Last week it was mental health awareness day and what it did for me is make me aware of how little people know about mental health. Talking to people, conversations were about people needing to be more calm. People needing to “calm down” or “chill out” more. Ah yes, correct, we all do, but that is not really the point of mental health. Mental health equal being calm. It is a way to minimize the seriousness of mental health. To be honest depressed people are actually some of the most calm people I have met. What people perceive as calm and really actually feeling peaceful inside is totally something different.
I would actually go ahead and say that pretending or forcing yourself to be calm is a way of deflecting. A way of not dealing and not feeling what is going on inside. A way of deflecting. Which is, believe it or not, not healthy for your mental health. Its like keeping a coke bottle that has been shook to sit around for months and months (hint- eventually it will explode). If someone is balanced, they have no issue of addressing their feelings or feeling them. That is a strength. Even the Dalai Lama admits to feeling angry. Feelings are a part of us and showing them takes more courage and control than concealing them.
I don’t think most people are aware of the fact that calm and mentally healthy are not really correlated. Some people of great mental health might be loud, enthusiastic, passionate about life. Saying mental health is when you are chill is an easy way to not admit to yourself that mental health can affect you more than you think. Its a simple way to brush it under the rug and not address it. When doing that, should make you aware this is exactly why you should start looking into your own mental health.
But its normal that most people avoid it. People don’t want to associate themselves as mentally unstable or unwell. People that are described as such, are not seen as functioning, integrated parts of society. We tend to shun them out, or at least we used to. People of mental illnesses were pushed away, we didn’t talk about them at family functions, we would look at them awkwardly. Hopefully with time that changes – we all suffer from anxiety at times, feelings of inadequacy, thoughts that follow us into the night. Our mental health is like our physical health, sometimes we get ill – we get a cold and we need some healing. The earlier we accept that the healthier we can be. First step towards it, is understanding that calming down is a childish way to not dealing.