Why Is Mental Health So Challenging?

I grew up with a direct experience of “crazy”…

I grew up with a direct experience of “crazy” when I was young. I didn’t understand it, but I experienced it firsthand.

That’s what they used to call us… “crazy.” I include myself among those that I’m referring to because I have had my own challenges, not when I was young – that I can remember – but most assuredly in recent years. I wasn’t the one that was called this lousy word, not when I was young – that I can remember. No, they called someone I loved, crazy. They didn’t call him, or ‘them’ – others like him – “people dealing with their mental and emotional health.” They didn’t call him, or ‘them,’ “someone dealing with some type of mental or emotional challenge.”

Crazy. That was the word. Still is. One word to lump all people in. One label full of stigma and hot, prickly meaning.

Who was that “crazy” person in my direct experience? My father. He had a nervous breakdown when I was 10, or 8. I don’t remember my exact age, but I do remember so much else.

What do I remember? I remember being told I wasn’t going to be seeing him for a while because he was sick. (“Sick” can be a broad label and also highly confusing for a child.) I didn’t think that while would turn into years. I mean, I was a child. I had no idea what most of it meant. But those years would be years of absence from me – miles of distance between us – and much understanding between a father and a daughter was lost in that time and in that distance.

Nowadays, we’re emotionally intelligent. But that doesn’t mean people don’t still call it, crazy. Of course, they do. Crazy is a “majority rules”-type answer. Things are changing though.

In my family there too is a level of secrecy that goes along with calling someone crazy. I mean, we may talk about it in our family – very sparingly, but you sure as hell don’t discuss it with anyone outside of the family. And don’t let one of your relatives hear it from someone else’s mouth back to them. That is definitely not on the menu, called “Keeping it in the family.” It is this level of secrecy and the stigma connected to it that make for a lethal combo. And that is why mental health is so challenging to get out into the light away from the darkness it used to inhabit in Nurse Ratched days.

When will we peel back the layers and get that there’s a level of danger attached to being crazy…? It’s why people can’t allow themselves to “fall prey” to that kind of darkness. Except… that premise is not true.

It’s not darkness and it’s not dangerous. It has been the mystery that has built the idea of darkness and danger. But those are only the meanings we’ve built around mental illness, and therefore mental health, as human beings building a collective dream1 that we all live in on a daily basis. We’ve got decades and centuries built into those meanings.

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When we can take the darkness out of mental health… when we can release ourselves from the anguish others have taught us to have about and around mental illness… when we can find the beauty of the challenge of our own emotional and mental well-being, then we will be able to release our foundation of stigma brick-by-brick, piece-by-piece. And in that release, we can easily find our own resilience.

1 Collective dream is mentioned in one of my favorite, life-altering books, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. You can find this book in the article, 12 Books for Your Spiritual Awakening.

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self-care can be a bitch sometimes

true self-care takes something that some of us resist giving

What’s your go-to for self-care? Massage? Facial? Relaxing bath with scented oils? “Me” time with scented candles and a book?

Or maybe you do more of an in-depth physical self-care? Detox? Fasting? Nutritional care? Acupuncture? Chiropractic? Cupping?

If you do self-care to any extent, you probably do things that make you feel good. This is great. Good self-care, at a physical level, has this effect on us. These acts have impact on how we feel and how we relate to ourselves and others around us. The impact can be steady and slowly unfolding. And frankly, if you’re not doing some level of physical self-care, you may want to begin today. However…

A deeper level of self-care can require going outside of our comfort zones, and going beyond doing what makes us physically feel good for the moment – a temporary response. If we want core good feelings to be our new normal – our new default – we may have to give something up to find the self-care that transforms us at deeper, long-lasting levels.

What is a comfort zone in this instance?

Are comfort zones just for stepping outside of to challenge yourself to take big, bold actions to lead you to feeling like a winner, making more money, having more status and stuff, achieving more, and accomplishing more? (Think Go Big or Go Home.) Maybe… just maybe, comfort zones have nothing to do with this aspect of life at all.

  • Comfort zones keep us “safe”? Check!
  • Comfort zones allow us to stay in a certain range of limited action or even, non-action? Check! Check!
  • Comfort zones encompass the familiar and stave away the unfamiliar? Check! Check! Check!

And guess what your biggest comfort zone is in your life?

Being unwilling to challenge yourself to heal your wounds and care for yourself at deeper levels than you can imagine possible.

Wanna witness a true comfort zone? Watch yourself skip the hard stuff, the confrontation of pain and trauma to stay “safe” and in your familiar area – often on the surface where nothing can touch you and sometimes, even in artifice. This is the true challenge to the real comfort you may be unwilling to give up.

what is this comfort, you ask?

  • Comfort that you find from over-spending at your favorite big-box store.
  • Comfort that you feel when you’re getting your buzz on.
  • Comfort that you feel when you dive into your work to take the edge off of your personal life.
  • Wait for it… Comfort you may find from having mindless sex with people you don’t know.

You know? The kind of comfort that allows you to bypass your pain, resentment, grief, anger, sadness, desperation, devastation or other unwanted feelings. And in truth, there can be no bypass of any emotion, just avoidance or suppression. So where do those emotions go?

To the bottom of the pile. And that bottom is not somewhere outside of your body. No, that place where they go is within you — these emotions lie in wait for a trigger and then, boom! There they go. Like fireworks shooting up into the night sky on July 4th when we were young, these emotions fire off. And the colors are just as big and bold.

