S1E1: Is your 'mental' computer overloaded? (What is a "burnout")

banner image

Transcript S1E1


The word "mental health" seems so difficult to understand. How do you even know if your mental health is doing okay? In this episode, Dr. Kim uses the analogy of a computer to help you "run diagnostic tests" and "troubleshoot" your mental health!

In today's episode, we'll talk about how to know how your mental health is doing. In the end, I'll give you three questions you can ask yourself so that you know what you need to improve your mental health. So make sure you stay tuned until the end. Hi, welcome to is like this podcast, the show that explores your mental and spiritual health, with analogies, common sense, and stories. I'm your host, Dr. Eugene Kim, a dual board-certified child and adolescent and adult psychiatrist from Texas, I am passionate about helping people understand their intrinsic worth to accept and own their life so that they can live the life they were designed to live. While I'm a psychiatrist, I'm a human being too. I came a long way. But I have way more to go. I hope you will join me on this journey.

The mental health concept that we'll be using to launch this idea is called the cognitive triad. And it was created by Dr. Aaron Beck, who actually passed away last year. And he is a father, the father of cognitive-behavioral therapy, and is one of the most evidence-based therapy options out there. And it can treat anything from depression and anxiety to even personality disorders and addiction. And this podcast actually ends up being a tribute to his life, because, during his lifetime, he gave so much to the world of psychiatry, psychiatry, and psychology, I just learned a lot of love from him, you know, and I applied these concepts for myself. So I hope that this helps you. So one of the core concepts of CBT, cognitive behavior therapy is called a cognitive triad. And essentially, it's like, it can imagine a triangle, and there's cognition, and actions and feelings. And each of the points of the triangle has by direction and all three sides. So it's kind of saying your cognition or your thoughts affects your feelings and feelings, affect behavior, and vice versa. And a lot of times life experiences happen, that will kick this triad into gear. And this is how we process and formulate ideas of self and others and the world. So one other example that I thought of, to kind of demonstrate how this triad works, actually, in our mind is, imagine if your partner doesn't respond to your text, again, even after you told him that this makes you feel very anxious, and you already told him multiple times, it's important for him to respond in a timely manner. So this is a life event that happened, and it will trigger a thought like this, like, Is he okay? Does he hate me? Is he annoyed? Is he cheating on me? And his series of thoughts, right, and it will trigger emotions, such as, you know, feeling nervous or insecure about the relationship or feeling really guilty, like, what did I do that I made him, like, hate me or something like that. And I will lead to the next behavior of hammer texting, hey, sorry, this is so annoying, but I just wanted to make sure that you're okay, or leave a voicemail or three, like all within 10 minutes. So thoughts, affected emotions, affected behavior, and then it can actually trigger more thoughts. Like, I'm so annoying and intrusive, what's wrong with me. And then it will lead to emotions, like feeling like a failure or burden to everyone else, not just your partner now. So then it will lead to behavior, isolating yourself, and you don't respond or initiate any social events for next week. So kind of recap, this is how the triad works are life happens. But we process using this cognitive triad and to thoughts and thoughts affect emotions, emotion, affects behavior and affects thoughts again, and emotion and behavior, vice versa. And now can go the other way around as well. So you can kind of see how this process actually happens really fast. And sometimes it seems very out of control. Like we are not aware of how this happens. So we just talked about the cognitive triad and what it could look like when is overloaded or not working properly. And the analogy that I wanted to use is kind of like my old laptop that I had to replace because it really wasn't functioning the way that I wanted it to.

And some of the symptoms that I saw in my computer, that I knew that it was outdated or being overloaded with everything I had in there, where it was getting overheated. The fan was running constantly. It was really slow. And there were a lot of delays after like, even if I'm trying to open up anything. And it can't accept new software updates. So like Java or something like that. Whenever there's a new software it says this is not compatible with the laptop that you had. Sometimes it just shut down like middle of me working on anything. Sometimes it may weird noises like alarms, if the battery was getting like overheated or something and there's a lot of weird noises or alarms going off, it really was limited in what it can do at one time. So I couldn't do a lot of things at once I had to open up one task and finish that. And, you know, two specifications of a computer that leads to these issues, you know, in a simplified version is a storage space and RAM or processing speed, right. So storage space is actually the capacity that a computer can handle, whatever is saved there, and whatever is running, and also RAM and processing speed is given the space that it has, how fast and to what complexity can you handle, you know that if storage space is being limited, and processing speed is really slow, it will lead to the symptoms that I had in my old laptop, you know, being overheated and slow and weird noises and all that stuff. So kinda to marry the two concepts together, you know, you have the cognitive triad of the example of, you know, freaking out because your boyfriend is not responding to your text. And it triggers to try out, you know, running really fast, but really out of control in a broken manner. And then also, you have this broken computer because of lack of storage based on processing. So some of the mental health symptoms that you might find, if you think your “mental health computer” is outdated or being overloaded, is you get easily frustrated or irritated. littlest things like being easily overheated, or delays and slow, you lack concentration or focus and you feel tired all the time. And you can't accept new software, as new habits, or new goals sound very scary or is like tiring to just think about it. Or you just shut down, you check out or start daydreaming or minimizing symptoms and actual situation as you're like, not as fine as whatever is life. And you can't do a lot of things at once, like your decreased productivity or ability to handle multiple emotions or events, you might not see the symptoms, you know, just like of course computer itself cannot recognize that as being overloaded or outdated. But the owner or somebody else outside of you can notice these things too.

