Willie Spears

Willie Spears

Win At Home is a series of opinion articles written by author and motivational speaker Willie Spears. Learn more at www.williespears.com.

What do you do when you are upset with your children, your sibling, or your spouse? What are some ways you could win at home by not having unproductive outbursts?

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental illness is a real disease and should be treated with the seriousness of cancer, but there is a negative stigma attached to it. I am not a doctor, and I have not seen a doctor, but I know I have had unhealthy mental thoughts.

I believe I have had bouts with depression, suicidal thoughts, extreme anger, anxiety, and stress. In my opinion, the reason I have never had an outburst is my routine of exercise and writing. These two behaviors have served as my medicine.

Twenty years ago, I was a first-year teacher frustrated with a decision made by our principal. I decided to write him a letter to vent my frustration.

The letter flowed out of me like water out of a faucet. When I finished, I printed it out and let my colleague read it for errors before emailing it to my boss.

My co-worker agreed with the letter and said everything I wrote was true. Then he asked me a question. He asked me did I plan on working at the school the next school year. I responded by saying, of course, I like it here. He suggested I not send the email if I planned on working at the school the following school year.

Writing the letter helped me deal with my frustration.

Writing is therapeutic.

Writing takes me deeply into another world for a moment.

I believe I have not hurt myself because I write. I have not hurt others because I write. I believe I am mentally and physically healthier because I write.

Writing reduces physical and psychological health problems. I experience an emotional release when I write. Writing provides a safe place to cry, scream and laugh. There are few places to be real or to go to the dark places in our social lives.

Writing has helped me in ways that are hard to describe. Typing on my laptop has fostered sympathy and empathy as my writings prove I am not good or bad; I am human. Writing provides a safe place for me to claim my narrative. I can debrief, argue, fight, experience heartbreak, hurt, and experience other types of pain.

Am I mentally ill? What is mental illness? Mental illnesses are health conditions involving changes in emotion, thinking, or behavior (or a combination of these). Mental illnesses are associated with distress and/or problems functioning in social, work, or family activities. A few different types of mental illnesses include anxiety disorders, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and phobias. Other mental illnesses are depression, bipolar disorder, and other mood disorders. Several doctors have diagnosed eating disorders, personality disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, psychotic disorders, and schizophrenia as common mental illnesses.

Warning signs of mental illness could include long-lasting sadness or irritability, extremely high and low moods, excessive fear, worry, or anxiety, social withdrawal, and dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits.

Treatment can involve both medications and psychotherapy, depending on the disease and its severity. At this time, most mental illnesses cannot be cured. Still, they can usually be treated effectively to minimize the symptoms and allow the individual to function in work, school, or social environments.

Three ways to Win At Home:

1. Write it down.

2. Get it out.

3. Let it go.

I don’t know about you, but I want to Win At Home.

I am praying for you and your family.

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