Day ONE: April A-Z Blogging Challenge
The world has been pre-occupied with physical health from the beginning of civilisation and culture. Yet we take mental health for granted. While enormous time, money and energy are spent on perpetuating bodily health, beauty and youthfulness, scant regard is paid to mental and spiritual well-being. Perhaps we can blame Rene Descartes, that 17th century philosopher who famously declared : cogito ergo sum – I think therefore I am, for introducing in a big way, the mind-body dualism. Since then (putting it simplistically, though it contains a grain of truth) humanity has become firmly entrenched in the physical world and in the pursuit of material wealth, with an intelligent and rational mind being an ally and often the key to all success. In this outward, EXTERNAL seeking of well-being and wealth, the body assumed importance and the mind became a handy tool to achieve material goals. BUT in this process, something vital went missing.
While the mind, the conscious thinking and reasoning part of our being gained importance, the emotions, the soul, the heart, the intuition— these unseen aspects of our being were forced underground and were devalued and neglected. Being emotional became a sign of weakness; being imaginative was flirting with delusion and intuition had no voice in the onslaught of reason. These elements of consciousness that were not given their due receded to the background or even the underground; they became a part of our subconscious, unhappy wraiths of out true selves. But what goes underground does not disappear. They started to subtly and surreptiously manifest as SYMPTOMS in the mind, as various kinds of mental disorders. They began to appear as addictions, as depression, as autism, as OCD, as ADHD, and numerous other illnesses with fancy names and fancier theories as to their cause and treatment.
Where do we begin to start redressing this problem that even today is not talked about much, except when a celebrity dies of it, (as the popular and successful Robin Williams was driven to take his own life), or some other fashion/film icon mentions it in public ( a la Deepika Padukone, the young Indian actress of mainstream cinema who spoke of it in the media recently) ? The problem is not just a medical one. It is a psychological, social and spiritual problem. It is symptomatic of the spiritual vacuum plaguing modern society.
So is there hope for the silent (and not-so-silent) sufferers of mental disease whose numbers run into millions and are increasing day by day as the times we live in become more volatile, uncertain and subject to change?Hope lies in AWARENESS, both individual and collective. Hope stems from an AWAKENING of society to the acknowledgement and support for a malady that while affecting individuals, affects the collective health of our communities, nations and the world itself.
From tomorrow, I want to talk about the different ways mental illness can be dealt with both by oneself or for others, which finally paves the way to a deep and profound understanding of our inner personal selves. It also leads to the discovery of hidden gifts! Not all is as it looks like !
© Lakshmi S. Menon & VOICE’nVIEWS