10 facts about re­cov­er­ing from men­tal ill­ness

Costa Blanca News (South Edition) - - Living - Psy­chother­apy by Gra­hame Mil­ton-Jones For more in­for­ma­tion call Gra­hame on 96 540 5631 or visit the web­site www.san­luisclinic.co.uk

Men­tal ill­ness gen­er­ates con­sid­er­able fear in al­most ev­ery­one. There is a stigma to men­tal ill­ness that sug­gests the per­son will never be the same and should, some­how, not be trusted.

The re­al­ity is that al­most ev­ery­one has psy­cho­log­i­cal is­sues but they man­age to get along with 90% of them. Ev­ery­one has fears and pho­bias and it is only when these con­di­tions give rise to un­wanted be­hav­iour that they seek help.

Men­tal ill­ness is when the psy­cho­log­i­cal prob­lems reach a level where the be­hav­iour is ob­vi­ous and vis­i­ble to oth­ers around them. It is when they have lost con­fi­dence in them­selves and their abil­ity to cope.

Men­tal health prob­lems can be di­vided into 2 main parts: those re­lat­ing to the men­tal hard­ware, i.e. the brain it­self. The se­cond part re­lates to the men­tal soft­ware, i.e. the mind. The ma­jor­ity of prob­lems are not con­cerned with the hard­ware other than for ex­am­ple, de­men­tia. Most prob­lems are “pro­gram” prob­lems that arise through early child­hood or trau­matic events.

The fol­low­ing 10 facts (which can only be con­firmed by ob­ser­va­tion) re­late to the oper­a­tion of the soft­ware of the brain called the mind.

1. The mind con­sists of con­scious thoughts and un­con­scious thoughts. It is in the un­con­scious mind that prob­lems arise but they can­not dis­tin­guish be­tween the two. They ‘feel’ the prob­lems and is­sues but can­not tell where they come from.

2. The un­con­scious mind runs ‘pro­grams’ like a com­puter which have been largely put there by par­ents, grand­par­ents etc, or put there by ac­ci­dent. When these cause prob­lems (they usu­ally do), they can be mod­i­fied or re­moved leav­ing the per­son free of them.

3. Trau­mas in life only cause prob­lems when they can­not be dealt with (pro­cessed). If some­one can be helped to process prob­lems and trau­mas, they get over them.

4. Al­most all soft­ware prob­lems of the mind can be re­solved. There are few is­sues that need to be just ‘man­aged’ but these are the se­vere ones in­deed. Con­di­tions la­belled as ‘psy­chosis’ are dif­fi­cult in­clud­ing, for ex­am­ple schizophre­nia. A psy­chotic con­di­tion is one where the mind loses con­tact with re­al­ity; it can­not tell the dif­fer­ence. In this state, it may see things that do not ex­ist, or be­lieve things that are ob­vi­ously un­real to ev­ery­one else.

5. The mind only needs phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals (some­times) un­til it re­solves its own prob­lems. Med­i­ca­tion does not re­solve psy­cho­log­i­cal prob­lems but it some­times of­fers respite from the sharp­ness so that the per­son can re­solve them them­selves. Re­gret­fully, many pre­scrip­tion drugs have un­de­sir­able side ef­fects that cause fur­ther psy­cho­log­i­cal prob­lems. 6. The mind is so so­phis­ti­cated

that it can heal it­self. It is a ma­chine that can main­tain and de­velop it­self. There are times when it needs guid­ance, par­tic­u­larly in its early years, but when ma­ture it learns to pro­tect it­self and deal with life as it presents it­self.

7. When ad­verse life events and in­ci­dents present them­selves, the mind at­tempts to process them and un­der­stand them. When it fails to do so, it be­comes de­pressed. It is at this time that it needs out­side sup­port to un­cover the is­sue that can­not be pro­cessed and iden­tify a so­lu­tion that the mind finds sat­is­fac­tory. The de­pressed state of mind then lifts and the per­son be­comes them­selves again.

8. A ner­vous break­down arises when the mind re­ceives more in­for­ma­tion than it can cope with. The is­sues may be self-gen­er­ated or ex­ter­nally gen­er­ated; the ef­fect is the same. This state of af­fairs is tem­po­rary and when the mind deals with the over­load, it can then pro­ceed as nor­mal. There is no last­ing dam­age other than con­fi­dence but that can be re­grown.

9. The un­con­scious part of the mind tries to help the per­son but of­ten runs old pro­grams that are not suit­able for the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion. The pro­grams may have been cre­ated when the per­son was a young child; they may have been cre­ated by par­ents who had no idea what they were do­ing. When this sit­u­a­tion arises, it is nec­es­sary to re­vise or mod­ify the pro­grams so that the un­con­scious mind can work as it was meant to.

10. The un­con­scious mind fears what may hap­pen rather than what is ac­tu­ally hap­pen­ing. The anx­i­ety it gen­er­ates can be out of pro­por­tion to the real cause (pho­bias and panic at­tacks). When the feared event ma­te­ri­alises (if ever it does) the un­con­scious fears dis­ap­pear and the per­son goes into ac­tion to deal with the prob­lem.

Men­tal health is­sues should not be feared; they should be re­garded as a com­puter virus that is caus­ing prob­lems. The best way to treat them is to iden­tify the prob­lem by ex­am­in­ing the symp­toms and the timescale over which they arose. This will give vi­tal in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing which pro­grams are giv­ing prob­lems and how to deal with them.

Where the psy­cho­log­i­cal prob­lems are hard to iden­tify or deal with, it is ben­e­fi­cial to con­sult a pro­fes­sional. This is rarely the ‘old friend’ be­cause they will have prob­lems and pre­con­ceived ideas and may pass those on in­stead of re­solv­ing them.

Psy­cho­log­i­cal prob­lems re­quire pro­fes­sion­als. It is un­likely the well-mean­ing am­a­teur will do any dam­age but may make the suf­ferer feel more use­less and hope­less.

When seek­ing a pro­fes­sional, make sure that the per­son has the qual­i­fi­ca­tions and ex­pe­ri­ence to deal with then is­sues. No one should be afraid to ques­tion the psy­chother­a­pist, most are happy to bore peo­ple with how they trained and where they gained their ex­pe­ri­ence.

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