Wednesday, October 12, 2011

It's all in your head

October 10th was World Mental Health Day. A day that promoted awareness and discussions around mental health issues. The WHO (World Health Organization) is concerned that there is not enough resources or investment in mental health. So what defines mental illness? WHO's definition is 'a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease.' With that said, then I need help and I think it is safe to say that many millions of people are in the same boat. If I could be so bold as to define mental health I would say 'a state of physical, mental and social well being that doesn't have you standing on the ledge.' Achieving a healthy mental state is near impossible. Too many things, people and problems to deal with. Yes we say we are fine, but the broken sleep, addictive behaviours, disjointed relationships and self 'beating up' would say differently. Rather then try to achieve complete physical, mental and social well-being, why not strive to find peace with what you are dealt. That's a tough one because you actually have to step into the moment see everything for what it is and accept it. As Charles R. Swindoll once said, 'Life's 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.' So what do you think? Is it all in your head?


Is it all in my head? Am I who they believe I am? Crazy. What’s that smell? Must be vanilla, such a pacifying scent; goes with the room. Lovely lavender walls, a hint of beige; the faux finish gives it a contemporary look. The camel coloured sofa is a little too soft. I’m sinking, sinking in its leather embrace. Hush, here they come. They’re sly you know, soft leather shoes; doors light as a feather, yet unyielding; swing open rapidly, close lightly; the plush carpet absorbing…noise. Good try, but I hear them. I hear their whispers, their crisp, cotton lab coat, brushing as their arms swing about. Just a second, was that a blackberry ringing? Neat ringtone, but could be annoying. The wolves have arrived.

Their pleasantries are getting tiresome. How are you? How do you think I am? My every word, my every move, my silence, my stillness, they are all out there ready for inspection. It’s my mind they’re trying to understand. They’ll never get it though, you know why? I’m smart, actually borderline genius. So what if I have some, let’s see how would they phrase it, psychosis? Doesn’t everyone? Is it so wrong to develop coping mechanisms? According to them, yes; that’s why I have been jarred and labelled abnormal; an odd term, to them I fall under the category of unusual, strange, maybe even eccentric, quietly though, not out loud for me to hear.

I don’t agree with this prognosis. What defines abnormal? The three of you sitting across from me in your high wing backed chairs ever so imposing. You really look much bigger in your chair then in real life you know. Okay, okay, so let’s meet our panel. First we have Dr. Obsessive Compulsive, you keep clicking that pen, one, two, three; one, two three; pause, pause, pause; one, two three… It’s our little secret. Our second judge is home grown; please give a round of applause to, Dr. Inferiority Complex. You’re not really as tough as you want us to believe now are you? It isn’t easy to be the only female in this unit of doctors, especially when you have to work with the one and only esteemed Dr. Belligerent Thinker; black or white, no grey.

But let’s get back to me. You want to have a tour of my mind? Well, I haven’t had time to clean but your most welcome. I know, I know, it’s a little tricky to get around, watch your step…that memory has been giving me lots of trouble, it’s a tough stain to get off, cleansers, sprays, spit and polish, just doesn’t seem to work.

Please have a seat. Do you like how I decorated? Probably could use a little light, maybe another coat of paint. But that’s not why you’re here is it?

Follow me; the first closet is on the right. I’d save that one for last if I were you. I’ve got to tell you also to be on the lookout for my dog, Spot. I haven’t house broken him yet, so he may be a little energetic. Oh, then there is also my houseguest, Pandora, a little wacky at times, or maybe just curious.

I need to replace the furniture, but you know how it is to part with things, waste not, want not; or is it that the stuff has sentimental value? There is an upstairs, but I haven’t ventured there for a number of days. Something spooked me while I was sitting quietly minding my business. Not sure if it was a spider or a ghost, paranoia or phobia? Some of the closets on the left are stock piled with stuff. I really should have a garage sale soon. I just can’t seem to part with my memories.

What’s that? More questions? I’d be more than happy to oblige. Hmmmm… interesting formula, I learned that back in my days of geometry and calculus, the correct answer would be, x=173621. English is one of my strongest suits. Really you should stop ending your sentences with a dangling participle. History? Why is it called history, shouldn’t it be ourstory? He was never a President. Up there in the Eskimo country we call them Prime Ministers, eh? Must we really discuss geography now? Don’t you have some of those delightful blotches that you call pictures to show me?

It’s getting kind of stuffy in here, someone want to crack open a window? Right, there are no windows. No sharp corners, ropes, utensils or mirrors, can’t give a girl the opportunity to be creative. You all need to lighten up a little and maybe things won’t be so intense in here.

Sure I’ll answer another, I have a lifetime, I think. I like moonlit walks on the beach, jazz and my favourite colour is purple. Bachelor number three, what’s your question. Tough crowd when I can’t even get a chuckle.

Laughter is the best medicine; I stand corrected Prozac is the best medicine. Helps to erase the grey matter and clearly define the lines. By the way, the next time you come to visit my mind, and I know there will be a next time, remind me to show you the pattern I picked out for my dishes. Did I mention that my basement is finished? Took me years to complete, but it was worth it in the end. Splashes of anxiety, throw blankets woven with regrets and uncertainty, only the best carpet made of twisted thoughts, and paintings forever telling stories of, well you’ll just have to see for yourself. I’ll answer one more question and then I really must get on with the rest of my day.

Voices you say? I knew that would come back and bite me in the as… Let’s get one thing clear they are not satanic voices urging me to rid the world of people like you, or anyone for that matter. Also, they aren’t personalities floating within my sub-conscious gnawing at the bit to take over my body. Oh contraire, I’ve actually given these voices names. There’s the voice of Rachel Reason, Amy Anger, Carol Compassion, Jade Jealous... Do you see a pattern developing here? Probably not, that would be too simple.

We’re done; is that for good or for now? You all look more confused now then you did when you arrived. What if you all join me on the sofa? That’s better, nice and cosy, easy to relate at this level, eh?

Allow me to summarize, I’m not schizophrenic, my personalities are just way too passive to come out and say hello. I’m not a manic-depressive; sure I cry and have absolutely horrid days that just make me want to scream, who doesn’t? I’m not emotionally unstable; there are days my emotions get the best of me, but rest assured, I get them back. You can look in all you’re A-Z medical dictionaries and through all your books on human behaviour, psychosis, phobias, paranoia’s, paranormals (?), just making sure you’re listening. I’m probably a little of everything and none at the same time, or maybe, this just might be a stretch, just maybe, I’m a little misunderstood.


  1. Delightful blog and I love your writing style. "Splashes of anxiety, throw blankets woven with regrets and uncertainty, only the best carpet made of twisted thoughts, ..." You use great imagery and I look forward to your future post!

  2. Hi Angela,

    I don't think there is any such thing as normal and I have known a few psychiatrists who I would certainly describe as abnormal! I've been both sides, seen psychiatrists and been a counsellor.

  3. You are SO RIGHT, then we should all be institutionalized, me first. Ive been on an emotional roller coaster this past year filled with family drama, enough to put us all in the hospital. Is there such thing as complete emotional well being?

  4. I really like your post. It touches a problem which our society is facing. It is still a bit of tabu subject though. I was actually shocked when I found out that almost 40% of women in UK take anti depressants. I guess if you follow the cited quote of Charles Swindoll the 90% of our 10% happenings becomes a real struggle in modern, busy lives.
    Somebody else once said " there are no mentally stable people, only those who never been properly checked"