Have you seen my last post on “How to prioritize yourself as a wife?” Be sure to check it out.
Initially, I was going to write about an interesting topic. But due to the global pandemic, it dawned on me that a lot of people are having a hard time balancing their mental health. Especially with issues like depression and anxiety.
Depression is more prevalent in women, and that is because hormone fluctuations and biology during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy and even menopause may be a trigger for depression. Too often, people are unwilling to openly discuss their struggle with mental health for fear of self-depreciation, and shame. Going through a pandemic like COVID 19, brings about anxiousness for lots of people especially women and new moms. Social distancing being the best recommendation to contain the virus, limits accessibility to resources for people who are going through depression or anxiety. Despite these resources available to people who need help, the stigma attached to issues like depression keeps people from seeking the help they need. It might be easy for someone who hasn’t had an experience with depression to instantly think that one is having a thought of committing suicide. But depression manifests in different ways, what triggers one person, might not be the same for the other.
As women, our aim should be focused on being a source of strength and support to one another especially during this difficult time. Let’s not lose compassion, understanding, trust, and care for one other. It is sad to say that some women in today’s generation have rather gravitated to being gossipers, and bullies. Forgetting that we need each other’s love because when women support each other, incredible things happen. As women, we should be a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, and a friend indeed to one another at all times. We should be available and easily approachable to a sister that is struggling with balancing her mental health especially now. None of our fellow women should feel judged by our response when she opens up about her struggles with mental health. Neither should any woman have fear and mistrust about opening up for reasons being that her issue would be shared between another party. Please note that depression is not a choice, and that might be anyone’s situation tomorrow. Mental health is not a joke and neither should it be taken likely.
What is Mental Health?
I once had an encounter with a new mom. As I was about screening her for postpartum depression using the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Score (EPDS), I asked mom if she’s had any difficulties balancing her mental health since the last 7 days after her baby arrived? Can you guess what moms response was? Mom responded “Not me , I reject it. God forbid.” I looked at mom, and smiled because the way she responded is what my culture calls, being too extra. Though, It’s not her fault mom had thought my question meant if she had any mental illness. Her response enlightened me to know that because of the culture difference, some people are not exposed to what mental health is. Mental health in a simple explanation, is a state of balance between your psychological, emotional and social well being. It is what aids in the way we cope with the stresses of life, our work productivity, our contributions to our society or community etc. When we suffer with balancing our mental health, we can slowly gravitate to having mental illnesses. There are lists of common mental health disorders such as anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and schizophrenic disorders and all these mental disorders have treatments and ways to balance them. Please note that mental illness is nothing to be shy or ashamed of.
Anxiety disorder : Relates to a fear of certain object or situation. Usually people who suffer from this disorder, can get triggered when faced with a situation that brings about their anxiety. Examples of anxiety disorder are Post- traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) , Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Generalized anxiety disorders, and phobias.
Mood disorder: Mood disorder impacts one’s mood, energy, and ability to think clearly. A person who suffers from mood disorder, experiences a change in mood range from an elevated mood range (mania) to low mood range (depression). Examples of mood disorder are bipolar disorder, depression, and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Schizophrenic disorder: This disorder has a complex condition. Typically, people who suffer from this disorder interprets reality abnormally. The signs and symptoms for this disorder may vary from person to person, but usually involves hallucinations, disorganized speech, an impaired ability to function, and delusions. There is a lifelong treatment for this type of mental disorder.
For anyone going through mental health with shame to ask for help. I understand how difficult and uncomfortable it can be. However, I assure you that speaking up and asking for help does not make you feeble but rather, it’s a sign of strength. If you need a listening ear and someone to express your feelings to. At the end of this blog, please shoot me an email via the contact form on the menu bar. I will try my best to get you the help you need.
Asking for help when dealing with mental health does not make you feeble – Vera Yanney
If you happen to know a lady who might be going through depression or anxiety. I urge you to please reach out. A simple, how are you? I hope you are okay? Goes a long way and the same goes for new moms. If you know a new mom please call to check up on her. Text her as often as you can. A lot of people fail to realize that when a new mom gives birth to a child. She is deserving of the same attention that the child gets. Check on a new mom and ask her what she needs help with? Buy her groceries, help to babysit, assist with laundry, and give her time to catch up on sleep. Of course, not now but when social distancing is lifted. By doing these, you decrease her likeliness of falling into postpartum depression.
