FRAZIER: Mental health is as important as physical health
Published 4:00 am Saturday, July 31, 2021
I have written several columns pertaining to mental health — and it’s not just because hubby is a counselor.
I was an advocate before we met.
I had gone through some dark days and knew firsthand how important it was to seek out help. But there are so many who are still afraid and caught up in the undue stigma of mental health that they continue to suffer in silence.
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I wonder if this will begin to change after Olympian Simone Biles made the daring move to forego competing in the women’s all-around gymnastic competition because she felt like her mental health took precedence over vying for a gold medal?
There have been other celebrities that have spoken out about the challenges they have experienced with their mental health, even Olympian Michael Phelps.
But Biles has gone one step further than most. Not only has she put mental health front and center on a world stage, but she has also shown all of us, what is most important: our well-being.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly one in five U.S. adults live with a mental illness.
And due to the pandemic, depression, and anxiety, which is the number one mental health concern, is being amplified.
According to weforum.org, anxiety disorders can follow different courses, but the most commonly experienced symptoms include:
- Apprehension: worrying about future misfortunes, feeling on edge, having difficulty concentrating
- Motor tension: restlessness and fidgeting, tension headaches, trembling, inability to relax
- Autonomic overactivity: lightheadedness, sweating, abnormally high heart rate (tachycardia) or abnormally rapid breathing (tachypnoea), pain in the upper abdomen (epigastric discomfort), dizziness and dry mouth.
Symptoms of depression can include:
- Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” mood
- Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
- Insomnia, early-morning awakening or oversleeping
- Low appetite and weight loss or overeating and weight gain
- Thoughts of death or suicide, suicide attempts
- Restlessness, irritability
- Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders and pain for which no other cause can be diagnosed.
If anyone is experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your doctor or a medical professional. Taking care of your mental health is just as important as attending to your physical health.
We don’t know what Biles is dealing with mentally. But we do know she definitely had her own dark days after being victimized by the former USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. The pressures of performing at the level she has set for herself could also have become overwhelming.
Whatever her challenges may be, it is encouraging to witness a young, celebrated athlete demonstrate the strength to recognize the importance of taking care of both body and mind.