You may have heard that October 10th was World Mental Health Day. But what is your own awareness of YOUR mental health?
The World Health Organization created this day to bring awareness to mental health conditions and start to de-stigmatize them. Many of us know someone that has received a diagnosis and you might have suffered from one yourself. Mental health can run the gamut of depression, anxiety, eating disorders, ADHD, schizophrenia, and more. But even without a diagnosis you can still suffer from any of the nearly 300 diagnosable mental health conditions in the DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition created by the American Psychiatric Association). Unfortunately, infertility can increase the likelihood that you will experience one of these conditions.
In the past, we have written about the anxiety and depression that arises during the infertility journey. You may feel like it’s “normal” or that it’s “part of the process,” but it doesn’t mean you can’t seek help. If you haven’t noticed, asked, or been told, chances are your fertility clinic offers psychiatric services or support groups — that’s because infertility can be so difficult to process. Many feelings arise, and sometimes these diagnosable mental health conditions can become debilitating when going through infertility treatments (whether they were there before or started during treatment).
Now, what’s your relationship to YOUR mental health?
Are you aware of how you may have changed since embarking on this infertility roller coaster?
Maybe you have everything under control, and that’s great! <high tens>
Maybe, things have been better, and that’s OK.
Or maybe, things are not great at all and that too is ok.
If that’s the case for you, what steps can you take to feel OK, better, or even great?
We encourage you to seek help. Chances are that if you have the means to go through infertility treatments, you have the means to attend a support group, or even better, see a mental health professional. Start with your clinic where they have support staff that deals specifically with people who are familiar with the ups and downs of infertility. If you already have a psychiatrist or psychologist you regularly see, well — what are you waiting for!? Make an appointment with them!
So, what’s stopping you!? Last week, we spoke about that ego of ours. If you’re still stuck on an invisible stigma that you might have about mental health, ask yourself “why?” Know that mental health can be a life or death situation. Just like with anything else, the sooner you can find support and help, the better and faster the recovery can be. Even if you feel “just” a little blue, go talk to a professional. It will be worth your time, we promise.
Practice that self-care. Put your health. Put your mental health first.