The time has come to have the discussions we all fear. To be honest with the world around us. To call out those people that are causing the fabric of our society to break down. That it’s not ok to allow people’s mental state to be beaten to a point of mental illness.
Mental Health is an interesting concept. You don’t see it. It’s not like seeing the fit athlete next to the 400-pound person. It’s not that obvious. In fact, both the fit athlete and the 400-pound person may be mentally ill. You just don’t see it. But there can be signs. Signs that no one sees until it is too late. Signs that are ignored because we don’t know what to say to the person suffering from mental illness. Simply said, we might ask a lot of question of the fit athlete on how they achieved their outward appearance but we will not ask the same question of the 400-pound person because it’s taboo in our society. We know why they are overweight. They ate too much and didn’t exercise. The interesting thing is those are the actions that created the outward appearance that is seen. The mental reason may be the same for both. Yup, it’s true. The super fit athlete might suffer from the same mental illness. They might be using exercise as a way to cope just like the over-weight person uses food.
In today’s technical world we are relying on our brains but we don’t seem to know how to take care of them. We deprive them of sleep. We let them pop from one topic to another saying we are multi-tasking when in fact we are spinning our brains in circles at a rapid rate.
In today’s technical world we are relying on our brains but we don’t seem to know how to take care of them. We deprive them of sleep. We let them pop from one topic to another saying we are multi-tasking when in fact we are spinning our brains in circles at a rapid rate. We obsess over things we have no control of simply because we are bombarded with e-mails, messages, tweets, texts constantly through our waking hours. We are hyper and change directions too many times to count in one day, some in one hour, some the changes in directions can be dizzying, but we don’t see it.
I have sat next to people where they tab through screen after screen never stopping on any one of them long enough to focus. It’s like watching the TV where someone has the remote and clicks through the channels every second never fully understanding what the show is that is on. Or clicking through because there is a commercial on, we’ll just come back later, and we never do. It’s dizzying. It causes our brains to become exhausted but physically we are not moving so we push on. Mental illness can be a result of the brain just saying “that’s enough, I’m taking a break”. It would be like the fit athlete collapsing after they cross the finish line of a marathon. The problem is that we tell those that suffer from mental illness, that collapse after running a marathon, that they need to get back up, and that they need to start another day and run another marathon.
You will never see a person’s mental strength but don’t assume that a person that suffers from mental illness isn’t mentally fit. They may be the person that never quits, that keeps pushing themselves further, that doesn’t know when to say “that’s enough”. They may be the person who is fighting for the greater good and is just out-numbered. They may be the person who cares about others more than they do about themselves. They may be the person that you think can handle it all. They may be quietly suffering, crying in bathrooms, finding a private place to be alone with their pain and stop the world from beating them up further.
You may never see their pain because they are good at hiding it, but it is there, and there are signs, and it’s ok to ask if they are ok, but don’t ask if you don’t care. Don’t ask if you are going to assume it’s because they just ate too much and didn’t exercise. They got that way because they over-indulged and pushed their brain past a healthy point. Their brain is tired. It’s not able to run the marathon again. Let them rest. Let them re-establish who they are because they have probably forgotten. They haven’t had time to think of what it is that makes them unique. They haven’t explored anything outside of the constant computer windows that keep flashing before them. They can’t read all the messages that are bombarding them. They just need to turn their brain off, stare into the ocean, listen to the waves, feel the breeze in their face, be warmed by the sun that is breaking the horizon, and disconnect with the technology that has been blocking their view of the world around them.