I was diagnosed with clinical depression and clinical anxiety back in the year 2018, also known as the “common colds” of mental ailments. Don’t let that diminutive fool you, because there is nothing at all common about how these two work together to fully wage a battle in my mind.
There are a few instances when my brain seems to oscillate between depressive and anxious episodes. I feel as if I’m constantly swapping off one for the other, solemnly having a “feel good” day where both remain relatively calmer on my mind. If my anxiety isn’t disrupting my day, then my depression is, & vice versa.
But more often than not, these two demonic powers will work their way up together, each awakening from their nap at once to begin a war with each other with the intent of making my life a living hell.
Battle in My Mind: Anxiety and Depression!
Anxiety and depression fundamentally function as opposites to each other. This may be a bit of an oversimplification, but usually, anxiety can be explained as an overactive mind and depression as an under-active mind. Over the past two years, I think I have learned how to deal when one or the other takes over, but what still continues to challenge me is when the two of them awaken from their slumbers at the very same moment.
The battle in my mind feels devastating.
Anxiety forces me to get up because if I don’t get up, I might disappoint someone, or I might miss a deadline that’s anyway two weeks later from now, or everyone will assume that I’m lazy when in reality I am not.
Depression forces me to stay in bed. If I get up, I’ll have to fake happiness because on the inside I feel absolutely empty and lost. Everything feels meaningless.
The battle in my mind is at its worst when both these demons flare up simultaneously. Even if my mind is running a million thoughts a minute, I want nothing else but to be productive, so I can alleviate some of the stress of fulfilling my responsibilities. I literally cannot physically bring myself to get up. I can’t move because, for every thought, there is a thick, tight rope holding it back.
The battle in my mind makes me feel paralyzed, for I do not feel capable of doing the simplest of tasks. Be it brushing my teeth or getting a shower, everything feels like a huge, huge mountain that I have to climb.
I’m still learning how to deal with when these two very opposing demons in my brain wage war against each other, but there’s a long way to go, and all I’ve really learned is that there’s nothing much to do but go through it and keep trying and learning. I try to be kind to myself, reminding myself that chemicals are overreacting in my head, and I am not responsible for that. Speaking gently to yourself when you’re fighting mental illness is a lot easier said than done, but keep trying.
Battle in My Mind: Mental Health
I feel that mental health is the cornerstone of sentiments, lines of thought, communication, learning, and self-worth. Each one of us is fighting a battle in our minds. You are fighting a battle in your mind. I am fighting a battle in my mind.
Mental health also plays a significant role in our individual and sentimental well-being, while directly controlling our sense of self-discipline.
Most folks suffering from a mental illness do not wish to talk about it, and it’s high time we realize that mental illnesses are absolutely nothing to be ashamed of!
It is just a medical condition, just like any other condition such as- heart disease or diabetes. The best part is that mental illnesses can be cured. Over the years, medicine has grown and continually expanded to enhance our understanding of how the human brain works. Treatments are now widely available to aid people in successfully managing their mental health conditions.
Mental illness does not target a specific community. It can inflict anyone irrespective of their age, sex, birthplace, income, social status, race/ethnicity, religion/spirituality, sexual orientation, background, or any other aspect of cultural identity. While there is not a specific age when mental illnesses occur, three-fourths of all the mental illness start by age 24.
The battle in my mind could be a mere phobia that I’m suffering from or something as serious as clinical anxiety that needs urgent help. Mental illnesses can take several forms. Some are not as harsh and interfere with your day to day life in a very narrow sense, such as some phobias (abnormal fears). Other mental health illnesses can be extremely harsh and severe, and the person suffering from them may need care in a hospital.
But the battle in my mind, the battle in your mind, the battles in our minds are always treatable, and enhancement is probable. A majority of the people with mental health conditions recover to complete functioning. A lot of mental illnesses are also preventable.
There is very little clarity as to when an issue with mood or reasoning can turn so serious for it to be a mental health concern. For instance, sometimes, a depressed mood is acceptable, especially when a person experiences a tragedy such as the loss of a loved one. But, if that depressed frame of mind continues to become the cause of distress or gets in the way of normal/regular functioning, the person should definitely reach out to his/her loved ones and benefit from professional care. Family or friends may observe alterations or struggles that an individual might not otherwise recognize in themselves.
Some mental illnesses can be caused due to some other underlying disease or may mimic a medical condition. For instance, symptoms of depression may be caused due to a thyroid condition. Hence a mental health diagnosis typically includes a full study involving a physical exam. This also involves neurological tests or blood work.
