My primary role as a Mentor is to get people talking.
Talk is the single greatest tool to move people forward in their lives – even if it is as simple as a single word: “help”.
While I would love for people to seek my services as part of a proactive “wellness and continuing happiness” plan, most often folks approach me when something isn’t working in their life and all of their own efforts have not provided them the change they’re seeking – sometimes, desperately. Many come in the midst of a “mood disorder”, predominantly anxiety, dysthymia (mild depression), or a full-on clinical depression. Some clients are ready and able to identify their current challenge as having a “mental health” connection: others, no way! Truthfully, most have no idea what’s going on – what part of their life to look at: they simply know that something ain’t working, and they are oblivious to any “symptoms” indicating to check-in on the health of their minds . No surprise to me: I was one of them way back when, and was well into a fully engrossed clinical depression before I even had a clue! Now: I can spot many signs of mood disorders in strangers I see in cafes!
The good news is, mood fluctuations – even big ones, are a normal part of the human experience. The bad news is, prolonged swings (past two weeks) can turn into disorders – generally classified as something disrupting our daily functioning and ability to experience pleasure. As we’ve been exploring in my last several posts, our “thoughts” can greatly influence our biochemistry, hormones and neurotransmitters. Thoughts and perceptions, and subsequent actions and biochemical changes are primary instigators of mood disorders. If our thoughts stay in a compromised state (i.e. unhealthy, such as churning negative beliefs, imagining dramas, or reliving traumas) for a period of time, our biochemistry, brain paths and personal habits can start to create a “new normal” – one you might not like so much.
Imagine if we were taught to simply be in awareness of our moods as a part of everyday functioning: like you notice when you’re hungry, for example. When you feel, say, sad and listless: “My body might be telling me something, I should perhaps take some action” would be an automatic and subconscious occurrence. Should it continue: “Hmmmm, my body has been sending me the same messages for some time now, and it doesn’t feel good, perhaps I need to do something more – or different“. With an attitude of routine self-care and an evolving arsenal of tools modelled societally and by our life-teachers as an infant… toddler… adolescent… adult: we would simply adjust our course. Naturally. At the very least, mood changes would be on our radar far before any serious symptoms manifest (our bodies are actually designed to support this, most notably, our intuition) and we could seek out help.
The current lack of consciousness societally (in my hood at least) around an inclusive view of our bodies creates, really, a duality of sorts: our health… and our mental health. How dumb does that sound?? Especially with the endless evidence-based science concurring how interconnected mind and physical health is?? (Can you say: placebo!) But lingering old attitudes make everything “mental health” a big deal: stigmatized.
Just for fun, I entered the word “mental” into a popular online thesaurus. The first six synonyms to come up:
Next: Is Mental Normal? (page 2)
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