I’m going to try to be as straight to the point as possible. Last time I did a blog I dragged it on and on.
Mental illnesses are as the term implies – illnesses. And what do I mean by that? When you have an illness, for example a cold, you take time off work or school, have plenty of rest, try to stay hydrated and eat well, and of course avoid others so your cold doesn’t spread, and eventually you’ll be back to good health, sooner rather than later. And with the right preventative measures you can even avoid a cold entirely. So what am I trying to get at? If you take the right steps any mental illness can be avoided or overcome. However, I can only speak about my mental illnesses (depression/generalised anxiety/social anxiety/OCD) and what worked for me may not work for others. A lot of people just see mental illnesses as brain chemical imbalances, and me seeing beyond that is the only reason I am where I am today, free and happy. I’m not denying that some people may have mental illnesses for no apparent reason, but in my case, and I imagine in many others, this was/is not true. Also, just to mention anyway, just like a broken bone, once you have a mental illness the likelihood of it coming back increases. And I do believe mental illness can spread like a cold but I’ll get to that later.
Now this is where I get controversial. I do not believe medication can cure, or ever should cure, a mental illness. I do believe in certain circumstances medication can help a person, especially if their depression or anxiety levels are really bad. But I believe mental illnesses are there for a reason. They are not random. I believe they are a survival mechanism our brain has put in place to protect us. However, if we don’t understand why they’re there or what we can do about them you may as well just take medication. Our society is all about instant fixes. Pharmaceuticals are creating medications to reach this desired goal, but in the end, profit is a driving force like in most capitalistic organisations. Without mental illnesses, or health problems in general, they wouldn’t have a job, and our unemployment rates would increase. This is a sad but true reality. I’m only bringing this up because the reason why my beliefs are so unorthodox is because they go against what a lot of psychiatrists and pharmaceuticals believe. My beliefs can kill their profits. I am their enemy.
I’m going to explore each mental illness in more depth, telling my story, but be aware I want to protect the people I love and care about. Here is a general overview of what I think the purpose is of each mental illness:
Depression – Situations can make us sad, but depression is like prolonged sadness, but instead of about a particular situation, it is more about your life in general. So basically, you are unhappy about your life. If you know what to look out for depression actually tells you how to cure it.
- Generalised Anxiety – This one is hard to generalise, funnily enough, which is why it is so hard to cure. But basically, your life is too stressful and you’re brain is telling you to calm it down, have balance, cut stressful things out, face your fears so you can overcome them etc. etc. etc.
- Social Anxiety – The root fear of social anxiety is the fear of rejection from other people. All types of fear are trying to protect us, even if it means diminishing our quality of life.
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – Like social anxiety there is actually a root fear. One big one of mine was the fear of forgetting, to avoid negative judgement, to essentially, avoid rejection. The compulsions are in place because the fear tells us they will protect us. For example, you’re less likely to catch or spread a disease if you continuously wash your hands.
A lot of my current beliefs, besides being from my own lived experiences and theories, and what I’ve learned from school, and from talking to other people, are from these two great guys – Shawn Cooper and Sam Schaefer. These guys both overcame social anxiety, but in completely differently ways. I may have not followed their systems as well as I could, but I’m only where I am today because of what I learnt from their audio books. I especially love Shawn Cooper’s Social Anxiety System. He really changed the way I looked at the world, and what he probably didn’t realise was some of the stuff he said could also be applied to other mental illnesses. Sam Schaefer’s iOvercameAnxiety was also good, but for different reasons. I am going to refrain from spilling their secrets, but they were definitely worth the buy.
But anyway, I couldn’t delve into my blog without bringing those guys up. I am going to talk a bit about social anxiety, but Shawn Cooper really knows what he’s talking about, so check him out if one of your problems is social anxiety. What he says can probably apply to any anxiety really, but especially anything social related. He certainly helped me out a lot – well I don’t really have social anxiety anymore. And my OCD is basically falling apart. Different anxieties you do have to deal with differently but there were some core messages he communicated that can apply to all anxieties.
Thanks for reading 🙂 I don’t know what post I’m going to work on next, but I want to get more specific on the mental illnesses and what you can do about them. This is only the tip of the iceberg.