Happy World Mental Health Day!
Here’s a day for people who have a mental illness. Or for people who care for somebody with a mental illness. Or for those of you who care about somebody with a mental illness. Been affected by mental illness either personally or vicariously, and want to help garner more awareness about it? This day is for you too.
Today I am grateful to live in a world that acknowledges the importance of maintaining good mental health. Because they just didn’t have that kind of awareness in the era of Game of Thrones, you know?
But seriously. I am grateful to live in a country that seeks to break down the stigma surrounding mental illness, too. I know that many people in developing countries suffer needlessly because they do not have access to the healthcare services and community support that I as an Australian do.
I could easily be guilty about this fact. You know, bit o’ white guilt*? But no, that really wouldn’t help anybody, myself included. And I’d probably find a way, in my sometimes-self-pitying, anti-glorious mind to make it a story titled “Woe is Me: The Unluckiness of Luck”. In typical self-obsessed style, I would, of course, also make it in to an audiobook, play it on repeat, and constantly fantasize about being a guest author as part of Oprah’s Book Club.
…What was I talking about? Me? Sorry. White guilt. It’s bullshit. There’s nothing wrong with feeling a pang of guilt for having been born in to a privileged life. What you do with that guilt and that privilege is really what matters. I have a mental illness, but I started this blog to garner awareness and as a means of creative catharsis. I get social anxiety, but I started my own mental health support group through meetup.com. Whilst it is very easy to feel sorry for what you do not have, it really does take an artist to turn a privileged life in to a pitied one. I say phooey to that.
So again, on World Mental Health Day, I bring it back to gratitude. Here’s to the things in life that augment good mental health, and to the things, one day at a time, that help to reduce the suffering that mental illness seems to promise the afflicted: community, friendship, family, good physical and mental health, food in one’s belly and a roof over one’s head!
*Actually, my great, great, great, great, great grandfather was Alexander Dumas, (the famed author of The Three Musketeers) and he was black. I haven’t formerly done the maths, but I’m pretty sure that this technically makes me ¼ black, which, coincidentally, automatically makes me very cool. I suppose it negates the whole white guilt thing a little bit too.