When tragedy makes me doubt the importance of my mental health

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I was in the car on the way home from a concert when I heard the news about the explosion at the Manchester Arena, which had 22 fatalities and several 100 injured. I had friends at this concert.

Sadly, these types of events have become, as sick as it makes me to say it, common. Far too common. As someone who has a history of depression, someone who feels very deeply, hearing about these events really stirs up my insides. When I hear about events like this, it brings up so many depressive thoughts. My head tells me that I am selfish for seeking out recovery when there are much bigger things going on in the world. That there is no point in putting all this effort into things I love – teaching, writing, advocacy, and music – when terrible things continue to happen around the world. Things I have absolutely no control over.

This feeling of smallness can seriously trigger my depression, and I know I am not alone in this. Feeling a sense of having no control over one’s situation is a symptom of depression. It makes me think it would be easier if I could shrink myself as small as I can be, because that’s how the world makes me feel. However what is different today than when I am in the thick of my depression is that I am able to tell myself that these feelings will pass and I will be okay. There is no need to take any drastic, self-destructive behaviours or use my bad coping skills, as I know this will not fix my thoughts or any of the events going on in the world. They won’t help you either.

So, what do we do? Honestly, that’s a tough one and I don’t really have an answer apart from continuing to live a life that is full of spreading love and hope, and to treat everyone I meet with the kindness that each and every one of us deserve. Including myself, because we can not continue to add to the hate, self-inflicted or otherwise.

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