I am re-posting this because of some technical hitches that occurred when I was posting drafts on my phone from the PARK – leading to people getting double hits of content. Apologies!
Prior to Wedding Season I went to a talk run by a mental health professional about stress that gradually shifted into being one solely about trying to simply inform people about the definition of mental health. This was an interactive group talk and expressed that stress is a mental illness.
We were asked to define mental health in one sentence and from my observations I found that almost all groups defined mental health in negative terms regarding extremes of emotional circumstances.
This was probably due to the fact that stress was mentioned as an opener, but also it made me quite concerned that people equated mental health as synonymous with mental illness.
Mental Health =
Mental Illness (?)
I thought this was really very flawed thinking, as everyone has mental health, just as they have spiritual, emotional and physical health.
This lack of HOLISTIC understanding worried me as a person with bipolar, since even if your disclosure of your condition is received well, (as it should be by people WANTING to understand because they admire you as a person) it is always subject to how the person receiving the disclosure perceives your issue: and that has a lot to do with education.
Mental Health = (How we are) Thinking + Feeling + Behaving.
The definition posited by the professional was that the definition of mental health was made up of a triangular relationship between how we think, how we feel and how we behave as a result.
If we hold a certain view, we think it generally because we experienced an event that prompted an emotional response. As a result our thinking is affected by our emotional response, more than any other more objective measure, and our behaviour echoes this.
As a child, I got jumped on by a dog and hit my head on the wall opposite, fell to the floor and blacked out for a few seconds. As a result I do get nervous around dogs, thinking that something bad might happen. I consciously try to ‘park’ the thought and negotiate it, because I know the cause, and if I’m ever in the park passing a dog I just send out vibes of:
“I mean you no harm, I’m just passing by” and do walk by unharmed.
Humans have the capability for not just thinking, but thinking about thinking.
Am I overthinking this sentence?
What I mean is, having a thought is not the end of that thought – we can REFLECT on how we think – and you can build the ability to question: “Is this a helpful thought for my self-esteem? Does it make me feel good?”
This doesn’t make you weaker. It helps put you more in charge of how you direct the EMOTIONAL DRIVER of your thoughts. A thought with a POSITIVE emotion behind it can become a goal. And fulfilling that goal helps you reach your potential.
So what drives you?
~ Pola ~