Mental health issues are the most common health problems that most of us facing in real world due to the busy life. One needs to take help of the mental health services to be able to cope up from these issues that one would encounter in their lives. It is a misconception in our society that seeking external help for mental health issues is wrong, but instead thats very important to lead a normal life. This article is all about how I realized the stress levels and its affects on my daily routine. I have explained what made me seek the external mental health services to cope up my stress levels and lead a normal life again.
Like many, my life holds a lot of responsibility. I have several children that are all very active in extracurricular activities, a wife with a busy schedule, and my own job that requires I put in a lot of hours and overtime. I thought I had everything together and that I was handling the stress beautifully. I had day planners and apps that helped me to stay on track and organized and I was the very model of someone that could multi-task with ease. At least that’s the front I put out to the world. I made sure no one saw me sweat. I wanted everyone to think I was perfect and when I felt stressed I just buckled down and worked even harder promising myself that hard work now would pay off in the end. It did add up but not in any positive way.
Instead of reaping the rewards of hard work I found myself slowing down. I constantly felt like I was in a fog and it became harder to be motivated, even when I would be scheduled to do activities I had loved before. I may have been striving to multitask and be productive at work but I found myself feeling bogged down and less able to focus. For all of my hard work I was losing steam and my coworkers and boss were beginning to notice. Even in my down time I was finding it hard to relax and enjoy myself. Stress was overrunning my life and it was effecting me far more than I initially realized.
It’s common for everyone to feel stress occasionally but our life circumstances, or the circumstances we put ourselves in can pile it on until we’re unable to handle it physically and emotionally. In the end our bodies and our minds break down. Once I realized the negative impacts that stress was having on my life I began to do a bit of research.
What I learned is that stress can be positive. In the right circumstances stress can save our lives or give us the adrenaline boost that we need. In these situations our brain tells our body to release special nerve chemicals and hormones that we often call our “instincts”. These are the helpful guys that tell us when to stand up and fight or to run away to safety. At the right time these are great, but when we put our bodies under constant stress then we are getting these chemicals far more often than we need them and in times when they are unnecessary.
In the end I learned that there are three primary types of stress that affect us. We have the regular routine stress that comes from every day responsibilities, the stress that comes on suddenly from a negative event, and traumatic stress that happens when something major has taken place such as a car accident. All of these have their time and place but in my life I had my body constantly cycling through stressors.
I noticed I was overloading my body when I started feeling the symptoms of depression and anxiety. The stress that had fed my responsibilities was now working against me. I found myself having panic attacks at the grocery store, feeling nervous going into meetings that I had gone into a hundred times before, and just generally feeling weak and down in the dumps.
To counteract the negative impact I’d had on my mind and body I needed to seek professional help. I was reluctant initially because of the stigma that comes with needing help but in the end it was the right decision. My counselor helped me to come up with ideas to eliminate stress and for how to cope with it. It took me a long time to build up the negative impact I’d had on myself and it was going to take a while to fix it all but with her assistance I knew we could do it.
One of the very first steps was to include my family. I was so used to seeming like the strong steel beam in our family that it was hard for me to admit to others that I needed help and that I couldn’t do it all alone. To my surprise my wife and my daughters were more than happy to help. They even admitted that they had begun to notice that I was suffering and were pleased that I was asking for assistance. Together we worked out a schedule that would accommodate everyone but would also give me some time to myself where I could work on hobbies or other activities I enjoy.
My counselor also taught me how to recognize when I was getting overloaded. As a go getter I want to be able to do everything but sometimes that isn’t realistic and when it puts my mental health at risk it isn’t worth it. I had to keep a journal at first and documented when I was beginning to feel overburdened but after a few months I was able to recognize the symptoms on my own.
Adding exercise to my daily routine was also extremely helpful. It might seem negative to add yet another task to my day but exercise is helpful for both my mind and my body. I get to go out and release some of my built up tension and if I choose to run I can get some much needed outdoor time just to myself. I hadn’t realized how much I needed exercise until I started again. It’s amazing what releasing those positive endorphins can do. I wake up in the morning looking forward to my job instead of immediately dreading the busy day.
The most important thing I had to do was prioritize. I had to decide to put my mental health as a top priority. While doing everything might be nice it isn’t feasible and I could only keep it up for so long.