Dysfunction is Evidence of Our Humanness (Guest Post)

Dysfunction is Evidence of Our Humanness (Guest Post)

By Dr. Robert F. Mullen 

There is a joke that circulates among mental health professionals. Why do only 26% of people have a diagnosable mental disorder? Because the other 74% haven’t been diagnosed yet.

We are all psychologically dysfunctional in some way. “Mental illnesses are so common that almost everyone will develop at least one diagnosable mental disorder at some point in their life” (Scientific American).

Why do we treat the mentally ill with contempt, trepidation, and ridicule? We are hard-wired to fear and isolate mental illness, and we have been misinformed by history and the disease model of mental health. There are four common misconceptions about psychological dysfunctions. They are (1) abnormal and selective, (2) consequence of behavior, (3) solely mental, and (4) psychotic.

Let us deconstruct these misconceptions, beginning with the latter.

A dysfunctional person is psychotic.

There are two degrees of mental disorder: neuroses and psychoses. When someone sees, hears, or responds to things that are not actual, they are having a psychotic episode. While few persons experience psychosis, everyone has moderate-and-above levels of anxiety, stress, and depression. We are universally neurotic. Since the overwhelming majority of mental disorders are neuroses, we are all dysfunctional to some extent.

A dysfunction is abnormal or selective. 

A neurosis is a condition that negatively impacts our emotional wellbeing and quality of life but does not necessarily impair or interfere with normal day-to-day functions. It is a standard part of natural human development. One-in-four individuals have a diagnosable neurosis. According to the World Health Organization, nearly two-thirds of those reject or refuse to disclose their condition. Including those who dispute or chose to remain oblivious to their dysfunction, we can conclude that mental disorders are common, undiscriminating, and impact us all in some fashion or another. Many of us have more than one disorder; depression and anxiety are commonly comorbid, often accompanied by substance abuse.

A dysfunction is the consequence of a person’s behavior. 

Combined statistics prove that 89% of neuroses onset at adolescence or earlier. In the rare event conditions like PTSD or clinical narcissism manifest later in life, the susceptibility originates in childhood. Most psychologists agree that they are consequence of childhood physical, emotional, or sexual disturbance. Any number of things can cause this. Perhaps parents are controlling or do not provide emotional validation. Maybe the child is subjected to bullying or from a broken home. Behaviors later in life may impact the severity but are not responsible for the neurosis itself. It is not the fault of the child/adolescent, nor reflective of their behavior. There is the likelihood no one is intentionally responsible. This disputes moral models that we are to blame for our disorder, or it is God’s punishment for sin.

A dysfunction is solely mental.

To early civilizations, mental illness was the domain of supernatural forces and demonic possession. Hippocrates and diagnosticians of the 19th century looked at the relative proportions of bodily fluids. Lunar influence, sorcery, and witchcraft are timeless culprits. In the early 20th century, it was somatogenic. The biological approach argues that dysfunction is related to the brain’s physical functioning, while pharmacology promotes it as a chemical or hormonal imbalance. However, the simultaneous mutual interaction of all human system components—mind, body, spirit, and emotions—is required for sustainability of life and sustainability of dysfunction.

The disease model focuses on the history of deficit behavior. The American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) brief definition of neurosis contains the following words: distressing, irrational, obsessive, compulsive, dissociative, depressive, exaggerated, unconscious, and conflicts. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the APA, uses words like incapable, deceitful, unempathetic, manipulative, difficult, irresponsible, and incompetent. 

Moralists and the ignorant assume the ‘mental’ are weak and dishonorable, their behavior bizarre and illogical. The urban dictionary labels us silly or stupid. Adolescents derisively assign the term mental to the unpopular, different, and socially inept. These negative and hostile aspersions on our character are supported by public opinion, media misrepresentation, the mental healthcare industry, and the disease model of mental health.

This ‘defective’ emphasis has been the overriding psychiatric perspective for over a century. The disease model is the chief proponent of the notion that the mentally ill are dangerous and unpredictable. We distance ourselves and deem them socially undesirable. We stigmatize them. The irony is, we are them.

