“There is NOTHING wrong with her! She is JUST depressed. ”
“There is absolutely nothing physically wrong with her. It is just psychological.”
Have you heard this? I have heard a nurse actually talk about a patient this way. I have heard people tell me their therapist told them that their anxiety issues were only “emotional” and not biological.
First of all, depression is a real condition and if someone is clinically depressed , it is not true that “nothing wrong with them.” Depression is as painful and as much of a threat to someone’s health and their life as any “biological” illness”
Second of all, there is no such thing as any disorder or disease being only “emotional” or only “biological.” The mind is part of the body. A very important part , I might add.
Every function in the entire body is regulated in some way by the brain. Emotions are also a function of what is happening in the brain.
Changes in the brain affect emotions, and changes in emotions affect the brain.
When a person has a physical disease or disorder, there is an emotional reaction to it. Furthermore, a person’s emotions relating to their illness, have a direct correlation as to whether or not they overcome the illness and how fast they get better.
I have cared for stroke patients with similar levels of a stroke. The ones that had positive feelings about physical therapy got better. The patients that felt angry or depressed did progress nearly as well in physical therapy.
An emotional disorder has a direct affect on a person’s brain and biology. A person that starts to have depression and/or anxiety develops patterns of feeling certain emotions in response to specific stimuli. These repetitive patterns create actual connections in the brain.
Any habits or behaviors become connections in the brain. Once connected the brain regulates the fact that anxiety or depression is triggered by certain stimuli. So, when someone says, “there is nothing wrong with them. It is just psychological,” it doesn’t ring true.
Once patterns are set into the brain that cause mental suffering, it becomes a biological disorder. People with depression, anxiety, OCD and other mental suffering have as much of a right to be recognized as people with typical physical illnesses.
Tendency of people to discount mental suffering as “it’s all in their head” is very hurtful and dangerous to the people suffering from “emotional” problems. Truthfully it is, in fact “in their head” meaning that it is in their brain.
If this blog does not do anything else, my intention is that anyone suffering from depression and anxiety will feel validated. The condition is real. It is worthy of being treated as real. You have a right to be sick just as much as someone with a physical disease has the right to be sick.
It is unfair that people with anxiety and depression must suffer in silence. It is not an acceptable excuse to call out of work. It is not an acceptable excuse to cancel an appointment.
When someone has severe anxiety about doing something that they know will be a trigger , they should be able to ask for help and have someone do it for them or help them. It should be the same as someone with a broken leg asking for help to get into a car.
Doing the things that trigger the brain to cause painful, disabling emotion are frightening and dangerous. A person should be able to ask for help.
It feels like an invisible disease to the people who have it. They have to do things that will make it worse. The reason for that is because people’s families, friends, bosses, teachers and even nurses and doctors do not understand mental illness.
If you are suffering in silence, please know that you are not crazy. You are not alone. Your condition is painful and sometimes terrifying. It is not your fault. It is not something you made up to get attention or to get out of things.
You know when things are painful or too much for you. There are many of us with the same fears and disabling difficulties at doing the simple things that most people take for granite. We can support and validate each other. You are not alone.
I hope this helps someone,