I noticed several days back, upon reviewing my updated profile on LinkedIn, a feeling of pride and self-accomplishment for having officially announced myself a “mental-health advocate”. It seems such a strange thing – this concept, that I advocate for mental health. I mean, I guess – who wouldn’t? But you’d be surprised, I think..
I suppose I’ve been thinking about the concept a lot as of late – this concept of mental health advocacy – as I’ve been consciously working very actively, to maintain my own mental health “recovery”. I’m struggling at the moment, to figure my next steps professionally, and as I search for jobs and work to focus this mind long enough to finish up Jane Says for pitch – I find my thought processes doing curious things.
For example, just earlier (and this is a silly example, but really then, all the more to the point…) – I felt myself begin to get frustrated at the thought that I don’t have the money right now even, to purchase Kleenex, so I don’t have to use toilet paper instead. But then in response to that thought, a couple more peculiar ones also came.
First, I thought to myself, how lucky I am – to have two wonderful parents with whom I can live, while I figure out this pivotal life transition. Then I thought about how lucky I am, that the toilet paper they provide, is so soft as to not even bother my skin. You know there’re all these Kleenex brands you can buy, and really the consistency is closer to sandpaper more so than anything. And I thought, here I am complaining to myself about having to use toilet paper as Kleenex for no good reason, all the while wasting precious resources (i.e. time and energy) unnecessarily, in the meantime.
I’ve found that in this American society within which I live, advocating for mental health is largely, an unpopular thing. My sociological programming tells me that I should feel bad about myself because I do not have a job right now, that I should feel hopeless about any book idea I may have going because “it’s only a pipe dream”, that I should feel embarrassed about myself because I do not even have the money to purchase Kleenex, etc. etc. This is what my society has taught me to believe – but in mental health recovery, I choose to think differently.
I reposted a photo today, from Facebook’s “The Alternative News Network” to my own profile page, showing a Buddhist monk meditating with a quote that read:
“If you don’t fit in, then you’re probably doing the right thing.”
I find this truth quite generally, within this American society – and it’s rather frightening. I’m not sure how or when or why things got so off track here – but I hope the time will shortly come, to get back on. I’m so tired of hating myself by default, and not appreciating others in all the ways for which they deserve appreciation.