The invisibility of mental health

Published on 2023-3-27

People are social creatures. Put us in a room together and we gravitate towards each other. This is especially true in the face of adversity. Depending on your profession you may cross paths with thousands of people every day. But what if I tell you some of those people are ill. Yes, you may see someone coughing and think: 'wow they must feel sick or suffer from hay fever', but what if every second person you saw that day actually suffers from an illness you can't even see. According to the CDC, 50% of adults will be diagnosed with a mental illness at one point in their lives. What's worse? 1 out of 5 suffers from a mental health disorder every single year. But how invisible is this mental illness really?

Is mental health invisible?

Is mental health really invisible? Well yes and no, but for most of us the answer is "unfortunately" yes. Mental illness is often a battleground of the mind. It's not a fever, skin rash or anything very obvious to the naked eye. According to doctors we suffer from mental illness once it starts to interfere with our daily lives in a profound way. So a strong warning sign is if you feel your family life, job or enjoyment of life is really starting to suffer. This could be from grinding thoughts, fears or doubts. Ask yourself this, would anyone around you know without you telling them? Probably not. In fact you may even be saying to others you are feeling lovely.

How does it feel?

Mental problems (before they can be diagnosed) can manifest itself in all sorts of way but obvious symptoms are feeling sad, depressed, empty or all caught up in your head. It's about being physically present, but with your mind constantly racing. This may even trigger our natural fight or flight system leading to increased and unnatural stress. Fortunately these feelings can be reverted fully once you take the proper steps to address them.

How can I feel better?

There are many tools and tricks that may help you combat mental problems. One of those is getting your thoughts out of your head and onto paper. Write down what you are feeling every day, whether good or bad. You may even want to keep a journal. By writing down how you feel you are removing some (if not all) of its power. We all have these grinding thoughts but a healthy person can more easily put the thoughts aside and stay in the present.

You may also want to maintain a mood tracker. There are a lot of apps for this but even paper will do. Rate your day on a scale you see fit and perhaps write down a short summary what contributes to your feels.

Another strong tip is to start doing rather than theorising. Thinking long and hard about a problem, although a good trait, isn't always good for our mental restfulness. Try to chunk down difficult tasks into small tangible steps.

A popular research empowers this idea. The researchers asked two groups to create a series of drawings. One group was asked to make as many as possible. The other group was asked to take all the time they needed to create a single piece as close to perfect as they saw fit. The group size was rather large to accommodate with talent, background and luck. In the end the group that was asked to aim for quantity ended up not only with the most drawings, but also showed a higher quality of work. The takeaway? Be present and start doing, even if the steps seem small and the mountain seems impossibly high.

The most important thing in all of this

Mental and physical health have one very important solution in common. It starts with asking for help. If you are feeling physically ill ask a doctor for help. The same goes for mental illness. Find a therapist in your neighbourhood and ask for help.


Both your physical health and your mental health need exercise to strengthen and maintain the muscles. For mental health try solutions such as meditation, journaling, self-reflections or mood tracking. Luci can help you practice these areas on a daily basis. It contains exercises such as breathe sync, meditation and allows you to answer a reflective question every day that will trigger thought and allows you to discover areas that need action. Remember by writing down your feelings in a safe and private space you can deny the increasing strength of repetitive thoughts.

To summarise, mental health is often invisible until you ask for help. This is the most important step once you feel your day-to-day activities are impacted by feelings of sadness. It helps to practice self-care to prevent problems before they fully manifest, do this by trying exercises such as meditation, mood tracking, journaling or self-reflection.

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