People all over the world think that the opposite of love is hate. Nope. It's indifference. If a kid is not getting enough attention from their parent then they will act up because attention of ANY kind is better than the dreaded NOTHING!! To have people look past you as if you don't matter is a fate worse than death. Connection matters. It is a basic need. Some need more connection than others but, extrovert or introvert, we all need it. And yet, when people are depressed, their instinct, often, is to withdraw. That is because the puss in the wound of depression is debilitating low self-esteem and they fear that others will think the same awful things that they are thinking. And sometimes the negative things are true. Sometimes people will avoid tasks or situations because they fear a negative outcome and then the avoidance creates the very thing they feared in the first place. : ( How does one pull themselves out of that negative spiral? Firstly....know that you are not alone. I've worked in the mental health field for 24 years and I've live twice that long as a person. What I've learned is that EVERYONE has 'stuff'. This 'I'm completely fine and have no issues' and 'if you were doing it 'right' neither would you' culture that we live in is perpetuating a shame that doesn't allow for brokenness and the wisdom that comes from it. We are all broken in some ways. If we were so healthy and everyone was so 'FINE' then we would hear and see people being kinder to each other. Really kind.....not two faced kind. We would all feel safer to show our bad days on facebook and instagram because there would be a combination of true compassion for each other and a containment of the negative story so that joy and positive experiences can win and fill our minds and our experience. It's hard to stay separate from all the critical messages in our society. I struggle with it and I teach this stuff!! It's like swimming up stream. So I think the increase in mental health issues is a result of a cultural breakdown and awareness of how important it is to continue to practice the skills that we teach to our young children. We all matter. Our spirits matter. Talk to yourself kindly. Talk to others kindly. If they have let you down then name that and tell them how it has impacted you but stay away from labelling them in hurtful ways about their spirit. It doesn't serve us or them when we call people names. This week is the Bell Let's Talk campaign for mental health. I heard the brilliant Clara Hughes talking about her struggles on CBC. The more we all admit that we are fabulous and we struggle at the same time, the healthier it is for everyone. Let's stop pretending and start be mindful of reaching out towards each other in love, kindness and compassion as the attitude we perpetuate towards ourselves and others.
Be gentle with your spirit and with other's spirits. We all matter and this ride is hard enough as it is.