‘We suffer more often in imagination than in realty’ Seneca.
Human beings by nature have an innate need to socialize and feel loved. The recent covid pandemic made us question all over again how vulnerable our mental health is.
Loneliness along with the fear of getting covid had a huge impact on people’s mental health.
Mental health being invisible to other is hard to evaluate in comparison to physical health, that’s why we struggle to understand what one must be going through.
During the covid pandemic, we all experienced a certain level of anxiety, which should be considered normal in response to stressing environment.
The boundary between normal and pathologic is thin, that’s why it is necessary to understand that it is normal to not feel ok, but when this feeling of uneasiness stays for longer it is necessary to ask for help.
Behind mental health disorders, there are usually chemical changes in the brain for which drugs are available, but even after the use of these drugs people struggle to come back to normal life, they keep on dwelling on depressing thoughts, the reason behind this is that social relationships are essential for good mental health, hence medication alone cannot establish the balance.
Social relationships are not only a way for socializing but also a way to regain control over our behaviour as it is through each social relationship that we are able to understand ourselves better.
Is pain self-chosen?
‘Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.’ Khalil Gibran
Suffering is important in life for a meaningful life, our body alerts us through pain to make us avoid things that could cause us harm, same way according to psychology stress is a coping method which is important for growth in life.
Taking into consideration the covid pandemic situation, it can be noticed that what made people’s mental health vulnerable was isolation, loneliness is a silent killer, and in an environment of great instability, we all struggled to find out the centre to feel grounded and secure again.
Growing from hardship
Our society has been misleading us to think happy life is about being happy all the time, this false expectation does not account for the fact emotions are part of our intelligence and are necessary.
Understanding and embracing painful emotions are important for a happy life,
Antifragility is an Important concept introduced by Nassim Taleb, which can be considered as a new approach to the concept of resilience, where the system under pressure grows bigger than before, thus proving emotions are important for self-development in life.
The antifragile system is all around and within us, for instance, our muscles are antifragile system, and the pressure that we put on them during exercise makes them grow stronger. From the psychological perspective, the antifragile system is known as PTG, post-traumatic growth, which is the exact opposite of PTSD post-traumatic stress disorder, which has a negative effect on one’s mental wellbeing.
The new arising question is to define happiness, Iris Moss's studies have shown that people who pursue happiness end up being unhappy and are prone to be depressed. When investigating the why of this event, it emerged that valuing happiness as a good thing is problematic as happiness cannot be standardised, so the solution to this is cultivating good habits that will indirectly lead to a happier life.
Breaking down happiness in its essential elements will lead to pursuing happiness indirectly, the goal should be appreciating the little things in life, knowing that life is made up of ups and in doing so we can break down the light to find the rainbow.
When it is necessary to ask for help?
Knowing when to seek help is crucial, therefore raising awareness about mental health is even more important, to break the stigma of a perfectly happy life. Emotional fluctuations get reflected in one’s behaviour, so warning signs that can help understand health is getting worse include losing interest in things you have loved, getting overwhelmed more easily, feeling exhausting to socialize, irregular sleep cycle, feeling constantly drained, increased anxiety, scattering feeling which contribute to desolation, hard time staying focused, impulsiveness and lack of confidence due to inability to feel grounded to yourself. If one starts to notice these signs self-care should be prioritized, self-care activities include practising mindfulness such as yoga and meditation.
Self-care is not selfish as we can relate to others only when we have inner peace, scattering feelings comes when we struggle to find our centre.
To feel grounded again and bloom stronger than before, we need to accept that life is all about us, happier or sadder are just seasons which will pass.