Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Common Threads Of Our Mental Health

The Common Threads Of Our Mental Health

Mental disorders are more common than you might think. As a society, we place people into categories so that our world will have a better since of order. For example, if you have symptoms of depression then you are tagged as a depressed person.

Likewise, if you have obsessive thought than you are considered OCD. But what if labeling is wrong? Maybe having a certain disorder isn't unusual or in need of a category. The line between a person with a disorder and one without is becoming blurred.

How many times have you checked the door to see if it is locked? You know you locked it but yet you still check more than once. How about anxiety? How many people have felt some level of anxiety in their life? What about phobias?

How many people do you know who have a fear of heights, spiders, roaches, public speaking or fear of failing? How many times have you felt down and out for a prolonged period of time? The answer to these questions is more than likely a lot.
So we all feel the same things. It is interesting to see that humans, universally, are very much alike. We have a lot of the same feelings, we think a lot of the same thoughts and we have the same desires. Universally, we share common threads, threads that invariably link us to one another. If we didn't feel the same, then we couldn't relate, sympathize or have empathy. There could be no communication. We all have said at some point, “I know how you feel.” This knowledge comes from experiencing and feeling the same thoughts and emotions.

Now, we all know that symptoms in one individual manifest at a greater strength than others. This is where the labeling comes in. We see a common strand intensified and we assume that that person has a problem separate from our own. If someone is sad, then they are just that, sad. But if their sadness is disrupting everyday life then they become categorized. Look, the purpose of this is not to debunk what has been years of research in psychology, but rather it is to make us aware that there is in fact, a common bond.

It is important that we understand that labels don’t define us. We are more than our symptoms. Often times, people with a “disorder” feel ostracized because of the disorder. They feel that because they suffer from depression, for instance, that they are a depressing person. It is imperative that we realize and accept that someone, maybe ourselves, have a label but we are not the label.

By: Eric Richardville 
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