We all know about the placebo effect, yes? The mind can effect change in the body. What doesn’t get acknowledge as much in our culture that praises the intellect as superhuman and sort of disdains the physical as merely human is that the body can also effect the mind.
What this means for the wellish – the healthy enough people with no diagnosable disease who are still miserable and shortening their natural lives – is that if you mimic sickness in your body it can manifest in your mind. If you, for example, spend a lot of time lying around, don’t get much natural light, don’t get a lot a face-to-face time with loved ones you are mimicking the symptoms of depression and it’s entirely possible that that is what causes your mind to begin mimicking depressive symptoms as well.
Mind and body don’t co-exist, the brain is part of your physical body and susceptible to physical aliment. Alzheimer’s is a physical ailment that manifests as memory loss, just like any other disease that might result in muscle loss.
When I got out of my last severe depression I doubt it’s a coincidence that my mantra was just to do what I thought a healthy person does. I didn’t feel like exercising but it’s what a healthy person would do so I’ll mimic it.
And I haven’t been suicidal in two years now, that’s the longest stretch since I was 13.
All my talk of changing one’s persona has to start with changing one’s behaviour. So much of the insidious trap of depression is looking for the one thing, the root cause. We tell ourselves little things like exercise won’t help because we have a big problem, something is fundamentally wrong with us and with life – nothing as quaint as a work out could possibly help. And that search for the one, big, key thing that you can discover that will make things okay and then allow to you to do things like exercise is like going into a burning house and refusing to put out the fire until you know where – and why – it started.
So the depression grows because we won’t look at the man behind the curtain and admit that he is actually rather small. And yeah metaphor round up these are firefighter in the land of Oz.
Everything being connected – your diet to your mood to your sleep – means they all fall together when something is wrong but you don’t have to let them. Hold the line or drag upward anything you can. If everything is broken there can be no wrong answer when you start repairing. And further more if you do have some diagnosable problem then you’ll root it out because it will be resilient. If you have true insomnia it’ll persist when you get your diet and exercise more on lock and blah blah blah knowing is half the battle.
We over diagnosis and self-diagnosis constantly now. There’s more drive to have something, an explicable problem, than to be okay. Rather than people being in denial and covering up a problem like we imagine was rampant in the 50s a lot of people are in denial that they’re basically okay and they’re just jacking their blood sugar around throughout the day which is effecting their mood.
There will come a time though when your unhappiness is so severe you realize it no longer makes you interesting. In fact the only person it made you interesting to was yourself, everyone else was so wrapped up in their own feelings they only cared about yours when it helped them express theirs.
The search for solutions can sometimes be quiet dull sounding, there’s no glamour no story we can tell ourselves in the fact that bananas contain serotonin precursors but at least it’s science, it’s objective.
It’s better than listening to your feeling because your emotions are generated by your body and you and your body don’t have a great track record of listening to each other so far.