The idea of having a mental health problem is really interesting, and also puzzling, when you look at it from the view of someone who is actively studying it. Just the concept of having thoughts of sadness, panic, or a combination of the two without any precursors makes you wonder what’s going on. I know we are all told that there is a chemical deficiency or a part of the brain that is more active than the other, but when you dive deeper into it, why do we have those particular thoughts? And why do they have such an affect on us?
Having a negative thought in general doesn’t always activate the chemicals for depression or anxiety. Like you can get a bad grade on a test or miss your meeting and for some reason it doesn’t phase you as badly as when you realize that you went to bed 5 minutes later than usual. Why? Why do we become disgruntled by the thoughts that shouldn’t necessarily hurt us in the long run.
I’ve held onto to certain thoughts that wouldn’t phase the common person for way longer than the ones that I should’ve. But still, why? What is it about the chemistry of our brains that create these mountains out of a molehill? Here are my thoughts into the subject.
When our brains are proactive, we are releasing chemicals that accompany, and also hinder the major chemicals that usually would create a problem or panic in our heads. Whether you just had a cup of coffee that is giving you caffeine that relieves the anxiety producing or stress producing chemicals, or the dopamine from a run is still coursing through your veins after a workout, we are finding it more difficult to take on the little tasks when we are stagnant in our day than when we are active.
My mom used to tell me that I need to get moving, or else I’ll sit in my own thoughts and that will ruin my day. She was definitely onto something. But here is what I am trying to get at. Let’s dive deeper. Why do these thoughts affect us so badly? Why do we have such particular thoughts that they are able to dig their claws into our day and screw it all up? Here’s something interesting I found:
“There is evidence that a neurotransmitter called “Substance P,” which is closely linked to our ability to detect threats and experience physical pain, is involved in depression as well. What’s more, the levels of Substance P among depressed individuals are correlated with certain depression-related structural differences in the brain.” (Seth J. Gillihan, Ph.D)
What I find amazing about this is that when our brain decides to activate these neurotransmitters, it actually will literally make us feel terrible. I never really understood why I felt bad, but the idea that our brain activates physical pain when we experience emotional pain is truly intriguing. Needless to say this doesn’t answer why we have particular reactions to particular situations, but this is definitely a start.
If you want to learn more about what actually happens when we experience a depressive episode, here’s the link from “Psychology Today” down below.