Do I have a psychological problem?
If a person suspects that he or she or a loved one is suffering from a psychological condition, it is important to remember that the condition is treatable and seek the help of a professional as soon as possible.
LISE ASK: Mental health is supposed to be important. Why? And what exactly is mental health?
LOUIS ANSWER: There is no difference between the way one looks at mental health and physical health. If you are ill (eg flu or cancer), it affects your mood, your social life and your work. Exactly the same with mental health. As in the case of a physical illness, a psychological problem can also have a minimal, mediocre or destructive effect on one's everyday life. Problems can range from mild anxiety and depression to severe conditions such as major depression, post-traumatic stress and schizophrenia. Mental health is also not just about what is wrong in your mind, but about the quality of your life while suffering from a specific condition.
LISE ASK: How do I find out I have a psychological problem?
LOUIS ANSWER: Most people deduce from their physical symptoms that they are sick, even though they do not always know what they are doing. The same goes for a psychological problem. The easiest way to find out that something is wrong is to look at the three areas of being human, namely your THINK, your FEELING en your BEHAVIOR.
- THOUGHTS: My thoughts and thought patterns; how I think about life, people and events
- FEELING: How I feel about life, people and events
- BEHAVIOR: How I express my thoughts and feelings, ie what I say and what I do; also how I say it and how I do it.
I usually compare these three areas with a three-legged pot: at least two of the legs must stand strong, otherwise the whole pot will fall over. Preferably, all three legs must function properly, but life itself is imperfect and it is our job to make the most of it.
LISE ASK: How do I find out if one or more of the legs are no longer strong?
LOUIS ANSWER: Just as you think about yourself ("my stomach hurts - is it just a cramp, or do I have a virus?"), You have to ask the same questions about the three areas of your mental health. What I usually suggest to people is to give yourself a score out of 10 for each of the three parts (thinking, feeling and behavior), where 1 out of 10 is very low, and 10 out of 10 are exceptionally good. If you give yourself less than 5 for two or three of the legs, you are usually in trouble. But please remember that CONTEXT is always important. Just because you have low marks on all three scales today (you may have just heard of a loved one's death) does not mean you are abnormal or suffering from a mental illness. It just makes sense under the circumstances. However, if these scores continue uninterrupted for six months or more, it is a strong sign that you are in trouble on a mental level and that it is time to call for help.