“End the stigma, all feelings are valid! “
As we count down to World Mental Health Day on October 10, we asked mental health experts and advocates: What would you like to tell everyone about mental health? What would you like to say to someone struggling with their mental health?
Here’s what they said:
End the stigma. All feelings are valid! -Dr. Gia Baquiran Sison
There is no simplistic, linear way to explain suicide, clinical depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and all other mental health issues. This is much more complex than a one sentence and one paragraph explanation. For survivors of suicide and mental health issues, it takes years, if not a life, to fully understand the situation. A little empathy and understanding goes a long way. When there seems to be no one left, you have it yourself. And you are enough. –Kate Alvarez, founder of SOS Philippines (Survivors of Suicide), facebook.com/sosphilippines, writer and mental health advocate
I would like to say the following: It is normal to disagree. You are not alone and we are here to listen and help you. Your story matters and we want to be part of your journey to wellness. –Ronald John Recio, MA RPsy EMDRPRac MBPsS, clinical psychologist
At some point in our lives we will all hit rock bottom. When it bursts into our door, we should take it into account. Because healing only comes the minute we face it. I may not be able to fully grasp what you are going through, but here is my hand, ready to hold your heart. I am here and I will listen. —Kooky Tuason, oral artist / radio host / educator
I want to tell anyone with mental health issues that no matter how hard it is for you, this is not the end. It won’t last forever. Right now, for those with mental health issues, hang in there. All of this will pass. Use this pain to find a greater purpose in your life. If you want to talk to someone, we’re just a text or a call away. —Marissa Jusay, family counselor, Ruben M. Tanseco, SJ Center for Family Ministries
When you hear people talk about their mental health issues, there’s always that level of relativity, and I think that’s where the danger comes from. It’s easy to think, “Hey, I went through something similar and just exercised, or took a walk, or ate a box of chocolates, I chose to think positively and I m. ‘I got over it. I’m sure they could too.
It is not so easy. You cannot just pray / walk / exercise / drink / sleep / eat in the dark. It’s different for everyone and you have to respect that. Sometimes you can just help someone survive for a season until they’re ready for help, and sometimes you just have to be there with them and sit down with the pain.
You have to accept the fact that mental disorders are real illnesses just like hypertension, diabetes or cancer.
Like most disorders / illnesses, the key to a meaningful life is good, supportive, loving community, and that includes you.
From someone living with bipolar disorder, I have to say it: living with this is difficult. And I have accepted the fact that my life will not turn out the way I planned and that I will have to forge my own path to a different version of success. But despite that, I have to be honest: I’m at peace with it, and ultimately I can say that it made me a better person. In my case, that didn’t stop me from having a busy life. It’s a different life than I imagined, but full nonetheless. So keep hope.
And remember these three things: Stick to a sleep schedule, find a community that loves you, and don’t let your disorder keep you from seeing the endless possibilities big and small that life has to offer. —Jasper Hannah, media relations manager, freelance writer and artist
Mental health is not just about mental illness. It is our state of well-being – an awareness of our strengths and potentials, our ability to be resilient, to be productive and to contribute to our community.
I would like to tell someone who is struggling with their sanity that their feelings are valid and the fact that they are struggling means they are fighting – that is courage. Moreover, they are not alone, especially at this stage when many people are also in difficulty; they just need to reach out because help is available from at least one person around us who we can trust. And if that won’t be enough and our functioning and relationships are already affected, there are mental health professionals or institutions we can turn to for help. -Dr. Carolina Uno-Rayco, RGC, RPsy, National Executive Director, Philippine Mental Health Association, Inc. Nais kong ibahagi ang natutunan ko kay Dr. Dinah Nadera sa isang nakaraang webinar tungkol sa art therapy: “Ang kalusugang pampag-
iisip has everyone with ginhawa which is a tao that has nothing to do with galings in gilas, has never been normal in buhay city, nakapagpapakita ng tatag sa pagharap sa pagagaun mapagka-magambagabah in buhaya, nakapagpapakita ng tatag sa pagharap sa pagharap samating mapagka-mahuhay, ng tulong sa pamayanan. ‘
Napakahirap magpakatatag ngayong pandemya, and kahit nakakatulong an pag-isolate is maaring makaranas tayo ng malubhang kalungkutan o pagkabalisa. Paalala lang in sarili — Mahalaga from nararamdaman and mahalaga from buhay natin. All sarili and bigyan sapat na tensyon ing ating paghinga and pahinga. Humingi ng tulong kahit pa pakiramdam natin is well by rin tayo. Magpakalakas and huwag hayaang maubos ang lakas. Discover the best of yourself and everyone. Sikaping mahalin ang sarili kahit paunti-unti araaw araw. –Valene Lagunzad, advocate for mental health awareness, Mouvement Buhay
Mental health is a real problem and is part of the human being. We all have ups and downs, and that’s good. Nothing wrong with that. We should be able to discuss it freely, and it should not be treated as a flaw. Acknowledge what you are feeling. It’s OK. It is also possible to seek professional help. –Ruby gan
Mental health is just as important as physical health. Just because you can’t see someone’s pain or symptoms doesn’t mean it’s not there. There is no shame in trying to treat it; just as you would go to a doctor for a broken ankle or diabetes, you should also seek treatment for mental health issues.
You are more than your bipolar disorder, your depression, your anxiety, your PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). You have it; he doesn’t have you. Talk to someone. Find a routine. Practice self-care. Take your meds. Keep a gratitude journal. Exercise. Make this effort to do better and be better, but also allow yourself to heal.Erika Aquino, brand and marketing strategist, brewery owner and living with bipolar disorder
Don’t waste time not taking care of yourself. Find out what brings you happiness and meaning right now. Failing that, buy a corgi! –Marc Christian Parlade
There are three things I really want all Filipinos to know about mental health:
1. Our mental health is absolutely linked to our body. We must know that we cannot imagine ourselves out of a dark season; In order to get out of those dark days and nights, we need to make sure our body is moving. It can be as simple as a five minute walk, stretching all limbs, arms up, legs shaking, bending and stretching, and the one thing we are all chronically prone to but notice is rarely: try to be aware of the condition of your jaw regularly. feeling. Loosen it as often throughout the day. You will be surprised at the amount of energy that goes to your clenched teeth. It prevents you from smiling and robs you of calm. Pay attention to your jawbone, and when you do, you can feel the calm molecules settling in.
2. Mental wellness is not an on / off switch. Try to imagine it as a volume button. It can go from one to four, then four to six and then back to two. It’s not over-happy, then out-depressed, we’re not machines. The good news is that many of us slide up and down on this line, and we can do it slowly. Remember, instant things are rarely great. So be patient and work on your mood and disposition and operate slowly.
Tip: do things slower, like when you brew coffee, or sip it slowly, take a bath slower than usual, walk slowly towards the kitchen, count your steps – those little movements bring you back to the present and that always helps. When your mind is in the past, you tend to be sad; when it is in the future, he may be anxious or fearful. So bring your butt back to the present minute and slowly walk towards the kitchen and come back. Slow down, you will be surprised at how hard you have been through your busy days.
3. If all else fails, take a nap.
–Gang Badoy Capati, fellow of the Trauma Research Foundation, Boston; head therapist, Project: Steady Asia INQ