These 4 Common Experiences Drive More Mental Strain Than We Realize
A psychiatrist notes the life moments that hurt most
In my out-patient psychiatric practice, I recently treated a young man who had, among other problems, severe acne. He told me that his dermatologist had begun a new treatment. My patient asked the doctor how long before there might be results. The dermatologist replied, “It depends on your emotional state.” Something inside the young man leapt with excitement to hear this, as he thought he might finally have the chance to talk about his chronic anxiety. But the dermatologist simply concluded the appointment and told him to return in a month.
This patient did well in treatment with me. In a couple of months his mood, anxiety, and even acne greatly improved. Unfortunately, he had endured 10 years of anxiety and discomfort before finally getting the treatment he needed. Sadly, this delay is often par for the course when it comes to sorting through — and appropriately treating — common life problems that have understandable, and even severe, emotional consequences.
There are many common life circumstances that bring with them formidable emotional issues; enduring those necessary chapters of life can tip the balance and bring about a psychiatric disorder.
Problems with our mental well-being, which can stem from psychiatric disorders, are usually thought of as coming from one of two places. Either you’ve had a troubled upbringing or you have bad genes. Both are, in a sense, bad luck and thus assumed to be uncommon. But are these two pathways really the main routes to emotional problems? In fact, there are many common life circumstances that bring with them formidable emotional issues; enduring those necessary chapters of life can tip the balance and bring about a psychiatric disorder.
I’m referring to life experiences we consider normal — in the sense that they happen, expectedly, to nearly everyone. Many reliably lead to emotional difficulties that will fester without some kind of concerted intervention. Naming and understanding these experiences can go a long way to supporting those who suffer because…