In today’s society, mental ill health is seemingly on the rise, with the number of people being diagnosed with mental health conditions, and addictions, being worryingly high. In fact, compared to 50 years ago, for example, we could say that we are in a mental health pandemic. This knowledge has triggered me to write this post today, as I strive to understand why so many of us find ourselves in such an unhappy situation. My belief? That it is not because 50 years ago mental health conditions and addictions were non-existent in society, but it is because, 50 years ago, people didn’t talk about such things. They were still there, of course they were, but they went unreported, hence why it seems like there has been a sudden ‘wave’ of mental ill health rather than the truth– that mental health and addictions have been prevalent in society for decades, if not centuries. The difference between now and then? Then, if you were feeling depressed, it was a case of you needing to just put your head down and ‘get on with it.’ Whereas now? Now mental health is no longer seen as a ‘taboo’ topic, but a rightfully important one, and one that must be discussed openly, without so much as an ounce of shame being attached to it.
So, if not a recent phenomenon, why has humanity been in a state of such loss, (if that’s the right word), for so long? I believe that it is because we do not understand our place in the world. We question why we are here, what our purpose is, and what this- life– is all about. We experience a sense of loss for what we think we should know about our lives, but what we are actually a very long way from really knowing the answers to.
With so many questions yet so few answers, our lives can feel confusing and hard and uncomfortable, which, in many cases, will inevitably lead to the development of mental health conditions, such as Depression, Anxiety and Eating Disorder’s, and addictions, such as those to drugs and alcohol (as just a few examples.)
My opinion, then, is that the perceived rise in mental ill health and addictions are a symptom of a lack of understanding of the world and our place in it.
To overcome the mental health crisis that we have found ourselves in, we need to ‘train’ ourselves to do less overthinking, and to express greater gratitude for the simple things in life, the things that we, all too often, take for granted. To do this, we can refer to our younger selves. The little versions of ourselves who would wake up every day filled with a sense of joy and excitement, and who would be curious about this world in which we inhabit, asking questions to understand it, but not letting the things that we lack answers to, drive us to, quite literal, madness.
Why should we look to our childhood selves for inspiration? Because, we were all undoubtedly happier back then, and, want to know the good news? We all have the power within us to get back to that place- back to our childhood selves who didn’t feel the need to question our place in the world constantly, and, back to our childhood selves who thought light thoughts that got us into trouble for giggling, not dark one’s that make us feel like hiding ourselves away.
So, although easier said than done, let’s all try to do less overthinking, and more living.
We’re here, and, whilst we might not understand why we are here in this moment, just being here in and of itself is a miracle, and one that we should be making the most of every…single….day (from today if you’re not already…)
My challenge for you then is to:
You’ve got this!!