ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Most Stress is Internally Generated

Jack Bragen
Friday July 27, 2018 - 03:48:00 PM

Excessive anxiety, excessive upset, or a "fight or flight" response, are all things generated by the human mind and body. And these create a great deal of biological stress. 

Anxiety, fear, anger, and many other stressful emotions, as a whole, seem to be an outmoded coping mechanism left over from earlier versions of "homo sapiens" that once provided people with additional energy to deal with a threat. And they produced emotional prods that drove people to do the things needed to survive and procreate. 

In modern times, there isn't always an agenda to pass along our genes. There isn't always an agenda to be the dominant female/male in your group. Many people have for the most part moved beyond these primitive instincts. When the remnants of these instincts come up, the associated emotions can be very inconvenient and sometimes inappropriate. Furthermore, many of the strong instinctive type emotions that people have, are counterproductive, and make situations far worse than they would be otherwise. 

An extreme fear response, or almost any emotional response, are on a hair trigger in the human nervous system, and come up in response to thoughts and perceptions. A person can perceive a threat when there really is none at all. A person's emotional responses can not distinguish the validity of a perceived threat.  

I am getting you to the concept that a lot of human stress is internally generated. People become upset based upon abstract reasoning. Most other creatures do not. Human beings, in the thinking mind, generate stress-causing emotions. 

Secondly, as a formerly psychotic person, when one's intellect has lied to them enough times, because of psychosis, one will begin to doubt the validity of one's intellect--and this can be an additional problem. 

In the mind of a psychotic person, false, delusional ideas can bring about very strong emotions, ones that are not appropriate for the actual situation. This is a combination of an intrinsic human design vulnerability, (getting upset over abstract thoughts) along with the illness.  

People with mental illness are more prone than average to have stress-induced health problems. We are more accident-prone than average. These are two of the many reasons that people with mental illness have a shortened lifespan. 

If we have mental illness and receive disability benefits to live on, we ought not waste our time and energy on things that produce excessive stress and that do not have a lot of benefit. For example, there is no reason for us to go get a job emptying trash. We are better off economizing without the extra income, and going to a museum with a friend. 

In my past and continuing, the concept of "lighten-up a bit," is well-advised. 

According to one psychiatrist, valium is good for schizophrenics. His premise was that getting well from schizophrenia is supported by calming down. He also espoused meditation and other "new age" philosophies. I saw him in the 1980's and early 1990's, after Kaiser dropped me. 

The main points of this piece are this: Too much stress is bad; most stress is generated on the inside; we need to do things that mitigate stress--usually things we enjoy. 

For example, I enjoy going to Dollar Tree once a month and picking up microwave food and essential supplies, and hardly paying anything for them. A few weeks ago, my wife and I went to the Lindsay Wildlife Museum for a short visit, and it was a good getaway. If your life is like wading through a cesspool, take breaks from it and let yourself dry out. 

We cannot always prevent our minds from generating stress, which is sometimes actually caused by a disorder. However, anything we can do to distract ourselves from the stress, and take a vacation from it, is well-advised.