Mental Health Check: Not just politics and opinion
Updated: Feb 7, 2019
I get a lot of people who try to convince me that what is happening in this country and everything with the Trump administration is just propaganda, politics and opinion. And they tell me it doesn't matter who you support or who you vote for. When I see more than ten thousand children separated from their parents in prison camps (yes, they are prison camps because they are being held hostage against their will), when I see the LBGT+ and immigrants being treated less than most people's pets, when I see the damaging consequences of climate change and pollution, when I see corporate greed and the huge income disparity while people barely can afford rent and healthcare--there really is so many things to list--I know for sure in my logical mind and in my compassionate heart that these times aren't normal.
For those who can carry on their normal life or even supporters of the Trump administration, they don't see any policy affecting their family, their friends or community. If they do, they are ignoring it or have the privilege of not being the victims. Unfortunately, most people are selfish, they will sacrifice anything to protect themselves, their religion, their money, and their family. It doesn't matter if those policies hurt or kill others as long as the problems don't touch their bubble. Their mental health is good because they care less about people outside their bubble.
As for the rest of us empathetic creatures or those of us who have survived abuse and discrimination or even the unlucky ones who are hate-targets, there is no safety bubble. The stress of caring for other human beings and the environment is overbearing these days and a lot of people have ended their lives because of it. We are familiar with the hurt and pain and, therefore can feel the pain of others. The worst part of what we see is the zombies, racist and bigoted people who walk the streets without empathy, passion, or love for other people. This is the reality all of us experience every day.
How do we make sense of all these issues? How do we bandage the wounds of the world?
We all have a choice, whether to focus our powers in our private sphere of every day life or we could focus our energy to the every day life of humanity and our planet. I know this looks like a heavy responsibility, but it's not.
START FROM WHERE YOU ARE
-If you are not mentally healthy enough to take care of others, take care of yourself first. Take that nap, go see a doctor, hang with people you feel safe with, do that thing that makes you laugh, be alone, eat what you want, do what you want with your time, get physical or exercise, heal yourself, be free and when you are ready, fight with the strength that you have. Fill yourself with the good stuff, but also remove the toxins. Toxins can be people, environments, and things. Get rid of all that "muda." Muda means waste in Japanese. What I am saying is a lot of those things waste your time, your energy, and your mental health. Also, try not to feel guilty. I have this personality of trying to please others and trying to be diplomatic all the time, but these times are not NORMAL. You do not have to compromise your morals, values, and mental health because you are trying to get along with everyone. Choose you over anything else. Yes, I know this sounds selfish, but you will need this in order to help people and the things you care about.
-In my book, I talked about the small acts of kindness that helped me survive through my dark days. It didn't take much: a box of crayons, a piece of rice crispy treat, etc. You can make changes to help yourself and this world by doing small things. Write a kind note to somone/stranger, donate even if it's one dollar to something you believe in, volunteer for something you love and care about, vote and if you can't vote encourage others to vote for your cause, reach out to someone who is lonely or needs help, look around for a chance to make your heart smile.
I grasp now that I can be responsible for my own life and the life of others, too.
The most difficult part of finding the answers to the concerns of the world is the process. If we can get from point A to B easily, then problems would all be solved. We cannot change our whole economic or political system to meet societal problems, but we can change increments at a time with our small acts. Every little thing we do matter. We all have a voice in humanity. We have a “choiceless” choice in living reality, but we can choose how we live. It is a “brave new world” out there, and we are all part of it. Survive, live and stay alive. It's not just politics, it's people's lives.