In recent years awareness of mental illness has increased. New studies teaching us more about how these might work, new practises and a new acknowledgement of being able to talk about the topic more openly. Topics of mental illness are now accepted parts of the content being put out, particularly with certain blogging categories and music and art circles. With this new context, we can now see these patterns of mental illness within stories of some of histories greatest creatives too, whereas at the time they may have been ignored, either way it’s not a new thing. There’s always been mental illness, we just didn’t know how to talk about it and we probably won’t ever see the whole picture, it’s complicated.
If you want to watch some awesome films about context in relationship to some of histories influential creatives check out Big Eyes, Love & Mercy or give the Kurt Cobain biography Heavier than Heaven a read. There’s a gazillion other examples.
What is becoming clear is that more and more people are “coming out” as identifying with having experienced some kind of mental illness at some point in their lives. What this got me and Miz talking about was the question, is anyone not mentally ill since we’re all unique and there really is no such thing as normal.
I have experienced mental illness, but I do not feel comfortable talking about it in detail on the internet, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. I am sure that some people have found it therapeutic to talk publicly about their experiences and I know I have been counselled and inspired by learning about others experiences too. What it got us wondering was, if everyone is unique and everyone has a different set of experience, traumas, inspiration and knowledge, there is no normal mindset or way of dealing with anything.
When I watched Russell Brand speak about the world going nuts post Trump election/Brexit it got me thinking. Russell was making the point about how one of the problems is that people focus so much on the content they want to see and the people they want to associate with that many of us are blinded to the bigger picture, whichever side of the opinion you take. This is a massive topic which I could write a lot of words on, but I won’t now.
What I took away from this is that when we’re speaking to others and we don’t like or understand what we hear, we should be calmly questioning this and starting a conversation, not going on a rampage ranting about how terrible, wrong and shit it is. That doesn’t change anything, it just generates more negative vibes and clickbait propaganda which doesn’t always have a balanced agenda. Whereas, if we calmly approached that opposing point of view with a neutral point of view, then learn more of that person’s context, you can both educate each other towards some level of greater good. How many of us actually had a conversation with a Pro-Brexit voter and asked them calmly why they voted that way and then exchanged opinions? Maybe you’d learn something from each other instead of causing more unhelpful outrage. I don’t think that happened to many.
This sentiment works on a simpler level too, if you have a friend who has anxiety, you learn how to talk to them and what methods help them get through tough times. If you have no idea that a person has that context and you get an unexpected reaction to something you say, don’t take it to heart, maybe there’s something deeper going on that has actually nothing to do with what you said in that moment, does that person just need a different approach? Or better timing? And it doesn’t even have to be about mental illness it relates to race, religion, relationship history, where they grew up, what languages they speak, the list is endless. Everything we go through as individuals influences how we react and interact with people, it’s so complex.
When you then put the social aspect on the internet and you are exchanging conversation without face to face interaction and therefore no real way of reading a mood or body language you make it even more difficult for people to function socially. We’re so used to communicating on the internet now, I think some of us have forgotten to remember that we’re all unique and it’s pretty damn impossible to be 100% happy, cheery, clued up and enthusiastic 24/7. Let’s be nicer to each other, talk more and care more because being human isn’t easy as it is. Let me know your thoughts in words, not in likes please. 😉