On Mental Health

By Vince April 13, 2019
Categories Life

Disclaimer: I am going to use the term mental health throughout this piece to describe the symptoms (anxiety, depression, drug addiction, bi-polar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, etc.) of our current mental climate. When you read it think about how they apply to you and those around you.

We ALL feel it sometimes; sad, anxious, unbalanced. Often enough, for no discernible reason. We find ourselves within a dangerous mental climate here and now, one that commonly breeds negativity amongst individuals. Some people, this effects differently than others. As we move forward together as aware human beings, it needs to be understood that these emotions can be dangerous to all of us, even if you are one of the lucky few who are not consistently directly affected.

This makes it our responsibility to help those we can, when we can, ESPECIALLY if that person is looking back at you in the mirror every day!

Distress is an emotion that everybody experiences at some point in their lives. Each one of us has the distinct capacity to react differently to emotions; life, and the things one feels for living, are incredibly relative to the individuals perspective. I think of it as a spectrum (as I’m finding out, many things can be looked at this way).

In any case it’s important to understand the infinite possibilities in potential differences between separate human beings emotional perception of events. Each individual perspective on any experience is entirely unique to that individual.

Further, the timing of reactionary distress can vary case by case, affecting those involved at separate intervals and for different lengths of time. For example take Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The symptoms could show up months after the initial incident. They could show up within ten minutes. They could last for years or for seconds; how this affects a person depends on multiple factors including ability to cope, brain chemistry, and emotional range. Life and its emotional impact are extremely relative. So much, in fact, that it is entirely unquantifiable in any real world sense.

Ergo we are all individual cases in terms of mental health and we all sometimes feel how dangerous our current mental climate can be. It is important that we begin to treat those with mental health issues as they are: people who need our help. For in today’s harsh mental climate it is commonplace to obtain emotional wounds that lead to long standing pain or suffering.

Whether or not you are being directly affected is irrelevant as it could just as easily be any one of us who is afflicted by todays adverse mental conditions. Put another way—somebody you think highly of is feeling that negativity, right now, as you read this.

No longer can we judge each other. Nobody can know how much pain another person has felt, especially considering the harsh realities we now find ourselves in. All life experiences are relative to those experiencing them, no matter the circumstances involved.

Now, more than ever before, we need to actively express empathy for each other. As an individual, I implore you, open yourself as a stage for emotional expression. It is an incredibly crucial time for us as human beings to recognize what must be done here. Culturally we need to find a way to overcome these mental health issues. The collective long-term mental health of human beings on this planet needs to be positively affected by us, in this time frame.

Being something that affects ALL of us to some degree, it’s going to take a big effort on all of our parts to help make it right. We need to positively encourage those who are more negatively affected to seek assistance. We also need to embolden those of us who have the capacity to assist to do so. We need to applaud them for their service and make sure they’re properly equipped to roll their sleeves up. We need an open dialogue here, and we need to be OK with each other in discussing it.

An attitude of open-mindedness, love, and enthusiasm for life needs to be adopted. You need to be open minded so you can put your opinions to the side when trying to empathize with a victim of our modern day hazardous mental climate. You need to be capable of loving yourself openly to both seek and give assistance. You need to be excited about this (!!) because you are making a difference. You are helping all of us help each other!

This work will help somebody who is born in the future feel less pain. Your work will lead to others understanding better the task at hand. Your life is important because you are on the front lines making yourself better and helping those around you to overcome their symptoms. Feel gratitude for understanding your role!

It is common to look down on oneself as weak or imperfect when one is going through a mental crisis. We need to shift the mindset to one of truth: We are ALL imperfect and we are ALL to some extent sick. Being affected by a mental illness does not make you weak, it makes you a victim of the adverse mental climate we live in. Your brain is an organ and it is a beacon for vibrations. NOBODY’S brain is perfect and ALL emotions effect people differently.

Strive for the best you have to offer with maximum effort, but never expect perfection; there will always be room to improve somewhere!

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Dear reader: Take a second and think about your own personal relationships—who do you know that might suffer from a mental health issue? These are people who you can have a direct influence on. These are people who you are supposed to help, if simply by alerting them to your genuine willingness to do so.

