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The Battle

What is mental health?

Perhaps it's best defined by what does it mean to lack mental health. This will be different for everyone, but I suspect there are some common elements, one of which is the feeling that you can't ever really relax or 'let go' because it means being vulnerable and open to inevitable stresses. These can come in waves, like a periodical kick in the gut; a gnawing feeling of bereavement. The death of peace of mind.

This is before we factor in society, which is something I think medical professionals ignore. This cannot be ignored. This includes a lack of any kind of therapeutic community or holistic attitudes toward wellness. It includes the notion that work is the grand panacea (for everything) - without discussing the work itself and the conditions thereof. It also includes the bootstrap, "pull yourself together" mentality that denies people the opportunity to understand what is happening and drives them forward with no thought for the consequences. In fact a lot of the wellness 'programmes' that I have come across seem to be more interested in getting as quick a result as possible. A few sessions, at the patient's expense, a brief toolkit and then out the door. Quick turnaround, quick profit.

There is also the media. We don't have a free press; we have a tyranny of opinion printed to be framed with pictures of young women in their lingerie, or celebrity actresses' sex tapes. These parasites pick on the most vulnerable in society and they know full well they cannot defend themselves, meanwhile the press is its own moderator. This is not journalism, it's state fuelled oppression; print fascism.

The most fundamental issue is that people who don't have direct experience of  anxiety/stress/depression have no way to understand the individual's experience. For sufferers life can become a daily struggle where every breath is drawn hard against feelings of negativity that threaten to overwhelm. Where can these feelings go? Can they be resolved? As someone living isolated from what meagre help is offered this becomes even more difficult as the battle is fought solely internally. One can walk the streets and see an entirely different life. The battle never ends to maintain a healthy balance of finding joy and peace and experiencing things such that those qualities are bereft. This is not a choice that people make and it is not a battle I am currently winning.

This is not to say that more serious and/or life threatening psychological conditions (such as bipolar or schizophrenia) are not equally important if not more so. My philosophy is simple: whoever needs or wants help should get help.


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