HALF THE STORY: what you know about Mental Health is really about Mental Illness
Mental Health is often confused with mental illness. MH doesn’t have a good rep. When I was a Mental Health counsellor in schools in Hawaii, the kids avoided me like the plague. They didn’t want to be seen or associated with MH! They had a stigma about MH because Mental Health Centres are treating those with mental illness. You gotta agree, Mental Health certainly does not conjure up pleasant thoughts now, does it? But truthfully, Mental HEALTH is what everyone is searching for! True Mental HEALTH is such a gift! Unfortunately, the Mental Health Centres are specialists in Mental Illness, not in Mental HEALTH. Psychiatrist, Bill Pettit has said that despite years of medical training, no time was spent covering Mental HEALTH.
Mental HEALTH is often forgotten or overlooked. Some in the MH field see it as absence of mental illness. When I first started understanding True Mental HEALTH, one of the most amazing things I saw was how little comprehension I had of some feelings that were outlined in a higher state of mind. Words like playful, content and wonder were rather foreign to me. I realized that I had not experienced or considered such beautiful feelings in a long time. Though I was a fairly happy-go-lucky gal, I had my moods like everyone else. What I didn’t realize was what part I played in my emotional state and I didn’t know what great feelings awaited me on the other side!
I was stressed at times, down at times, frustrated and overwhelmed, tired, angry, sad … I experienced the lows. I was also happy, loving, caring, energetic, humorous, friendly and had great times. Every human being will experience the roller coaster of emotions known to mankind. Often I did not take my moods too seriously and they seemed to move on relatively easily. I was fortunate to know something without being aware of it… A GOOD MOOD ALWAYS COMES BACK! Or in other words, a new thought will arise!
Understanding Thought is a miracle drug! Once you understand that thought creates reality, you are now excitedly engaged in your experience of life! You actually see habits of thinking that are caustic to you (holding grudges, worry, regrets etc.) and when the gig is up, they effortlessly drop away. You also see that thoughts change just as clouds pass in the sky. You don’t have to think your way out of a low state of mind! No analyzing, no techniques, no overthinking this! You can relax. A new thought awaits. Theosopher Sydney Banks wrote “If the only thing people learned was not to be afraid of their experience, that alone would change the world.” – The Missing Link
Mental HEALTH exists in every human being at birth. Over time we learn habits of thinking that become the norm for us. We learn to worry or to judge. We learn to take our thoughts seriously. We believe what we think is real. We forget what it is like to live with a quiet mind and to have a sense of wonder. We get so busy that we miss the beauty around us. We aren’t often present even when we are with friends and family. We are rushed, overwhelmed, stressed, tired and aren’t happy. For many (one out of four) things get bad enough that there is a mental health diagnosis given.
What is a diagnosis? The DSMV is a thick manual listing the numerous mental illnesses that mankind suffers from. I see a diagnosis as a label of where someone spends a lot of time. For instance, people who know me would not consider me a shy person. However, I have to say that when I am shy, I am very shy. I just don’t spend much time there so I don’t get a label of being “shy”. Someone who is depressed spends enough time there to be diagnosed as depressed. Someone who is angry a lot, gets labelled an angry person. That is not who they are. It is only because they spend a lot of time in that state, that they get that label.
One of the most powerful ways to help others regain their mental well-being, is to see the health that is inside of them. To recognize their true identity and who they really are awakens them to consider something other than the diagnosis. When you speak to that core of wisdom and acknowledge the health within, it opens the door for new perspective, for new thought and for transformation.
Let’s celebrate Mental HEALTH! It’s about time that the understanding of the Three Principles is found everywhere… in schools and universities, and that it is common knowledge for people around the world to be aware of their birth right. With the understanding of the fact that we create our identity from the inside out, much suffering can be eliminated. Afterall, the outside is but a reflection of what we think.