“Mind Over Matter” & Mental Illness…

Nathan Feiles who writes a blog over at PsychCentral put together a list of 12 Things to do to Get Us Motivated When Depressed; maybe doing those things can help relieve depression or even jolt us out of it.

Here’s an excerpt:

Obviously, actively doing anything doesn’t sound so desirable when feeling depressed, let alone confronting our depressive urges head-on. While it’s important to give depressive symptoms their attention and get to understand and learn about what’s underlying the depressive episode, the concept of “mind over matter” can help create motivation when depressed. I have seen evidence with many people that creating a change in mindset with small, manageable, behavioral steps can change a whole experience of depression. For some it’s brought their symptoms entirely into remission. This doesn’t replace taking the steps to learn more about what’s causing the episodes, but these steps can help us move on with our lives while we continue to work on the underlying issues.

Source: PsychCentral.com

Now my question for all of you is, how do you feel about the ‘mind over matter’ saying when it comes to mental illness?  I feel like while it’s positive to get yourself doing something, it makes our illnesses seem like we should just get over it and live life and quite simply it’s not that simple.  I do want to add though that everything that Nathan suggests in this article should be at least tried 3 times, seriously.  We do need to try something when nothing else seems to be working.  Now your turn, weigh in.


8 thoughts on ““Mind Over Matter” & Mental Illness…

  1. This is a tough one, Bats. I’ve been in therapy for depression (although I’ve never lived through the extremes that you experience), and for me the “mind over matter” approach has been helpful; Feiles saying that this can help create motivation may be overstating it, though. It seems more a way to keep afloat, to at least not sink any further. But as I say, I’ve more a “normal” (ha!) state of depression; looking at family members of mine who have real mental health issues, I think it’s too much of a simplification. I believe there are physiological/genetic factors that account for mental disease in addition to exterior stressors, so I’m not sure “confronting depressive urges head-on” takes into account all of the possible factors that are causing those urges.

    That said, I agree that you need to try any safe method that may help. “Mind over matter” requires practice, practice, practice.

  2. I have a hell of a time motivating myself to do anything when I’m feeling down. I’ve heard that when the problem is physical, do something mental, and when the problem is mental, do something physical. But finding the will power to even move my pinky when I’m depressed is really tough.

  3. I think just doing simple things like brushing your teeth or hair can have a big effect on how you feel when you are depressed. I make it a point to do them every day whether I am depressed or not.

  4. Hello, Bats, I agree with Luddy, it takes practice, and with Benze, it’s a daily thing. However, when it hits (rare for me, but don’t we all go there eventually?) it can make us too weak to do a thing, so I also agree with Pied. So, I have found having someone close by who can grab my hand and pull me down the road will get me walking. Gently cheery with a touch of goofiness, leading me to laugh although I do not want to, or at least to cry, and get some physical relief from my pressurized stew pot I’ve fallen into, this person makes me angry, yes, but no longer as depressed, and slightly more willing and able to see beyond that black cloud over my head, more willing to take the offered shoulder to cry on. If that makes sense. Anyway, I wish you a friend. It also helps having someone who is worth fighting for. That gorgeous daughter of yours, for instance. When I know my sludge might harm someone else whom I care about, it makes me take myself by the scruff of the neck and at least pretend, and by pretending, gain inches toward reality. How often I have taken my little ones on my lap and told them, “Just let me hold you a minute–it’s like a vitamin for Mama . . . ” They always loved knowing their existence helped me. Hmm . . . I’ve got myself misting up, now. 🙂 I do care, I hope you can tell. And I hope that helps. I wrote something about these days recently: http://katharinetrauger.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/7-ways-to-beat-that-stale-day/ It’s rather a rehash of what you already know, but maybe something in it will resonate with you. I was amazed at the number who admitted a need for encouragement. People I know, who are always calm and cheery . . . ❤

  5. It works to a point (“mind over matter”). It certainly can’t hurt, and like others say here, practice counts.

    One problem I have experienced with it is that it can be a way to suppress or repress thoughts or emotions. Like burying things instead of dealing with them.

    For me, when I am in a depression, there is usually a trigger thought for the obsessive cycle of despairing, so often when I get to the root of that depressive trigger and then find the real truth (meaning, there is usually a lot of B.S. and denial and negativity about that which I am despairing over, so I “pivot” on the thought to something true and positive). I then affirm that real truth — doing that (“pivoting” from the negative and despair to a positive, objective truth) is better for helping me out. (This is still a version of “mind over matter” in the pivoting and affirmation part, but it is not my mind trying to convince itself that it does not matter — one of the downsides of “mind over matter”.)

    For me, “fake it ’til you make it” is one technique that can be helpful. But I have also found that it only works for so long — sometimes you fake and fake and fake and never make it. If that is the case, there is a deeper issue holding on that needs to come up to be healed and released. That’s what I have found for myself, anyway.


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