For many years, it has been commonly accepted knowledge that anxiety and depression are ravaging households and societies across the world. In developing, developed, emerging or any other label one ascribes to a nation-state or country, these metaphorical twins, anxiety and depression seem to have become an integral part of life. In fact, there are countless ‘cultures’ and ‘trends’ focused on substance addiction, nihilism or other repercussions that come with these twins, to be found across the internet and real world. The worst of these, a life of abject crime, robbery, theft and other harmful actions to oneself and society, are more common than we like to believe. However, drafting policies based on public health is something that needs getting time used to.
For instance, eastern cultures historically always tended to place emphasis on community over the individual. While this served as a great source of support in times of distress and chaos, preventing one from spiralling into potential bouts of anxiety and depression, excess of it could possibly lead to dependency on the group instead of oneself, so to speak. Yet, this structure served its purpose for the masses, as society always manages to coalesce around elites and their ability to hold onto power. Interestingly, many yearn for a return to more ‘simpler’ times, where money ‘did not exist’ or where socio-economic structures hadn’t developed around a full-fledged kingdom or empire. However, we forget that animals themselves coalesce into ‘rulers’ and the ‘ruled’, not because they want to, but because these structures are better from a survival and reproduction point of view, which is what evolution likes. Hence, yes, everyone wants to belong to a community that hopefully also is a beacon of power in terms of access to resources and mates.
Since many individuals cannot control the circumstances into which they are born, the not so fortunate ones, born in an era of unfettered capitalism and a lack of access to resources like education, healthcare and the networks of the privileged, cannot ‘make it’ if they feel alienated and outcast from the ‘better options’ available to ‘others’. The root of all political and socio-economic discontent arises when large groups start believing that they and their children and immediate kin are possibly denied access to things that others are able to get. For instance, social media is a great leveller when it comes to the display of social life across the economic strata. With the right amount of keywords and diligent searching, anyone can start aspiring to the life of plenty. Yet, here’s where we stumble. This experience can also lead to bitterness or inferiority complex.
The topic of today’s post is “Emotions make life better”. It is because emotions, can be felt and used in the right ways by people who are denying it to themselves, consciously or not. For instance, it is quite possible that circumstances caused one to ‘protect’ themselves by shutting off all feelings, for weeks, months and years, into a state of permanency. This can be reversed by consciously choosing to feel emotions in the course of one’s life. The root of all addiction, cravings, attachment and overindulgence, that cause misery and unbecoming habits or behaviours, that feel ‘socially unacceptable’, a possible path to becoming a sociopath or worse, a psychopath that likes to inflict pain and harm unto others, is not the desired intention of anyone. Given a choice, no one would want to head down this path. But, it is more easy than one thinks so. This path always lies open, to the best of people. It is always there. Media likes to portray it as the ‘dark’ side, a seductive proposition, which is the reason why people like watching dark content, rather than being one themselves in reality.
The path starts with anxiety and depression. There is no doubt about it, that lead too far, it will turn the best of us into monsters, beasts and demons. The worst outcomes, like becoming an alien to one’s family members and the community, are quite possible. The current deluge of mental health lies hidden, like a pandora’s box. Many speak about it, many do not. This approach of self-therapy, which is to become sensitive to feelings and emotions sounds very simple. It is not. It requires one to really feel oneself, because many have lost touch with their feeling brains. For the longest time, we’ve had the rhetoric that the thinking brain is in charge of our consciousness. Yet, it is not. The feeling brain is the one in charge of our day to day activities, and not understanding it, can lead to situations that can become out of whack over a period of time. Masking it does not help. I’ve tried it. A lot of hope will come from the trials underway for psilocybin, the natural compound found in many species of mushrooms. It has the potential to ‘rewire’ the brain.
Our earth is connected, every speck and dust of it, to us. Its a profound realization.
For the ones who have lost touch with their feeling brains, you can think your way out of it. Once the feeling brain’s engine is up and running, it will make life better and worm one out of the hole of depression, often a pit of one’s own unconscious making, a function of one’s environment. We can be conscious and admit to ourselves that a cloud of hopelessness has clouded our thinking, and making us immobile on some days to even rouse up the motivation to work or do anything. Substances like alcohol and cigarettes diminish in value the more you take them, as we overpower the ability of our bodies to filter them out of our system, in turn leading to a lack of motivation to even take care of basic stuff like nutrition and hygiene. If you’re one of the people, who also lack the community support, I feel sorry for you. Its the least amount of feeling I can muster at this point of time. I’ve desensitized myself to my feeling brain. I embraced it back today morning.
Fingers crossed. I’ll make it home.