Allow yourself to transcend the naming of your symptoms

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Mental illness, diseases of the mind, behavioral disorders or however our community allows it to be named, it is all inadequate.

Mental illness, is a stale description.  It has sat in the open community air, over the many years when our awareness grew too slowly, when stigma and ignorance gave it the old cold frost-bite.  It reminds of me of the, Confessions of Georgia (Anne) Nicolson series, by the most hilarious Louise Rennison, When Georgia Anne says, “Have you gone mental?!,” in one-thousand-and-one ways.  There is just so much sniffing and eye swirling around the term.  I do not mind Georgia Anne using it at all.  It is fresh in her mouth.  It is not, however, winter green in ours.

Dr. Thomas Insel, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, states that these terms are “impediments to progress.”  He uses the term, brain disease, as a way to diminish barriers to scientific investigation, hopefully leading to earlier detection and treatment.

Others, however, challenge even this term, brain disease, stating that it is premature and narrow.  The illnesses that demonstrate emotional and behavioral pathology involve more than brain and mentum.  They include the magic, the internal/external stressors, the arguments and the weather.  They include the intersecting paradigms that make us who we are, often referred to as the biopsychosocial model.  These, “Others,” argue that it is presumptuous to name pathological symptoms of emotions and behaviors with, “brain disease,” until we know what the brian does in the first place.

Questions:  But what do you think?  Are the terms we use more impediments to progress than they are tools toward?  Do you have any recommendations?  How have these terms affected your life?  Please tell us your story.

Self-care tip:  Allow yourself to transcend the naming of your symptoms.  

Remember, You Are Free, Even When You Accept Help.

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In becoming a friend to yourself, we all use tools; a hoe, a shovel, a bottle of medications, friends and lots of floss.  Not all in the same moment or we might get hurt.  None of the tools we use are meant to been seen, when looked at, alone as a weapon to box us up.  They are each in turn just a tool to be used to improve our ability to be friendly with ourselves.  Don’t get paranoid.

This is important to remember, the more effective the tool becomes.  We build suspicions when things work that well, like ladders in case we need them.  But if we find ourselves miming walls that no one else can see, it really is just about Me.  The walls, the box, the perception of being defined too easily are coming from Me.

If you’ve ever heard about the biopsychosocial model, you may have experienced this sensation.  Each paradigm introduced looks more and more like brick and mortar, and you find yourself acting out the runaway-bride gig.  You are not that special, nor Me.  We are a construction of unique complexity, each of us individual and undefinable.  However, none of us are so special that we can’t use the tools.  None of us are so special that we can be captured; an exotic bird never before seen.  We are in fact too commonplace in our inability to be boxed, shut up and drawn in.    Let that twist your thoughts.

In the biopsychosocial model we use the paradigms as given to us through biology, psychology and sociology to improve our insight and what ever we hope to accomplish thereafter.  It’s a collection of tools.

When a patient comes to see me, looking for help, sometimes they apperceive the tools.  They become distorted towering constructs.  The biopsychosocial model looks like mechanisms designed to take away freedom rather than improve access to freedom.  It is a lot of unknown to be dosed with and it is a natural response.  But the biopsychosocial model is rather a collection of highly effective, (even suspiciously effective,) ways to improve brain disease.

Self-Care Tip:  Remember, you are free, even when you accept help.

Questions:  When have you perceived that you were being boxed in by the “help” coming your way?  How did you reclaim your sense freedom?  How did you manage to still get help?  Please tell us your story.