The Mental Health Spectrum

.All mental disorders have a spectrum- just as the colours on a paint chip. Take red for example, red represents those who are diagnosed with a mental illness- be it anxiety, depression or anorexia. The white represents those who understand how beautiful they truly are, and use their flaws to improve themselves. The in-between, the pink, that’s the area where many of us stand on the mental health spectrum and don’t even realize it.

We share the same feelings with those diagnosed when we find ourselves lost, alone, sad. When we don’t know why we feel that way, we believe our emotions aren’t at all justified. Sometimes it lasts a few minutes or hours, sometimes the entirety of a day. For some it lasts multiple days or weeks with breaks in between. Falling in between the two extremities of the spectrum can be scary. Often times we don’t know why we feel so sad, why we worry so much or why we feel so alone. However, we are not “sad enough or don’t “worry enough” to be diagnosed.

What Causes Mental Disorders

Mental disorders can stem from many things – be it low self esteem, a distorted body perception, or parental and societal pressures. It’s the people in the middle areas that often feel abnormal or crazy when they feel uncertain, sad or have panic attacks. Something that we as human beings should understand is that it’s okay. It is okay to feel sad, lost or hurt. It is okay to feel alone. And it’s even okay to not know why.

Sometimes there are situational triggers that start our downwards spiral. For example, under performing in work or school can make us lose motivation because we believe we are incompetent.  Ending a relationship can leave us feeling alone whether it was a good break or bad. Furthermore, an especially bad break driven by something like cheating can leave you with the feeling that you are not enough. These shots to our self-esteem are not tied to a specific diagnosis which makes us believe that our problems or feelings aren’t severe enough to seek aid. This restrains us from reaching out to someone like a therapist or friend. We often don’t realize that support would in fact help us get back to a normal lifestyle.

This restrains us from reaching out, not realizing that support would in fact help us get back to a normal lifestyle.

It’s normal to feel down sometimes – after all “without sadness, there would be no joy”. (Inside out) However, when the feeling persists then it’s time for a change. Everyone deserves to feel loved, happy  and proud of who they are and who they strive to be. Words that inspire me were said by my favourite character in the Harry Potter series, Dumbledore: “Happiness can be found in even the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light” (J.K Rowling).

When you feel sad or alone, when you feel like there’s no way out, allow yourself to seek help. Make your way towards the brighter side of the spectrum.

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