Mental Health: Wellbeing and Happiness Series with MoNya-Mental: It is usually after auditory and visual hallucinations that we see tactile, gustatory and olfactory
By Mertha Mo Nyamande
Our five senses are our maps/plans that help us navigate/build life. It is in how we have maintained these maps/plans that life becomes harder or easier to live. Imagine life like a plan that a builder uses to build a house. Our lives are similarly to that process; how careful the plan is kept and used.
Some will be tattered and torn in weeks, while others will still be intact and functional even centuries later.
Our mental health is very much like this.
When we are born, we are free from a lot of the unnatural habits we are forced into or conditioned to. It is those habits that guard or neglect our health; both mentally and physically.
We largely rely on our five senses for these processes, and this enhances the use of the sixth.
When these senses are compromised, we find ourselves struggling depending on which sense is affected.
Our five senses are in order of hierarchy and proximity: sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste. We can see things further than we can hear and smell, touch, and taste.
And so, this tells us the nature and degree of how much our senses are compromised.
In mental health, we witness auditory hallucinations, people hearing things and talking to themselves.
We also hear of the visual hallucinations (seeing things), but not often do we hear of the other three senses.
We often hear of these in more severe cases of hallucinations when senses have been severely compromised.
Sight and sound is compromised when the blood-brain barrier is affected to the point that one is not able to process or separate reality from thought, imagination and dreams.
So while awake, one is not able to tell whether they are asleep and dreaming or actually talking to someone, and therefore processing what is being heard and seen gets mixed up in the processing.
Because we need to respond to stimuli, thus the person is seen to be speaking to themselves.
While asleep as well, their sleep tends to be restless and full of activity: sleepwalking and talking is also common in these states.
With visual and auditory hallucinations, there are what is known as hypnogogic and hypnopompic hallucinations, these are quite common as most people experience these as a sign of severe tiredness, though not often spoken about.
These occur as we fall asleep, or as we wake from sleeping.
Most people talk about them in fear of getting mentally unwell. Essentially, these are signs of a certain level of deterioration that if the appeasing lifestyle is not changed, as further deterioration could cause irreparable damage, like schizophrenia.
It is usually after auditory and visual hallucinations that we see tactile, gustatory and olfactory.
Olfactory hallucinations are often associated with unpleasant smells; burnt, foul, spoilt or rotten things. These are usually crucial clues to the parts of the brain affected.
Gustatory are often associated with damages in the gut, while tactile highlights a compromised nervous system.
When we are not able to see, hear and understand threats around us, life can become quite difficult, while we may think that we are OK.
People with altered perceptions may not necessarily know that their perception is altered, they often think that whatever they experience is real and others should experience it too.
People with severely altered perceptions may isolated themselves in the early stages while they still have some insight into whatever problem, and this isolation often makes their condition deteriorate further as they do not usually get the help they require.
It is often difficult to seek help when we don’t know what is going on with us, let alone be able to explain it to someone else without feeling misunderstood.
Remedies and recommendations
It is therefore important that our societies and their communities understand these issues intimately to know how to address the issues wherever they occur and becomes easier to help someone who starts to isolate themselves.
As a community, whatever affects us, affects others around us directly or indirectly. So, by helping ourselves, we help others and by helping other we also help ourselves.
A sick individual highlights a sick community, so as a sick child highlights familial issues that may need remedying.
When it comes to altered perceptions, the crucial steps are in understanding the compromise and take steps to address it.
It is also important to guard our plans and maps carefully to avoid dirty and wet hands touching them to the point that they end up in tatters and unreadable. This is also linked to old age illnesses, including dementia.
Let us establish and maintain healthy habits that do not compromise any aspect of our health: Practice healthier sleep and eating routines that are regular and predictable for our bodies require that level of maintenance. Avoid taking too many toxins in the form of drugs, alcohol and synthetic foods.
Find time to relax away from noises, meditate and just breathe, mindfulness breathing, walking, talking and eating.
If you struggle to do any of these and feel the need to seek help, feel free to reach out, for all the help is available out there. Don’t leave it too late to the point that it becomes irreparable.
By Psychotherapist Mertha Mo Nyamande @ www.i-wellbeing.weebly.com. Insightwellbeing.firstname.lastname@example.org
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