There’s still stigma and discrimination attached to mental health problems, research we carried out across Scotland found that 56% of people with a mental health condition have experienced stigma and discrimination.
source – seemescotland.org/stigma-discrimination/ –
UPDATE 2018: I no longer work as a developer and have moved to work on my mental health.
If you have a high level of well-being; you are more productive at work, home and at in social areas of your life. Like most people, it is not uncommon to have had a headache or a migraine. The causes can vary and so do the remedies, but problems start if it begins to affect your general health because your mental health affects everything and everyone in your life. For me it is stress. Also because I have an inoperable AVM in the left side of my brain that is large and causes me problems every day. It was not as bad before I was diagnosed, I experienced just the occasional fainting and jerking right leg as well as being tired and having headaches. After the stroke in early 2014, however, my life was changed drastically and the worst thing I did was deny and lie about it. I guess it was my own way of coping. One of the hardest things about having a hidden disability and the fact that most people don’t know what an AVM is it causes mental illness and when you’re open enough to talk about it; people often change their opinion about you and treat you differently. They see you differently and your diagnosis becomes your label. The fact that I am experiencing pain adds to the stress and the cycle is hard to break until the pain subsides that happens randomly on any part of my body. One of the hardest challenges I have faced is taking control of my stress levels. Stressed that it may rupture again causing another bleed. The stress of being tired. Tired of being stressed. I had no choice but to learn how to cope with it since I completely shut out and pushed the diagnosis into the darkest corner of my mind. It’s so important to take steps toward a healthy mind and the steps you take will vary based on your situation and personality. You could try anything from:
- mindfulness techniques,
- spending time with friends or even
- professional counselling can be a huge help.
I spend most of my time with eyes focused on a screen, writing code, studying code and reading code. After attempting to try to get my old life back I decided to change my career as Web Development demanded too many hours on a screen. Now I freelance so it means I choose the projects I work on but most importantly I work less hours. Even if you are not a developer or in an I.T related job most of us will require to sit for long periods of time. Spending hours sitting in the exact same position is not good for your overall health and it’s easy to lose track of that time. The consequences affect the body and muscle aches develop, as well as joint and posture problems over time.
Do not allow yourself to sit or stare at a screen for any longer than 1 hour
Environmental and social resources for health can include health promotion activities aimed at strengthening individual, environmental and social resources that may ultimately improve well-being.
So how do you achieve this?
- Use an app or set reminders that gently alerts you to get up every half hour or so. Some apps go as far as reminding you to drink some water, go for a walk or even to take some long deep breaths while closing and giving your eyes a rest. The options are endless as you can also create your own goals and tasks 🙂 I personally use a computer app called Om which gently plays the sound of a Tibetan singing bowl to mark every hour of continuous computer use. This takes my mind off and snaps me out of staring too long or intently.
- Following a short youtube workout video makes a huge difference as it will keep your weight in check so those extra pounds won’t creep in slowly.
- Having a morning routine (anytime helps too) of getting fresh air for 20 minutes a day or sometimes less, boosts energy and keeps the worries at bay.
- Your garden can be a safe place to sit and listen to the birds and take in some natural sounds, which are organic and if that is not available you can listen to ambient sounds with earphones in whilst letting your head feel the wind for a moment.
- It’s very tempting to have a bag of crisps or a packet of chocolates sitting at the desk for you to casually grab out whenever you feel peckish. Consider switching out to a packet of almonds or a bag of dates instead as you get the sweetness of the dates as well the saltiness of the almonds.
- Keep hydrated as the effects of dehydration can be avoided such as lack of concentration, irritability and headaches.
Most of our daily lives are based on or around work so we have to take care in taking care of ourselves so that we can sustain ourselves not for the sake of surviving, but for the sake of thriving. There is a general definition that well-being includes the presence of positive emotions and moods (contentment), the absence of negative emotions (anxiety), satisfaction with life, fulfilment and positive functioning. Building a routine you can stick to in daily life may not sound important, but for some people, a routine is what helps to keep them grounded.
My motivation to spread awareness of mental health was brought on by my own suffering and will continue to be my source of inspiration as I have this health condition for the rest of my life.