What are some of the most accepted myths surrounding mental health?


Editors note: This article was written for a mental health and wellness page and the permission to post it here has been given by the author of this article. Selvan, who is an Energy Medicine teacher, mentor and author writes about mental health from the perspective of Energy Medicine. 

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 What are some of the most accepted myths surrounding mental health?

Thank you for posing this insightful question. It has prompted me to delve into the heart of ‘Inner Alchemy – Tales from the Awareness Journey Series,’ where Ayushi’s transformative journey sheds light on common health misconceptions. This exploration is not merely about correcting misinformation; it’s a call to re-examine the beliefs that shape our approach to well-being.

The Awareness Journey explores the intricate dance between mind, body, and spirit, challenging the conventional wisdom that has guided our health decisions in recent times. Ayushi’s journey of awareness reveals that much of what we consider helpful or harmful is grounded in myths. These myths, although not completely unfounded—as they certainly seem to offer temporary solace—ultimately steer us away from true healing.

Here are some widely accepted myths, and let’s see how we can address them from a holistic perspective.

Myth 1: Panic attacks are a sign of weakness or attention-seeking.

From the perspective of Energy Healing, Panic attacks are the manifestation of a highly restless state of mind, representing the external expression of brainwaves in the frequencies of Gamma or High Beta (20 to 30 Hz and above). A panic attack is our response to the perception of extreme threat. They are more common than assumed, with most people likely to encounter a panic attack at some point in their lives. This response can vary widely; while some may express it as an act of rage, others might find themselves rendered into a state of incapacitating helplessness, which is referred to as a panic attack.

Some individuals may find themselves more susceptible to panic attacks, often as a result of traumatic experiences early in life. In such cases, long-term therapy has been shown to be an effective treatment, addressing the root causes and providing strategies for managing symptom.

One could gradually learn the skills of Grounding to pave their path towards complete healing, as demonstrated in Ayushi’s story in ‘Inner Alchemy.’ This can be used in conjunction with therapy or medication.

The regular practice of FGCB (Focused Gazing and Conscious Breathing) enables Ayushi to become aware just as she goes into a panic attack and to reach out and talk with her mentor. Over the phone call, the mentor is able to gently guide Ayushi out of the attack without letting her slip completely into it as she would usually do.

Myth 2: Children don’t experience mental health problems.

The assumption that children don’t experience mental health problems might stem from the belief that childhood is a carefree period devoid of real-world pressures and stress. From the vantage point of energy healing, as explored in the “Tales from the Awareness Journey” series, every individual, regardless of age, is a complex energy system. This system is susceptible not only to physical influences but also to emotional and energetic disruptions that can impact mental health.

Children are born into this fast-paced digital era of constant mental engagement and often do not have the benefit of a calm, peaceful space in which to grow. In their purity and openness, children are especially sensitive to the energies around them. This sensitivity means they can absorb both the positive and negative vibrations from their environments, such as home and school interactions, and even global consciousness.

When the energy flow within a child is obstructed or imbalanced, it can manifest as what we term ‘mental health problems.’ Research and clinical evidence indicate an increasing prevalence of issues ranging from anxiety and depression to autism spectrum disorders and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in very young children.

Acknowledging that children can face mental health challenges, the first step we can take in response is teaching them to notice and be present with their breath. As children are naturally attuned to the present moment and possess an innate ability to connect with their inner energy, this practice of breath awareness gently opens the door to a world of self-awareness and self-regulation that can significantly benefit their mental and emotional well-being.

Myth 3: Therapy is only for “crazy” or severely mentally ill people.

This myth is as outdated and erroneous as the historical stigma that once surrounded hospitals. A couple of hundred years ago, when hospitals were a novel concept, visiting one could brand a person as seriously unfit or even terminally ill in the eyes of society. Fast forward to today, and hospitals are frequented by individuals with a wide array of health concerns—from the minor to the critical—and even by those in good health, for routine check-ups.

In much the same way, mental health should be approached with a spectrum of care. Just as one might visit a doctor for a physical ailment as benign as the common cold, so too should we view therapy as a resource for managing everyday stresses—the psychological counterpart to the common cold. Being ‘stressed’ is, in fact, one of the most common human experiences, and it’s crucial to address it at an early, preventive stage to maintain and enhance overall wellness.

Meeting with a therapist for a routine counselling session is a proactive step towards health, similar to visiting your general physician for a check-up. In the past, counselling was often provided by wise grandmothers or village elders. Therapy is simply a professionalized and improved version of the same, a tool for all—a means to support, strengthen, and nurture our mental and emotional health, ensuring we can enjoy a state of comprehensive wellness.

Myth 4: People with mental illness can just “snap out of it” if they try hard enough. Or
Mental illness is just “all in your head” and not a real medical condition.

