Navigating the Intersection of Work and Mental Health
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Working Better and Stressing Less

Ideas on work and mental health

Is "mental illness" just adaptation?

The Huffington Post published an article this week that I found very interesting and thought I should share. It's about the "reason" for addiction. The author concludes that research evidence supports the environment of drug users as mostly responsible for addictive behavior, rather than simply biological processes. It's not your fault you're addicted and only you can change it. 

Ultimately, most of our thoughts, feelings, and behavior are probably adaptations to our environment. This may sound like an obvious conclusion to many but it isn't the attitude most of my clients show up with when they come to my office. I usually hear, "I'm broken. There is something wrong with me. I need to fix this." 

After hearing this and understanding a client's story, I almost always say, "Yes, and given what you have been through, there is no other way you could be right now. What we need to do is to find some compassion for who you are today, learn how to do some things differently, and turn you into the person you want to be tomorrow."

You are perfectly adapted today, to what you have experienced in life. If you don't like the adaptations you have made and if those are causing you suffering, it's possible to change them for a brighter tomorrow. 

Compassion for who you are and hope for what you can be can help you get going down the right track!

Katie Playfair