A correction officer was doing his duty in the prison. He was suddenly attacked by a prisoner for no reason. The attack was so sudden that he had no time to respond. As he shouted for help, his colleagues arrived to rescue him. He was so shocked that he did not know he was bleeding. He had to be told by a colleague that he was bleeding from his face. He then went for first aid for his injuries. It took a few days for the physical injuries to heal. But then he started to have nightmares. His sleep became disturbed. He started to have flashbacks of the assault. He became irritable and sensitive to slight noise. He had developed symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He had the understanding to appreciate that whatever was happening to him was not logical. But he could not help himself from feeling the way he was feeling.
This is a typical example of the “fight” between the logical Conscious and the “illogical” Unconscious mind.
The logical mind was stating that the event of assault had ended after a few seconds. The Unconscious mind believed that the event was not over yet. He could not sleep and had to resort to take medication to help him sleep. His sleep had been disturbed by his Unconscious mind that had the role to help him survive. It did not want to make him sleep as it was afraid he would be killed if he slept. The Conscious mind, on the other hand, was trying to convince him that everything was well. There was a fight going on between the two. And the correction officer was suffering as a result.
When someone feels depressed, they are preoccupied with negative thoughts of the past. The cognitive Conscious mind is active in the thought processes. The low “feeling” comes from the Unconscious mind. It is also responsible for the sleep disturbance that happens in depression. Now we have a situation that the Unconscious mind does not let the person sleep because it considers the situation as dangerous for the person. The Conscious mind is at odds with it as it is trying to convince the Unconscious that there is no logic for sleeplessness.
Similarly, in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, for example, the obsession is a thought that the Conscious mind gets hooked on. The Unconscious mind is insecure and fearful about the situation. It tries to make the person avoid the anxiety provoking situation. The Conscious mind, on the other hand wants to be convinced that there is nothing wrong in the situation. As the two struggle to convince each other to their own beliefs, the person suffers.
If you look at the various mental health conditions, almost all of them can be understood and explained on the basis of the “fight” between the Conscious and the Unconscious mind. This fight involves a lot of energy for which Cortisol- the stress hormone- is responsible. According to some energy practitioners, it is this excessive energy production that cause the mental / physical problems.
Mostly these conditions are treated with medication based on the principle that they cause neurotransmitter imbalance in the body. But another angle to their treatment can also be based on the understanding that the battle between the Conscious mind and the Unconscious mind can be brought to a halt by helping them work together. If the Unconscious mind is at peace, the Conscious mind has no problems. It is at peace too.
If this angle is appreciated, then we can have another understanding in the treatment of major psychiatric disorders using little or no medications.