with, nurtured. An age-appropriate mutual sharing of feelings helps normalize children’s big feelings.
What is the difference between being stuck in a funk to suffering from Depression?
The difference between being stuck in a “funk” and diagnosable depression lies in the duration of the symptoms, the severity of the symptoms, the number of symptoms, and if your ability to function is impaired. If you feel depressed for a prolonged period or a recurrent theme of feeling depressed at different times of your life, there is likely a need to address underlying issues that may be contributing to the symptoms. Usually, symptoms lasting at least 2 weeks may be considered depression rather than a “funk” if other factors are also present. An important distinction is if there is a struggle to attend to responsibilities, attend work or school, and/or a loss of pleasure in things that used to be enjoyable.