People sometimes say a problem is “inside your head”, but the idiotic thing of it is, of course everyone lives “inside their head”. It’s where consciousness lies (unless you’re an ancient Egyptian and believe it comes from the heart, which is “just” the muscle that pumps blood around, and isn’t packed full of neurons). So it’s a stupid statement to begin with. I live, as do you, and everyone else, “inside my head”. I literally can’t leave it. 24/7, I’m in my head even when I’m sleeping, I can’t escape it. And neither can you. All of my perceptions, everything I see, touch, or smell is filtered through my brain which is in my head. What’s odious then, isn’t the statement itself, but the implication that I could just “shake it off” with just the right set of magical thinking. The problem then, is everybody who claims “it’s all in your head”, proclaims the problem solved, and walks off with their fingers in their ears, not listening to people suffering, not helping them “get out of their heads”, not even trying to help get to that place of magical thinking that would fix everything.
They say the solution is “in your head”. If it is, they’re a right shite bunch of bastards for keeping this magical thinking to themselves and letting the rest of us suffer. If instead we focused on listening to the people suffering, and have identified that it’s in their heads, then how do we get them out of it? How do we expand their consciousness to be “outside” their heads? How do we modify their brain so the head they’re in is different? We have all sorts of drugs for that, both legal and illegal, as well as a host of new therapies, some approved by the FDA, as in “has a scientifically proven effect”, using magnetic fields applied to the brain, eg TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation), to help people get their heads, which they live 24/7 in, to be different ones than the ones that are giving them so much trouble!
Thanks to doctors actually listening to patients (which is a revolutionary concept, I know. Not all doctors are super geniuses, but the ones who are able to listen to people who’s problems are “in their heads” are all smarter than those who dismiss people’s problems for being “in their heads”. Especially neurologists, who have dedicated their career to the study of what’s inside heads.), people are getting better, healing the brain, and once again living fulfilling lives, with more than 3 spoons a day of energy. At the worst of it, watching Netflix was too exhausting. Concentrating enough to write code was out of the question. After TMS, powerful psychiatric medication, a course of psilocybin and other off label courses to help me “get out of my head”, and a huge amount of talk therapy on top, I’d now consider myself cured of whatever lingering after effects of Covid and the pandemic I suffered. It took a lot of work, I still live “in my head” but I’m able to leave my bed enough day of the week, and even leave my house most of them as well.
Feel free to tell me my problems are in my head so long as you’re going to help me get out of it; help me pay for doctors, help me get to the doctor, help me pay for therapies and therapists and actually get to them, help me navigate insurance and get on disability while I need it, help me with housework while it’s too much for me to manage.
“It’s in your head” is the beginning of helping to figure out how to solve the problem, not the solution it and of itself.