Having suffered an ailment for several months, and having accepted it, it was by pure chance that someone suggested something that addressed the ailment. It reminded me of the times when more serious ailments had afflicted me, like depression, and those moments when finally, I would realise what was causing my irrational and seemingly irresolvable irritation.
As a man, anger has always been my key indicator for depression. It’s not the case for all men, but anger is a general sign of depression in men. Whenever I’ve been worried about being in control, whenever I’ve demanded it, I’ve tended to be losing control, and that trajectory is a downward spiral.
Yet, the moment of losing my mind in an outburst of surly behaviour has often been the catalyst in identifying I was sliding into depression. It’s like, ‘Wow, where did that come from?’
It’s similar with anxiety. Times when I been ridden with fear I’ve been consumed in a search to find a way to overcome the fear, and that search has ultimately proven fruitful whenever I haven’t given up. The fear looms large enough to be seen as an unrelenting protagonist forcing me into a quest to overcome or at least understand it.
I know many people who are all the more depressed when they discover they are depressed. I see it differently. Suddenly it all makes sense. The light is switched on. Finally, I know what the problem is. And knowing what the problem is, I can set about fixing it. Awareness is powerful.
It’s one of the key avenues in counselling:
work with a person in a way that seeks to understand them, in order that, in gaining understanding, they might understand themselves.
Most of the big problems in life exist in the confusing and confounding place of not knowing what is wrong, and therefore not knowing how to fix it. Not that every problem needs to be fixed.
Sometimes just being aware is the fix.
Certainly that is how it works in counselling.
People don’t want to be fixed so much as to be understood so they can understand.
Feeling understood is a key step in gaining broader understanding, and broader understanding is needed in determining what’s required to resolve and restore mental health.
Just becoming in-touch with where our mental health is at is a positive step in the journey. But again, for anyone entrenched in their anxiety or depression or trauma that can seem a small comfort. Yet anyone who is afflicted with a mental health issue is already on their search, to do all they can to learn how anxiety or depression or trauma manifest in them, what triggers it, and what they can do to manage it or overcome it.
The greatest victory over the mind is accepting there’s a problem.
The first step is to embark on the journey to understand oneself amid unparalleled confusion.
When it comes to mental health there are no set answers just good questions.
Don’t despair that you’re depressed, anxious, or suffering trauma; be quietly pleased that you acknowledge it. And know you’re on the road to recovery.
Subsequent steps cannot follow until the first is taken.