There is one half to individual health that we rarely see symptoms of mental health. Yet, just because it is often invisible, does not mean that it is not essential, or that it doesn’t make an impact on people’s lives. Entirely the opposite is true. Psychological problems are often among the most deadly and essential to try and heal, and the more that you know about them, the better. Whether it is in your function as a medical professional, or just in your personal dealings with loved ones, being able to understand psychological health concerns and knowing how best to approach the healing processes involved will make a massive difference to how well looked after and appreciated the individual feels. Let’s take a look at how you can do this more efficiently.
Knowing The Difference Between Mental Illness & Psychological Upset
Everyone has periods of feeling low or being stressed from time to time. This is an entirely natural and normal part of being alive. Sometimes these periods can even last for much longer than we would like them to, and they can adversely affect our daily lives, our relationships, and our futures. But at other times, there are mental illnesses which are chronic and are extremely hard to control or manage. There is a difference between psychological upset which anyone might go through and a diagnosed mental disorder, although both are as worthy of each other of healing and care. But knowing the difference will ensure that it is easier to understand what kind of attention is necessary. In some cases, it might be as simple as a kind word and a shoulder to cry on. At other times, it could mean that there needs to be medication or long-term therapy.
In the role of nurse, you will benefit greatly from being able to spot the difference between the two. Bear in mind, however, that this cannot necessarily be done upon first meeting. It is usually necessary to spend some time with the person, just to be entirely sure, and a true diagnosis might be required in some cases. Either way, there is real value in knowing the difference, as it helps to both understand what is going on, and know how to provide the right kind of treatment and care as well.
The Role Of Empathy
You can never honestly know exactly what another person’s experience is, and that is something we cannot change. This is worth bearing in mind when someone comes to us complaining of this or that emotional or psychological problem. When faced with this, it can be easy to fall into our own understanding or approximation of the same experience, but this is rarely the same thing. Instead, you might want to try and listen to them and discover what their own actual knowledge of the trauma in question is. You might find that they describe it in ways you would never consider, or that you would have experienced it somewhat differently yourself.
It’s worth bearing this in mind because we need to have a right amount of empathy to be able to help those in psychological distress. Empathy is the ability to place yourself in their shoes, and this is vital if you are to effectively appreciate where they are coming from. One of the most damaging things of all for those suffering with mental issues is the feeling of not being understood, so working hard to understand their position as best as you can is always going to be the way to go.
With enough empathy, it can be truly amazing what can be achieved in terms of healing, so this should be a necessary first step for anyone working with those with psychological trouble. From there, you can then build on a much stronger foundation and provide much more effective care.
The Danger Of Stress
There is something of a negative cycle in many psychological problems which will need contending with at some point or another. No matter what the issue is, there is always likely to be some degree of stress associated with it. The problem here is that stress has a way of worsening whatever health concerns might already be present. This is as true for psychological problems as it is for physical problems. Therefore, one of the leading elements should always be to try and find a way to keep the stress to a minimum. This can sometimes seem like a truly impossible thing to achieve, but with the right approach, it can actually be surprisingly easy to do.
With a little stress management, most psychological issues will be eased somewhat, and at any rate, they will not be expected to worsen as they would if stress is allowed to fester. Of course, it can be hard finding effective stress-management methods, but with a little patience, you can find the right one for each individual you come into contact with. With the right kind of approach to stress under control, the whole situation will be much more easily manageable, and many of the worst symptoms will be likely to ease off as well. This should, therefore, be a first concern, and an ongoing one as well, for the huge difference that it can make.
As we have seen already, one of the major disturbances during such upheavals is the feeling that the individual might have of not being truly appreciated. If this feeling is present, empathy can help, and so can finding a decent support system. Clearly, this is a good idea in all cases, and not just when the individual feels misunderstood or not appreciated. But finding a good support system can be one of the hardest things you need to do, and it’s worth discussing at least briefly what you might need to consider to make this a little easier.
For a start, you should look to the immediate family of the individual in question. There might only be one or two people there, but whoever is there should be taken on board and contacted for help and assistance. Similarly, any friends or people in the local community who seem willing to offer support should be called on as well. Beyond this, and if there are not many of those people, it’s worth remembering that there are plenty of social resources which they might be able to make good use of. This can include online resources such as MyPTSD community, or it can be local groups who meet to discuss a particular issue. However it is done, getting this kind of support on board is always vital for ensuring the ongoing growth and eventual recovery of the sufferer in question. Do whatever you can to encourage the use of these support systems, and it will help them to feel less alone, more understood and appreciated, and a whole lot more able to cope.
Actively Tackling The Problem
No matter what the problem actually is, there is always plenty that can be done to make it a little easier to live with, and sometimes to get rid of the problem immediately. We have already looked at the importance of empathy, keeping stress down and making use of social support systems. Now it is time to think about the aspect of personal care which will inevitably make a huge difference to how well or how poorly the individual can survive whatever trauma they are going through.
No matter how bad it gets, it’s important to try and keep on top of daily hygiene. Not only does remaining healthy make a difference, but keeping up some kind of a routine is likely to help hugely as well. Again, everything should be taken slowly so as not to cause more stress than is necessary, and the person should not be rushed or forced into anything. But helping them with these basic personal care items is proven to make a distinct difference to even the most severe of psychological problems. This is effectively a good way of actively tackling whatever problem they might be faced with, and it is not something that should be overlooked if it can at all be helped.
Beyond this kind of personal care, it’s also a good idea to help them remain as active as they feel able to. This means encouraging them to exercise a little, ideally every day – if not, then as often as possible or as often as they will agree to. A little exercise does wonders for the brain and the mind, and the effects can be felt and noticed almost immediately, so this is a powerful thing to do. If you can encourage this behavior, then you will find that it really does make a profound difference to how they behave and how they say they feel.
With the right kind of approach, it is perfectly possible to help someone suffering psychologically to rise above their suffering to some degree. Understanding and helping them in this process is always worthwhile, even if sometimes it is a slow process.