It often amazes me that we live in a culture so governed by stigma and social norm.
I think there are a lot of people that are governed by what others think of them and that what or ‘who’ society does not regard as ‘normal’ are often disregarded in socially unacceptable terms.
Often people can be so easily dehumanised as people, according to the expectations of society.
I still think there is an evasive attitude towards certain behaviours, such as the outward expression of human emotion, which often means open expressions of thoughts and feelings are buried within for ‘self preservation’. This however can have some harmful effects on the individual.
For example, if a person trips up on the street and cuts their leg, then unfortunately a mere plaster will not promote delivery of effective healing of that wound.
In actual fact what could potentially happen, is that the wound may contain some harmful bacteria which if allowed to harbour under the blanket of a plaster, the pathogens would multiply, spread through the body via an outlet in the lymphatic system and circulatory system, spreading to vital organs with potentially disastrous consquences, unless treated accordingly!!
So why should our mental health be treated any differently to that of an open wound?
Sometimes it is easier to envisage the open wound as our hearts, the dirt as anything that we feel that obstructs our inner peace and imagine how we will release that pain so that it does not spread to other avenues of our lives. This would often develop into symptoms such as depression, worry, fear, anxiety, feelings of hopelessness, which may lead to other forms of self destructive behaviours such as a wave of negative thinking and patterns of behaviour that may have harmful consequences in our lives.
I am a great advocate for the power of talking therapies and how advantageous they have proven to be. Actually within a trusted relationship, such as friends and family, the power of open communication, I believe is essential.
I am not sure if I am being naïve, but as I understand it, the consequence of a deep emotional/spiritual/psychological ‘infection’ if I can use the metaphor appropriately, can be deeply distressing encasing feelings of severe inner psychological pain. In a lot of studies I have read, the impact and intensity of the inner distress outweighs an alternative to a solution . This isn’t a weakness or selfish. It is a lack of internal validation and unmet inner needs, or so I believe in my own opinion.
And unfortunately the end result is as disastrous as the person who becomes a fatality due to a bacteria that engrosses the immune system of the physical body because of a weakened immune system or poor defences or lack of intervention at the correct time or the correct treatment.
Hence, I believe in not addressing our own inner psychological distress/grief/pain/anger we are allowing infection into the roots of our lives that will eventually spread, constricting our own minds and skewing our perceptions with negative thinking .
Often, there is no greater power than the power of human connection. Opening ourselves up to a person we trust who we know will treat us with love, warmth and kindness. Because in the times of our lives we most want to give up because we feel there is no hope and nothing to look forward to, love is our greatest comforter. It gives us a deep sense of belonging and need regardless of who we are as individuals and it is universal.
In this life, many people search for power, success, money, material wealth, but they forget to pursue the greatest gift of all…..LOVE.
People have become cynical about it, because the world is so full of hurts and disappointments.
So we lose our faith in each other and even ourselves and our ability to carry on.
I think for me personally, love comes from many sources; family, friends, work colleagues, interpersonal relationships, support networks, exercise/fitness clubs, every day people that can often be taken for granted that we meet on trains, or tubes, or on aeroplanes or in the most random of circumstances.
There is no disconnection between the fact that isolation or being isolated from others can lead to feelings of loneliness and therefore lack of internal validation. We are not born to live dissociated lives from each other. But society can so easily distract us from what matters most I all of our lives.
So to conclude, I will again reinforce the value of human connection. The ability to communicate openly with those we love and endeavour to have a greater belief in ourselves as human beings, that there is always a positive solution to our pain if we take a step back and envisage what really matters to us.
For example, the economical crises over the past few years in UK and Ireland lead to an increase in male suicides. I’m no suicidologist, but the link between this increase and financial insecurity is fairly evident. I would endeavour to say in my own opinion that most of the male ‘ego’ is incorporated into one’s level of success and financial security, so if this is threatened and the male visualised as the main provider in a family, for example may lose that, the ego and one’s sense of self worth is at risk of imploding. So too, is similar for divorced or separated men particularly, who may feel unable to express feelings of low self worth or rejection, or innate emotional helplessness and therefore feel overwhelmed , lonely and isolated unable to reach out due to fear or being perceived as weak or whatever they feel is ‘expected’ of them in terms of what they can provide.
I think the view is twisted. People are people. Human beings are all equal. And the one thing we all have in common is we all have the same blood flow. So why should we be expected to conform to social expectation like puppets on a string for fear of those who may judge us or people that do not truly recognise the value that lies within us.
Are we as human beings not so much more valuable than this?
Imagine if we didn’t care what people thought of us. If it didn’t matter that we were going to lose our security or had suffered a relationship failure. Imagine if we didn’t have to live fearful lives or depressed live, because we had a little faith in ourselves and the love of those around us.
Imagine if we believed that despite how impossible our circumstances appeared, in order of finding a way of escape, there was in fact resolution, that would enable us the strength to face what we fear most, instead of running away from it, growing as people as we dealt with that pain through coping strategies that gave us hope and a new sense of who we truly were which would enhance self worth and self growth and find a new sense of direction so much more powerful than what we had before. I believe this is a life worth living. You have a life worth living. Just look inside yourself and see yourself as a tree. Prune away the areas of your life that are not helping you, making you feel bad and giving you negative thoughts and focus on the areas of your life that make you feel good, that will allow you to grow in a more positive, meaningful and purposeful direction that you ever thought possible.