The belief that individuals with mental illness can simply “snap out of it” if they try hard enough or that it is imaginary is not only misleading but also diminishes the complex reality of mental health challenges. To understand why this myth is so pervasive yet so inaccurate, it’s essential to delve into the nuances of the mind and mental illness from an Energy Healing perspective.

Understanding the Mind as an Energy Field: Contrary to common misconceptions, the mind is more than just the brain’s activities; it’s a field of energy vibrations that envelops and permeates the physical body. In Energy Healing, the mind is seen as sophisticated software that orchestrates our physical existence, distinct from the brain, which is a tangible organ. Physical illnesses are often attributed to dysfunctions within the brain, whereas mental illnesses arise from imbalances within our energy field—or, as some might call it, our bio-field or bio-plasma.

The Complexity of Mental Illness Recovery: The notion that mental illness recovery is as simple as adjusting one’s energy balance through sheer willpower profoundly misunderstands the complexity of the process. It’s comparable to observing an Olympic acrobat’s effortless mid-air somersaults and mistakenly believing such feats are easily achievable by anyone with enough determination.

Energy imbalance arises from being disconnected with the resonance of the earth’s electromagnetic vibrational frequency. This can be corrected with the practice of Grounding, which is fairly simple to learn. However, mastering such practices to maintain a consistently grounded state is a journey of discipline and persistence, much more intricate than a mere act of will.

From Restlessness to Awareness: A Journey of Healing “Inner Alchemy” narrates Ayushi’s transformative journey from a state of extreme restlessness to one of profound Awareness, achieved over thirty days or mentoring. This narrative underscores the reality that overcoming mental illness and achieving balance is not a matter of willpower alone. It needs proper guidance and is a deliberate process of engaging with and realigning one’s energy field, a journey that is as unique and individual as the person undertaking it.

Myth 5: You can always tell when someone is depressed or suicidal.

To understand why this seemingly simple statement is misleading, one needs to delve into the different layers of the mind as elaborated in “Inner Alchemy.” The Limbic mind, the software that operates bodily functions, is fully developed and functional from birth. The Emotional Mind starts becoming functional from around the age of three to twelve, and the Thinking Mind—our logical, rational, and analytical part—takes charge thereafter and predominates throughout our life.

Our Thinking Mind has the ability to suppress both the Emotional and Limbic Minds, focusing on engaging and interacting with the external world. It is conditioned by society to respond and behave as expected, conforming to societal norms. Thus, we spend our lives confined within our Thinking Mind, often lost in thoughts about the external world, oblivious to our feelings and bodily sensations.

Suicidal tendencies represent an extreme state of emotional distress arising within the Emotional Mind, a state of which even the individual may be unaware. Operating from the Thinking Mind, a person can exhibit conditioned behaviour that completely masks their inner feelings during interactions with others.

It often requires a highly trained therapist to uncover such tendencies and provide the support needed by individuals facing these challenges.

Myth 6: Once you start taking medication for mental illness, you’ll have to take it forever.

Acknowledging concerns about dependency on certain medications, “Inner Alchemy” proposes an innovative approach by positioning the energy healing technique of Grounding at the forefront of mental health treatment. This methodology encourages the parallel use of medication and counselling therapy while regularly practicing grounding tools such as FGCB (Focused Gazing and Conscious Breathing) and Deep Crossing for someone already struggling with mental illness. This is because energy healing or Awareness practices are primarily preventive in nature and may not be sufficiently effective on their own for some individuals.

The book guides individuals to undergo regular diagnostic tests, allowing healthcare providers to monitor progress and adjust medication dosages accordingly as one’s condition improves through Awareness practices. Grounding or Awareness practices primarily help in preventive care and, in my opinion, are the only permanent solution to ensure emotional and mental wellbeing in this fast-paced digital era.

This integrative approach underscores the belief that medication, when used judiciously and in conjunction with holistic healing methods, need not be a lifelong commitment. Instead, it can serve as a supportive measure during critical phases of recovery, with the ultimate aim of reducing and possibly eliminating reliance on pharmaceuticals as the individual regains balance and wellness. “Inner Alchemy” champions the empowerment of individuals in their healing journey, advocating for informed choices and a collaborative approach to mental health treatment that honours the body’s capacity for self-healing.

What makes these myths particularly insidious is their detachment from the holistic nature of health. “Inner Alchemy” argues that the root of all health issues arise from the restless state of the mind, and true healing begins with achieving mental serenity. This holistic approach transcends the physical-mental divide, underscoring the interconnectedness of our wellbeing.

I invite readers to explore “Inner Alchemy” for a profound understanding of these myths. The novel not only debunks these misconceptions but also offers a path to rediscovering the joy and freedom inherent in our true nature.

Selvan Srinivasan.