“happy” world mental health day

No matter who is “most likely” to suffer, we’re all affected.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness:

-A mental illness is a medical condition that disrupts a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, mental illnesses are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life.
-Mental illnesses can affect persons of any age, race, religion or income. Mental illnesses are not the result of personal weakness, lack of character or poor upbringing. Mental illnesses are treatable. Most people diagnosed with a serious mental illness can experience relief from their symptoms by actively participating in an individual treatment plan.
-During the first full week of October, NAMI and participants across the country are bringing awareness to mental illness. Each year we fight stigma, provide support, educate the public and advocate for equal care. Each year, the movement grows stronger.

 

I wouldn’t dare deny the truth in the above statements.  Nothing I’m about to say here is meant to diminish the significance of the condition, to deny the need for medication, or to boil it all down to some woo woo “just meditate and open your heart” mantra….. but I guess maybe because of the general lack of holistic perspective used to treat medical conditions by traditional medical professionals, the above definition of mental illness strikes me as kind of surfacey or too clinical or… something.

It’s my understanding that at it’s core this medical condition, these mental illnesses, are mental imbalances born out of our dis-ease at being in the body, in the world.  We’re born free and wide open, and then life starts to happen. And it keeps on happening. In one way or another, by major traumas or minor incidents, our authentic self is misunderstood or rejected or betrayed, and we create defense mechanisms to protect us from again feeling unloved, unaccepted, unworthy, inferior.  When the authentic self (basically your heart) has been rejected or hurt in some way, it seems to be the natural human response to protect oneself from having that happen again.  So we may build walls around that self to keep the pain out, or become hyper vigilant- always on the lookout for the red flags that danger is imminent then planning escape routes or attack plans.  These become our patterns.  They’re the operating system running the whole program.  And because our society teaches us to look without for relief, for fulfillment and love and peace and joy, our chances of looking within to identify the dysfunction and then consciously choose to upgrade to the operating system effortlessly running the preferred programs are slim.

These imbalances may be great or small, but I believe we all have them to a certain extent.  I don’t think anyone is impervious to the precarious nature of the human condition.  It must be part of the journey, part of the point of it all. We’re individual expressions of the infinite intelligence of the universe.  We incarnate here and we forget that.  We believe that we are who we have been conditioned to become, separate from everything else.  All of the experiences laid before us we have chosen to help wake us up to remember our authentic self.  I guess that means that we choose the experiences that go into the forgetting, too.

unbecoming

Certainly, I digress.  I just mean to say that to a certain extent, we’ve all gotten out of alignment with who we really are, identifying instead with the mind and the chaotic thoughts swirling around it.  Since our thoughts influence our feelings and create our reality, this incongruence manifests with the imbalances in the mind affecting the ways in which we relate to ourselves and each other.  And that’s what it’s all about.  How we relate to ourselves and each other.  Which is really the same thing.  Ideally we’d have a balanced mind and an open heart to freely engage with both the world around and inside of us.

So be aware of your mental health.  Be aware of your self.  This special day is for mental health education, awareness and advocacy.  I am aware that I am prone to depression and anxiety.  Perhaps more so than your average bear.  I have taken medication, it wasn’t for me.  I am a big fan of therapy.   All I know for sure though is that the biggest relief has come through the act of allowing, loving…well, simply feeling the feelings.  They come and they go.  And no feeling ever killed me, even though I was scared to death it might.  That’s just it.  The fear of the feeling is deadly.  If you can courageously choose love over fear as the foundation to stand on as you feel the feeling… that’s when the magic happens.   I know this first hand.  And I have to remind myself daily.

It’s true that depression is just one of many on the list of mental illnesses, but it’s prevalent so this is relevant.

 

Depression is symptomatic of feeling isolated and cut off. In our drive to live the good life, we typically isolate ourselves from relationships that might nourish us.- Mel Schwartz Waking Times

mork calling orsen2

Orson: The report, Mork.
Mork: This week I discovered a terrible disease called loneliness.
Orson: Do many people on Earth suffer from this disease?
Mork: Oh yes sir, and how they suffer. One man I know suffers so much he has to take a medication called bourbon, even that doesn’t help very much because then he can hear paint dry.
Orson: Does bed rest help?
Mork: No because I’ve heard that sleeping alone is part of the problem. You see, Orson, loneliness is a disease of the spirit. People who have it think that no one cares about them.
Orson: Do you have any idea why?
Mork: Yes sir you can count on me. You see, when children are young, they’re told not to talk to strangers. When they go to school, they’re told not to talk to the person next to them. Finally when they’re very old, they’re told not to talk to themselves, who’s left?
Orson: Are you saying Earthlings make each other lonely?
Mork: No sir I’m saying just the opposite. They make themeslves lonely, they’re so busy looking out for number one that there’s not enough room for two.
Orson: It’s too bad everybody down there can’t get together and find a cure.
Mork: Here’s the paradox sir because if they did get together, they wouldn’t need one.

