Mental Hygiene and Isolation

Anne Rollins MS CSSD RD LDN

May is Mental Health Awareness month (but this couldn’t wait)

I had other plans for this coming May, as I’m sure 100% of all us did.  Quarantine was not one of them.  Shifting gears, and pivoting….

Anxiety and Depression

Solitude and isolation are the norm for many who suffer from mental health issues, and I can’t imagine how people are managing in quarantine. 

I practice mental hygiene daily, and I can attest that this only provides me with tools to cope, not with control to change the feelings.  People suffering from anxiety and depression currently are at increased risk whether it’s related to missing or rationing medicine doses, increased lack of motivation, seasonal depressive disorder (we are still in the thick of SAD issues for the next month or two) and a host of other issues.  Give people in your home more latitude and support, and reach out to neighbors or family members through technology if possible.  If you are reading this and you yourself struggle with mental issues, I see you.  I may not know you, but know that I see you every day.  If you are under the care of a physician, check in just because.

Earlier this year, I had been planning to get a walk or run together to raise awareness for mental health in honor of my father, Jim Rollins, who suicided twenty-two years ago.  After 22 years, I finally looked up the actually date of his death and over the last few years, have started to process his illness and death.  I was raised in a time and family where the stigma of suicide was embarrassing and shameful, and I carried that in almost every decision I made as I grew into my own adult.  We, as a culture, are getting incredibly better at recognizing mental health and hygiene, but we can still fail to see the ongoing impact of suicide on the individual and the ripple effect of loved ones left behind.  Using myself as an example, I thought I had dealt with the loss and all the implications, but I truly had not.

Reach out to people you know who are suffering.  Be aware that mental illness is not a choice, but sometimes an ongoing struggle.  While I cannot assemble a large group this year for my yet to be created Uncle Jimmy’s 5K Walk/Run, I hope you will all join me next May as I hope to have the event in full swing when we can all safely assemble groups.  Showing up can be the single most important thing you can do for someone suffering with a mental health issue, and I would love to have as many of you as possible show up with friends and family, even if just to cheer or show support.  So, mark your calendars for next May, and help me continue the forward progress of destigmatizing mental health and illnesses.  That’s too long for me to wait idle, so you know I’ll be putting together something else before then!  Stay tuned and lead with your heart as we go through May in isolation.  Thank you!

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