What can make our psyche ill?

Our psyche is made up of our feelings, thoughts and perceptions – and it reacts to our environment. Our physical health also has a major influence: whether we get enough sleep, how we eat, but also our hormones affect our psyche, as do pain, chronic illnesses or when we feel physically unwell. So the whole "I" has shaped our psyche and also determines how it is doing at this moment.
Es gibt also viele Dinge, die auch zur Belastung für unsere Psyche werden können. Welche Belastung für wen wie schlimm ist, ist von Mensch zu Mensch unterschiedlich. Es kann aber helfen, sich über mögliche Faktoren, die zur Belastung werden können, zu informieren – damit du dich und die Menschen, die dir wichtig sind, besser davor schützen kannst, dass die Psyche durch sie zu sehr belastet wird. 

What can make our psyche ill?

Große Belastungen für die Psyche können Erlebnisse sein, die das Leben der betroffenen Person plötzlich verändern – der Verlust einer wichtigen Person, angsteinflößende Situationen oder solche, in denen sie physisch oder psychisch verletzt wird. Man spricht dann von einem traumatischen Erlebnis oder Trauma. Viele Betroffene merken erst viel später, dass dieses Trauma sie belastet. Das kann daran liegen, dass sie das Erlebte zunächst verdrängt haben – was eine völlig natürliche Eigenschaft von uns Menschen ist. Dann „funktionieren“ die Menschen im Alltag wie gewohnt weiter, sodass weder sie noch ihre Umgebung bemerken, dass das traumatische Erlebnis sie stark belastet und beeinflusst. Trotzdem machen sich die Folgen bemerkbar: Die betroffene Person leidet unter Schlafstörungen, hat Angst vor Dingen oder Orten, die Erinnerungen an das Erlebte hervorrufen oder sie entwickelt eine psychische Erkrankung. Die Bewältigung eines Traumas ist wichtig und möglich, muss aber unbedingt von einer professionellen Person – wie einer Psychotherapeutin oder einem Psychotherapeuten – begleitet werden.

Auch länger anhaltende Longer-lasting circumstanceswhich may have insidiously inserted themselves into the life of the affected person, can also be a great burden on the psyche. Stress, conflicts with other people – mostly from the personal environment – or dissatisfaction with oneself are examples of this. And sometimes we don't even realize how much they actually burden us and that we need to do something about it.
In the case of these everyday burdens, the affected persons often have the feeling that they themselves are to blame and accordingly must be responsible for getting these circumstances under control. But this is not true! Because here, too, our environment plays a very important role: our fellow human beings, the circumstances of our lives – for example, whether we have a place of retreat to ourselves – and the society in which we live.

Stress, for example, is a burden that can have a very strong influence on us without us realizing it. Stress in itself is not always bad: if we feel stress in the right situations and for a short duration, it can increase our performance. You're probably familiar with "tunnel vision“, where you forget everything around you because you're concentrating on an important task – for example, an exam. Then the stress in this situation does a good job: The hormone cortisol is released, which leads to your circulation running at full speed for a certain time and you have as much energy as possible available for your task. However, it is important that you are able to calm down again after this task and that your stress level decreases – and thus also the amount of cortisol that is released. With continuous or daily stress, however, this shutdown does not happen, which ensures that the body is permanently on alert and thus can not come to rest. This can then lead to a point where suddenly nothing works anymore. You may know this phenomenon under the name "burnout". But other mental illnesses can also be triggered by permanent stress.

By the way, we can also feel stress even though we don't have to do many tasks at the moment or our life circumstances don't seem stressful to us. Conflicts with ourselves – such as the question of what we want to do in the future or a guilty conscience because we are unmotivated – or with other people also lead to stress. Then we feel the inner turmoil, as we know it from an exam situation, even in calm moments.
So what stresses us and what doesn't varies from person to person. It often depends on how important a thing is to us and what expectations we have of ourselves, of others and of specific situations. For example, if you expect your vacation this year to be especially great, then any situation on that vacation that is not perfect and meets your expectations will trigger stress in you. Your companion, who may have started this vacation without great expectations, will be much less disappointed by these situations and will feel correspondingly less stress. This does not mean that you should no longer have great expectations, but it is important that you set realistic goals and that you are aware that you can prevent your own stress.

Many things we cannot influence ourselves – what we have experienced in the past, what our daily life circumstances are like, whether we have a physical illness. The answers to these questions vary from person to person, and because of our life history, we can't help it if our psyche becomes increasingly sensitive or ill.
However, we can learn to pay attention to warning signs, pay more attention to our psyche and strengthen our resilience.