Hi all, just a quick one today (he says, before beginning the next, blathering installment!)
I want to follow up on my last post; the world seems a brighter place than it did around a month ago, as a direct result of the ‘moral’ lesson I explained to some extent above – essentially, taking control of happiness. This can be even in the smallest things, I’ve noticed: keeping fit, avoiding procrastination in all forms and exploring new horizons (Belfast next month!) are all effective techniques. Deeper than this, though, I’ve found that the most crucial ingredient in this positivity cocktail is simply understanding, and restating, the determination to be happy. It’s incredible how flexible the mind can be in perceiving good, once it’s forced out of its slumber.
Of course, we need to give ourselves breaks – living as if you’ll die tomorrow, whilst a brilliant mantra which I myself am trying to exemplify in the coming months, is not completely sustainable. Life is a marathon, and we need to choose our battles. But again, we can choose to see even the bloodiest skirmish as an opportunity to practise our combat skills – next time, we can always say, we might win. With this in mind, is it not true that we – provided we are well and healthy – have no excuse for ‘slumping’, at least not for long?
So that’s where I’m at. It’s quite nice, but it’s a real challenge bending this nascent philosophy to fit painful situations (of which we all have plenty). I’ll give updates as these come about.
I want to end with a target, and a slightly sombre mention of an encounter I had at work today. Firstly, one of my goals (in direct response to my abovementioned mind ‘shift’) is to volunteer myself more for charities. I have always done volunteering, but fitfully and rather out of restlessness than drive. I need to find a way of fitting this into my working/studying week, so again, will update as and when.
An extension of this, I believe I want to do even the smallest piece of work to alleviate the current mental health crises across this country. As any who have read much of this blog will know, I’ve had experiences with mental health, including long-term anxiety, self-harm and short bouts of depression. Most have it much, much worse than I, and today I was confronted with one of the underlying irritants of this problem. To cut a tedious story short, a group of colleagues on a First Aid course with me were discussing depression in teenagers, and dismissed it (and my own tentative defences) as the silly words of young people – not a “real” problem. I managed to keep quiet.
The people I was with were not malicious; they were very kind, in fact. But they were emotionally and technically ignorant – what’s worse, despite the fact that the most voracious of the crabby group is employed in a 16-19 college, they were comfortable announcing very deliberately their closed, potentially harmful views. The damage such words can do is often underestimated – I firmly believe that even passive dismissal of these real health difficulties can turn unhappy children into even more unhappy adults, and the consequences can reach far further than any one person with a pen and pad can probably plot.
I want to help – ’nuff said.