We’ve all been in this COVID-19 pandemic for around, or over, a year and a half now. It’s been a stressful and uncertain time for everyone, and through those factors life has been harder for individuals who suffer from or have experienced mental health issues.
I’ve always believed mental health is a topic we need to talk about all year, not just on days like Bell Let’s Talk Day. I think there is no better time, in fact, to discuss this than during a worldwide pandemic. In order to keep the conversation going, I want to take a moment to write about my own experiences with mental health.
Over the years, I’ve experienced panic or anxiety attacks. It used to happen to me maybe once or twice a year. However, in the last couple of years, I’ve found I have been experiencing them more often.
For those who’ve never endured this experience before, it can be pretty scary. Your heart starts beating faster, your body can tremble and shake, you can get chills, feel tired or dizzy, and you can feel a pain or heaviness in your chest. Due to these symptoms, it makes it harder to focus on any task or anything else.
Sometimes, these attacks can be triggered by something like stress, but sometimes they can also just happen out of nowhere, with no warning.
My goal, by bringing this up is to normalize conversations on mental health, and to remind others, as well, you are not alone in your experiences. To use a term coined by TSN personality Michael Landsberg, those who struggle with mental health are “sick, not weak.” The best way to heal, or deal with these struggles, is by talking to others about them.
Through the support of friends and family, I’ve found techniques to help me get myself back under control during these attacks. Breathing techniques, focusing on counting anything in the room, and drinking water or tea I’ve found has been helpful in dulling the effects of the attack.
I know everyone’s mental health story is different, and I hope through sharing my experiences people will be encouraged, and feel safe, to discuss their own struggles with their friends, family members or medical professionals. For those who aren’t struggling, I encourage you to check in and offer a listening ear to your friends and family. A little support can go a long way.