Navigating the Sea of Modern Mental Health Diagnosis
Our themes from this week forward are going to be a general overview of mental health diagnosis. However, we want to do it in a systematic order week by week. We will start with the root and move outward towards the branches. Everyone knows the modern definitions for depression and anxiety and bipolar disorders, etc., etc. Some even wear these labels as badges of honor or identity. Other people overidentify. Some are blind to any labels or words existing for what they are experiencing and need help organizing and learning these ideas.
Finding the Way Back Home
The human psyche is vast, wonderous, and treacherous. We have depicted it in so many ways in so many great stories and paintings and movies and music and books across epochs of time and thousands of cultures. The human psyche is baffling and addictive and keeps ya’ coming back for more and more. Why? Because we all have one. And we all haven’t a clue as to why. Just opinions, best guesses, and the occasional “proof was in the pudding” moments. If we can find some new ways or old ways or a mix of ways to help people navigate the seas of depression and anxiety and all the other waves of diagnoses, we can maybe help them find their way back home, or perhaps make a new home.
Starting with the Roots
This week we will introduce the idea of EMOTIONS and THOUGHTS. This is the root. This is the fertile soil where it all begins and ends. You experience mental health disorders AS A RESULT of emotions and thoughts. Maybe think about what emotions are, exactly. What if you felt an emotion that doesn’t have a name yet? Ouch. Is that like creating a new color and naming it? Hard to fathom. Or perhaps explore the world of thought and where thoughts originate. How do they morph and grow into actions and patterns? How can I change my thoughts or at the very least guide them in some cooperative way?
Making a Real Difference
Where to look? Explore Western culture and its philosophies over the millennia regarding emotions. Have they changed? Why have they changed? Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle have a few ideas. St. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas had some thoughts. Descartes, Baruch Spinoza, Hume, and Kant are all weighing in on this topic. There is also the James-Lange Theory of Emotions, Jean-Paul Sartre, and the idea of the reptilian brain. This topic is so rich with so many branches it is literally mind-blowing. So, shop around and find some stuff you like. Just get curious. We have an amazing opportunity to make a real difference in the world, and we have to rise to that challenge if we want to be on the front lines.