Personally I don’t believe that anybody should have to suffer in the world we live in today because it is a bountiful world full of abundance and splendor, of compassion and ethics, of intellectual progression and understanding. Of love, care, and beauty. Of wonder, excitement, and growth. These are the things that we should be feeling.

Often. This is what we should be feeling often. So, why aren’t we? As we can see from the recent string of celebrity suicides, even those our culture perceives as having the pinnacle of success are not immune to the adverse effects of this mental climate.

We are connected as a species and with so much mental turmoil in the world today it makes sense that those around us are feeling the adverse effects. You do too, sometimes, don’t you?

Mental illness is pervasive and widespread—think of it as a by-product of a negative vibration, if you will (“If you want to understand how the world works, you must think in terms of frequency and vibration”- Nikola Tesla)—and people are experiencing it all over the world. You are far from alone in feeling it. The mental health issues that run rampant in today’s day and age are a direct by-product of how our civilization at large is treating the planet.

Although I truly wish you only the greatest of times, if you do find yourself feeling sad, confused, or anxious, ask yourself what is causing it. With all personal issues aside, dig deeper. Focus. Find what answer lies there for you.

My personal answer to that question was

“This isn’t how things should be”

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On a large-scale basis I believe many of us are feeling the effects of this adverse mental climate because of the way our planet has been treated in the last few centuries. You and I are, most likely, not doing this directly. Sadly, that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Resources are being burned up, natural habitats destroyed, and waste created, all at unsustainable rates. Mistreatment (of animals, nature, each other and our environment) is rampant. In other parts of the world, physical human suffering is still an everyday normality that we in the western world cannot fully understand. Poverty, malnutrition, and dehydration—the most basic of human sufferings—still take their toll on millions of people every year, even though, as a species, we have enough abundance to eliminate these things from the human condition forever. As a race of highly-intelligent, interconnected, emotionally complex beings, how could these things not bother us on some level? Well they do; rates of mental illness are only increasing, especially among young people. Millions and millions of others are going undiagnosed, and therefore commonly foregoing actual treatment for varying degrees of self-medication.

It comes down to our collective mental health and it’s time we recognize that as a species we are sick and this effects some people to a more significant extent than others. This is OK because this is where we are. Let’s do something about it. I certainly never asked for any of this bullshit to be happening and I’m sure you didn’t either.

While I personally enjoy many of the luxuries living in the United States in the early 21stcentury affords me, I also want to leave this as a better place than when I got here, and it’s clear that our current way of life is not sustainable. We have to start taking responsibility for our actions. We have to decrease our consumption habits. And we definitely have to start being nicer to each other.

Allowing yourself to experience and feel emotion is extremely important because through doing so we are able to move beyond the feeling itself and the healing process can truly begin.

I can hear many of you saying to yourself “Everyone gets sad. Everybody worries. It’s totally normal. I’m not buying it!”.

While it may be the current norm, it is NOT normal; just because mental illness has become so wide-spread doesn’t mean that we are supposed to be feeling this way.

There are more resources available right now than at any point in human history. Transportation, information, knowledge, and wisdom are relatively easy to access for millions of people. Stories, entertainment, necessities. Luxuries. There is an abundance all around us of beauty and splendor.

Yet, even in a world with so much to give, there is also a disproportionate number of people who struggle to get out of their own heads, who don’t feel ok.

For us to be able to see the change we so desperately need right now, we need progressive mental health ideologies to become accepted on a large-scale widespread frequency. We need to shift locally, culturally, and politically to a more understanding and loving attitude towards each other.

Anything can be accomplished when good people come together to solve an issue as a community. We can shift the cultural perception of mental health towards one where all will benefit. We have the power as a species to change our current vibration so that future generations can take what we’ve been able to accomplish and move forward with it.

So that violent public shootings become a thing of the past, not the new normal. So that instead of millions feeling the effects of this adverse mental climate—lost, alone, worried—they feel connected to something greater and are empowered to help others going through similar difficulties.

This is what is needed out of our generation: Compassion, courage, and empathy.

