The might of mind or the strength of will?
Every 10th of October is globally celebrated as the world mental health Day. The day intends to bring to light the subtleties and the increasing regularity in mental health issues, their causes, and most importantly how to deal with them. It also provides us the opportunity to reflect upon the irony of the fact that though everything in life is interconnected and has overlapping influences over our health, our life choices and upon those around us, it cannot be denied that regardless of our physical fitness or socio-economic well-being, all of us are mushrooms before the might of our minds. When it withstands the stress and pressure of our troubles we emerge stronger than before, with steelier nerves and a stouter heart… But when it fails us we are crippled from within and our lives begin to feel like a rollercoaster ride which seemingly can only go down and never rise again.
However, let us 1st endeavour to understand what exactly is mental health and what qualifies as its illness. “Mental illness, also called mental health disorders, refers to a wide range of mental health conditions — disorders that affect your mood, thinking and behavior. Examples of mental illness include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders and addictive behaviors.” (mayoclinic.org) simply put whenever external factors begin to overwhelm and dominate our psychological and mental resources we begin to experience mental health concerns. If they are not properly addressed, they end up becoming severe mental conditions which can even lead to suicidal or even homicidal thoughts and behavior. Nevertheless, just a failure in coping with our situations is not the only cause of mental illnesses. Following are some of the other causes. “Mental illnesses, in general, are thought to be caused by a variety of genetic and environmental factors:
- Inherited traits. Mental illness is more common in people whose blood relatives also have a mental illness. Certain genes may increase your risk of developing a mental illness, and your life situation may trigger it.
- Environmental exposures before birth. Exposure to environmental stressors, inflammatory conditions, toxins, alcohol, or drugs while in the womb can sometimes be linked to mental illness.
- Brain chemistry. Neurotransmitters are naturally occurring brain chemicals that carry signals to other parts of your brain and body. When the neural networks involving these chemicals are impaired, the function of nerve receptors and nerve systems change, leading to depression and other emotional disorders.
Certain factors may increase your risk of developing a mental illness, including:
- A history of mental illness in a blood relative, such as a parent or sibling
- Stressful life situations, such as financial problems, a loved one’s death or a divorce
- An ongoing (chronic) medical condition, such as diabetes
- Brain damage as a result of a serious injury (traumatic brain injury), such as a violent blow to the head
- Traumatic experiences, such as military combat or assault
- Use of alcohol or recreational drugs
- A childhood history of abuse or neglect
- Few friends or few healthy relationships
- A previous mental illness.” (org)
Additionally, it should be noted that there are no definitive measures which can prevent a mental illness except that it should be dealt with in earnest and properly. For instance, if you feel like you yourself or a loved one are experiencing mental health concerns, consult a psychotherapist or a mental health expert for guidance. For the causes mentioned above are required to be controlled or cured in ways which are unique to every single cause respectively.
Even so, as individuals we also have to realise that we and we alone are masters of our minds and not the other way round. For our faith in divine guidance and in ourselves sustains the strength of our will and our Wills give us the courage to endure and persevere against all odds. So let us never forget that the strength of our will, our faith is always greater than the might and control of our minds! Let us remember always that sometimes we need to trust the flow of our lives changes for the better while in other times we need to steer those changes and guide them with our courage and endurance, our faith and perseverance to the right direction!