Mental Notes with Hilary Valdez: The final choice

Mental Notes with Hilary Valdez: The final choice

by Hilary Valdez
Stripes Korea

At various stages in your life, you need to assess your mental health. Is it time to recycle self-defeating thoughts, outdated values, and behavior? People get stuck and clogged up psychologically, become emotionally polluted, and wedged in a psychological knot. At times, people need to internally mop up and gain clarity into themselves before a psychological meltdown occurs. Gather the courage to emotionally re-boot and take an inventory of yourself. What is troubling you, what can you change now, and what will take more time to change?

Regardless of age, numerous factors play a significant role in mental health and well-being. Right now, most people in all sectors of society are being affected by the global health crisis related to the coronavirus. During this challenging time, older adults are one group whose routines and usual support systems may be disrupted. Frequently, undiagnosed mental health conditions can appear in later adulthood. Depression and severe anxiety are not a normal part of aging. The stress of COVID-19, the uncertainty it has created, and the potential for its effect on older adults, who are more susceptible to the virus, can aggravate any underlying risk for depression or anxiety.

In some cases, a recent stressor, sudden catastrophic event, or failure, can leave people feeling desperate, unable to see a way out and become a "tipping point" toward suicide. A recent Center for Disease Control (CDC) report highlights the complexity of suicide. While a mental health condition may contribute to many people, the report notes that "many factors contribute to suicide among those with and without known mental health conditions." A relationship problem was the top factor contributing to suicide, followed by past crises and problematic substance use.

You don’t need special training to have an open, authentic conversation about mental health. Just talking about it can be the first important step in understanding someone dealing with mental health issues and helping them to get the support they need. The easiest way to let people know you're willing to talk about mental health is to be open about your own. Allow it to come up naturally in a conversation. If you’ve seen a mental health professional in the past, talk about it when the subject comes up. Make a casual reference remark to let others know you’re a safe person to talk to if they ever need it, Dr. Dolores Subia BigFoot and Dr. Beverly W. Funderburk from the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, suggest.

In the past year, many families have been experiencing financial strain, social isolation, and a loss of resources, especially teens and their loss of the safety net provided by in-person schooling. During the pandemic, it can also be helpful to learn tips on family coping and how to manage emotions, such as anxiety and frustration. If you are a teen, call counselors at the Teen Line (310-855-4673), which operates from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. PT.

Don’t despair. Just as we have hazardous spills with biochemical hazmat, we also have emotional spills and personal psychological hazmat. You start mentally leaking when you choke back your emotions and refuse to communicate. Your feelings always find a way to be released. Foul thinking means you’re not talking about your bottled-up emotions, which means stinking thinking. Talk. Don’t hold back. Face everything and recover.

Recreating yourself is a process. It’s a gradual, healing, and spiritual process – a journey rather than a destination. We each have a life to live with purpose and meaning. Finding purpose involves creating goals. Goals help us achieve a manageable life aimed at the path we choose for ourselves. Transform your thoughts into action, your ideas into reality. You are responsible for your happiness and pleasure. Listen to yourself, your inner dialogue and live for today. Live in the moment, learn to like and appreciate your existence.

Other Resources:
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
Use the online Lifeline Crisis Chatexternal icon
Both are free and confidential. You’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor in your area.
For more information, visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifelineexternal icon.
You can also connect 24/7 to a crisis counselor by texting the Crisis Text Line.external icon Text HOME to 741741.
If you know someone in crisis:
Dial 911 in an emergency. Or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or use the Lifeline Chat at the Lifeline website. The Lifeline is free, confidential, and available to everyone.


Hilary Valdez is a retiree living in Japan. He is an experienced Mental Health professional and Resiliency Trainer. Valdez is a former Marine and has worked with the military most of his career and most recently worked at Camp Zama as a Master Resiliency Trainer. Valdez now has a private practice and publishes books on social and psychological issues. His books are available on Amazon and for Kindle. Learn more about Valdez and contact him at or at Follow his YouTube channel Hilary’s Quick Talk for more insights.

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