I find myself increasingly concerned with the overall state of public mental health, not just in its condition, but in its understanding, ease of acceptability, treatment and long-term effect. My concern does not come not from someone immune to the challenges it presents in its many forms, I have myself fought for many years challenges resultant in depression, paranoia, persecution complex’s and emotional, gender and sexual obstacles too numerous to easily list. Simply put I was raised carelessly, abused and misunderstood as a child, given excessive choices and freedoms as an adolescent, wholly privileged and spoilt as a young adult.
I have really no notion as to why I managed any form of successful existence at all, except perhaps an underlying perverse toxicity to being scrutinized, diagnosed or analyzed by others, resultant in an individuality most overbearing and selfish, a chip you might well say off a long existing and grandiose block. Stubborn independence was and is in many ways my salvation, an insistence on not being categorized, grouped or treated wholesale. Perhaps also the aversion to the mildest of sedatives or stimulants aided the cementing of my singular characteristics.
My upbringing included a strict code of internalization, having a clear and concise division between the inner thoughts and conversations that are permitted with oneself alone, and those oft less extreme or questionable considerations for public pronouncement, consumption and repetition. I well recall grandmother lecturing me about the difference between the adults reasoned and well reflected voice and the child excessively immediate and non-reflected opine, and that the one was polite and positive the other rude and decidedly negative. This inner filter remains with me to date, the momentary pause between thought and expulsion of diction that so easily can nullify discord or foster rapport.
As a writer of both fiction and nonfiction that constantly, by intent, pushed the boundaries of the acceptable I can probably claim as close a familiarity to that particularly fine line as can be supposed. The written word is unique in that it has no real parameters of acceptability, beyond the wholly arbitrary placed by the social strictures of the time. Hence we can have the absurdity of a 16th century Elizabethan play being considered quite beyond the pale some four centuries later amidst the particularly repressed Victorian public persona, when with good reason taste should liberalize and weaken unnecessary foibles with age.
Diction however is not literature, is not scripted performance or casual conversation. The acceptable in a tome or theatrical setting is not necessarily easily transferable or welcomed in the reality of human interactions. Offence is easily given and taken, forgiveness is not an easy task for the most well-adjusted of humanity, decidedly less so for those with mental or emotional challenges.
Individual mental health is dependent upon experience, trauma, condition, sociability and a myriad of other singular or multiple overlapping circumstance. The mental health of society as a whole can be affected, disrupted, violently altered by localized, international or global events with equal ease. Such group phenomenon result in wholesale disturbance, oft resulting in sudden individual or communal otherwise inexplicable outbursts when confronted with alternate perspectives. Such episodes often result in unfortunate violence and extreme enmity, without the anchor of a perceptible fallback position, a point of retreat or for disengagement if you will. Trapped and cornered the human reaches deep into their genetic box of reactions and invariable respond with fight or flight, verbal retaliatory options having been overruled by overriding ire and fear.
The Visigoths reacted quite predictably upon arriving at the gates of the eternal city and finding them slammed tight shut in their faces.
The ability to have a detached and utterly sensible interior debate is a trait seemingly solely gifted to our particular species and undoubtably the single most important factor in retaining good mental order, indeed any true degree of recognizable sanity. Unfortunately such a singular process, requiring as it does significant insular behavior, is inclined to peak paranoia in both the processor and the voyeur.
Paranoia is quite probably the most significant mental challenge humans battle aside depression and dependency, although many might well argue that paranoia is in fact out natural state of being.