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The Spectrum of Mental Health

May 22, 2021 (258 words)

Each of us have our own unique pathologies to deal with in this life, which seem to have been assigned at birth. The lucky ones are able to recognize some of them as time goes on, actively engage the thorniest problems in a constructive manner, and occasionally work through and resolve a few. The not-so-lucky ones remain prisoners their entire lives, trapped by their unfortunate, ingrained patterns of thought.

The well-meaning bystander is often powerless to help such an individual effect any sort of positive change. That’s when the work of a trained and committed mental health professional can make a difference.

An innate pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps mentality has always made me skeptical of the therapeutic industry. But in recent years I have come to appreciate that not all counseling is quackery. My go-to remedy for shaking the blues has always been simple and organic: going out for a long walk and some fresh air, or trying to get a good night’s sleep. But what has worked for me over the years doesn’t necessarily do the trick for others. There are troubled souls who are unable to get themselves untangled on their own. Such hard cases require outside intervention if they are to make any headway in confronting their persistent demons.

I’ve also come around on the use of pharmaceuticals, and now believe an appropriate prescription, when carefully monitored, can help balance the errant, run-away personal chemistry that often contributes to (or even causes?) the inner conflicts that express themselves as a deep unhappiness, and sometimes even as intense anger.

Robert J. Cavanaugh, Jr
May 22, 2021

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