I was born in 1968, so I grew up in an era when people thought of mental health care for only those who had serious issues, such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. We didn’t understand trauma back then, nor did we understand anxiety, depression, OCD, ADHD, personality disorders, or stress disorders to name some of the many mental health disorders.
Let’s look at some facts. Every human has mental health, just like we have physical health. It may be on a spectrum from good to bad and somewhere in between. Let me repeat, WE ALL HAVE MENTAL HEALTH!
The majority of people my age and older ignore that they have mental health and do nothing to monitor or maintain good mental health, so as you can guess, it’s probably not great. The younger generations are better about knowing they have mental health and working to make sure it’s fair to good, but that’s probably still under 50%. The cold hard facts are that the majority of humans do not do anything to monitor or work on their mental health. If you think long and hard about the dysfunction in society, that explains a lot.
I remember when my mother made my first counseling appointment on the recommendation of my pediatrician. I was 11 years old I started crying and asked, “Does this mean I’m crazy?” Remember, this was probably around 1979 when we were still very ignorant, as a society, about mental health.
I had shown signs of anxiety since the day I was born and depression was starting to rear its head around puberty. I became suicidal and wrote poems about it that my mother read and I shared with my friends. No one knew I was having suicidal ideation, not me, not my parents, not even my counselor. Not one person, even my counselor, ever asked me if I wanted to harm myself. It just wasn’t thought about or talked about back then. I was suicidal from the age of 11 to the age of 29, when I was finally properly diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder.
The treatment from the time of my diagnosis was prescription medication and therapy. I have been taking meds since then and going to therapy since then and I will tell you it saved my life. The longer I stayed undiagnosed, the closer and closer I inched toward doing something about my suicidal ideation.
Every human has trauma, from the time we’re born to the day we die. If you’ve read the books, ‘It didn’t start with you’ or ‘The body keeps the score,’ you know that trauma will be passed down through our DNA on the cellular level. So, let me repeat that EVERY HUMAN HAS TRAUMA.
Think about yourself, your family, your spouse, your friends, and your children. How’s your mental health?