How can I know if I am having few difficult days, or struggling with a mental illness?

It's important to know that we all have 'mental health', and that our wellness in that area varies says our expert

Farah Dahabi. Courtesy Farah Dahabi
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Expert Farah Dahabi says: "It's important to understand that we all have mental health, the same way we all have physical health. It is not something only 'weak' people have. Mental health is the health of our thoughts, feelings and mind.

“Having good mental health is not about feeling good all of the time. Anger, sadness or grief: it is healthy to allow yourself to express these emotions. When we are in good health, we can cope with the normal stressors of life, process difficult emotions and ‘bounce back’ quickly. When we are struggling with our mental health, our thoughts and emotions can feel loud and overwhelming.

“Some days are harder than others. We all have challenging days, but when someone is struggling with a mental illness, how they are thinking and feeling begins to interrupt their relationships, their ability to function and simple tasks can feel exhausting. Most days will feel like difficult days, and things that he or she once enjoyed will no longer bring pleasure.

“We tend to think that someone who is struggling with a mental illness, such as depression or an anxiety disorder, will be tearful, isolate themselves or lack motivation, but this is not always the case. People who are struggling with their mental health are frequently very high-performing individuals.”

Farah Dahabi is a clinical social worker and mental health first aid lead at Lighthouse Arabia, Dubai,