The previous posts describe how our life is a series of decisions, our mind that makes the decision, the two states of thinking or minds which are the emotional and rational mind. I am writing these new series of posts to help understand our mind, the thoughts in an effort to understand the science behind the thinking and feeling process. All these are an attempt to help a mind that is depressed, to aid in understanding the emotions, to realize that it is definitely possible to overcome the negative aspects and lead a healthy, positive life and to become a better person.
There are plenty of people around the world who have mental health issues but are not aware of it. They do not have the knowledge that the feelings they experience (maybe due to the hand they were dealt with in life, trauma etc) is a mental health condition which is curable and they do not have to necessarily live with it. There are several ways to overcome these challenges and with the right treatment, various coping strategies and mechanisms, they can bear the hardships of mental health conditions and be happy. An awareness of what a mental health condition is, what are the symptoms and how to seek help is sadly not common knowledge.
What are the symptoms that there maybe a mental health condition?
Unexplained changes in eating habits and weight - weight gain or loss within a short period of time
Unexplained changes in sleeping habits - oversleeping or insomnia
Unexplained deterioration in performance - school, work, sports or professional
Feeling of loneliness, when you are alone or even amidst friends and family
Withdrawal from social activities, friends, relationships, family which you enjoyed earlier
Emotional outbursts and mood swings
Intense fear and constant worry about the future - anxiety
Inability to let go of the past mistakes, events, relationships
Inability to cope with daily activities - Unwillingness to get out of bed, inability to do daily chores etc
Feelings of sadness, anxiety, laziness, fear quite persistently and often
Often angry, rude, loud (shouting), annoyed and sarcastic tone
Inability to maintain an even temperament and calmness often
Unexplained physical pain
Substance abuse - alcohol, excessive drinking, drugs, pills
Thoughts of hurting yourself - self harm and hurting others
Thoughts of suicide
Confusion and memory loss, delusions, hallucinations
Thoughts of stealing, defying authority
First and foremost, we need to believe that it is normal to experience these conditions, there is nothing inherently wrong with the person who experiences these symptoms. We need to accept that help is needed. We need to understand that these are curable.
When there is a physical ailment such as a broken arm, we do not think that with passage of time, an arm can be healed or an appendix can be fixed. Similarly, a mental condition is not some random symptom or a feeling which (always) can go away with the passage of time. If any, they tend to worsen with the passage of time.
There are several ways one can seek help. Talking to a trusted friend, close relative, an understanding spouse or a loved one will help. It is important that the person you choose understands depression, loves you unconditionally and is willing to actively listen you and help you. There are several online depression chat forums, support groups available where we can meet people who go through similar problems, who can relate to what you are going through and offer guidance and support. The most effective is however, seeking out a professional.
It is a daunting and often a disillusioning experience when we go about seeking a professional for a mental condition. This is because of the nature of the problem and the way remedy is given. It does not involve just a set of already established, tried and tested procedures, anesthetics, drugs, surgery etc. It involves talking to a person during the consultation process and goes much beyond the usual doctor - patient trust and confidentiality. An ability to connect with the health care professional, a willing to expose the vulnerability on the part of the person with mental condition, a mutual understanding, respect and trust takes time and does not happen easily. We need to be willing to speak to as many professionals as possible until we find the right one we are comfortable with. The explanations of the symptoms, analysis and repeating the past events to every new professional you see is emotionally draining. Nevertheless, we must persist for our own good and seek help from the person who is right for us.
With help from a right professional, the problems can be solved, underlying root causes can be identified and with the right kind of treatment and support, changes in lifestyle and attitudes can be achieved and we can go on to become a better person and lead a happy, satisfying life.
As always, please remember love yourself and life can be much more rewarding.