Physical illness is easy to see and is an external manifestation of stress or mental illness that wasn't taken care of originally. Somehow this is considered normal and acceptable in our society. Mental illness is almost invisible and internal and there is still a lot of stigma attached. Both illnesses can be debilitating and both Illnesses involve our nervous systems and automatic stress response.
When we experience physical illness, our body is saying "Hello! Something you are doing in your life (environment) isn't working for you. The way you are living your life needs to change." This might relate to work, diet, exercise, needing more laughter or connection or a myriad of other things. Making healthier life choices can be challenging, as the old habitual pattern wants to run due to the strength of that pattern in the brain.
When we experience mental illness, the brain is saying "Hello! something you are thinking isn't working for you. You need to change some of your current beliefs that you believe to be true an maybe shift your priorities."
Changing our perspective can also be challenging as our society isn't set up like eastern societies, where it is normal to practice mindfulness and presence. This challenge is also caused by the strength of our habitual thinking in our brain.
All illness - mental or physical - begins with stress.
When stress isn't taken care of, it becomes depression or anxiety and people can start to use various destructive coping strategies (such as substance abuse, gambling, poor behaviour). All physical illness starts with a thought too, it is just that certain thinking leads to mental illness and other thinking leads to physical illness.
From working with people with mental illness for many years, growing up with a mother with mental illness and moving through my own mental health challenges, some important points have become obvious to me:
1. In our society we are taught to look at mind, body and spirit separately. When we have physical illness we go to a doctor or physiotherapist. When we have psychological illness we are told to go to a psychologist or psychiatrist. When we need help with spiritual, we go to a yoga or meditation teacher, a tarot reader or an astrologer. When the truth is that the mind, body and spirit are interconnected and cannot be separated. One always affects the other.
2. We are energy beings. Everything is energy and so are we. People with mental illness are more sensitive to this energy, so they are picking it up, noticing it, though don't have the conditioning (belief structure for genetics and past experiences) to make sense of what they are picking up.
3. People with mental illness are not broken. They don't have depression or anxiety. They are doing depression and anxiety, due to their current conditioned thinking. When educated on how to think differently and given the tools and strategies to action this new way of thinking, they recover. Their mind body is working perfectly! It is what they are thinking that causes the upsetting (and unsettling) emotions.
4. Mindfulness practice is a key practice for those experiencing mental illness. As they begin to observe their thoughts and feelings, they are no longer lost in them, believing they are those thoughts and feelings. When they become the observer of their experience, they can see that these feelings can't hurt them and in fact they are just unpleasant body sensations caused by the chemicals the brain dumped due to their thoughts.
5. We are worthy because we are alive and automatically contributing in other peoples lives. We are connecting and others learn from us and we learn from them. Then we pass this onto the next generation and the species continues. All of us are worthy, including people with mental illness. They are also teaching and learning.
For more information about natural relief for mental illness, please contact the expert contributor.