Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you: Santhosh Babu, Celebrity Coach
Mental health is a broad theme that includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being writes Santhosh Babu, Founder - OD Alternatives and Orglens / Celebrity Coach.
Rashmi is a designer who worked with a consulting firm as an inhouse designer and had a great academic background and was very good in her work. She suffered occasional mood swings with difficulty in sleep at times and general lethargy. She also felt there is no motivation to go to office and later when she met a psychologist, she learned that she has agoraphobia (fear of public places) and couple of more mental illnesses. She decided to work upon herself with a psychiatrist, took a break from work and now is doing well & feeling better. But, not all mental illness cases have a happy ending like the case of Rashmi. While the reasons are many, but one of the most important reason is our reluctance in seeking medical advice and another is our ignorance about the whole area of mental health.
In the early part of my career, I worked as a hypnotherapist and most of my work was with psychologists and psychiatrists who felt hypnosis might help in healing their patients along with the healing methodology they adopted. In those days, to create awareness, I have been to almost all IITs and IIMs demonstrating hypnosis, speaking about the brain and mind function with an intention that if I address these issues with youngsters, the awareness would spread faster in our society. This gave me an exposure to understand that mental illnesses are prevalent in our society and the deep-rooted stigma associated with it is also among some well educated people.
Mental health is a broad theme that includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Our mental health influences,how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. WHO defines mental health as a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community. While many factors contribute to mental health problems, few of them being:
- Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry
- Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse
- Family history of mental health problems
Later in my career as an Executive and Life Coach, I had the opportunity to work with successful leaders and I realised that there are some personality disorders in all of us in varying extends. Personality disorders are characterized by the predominance or deficiency of certain personality traits. A good example will be a narcissistic personality disorder and we could see the traits in many successful people. People with Narcissistic personality disorder will have a constant need for admiration and a pervasive pattern of grandiosity. They usually also have an extremely high sense of self-importance. They are also preoccupied with fantasies of power, beauty, self-importance, or greatness. They believe that they are entitled to special treatment, power, riches, and success.
Because they are often willing to undermine others to achieve their superiority they could also be exploitative in their interpersonal relationships.
Another example will be Histrionic personality disorder which is characterized by intense displays of emotion and attention-seeking behavior.
I am sure by now you might be able to recognise these characteristics in some people you know or even in yourself, if you have a higher level of awareness.
A person with Histrionic disorder always wants to be the center of attention in any gathering. They tend to exaggerate their emotions, happy or sad. They often continuously seek others’ attention and approval. This may reflect in the way they dress, their behavior (dramatic display of emotion, flattering, or flirting to get attention).
While in the case of Rashmi, her agoraphobia created challenges in normal functioning, people with varying degrees of these disorders could be highly successful political leaders, CEOs or well-known personalities.
Sometimes working with a coach, if there is a willingness and openness that could help identify these disorders and create positive change in their personalities.
Hence to summarize, there is a need to give more importance to mental health, whether there is a serious mental condition or a personality disorder. And remember, we all would have some varying degrees of personality disorders and life is about constantly trying to make ourself a better version of what we are. The famous psychologist Carl Jung once said, “Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you.” Aristotle probably will agree with Jung as he said,“No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness.”
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