I bought a journal three weeks ago. Cognitive behavioral therapists often recommend journaling to help improve your mood by self identified problem solving. I haven’t written in it yet. I’m not much of a handwritten person, I prefer typing and making to-do lists and notes on my phone and computer. But I also struggle with anxiety, which isn’t something I hide, in fact, I’m sure many people can tell after a few times meeting me. I don’t mind acknowledging it, it’s better than hiding it.
Anxiety is the most common mental illness in the US and affects 40 million adults each year, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. The reason I think I’m so comfortable with talking about this is because I believe mental health awareness is much more openly accepted by our generation, and that is a very good and important thing. One of my professors said that they believe our generation will be known as the one that broke the stigma around mental health. I agree, since in my mind, there is no stigma.
Just because there may be less of a stigma around mental health awareness doesn’t mean you don’t deal with it and try to better yourself. As many young adults my age know, people like our parents will often tell you, “Don’t worry so much. What do you have to be sad about?” or “There is no reason to be nervous.” Something along those lines. But the brain is a complex organ and doesn’t turn off feelings and emotions that easily. I believe our interpretations of situations are all different. Two people having a conversation will have different internal thoughts about how they process that interaction. This is what leads to disorders like anxiety.
Medication is an option, but it’s not for everyone. And a lot of times you have to try multiple prescriptions before you find the one that’s right for you. They also have different side effects of their own. So it’s up to each individual whether it is worth it.
Talking helps. But everyone has their own thought process; that is why mental and physical meditation and awareness is important to develop. It requires work. Like I said, I still haven’t even tried the journal, but I’d like to. What I hope to accomplish by sharing my personal thoughts and experiences with the community, is to encourage and engage more opportunity for mental health dialogue and once again beat down at the stigma around it. Organizations on campus like Mind Your Health have been a big part of breaking more boundaries as well.
Everyone’s mental health issues present themselves in different ways, so it is always important to be understanding and supportive of each other. One thing that I remind myself almost every day is to enjoy the present because you can’t change the past and you can’t live in the future.
Editor’s Note: The North Wind is committed to offering a free and open public forum of ideas, publishing a wide range of viewpoints to accurately represent the NMU student body. This is a staff column, written by an employee of the North Wind. As such, it expresses the personal opinions of the individual writer, and does not necessarily reflect the position of the North Wind Editorial Board.