Ideal Mental Health: What Is It & How Do I Find It?

what is ideal mental health

Depending on whom you ask, the concept of ideal mental health varies—however, the definition of “good mental health” oftentimes boils down to the desire for perfect bliss. Of course, this is impossible...and yet so many people believe otherwise. As a result, many people suffer through periods of depression specifically as a result of continued reminders of their supposedly inadequate or dysfunctional state of mind. 

When we rationalize what a picture of ideal mental health looks like, we can see how unrealistic it really is: experiencing an abundance of happiness with close to no sadness. But we don’t live in a world where life becomes consistently easier, nor has history ever offered anything like that to our predecessors (though things do improve overall as time and society progresses). However, regardless of the point in time, as a human being, experiencing a default state devoid of even slight misery is essentially impossible. It is therefore quite useless to continue trying to avoid unhappy feelings altogether. 

But if such a state is so inevitable, then why do so many people feel that they are emotionally displaced? One interpretation suggests that we may actually already be happy...we just don’t know it. 

Instead of avoiding our issues, it may be better to reframe our understanding of “depression” so that it can benefit us rather than continue to drag us down. After all, the real detriment of depression isn’t really the experience of being unhappy, but rather how it prevents us from making progress in life. Therefore, the question becomes: do we continue to move forward, trying to mold our life into whatever shape we consider “ideal?” Or do we stay curled up in a ball, under heavy blankets, waiting for things to get better on their own? 

Well, history says that things won’t just improve on their own, so we might as well get a head start on molding our feelings now!

Sadly, in the more than 30 years since the first serotonin-based depression treatment was developed, not a single patient has ever reported being “cured” of it. However, even with such a grim fact staring us in the face, it actually makes two things very clear: 1) depression is a multifaceted condition that affects everyone similarly, but with varied severity, and 2) effective depression treatment requires a combination of both emotional and biological supplementation. Unfortunately, this means that simply taking a pill alone is not likely to provide us with the long-term happiness that we deserve. Instead, by using a combination of emotional growth—through self-discovery and self-acceptance—along with some pharmaceutical aid, we are most likely to achieve our desired state of mental health and well-being.

Additionally, instead of using such blanket descriptions of happiness (and therefore unhappiness), some may find it more useful to evaluate themselves using more concrete tools, like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow’s pyramid is useful because it depicts the five levels of achievement required for anybody to feel fulfilled during their lifetime. With regard to depression, then, couldn’t it simply be a lack of fulfillment that we’re actually experiencing, rather than clinical depression? If so, many may find moving their life in a desirable direction more possible by attempting to fulfill each level of this hierarchy.

Of course, as mentioned previously, depression is a dynamic condition that impacts every patient differently. Not everyone will be able to alleviate their depression through emotional pathways. For more severe cases of depression, it may be useful to try alternative treatments, like ketamine infusions, which appear to be 70% effective for the treatment of depression. While longer-term treatments, like antidepressant medications and talk therapy, remain the tried-and-true first-line treatments, ketamine infusions oftentimes take effect much faster and can be a life-saver for those suffering from suicidal thoughts. While antidepressants help our brains to retain serotonin for longer periods of time, ketamine offers a different type of fast-acting relief through the glutamate system as an NMDA-receptor antagonist. 

Along with ketamine infusions, talk therapy—specifically cognitive behavioral therapy—your interpretation of depression could change for the better. You may even learn to see your depression as a gift rather than a curse that prevents you from functioning. Maybe your depression could offer the opportunity to express your unique experience of the world through art and other creative endeavors, ultimately leading to fulfillment. The possibilities are endless...

Contact Iconic Infusions

If you suffer from depression, anxiety, or both, our ketamine clinic may also be able to help you. Located in Fayetteville, NC, Iconic Infusions is one of the leading ketamine treatment centers in North Carolina. Request a free consultation and a member of our team will contact you shortly to answer any questions you may have about ketamine for depression and anxiety.

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