Many of us struggling with addiction also struggled with mental health issues long before we became aware of our addictions setting in. We may have been living with mental illnesses since childhood, often without realizing it. What are some ways in which we harm our mental health? Knowing these things can help bring us more understanding about how to heal. When we explore the ways in which we have chipped away at our health, we can work to restore it.
A huge contributor to the decline of our mental health is our inability to process, express and release our emotions. We suppress our feelings so much that they become toxic, stagnant energy within us that can poison us, our relationships and our lives as a whole. The emotions we consider to be negative, such as sadness, fear and anger, are the ones we most try to avoid. We don’t speak about them. We don’t communicate our feelings during interpersonal conflicts, and we don’t work to resolve those conflicts, leaving them to fester and grow stronger. We do everything we can not to have to feel the emotions that are challenging and painful. We use our addictions to try to numb ourselves. Being unable to feel our emotions keeps us from healing them. The more we close ourselves off to them, the more we deny ourselves the opportunity to learn from them and move forward. We stay stuck, perpetuating unhealthy emotional patterns of suppression, denial and avoidance.
A common factor for many of our mental illnesses is a lack of self-acceptance and self-love. When we don’t accept and love ourselves, we set ourselves up for severe disconnection between our hearts and minds. This can create discrepancies in how we think, feel and behave. For example, we might be desperately needing acceptance from other people because we’ve been denying it to ourselves, but instead of connecting with people, we push them away and close ourselves off from them. Self-love is the foundation for everything else in our lives. When we reject ourselves and the parts of us that we are unhappy with, we cut ourselves off from the healthy flow of self-love, similar to an organ being starved of the flow of oxygen it needs to survive. Without self-love, we can feel lost and confused. We lose our optimism, faith and hopefulness. We’re disconnected from our purpose and spirit. We harm our mental health in destructive ways when we refuse to love and accept ourselves.
We treat not only substance abuse issues but the co-occurring mental health disorders that often accompany them. Call 888-570-7154 for more information.