In a World where we can be anything, choose to be kind.
There is collective sadness felt by many with the recent and untimely death of Caroline Flack. Another beautiful and talented person, loved by many, who came to the awful conclusion that taking their own life was the only way out. The only choice to stop the the depth or sadness and despair that had somehow enveloped their life. Unfortunately, like too many other people before her.
As people across the spectrum of society, the world of celebrity and the media look for people to blame, it is perhaps a time that we should all reflect. Reflecting on the very idea that mental health is all that we have. It is something to be nurtured, in ourselves and in others. It is our 'thing'. It exists on a spectrum and most, if not all, of us will experience some form of metal ill health in our lives.
There is a lot discourse about whether this phenomenon is real or imagined. That, perhaps, it is just something to push through. Personally, I believe it has always been there. The unspoken truth. With only 13% of people saying they experience high-levels of positive mental health (Mental Health Foundation, 2017), the society in which we now live risks eating itself from the bottom up; as we lose touch with the basics and we value things that are simply not valuable.
Our ability to share our views with a huge audience acts as both a comfort and a curse. Have we tripped over the precipice? Is our world is becoming less of a gold fish bowl and more of a petri-dish?
The digital world of social media has transformed our ability to connect with one another in ways we had never imagined but like, some forms or bacteria, it can also spread illness and infection. Having the ability to poison and tear down what is good with a virulent force that is simply unjust, unfair and unkind.
Sadness can arrive at all our doors like an omnipresent guest. At any time. During these times, we are likely to individually search for something which, on the face of it, does not look like it's missing. Our ability to connect with each other. To really connect. Often, to simply talk. Really talk. To lift the burden or the pressure that weighs down with such force that it can make our legs buckle.
It is also too easy to judge others based on what they have, materially or status-wise, in their lives and believe that they have no reason to be sad. When the inverse is often true. The things we pursue, own or achieve and the things we covet, can often paper, not only over hairline cracks, but over large holes. Holes that, at some point, we need to acknowledge are there so that they can be repaired. Because they can. They absolutely can.
With 1 in 4 people struggling with some form of mental ill-health every year, likely to be more like 3 in 4 over a lifetime, Caroline was right in her simple request. In a world where we can anything, simply be kind. It is everyone's gift to give.
An affliction of short or long term mental ill-health is not something that will only impact some other people. It can impact each and everyone one of us. So, we all should be careful that we don't inadvertently feed this machine. When we copy, we paste, we share, we forward, we send. The so-called 'content', the memes, that at some deep level connect the more gritty form of ourselves.
All humans have the ability to encourage, to create, to progress, to bring about change that is positive. The ambition doesn't need to be grand. The biggest and greatest things always start with one simple action.
Start by being kind. You could change someone's life. Forever.
If you need support or just someone to talk to, there are a lot of options, some of them here: https://www.crazylittlethingcalledlife.com/useful-contacts.
Keep well everyone. Look after each other.