Thanks to Crystal from Courtesy of Crystal for writing this weeks guest post.
Growing up in the United States, I have always been surrounded by medicine- whether it be by my trip to the pharmacy, watching televised advertisements, or simply driving down the interstate drowned by billboard endorsements. For me, this was the norm. This was the way the world was. Free to get any over-the-counter medication at any time and have no serious effect due to it.
It was not until recent years that I started teaching literacy health courses to refugees coming into the middle Tennessee region that I noticed such huge gaps in their living lifestyle. Not only were they new to the concept of over-the-counter medications, but they explained that an appointment and diagnosis had to be made even for a small bottle of Tylenol. Tylenol. Something that we, as Americans, take for granted and even stock up on at times.
What does this all mean? Medicine is shaping the way we live and perceive our lives. Sure, we all know that one person that seems to have all over-the-counter medications simply because they decided to go on a mad google search in hopes of staying ‘healthy’ forever. But what happens when doctors themselves start to get prescription happy? How does that change the way we now perceive life? How does that change our story?
As of this year, fifty-one percent of all opioid medications were prescribed and distributed to those with mental health issues. In other words, of the 115 million prescriptions, this reached 60 million vulnerable individuals.
But Crystal, are you not pursuing medicine? Are you not supposed to be advocating for and not against medicinal practice? While, yes, I do believe in medicine and what it can do, it is also critical to know where the line stands. The line that divides fighting free radicals and full-out attacking the entire body. Overdose is a huge issue and mental health patients are its main target. The numbers do not lie.
As a CNA, I have worked in a healthcare facility that includes over 95% of its residents on some sort of medication for depression or anxiety. Medicine in moderation helps the physical body improve, medicine without moderation can reverse these effects in a complete 180 degree turn. Most, at this point, have become fully dependent on their medication- they refuse even get out of bed and start their day if pills have not been present near their bedside table. That it their reality. That is how they perceive their life. That is how medicine, without moderation, shaped them.
It is undebatable at this point that mental health is an issue this world faces. One in every five adults have some sort of mental health condition. Youth mental health is worsening- severe depression is being diagnosed at exponential rates. The society by which we live in today: tight busy schedules, payments to make left and right, easy access to the lives of others through social media, and so much more, are all ingredients that add on to conduction of several issues. That is the bad news, the good news is that we can control and manage all of this without having to become dependent on medication.
- Give your head some personal space — Get up five or ten minutes earlier in the morning to reflect on the previous day and what you can improve on now in the present moment.
- Set goals for yourself — Get a piece of paper and fold in into four sections. Today, this week, this month, long-term. Keep these goals separate in each section and focus on Today. Focus your mind on one thing at a time.
- Take care of your body —Eat nutritious food. Drink plenty of water. Find an exercise you like and stick to it. Get plenty of sleep (seven to eight hours each night).
- Value yourself — This is the most important. Know that you are doing the best you can. Be proud of your accomplishments and value yourself as an individual. You are worthy and should be treated with respect and kindness.
There is no need for anyone to cross the line. Taking small step can make such a huge impact in the long run. Mental health is unique to every individual- and we need to start treating it as such.
This weeks guest blog was written by Crystal Lemus from Courtesy of Crystal.
Crystal Lemus is currently a third year undergraduate student at Belmont University located in Nashville, Tennessee. Her primary scholastic focuses are within Neuroscience. She teaches health literacy courses to incoming refugees, leads medical mission trips to other countries, is a research intern at Vanderbilt’s Psychiatric lab, and travels through the Brain Injury Association of TN to gather brain injury survivor stories and to advocate for mental health.
Be sure to check out her blog and share some love! You can also find her on Instagram here.
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