When I think about how I deal with my mental health, I think a lot about tunnel vision. If you’re not that familiar with the concept, tunnel vision is often used as a metaphor when someone is focused solely on a single goal or course of action. Although it is often used as a metaphor, the literal definition of tunnel vision is a loss of peripheral vision. There are pros and cons of tunnel vision when it comes to our mental health – let’s break down some of the major causes.
What is tunnel vision?
While writing this post, I came across more medical definitions of tunnel vision than I expected. As it turns out, tunnel vision is less of a metaphor than I thought. The medical definition of tunnel vision (which I learned is also called (peripheral vision loss)) is when someone has lost their peripheral vision or side vision. A person with PVL can only see what is directly in front of them. And although it seems like it would be obvious to notice a lack of side view. Most people do not use a side vision outside of the physical sense, creating a metaphorical tunnel vision for their wellbeing.
The advantage of tunnel vision
I could easily spend more time beating up this concept than picking it up, but I think there are pros and cons when it comes to having tunnel vision for our mental health. One of the greatest benefits of tunnel vision is that you can learn to prioritize your mental health. Over the past few years, I’ve been realizing how difficult it is for me to get chores done or to go out and be human if I haven’t prioritized my wellbeing – or at least thought about it a little bit. While it wasn’t my goal, I would ascribe some of it to the tunnel vision I sometimes have around my depression and anxiety.
Another benefit of tunnel vision for my mental health is that I can see most of the things that happen in the world through a mental health lens. That way I can better understand a situation or make sure I understand all aspects of its context while incorporating mental health. I wouldn’t say that I love tunnel vision when it comes to my mental health, but those were some bright spots.
The downside of tunnel vision
In my experience, tunnel vision (when it comes to mental health) has far more disadvantages than advantages, if I’m being honest. You lose focus on other things that are happening in your life, you can forget to prioritize others when they need it, you can develop thought processes that make it seem like your mental health is inherently better than that other … the list goes on.
In short, there are many unintended consequences when tunnel vision is used to strengthen our mental health. While wellness is (and always should be) the goal, it doesn’t work so well when it comes to the cost of harmful relationships or other aspects of our lifestyle.
What do you think?
Sometimes I’m pretty divided about how tunnel vision can improve my mental wellbeing. Perhaps there are only pros and cons to this concept, and it’s important to remember that when we feel like we’re so focused on mental health, it doesn’t help. But I want to hear what you think! Have you ever experienced tunnel vision when it comes to your mental health? Has it worked well for you or is it causing problems? Let me know in the comments!