This week we had our 2nd guest on the Cole Wellness Podcast – Dr. Darren Woodlief. He shared much of his personal story and experiences in life, as well as gave us some helpful tips on getting professional clinical assessment for our mental health.
Our discussion left me with one main theme in mind: we can’t find a good solution if we misunderstand the problem.
This is a paramount truth in life. I’ve spent years of my own life ineffectively trying to solve problems that I did not take the time to fully understand. Drink too much? Just drink less! Too heavy? Eat less! Not enough money? Work harder! In each of these circumstances I found that misunderstanding the problem led to frustration and sometimes even made the problem worse.
My problem wasn’t that I drank too much. It had more to do with the fact that I had a compulsive craving to consume more alcohol than I intended anytime that I drank. For me, once I stopped trying to control the drinking and asked for help to stop drinking altogether, I found life to be much more effective and enjoyable. I also found that my problem wasn’t that I ate too much. Actually, when I began eating less, I put on just as much weight as before because my metabolism began to slow. Once I realized I was eating nutritionally bankrupt foods at ineffective times, I was able to make targeted and educated improvements. In regards to money, I’ve found that it doesn’t matter how much money we make if I’m not tending to how I steward that money. It wasn’t a lack of money or a shortage of hard work from which I suffered. It had far more to do with spending my money in ways that didn’t actually track toward who and what’s important to me.
Our discussion helped cement in my own mind how important proper assessment is in this process. If we have self-diagnosed or misdiagnosed our mental health issues, we will often be led to an ineffective solution. Depression, anxiety, bi-polar disorder, ADHD, and substance use disorders may have some similar treatments, but they also each have clinically proven methods to work with each one uniquely and effectively. An effective understanding of the problem will lead us to an effective solution.
In the recent weeks we have discussed how to effectively self-assess, but often it is necessary to go a step further and seek professional assessment. Luckily, there are many professionals prepared to help us along this journey.