Most of us have at least a general understanding of mental health. We understand that we can develop conditions like anxiety and depression that cause us to feel worried, sad, stressed, and overwhelmed. We also tend to recognize that these symptoms are not something we easily control, and often benefit from treatment from an experienced NYC psychologist.
But, despite this general understanding of mental health, not all of us can fully process the idea that our thoughts and feelings when we struggle with anxiety and depression may not be genuine – and that the way that we process the world with a mental health condition is affected by these same conditions.
How Mental Health Creates Negative Thinking, Hopelessness
We tend to believe that the way we feel and the way we think are logical and genuine. Even when we struggle with a condition like depression, we still tend to feel like the way that we experience things is how they *are*.
We can see this show up in many different ways:
- Neutral Interactions – When we experience an emotionally neutral interaction, such as ordering a coffee from a coffee shop, those with mental health struggles may process it as a negative event. We may feel like it was unenjoyable, or part of a bad day, or a negative experience, even if nothing specifically negative occurred.
- Limited Tolerance – With our stress levels high, we have very little capacity for discomforts of any kind, which can lead us to feeling easily annoyed, irritable or stressed. Yet we do not always realize that our stress levels are high, so that intolerance feels like a general annoyance with others.
- Fewer Positive Experiences – When you have mental health struggles, the things you enjoy are unlikely to feel as enjoyable, while the things you don’t enjoy feel even worse. If you look back on a day of ½ enjoyable, ½ unenjoyable activities, the day is going to feel like a bad day simply because the enjoyable activities were not able to be enjoyed as often.
But perhaps the most problematic symptom is that depression and anxiety are conditions that feed themselves.
For example, a symptom of depression is a feeling of hopelessness. What this means is that, if a person tries to treat their depression, they are naturally and organically going to feel like the treatment will not work – because the depression causes them to process it as hopeless. That hopelessness feels so genuine, that even a person that knows they have depression may not associate it with their mental health.
The way that psychology affects how we think and how we process the world is fascinating, yet it also means that struggling with a mental health condition can affect us in ways we do not always realize or understand.
Treating Thoughts Can Change Mental Health
All of this is about recognizing that the way that we think isn’t just our personality, our character, or our natural emotions and thought processes. Sometimes, the way that we think and the way we feel is affected by our mental health.
Yet, perhaps what is most fascinating about mental health, in general, is that it’s possible to treat depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions by systematically altering how we see our thoughts and behaviors. Just as depression can cause you to think negatively, so too can learning to think positively help cure depression. It is one of the many ways that mental health is fascinating, and also why anyone struggling with their mental health should consider seeing a therapist for support.
Learn more about our psychotherapy services at Flourish Psychology, today.