  • Over one-third of family members hide their relationship with their dysfunctional child or sibling to avoid bringing shame to the family. They are considered family undesirable, a devaluation potentially more life-limiting and disabling than the neurosis itself.
  • The media stereotypes neurotics as homicidal schizophrenics, impassive childlike prodigies, or hair-brained free-spirits. One study evidenced that over half of U.S. news stories involving the dysfunctional allude to violence.
  • Psychologists argue that more persons would seek treatment if psychiatric services were less stigmatizing. There are complaints of rude or dismissive staff, coercive measures, excessive wait times, paternalistic or demeaning attitudes, pointless treatment programs, drugs with undesirable side-effects, stigmatizing language, and general therapeutic pessimism.
  • The disease model supports doctor-patient power dominance. Clinicians deal with 31 similar and comorbid disorders, 400 plus schools of psychotherapy, multiple treatment programs, and an evolving plethora of medications. They cannot grasp the personal impact of a dysfunction because they are too focused on the diagnosis.

A recent study of 289 clients in 67 clinics found that 76.4% were misdiagnosed. An anxiety clinic reported over 90% of clients with generalized anxiety were incorrectly diagnosed. Experts cite the difficulty in distinguishing different disorders or identifying specific etiological risk factors due to the DSM’s failing reliability statistics. Mainstream medical authorities cite the poor reliability and validity, and inattention to human experience of DSM criteria. The recent head of the National Institute of Mental Health believes traditional psychiatric diagnoses have outlived their usefulness and suggests replacing or augmenting them with easily understandable descriptions of the issues.

Because of the disease model’s emphasis on diagnosis, we focus on the dysfunction rather than the individual. Which disorder do we find most annoying or repulsive? What behaviors contribute to the condition? How progressive is it, and how effective are treatments? Is it contagious? We derisively label the obvious dysfunctional ‘a mental case.’

Realistically, we cannot eliminate the word ‘mental’ from the culture. Unfortunately, its negative perspectives and implications promulgate perceptions of incompetence, ineptitude, and unlovability. Stigma, the hostile expression of someone’s undesirability, is pervasive and destructive. Stigmatization is deliberate, proactive, and distinguishable by pathographic overtones intended to shame and isolate. 90% of persons diagnosed with a mental disorder claim they have been impacted by mental health stigma. Disclosure jeopardizes livelihoods, relationships, social standing, housing, and quality of life.

The disease model assumes that emotional distress is merely symptomatic of biological illness. The Wellness Model focuses on the positive aspects of human functioning that promote our wellbeing and recognize our essential and shared humanity. The Wellness Model emphasizes what is right with us, innately powerful within us, our potential, and determination. Recovery is not achieved by focusing on incompetence and weakness; it is achieved by embracing and utilizing our inherent strengths and abilities.

Benefits of the Wellness Model

  • Revising negative and hostile language will encourage new positive perspectives
  • The self-denigrating aspects of shame will dissipate, and stigma becomes less threatening.
  • Doctor-client knowledge exchange will value the individual experience over the diagnosis.
  • Realizing neurosis is a natural part of human development will generate social acceptance and accommodation.
  • Recognizing that they bear no responsibility for onset will revise public opinion that an individual’s neurosis is the result of her or his behavior.
  • Emphasizing character strengths and virtues will positively impact the self-beliefs and image of the afflicted, leading to more disclosure, discussion, and recovery-remission.
  • Realizing proximity and susceptibility of dysfunction will address the desire to distance and isolate.
  • Emphasis on an individual’s value and potential will encourage accountability and foster self-reliance.

The impact of neurosis originates in childhood; recovery is a long-term commitment. The Wellness Model creates the blueprint and then guides and supports throughout the recovery process by emphasizing our intrinsic character strengths, virtues, and attributes that generate the motivation, persistence, and perseverance to recover.

The biblical adage treat others as you want to be treated takes on added relevance when we accept that we all experience mental disorders. In fact, dysfunction is evidence of our humanness.

robertfmullen.com

Dr. Robert F. Mullen is the director of ReChanneling Inc, an organization dedicated to the research and development of methods to mitigate symptoms of psychological dysfunction and discomfort.