“Mork & Mindy: In Mork We Trust (#1.21)” (1979)

253483_1280x720

 

Advertisements

inter-related

universe of souls

In a real sense all life is inter-related.  All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.  whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.  I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be.  This is the inter-related structure of reality.“- Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

connect with strangers on a human level

or be kind… or (seeing as it’s easter and all) wwJd

regardless of the title, i thought it a touching story…

Thomas Hawk:“Every so often you take a photograph that has personal impact on your life.  This photo is one of those for me.
I took this photo on the Burnside Bridge in Portland.  The Burnside  Bridge is one of the areas of Portland where homeless people congregate.   There are a few homeless shelters there and lots of homeless people  hang out just underneath the bridge.  I was up shooting the bridge at  night and the “Made in Oregon” neon sign that can be seen from the bridge.
While I was shooting I was wearing headphones and listening to music  on my iPhone.  As I was walking across the bridge this man, this man, approached me saying something while I had my headphones  on.
In a moment that I am very ashamed of I did not remove my headphones.   Instead I said back to the man that I didn’t have any money.  I said  this to the man without having heard what he was asking me.  I could  tell from his expression that he was annoyed by my response.  At this  point I took my headphones off to hear what he was saying.
What the man said to me was that he didn’t want my money.  That he  was not asking me for money, that he was asking me if I would take his  photograph.  I was very embarrassed.  First off, I didn’t even have  enough respect for another human being to take my headphones off and  hear him out in the first place.  And secondly I’d jumped to a  conclusion that the man simply was trying to get me to give him money.  I  felt bad that I’d insulted this man.  And I felt ashamed of the way I’d  treated another human being.
After our interaction on the bridge I could not get my interaction with  this man out of my head for the next few days.  I was so ashamed at  myself for jumping to the conclusion that I had and for not removing my  headphones to speak with the man when he approached me.  This beautiful  man had approached me and wanted nothing more than to be photographed by  a stranger.  He was giving his image to me and I felt that I’d treated  him so badly.  I also felt bad that I didn’t even try to get his name or  an address or something afterwards to send him the photograph.  I had  been taken by surprise by the interaction and was flustered and had  acted poorly and thoughtlessly.
This interaction made me decide to try and make a greater effort in the future to connect with strangers on a human level.”
complete story here

Thomas Hawk:

“Every so often you take a photograph that has personal impact on your life. This photo is one of those for me.

I took this photo on the Burnside Bridge in Portland. The Burnside Bridge is one of the areas of Portland where homeless people congregate. There are a few homeless shelters there and lots of homeless people hang out just underneath the bridge. I was up shooting the bridge at night and the “Made in Oregon” neon sign that can be seen from the bridge.

While I was shooting I was wearing headphones and listening to music on my iPhone. As I was walking across the bridge this man, this man, approached me saying something while I had my headphones on.

In a moment that I am very ashamed of I did not remove my headphones. Instead I said back to the man that I didn’t have any money. I said this to the man without having heard what he was asking me. I could tell from his expression that he was annoyed by my response. At this point I took my headphones off to hear what he was saying.

What the man said to me was that he didn’t want my money. That he was not asking me for money, that he was asking me if I would take his photograph. I was very embarrassed. First off, I didn’t even have enough respect for another human being to take my headphones off and hear him out in the first place. And secondly I’d jumped to a conclusion that the man simply was trying to get me to give him money. I felt bad that I’d insulted this man. And I felt ashamed of the way I’d treated another human being.

After our interaction on the bridge I could not get my interaction with this man out of my head for the next few days. I was so ashamed at myself for jumping to the conclusion that I had and for not removing my headphones to speak with the man when he approached me. This beautiful man had approached me and wanted nothing more than to be photographed by a stranger. He was giving his image to me and I felt that I’d treated him so badly. I also felt bad that I didn’t even try to get his name or an address or something afterwards to send him the photograph. I had been taken by surprise by the interaction and was flustered and had acted poorly and thoughtlessly.

This interaction made me decide to try and make a greater effort in the future to connect with strangers on a human level.”

complete story here

VIA