Look, you’re already here. You’re already taking steps towards your healing. When will you get to take your next steps? And in what direction?

Healing Modalities from the (r)evolution of bliss

Self-Care 101: Make It Okay to be Human

It’s okay. You can do this.

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love notes from monique #5
love notes are gentle reminders because we all need a little embrace #therevolutionofbliss
is ‘at the beginning’ such an awful place to be… again?
In our societies, we often burden ourselves with the high price tag of experience. "Being …

5 Bene’s of Unraveling Your Nervous System

The art of healing wounds. The practice of being yourself.

Yes, I do mean benefits and these are 5 you’re gonna want to read ’cause this could unlock any resistance you have to your own healing as well as any ideas you have about it being “out there” or unrealistic.

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One… Calm after the storm. Your wounds are made up of emotions that were stored in your nervous system during heightened interactions with others. These interactions may have been with your parents, your brothers or sisters, extended family, caregivers, schoolmates, peers, friends, romantic interests, teachers, adults in your family circle, strangers that impacted you greatly. The interactions that affect you the most, of course, are the ones that happened during your most formative years – when you’re a sponge as a young child and when you’re first wanting to belong.

Don’t forget… with emotions, we mostly suppress them. Unraveling emotions held deeply from these years can absolutely return you to your authentic self – the self you were before many of those interactions, incidents and events that influenced the person you became. And in your authentic self, you can find your bliss, your ease, your peace.

Two… Negative thoughts bearing down on you? Overwhelming your ability to think positively about a subject or area of your life? You can have relief. We all have negative, pervasive thoughts that follow us around sometimes, and on certain occasions of particular bad days, they follow us on a daily basis? You know the ones that can keep you up at night, or egg you on in moments of conflict – whether inner turmoil or outer – or challenge your confidence in the moments you are pursuing something (or someone) important to you.

These thoughts are deeply entangled – quite literally – with the memory of intense and suppressed emotion in your nervous system. If you’ve ever seen the way synapses develop, or the way they work, or maybe the twisty, overlapping, intertwining way in which nerves grow as well, you can begin to imagine exactly how much “wiring” is constantly influencing your experience of being human via new experiences of past experiences and memory-building.

If you can successfully unravel even some of that entanglement with great care, you can return yourself to peace and your natural intelligence about life and your natural awareness of yourself. There is resilience within. That resilience allows for natural relief from the bad feelings that lead to bad days.

Three… New emotional landscapes. Tired of running through the same emotional patterns in your life? Plagued by a nagging feeling that you can’t quite get rid of this emotion or that one? Unraveling old emotional patterns and healing wounds gives you an easy ability to create new emotional patterns — ones that can feel really good and even thrill you.

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Four… Stop holding others hostage over things and thoughts that don’t matter. You know like when you get in a pissing match and you realize, I’m in a pissing match? Or you’re in an argument and you know it doesn’t feel good but you’re unwilling to stop arguing because… you know you’re right. And it’s preposterous to let this other person get away with murder when you know you’re right. But yet somehow, in the back of your mind, or deep within you, you are highly uncertain you’re not going to regret this later.

Five… Release layers and layers of sucky behavior that you’ve been unable to stop on your own. You want to change, but you have no idea how. It’s like you’re in a loop – like in Groundhog’s Day? You know… you recognize the same shit on a different day, and you’re like, wtf? You thought you were done with that scenario. You said it. You spoke the words, “I’m done with this.” But, somehow, it seems it’s not quite done with you.

The familiarity of our humanity is the very sustenance on which we can thrive, but the replaying of a scenario that we wish would just go away can just keep us feeling stuck, or even worse, like we’re in reverse. We are all about forward motion, but the same sad scenario does not buoy our confidence in ourselves.

As you unravel emotions and practice the art of healing wounds, you’ll also be able to put your finger on the “why” of the continued behavior, the reason why Groundhog’s Day continues in this particular area of your life, and also… why it seems it won’t quit you.

healing is what we’re all about here at the (r)evolution of bliss… come and discover your own

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Feeling Pressure? Grace, Anyone?

Pressure can be in areas of our lives we don’t want to acknowledge.

I’m the oldest. That’s a pressure you can’t change. I was born into it. No getting around it. I am first-born of my generation of our family. This is a fact.

No matter what my mother says otherwise, I know she thinks I “should” be some type of way in accordance with my “birthright.”

Which makes me feel some type of way.

Feeling pressured? Feeling some type of way?

“Some type of way…” How abstract is that? I mean, shit, it’s great to be able to call a spade a spade. Thank God we have this saying. Because finally we’re admitting to our feelings. This is forward movement. This is an evolution from our previous “I’m fine/alright/okay.” And

Feeling “some type of way” allows for no distinct healing. There’s got to be specificity, definition, an idea of some depth that goes beyond the surface.

My specificity? … I feel hurt. I feel disappointed in myself because I don’t live up to the expectation of my parents. I feel devastated when they think I haven’t done something they expected me to do. I feel angry at the whole scenario for even being this way – being the oldest and all; and I’m angry at myself for not showing up how I know I should. Now all of those feelings, I can do something about those feelings. And then it’s no longer about pressure.

when pressure seems like it’s all there is…

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If you want to join the (r)evolution of bliss so that you can know all parts of you and still be blissful like a motherfucker, then please do. There is a subscribe button below. What I’ve shared here on this page is the initiation of a series called, Point Of View (working title). Please feel free to comment and let me know if you like this and want to hear more about my own personal experience with my life and my (r)evolution of bliss. I’d love to hear from you.

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