Emotions that rollercoaster severely often lead those of us between 15- 32 to widely speculate that we are flawed, mentally unstable, unfixable and an absolute failure. From experience, this is what “growing-up” is like for many of us today. As someone with a family of mental health issues I know this burden more than most. Coupled with the fact my lived knowledge helped me, empowered me even to become an intuitive carer, I was again blessed to be a proximate therapist for many of my friends, loved ones, colleagues and even strangers, through the last decade. Though it could also be a curse depending on the framing of each context and how I felt.
The flip-side of this knowledge is though that it is harmful. Toxic. It threatens your very being because it undoubtedly flaws your understanding and structuring of your environment, it’s cultures, people and most of all your own self.
I have found in the last few weeks that I am a multi-faceted being. Something I have run from, for… well a very long time. I shouldn’t feel the need to classify myself as “unhinged”, “emotional”, “bi-polar” (undiagnosed) or “mental”. However this is the lived reality for our culture. We are pushed to “process”. I myself love this term. But what does it mean? Is it not just another way for cultural perfection and the need for simplicity to over-ride our individuality? Our autonomous perceptions? The nurtured genetic truth that every single one of us is different. Unique. My truth is not your truth. My mind is not your mind. My pain is not your pain.
This is where my criticism of mental health or rather personal mindfulness comes in. I am sick and tired of the world thinking that there are quick fixes. That time only exists to be spent not given. Because this the truth as I have seen in. The world is a quagmire of ideological paradoxes. There is no one truth, but this does not stop our governments, our organisational structures, our media, our communities, our schooling, our healthcare, our families and friends even from portraying that there is. No-where is it more evident than in mental health.
Healing can only begin until you, YOU learn the way that you can become grounded to yourself, to your loved ones, to your life and to your context. Only then can YOU move forward. Take those steps to realise and be content with yourself. The entirety of yourself. Meaning…. well meaning whatever that means for you.
Now this doesn’t have to be on your own. Please don’t think I am saying that. As someone who herself is a very communal being, I know the (at times harmful) disconnect that occurs when you are trying to heal the rifts you find in your life. Healing comes in many different ways. It could mean a darkened room you lying on a couch, or a drink with a friend where you literally spew, vomit, pour out everything that ails you. It could even be colouring, doodling, or simply writing a very long-winded [some might say pointless] piece of writing. Or something short like a pathetically simple bit of poetry that regurgitates old syntaxes and quite possibly taxes your souls and those that are joined to it. What I will say is that all of this takes time. The one commodity we never think of. The one we dedicate and plaster everywhere but never truly consider. Never appreciate. Time.
It takes time to learn what is best for ourselves. It takes even longer working damn hard to achieve that which is best for ourselves. Especially when at times it can feel that you are losing the battle with your own misgivings, or community-wide nay-saying. Particularly when professionality, or lack of it, is held out as a “Stop” sign to halt any healing you are perhaps in the midst of. So what if I didn’t train how others saw the illnesses I see before me? Or if I didn’t learn how we as a species learnt to dissect, disturb and define our experiences – and then destroy the visions that were not held to be “true” enough, down the years? Or if I didn’t learn the language to decipher these encoded inherited knowledges, so I could further obscure, “cure” and minimise our hurt?
We as a people forget at times that there was a time when it was only us. The old saying; “You leave the world as you enter it- alone”, for me is a great way to start forging my inner-strength again. It reminds me that the only path and timeline I should consider is my own. Harder to do than to say. I think it is more difficult for me, being a person who believes unreservedly in spirituality, community, souls, soulmates, romance and familial contexts and love in all it’s forms. Doubly hard as a women who has internalised my oppression so that I find that I can easily sacrifice my time for others, without regret for my own path. (This sounds so weird to write, but it’s so true it’s scary. Anxiety and introspection overload)
I must end. This knowledge serves only to share my story. My re-found power, whilst I still have it and before my shame, anxiety and fear causes me to loose this clarity in which I find myself. Because despite my confidence and belief in my words here, I equally know that these self-affirming statements I start creating, often disappear in the face of my crippling inner-anxiety that I have learnt to mask, by learning from true masters of course (<3 Mothers). The me I kill every single day.
In short, we are individually a collective. We form a vast, confused, unknowing, educated, blinded ilk. We have many abilities. None more so to vocalise, describe and create. What we create better than most is oppressive ways to silence ourselves. Eradicate our existences. Our uniqueness. We must stop this communal self-harming by accepting our own truths. Whether it’s by arriving at a very individual system or process, or one that requires a greater number of people than just yourself. We must end the obscuring of our hurt and the ingratitude of time.
No-one must be allowed to capitalise on our basic human need to heal. To share, to oralise our hurt so that compassion can be given, in turn so that we may travel down our life-paths to attain self-knowledge and contented security, pass on our love and leave this world in the way that we arrived. Happy, free and with a primal breath.