AnxietyBipolar ThoughtsDepressionTherapy

Going Cold

Have you ever listened to people talk about gambling? They would have you believe that cards or chips or coins or chairs have a special voodoo to them. No one seems to question the lunacy of saying that a machine or chair or table is “cold”, as if those things have any kind of determinism over the game you are playing.

It is beyond idiotic.

I have asked people why they believe in things like this, and the response is always something involving luck being tied to an inanimate object. It makes me realize that people are just confused as to how luck works. Of course, since there is a popular term “random luck”, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised to find out people don’t understand luck. Random is implied in the term luck itself. You don’t need to add it. There is no such thing as ‘structured’ luck, or ‘relativistic’ luck. Luck is always random, or some people say it never is. Either way, ‘random luck’ makes no sense to say.

The reality about gambling is that as a gambler, there is very little you can do to control winning. And sometimes, there is nothing you can do at all. It is all luck. But people are hesitant to admit this. They refuse to acknowledge that they aren’t winning because the odds of winning are extremely low, and the things you can do to tilt those odds are extremely rare. No, no, no. They are losing because the machine they were on was ‘cold’, or the chair they sat in had bad luck, or the dealer was giving all the cards to someone else, or any number of idiotic things people say.

But all of it is the same thing: I am not responsible for losing.

If you listen hard enough, you hear statements that sound extremely similar to these when people talk about mental health.

‘I have too much stress’

‘People in my life don’t do… for me’

‘My boss doesn’t understand…’

‘My parents did…’

‘My kids did…’

Those statements have varying degrees of validity, probably all more so than voodoo cards. But at the end of the day, each of those things are pointing externally to explain an internal problem.

Mentally healthy people are able to deal with the same things that mentally ill people blame their illness on. And I just don’t think it works that way.

Fix yourself, learn to handle those situations the way average people do.

I find myself looking at mental illness not that differently from a learning disability, at least in this regard. Some people will never be able to achieve normal, but most can do it, at least in stretches, through a lot of hard work.

People with a learning disability often can achieve a level of normal; it just requires a lot more work than people without. And why not look at some aspects of mental illness like a learning disability, but instead of difficulty reading or remembering or whatever else, it is a difficulty dealing with stress.

Because that is what a lot of the issues associated with mental illness derive from.

Anxiety and depression both are common normal responses to stress. But in a mentally ill person, more stressors are given the privilege or creating anxiety and depression, and our capacity for those things are greater than average.

So work on that. And believe me, it is a lot of work, and near constant. And you might never find a permanent solution, which means there is permanent work. But work on it anyway.

It doesn’t cure mental illness.

But understanding how to get your brain to a point where you can process stress like a healthy person is a huge step in the right direction.

And once you do that, you won’t be blaming things you cannot control for the way you feel. You won’t sound like that person switching slot machines because the machine went cold.