What constitutes mental health in 2018?
Does it mean one is able to deal appropriately with all of life’s bullshit? If so, shouldn’t mental health criteria be updated to reflect the ability to deal with a life inhabited by the presence of robots, damaged politicians, social media, global monopolies, poisoned air and food, crappy housing, a utilities marketplace that robs you blind, and a society that values narcissistic extroversion and ‘chancer’ type behaviour above all things, as well as the consumption and acquisition of more and more fucking ‘stuff’?
Getting back to the label of being mentally ill or in poor mental health, I would argue that modern life – this life in 2018 – does NOT allow mental health, not one bit. You have to be a magician to being mentally well. As if being physically well isn’t hard enough – I don’t eat food wrapped in plastic, I try to make food myself, I won’t buy or eat any products with palm oil, I try to walk five miles a day and all of this physical care list is bloody hard – then there’s the mental health issue.
My mental health issues are as follows: I am an introvert, I have a tendency towards depression, I don’t fit in, I have social anxiety, I suffer anxiety in public places. I avoid certain situations like festivals or anywhere where large groups of people congregate. I have sensory overload issues, and have physical symptoms like extra-sensory hearing, extra-sensory smelling, migraines and debilitating tension in my bones. Now these things classify me as having mental health issues, but I think it should be reclassified as having Western World Modern Day coping issues – nothing more.
I have had therapy but it hasn’t work. I have been told to do cognitive behaviour therapy, but that hasn’t worked. But still my mental health is deemed as not good because of the above, when really it is the life one is forced to live that is the problem, not me.
So you will yourself to become that magician, see the good in everything – yes, but behind the seeing of the good, there has to be food in the belly, a nice night’s sleep, a safe place to be, a lack of debt or indebtedness and an eye on the future, opportunities, possibilities and creative solutions to life’s issues. There also has to be support networks, helping hands, understanding, lack of judgement, community spirit, minds that get/understand you.
I hate the word mental health, as though those who have mental health issues are seen as lacking or deficient or deformed or who have somehow been knocked off life’s aspirational ladder of success and acquisition of property, qualifications, cars, stuff, whatever.
How about this: Life is hard, very, very hard. This is a blog post for five of my dear friends who are finding this at the moment and for a person who is very close to me – my dear son – who, as a young person, is struggling to get any recognition for his efforts.
And for me, because I find life so hard. I don’t fit in, I have never fitted in, I have very simple needs, and somehow because I refuse to be an extroverted consumer, it is suggested I am not well.
It’s the smoke and mirrors of the modern West and trying to understand all that makes me feel even worse.