There are several steps that you can take, to aid in optimizing your mental health during COVID 19.
Tips on how to balance your mental health during COVID-19.
1. Practice media distancing: Majority of what news outlets put on air now, is information and updates about the national crisis. To limit anxiety and depression, practice media distancing just as you’ve had to practice social distancing. Stay away from latest news, skip that Instagram or Facebook post about the virus, and do not research about it either. If the information is vital, trust me you will hear about it through word of mouth.
2. Time off work: Remember to take time off from work. It is advisable and important to take time off work for mental health. Use your PTO please to refuel as doing so will improve your performance and productivity significantly. Taking a mental health break from your company benefits both you and your workplace because it aids in morale and employee retention in the long run. So, yes go ahead and request off and do not feel bad about it neither should you allow anyone to convince you.
3. Focus on today: This goes for my moms & wives in particular. We are very scheduled and like to go according to what’s been planned on our calendar. But, I have to break it to you. Sticking to schedule in a global pandemic would only increase your chances of getting stressed. Do not worry so much about the meal to be prepared tomorrow, or ordering arts and crafts for home school in 4 days. Focus on the present at least throughout this pandemic. This can be tough, but we want what’s best for our mental health during this temporary period.
4. Beauty rest: Let’s try to look at things on the brighter side. This pandemic might be the only time we get to catch up on our sleep. As women, we need our beauty rest. So why not take advantage of this crisis? If you are a mom, set a time to sleep while hubby watches the kid(s) and vice versa. Pump and store up in the fridge so he doesn’t have to wake you up.
5. Become productive/ recreate: Prior to the pandemic, you can agree with me that working an 8 hour shift was overwhelming, and the weekends went by fast. There was barely any time to generate new ideas, nor become innovative. This period can be used to your advantage. Creating, planning, and attempting new skills puts your attention on what is satisfying. Learn a new hairstyle, give Hubby a shape up, reorganize your room and children’s room, plan that business, rewrite that resume, and learn to cook new delicacies. Join to name a few!
6. Cry: It is absolutely okay to have a meltdown and if you have to cry to feel a lot much better please do so. After all, we are all humans and crying is our mechanism for self soothing which releases oxytocin and endorphins. Go ahead and embrace your emotions and humanity. The aim is that you decompress.
7. Seek Therapy : Ladies, it is okay to admit that you are struggling and your plans are not falling in line especially during this period. That trip you booked, the weight gain, etc all these plans you had for 2020 not coming to fulfillment. I understand but, many issues that are suppressed are not dealt with. Therapy is so beneficial and there is no side effect associated with acquiring help through therapy. In fact, everyone needs to have a therapist and one does not have to be going through a crisis to seek therapy. So book an online therapy and just share those emotions with a certified professional. For my Christians, it is okay to talk to God, and have a therapist. During this period, we thank goodness for how easily accessible online therapy is and all you have to do is choose one that you feel connects to you.
8. Have faith: This period, I have stayed spiritually charged up in prayers and you should too. Jeremiah 29: 11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” If you are a Christian, and you believe in the word of God. This is the time to align yourself with God’s word and dispel every other thought and words that is contrary to what he has spoken over your life. Depression and Anxiety are not God’s plan for you regardless of what is going on around the world. If this helps, a friend of mine shared with me a church “Kingdom full tabernacle” on YouTube. They bring in empowering, life changing, and engaging topics for everyone. You will truly enjoy it. You can follow them on Instagram and also the assistant pastor, and First lady Lesley. Thank me later.
We might be away from social interactions, but we are all in this together- Vera Yanney
Ladies, I want you all to know that you are capable of getting through this. But, you don’t have to do it alone. Always remember that it is okay to ask for help. Asking for help when dealing with mental health does not make you feeble. Stay strong and hold on a little longer because you are capable of getting through this. Do not forget to send me an email via the contact form on the menu bar. I will try my best to get you the help you need.
As always, see you beauties on my next blog post. Be sure to leave comments, and suggestions on topics you’d be interested in. Remember to stay kind, and gentle to yourself . Do not forget that you are stronger than you can ever imagine.