My Mind’s Telling Me

“The first wealth is health.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Mental health is just as important as our physical health, as both are components of our overall health. It is so important that the lack of it, which is mental illness, causes more disability in developed countries than cancer and heart disease, and increases the risk of chronic illnesses like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma, epilepsy and cancer.

Why else is mental health important?

What also makes mental illness important is that 25% of all US adults have a mental illness, and nearly 50% of US adults will develop a mental illness during their lifetime. This is why all of us must get into discussing mental health and the lack thereof, so that all of us can be informed, and know how to address it.


Because, when demands are placed on ANY person that are greater than their emotional resources and coping abilities, his or her mental health can be impacted.

So what is Mental Health?

Mental health is an emotional state of being comfortable, happy, and free from illness and/or injury. Be clear that it can change over time, and different people do different things to maintain it. It could be having a good cry, scream, working out, or just taking a walk. What do you do to maintain your mental health?


What about Mental Illness?

“I wanted to tell the truth. Anxiety is nothing to be ashamed of; it affects millions of people every day.” -Zayn Malik.

Mental illness is clinically significant behavioral pattern that can occur in a person that is associated with present distress, impairment in one or more important areas of functioning. You could also say it is sustained, consistent abnormal changes in thinking, mood, or behavior associated with disrupted daily functioning, and personal, social, and occupational impairment.

Lastly, mental illness comes with a significantly increased risk of suffering, death, pain disability, or and important loss of freedom.

“I am an emotional gangster. I cry once a month.” -Cardi B.

Now don’t get mental illness messed up, it must not be confused with an expectable and culturally acceptable response to a particular event. For example, the response to the death of a loved one will vary from person to person. That’s why the popular statement, “They are doing too much,” is usually inaccurate if that is what a person needs to do to cope with a particular event.


What are risk factors for Mental Illness?

First let me say that mental illness is not an auto-diagnosis for people who lack personal strength, have personality traits such as shyness, or who are of a certain socioeconomic status. The main risk factors are:

  • Family History
  • Stressful life conditions
  • Chronic disease
  • Traumatic experiences
  • llegal drug use
  • Childhood abuse or neglect
  • Lack of social support


What are some symptoms of Mental Illness?

“Depression is when you don’t really care about anything. Anxiety is when you care too much about everything. And having both is just like hell.” -Unknown

It depends on the type. The most common types are the anxiety and the mood disorders. The symptoms often reveal themselves in response to situations. Fear and worry out of proportion to a situation, are signs of anxiety. The responses of anxiety are usually uncontrollable and keep a person from functioning normally. Panic attacks come on rapidly, peaking in minutes, with a rapid heart rate, chest pain, shortness of breath, hyperventilation, sweating, and shaking, feelings of terror and a sense of impending doom.   Sadness, weight changes, a loss of energy, and interest in one’s favorite activities, feelings of worthlessness, difficulty sleeping and concentrating, and thoughts of death and suicide are symptoms of depression.

How is mental illness best treated?

Anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder are best treated by the combination of talk therapy and medication.

Dr.’s Orders

Mental illness is not a topic to cause shame or fear. If you feel that your state of mind is in any way “off,” or that certain things are becoming “triggers,” be willing to acknowledge these changes and get help. Seek counsel in a safe environment that brings you comfort, from a trustworthy person in your life, a mental health professional, or call the National Treatment Referral Hotline at 1-877-726-4727.

“Be safe. Be successful.” – Dr. Kadisha

  • Share: