Monday, 19 September 2016

Spirituality and mental health

I am writing this post because, as with all my posts, these two topics are things I'm interested in - and what's the point of writing about stuff you're not interested in anyway - but also because I want to dispel the myth that being spiritual or religious precludes you from mental health difficulties. Many people turn to either spirituality or religion (I have done both) to help them get through the shit storms of life - and heck if I didn't know some of the things I know, my life would be one heck of a mess - but that doesn't mean life becomes easy or that problems are easy to solve.

So let's talk about this topic, by first of all stating something that should be fairly obvious, but might not be to some - and that is that there are plenty of people going through some kind of difficulty or trauma, including people who you would never think. I have never understood how people manage to hide that they are suffering from depression, but some people do. Men, in particular, are probably suffering a lot more than you might think. I tend to agree with what a friend of mine said a few years ago - 'men are fucked'. Whatever some women might think, men don't have it easy either - and there's little or no doubt that it's harder to get support for mental health issues if you are a man, for reasons that hopefully will dissipate in time along with other societal expectations. The notion that 'boys don't cry' and that men should 'tough it up' is undoubtedly one of the most harmful things that society has done to men. I can say with pretty strong conviction that there are lots and lots of men, particularly in the UK, who are still too scared to talk about their struggles, at least to their friends and family.
People might go to the doctor and get prescribed anti-depressants, but that will rarely if ever be a long term solution.


Fortunately, touchwood, I don't suffer from severe depression or anxiety now, but have had more than my fair share of difficulties and still have thought patterns which I struggle with. Some days just aren't particularly pleasant, and I don't enjoy experiencing strong emotions.
I just do my best to let things pass without fighting them, or if I am fighting against 'what is', I am aware of it. There are times when emotions get very strong, and being a highly sensitive person who feels things more than the average person, it can be a little bit too intense at times. If things do get too much, trying to 'accept' it is not necessarily wise - sometimes the best solution is a good rant.
Spirituality (which can be a bit of a fluffy word) is, to me, just getting to know yourself and doing your best to allow life to be as it is and to do whatever you can to make your life better. The mind thinks that fighting against an issue will make it go away; it sure doesn't.

I believe in meditation and I believe that there is a life force which could be termed as 'God'. I believe that I am a divine being. I believe in healing and I believe that we should do our best to thrive in life.
But, it's so easy to label things as 'positive' and 'negative'. Mental health difficulties are generally labelled as 'negative' and it's easy to think that we shouldn't have them or that they make us a lesser person than the people we compare ourselves to.
What I'm starting to realise is that I don't need to reject the mental health issues I've faced. They are part of me. Just like some people have physical limitations and health issues, others have mental health issues. It is nothing to be ashamed of.

And that, my friends, is where I'm at right now. It feels like there could be more added to this post, but as the cartoon goes .. that's all folks! For now at least.


  1. A good read mate. Wll be interestingto discuss some of th themes tomorrow over a brew.

  2. Keep in mind that right now you're body is battling many forms of bacteria and perhaps even viruses, always have, and odds are you're probably unaware of it for the most part. Mark


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