This string of posts will probably be called “the real chapter,” keepin’ it real. Everyone has been through hard times, experienced emotional pain, and have seen some things. This has caused issues. Everyone has issues to some extent. Since it’s part of the human experience, there is nothing to hide. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Are you with me? Choose that until you believe it…
It has been part of previous generations habits to attempt to deny emotional issues. This just makes it worse. It’s time to take a look at things. Regarding mental health, I say it’s time for a change in the view of it. It seems that common language regarding mental health implies that mental illness is something that is to be eradicated, as one would eradicate Staff infection, Strep bacteria, or Measles. Mental illness is different in this way. Mental illness is simply (for whichever reason,) chemical imbalances in the brain, or dysfunctional thinking caused from painful experiences, and/or negative thinking. This may seem complex, and in some ways it is. However, there is a simpler way of looking at it.
We don’t all have Strep throat, or measles. We do all have the same brain chemicals. Unlike the Strep bacteria that is found on many surfaces in our daily lives, but it may not always mean full out Strep throat to everyone, we have the same brain chemicals. With brain chemistry and mental illness, there is no bacteria to spray with Lysol, (toxic) or counter tops to scrub with a disinfectant…We all have Serotonin, Dopamine and stress chemicals. We have all had different, unique experiences/combinations of joy, and pleasure, fear and pain. But the chemical response that takes place in the brain due to these emotions is the same. That is, person A’s brain will respond the same way to emotional pain as person B. As far as brain chemistry, these two people will also respond the same way to joy and pleasure. Dopamine and serotonin are two major components here. I recommend the book: Emotional First-Aid by Guy Winch, PhD, for insight into this.
These experiences and our perceptions of them exist on a broad spectrum, but each of these emotions have “left their mark” in our thinking and our overall experience. Mental health takes practice, and much trial and error and always kindness and patience to oneself as one progresses and learns.
Chemistry works the same, but the outcome can vary greatly from person to person, (all apologies for the confusion there.) We have all had painful experiences, stress, things that make us angry or upset, things that we fear. Different people will show this in different ways. It’s how we manage these that makes a difference. As you can imagine, the possibilities and combinations here cover a wide range. Mental illness can be tricky because it is so thoroughly influenced by a variety of factors throughout spirit, mind and body of a variety of personalities. At the same time though, mental health influences overall health. Mental health goes both ways.
Thank you for reading.