Have you ever thought that the biggest power that mankind inherited from millenniums of evolution, the feature that places humans above all other species, is one of the greatest enemies that the human race has been struggling with since the beginning of their existence?
Yes, I’m talking about the power of mind.
As an individual who is always interested in psychology and as your relatable college student who goes through stress, anxiety, depression on a daily basis, and constantly witnesses fellow students go through same (sometimes worse) situations, I have learned some harsh truths that nobody would want to believe.
But that’s how it is when it comes to mental disorders. Nothing is pretty here. Right now you are in a ugly, excruciating situation. Accepting that fact is the first step towards your journey towards recovery.
Keep on reading, and hear me explaining what no one tells you about mental health.
It’s all inside your head
This is the most favorite line of a third party who is watching someone facing a mental health crisis. And it is the most despised set of words of that struggling person. In these days and age, it is almost offensive to tell that to someone who is going through these things.
But I would like to see things in a different light.
I would agree with the statement, “it’s all in your head”
And that could be the most fortunate thing or unfortunate thing
It’s unfortunate because it’s nearly impossible to diagnose what is wrong. No way to determine what is happening. It is all about what you feel. And even with medicine, you cannot physically fix it.
But you are lucky because you are not in immediate danger. At this very moment, you are safe. You are physically fine. You are not hurt, you are not dying, nothing bad is happening. At this very moment everything is alright. It is all just a detailed movie of the worst case scenario that could happen, playing inside your head, scaring you, overwhelming you, making you depressed.
But whatever tragedy inside your mind, you have the power not to acknowledge it. Because everything that happens, they are all just thought, they are just all inside your head. All these negative, depressing anxious thoughts, you can refuse to accept them.
The sooner you understand that power you have, the sooner you will be able to get out of the rabbit hall you are in.
Just take a leap of faith and refuse.
Co existence is the key
Learning to coexist with your condition is the key to overcoming it in the best way possible.
And no, I’m not implying that you should carry the weight of it on your shoulder forever.
Best way to understand this is by identifying the meaning of recovery. When it comes to mental disorders, recovery means that your condition no longer interferes with your daily activities or affects their efficiency. Recovery means that your mood is not permanently down for no reason. Recovery is when you no longer cancel your plans because you are not feeling down. And you cannot achieve that recovery, just by medication or going to therapy for a period of time.
The best solution I (and most of the therapists) recognized was not letting your condition interfere with daily plans. Forcefully training your brain to decide that whatever that is going inside your head doesn’t matter. Getting up from the bed, brushing your teeth, having breakfast, going through your daily schedule, all while feeling like you want to die and yet not succumbing to it. Let those feelings be there. The more your brain pushes it down on its priority list, the more you start to feel light, and unburdened.
Let those thoughts circle inside your head. Don’t accept them, don’t pay attention to them. Just let them be and focus on carrying out your plans, despite feeling awful. Eventually, you will start to feel less and less depressed and anxious.
Self care is the biggest support system
As I mentioned before, the best route for recovery is not giving away your well being, your dreams and wishes, your plans on a silver platter and holding on to them even when you are feeling like nothing matters anymore. Because stopping caring about yourself is only a downward spiral.
It is very common to disregard self care when going through a tough time. But I insist that self care plays a big role in recovery. Not only it releases the chemicals like endorphin and serotonin to lift up your mood, it also acts as an anchor, keeping you in the real world instead of the prison inside your head.
Sometimes medication is a must
The argument about the necessity of medication will never lose its spotlight. It’s interference of the natural signaling system of the brain and its validity in recovery are the major concerns so far.
According to the impromptu researches done by me, I would say that their effects had become very personal. In some cases they had worked like magic and brought a recovery. In some cases they had not done anything at all. And there were a significant number of people who had complained about mild side effects like nausea or drowsiness.
Despite being a medical student, I’m at no place to give a professional comment about medication. But I have to say that, in some cases, the necessity of medicine cannot be ignored, because after all we are dealing with a chemical imbalance here. Sometimes it can be handled solely with therapy, and sometimes our body needs outside help. Therefore my suggestion is to keep an open mind about it instead of rejecting or accepting it right away. Do your own research if you are in a situation where you cannot have an intellectual discussion with your psychiatrist.
On a special note, I need to mention that this doesn’t work for all kinds of mental disorders. There are situations where you have to go through a certain procedure recommended by a professional psychiatrist or psychologist. But I’m hopeful that these suggestions would become helpful nonetheless.
I have to emphasize that I’m no way trying to belittle the severity of the mental disorders by offering rather obvious and simple solutions. Fighting with your mind if far more torturous than any war we are engaged in. It is a constant battle without a hope of winning. But after we go through all that fiasco of depressive episodes, panic attacks, getting behind our actual work and failing at everything that is important in our life, this is the only option we are left with, facing ourselves with a brave face and moving forward.