Mental health issues do not mean you are 'mad'
Most people in life suffer with ups and downs. According to Freud, anxiety is actually the human condition! Everyone, no matter how confident on the outside, will have certain situations which make them feel anxious. It is really important that if you are suffering with a mental health issue, like anxiety or depression, or even something more distressing, that you do not label yourself as 'mad'.
Labeling mental issues as 'madness' is counterproductive. Instead of being your enemy, often these issues are trying to tell you something. If you listen to your feelings and emotions and learn about what they mean, you might be able to feel better. Emotions are really useful things, but a lot of society tells people to 'tune out' of their bodies and emotions, by 'getting over it' or by 'putting on a brave face'. This is not helpful when it comes to mental health. It is helpful to listen to feelings and what our bodies are telling us. You shouldn't be ashamed of the way you feel, but rather take a step back and think about what might be happening to you and what you can do about it. You are probably going through a hard time, and may always have been going through a hard time. This doesn't mean that there is something bad or 'mad' about you, but more that you need to work something out. Anxiety and depression are often there for very good reasons, and if you take a position of curiosity instead of fear towards your emotions, then you are taking a very positive step.
The good news is, counselling with a trained psychologist can help alleviate these problems, as therapy can provide you with a setting where you can work out your problems, and why they might be there. Good therapy can offer you new skills to empower you so that you can change old habits and form new ones. You can feel safe, supported, listened to and understood. Some people get a new lease of life, as they begin to see themselves differently and begin experimenting with new situations. No matter what your difficulties are and how long they have been affecting you, there is always hope and a new path to be taken.
About the author
Dr Jasmine Childs-Fegredo is a counselling psychologist currently practising in Cambridge. She has previously worked in a number of NHS hospitals and was a contributor to the Harley Therapy online blog.
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