(A small part of my library)
There are literally months for everything these days, so the fact that May is Mental Health Month probably escapes most people, including me (up until recently). Not to slander other month-worthy topics, but I can think of very few things that we need to talk more about in this country than mental health. I know I talk about it on this blog quite a bit; in fact, there are about 78 postings tagged to 'Mental Health' so far. Make that 79 after this one.
In the interest of complete transparency, I will note that I think about mental health quite a bit. That would be my own, family members, co-workers, friends and the subject in general. As I've grown older, I've come to realize just how much mental health has been an underlying theme in my life. I'm not going to get into any details that might compromise others, but suffice to say I have had people very close to me deal with significant issues over the years. Part of my own struggle has centered around a central question:
Why me? Why am I (seemingly) okay when ________ isn't? What makes me so special?
The above are not necessarily pleasant thoughts. Rather, at times I've suffered from a kind of survivor's (literal survivor...) guilt. I know, I should be grateful for what I have in the mental health department, but that doesn't make the sting of dealing loved ones who struggle any easier. On one hand, every time I've helped someone in some small way in this area I seem to get a bit more enlightened, a bit stronger. On the other hand, well, I've had far more failures than successes when it comes to others, at least in my own mind.
"When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead.*"
Part of the challenge, at least for me, is the fact that I try and process the world around me using logic and reasoning. That's all well and good, except for the fact that logic and reasoning are of little help in an arena that is inherently illogical and at times unreasonable. That's something I tell others all the time but yet I have to tell myself even more frequently in some circumstances. Sometimes I hear that self advice but yet still don't follow it. Maybe that's one of my mental health issues.
So what does all this mean, other than the intemperate ramblings of an exceptionally amateur person that writes? Maybe the answer is as simple as this: We need to talk about this stuff more often, regardless of whether or not you find yourself being the patient or the caregiver. In point of fact, for most of us, well, we usually end up being both. That makes the dealing with the whole stigma thing about mental health issues all the more important, as we can pretend these issues don't exist in our lives, managing to fool everyone in the world except the person that matters the most: Ourselves.
You can learn more about Mental Health Month by following THIS link.
(*) Grace Slick, White Rabbit