Part 1: Journey to Mental Wellness
It began with a ton-of-bricks feeling in my chest and shortness of breath. I became dizzy and started sweating. It felt like a heart attack. I suddenly realized that I was going to die right there in the middle of European History. But I was 16 and an athlete. How could this be? As you may have guessed, I didn’t have a heart attack and what I experienced was the first of many panic attacks. As they came with more frequency, I became paralyzed with fear. I couldn’t sleep at night. I would lose my appetite and then gorge when I was hungry. This downward spiral led to clinical depression. I missed so many days of school that I nearly was not allowed to graduate. After high school, I had trouble attending community college and holding down a job. Over the years to follow, my mind physically manifest the symptoms of everything from cancer to carbon monoxide poisoning to shellfish allergies. Medication only helped so much and sometimes made me feel worse. In therapy I began retracing my steps and discovered that my mental un-wellness wasn’t as sudden as it felt. I also began recognizing the roadblocks that were in my life. Some were hereditary and life obstacles, but others were my own doing. In all, I discovered 6 significant controllable factors that contributed to my mental state. With the help of family and friends, I gradually began peeling back the layers of these bad habits. It became a daily battle to overcome the roadblocks, but well worth every effort. I no longer take medication and maintain my mental wellness with the positive habits I’ve developed over the past ten years.
Now, your situation may be different than mine, but it’s easy for anyone to fall into patterns of mental un-wellness. We all have those bad habits that may make us feel better for a moment, only to feel awful the next. Kicking some of these bad habits will not only improve the body, but will also improve the mind. Of course, it’s tough to simply stop a bad habit or addiction, so let’s focus on 6 positive habits that you can slowly introduce to your life. The overall transformation will be gradual, but you should start seeing positive results fairly quickly. Here they are:
In the next several articles, we’ll focus on each of these habits in depth. I encourage you to keep an open mind/heart and try not to give up or get frustrated. Beginning good habits can be as tough as ending bad habits. Pick one or two that are the easiest for you and stick them out for a specific time period. This can be as simple as cutting out one fast food meal per week or pausing a moment to hold the door for a fellow human being. Implementing these 6 methods of mental wellness is an ongoing process for me, but has led to a significant overall improvement to my quality of life. I wish you a long and quality life.
Jacob Moore is a Chicago-based Actor, Solopreneur and Founder of NoStigmas.org. He writes and speaks on the topics of mental wellness, travel and self-marketing for actors. For media and speaking inquiries, please submit a request here. Follow @iJacobMoore.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional. The opinions expressed herein are my own. Your experiences may differ. Please consult a medical professional before starting or stopping any medication, changing dietary habits or beginning a fitness regimen.
If you are experiencing severe depression or thoughts of self-harm or suicide, you should seek help from a qualified medical professional immediately. If you need help, you may also call the USA Suicide and Crisis Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or dial 911.