Mental health has no gender, wealth or health bounds, there are no rules

This is not a nutrition guide in regard to how you fuel your body, this is about your mind.

Mental health is complex and affects us all. Whether it be a personal battle or seeing loved ones, friends or acquaintances struggle and in the extremes and saddest moments lose a life.

There are many types of mental health problems and it’s also possible to have more than one mental health disorder. Some are caused by chemical imbalances, some by dealing with traumatic events, some as a result of alcohol/drug misuse, some inherited and some as a side effect to other conditions.

Life is a roller coaster, filled with highs and lows, tough times and good times, everyone takes this ride from the moment they are born. Whether you are privileged or poor, in good health or not, able bodied or disabled – we all have life experiences, some good, some bad.

Mental health has no gender, wealth or health bounds, there are no rules. Some of us cope, some don’t, some need motivating, some need a firm hand, some need TLC, some need counselling and some need medication.

Over recent years I’ve sadly seen a number of friends’ and people from our community lose their battles with mental health. It’s shocking and devastating to those that are left behind and the only solace to them is that their loved one is now at peace and no longer having to fight those demons.

I think one of the issues with mental health is the guilt, you don’t want to burden a loved one or a friend with your feelings. You may feel that others are suffering far more than you so you don’t want to share your burden. You may feel embarrassed, you could be seen as the strong one of your family group or friends. You may not want to admit to yourself you are struggling.

Many of us have been there, you feel insular, a numbness where you feel in a dark place, it’s hard to take on board any positive comments. However, there are other extremes associated with mental health; being impulsive, manic and ecstatic, trying to compensate for the lows. But taking that first step to talk really helps, it could be a loved one, a friend or even a work colleague. Each positive, small step you take breaks down those feelings and slowly you feel stronger, you feel ready to take that conscious step to a positive outlook, accepting what you have and appreciate the life you live.

For some, you may need more help, it could be a combination of medication and/or services through your doctor along with mental health charities for counselling can provide professional support. But again, this is a personal step, one that can only be done when you are ready to commit to help but one small step at a time can lead you out of the darkness.

Mountain Fuel work in the sports industry and many people we know (including myself) use activity to help them with their mental health, health and well-being.

Being active helps release positive endorphins, it can encourage you to be social, fit and healthy and we would definitely encourage people to be active. However, there are areas if you do struggle with mental health or know someone who does that you should be aware of. We’ll refer to the following as runners but this applies to any activity.

Try not to put too much emphasis on one particular event or goal, have a number of goals across your lifestyle, these don’t need to be solely running related.

If a running friend starts dropping out of social/training runs be aware, a coffee and a chat could be just what they need.

Don’t allow training to take away the pleasure of running. If it becomes a chore, it’s not fun. If you run for fun, you enjoy the whole experience more and are far more fulfilled after your event.

Unless you are an elite athlete chasing a podium time and placings are irrelevant, feeling good about your run and how much you enjoy the experience, atmosphere and occasion gives you far greater memories.

After a big event or challenge be prepared for a dip, a down or a lack of motivation. This is normal, so embrace the change, enjoy the rest, another focus and when you’re ready get back on it enjoy the journey again…

Useful websites:
MIND
Mental health charity

Talk to Frank
Honest information about drugs

Alcohol Change
Charity website for alcohol related issues and awareness

Step Change
Dealing with debt problems

Mood Self Assessment
Grief and depression symptoms are so similar so this website is a great resource

CALM
Campaign Against Living Miserably

Samaritans
No judgement, no pressure, available to help 24 hours a day

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