For many of us, the term mental illness is associated with a fair amount of stigma. And for mothers, especially, psychological health is often a taboo subject. Modern moms are expected to do it all: we run households, raise children and excel at our careers, all while maintaining our health, appearance and personal relationships. We feel enormous pressure to succeed in all areas of life, as well as to remain at an even keel, emotionally and psychologically.
It’s not uncommon that many moms shrug off the symptoms of mental illness, and suffer in silence. What’s more, many women suffer from mental health disorders, yet are unable to recognize their symptoms, and therefore never seek the treatment they need.
So, in regards to mental health, what’s a mom to do? Thankfully, there are lots of ways moms can address psychological distress. Keep reading for tips on improving mental health, reducing the stigmas associated with psychological illnesses, and enhancing overall quality of life.
Recognizing the Symptoms of Mental Illness
If you’re experiencing symptoms of psychological illness, you’re not alone. Each year, millions of people, most of them women, suffer from mood or behavioral disorders of some kind. And while symptoms vary according to diagnosis and other factors, common signs of mental illness include the following:
- Overwhelming sadness.
- Feelings of guilt and/or hopelessness.
- Anxiety or nervousness.
- Sleep disturbances. This includes insomnia, as well as sleeping too often and at odd hours.
- Frequent feelings of anger and frustration.
- Mood swings.
- Pervasive worry or fear.
- Problems within relationships.
- The inability to focus or concentrate.
- Social withdrawal.
- Physical symptoms like fatigue, chronic aches and pains, digestive disturbances, etc.
If the symptoms of mental illness are apparent, seeking treatment is essential to health and quality of life. Psychological counseling is extremely beneficial to mental health, as it is designed to help patients identify and change unhealthy thoughts and behaviors.
For example, anger management psychologists can help moms pinpoint the source of their anger and frustration, then modify their actions accordingly. Plus, psychological counseling can help patients identify and avoid unhealthy triggers, as well as formulate coping strategies in the interest of long-term recovery. For mothers and parents, in general, the tools provided by this type of treatment can prove invaluable, as they promote mental health, enhanced quality of life, and healthier, more effective parenting.
In light of the stigmas associated with mental illness, it can be difficult for moms to find the support they so desperately need and deserve. This lack of support can lead to isolation, resentment, a worsening of symptoms and a host of other risks and complications. However, help and support are available. In seeking the necessary support in overcoming the symptoms of mental illness, the following tips can help.
- Talk to your friends and family members. While it may be uncomfortable at first, discussing your symptoms and diagnosis with your close loved ones is crucial in finding the support you need. Odds are, your friends and family members will be happy to help and support you in any way possible.
- Find a support group. Since depression, anxiety and other disorders are extremely common among mothers, finding a support group shouldn’t be too challenging. Support groups provide a safe place to discuss your issues, and offer the benefit of support and assistance from peers.
Healthy lifestyle choices can offer significant advantages to both mental and physical health. For example, regular exercise can boost the brain’s production of “feel-good” chemicals like dopamine, as well as provide relief from stress, tension, insomnia, fatigue, digestive problems and more. And making the choice to enjoy a healthy, balanced diet will also boost mood and energy levels, as well as set a great example for the rest of your family.
Also, since alcohol, nicotine and caffeine can exacerbate the symptoms of mental illness, limiting your intake of these substances can vastly improve health and well-being.
Millions of women suffer from the effects of mental illness; if you’re one of them, seek treatment immediately, and get on the path to health and wellness. You and your family will be glad you did.