A referenced copy of this article is available via rechanneling@yahoo.com.

For more from Dr. Robert F. Mullen click here.


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How To Keep A Positive Mindset

This is a collaboration post between Onome and I. I did a post for her blog a while back and she kindly wrote this amazing post for mine. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did and don’t forget to go over and check out her amazing blog in which she writes about mental health, books, lifestyle and much more. The link to it can be found below.

By Onome Erikewe
Maintaining a positive mindset can be difficult to achieve even when all efforts are made. It can seem like an endless battle to hold on to positive thoughts. You might have even experienced feelings of nausea because you feel it is impossible to stay in a place of complete peace
If you are in that situation, then be ready to get your mind right with these tips.

  1. Allow space and time to work the magic – Give yourself the opportunity to stay calm. Don’t try to force the feeling of positivity. It will work naturally. Once your mind is in a place of stability, you will find it easy to focus on the right things.
  2. Listen to your gut- You always have a voice inside of you that tells you exactly how you are feeling. It can either be negative or positive. However, look for those areas that are positive and dwell on them.
  3. Develop a habit of positive self-talk – While it is easy to get stuck with negative thoughts, you should train your mind to think positively. How do you do that? It is a simple trick of becoming self-aware. Your mind works with your brain, so if you can make your brain believe positive things, that will also reflect on how your mind retains information. So quick exercise, try to think of something about yourself that makes you incredibly happy. Then, imagine that you are having that same experience now. How do you feel? Great I guess. Now, train your mind to say that thing out. That is how you master the art of positive self-talk. It comes with consistent practice. So keep practicing until you get better at it.
  4. Fix your mind on the present- It can be a hassle to stay focused on the present. However, fixing your mind on the ‘now’ rather than the ‘next’ could really save you the stress of thinking about the future especially in difficult times. Being anxious does not solve anything, it only amplifies the problem. You can check my page on ways to deal with anxiety where Pooja graciously gave tips on how to overcome anxiety in difficult times.
  5. Have a circle of positive people- This is a vital part of developing a positive mindset. Your network and the people you surround yourself with have a lot to do with your mindset. Make a deliberate effort to be in the circle of people who will encourage you and uplift you.

Did you enjoy this post? Please head on to my blog at https://onomespeaks.wordpress.com/ to enjoy more tips on personal development. I want to say a big thank you to Pooja for this opportunity to write for her blog. Thank you all and I hope you start taking action on these steps.
Cheering for you.
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Anxiety And Exercise (Guest Post)

By Abdul Amin
When I first realized that I was suffering from anxiety, I was going crazy stress  mentally. I couldn’t believe that I’ll be dealing with anxiety. I did what many people immediately did seek treatment. It was good talking to my doctor and offering medication for solution. I was also in search for therapist.

I wasn’t feeling all that went ahead with medication it didn’t work. I tried therapy it was boring. I tried every thing it didn’t work I’m really going crazy blaming my doctor for the failure. But something made me realize about natural cure. I was watching Rocky 4 the training scene which felt so real and natural. It’s all mentally and found a method of managing my anxiety and that is physical activity.

I failed to realize that exercise alone is powerful enough to reduce my anxiety. I started working out daily routine and build a incredible strong relationship with physical activity and anxiety. This move help me scale towards living an anxiety free life.

I hope you enjoyed the post and don’t forget to like, share, follow and comment. You can holla at me via email amin@physicalabtivity.com or check out my blog by clicking here.

This post has been a collaboration. To check out the post I did for his blog click here!

Share Your Childhood Dreams

As a child I’m sure that you had that one big dream? A dream that you always wanted to make real? Possibly this dream was to be a doctor, perhaps a King, or Queen of an intergalactic galaxy. Well, whatever the dream is–No matter how Real, or Fictitious. You can also submit any nightmares you have as a child that you just can’t forget. And Please Go As In-Depth As Possible on any type of submission. 😀

NOTE: We Are Especially Interested In Any Recurring Daydreams You May Have Had As A Child

 

Changing Your Routine To Ease Your Anxiety

As you guys know I talk a lot about anxiety and my experience with it on this blog. I have received so much positive feedback from everyone which is so amazing and I really appreciate it. I’ve also received a lot of comments from people who are going through something similar and so I thought I would share what I’ve been doing recently to help ease my anxiety which has really been helping me a lot.

