Depression is a disorder marked by sadness, low energy, impaired concentration, and feelings of dejection. Some people believe that depression is normal. Hectic daily activities and the conflict between family and career cause constant stress. Yet depression and anxiety as a response to stress are not normal. They can be signs of illness, which may worsen and result in physical symptoms or an inability to function.
Life was much simpler for the last two generations. Father worked; mother stayed home. This is no longer the model. Some now view families as an “endangered species.” There are more single mothers working than ever before. There is greater stress and competition for well-paying jobs. The result: long hours at work, away from the family. Children are raised with limited supervision. Thus we see more children with emotional problems derived from a lack of knowledge as to who they are and what their role is in today’s society. Similarly, adults suffer from the loss of nurturing that family time should provide.
Until recently, mental health was not discussed openly. However, there is a growing awareness that choosing therapy can be helpful, even necessary, to cope with today’s life. Psychiatric help is often sought for the entire family. Today, being healthy means not only having a sound body, but also a sound mind and spirit.
People exercise their bodies daily, yet they neglect to “exercise” their feelings and emotions. Young men are taught to hide and deny emotions. Women are reluctant to seek help in coping with their depression, anxiety, or distressed relationship. The same fitness fanatic who exercises daily, eats right and has two physicals a year will neglect the mind until a crisis is reached. Emotional problems don’t just happen, but are cumulative and they can be avoided at times with the same “daily fitness” and “annual physical” approach we use when caring for our bodies.
The Chinese say “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Just like it’s better to maintain a healthy heart than recover from a heart attack, dealing with emotional issues is easier before the chaos of a crisis breaks. Think about “exercising your emotions” and give your mental health professional a call.