As we close out the final week of May, it seems that all attention is on the excitement of happy endings and new beginnings. Students are graduating high school and college and readily anticipating …
Domestic violence and its toll on mental health
As we close out the final week of May, it seems that all attention is on the excitement of happy endings and new beginnings. Students are graduating high school and college and readily anticipating summer fun and venturing off to wonderful futures. Many families are experiencing the thrill of moving on from the cool of springtime and stepping into the height of summer: bar-b-ques, lazy days of floating on the river, vacations, and summer tans. In light of the lessons and hardships of the 2020 pandemic, quarantine, sickness, and loss; the month of May this year, brings about a great deal to anticipate and celebrate but also sees an unusual, yet very important level of attention brought to another, not so highly talked about annual occurrence: Mental Health Awareness. According to the website, Mental Health America, the month of May was established as Mental Health Month in 1949, to bring awareness to those struggling with mental health issues and resources to those who care for them.
When considering mental health, many people instantly think depression to be among the leading causes of mental health trauma, and abuse as the culprit that leads to depression. While this is correct, the label of abuse is normally and erroneously limited to physical contact, when in fact emotional or psychological abuse is experienced by 95% of all women who have been physically abused and is a definitive marker for depression, PTSD, and suicide. Those most prone to experience psychological abuse are those whose partners have experienced it in prior relationships or during childhood and those without the ability to manage their life struggles who instead choose to use their significant other as an outlet for unhealthy and toxic behavior rather than seeking help.
If you are curious about what to look for in an unhealthy or toxic relationship that can lead to you being or becoming a victim, ask, does your partner:
• Threaten to harm you, your children, your family and/or your pets?
• Tell you that you are worthless and that no one else will ever love you?
• Isolate you from your friends and/or family?
• Control your behavior and monitor your movements and whereabouts?
• Tell you that you are crazy?
• Demean you in public or in private?
• Constantly criticize you?
• Blame you for everything that goes wrong?
• Cause you to feel guilt over things that are not your fault?
It took me years to fully understand and acknowledge that the depression, triggers, anxiety, and struggles I was having in my mental and physical health were because I had become a victim to the very thing I advocate on the behalf of others for. If you or someone you love needs help, don’t wait. The long-term impacts of emotional abuse on mental health often outweigh the abuse itself. There is help available:
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1 (800) 799-SAFE
National Suicide Prevention Helpline: 1 (800) 273-8255