Technology- You’ve probably heard a lot of people say that technology is bad for people with anxiety or mental illness but I tend to argue against that. I don’t think technology is bad for your anxiety as long as you use it right. There is a lot of stuff that you can do that will worsen your anxiety but there are a lot of benefits too. For example, I love meditation apps (check out my favourite five here), yoga tutorials, and my recent favourite relaxation/meditation music. At the moment I have been listening to Aroshanti’s ‘Zen Relaxation’ album which is doing wonders for me. It is a mix of Japanese Shakuhachi and Chinese Dizi flutes, echoed with Tibetan chanting which has really been helping me relax. I usually listen to the tracks “Compassion”, “Inner Peace”, and “Inner Illumination” in the morning to help start my day with positivity and calmness and in the evening I usually listen to “Acceptance”, “Stillness of Zen” and “Inner Peace” which has really been helping with my insomnia.

     

Meditation/yoga- Meditation and yoga both in the morning and evenings is really helpful too and if you suffer from anxiety I would definitely recommend trying to meditate or do yoga for at least a few minutes everyday. Meditation has really helped me calm my mind and regain control of my feelings. Yoga is helping to control my body and mind as well as help me open up and be more in touch with my emotions.

     

Relaxation- A lot of times we are so preoccupied with our life we forget to slow down and just breathe. Seriously, try sitting down and just taking deep breaths! It is such a wonderful experience and really clears your mind and helps get rid of pent up energy/anxiety. I usually like to listen to “Acceptance” or when I feel stressed out I like to listen to “Searching Within Zen” by Aroshanti which helps me think logically and helps me find solutions to my problems without freaking out. You should definitely try taking a few minutes every morning and night to just relax and calm yourself down.

       

For Aroshanti’s full album click here.

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Six Word Story #27

Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month I thought I would spend this week sharing different types of posts that are about mental health awareness. This six word story is how I feel about my anxiety. For more posts on mental health click here.

Always taunting me from a distance.

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4 Apps That Are Great For Meditation

Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month I thought I would spend this week sharing different types of posts that are about mental health awareness. Meditation has been a huge help for me and I thought I would share some apps that might be helpful to others. For more posts on mental health click here.

Image result for headspace

Headspace-  This app offers multiple short daily exercises which typically last 10, 15, or twenty minutes. There are some longer and shorter exercises. I’ve used this before and it was really great especially when you don’t have a lot of time and want to do a short meditation.

iPhone– 4.7 Stars

Android- 4.3 Stars

Image result for stop breathe think

Stop, Breathe & Think- So this is one that I’ve been using for a while now. It’s really great to calm you down or if you have sleep problems. It has multiple meditations depending on your mood and how you’re feeling. They are mostly short but for me I definitely think they do the trick.

iPhone- 4.8 Stars

Android- 4.4 Stars

Image result for the mindfulness app

The Mindfulness App- This app offers guided or silent meditations ranging from 3-30 minutes. It also offers personalized meditation options and reminders throughout the day to remind you to stay mindful.

iPhone- 4.7 Stars

Android- 4.3 Stars

Image result for calm app

Calm- This app has calming and breathing exercises to help you relax as well as a kids section for children between the ages of three and seventeen. It even offers voice exercises done voiced actors!

iPhone- 4.8 Stars

Android– 4.5 Stars

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What My Anxiety Has Taught Me

Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month I thought I would spend this week sharing different types of posts that are about mental health awareness. For more posts on mental health click here.

Change is good- Even though change can be very anxiety inducing for people even those that don’t necessarily have an anxiety disorder it’s even more difficult for people that have an anxiety disorder. I personally used to hate change because it made my anxiety a lot worse but now I’ve realised that I shouldn’t let anxiety force me to maintain a routine I don’t want to maintain. Change has a lot of positives too and I need to embrace that.

