My current WHY

If you knew how many things I write, and never publish, you would see a very lopsided draft to publish ratio. I write pieces, often. I rarely let my thoughts and ideas be seen. This all seems counterproductive, even counterintuitive for a creative, but there you have it, many words go unread up in here.

I have often thought, why don’t I just journal these thoughts instead of making them in to blog posts that will never see the light of day? I do journal, but my journaling is more spiritual in nature, my blog posts are more based in human nature. As I write this, I feel there is an important key being placed in my hand. I don’t write about the good stuff, per se, I write about the real stuff.

That is a bit of a downer, even to my own ears, er, eyes. Why do I feel so compelled to write about the real stuff? Well, I write about the real stuff because I think that we tend to ignore the real, difficult things in life. We tend to want to push it down or away, hoping out of sight is out of mind, and if it is out of sight/out of mind, then we don’t have to confront it, let alone deal with it.

Why is this important to me? I feel this is the basis/beginning of our mental health. Over the last year, watching everything unfold as it has, I have come to the startling realization that our mental health collectively is extremely poor. I have known for some time that people have poor mental health, but we are grossly mentally ill as a society.

Mental health is not something we really discuss or place importance on, and for the older generations, I think that worked. It could be overcome, maybe overpowered is a better word, because you basically got out what you put in. And while that still holds true today in a sense, the mental health of people today is based upon the avoidance of it yesterday. But I am sure it has always been that way, I think that further solidifies what I am trying to say. It all just keeps adding up, and keeps getting passed on to the next generation.

This creates quite a storm. A mental health shit storm if you will. People have no idea there is an issue. I mean, they can’t physically see it or typically feel it, so there is nothing wrong, right? Have you noticed how angry people are these days? Do you know that anger is an emotion. Emotions tell us how we are feeling, they can serve as internal warnings that something is wrong, or they tell us that something feels right…and sometimes that can be wrong! Argh!!!

It is no wonder that we are, where we are. How many of you were mad at people for not wearing masks? How many of you were mad at people wearing masks? How many of you just wanted to see another person’s face, regardless of the mask debate?? So many confusing, emotion invoking feelings, and we are just talking masks and not anything else!

So, how did this past year alter your mental health? I know for some, they just kept plugging right along. For others, I think this past year was a relief to be able to interact with less humans than normal. Many people saw a decline in their mental health this past year, some of those folks know this, so many others do not. Personally, I steadily have been building pressure and I finally blew up a couple weeks ago.

My own experience over this past year started with gaining a much needed break for me and my family in March of 2020. After that break, the disappointments started rolling in. Then the corruption of our government started taking a toll. Then people all around me started pissing me off, with their opinions or their dumping of their undealt with emotions, and while I tried to remain positive and supportive, I tripped and fell into old bad habits of being too available to people. This coupled with old issues of my own and loved ones, in addition to trying to live a normal hectic life, just brought it all crashing down.

I became depressed. I became angry. My hatred for others started to mount and grow. I saw others fraying horribly, and passing it off as someone else’s problem and not their own, and finally, FINALLY, I talked about it. And now, I am writing about it. I am still making plans to help myself, one thing at a time. The first thing I had to do was distance myself from the external less important things that I had no control over. I also had to seclude myself from people that were trying to use me as a life raft. I can’t swim, so that was only drowning us both. My mental health had to take the front seat, and others need to do the same as well.

Making yourself, or your mental health a priority over serving others is not selfish. You cannot pour in to others from an empty cup. You cannot fulfill nor make other people happy if they are not happy with themselves. You cannot heal someone else, but you especially cannot help someone if you are not healed yourself. You cannot take on others’ problems to alleviate their pain. You cannot make people get help if they are unwilling. You can do one thing, and one thing only: you can be aware of you, and figure out how to help yourself if you need it. If you are unsure, you can ask a loved one or friend for advice, but the work is on you. You can seek out a healthcare professional, but remember, you need to know your starting point, that may be as simple as knowing you just don’t feel right.

It is no longer May, nor mental health awareness month, but shouldn’t every month be about mental health awareness? Shouldn’t we be well for ourselves, and that just so happens to benefit those around us? Yes. To end, I wants to challenge you to do one thing positive for your mental health this week. Maybe you turn off the news, maybe you put down your phone, maybe you tell someone no, maybe you go to a yoga class or read a book. Whatever you choose to do, do it for your health, your mental health, because head colds of the mental variety can end up as mental shit storms and no one wants that.

~Erin

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