Total progress: $265
Thank you so much for your donations. It means a great deal to me that people are reading the blog and contributing when they are able!
I’d like to switch gears a bit from physical activity to mental illness if I may. This is a post you’ll want to share with a loved one. Or Gary, that guy you sometimes get beer with after work and you just know he could use some help.
This is not a pity post, this is legit. Nurse David suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Seriously? Couldn’t we find a better acronym? SAD also stands for Social Anxiety Disorder. I have that too, occasionally, to a much, much smaller extent.
Part of me loves Movember because it provides me with the excuse to go bonkers talking about men’s health and raise money for worthwhile research and services to improve our lives. And part of me hates Movember because it always coincides with this wicked and insidious downturn in my mood.
It does not help that there is almost always a fresh mass shooting to put a wet Turkish winter blanket over me and the feeling like I wish it would just suffocate the impact of this event has on me. If I am honest, I’m still not over the Paris Bataclan shooting. Mass shootings and mental illness are not mutually exclusive.
Mental illness, left untreated, can lead to mild disinterest in an activity we once loved to the ultimate act against oneself, suicide. There is no need for men to suffer in isolation behind an impervious facade of manliness. Not if we want to get better. I think being ‘man enough’ to be open and honest about how we feel is the pinnacle of manliness personally.
Women obviously suffer from mental illness, but for many reasons men are less likely to seek help for mental health issues.
Here’s my beginner’s advice (women included):
- If there is something that you’re struggling with, talk about it to a close friend, to your primary care physician, to someone else who is struggling. You’re never alone.
- Know that there are services and treatments available and not all of them involve taking medication.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol, they may seem like a way to escape, but they complicate mental illness more than help solve it. Worse, it’s not possible for professionals to help determine illness from substances when attempting to treat you, leading to inaccurate or delayed diagnosis.
- Get physically active. Mental illness can be made worse by inactivity. While being active can reduce stress and provide secondary benefits for weight loss, better sleep, and more energy!
- Know what to do in a crisis. Make sure you know your resources. In the States I like these:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- A wonderful service you can dial via phone (2-1-1) and connect with local resources and immediate access to private emergency counseling.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness
- A comprehensive site for education on treatment, support, and discussion of mental illness
Please share this with someone you love who may be suffering and not know where to get help. Tomorrow I would like to talk to non-sufferers about how to spot a loved one going through mental illness.