Every one of us gladly turns away from his problems; if possible, they must not be mentioned, or, better still, their existence is denied. We wish to make our lives simple, certain and smooth—and for that reason problems are taboo. We choose to have certainties and no doubts—results and no experiments—without even seeing that certainties can arise only through doubt, and results through experiment.
-Carl Jung, Modern Man in Search of a Soul.
Now, as I was writing this whole thing up, (in an effort to communicate and create a little awareness about something so delicate) there was a question that actually made me realize I should never decide to discard this blog like I did some blogs before.
“How do I make this piece catchy in order to attract more readers?” – As a writer, you of course want to get readership and impressions from your intended audience, especially as a blogger. That is the whole point of blogging I suppose, right?
In an attempt to answer that question a thought crossed my mind; “I am writing on mental health. Should that on its own not be enough for people to actually read? I mean for me to have to think of ways on how to make people engaged on such a matter, that says something about how we perceive mental health. It speaks to the insignificance we attach to mental health- that we need a write up so catchy and engaging to be convinced to work on what is the most important aspects of our being; our mental health.
Nevertheless, the mere fact that we do not consider mental health a Subject of its own in our conventional schooling system is an indication that we have been willfully blind to the benefits of paying attention to one’s psychological needs. Acting like a healthy mind is not crucial to our positive development as human beings is a problem that needs solving.
When you pay attention you realize the system we are living by often rewards us for our achievements and not our personality. So long as you achieve that social stance deserving of approval from the society, the society will come up with some sort of way to acknowledge those ‘efforts’. The question of what happens behind closed doors is not something that we pay attention to.
Running away from a problem is not going to solve it: running away from a mental problem is never going to solve it – for the obvious fact that whatever you do, wherever you go, your mind and thoughts are always with you. Pretending that a problem does not exist is not going to make that problem disappear; pretending that you have no mental health issue when you have one is not going to make that issue disappear- for the obvious fact that whatever form you try to disguise yourself in, your mind and thoughts are still a part of you.
Now there is something that I feel I need to bring to attention- What we mostly refer to as mental health issues are not always caused by some sort of serious ‘mental illnesses’ as we perceive them to be. Such circumstances are there for sure, but not so often.
On the contrary, and for the normal individual, the mental health issues like anxiety disorder, depression, stress, insecurities and self-esteem issues are usually symptoms of other complications-maybe within yourself as a person or from external causes.
You are a piece of glass. Something like metal or rock is used to hit you. You may be strong enough to go only so far as to just crack at first, but eventually if the hitting persists, you will break.
This is what life is- It is normal for life to put us in positions where we question our abilities and ways of life. It is normal for life to hammer us down so hard that getting back up becomes such a struggle and next to impossible.
Society too, with all its invisible yet strong forces, may push us to wear a mask and adopt a personality so opposite to what we truly are. Our thoughts will wander off at some point during our different stages of life, we will come across questions inside us we have no clue how to answer, and we will make mistakes in life that may cause us so much mental torture and regret that it throws us off balance, feeling lost and confused. All this and maybe more, is what brings about the mental health issues in us.
What we need to do as a society is acknowledge that mental health is something that plays a vital role in our positive growth and well-being. That has to be the first step we need to take. That we are also not doing enough to give this issue the attention it deserves. In the words of Carl Jung, “We cannot change anything unless we accept it.”
For the individual, pluck a page from Jim Rohn’s philosophy that says;
“Everyday, stand guard at the door of your mind.” – watch your environment, watch what you allow to enter your mind. Acknowledge a problem if you have one. Deal with it while it is still small before it becomes bigger than you and takes you down. If you continue to pretend that your garden has no weeds, eventually the weeds will take over the garden.
The one who is reading this, this is for you too. Do more. Create awareness; normalize discussing mental health issues and its consequences. Schools, we know Chemistry and Math are important, but the mental health of our society is more important. Let us help flatten the suicide and the depression curve. Passivity can be very dangerous in such a delicate matter.
“What mental health is in dire need of is the recognition it deserves and not the willful blindness we so often practice over it.”
–Ahmed O. Salim