Give it time- I was recently talking to a close friend of mine and we were talking about our experiences with anxiety and we both agreed that it definitely gets better over time. At first you have no idea what’s happening or how to make it better but eventually you learn what makes your anxiety worse and how to control your anxiety at least to the extent that it doesn’t disrupt your day-to-day life.

It’s not worth sacrificing having fun- For a while I let anxiety control me and my life. I stopped doing things I enjoyed just so that I wouldn’t have to face my anxiety. However, over time I have learnt to ignore the anxiety in my head and just go ahead and do what I want even if the few hours before it are anxiety filled.

Life goes on- Even though anxiety is not something that ever goes away permanently there are lots of ways that help ease and reduce it. Eventually you learn how to deal with it and life goes on for you.

If you are suffering from mental health problems please reach out to a friend, family member or get professional help because it is important to deal with your problems and get better. If you are unable to get professional help in person or find it too expensive you can even get it online on BetterHelp– a site where you can get help for an affordable price.

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Technology And Mental Health

Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month I thought I would spend this week sharing different types of posts that are about mental health awareness. For more posts on mental health click here.

I just want to start out by saying that I know technology has a lot of cons but the things I talk about in this post are just my thoughts on technology and how it effects my anxiety and mental health in general.

For the longest time I’ve been hearing people talk about technology, the internet, social media and how this is effecting the youth or people in general negatively and I agree. The internet and social media can be detremental to a lot of peoples mental health and lead to eating disorders and other mental health problems.

However, for me it feels like the internet and social media really help with my anxiety. If you have anxiety or know anything about anxiety and mental health issues you know that they are not under anyone’s control and you can’t just turn it off. Anxiety just shows up randomly like that annoying family member that never calls ahead (we’ve all got one).

Whenever I do get anxious however, I’ve realised that it really helps to browse through social media and distract myself for a while. It also really helps to look through WordPress and read all the amazing posts you guys put out. I know a lot of people are like you’re generation is always on the phone it’s so disrespectful (which it can be depending on the circumstances) but I just hope that you guys realise that sometimes we aren’t on our phone/laptop because we want to be or because we’re addicted or whatever but because it helps us get through stuff. I hope the next time you see someone on their phone you can try to be a bit more lenient and think about how this person might be panicking about something and is trying to calm themselves down.

Not everything to do with the internet and social media is a bad thing. For me it gives a shy, awkward kid who sucks at real life conversations an outlet to express themselves. It also gives me a break from anxiety and helps me calm down.

Sorry if this sounded like kind of a rant but I had been meaning to write this post for quite a while and I hope it sheds some light into the pros of technology for people with anxiety and other mental health problems.

If you or someone you care about is having mental health problems please seek the help of a professional or if you are unable to see a therapist you can always try out online counselling with a professional therapist.

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How To Help People In Your Life With Mental Health Problems

Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month I thought I would spend this week sharing different types of posts that are about mental health awareness. For more posts on mental health click here.

Just be there- Sometimes you just need someone to be there for you. Even though you may not understand what they are going through and even though you may not be able to do much to do to help it makes a huge difference just to be there for the person. Try to check up on them once in a while, invite them to things even if they decline and help them feel like they are a part of something.

Don’t try to solve their problems- Even though you are concerned about the person don’t try to tell them what to do, that their problems aren’t real or how to solve their problems. You are not in their shoes and a lot of times people telling you what to do can make the person feel even more attacked or cornered which is not something you want them to feel. Rather try to make suggestions or just be there for them to lean on.

Don’t give up on them- Even though it seems like you aren’t able to help and want to give up on them please don’t. It’s important to have someone who is there for you and there when you need them.

Don’t force them into things- A lot of times going out and doing things are not on the top of people who suffer from mental illnesses to-do list so don’t force them into situations they would be uncomfortable in. It’s okay to invite them but don’t be too insistent on things and let them decide what they want to do. This also goes for seeking help- don’t force them into it

Help them seek help- Don’t force them to get help and make them feel pressured but if you feel like this person is in a bad situation and needs help try to encourage them lovingly to seek help. There are multiple option including but not limited to therapists. If you are in a relationship with someone having mental health problems you can try out couples counselling online or in person.

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