I believe we’re here to explore, to experience joy, love, and harmony. I believe we came here to grow, to set things up for future generations. We’re the solution. If you understand that something needs to be done we are on the same page.

Widespread change is needed.

And it all starts with the individual.

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Take the time to dig deep here; the amount of time it takes you to figure out yourself in this context is relative. Surprise!

It is time for you as an individual to figure out who you are. We need the real you out here, helping where you can.

What are your passions, what do you care about, what do you enjoy doing? If there were no limits whatsoever, what would you strive to do in this life? How would you leave it better than you found it?

Really take some time. Write down your thoughts. Think about them on a large scale and within the context of your own individual life.

No matter what anybody ever says: we are in this together!

Here in 2019 we live in a culture where the individuals path to fulfilling oneself is wrought with uncertainty, negativity, and cynicism. This is because commonly, when you tell yourself that you would like to do something that might take some time, effort, or change on your end, no matter what it is, a voice somewhere in your head says you can’t do it, that you could never do it, that you would fail if you tried, so it is better for everyone if you were to just leave it alone.

This is a normal reaction for all of us, and biologically it makes sense, yet now more than ever we need you to figure out who you are. We need you to follow your passion, whatever that may be for you. We need good examples to follow. We need active, vocal leaders.

Desperately, we need good people.

On the whole we need more humility, respect, and kindness and less arrogance, greed and fakeness. We need people to be real with each other, to collectively encourage each other to be the best possible versions of ourselves. While, we might not be the best at whatever it is we are pursuing, personal effort has its own rewards.

We need compassion for our fellow (hu)man, no matter the circumstance. We need collective decency and understanding amongst us to foster a cultural shift, one where people are not dissuaded from figuring out who they are and what they’re here to do.

Enough of the bullshit, of the you that you aren’t; we need the real you, the one you came here to be. It’s what we have to do at this juncture for humanity to move forward in the right way.

And so it all starts with you, the individual, and the inner dialogue you have—the behaviors that define your character. No matter who you are, give yourself some credit for the things that you’ve accomplished. Treat yourself as you would treat somebody else that you love—with grace, positivity and understanding. Move away from judging yourself on things you’ve yet to accomplish. Instead, focus on action in the present moment. If you never stop, you haven’t failed.

Henry Ford once said “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right” this is one of the most powerful lines I’ve ever come across because it’s just so fucking true.

Never give up on yourself or your aspirations and you will accomplish what you set out to accomplish. Things will not always go smoothly; you’ll be met with obstacles along the way. These kinds of things happen and nobody’s perfect—just because you figured out how to accomplish your dreams, aspirations, or ambitions doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily going to be easy for you to do so.

But then again, why would it be? It doesn’t matter if you consider yourself a weak person; you have the ability to gain strength. It doesn’t matter if you are already a strong person, you will always be able to improve in some way and get stronger.

And so it is with all things metaphysical; action breeds reality. You have the power to make decisions that can alter the course of your life, and the lives of those around you. In any specific moment, you can make that decision. It is the one thing that can never be taken away from you as a human being: your sole ability to act on choices you make. No matter who you are culturally, spiritually, or personally, how weak or strong, big or small, old or young, you can always react positively and with a brighter future in mind for yourself and those you love.

That’s what we need from you now. If you’re weak, know you can be strong. If you’re strong, know you can always improve somehow and help others. Never give up and you will never fail.

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I was recently speaking with a couple named Don and Jay about the mass-shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill. They were telling me how it wasn’t always like this; that people used to care about mental health. I wasn’t around then but by talking to separate people like my grandparents and other relatives, I’ve come to understand this is a unique time in human history and in America.

Mass shootings like this, they shouldn’t be happening. Ever.

They should never fucking happen.

The way they tell it everybody had guns before but people were different. Shootings like this weren’t a thing.

Jay said that people just need to hug one another more often. I told her that I couldn’t agree more.

So yes, the moral of the story is to be kind to those around you, folks. You can start off by looking in the mirror!

If this piece helps even one person improve their life, I’ll be happy. If you were inspired in any way, let me know. If you’re seeking advice or a way to improve, ask.

You are not alone friend. And if you’re reading this, you’re still here. And you can still make a difference.

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