Self-Care Tip #155 – Go toward the real issue. Be a friend to yourself.
Little woman, she had pinched toes in her four-inch heals and wonder what her size has done for her. Mindy was anxious. Even though I wonder about her stressors, like possibly her height and the history she is telling me, I know something else. Even though I wonder about her parenting and marital stressors, and about growing up in a small town but now living with giants, I don’t wonder what she thinks. Mindy describes these giants as people with large accomplishments, things she would not try herself and that means something to her, but not what she thinks it does. Mindy wanted to see how things went. Apparently six months of this wasn’t long enough.
We could spend the next five years breaking all this up and apart and tossing it like a cranberry salad. But Mindy’s anxiety is mostly not about the salad of life. Mindy’s feelings are a bit about the stressors and a lot about her brain.
Mental illness is not a small thing. We trim it down when we say otherwise. The unfavored sister, Mental Illness isn’t spoken to much at the table. Her more popular sisters, Stress and Life-Triggers, get a lot of the attention.
With some effort, people who once worked around Mental Illness like it was barely there take a chance and go straight at it, full charge, and swing that woman onto the ballroom floor.
I went for that dance with Mindy. And she wasn’t talking about waiting and seeing how things went for long. I told her, like I’ve told you, that how we feel and interpret our stressors comes from our brain. I told her that mental illness gets worse if it isn’t treated and treated to as full a response as possible.
We weren’t talking about life stressors at that point. We were talking about her medical condition. Once treated, Mindy will continue to have life stressors. We will hopefully also see however, that she responds to life stressors differently.
Question: How do you make sense of the seemingly meaningfulness of how stress affects us with the seemingly less meaningful concept that we feel that way because of our brain and not because of the stress? Please tell me your story.
- End the stigma of mental illness (timesunion.com)
- The Presence of Stress Doesn’t Make the Disease Process Any Less Important (friendtoyourself.com)