- Mental Health
Erinyes- Greek Mythology Depicting Negative Thoughts and its Effects
Erinyes- Sisters of Madness
The story of Ernyes begins when Agamemnon gets brutally slayed by his wife, Clytemnestra.. To avenge the death of his father, Orestes (on initiation by the God Apollo) plots and succeeds in killing his mother.
Even though Orestes action was pardonable given the circumstances, he still becomes guilty of matricide. Punishment was in the form of Erinyes, the infernal goddess also known as Furies, who tormented him day and night with abuses, criticism and negative thoughts. Orestes was slowly losing grip of reality and decided to approach Goddess Athena for help. Even in the presence of a powerful Goddess as Athena, Erinyes still had no plans of leaving Orestes.
But with much persuasion, Erinyes resigned from the mind of their victim and left Orestes in peace.
Erinyes in Modern Times........
The Greek fable given above provides a glimpse on how self defeating thoughts can wreak havoc in a persons mind. Considering the present day were competition is the mantra and comparison is the birth right, Erinyes has all the fodder it needs.
Intrusive thoughts are involuntary and unwanted feelings, usually in the form of ideas or images depicting
- an unpleasant experience
- an unavoidable situation.
- a feeling of hatred, anger or jealousy.
- low self esteem.
- worry about the future or regret of the past.
- mental confusion
In short, any types of thoughts which drains a person's energy, creates mental stress and tension, reducing motivation and self esteem can be depicted as Intrusive or Negative feelings.
Intrusive thoughts are triggered by a variety of factors, of which the most common are :-
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) :- This is an anxiety disorder where the affected person performs repetitive tasks or rituals throughout the day. Examples include preoccupation with thoughts which ranges from sexual to spiritual, opening and closing the door number of times, vigorous washing of hands and feet. The affected person knows his/her action is not logical but cannot stop the behavior. The person believes something disastrous may happen if they do not perform these rituals.
- Attention Deficit Disorder :- The behavioral pattern include sluggishness, unable to concentrate or focus on a task given, easily distracted by outside noise or events, procrastination and forgetfulness. ADD usually starts during childhood where the affected child cannot concentrate on his/her school works and is averse to structured learning. Because of constant criticism, they will display a low self esteem which may continue well into adulthood. In adult life, sedentary lifestyle to inability to hold a permanent job can be seen. Anxiety, stress, mental tension and strain can develop due to this.
- Body Dysmorphic Disorder :- BDD is characterized by excessive concern over one's physical feature. A perceived defect of one's body which the patient fears can isolate them from society. Mostly this would be an over exaggeration, and is far from reality. But belief in this illusion continues and can cause the affected person to act in strange ways. Behavioral pattern includes depression, social phobia and OCD. They may also become hostile to friends, relatives and family members. Causes for this disorder varies from mental or physical abuse to sedentary lifestyle and self criticism.
- Depression :- Depression is a psychological state in which the affected person experiences feeling of anxiety, stress, mental tension and low self esteem. The person display an irritable character followed by insomnia or excessive sleeping, loss of energy and suicidal tendency. The causes can be due to upsetting life events such as lose of job, relationship breakups or other medical conditions.
We Can and We Will Change......
Intrusive thoughts appear to be helpful to us and can make us feel that way. However they do nothing more than zap our energy reserve and provide an endless loop of self pity.
There are number of ways to change our mindset. By applying these simple rules, we can gradually change our thought pattern and have a better quality of life.
- Mindful Awareness :- This is a state of mind in which you concentrate only on the present moment. It is based on a simple mantra. "The past events are over, nothing much to do there and the future depends upon the present.". At times when our mind try to wander into either the past or future, focus attention on a nearby object such as a table or glass, to return back to the present moment.
- Self Criticism :- Self assessment of oneself is good. It helps us know were we stand in life. However, being over critical of one's behavior or personality can lead to depression. Agreed, every person has a shortcoming in his or her personality. But this can be changed gradually, into a positive trait. Go through self help books and videos which can act as a guide to self improvement..
- Invest in a hobby :- In my case, I like to write blogs and articles. By being involved in this hobby, I am able to vent out my loneliness and stress. Also it boosts my self confidence and self esteem, which keeps negative feelings at bay. Invest time on any activity you are interested in and you will see the difference immediately.
- Health is wealth :- A healthy mind resides in a healthy body. Make sure fruits and cereals make an important part of your diet. Reduce intake of junk foods and soft drinks, as they can cause burden on your digestive system and also affect your thought process. Minimum 8 hours of sleep is a must, as it is the time the body repairs itself, both mentally and physically.
- Nothing wrong with Support :- Most people shy way from anti depressant medicines mostly due to fear of society. They tend to believe that, on taking treatment their social status will degrade. The simple fact is, at some point having an outside help can really make a difference. Anti depressant medicines help reduce the symptoms of depression, providing a quick relief. Moreover proper psychological counseling can guide us gradually back to a normal and happy life.
- De cluster and Simplify :- Take a note of things that matters most to you and get involved in it. Rest of the low priority items or tasks can be scrapped or done at a later period of time.