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The Time Has Come

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.

Raissa Urdiales
Raissa lived most of her life along the shores of Lake Michigan in Wisconsin. She currently lives in the quiet city of Tega Cay, South Carolina, just across the border from the very active art community of Charlotte, North Carolina. Raissa has not always considered herself as an artist. She spent a great portion of her adult life staring into computer screens and managing computer system implementations and upgrades in the traditional corporate setting. It was through a chance paint night that she discovered her passion for painting. On her 51st birthday, she treated herself to some acrylic paints and brushes and has not stopped painting since. She balances her passion for creating with her day job as a systems analyst. In the wee hours of the morning, you will find her painting before she immerses herself in the technology that is consuming the world today. Although Raissa does not have formal training in the arts she is very conscious of the benefits it has on the human psyche. She holds a Bachelor's of Science majoring in Psychology where she focused her studies on Organizational Psychology. Through her corporate career, she has learned how to strike a balance between that which provides monetary reward and that which fulfills us as humans. For her, this balance is obtained through painting, writing, and exercise. She is currently a member of the Guild of Charlotte Artists where she exhibits select pieces during the quarterly art shows in and around the Charlotte Metropolitan Area. She has also submitted and is featured regularly in the Light Space & Time online gallery. When she is not painting or working with computer systems, she is writing. She currently has a column with BIZCATALYST 360° named “Artful Being” where she writes on topics both in and out of her corporate life to help others gain balance on what it is to be human.

7 COMMENTS

    • Thank you Maria. Mental Health is something we still seem to think is taboo to discuss. I believe the time really has come that we need to get to some root causes and come up with solutions. Thank you for taking the time to comment and your support in my creative life. It means a great deal to me.

  1. Absolutely, no one is immune from breaking down…it is not about agility, sometimes, it is life that relentlessly tears at a person and they break. But it doesn’t mean weakness, it might be because as you said so perfectly they were fighters, trying to do too much or be so perfect… I’ve known people like this. They ‘broke’ but only temporarily and rose back up again and this is life…we never know what it will bring, or who will be the one to take a punch at us…
    That’s why I’ve realized, we must treat one another tenderly.
    This is a great piece, full of wisdom.

  2. This is a very interesting topic. I agree with you on so many levels. Thank you for sharing your heart. This post is very timely for me also because my God-mother has been institutionalized fir the past month. She is being tested and we don’t know the diagnostic yet. Mental illness is a huge mystery for many doctors and specialists. The best thing we can do is to acknowledge how poorly we take care of our brain and start giving it what it really needs. I would start by good nutrition, rest and add creative activities to your day. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Raissa you are so right. I worked with a woman who had a breakdown after her divorce, was institutionalized by her family, lost her job and self-worth, put on multi anti-psychotic meds and told she would be on them for life because she was schizophrenic. We worked together to slowly wean her off the meds, get her life back on track and she is meds free, remarried to a great guy, is back in school and living a happy life. Sometimes we just need a break or vacation from reality to get back on track. A broken heart can cause a crack in the mind, but what is truly amazing about the body and mind is its healing powers. Compassion and understanding is a great medicine with no negative side-effects. Great article.

  4. Being super busy has become almost a social obligation. We complain of too many commitments, but we are also competing to see who has the most. Being busy is a status, it makes us feel important. And then, every historical period gave us some kind of stress. In the past we have had wars, pestilence, famine. Today it’s anxiety about the time that not enough and how to fill the time that remains. To earn free time we can start from here, cutting the obligations that we have set for themselves.

    • Well said and I agree. Time seems to be limited, yet we have the same amount of hours in each day and our life expectancy continues to grow. Somehow we manage to never feel like we have enough. Thought to ponder. Thank you for sharing your insight.

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