In the past, people didn’t often think about their mental health and its effects on their daily lives. People who struggled with mental health were often labeled as “lazy” or “attention-seeking,” among other disparaging and hurtful things. Little compassion or understanding was afforded to individuals coping with anxiety and depression. It’s no wonder mental health issues were considered private matters not to be discussed. 

Today we know that this stigma surrounding mental health has caused a great deal of damage to our society. Society is starting to recognize that mental health is just as vital as physical health to our overall well-being. Our mental well-being affects every part of our lives; from our relationships to our careers, the impact is significant. Our mental health even impacts our ability to get out of bed in the morning. 

Physical Effects of Poor Mental Health

When we struggle with mental illness, regardless of diagnosis, there are bound to be physical implications. Those coping with mental health issues can experience fatigue, a lack of physical energy, or restlessness, insomnia, headaches, chronic pain, digestive issues, and an increased risk of heart disease. These physical side effects can be further exacerbated by lack of exercise, poor diet, and unhealthy coping habits such as smoking, excessive drinking, and drug use. 

Negative Effects on Relationships

Mental illness can have a detrimental effect on our relationships with friends and family. This is particularly true when our friends and family do not understand or are unsupportive. Coping with mental health concerns can cause us to become irritable or have difficulty concentrating and remembering details. Negative thoughts about ourselves and misguided perceptions of how others view us can lead to misunderstandings and hurt feelings. Caring for someone experiencing mental illness can take its toll on others, particularly if they don’t prioritize self-care. Friends may not understand a lack of interest in things we used to enjoy or perceive anxiety in social settings or a sudden cancelation as a hurtful personal slight. 

On the Job

Those with mental illness know that it can make it difficult to concentrate and problem solve. It can affect our job performance and ability to deal with the everyday pressures of having a job. Anxiety, which leads to procrastination and indecision, can affect our self-worth in a self-defeating cycle. Careers that we once loved and worked hard to cultivate can suffer. 

Our mental health is a significant factor that can potentially impact every area of our lives. Anything with that much potential to change our lives deserves to be discussed openly. Ending the stigma of mental illness is an issue our society needs to address. 

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