Category Archives: Psychology

MENTAL HEALTH: A WORD ON DEPRESSION AND MENTAL ILLNESS

In the wake of Robin Williams recent suicide, many questions have come to mind regarding the veracity of the current public understanding of what depression and mental illness is about.

I just want to say a few things in regards to my own experience and how I have dealt with it. It isn’t really about the issues themselves, but more about how one might deal with them if they arise.

It’s difficult to understand mental illness if you don’t know the depth and incredible complexity of the human mind… for example, it has only been through many hours, over many years, of psychoanalysis and psychology counselling have I begun to understand the depth and root cause of my own issues, which might manifest, via convoluted mental pathways, into unusual or awkward behaviors and thought patterns. The deeper I probe, the more complex I realise things are, and how justifiable it is to put in as much effort as I do to understand them.

If it’s difficult for me to understand, with quite a high level of personal insight and a fairly high level of education in and exposure to health and psychology, can you imagine how much more difficult it might be with someone who hasn’t had the benefit of that additional perspective?

So, based what I have learned from my own experiences with limiting psychological issues (and really, these principles can apply to life in general) I would suggest the following ideas as things to consider for a healthier mental state:

1) Seek the Right Environment
Be around the right people, influences, and things you want to see and do. I realise, having moved cities and away from communities I was previously involved in and tied to (personally or professionally) that a LOT of my negative views of the world were very strongly influenced by the experiences I had from being surrounded by (for want of a better term) complete assholes. Now that I have made better decisions to whom I associate with, I am much happier, more positive, leading a much more fulfilling existence, and am not depressed.

2) Seek Self-efficacy
People tend to remain in their default, socially engineered state, for better or worse, if they do not actively seek to change their path. Change must first be desired; the first change that needs to happen is to make the change to want to change. There needs to be some level of self recognition or insight in order to effect progress away from a negative mindset. Self education and playing an active role in disciplining your mind and altering your thought patterns, makes a major difference in the likelihood of changing for the better.

3) Seek the Right Assistance
As much as self-efficacy is a golden goose of progress, there are some things that we can achieve much better insight into through broadening our limited perspectives to include the perspectives of others. These are people who will take the time to listen, understand and offer objective opinions without judgement; perhaps leading to an epiphany of personal understanding that you alone could not grasp. For many, you may have family or friends to reach out to; for others, there are government initatives and organisations such as beyondblue, headspace; for those who can afford it, there are health professionals.

4) Seek the Right Path Early in Life
Once again, however, I would emphasise the importance of creating the best possible environments and influences for our vulnerable and impressionable youth. They are the future of the world, and are an empty canvas painted with the brush of whatever paradigm of reality they are presented with. It is our responsibility to help these younger generations become better than we are, rather than perpetuating any questionable habits out of failure to account for and consider the merit (or lack thereof) our own habits.

For the older the mind, the greater the struggle to change, if precedents created in childhood have set us on a journey to destruction.

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THE UNSEEN, UNNOTICED, OFTEN FORGOTTEN, OFTEN NEGLECTED – PSYCHOSOCIAL HEALTH

Check out this interesting Business Insider Article here.

How’s your social health?

Are you around the right people?
Are you around people who make you feel alone?
Do you feel lonely or not when you are by yourself?
If you do feel alone is it doing you harm?

A healthy body needs a healthy mind, so are you looking after all aspects of your being? Don’t forget your social needs.

Mens sana in corpore sano.

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This post is in relation to this article in Entrepreneur magazine about Adriana Huffington (of the Huffington Post) who was interviewed by Oprah.

It’s important to take a step back and realise what’s really important, balance ourselves, and think harder about what “success” means – it’s such a vague word. 

For me, breaking away from a soulless, empty, work and money driven lifestyle (paradoxically a means to this end admittedly) to make time to work more on chronic physical, social, and mental issues I have, has been incredibly enlightening.

It has taken time to find answers to important existential questions, spiritual introspection, and find fulfilment in doing things that I’ve wanted to do but never did enough of.

To me, success has become overcoming my issues, discovery of my genuine life purpose and values, and finding how I can live with these in mind, in harmony with the harshly financial and image conscious reality of our modern society.

 

STAYING OUT OF HOSPITAL

This is in response to this article published on news.com.au

I always say, there are four main overarching reasons to end up in hospital, often a combination of these:
1) Elderly
2) Obesity
3) Foolish
4) Unlucky

Unfortunately for some, for whatever reasons (genetics, some unique circumstances or environmental exposure or who knows), they can do everything in their power and still get sick, like this poor man, who falls into the least common category of being exquisitely unlucky.

But the message here is not that we shouldn’t bother; because there are still plenty of other of ways in which we can end up in hospital, through aging poorly, eating poorly, gaining excessive weight and negatively affecting our body composition, or doing something stupid like getting addicted to drugs/alcohol/cigarettes or jumping off a roof while we’re drunk.

This man is in hospital by fate of misfortune; but his fellow hospital mates are there by their own design, and he is not impressed.

The point is, as expressed in the disgust this man has for his fellow patients: though on rare occasions sickness can’t be avoided, in the case of the 99.99999% of other reasons that it can be avoided, we should put in the effort and do the right things to stay out of the hospital. Because in the vast majority of the time it can be avoided, and thus we should not take our health for granted.

It is to the benefit of ourselves, and to our fellow man by the examples we set and the community resources we save by not ending up in hospital, that we do our best, within reason, to maintain as high a level of health as we can.

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SOCIAL ANXIETY: AN ANALOGY

AN ANALOGY: Dealing with SOCIAL ANXIETY is like learning to swim. If you’re worried about how cold the water is when you hit the surface, then you won’t get in, will never get comfortable with getting wet and never swim well. 

But once you force yourself past that troublesome barrier with a dive or pindrop, the initially uncomfortable feeling of shock when entering that cold water, start to warmup and move around, you may start to even enjoy it.

Even if swimming isn’t your thing, the more you push past that barrier, and the more you try, the easier it gets, and the more you can allow yourself to get comfortable with swimming, which you could not access before because of that disdain aand avoidance of the discomfort of the transition from dry to wet.

Like social situations, your sticking point may be getting past that coldness, and that transition from disengaged to engaged in the social situation. The more practice you get, the colder the water you can tolerate.

Just like with anything, training yourself to do this is all about repetition and internalising new habits.