Now, hold up. Do you like how I'm explaining this idea? Or do you have something that you want to be explained or explored? Didn't go to the SpeakPipe link below and record your question, or that's something so that I can include that in the next episode. I love connecting with my listeners. And this is how I get to know what you want to hear. Now let's go back to the episode.

I want to go to the three tips to improve your mental health right now. Number one, you know when you're when there's a lot of junk saved in your old computer, we use like a disk cleaner or something like that periodically to remove the junk. And this is what you need to do for your mental health. Remove the junk or dead space in your mental health computer. You know, there's a famous organizer named Marie Kondo, and her question to each item in your house is does this bring joy. And I do want to emphasize that your time is a limited resource. And we only have 24 hours in a day everybody does. And it really does matter how we prioritize events and time and meetings and schedules. So that it does represent what you care about if it matches your values. And if you can visualize your weekly schedule like a week-to-week schedule, meeting someone up, or PTA meetings or projects or dinner with family does each of them serve a purpose in your life. And if it's not, if it doesn't bring you joy, then it's time to reprioritize and put that at the bottom of the priority. And it doesn't mean that you say no to these things forever. But prioritizing means that you're putting something above the other, you know you're putting more importance on one thing or the other. And this is how you start to declutter the time commitments in your life. The second tip, stop doing too many things at once. This part kind of goes with accepting that your computer is at its max capacity. And maybe you're trying to do meant to so many things at once. So you know in the computer you start to click out of the task or window windows and you just kind of focus on one thing. I don't know about you. But sometimes I get these moments when I'm trying to do too many things at once, and my brain just shuts down or is like spinning out of control, where I'm just sitting down. I'm trying to watch YouTube videos and just fill my head with random facts. And at the same time, my mind is thinking, what do I need to cook for dinner? What do I need for groceries, oh, I didn't pick the groceries up. And whenever you realize that you're doing too many things at once. And a great technique to kind of ground yourself is meditation. And sometimes it is hard to stop and think about, oh, I need to kind of slow down. But taking a deep breath, you know, those deep breaths that take 100% of your lung capacity. You know, we don't, we don't do those often. And maybe we need to queue ourselves a few times a day, you know, set an alarm or reminder or something, where we just take a breath, take a full breath, and realize, okay, let's just write this down. And think about what is the most important thing to do. And we have to give ourselves permission to slow down and just do one thing at a time. So number three is a time for an upgrade. Are you growing out of your mental health space and want to get a faster processor or RAM speed? The answer to question number three might be yes, if you have already tried numbers one and two, and you're still feeling the drag of the mental health burden of the current day-to-day issues. So to do number three, we're going to talk about an annex Episode How to get an upgrade in your mental health computer. So today, we talked about the cognitive triad created by Dr. Aaron Beck, and how, and try to bring that to real-life using the metaphor of a computer, you know, a processing speed and storage space. And then I gave you three tips to improve your mental health and to ask yourself how to assess your mental health state right now. And today's message to summarize, you know, not understanding yourself and how you process experiences is like trying to do more with an old computer or limiting what you can do in life because you want to keep the old computer, it doesn't make sense to keep the old computer and keep on doing more and more tasks. It will lead to burnout delays and being overheated, and eventually losing productivity, and sometimes identity. So understanding your mental health will increase your self-awareness and emotional processing speed. And you will be in control of this cognitive triad, how much and how complex the life experience that you can process. Eventually, it will lead you to wisdom and maturity. So I hope that this episode was helpful for you and kind of help you assess how you are doing right now and ask yourself, are you ready for an upgrade? And we'll explore this more in the next episode.

If you like what you heard today, please do me a favor. Go to the podcast platform that you're using to listen to this podcast. And leave a review, subscribe, and share with people who you think would benefit from this podcast as well. Also, remember to ask me what you want to know more about using the Speak type link provided in the description box. Again, I really appreciate you listening in, and have a great day