People from a manifold of backgrounds may manifest mental health conditions differently. For instance, a few folks are more likely to visit a health care professional with grievances of physical discomfort that are actually caused by a mental health condition. A few cultures notice and explain mental health conditions in various ways from most medical experts in America.
Mental Health: Treatment & Tips
The stigma/narrative around mental health and treatment especially prevents a lot of people from reaching out to professionals and seeking professional healthcare.
Here are a few insightful lessons I’ve learned from therapy, which have helped me fight the battle in my mind –
- As affirming as it feels to blame the outside world for your frustrations, it is never helpful in the long term to consistently deny ownership of what role you play in your life.
- Change and loss always travel together. We can’t have transformations without loss.
- Everyone has demons, and that’s okay.
- Perfect is the enemy of good.
- The only way out is through, remember that. The only way to get out of the tunnel is to travel through it and not around it.
- One step, at a time.
- Sometimes you can do everything right and still receive the short end of the stick.
- Therapy is essential because it helps us realize that sometimes the cause behind our suffering isn’t what we think it is. Sometimes we’re grieving something bigger.
- Don’t rock the boat to spare someone’s feelings; drop the loving truth bomb when necessary.
- You can’t choose the pain, but you can select the suffering. We all feel anxiety at times- but we don’t necessarily have to suffer so much.
- We might think that the future takes place later, but we create it every day.
While mental health conditions can be cured with professional help, many Buddhism preachings can assist us in achieving a peaceful frame of mind and fight the battles in our minds. The battle in my mind and the battle in your mind can be fought with adequate therapy, medications, and a little preaching.
Within Buddhist practice, there are many practices of trying to maintain a peaceful mind when some tragedy happens. Through consistent practice of these ways, we can surely get to the position where some tragedy may occur. Still, the ill effects on our mind will remain merely on the surface, just as the waves that ripple on the surface of the ocean but have negligible effects deep down in the ocean.
Buddhism Preachings: Feeling of Satisfaction
Buddhism preaches us that – be it the battle in my mind or your mind or anyone’s mind for that matter, it’s vital that we systematically train our minds – cultivate positive thoughts for the genuine inner transformation of our being. It’s also supremely important that we attach our self worth to the right things.
For instance, if an individual’s source of respect and sense of worth is fully material, then so long as his social status remains, maybe that person can sustain a sense of security. But the very second, he loses his fortune, the person will undergo great suffering because there is no other refuge.
We, as human beings, fail to realize the tremendous influence that the mental state, the mental factor, has on our experience of daily life. While professional help is of utmost importance to fight the battle in my mind, the battle in your mind, the battle in our minds – we also need to acknowledge the supremacy of our mental outlook in living a happier life.
Shifting our perspective and contemplating how life could be worse is a sure-shot way to remind us of how immensely blessed we are. This practice can help us encounter distinct elevations in feelings of life satisfaction.
For as long as we utilize our favorable circumstances, such as our good health or wealth, in positive ways, in helping others, they can be contributory factors in achieving a happier life. And of course, we enjoy these things – our material facilities, success, and so on.
But bereft of the right mental attitude, without attention to the mental factor, these things have very little impact on our long-term feelings of happiness. For instance, if your harbor hateful thoughts or intense anger somewhere deep down within yourself, then it ruins your health; thus, it destroys one of the factors.
Millennials are prone to comparing themselves with other people on social media. They tend to attach their self worth to how happy they look on the gram. But social media is an illusion, and it leads to a kind of excessive desire for all the material things we don’t require. It makes us greedy for things we don’t have because somehow, we relate more material things to a happier life.
Greed is nothing but simply an exaggerated sort of desire. When it comes to tackling greed, one pretty distinctive thing is that even if it comes with the desire to obtain some object, it is never satisfied by obtaining. Hence, greed becomes a sort of boundless and sort of baseless, and that’s exactly when the trouble begins.
One intriguing aspect of greed is that although the underlying objective is to seek satisfaction, the irony is that even after obtaining the object of your desire, you are still just not satisfied. The honest antidote of greed is contentment. If you’re an individual who has a strong sense of contentment, it doesn’t matter whether you obtain the object or not; either way, you will still be content.
These are a few things that have helped me cope and stay better irrespective of the battle in my mind, and I hope they assist you, too, in your journey to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Also, here is something you might like reading.