The sad state of mental health

November 1, 2012
This article was published more than 2 years ago.
Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

By Aaron Grierson


All the talk of mental health the last few weeks are making me depressed. It may sound like a bad joke. Many of my friends suffer from various mental ‘abnormalities’ or ‘illnesses.’ I’ve experienced first hand how useless you can be when someone breaks down because they’re having an off day while under the pressure of these mental states.

I am however glad that (at least for some) these situations are not permanent. It is only a mild reassurance especially in the face of such pressing media, but nevertheless it is a sort of light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

Now I’m sure that for some, all of the advertising about mental health awareness is great. To others, it may be extremely intimidating, but that’s never been a reason to stop, so I know asking would be a waste of breath.

No I’d rather look at a deeper issue. Maybe it’s one that’s been looked at hundred of times before. Not that all of us have the time or energy to be reading psychology journals. What I wonder concerning the recent bandwagon push for mental health awareness is why most of the possibilities are looked at as a disease.

The few readers that know me personally probably understand where I’m coming from. I am by no means going so far as to call myself depressed, or even really make a comparison but a lot of us feel down a lot of the time. A lot of us often have wavering self-confidence. Does that mean that we are in some way sick? Like plague carriers of negativity?

Does it never occur to the institution (not McMaster, but the medical community at large) that this is in and of itself stigmatizing in the most potentially harmful ways? Is that not a dead end of constantly paying for pills and still feeling like shit upwards of half the time, maybe?

I realize that this line of thinking has a few problems. First, half of my thoughts about the efficacy of medication are more or less speculation, but I’ve never heard anyone say that depression is something one simply gets over.

Second, and far more importantly, being depressed, manic, or bi-polar may be some of the more common mental derivatives but are certainly not the only ones. So I can hardly say that a sociopath feels like crap. Maybe they don’t even know what it’s like to be down in the dumps.

The diversity of mental health might even be part of the problem with tackling it. No one method fits all, rather like how there is no one pill that makes everyone feel ‘normal.’  But again, I have to question the necessity of normality. I’m quite prone to saying that sanity is for the weak or that it is not required. That’s because in today’s world, sanity seems like a fallacious bastion that people hold on to when they don’t feel up to dealing with the world’s problems. But that’s yet another problem - for activists who wish to end world hunger, the task is overwhelming. At the same time, gawking at the inaction of the world may also drive someone mad.

Maybe it takes something a little different. Like the world telling those with such ‘illnesses’ that they are in fact not sick (or certainly not in a devastating fashion) and that no one really has all the answers. A thing like being happy or confident is not an easy journey, and may indeed take a whole lifetime.

Maybe that’s the sort of philosophical paste we need to start espousing in order to better hold ourselves together.

It’s funny to say but I’m not really sure there is such a thing as a ‘happy medium,’ when it seems we can’t all be happy.

It almost feels like I am yet to reach the acceptance stage with these sorts of issues, but I can certainly say that I won’t be happy until something more is done about it.

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