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May 2023 is Mental Health Awareness Month

May 2023 is Mental Health Awareness Month, and this is a time to bring awareness to all of the mental health issues that many people suffer with every day. It is important for those of us in the mental health community to speak up to help break the stigma around mental health issues.

This year, NAMI is celebrating Mental Health Awareness Month with the More Than Enough campaign!
It’s an opportunity for all of us to come together and remember the inherent value we each hold — no matter our diagnosis, appearance, socioeconomic status, background or ability. We want every person out there to know that if all you did was wake up today, that’s more than enough. No matter what, you are inherently worthy of more than enough life, love and healing. Showing up, just as you are, for yourself and the people around you is more than enough.

When you are living with a mental illness, as one in five Americans does, it is important to remember that you are still enough. Living with mental illness doesn't make you less of a person, or less worthy of living a fulfilling life.

At times, it can be challenging living with a mental health diagnosis, as I well know from personal experience. I live with PTSD, Anxiety and Depression and sometimes it can feel overwhelming. Symptoms can come to the forefront depending on your life circumstances, and make you feel like even the smallest activities are difficult.

When you are struggling, it is important to remember that you are still enough. You are still a good person. Your symptoms don't make you less worthy of living a good life. It may feel hopeless at times, but there is always a way out of your suffering.

If you are struggling with a mental health disorder yourself and you feel overwhelmed with your symptoms, it is important to find help from a trained professional. You can seek out help from your physician, or a therapist, life coach, or psychiatrist.

It can also help to work with a team of providers to help take care of your mental health. Many times, you will see one professional for talk therapy, and another for your medication needs. If both of these professionals are at the same clinic, it can be a big help so that they can easily work together and share your medical records.

However, if you need to see two different professionals in a separate practice, you can still get the help that you need. The combination of medication and talk therapy is often very helpful, compared to receiving either treatment on its own.

Depending on your diagnosis, you may also be eligible for group therapy. This can be helpful as well, because you will be in a support group with other people who are dealing with similar issues to your own. This can help you to feel less alone and isolated. It helps to build community and gives you a support system that you can rely on.

In addition to getting therapy, there are many other coping strategies that you can use for mental health issues. Personally, some things I have found useful are:

  • Mindfulness

  • Meditation

  • Yoga

  • Journaling

  • Gratitude

  • Going for walks

  • Practicing Self-Care

  • Taking a hot bath or shower

  • Taking naps

  • Reading a good book

  • Watching a favorite TV show

  • Watching inspirational videos

All of these coping skills and more can help you feel more relaxed and at ease with yourself. My doctor has told me that spending time outdoors is helpful for depression because it gets you moving, and gets you out in the sunlight.

When you have a mental health diagnosis, it isn't the end of the world. You can still live a happy and full life if you are getting the proper treatment, and using your coping skills toolbox.

During Mental Health Awareness Month, it is important for us to take some time to reflect on our own diagnosis and what we can do to best take care of ourselves and make ourselves feel loved and safe.

No matter what you are going through in your life, remember that you are always enough. Don't ever let anyone else make you feel like you are less than worthy!

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