What causes mental distress?
Everyone experiences mental distress at some time but what causes it? Poets and authors down the ages provide wisdom.
“The lion and the calf shall lie down together but the calf won’t get much sleep.”
Above, Woody Allen captures morbidity in this irreligious quote. The word ‘shall’ implies ‘imposed expectations’ and the dark humour comes from our recognition of, ‘massive power imbalance’, and ‘personal fear’. When these three elements come together in our lives we often experience mental distress. Dean Goodchild undertook research into Psychologists’ understanding of the cause of psychological problems. They believed that an abusive relationship was the primary pathological factor in many cases, but not all.
“They fuck you up your mum and dad”
An infamous poem by Philip Larkin. Unfairly, Larkin neglects to mention all the wonderful things that parents give to their children. Yet, for some he strikes a resonant chord. ‘This be the verse’ is pessimistic but despite its dispiriting truth, there is hope. Consider George Santayana’s belief…
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"
Have you ever thought that you have become your mother or your father? Caught yourself showing parental characteristics that you rejected as a young adult. It happens all the time. Yet we all have the capacity for ‘Agency’ inside us. No matter how constrained our lives may be, we are free to choose and to make our own pathway. Often it is hard to see how things could change, or any possible way forward. Yet by reversing Santayana’s theme, we find that those who can remember (and understand the significance of the past) become empowered to choose their own future. To resolve the conflicts imposed on us in our younger days and strive to break free. To choose our own path and live life to the full.
I can offer you all my experience and training in your search for meaning and fulfilment.