Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Mental Health

Some time back I was reading a book titled, "Unholy Ghost." I may have mentioned it on this blog before. It is about writer's experience with depression. I remember reading a short story about this woman who has experienced depression her entire life. She was talking about how depression robbed you of who you would have been had you not been depressed. It transforms you. I think this is true. It sounds hopeless and sad but there is a lot to say about personality and mental illness. Mental illness (and trauma I might add) changes the way you function, how you react to things. I think that you can consider mental illness as a trauma itself. Mental illness is something no one asks for. It changes the course of your life.

How? Well, when an individual is depressed, their brain is more likely to have negative thought responses. This is one of the reasons why cognitive behavioral therapy annoys me. Yes, we can change a lot by how we think but if what we initially think is greatly affected by the neurotransmitters in our brain, then clearly it is more complicated than thought/behavior reaction explanations. It may be able to be molded in a certain way but I do not believe it can possibly be stopped.

Those reactions in your brain shape how you see the world, how you see yourself, thus impacting how you function. That includes the way you speak, laugh, learn, walk, etc. Your personality is one that you did not originate. It has been originated by mental illness, by depression. It is one of the most disheartening things about the mind. I think what is so disheartening is that you are never the same. Even if an individual knows exactly who they were pre-depression, they will never be the same. They will forever be impacted by the event.

Acceptance is one of the hardest things in the world. 12 Step Programs tell you to do it, there are many therapies that focus on it. But it is hard. Very hard. Very very very hard. To accept that things are the way things are is to accept that they are never going to change. That means that in a way, you have given up a fight because essentially, that is what hanging on to disappointment and anger is. It is deciding you will never stop being angry, frustrated, appalled, etc at something and that something can be reversed or made-up for. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Little pieces of you that die or get enmeshed with bigger non-pieces of you are never revived or separated. They create new pieces of you. New pieces are born of you. And I suppose you have to accept that you lost and you have gained.

It is unfortunate.

No comments: