A is for AWARENESS and AWAKENING

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 

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A-Z Blogging Challenge: THEME reveal

This is the first time I’m participating in this challenge and am feeling awesome to be a part of this! However, being a newbie, taking some time to get used to this idea and some starting jitters too 🙂 ALSO my laptop crashed on me and here I am trying to navigate on a tablet !

  

So here is my  THEME REVEAL, a little late but in time for the Challenge that begins on April 1st, 2015. Hope it resonates with many of you. It is a subject that as someone aptly put it is ‘the elephant in the room’, something that many of us encounter daily, either in ourselves or in our family, among friends, in the workplace, anywhere we go. But then no one talks about it, much, at least not as much as it deserves to be spoken about. Through the month of April, I intend to post on the THEME:

MENTAL HEALTH Awareness : a Journey to CREATIVE Recovery

When I started this blog last year, it was with the intent to discover my ‘writing voice’. But then I realised that a writer’s unique voice develops not so much from skill and technique ( though these are important too), but from the recesses of the self. Those places that we seldom visit in ourselves, because it is tough to cope as it is ; well those secret places are the wellsprings of our creativity! I aim to discover and share the different ways that coping with a mental health issue, whether depression, OCD, paranoia or any other, in a positive, stigma-free manner, actually helps in recovery (degrees may vary). And what is more, it releases the creative spirit hidden within each unique self!

NB: the posts on this topic will NOT of the medical type; they are to do with mental attitudes and spiritual insights that help in dealing with ‘disorders’ of the mind, which in varying degrees EVERYONE is prone to.

However, physical symptoms and the chemical composition of the brain as well as heredity play a huge role in determining mental health issues in small and big degrees. What is most essential is awareness and recovery through approaching this reality in a creative and holistic manner