The 1000 piece Puzzle of Mental Health

Steven Leibowitz
3 min readFeb 18, 2023

Most of the time when you go down internet rabbit hole, you say at the end, “what was I thinking?” ut sometimes you see something that 💡 and another small piece of the world makes sense. That was me, scrolling through Instagram reels. I stopped at one, the opening was, how you know you might have gone through a childhood trauma. OK, I grew up in some turbulence, let’s hear this.

So I was introduced to catastrophizing, It is a message that you get in your head in a lot of situations that something really bad is going to happen. This article gave a decent summary. I thought for years, this is just how I’m wired, just how I am and thought ok, I know this voice is telling me something bad is about to happen. And I would rely on a more logical voice telling me, ok stop, you always think that and it never turns out that way. But that catastrophizing voice would quiet down and say, ok maybe not this time, but just wait.

It’s not fun, to say the least. Any kind of pain anywhere, I stop and think, am I ok, is this nothing or something? Every time. I used to think I had a fear of flying on planes, but I also had that voice saying, you’ll probably be the one to be in a crash. There’s no logic there, just a steady number of things that trigger those thoughts.

So then I go back to this childhood trauma thing. Rummaging through my youth, there were bad things, hard things, but I figured there was one thing I would say was traumatic. It was the night the phone rang a around 2AM and and I could hear from my mother’s conversations that my father was dead. My parents had been apart most of the time, but I always held out some hope he would be around more. The occasional visits or phone calls were things I clung to.

And in one moment, in the middle of the night, that was gone for a 13 year old. And now years and years later, I hear one thing on Instagram that throws a connection to something more than a half century ago. This thing that would happen to me constantly, well it had a name now, it had a reason.

What it doesn’t have, and this is really the broader picture of mental health, is an off switch. Like so many things that we know are going on inside of our brains, you look for a variety of mechanism to deal with it. I say mechanisms, but whether it is therapy, if needed some form of med or sitting at a keyboard on a Friday night and writing about it, there are ways to diminish the impact. Mental health is no different than physical health. You have to work at what you want to be better and improve. It is just a different kind of workout.

And that is really why I am writing. The more we can talk openly and name these things, the easier it is for someone else, I hope. So much of the time we’ll say, I wish I could change this about me. Sometimes the this is something physical. But pretty often, it is how you think, how you behave or how you feel. Out brains are WEIRD places 🙃. It can be scary to talk about, but I say with all honesty, it is freeing and a step forward to do so.

Thanks for listening, I hope it helps in some way, or you share with someone that you think might be helped.

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Steven Leibowitz

I dabble with things. Easily amused, sometimes amusing. Trying to heal the world.