The Human Operating Manual

Mental Health

Reminder: Not medical advice, consult a doctor before, etc. In layman’s terms: Don’t be a dumbass. 

Disorders of the mind. Usually, the consequence of bodily dysfunction (needs not being met), trauma, parental and environmental factors, epigenetics, and fetal development. Expressed by behavior and defined via a combination of symptoms for the ease of diagnosis rather than a purely established truth. 

There is a tremendous amount of stigma surrounding mental health disorders. With the way that our mental health system is set up, we inherently feel guilty and identify with our given diagnoses (making it harder to recover), rather than recognizing that mental health “dysfunction” is a sign that something is not right – either in your environment, relationships, or lifestyle – resulting in an energetic deficit and the associated symptomology.

Without appropriate health care and personal support systems, the affected are left alone with their pain. If that person requires medication to stabilize their thought patterns long enough to carry on with life, therapy or counseling are often the suggested methods of recovery. While these methods can be beneficial, they are not addressing the key issues that led to mental health disturbances in the first place. 

Far too much weight is placed on genetic predisposition or a single traumatic event as the cause of an issue. What tends to go unacknowledged is that we are much more capable of dealing with repeated emotional insults than we believe. I’m not saying that the way we currently feel is not valid or that we are just broken and weak (some of us have experienced undeniably horrible experiences). I am saying that our lack of resilience and inability to learn and recover from trauma is a sign that there is something wrong with the way we approach mental health.  

I alluded to earlier the idea of tribal support systems and lifestyle adjustment. We all know somebody who claims exercise and a particular diet pulled them out of a deep depression, someone who suggests faith in a God/spiritual discipline and participating in their community gave them meaning, or to the lesser extreme (and yet, just as powerful) how much a good night’s sleep can completely turn your mood around. Many factors are essentially just lifestyle requirements that we adapted for that need to be fulfilled before we can recover.

However, what makes mental health disorders different from other health disorders is that our executive function becomes impaired, making it extremely difficult to make sensible, health-focused decisions. This is usually where a robust support system can take the slack and put us on the right track to recovery, albeit without relying entirely on that support. If a person suffers long enough, that stereotypical apathetic “yo-yo recovery” takes hold. Exhausting the energy of what few support systems they do have, resulting in the feeling of abandonment and a reinforced response to their environment. Showing us that when a traumatic insult occurs, especially during developmental stages, it is essential that support systems and healthy lifestyle factors are in place to facilitate recovery before we adapt to the expectation that this sort of trauma is an accurate depiction of the way the world is and will be. Otherwise, these “anti-social” and dysfunctional mental health behaviors will become harder to resolve.     

Up until now, I’ve addressed mental health disorders as a vague description of the many, very different, mental health diagnoses currently acknowledged. The following sections will break down these specific conditions for the purpose of managing their given symptomology, but in general, understanding what is required of our bodies and checking off those requirements one by one will tend to resolve most of our issues over time. Finally, it is imperative that we remember that each individual is unique in the sense that their environmental upbringing and current situation is different to anybody else’s. This adds unpredictability and nuance to each case, which should be taken into account. It is all too easy to assume we’ve cracked the code of mental health until we ask the right questions of ourselves, which may result in a completely different recovery plan to what we previously believed. Diagnoses and just a collection of symptoms and are for the communicative ease of the practitioner, not a physiologically defined condition.  

Choose Your Own Adventure

Why Do I Feel Like This? (To Be Completed)

Exploring why there is such a massive global mental health epidemic. Spoiler alert: It's not all genetic.

Fear and Hypervigilance (To Be Completed)

Anxiety, Schizophrenia, Phobias, PTSD, etc. The conditions that make it hard to respond to stimuli in a manageable fashion.

Pain and Addiction (To Be Completed)

Depression, Addiction, Insomnia, etc. The conditions that make "normal" living intolerable.

Neurodivergence (To Be Completed)

Autism, Asperger's, ADHD, Dyslexia, etc. All the "conditions" that make us feel different.

Mental Health Cheat Sheet (To Be Completed)

Reclaim power over your mental health and learn to ride the transient wave of experience rather than being wiped out.

Rabbit Hole Blogs

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