In recent times, the notion of personal Wellness & Mental Health is becoming more mainstream. In the current era, there seems to be a push for the normalization of Mental Healthcare alongside the reformation of the Medical Healthcare system. Covid-19 seemed to be the catalyst that has caused us all to stop and think, not only about our medical healthcare, but also our mental health in a more serious and scrutinized way.
While this new enlightening age of mental healthcare is a push in a positive direction, as with any significant changes, there comes the appearance of growth pains. These growing pains can present in different ways.
One way is misinformation. Misinformation is referring to the ways in which mental health terminology or certain techniques which deal with certain mental health issues are widely misused or are inaccurately understood. For instance, I once heard someone say, "The best way to deal with a bad breakup is to listen to a bunch of sad music." While this may be helpful at some stage of the grief process, it may not be the best way to deal with a breakup as this could potentially cause downward spiraling or rumination for some.
Truthfully, mental health is about knowing yourself, knowing how to treat yourself, and discovering what works and doesn't work best for you. This takes time, a level of deep introspection, and an investment in yourself which, hopefully, brings about positive changes in your life.
The fruits of this endeavor are abundant, but what if you are attempting to make some life changes, and you are feeling stuck or stagnant? Maybe, you just can't seem to understand why change isn't happening for you. In these instances when we feel blocked or stuck, it is typically because we are doing one of two things. We are either suppressing the memory of some traumatic event, feeling, or emotion, or our minds are repressing the memory of an event or the experience of some overwhelming feeling or emotion.
These two defense mechanisms are almost identical. The only difference, really, is that one is a conscious choice while the other is unconscious. Suppression is the willful or conscious choice to block a memory or emotion from your immediate awareness. An example of this would be if a person saw something that particularly disgusted them, and they refused to think about that incident. That person may protest, wave both hands in the air, and say, "nope...nope... I didn't see that!" They are suppressing the thought from immediate memory as well as the subsequent emotions that follow.
Repression happens as a reaction to an overly stressful event or emotion. An example of this, would be if a person witnessed an atrocious crime being committed, and as a response to the stress of that event, that person's psyche may block it from immediate recall (also known as the preconscious mind) though it may still exist in the subconscious mind while influencing future behaviors.
How could a repressed or suppressed memory affect one's behaviors? It may cause someone to experience undue fear in a similar circumstance. Let's say someone witnessed an accident in which a bystander was hit by a car. The witness may become agitated or anxious while crossing the street and not necessarily be able to explain why. This may be an example of repression as this person cannot seem to recall the memory even when they attempt to do so.
Repressing or suppressing memories or emotions can lead to confusion, regret, depression, anxiety, and behavioral outburst. Unlocking these difficult emotions and painful memories may be necessary for overcoming the trauma which led to the result of repression or suppression. Once the trauma is addressed, then true growth and healing can take place.
If you or someone you know are experiencing symptoms like the ones listed in this article, it may be worth reaching out to a mental health professional. They possess the knowledge and expertise to help address these repressed or suppressed memories or emotions in a way that is both safe and therapeutic. How wonderful is it to know that you are not alone in your struggle and that there are people who refuse to let others handle their problems alone!
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About Sam Nabil
Sam offers therapy in Boston and Boston Marriage Counseling for adults suffering from relationship challenges, life transitions and anxiety. Sam Nabil was featured in many prestigious publications. Check out his interview with Aljazeera English, The Washington post, The Boston Globe, Fatherly magazine, Women's health magazine, Cornell university, Yahoo News, USA Today, Marriage.com
Naya Clinics offers Marriage Counselors near me, individual therapy near me, and life coaching near me in various locations across the USA and the world. Naya Clinics also offers Online marriage counseling, online therapy, and online life coaching.
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