Mental health issues influenced by a lack of discipline

I realize this might be truly unpopular, but I think it is a tough love message that many young adults should hear.

Quick disclaimer: my point is not that mental illness is caused by a lack of discipline in all cases. There are many instances where it doesn’t matter how hard you work on it, the outcome will be pathology. But this goes for personality disorders, chemical imbalances resulting in heavy depression, being a victim of severe trauma, etcetera.

But it doesn’t apply to all somberness, all burnout complaints, all anxiety, all add/add symptoms. Don’t shy away from telling people they can tremendously improve their mental health and happiness if they maintain a strict regular schedule of sleep, eating healthy, not consuming alcohol and exercising 6-8 hours a week.

Yes, this takes time, effort, practice, DISCIPLINE. But there is no excuse for not trying. And until you start trying, i don’t think you are taking on the responsibility for your own well being. Let’s be honest about that, instead of only treating you as a victim of circumstances.

Do you care for a young person with special needs?

I’m sorry, but “discipline” has nothing to do with it, unless you’re into punishment. Develop a routine, by all means - in fact, I’d recommend it. But the moment you start talking “discipline”, you lose me.

I’ve always found it better to change one thing, let that get embedded, and then move on to the next issue. If you change too much, too soon, it is guaranteed to collapse. Think New Year Resolutions. It doesn’t work if you’re not willing, and/or if you try to do too much.

A very few might succeed at major change. Very few. Maybe. But there’s more than one reason why people in disciplined organisations such as the military and the police are psych evaluated first.

Some people can be far more ’ disciplined ’ than others. Whether it be resisting a cake or not.!
Discipline is a very hard word as are the words ’ pull yourself together" May be encourage would be a better word.
Mental health issues are very complex.

Hello, Claude. I think I get your general message, and it has some merit, but maybe some points could be clarified.

“Discipline” is a strong word and has various connotations, e.g. strict obedience to rules or punishment or even the type of job one does. But I think you mean determined commitment to self-organisation. So let us follow that line.

You suggest this is a message for young adults. This is a forum for people of all ages. Most of the members and carees, I reckon, are mature adults, but there are some young carers, recognised by a special section of this forum for them.

Most of us would readily agree that sufficient sleep, healthy eating, moderation on alcohol and regular exercise are fine ways of living. Circumstances can and do sometimes make these targets difficult to achieve.

Sleep is important. The habit of some youngsters of never going to bed before midnight and having to be dragged out of bed at 10 am is not one that I would recommend. But you will read many cases in this forum of carers who are worn out largely because they are unable to get enough sleep because of their caring roles. Infirm people can make demands over night as well as by day.

It is easy for me to identify my own healthy diet, but in practice it is biased towards my caree’s wants. I do sometimes vary what I serve myself and her, but to cook two different meals is too time-consuming.

If you are teetotal, most of us would respect your choice and opinion. At the othere end of the scale, addiction to alcohol is definitely bad. Medical opinion suggests that moderate and controlled alcohol is not harmful and can even be beneficial. The danger here is that carers may use alcohol for its calming effect to mitigate the stresses of caring. Also their carees may have an alcohol problem. Control is key here.

I used to take a great deal of exercise - cycling to work each day, touring various parts of the country for several days by bike. This is now a thing of the past, not by choice but by circumstances. I reckon that my aggregate time in caring is nearly as much as when I used to work. But time at work was in discrete chunks out of the week. When I left work it was over for the day. Caring is fragmented in small chunks thougout each day of the week.

One of the things I miss about work, strangely enough, was putting aside half an hour for lunch each day. I did not believe in lunching at my desk as some do. Nowadays I rarely get through a meal without being interrupted two or three times.

Likewise, this lifestyle is not conducive to regular exercise. I still manage to get on my bike and cycle into town, and sometimes further, most weeks, but I am taking less exercise than my GP would like me to. I don’t feel good about this. I sometimes feel ashamed when I take the car to go half a mile to the local shops. Twenty years ago I would not dream of doing this except in a near emergency. The fragmented demands of caring leave a slightly depressing feeling of a constant battle to get things done.

And my caree is disabled. She used to play sports and take other form of exercise, but is sadly unable to do that now.

So, Claude, I think you make some good points, but maybe “circumstances” is a word we should examine a little more closely. I do wonder if your points would be more appropriate on another forum. But we would welcome a reply, especially if you have any practical suggestions to overcome the difficulties that many carers have in achieving the healthy lifestyle you advocate.

This makes sense when you think of how most working people spend their short time off. I wake up at 7am and come home at 6pm. I barely get through my dinner before I’m too tired to keep my eyes open. And while I am awake, I take the easiest route of watching my favorite tv show in bed. Point being, I seek recovery after work, not more work. If this is true for my simple job, I can only imagine what it’s like for those with more stress.

Yes, Claude, there are some that advise against against having TV in the bedroom, but it works for you, and for my caree as it happens. I don’t watch TV in bed myself (except in rare cases of illness) but my problem is that I too easily nod off when I watch it on the settee in the lounge! Then I need to get my caree to bed, which involves some work and fires me up again. I tend to read myself to sleep when I get to bed.

I too watch t v in bed before sleep. I know advice is not too, but when my husband became ill it was the only thing that stopped awful thoughts rolling round my head. Still is to be honest. Don’t watch anything gory etc. It helps me. Sleep is important and what may help one will not help another.

I have a Sky Plus box in my bedroom, and record programmes I like to watch when it’s quiet and I’m winding down at the end of the day.
Michael Portillo’s Great Railway Journeys used to put me to sleep in seconds as I travelled with him.
Currently, repeats of Death in Paradise work.
Fortunately, as I’m now only a retired part time carer I don’t have to get up at any set time.
If my son gets up for early shift his alarm clock goes off at 4.30am, I might get up early and do some jobs, or might have a cup of tea and go back to sleep.
Frankly, I don’t want ANY discipline in my life any more, I’ve been through too much, my own health problems, and those of my former carees. Stress can really damage your health.
Most long term carers I know need to put their own needs first for a change, relax, rest, sleep, a day off.