Mental Health and Decision Making – The Facts
It’s estimated that adults make around 35,000 remotely conscious decisions per day. The majority of these will go unnoticed but our minds are always working. For the majority of people this is just an interesting fact, something that might be of use in a pub quiz one day. For mental health sufferers though it takes on more relevance. Mental health and decision making don’t make the best of friends.
Depression and anxiety sufferers process decisions in a different way to the average person. It’s a common fact that many mental health sufferers suffer from extreme fatigue and tiredness. This is because each of the 35,000 decisions made throughout the day are given more attention and brain power than necessary. A simple task like driving to the shops can cause distress due to the amount of possible connotations being processed and analysed. If something as mundane as this can drain energy then it’s not hard to imagine how debilitating big, difficult decisions can be to make.
It’s not only the physical symptoms of the decision making process that are a problem. With the mind being in such a sensitive state it can lead to clouded judgement and ill advised decision making. It’s very difficult for anxiety and depression sufferers to take clear and decisive action when in a state of increased anxiousness.
My Own Mental Health and Decision Making
This is something that I’ve been struggling over the past few weeks. I’ve been off work for a number of weeks now due to depression and anxiety. During this time it has become apparent that things are going to need to change in order for my mental well-being to improve. It’s been a really sobering time and tinged with sadness to be honest.
The feeling that I have, whether justified or not, is that I’m not entirely wanted back at work, that now I’ve become ‘a problem’. This may be over sensitive on my part but either way, it’s how I feel. I’m not going to go in to reasons why but maybe later down the line there’ll be a time to reflect.
Whether it’s true or not the fact is that it probably is time for me to make a change. If that means changing jobs then maybe that’s what I need to do. I feel a little backed in to a corner though and my natural reaction is to push back. It takes a lot to really wind me up but once it happens I struggle to let things lie. The issue I have is that the outcome I feel I’m being pushed towards is actually the one that I think is best for me. The obvious thing to do therefore is to go along with it. The sense of injustice I feel makes this hard for me.
Living and Learning
Pretty much my whole counselling session last week was about this very issue. As always Yaz gave me some excellent advice. What I’m trying to do now is to concentrate on the potentially positive outcome rather than the drivers that get me there. I need to take ownership of the decision and understand that I’m doing what I’m doing because I have decided to and it’s what is best for me and my family. This is going to take time. I know it makes sense but I can’t just switch off my feelings when it comes to matters of principal. Eventually I’ll simmer down and things will work themselves out. I just need a bit of time to wrestle with everything in my head.
The situation that I’m dealing with at the moment highlights the issues faced when making big decisions whilst mentally unwell. The whole process is really draining. For much of the last two weeks I’ve been feeling very anxious and uneasy. It doesn’t help that the people pushing for these decisions to be made don’t understand just how difficult it is. There are things I’ve had to engage with that I shouldn’t have had to whilst being signed of sick. To others they may have seemed like normal procedural requests but to me they were worrying, tiring and disturbing. Before I start ranting again I’ll sign off!!