We are writing today in support of the American Psychological Association’s Mental Health Blog Party. Here’s to all of us who have chronic, acute, or occasional issues with mental health. That’s commonly thought to be 1 out of every 4 people. But to be honest, being human pretty much guarantees at least occasional difficulties with mood, anxiety, interpersonal issues, learning, or attention—and often these difficulties are substantial even if they don’t add up to a formal diagnosis.
In addition, all of us deal with people in our family, at school, at work, or in the community that have problems related to mental health. So, we are all in this together.
In our practice, we tend to concentrate on getting through the day. In other words, we try to help people (as well as ourselves) solve the puzzles and get through the challenges that face everyone in the here and now. The premise behind Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which we practice as well as write about, is that how we think about things and what we do affects our moods. But clearly, other types of events and issues also affect mental health. These include genetics, health, diet, family experiences, trauma, political events, economic maelstroms, and natural disasters among others.
Many of our readers know that Chuck and I are taking tennis lessons. This has been a surprisingly fun and humbling experience. We are still pretty terrible after 8 lessons, but we can now sometimes hit the ball with our rackets which believe me, is a great improvement.
Tennis is our latest metaphor for life. Just the other day, the instructor was telling me about keeping score. He said it was pretty easy. I started to listen to his lecture. He said that the first point is 15 and the second 30 and the third 40 and the 4th point wins except when there is a tie or deuce or something like that and then there is an advantage and games and sets and tiebreaks and matches and I had no idea what he was talking about so then I spaced out and sort of started to think about other things like how strange it is that the tennis ball doesn’t seem to go in the right direction. And then the instructor asked if I understood scoring and I said “yes.”