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A deeper look into mental illness

Camping with my drum
Camping with my drum
Photographer: Scott Robertson

At a dinner conversation between medical professionals, it was mentioned that the majority of physiological illness is stress related. Does this apply to mental health as well? Maybe there are deeper causes to "disorders" that we become labeled with, where the symptoms, not the causes, are addressed.

Are we depressed, or are we overwhelmed from the stress of our situation? Finding our way through trials and tribulations can be a horrendous challenge, especially alone. If this is true, why not focus on simple stress relief, rather than a complex solution to the current problem?

Do we have anger management issues, or are we incapable of containing the pain that others cause us? Learning to express anger appropriately is a challenge for us all. When someone lies, cheats, and steals, it is hard not to take it personally. How do we let someone close to us know that they have hurt us without erupting with rage? Do we have a problem with anger, or is the pain that we feel so overwhelming that it is difficult to contain?

Are we bipolar, or does any suggestion of hope overwhelms us with euphoria because we have finally found a way out of our depression? The highs of mania can be thrilling. What is it that gets us going/? Learning to contain the elation can be challenging, but is essential to finding a middle ground. Those joys bring us quickly out of depression and can be beneficial if applied consciously.

Are we schizophrenic, or has life trauma caused the brain to create hallucinations and delusions in order to cope with the present reality? Even the stress of giving birth has caused psychotic symptoms in women.

Do we have personality disorders, or are we constantly misunderstood? For years, as these stressful life experiences go on unresolved, they do not disappear. Deeply seeded within our personalities, pain, trauma, stress, and memories are stored within the nervous system until they are resolved, if ever.

Knowing these facts give us power. We can learn from a different point of view to have compassion for ourselves and others, that we may not be "crazy" per se because we seek help from a mental health professional, but we do suffer just like anyone else. The stress of our pain manifests itself in innumerable ways. You may have a spontaneous psychotic break while your neighbor slowly develops cancer.

So what do we do? Relax. The latin word, recreationem, literally means "recovery from illness." De-stress and return to order.

How? Take a look at the rest of my articles. Drumming happens in Big Spring Park every Sunday by the giant gold fish in the natural spring, just under the parking garage, at the bottom of the steps from the courthouse. This past weekend, about twenty drummers connected with rhythm at the Monte Sano Art show in the park's amphitheater, another six or so met in the park to join the rest of the planet for Global Unity. Meditation in your home, or with groups like the Wednesday night group at the Center for Spiritual Living is a great tool for relaxation. Go for a jog at the cross country park, join a running group, or train for the next race (Huntsville Track Club).

Anything is possible. Some of the most beautiful people are those who have faced debilitating illness and won. For many, diving into the issues and resolving the stored memories allows us to throw the pain into the trash and delete it forever. This is far from easy, but as a result, tools for healing and growth are learned and the result is phenomenal.


  • John Painter 4 years ago

    Well done, well done indeed! Nicely reframing some old and tired concepts.

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