Don't focus on mental health problems to reduce them

We can all too easily become focussed on our 'mental health problems' or the fact that we have depression, stress or ongoing issues. On the one hand, it's vital that we do acknowledge these issues and then seek help to manage them, however, it's even more important to focus on the solutions. Turn your attention to the options you have to help yourself and make yourself feel better, once you've worked through the initial issues.  

Although awareness (of anything) is useful, it doesn’t have to consume you and your focus. Distraction is always useful regarding stress or anxiety; drawing your attention away from those things in life that create unhelpful pressure and instead draw it towards motivating activity.


You can focus on your mental wellbeing by simply living your life to the full. Engage in positive activities to stay healthy or become healthier, even if doing the opposite has been your normal life for years or months.

It's worth noting that some clients expect to have mental health problems in a specific area "because my family/parents struggled with that" - but this doesn't need to be the case. It may be that some people have a tendency to lean towards the same issues, but from experience from a non-medical, holistic background, I believe that these things come from your mindset and beliefs - and they can be changed!

Dealing with depression

Not everyone needs drastic or dramatic help to get through a depressive episode - it's a natural process like most things are in your mind and body.

Depression isn't actually a psychological problem per se, it's the result of the ongoing stress in someone's life that they are not fixing and resolving, or at least reducing. Nor is it the cause of suicide necessarily, it just makes people tend towards it. This is often due to feeling alone, hiding away and believing there aren't any means of change or escaping the current pressures they are experiencing, or whether they have other options.  

Some people may choose suicide and die with depression which they have struggled with, but it doesn't make it the reason. If you are able to take action and get help, try not to fight it, but accept it’s the current reality and then a healing process can begin. The underlying stressful issues are the reason for the depression, often resulting in feelings of not being able to escape.

This does not dismiss it and it is very real, very disconcerting and unpleasant to experience. But healing can happen naturally with some help and support. Ask for what you need - which may well be space and time - and consider speaking with a professional therapist.

'Hiding' (or the flight response to stress and danger, problems and threats) is a short-term defence mechanism, it's not a long-term sentence. It will change, you will have rested and recovered, your body and mind will once again be able to function 'normally'. 

Small daily efforts will get you back on track with small changes to behaviours (actions) or thoughts (beliefs and expectations) each day. With the choices you make to simply walk outside or stand at your door; pass the time of day with a neighbour or chat with a family member by phone or a quick drop by, or with friends with whom you can perhaps share a treat or just for yourself - a nice lunch of favourite things, a fun activity no matter how short it is or choose to have 'up' moments instead of down all day. Take small, simple steps, rather than fighting your way back to normality again. Manage the anxiety with these simple steps until it becomes easier, which it will in time. Your mind is simply protecting you from further stress, further potential harm, so encourages you to stay in and hide, even stay in bed!

And no, when you do 'get back to normal', it won't be the same because you have learned, grown, developed resilience, new insights and understanding and that alone takes you forward to a better place.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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