As I close my eyes and drift away to a land where there is love, health, peace, and blessings. I wanted to take the time to think and reflect.
The truth is that I have written, researched, and thought about mental / brain health a lot. This was through the four years of undergraduate study in Psychology, and also through the Masters. While the Masters was formally acquired through the Faculty of Education, the interdisciplinary nature allowed me to explore and connect through a variety of interests that included: psychological, political aspects that influence higher education, and higher education at the global level. The recent writings have returned the focus back to psychology because of the unfortunate recent suicide deaths of, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, and of course others that continue to happen on a day-to-day basis. It is a cause for alarm, and has to gauge us to think, as to why individuals are turning to this act.
It is also interesting to know that while here in the west, suicide is viewed as an act of hurt, harm, and not a positive. In some East Asian cultures it is said to be the ultimate exploration of life - living at the edge, to take the risk of taking ones life. So who is writing about suicide, culture, and position in the world will also affect how the act of suicide is viewed. Given that it is a cause of concern in most of the world cultures, I continue to write from the perspective of prevention.
One of the root problems to mental / brain health is how it is viewed. Stigma induces stereotypes and prejudices. We have to realize that trauma, mental / brain health is an injury. It cannot be seen at the physical level, such as a bruise or a cut. The function of the brain is not separate, the brain is connected to other bodily organs. It assists to keep us alive. The brain controls our breathing, our heart beat. It is essential for keeping us alive at this very present moment. We have to care for this organ, as it is a life giving force. It works in synchronicity with other bodily organs. Not only that, it has its own functions of allowing us to think, feel, believe, create, and it is this human intellect that separates the human species from animals.
So as we have established some of the functions of the brain, can we ignore it's importance?
As it is important for us as a life giving force, heart beat and breath - we now have to ask why are individuals committing suicide? The patterns of who is engaging in the act do point towards highly creative individuals at the present, and also if we introspect as the historical level. This is why I have always said that highly creative individuals must use their creative energy for the positive. Once it is mismanaged, it falls in the destructive path. Not only at the physical level, but also at the level that is not seen. Destructive in the thought life.
While thoughts are not seen, they are also alive. We must be careful about what we think about, because thoughts have the power to come alive. So if we think a destructive thought, it can emerge at the physical level. This is why we have to learn to manage thoughts, to be aware of what / how we think. if we think good, flourishing thoughts of life, peace, love, and happiness; we are bound to see this at the physical level. Of course the complexities do arise with our experience of life, and the interactions, but the starting point is to shift thought patterns. And once again I say that managing thoughts has to be learned, but this is something that is not taught in schools, or within a formal learning setting.
Shifting thought patterns, especially for those who have been affected by any traumatic injury, is not easy as it sounds. Brain chemicals, and processes have been altered, but this should not sound discouraging. People overcome, heal, and live very productive, healthy lives. Whilst healing is life long, triggers can act as personal set backs. The key is to once again re-focus and manage that energy for the positive outcomes. A person can be successful, have it all in life (however one chooses to define that) and still be a survivor, or a person healing from mental / brain injury or concerns. Just because someone is successful it does not mean that they know about internal brain processes, or think about brain function from a neuro-scientific point of view.
The beginning to all healing is to talk to someone - self- realization is key, knowing that you need to reach out. When you are feeling supported, that supportive environment can make you feel safe enough to seek further assistance. Environment is more powerful than we know, because it can determine the outcome of the course of life. Life is what you make it, and how you create it, but there are many factors involved in creating a life you imagine for yourself, loved ones, or family.
The conversation for mental / brain health can really only improve, when we change the way it is viewed. There needs to be attitudinal shifts, but I not think that I'll ever be content until we begin to accept that the brain is a bodily organ, just like the heart that needs to be cared for. The word mental itself induces every single stereotype you can think of. Why can't we opt for Brain Health, just as we say: Heart health?
My thoughts to share with love & kindness! :)
Notes: These thoughts were originally hand-written on June 11th, 2018.