The brain is our most complicated and essential organ in our body. It’s essentially just three pounds of mostly fat nestled between our ears. It defines who we are, and controls every aspect of our life. It influences how we perceive our world around us and it is affected by that world at the same time.
The goal of this blog is to talk about all things cognitive…mental processes, emotional responses, brain health and fitness. We cover things that go right and things that go wrong with our brains, and—where possible—we’ll cover things that you can do to make the rights-things better and the wrongs not-so-bad. We’ll be serious and we’ll have fun.
Of all our body parts, we treat our brains in special ways, especially when it’s not working the way we want. It make sense that we would view our body parts differently than our brains, but in some instances this difference, especially when we overlay societal views, makes for some less than healthy decisions. We see our body parts and parts of us, but we see our brain as “us”. If we break a bone in our leg, we can say, “My leg is broken,” but if something goes wrong in our brains—whether it be related to an emotional condition like depression or anxiety or if it’s a cognitive issue like dementia—some of us my feel “I am broken” and seek to minimize the visible signs or to deny the condition out of fear and perceived stigma.
Our brains are special, but that doesn’t mean that we need to treat a brain issue or injury in a different way than we’d treat a broken bone. For most of us, we’d immediately go to a doctor if we suspected an injury to any other part of our body other than our brain. But research has shown that many people down-play, deny and delay treatment for emotional or cognitive issues. For some, that delay can be six years or more. This is the exact opposite of what we should do. Time is of the essence when it comes to brain health. It’s never too soon and it’s almost never too late.
Unfortunately, in many western cultures (especially in the United States) we view mental health in similar ways as we used to view disease-conditions like cancer back in the 1950’s and before. In decades past, you might hear,
“Did you hear about Joe?”
“He’s got toe-nail cancer.”
“I can’t believe it. He seemed like such a nice person. I never saw him do anything wrong, and he always seemed like such a happy person.”
This conversation is tragic. It’s grounded in the past-tense, like Joe has already succumb to the disease, and it implies that the person is looking for some reason why this should have happened to him…as if searching for some reason why Joe is deserving of the condition. Today, we still hear this conversation about cognitive conditions like Alzheimer’s but the conversation for cancer has changed. We ask, “what type of treatment are they getting?” or “how are they responding to their medicine?” With, hope, education, persistence and compassion, I know that one day we’ll have the same reaction to mental and emotional health.
So, with the Brain Blog, we’re here to educate, inspire, entertain, aggravate and help us all make the most of the three pounds of fat between our ears. I’m looking forward to a great conversation.