One step beyond aka please don’t call it madness

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“It is not the the bruises on the body that hurt. It is the wounds of the heart and the scars on the mind.” ― Aisha Mirza.

Welcome to the latest view from the ground blog. If this is the first time you have visited my place here, seated under a beautiful tree, observing the world, thank you for joining me as I watch the madness ensue. But, I don’t want to call it madness as that’s quite a rude expression and it is important that we go one step beyond and find better descriptions for the way we view things and observe people.

As you read through, I apologise for any typos. I don’t have the luxury of a prof reader anymore so I wing it. Write and right from the heart. Don’t worry, when the book, ‘Round the bend or turning a corner?’, is published it will be proof read and probably rewritten. The original purpose of the book was to be a self help book for anyone who could feel a change happening in their lives but couldn’t quite understand what. The first publication will still follow that footprint. The second version may be more of a personal reflection. Watch this pace, but don’t call it madness.

I read that the World Mental Health Day is next week. I day to highlight a growing illness, but still an illness that many, too many, hide from due to a perceived idea that others see it as a weakness, not an illness .

In looking into things in advance of putting some words together for this blog I read a quote from David Levithan with interest: –

“I think the idea of a ‘mental health day’ is something completely invented by people who have no clue what it’s like to have bad mental health. The idea that your mind can be aired out in twenty-four hours is kind of like saying heart disease can be cured if you eat the right breakfast cereal. Mental health days only exist for people who have the luxury of saying ‘I don’t want to deal with things today’ and then can take the whole day off, while the rest of us are stuck fighting the fights we always fight, with no one really caring one way or another, unless we choose to bring a gun to school or ruin the morning announcements with a suicide.”

I was really interested in this view and can really see what David means. Those who suffer with mental illness are in that condition 24/7, it’s not a badge, it’s an illness. I know those who suffer from on mental health issues may see the World Mental Health Day as quite patronising. If that’s the case, it must be some difficult.

However, I personally see the World Mental Health Day as a really important chance for people to say that we care. But, and it’s another big but, we have to carry that care into the every other day of the year.

I see this year’s theme set by the World Federation for Mental Health is psychological first aid and the support people can provide to those in distress. This has to be taken up by every government in every country and action MUST be taken. Stop bitch fighting, stop dropping bombs, stop talking about building walls and start taking action to help cure this hidden but growing illness.

Here’s a revelation – 12 years ago I walked into se my doctor in tears and proclaimed I couldn’t cope any more. I wasn’t suicidal, that’s not what I’m saying. But, I was ill. I had a stress related illness and I needed help. It was the best thing I every did. I needed a bit of time away from my day to day routine and I was subscribed medication. At first, I didn’t want the medication but I was pursued to take it and over a period of time, things improved and here I am writing blogs.

I wouldn’t say I am completed cured. It’s always there and some things have happened that could trigger the condition again. But, the key things for me are 1) recognising it is an illness; 2) being honest to me and others; and 3) talking (and writing) about it. I am not ashamed, I am not embarrassed about it and if I can help others I will – 24/7.

For those who are told medication is bad and that you are falling into the hands of the pharmaceutical giants. Make your own decisions. Ask yourself, if it fixed the illness, why deprive yourself of the cure just because some say otherwise. I’ll stop at that to avoid insulting anyone, as we are all, of course, entitled to our own opinions.

So, I for one will be supporting the World Mental Health Day. But at the same time I will always be aware of David Levithan’s views. He has a strong point and we should all be supporting and highlighting mental health every day.

To conclude, and to refer back to the title of the blog – the next time you hear someone talk about mental health or if you see someone suffering, please don’t say ‘are they mad’. It’s an illness and to give it such a badge is cruel and hurtful. Please think about the words. Please go one step beyond and please don’t call it madness.

And to close. I’d like to end with a song. Ta Dah! But, this time it’s personal.

Following a significant change in my life recently, times have been / are quite tough. But, when I look a what is going on in the world – particularly in Haiti – what have I got to complain about? And, at some stage, I’ll finish the book, although it will have a different conclusion. Anyway, I just wanted to say, in the words of Green Day, I’m “still breathing”. Take care and enjoy every minute and don’t even think about what the next minute will bring.

“I’m like a child looking off in the horizon
I’m like an ambulance that’s turning on the sirens
Oh, I’m still alive
I’m like a soldier coming home for the first time
I dodged a bullet and I walked across a landmind
Oh, I’m still alive

Am I bleeding? Am I bleeding from the storm?
Just shine a line into the wreckage, so far away, away

Cause I’m still breathing
Cause I’m still breathing on my own
My head’s above the rain and roses
Making my way, my way
Cause I’m still breathing
Cause I’m still breathing on my own
My head’s above the rain and roses
Making my way, my way
My way to you

I’m like a junkie tying off for the last time
I’m like a loser that’s betting on his last dime
Oh, I’m still alive
I’m like a son that was raised without a father
I’m like a mother barely keeping it together
Oh, I’m still alive

Am I bleeding? Am I bleeding from the storm?
Just shine a line into the wreckage, so far away, away

Cause I’m still breathing
Cause I’m still breathing on my own
My head’s above the rain and roses
Making my way, my way
Cause I’m still breathing
Cause I’m still breathing on my own
My head’s above the rain and roses
Making my way, my way, my way…

As I walked out on the ledge
Are you scared to dance to live?
I been running all my life
Just to find a home that’s for the restless
And the truth that’s in the message
Making my way, away, away

Cause I’m still breathing
Cause I’m still breathing on my own
My head’s above the rain and roses
Making my way, my way
Cause I’m still breathing
Cause I’m still breathing on my own
My head’s above the rain and roses
Making my way, my way, my way…
Cause I’m still breathing
Cause I’m still breathing on my own
My head’s above the rain and roses
Making my way, my way
My way to you”
Jon

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