Week 10. Mental Illness

This week we had an incredibly interesting and relevant lecture. To be honest, this is the lecture we have been waiting for the most. We were very impressed by the video “I have a black dog”, where it was quite clearly shown what happens to people with depression. We find this video useful. In addition, we were somewhat surprised by the number of famous people with mental disorders and did not even expect that some of our favorite authors had depression and other mental illnesses.

In addition, it was interesting to see the list of different diseases presented at the beginning of the lecture and to imagine how many diseases and features of the human brain have not yet been studied. Also interesting was the discussion about the cost of mental disorders for the state. On the whole, this topic is of great interest for study, and it is obvious that the mechanisms of many mental diseases are still poorly understood. Understandably so, as the reasons and causes behind them are not straightforward. The human mind, even when met with challenges, can also protect itself in various ways and develop further mechanisms, which are not so easy to track with the measurements we have available at the moment.

It was super refreshing the way mental illness was dealt with at the lecture, as as a society we still have a ways to got for the general idea of mental illness to be less stigmatized, and to recognize that all of us can have times when we exhibit one or the other type of moment typical of a mental illness. In addition, the ways that people deal with these moments, can also be helpful to the ones that actually end up as patients because of the state of their mind. Meaning things like exercise, meditation or mindfulness, therapy, peer group support, friends, which also together with medication can bring life to a better balance again.

There was a very interesting question during the lecture related to whether the stress response could be becoming less, or in a way useless for our species (now that we don’t necessarily have to be worried about wild animals or something else attacking us). This would be very interesting to look into, as there are people who stress waaay less than others, and this can most probably be even quite useful to one’s health (no high blood pressre, no continuous high cortisol in your blood, not as much anxiety maybe etc.).

The lectures are coming to the end and we are starting to prepare for the exam, since a lot of material needs to be repeated and all the chapters of the textbook have to be re-read, again.