“It’s just understanding what’s going on in my life? How am I approaching it? How am I reacting to it,” just a few questions Lee Health’s director of behavioral health, Jayme Hodges, says can help you become more aware of your mental health. “With understanding the whole picture, it really is increasing your awareness of what healthy living is, and being able to recognize signs of depression and anxiety, isolating behaviors.”
It’s important to recognize how something is affecting your relationships, your daily activities, your work or your family life. Being able to evaluate your behavior can help you determine if you have healthy coping skills.
“The fact is, we all cope. We just don’t cope healthily. To figure out what to do, you first have to be willing to look introspectively, honestly,” said Hodges.
It’s first important to understand that it’s normal to have certain reactions when something unexpected happens. “It’s normal to feel bad. It’s normal to have distressing thoughts, and memories, and reliving experiences,” she said.
But if unhealthy behaviors like excessive drinking, drugs, or isolation begin, it’s important to talk to someone. “There is a stigma attached to a mental health illness and a lot of times people will not come forward if they have issues or concerns, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, whatever it is. They don’t feel comfortable coming forward and admitting that they might need extra help,” Hodges said.
Everyone experiences and copes with things differently—but finding healthy ways to manage stress is important to your overall health.