What is Mental Health, Other than an Invisible Shield?

 I understand that when it comes to talking about mental health and having conversations surrounding the implications of it, it can be difficult for some and easier for others to discuss. No matter how hard you think the conversation may be to have at the time, trust me when I say that it is way worse on the other person you plan on talking to, if you just ignore having the conversation all together. I am writing this article to provide insight on how mental health can affect you and the close people in your life that care about you. By providing my own mental health experience, I am going to discuss how I conquered it with help. It is important to know that this concerning topic has an impact on everyone, even if you are not aware that it does.

In understanding what mental health is, we should accept that the scale on how serious the mental impact may be weighs heavier depending on our own individual situations. Being stressed out about final exams and having anxiety over managing our time for that is only a small aspect of mental health, but it is still viewed as this little weight on our shoulders that could soon be turned into a heavy rock weighing us down. Depression and anxiety are a few components of mental health that resonate very closely with me. In my life I have lost a friend to mental health, I have experienced depression firsthand, and have witnessed the depths of where anxiety can take an individual mentally and physically. Depression and anxiety are mental health disorders that you do not want bottled up inside. It is better to talk to a friend, a family member, or even a professional counselor and let them help you move past the overwhelming flood of emotions that you don’t have any control over. In my experience, the person who you share your feelings with may be the solution for your problems, because they only get to know your personal situation from the information you willingly give to them. It is hard witnessing a friend or family member going through the struggle of depression and anxiety because all you want to do is help them, even if you don’t know how you can.

When I struggled with the physical and mental pressures of depression a couple years back, I felt the weight of the world pinning me to the ground. I would often catch myself saying “I’m fine” a lot, even though I wasn’t, because I didn’t want to bother anyone with my problems. I felt anxiety and disappointed about things I had no control over such as the outcomes of what my future entailed, and if I was going to be prepared for it. I felt upset when I couldn’t provide any feedback for the people who were the closest to me in my life, who just wanted to help me and I couldn’t tell them what they could do to make me stop crying. I am so thankful for my mom and my sisters because without their support, I would have never received the help through counselling and talking to a professional about the feelings I was experiencing at the time. Going to talk to a counselor was the best thing that could ever have been provided for me and now I am in the best mental state of mind I have ever been.

 I was so happy to hear about the resources that we have on campus to help other students who are struggling with their mental health, and what Laurier’s Student Wellness Centre can offer them. There are many resources that are provided for students who are struggling with their mental health, no matter what kind of personal issues a student is going through. There is counselling for physical and mental trauma, confidence, self-esteem, stress management, family related conflicts, and much more. I would hope that other students at Laurier would take advantage of the resources we have on campus or at least have the courage to remove their shields and let someone else hear what they are feeling, because listening is one step closer to getting the help that is being offered.