I’m curious. Always. I always want to know more. To understand. To find knowledge, and hopefully, eventually, wisdom. When I discover a new idea, or thought, that I want to know deeply, I go straight down the rabbit hole 🙂
And howwasyourday.ca is becoming a deep dive. I am only ten days into exploring this, and there is so much to learn. More than I can ever learn on my own. About society and culture. About humans. About behaviour, and the brain, genetics, diet, environment… it all impacts our experience of the world, and how we live in it.
In trying to learn more about this concept, I keep coming back to the idea of what each of us need for basic, simple, real mental health. What does it mean to be mentally healthy? Is it something we can define, influence, and change? Do we have the tools to do that?
And what is mental health anyway?
My assumption was that mental health is the natural state of contentment, ease, and happiness. A lack of stress, and the ability to pursue meaningful work, relationships, and experiences. That would be my definition, for myself. And I know people that live it.
But that’s not what I found.
I searched “mental health”. I hunted through more than 400 results before I found a single one even related to “healthy mind” and not “mental illness”. Somewhere along the way the terms mental illness, and mental health, have come to mean the same thing.
But they aren’t the same thing.
And mental illness is not what this is about. We have clinical therapists, psychologists, and social workers that are helping us to make sure that what we offer, and how we offer it, is safe, legal, and does no harm to our clients, or our practitioners.
We do not ever diagnose, treat, or intend to fix anyone. If we discover that a prospective client has a history or diagnoses of mental illness, we will either choose not to take them on, or take them on under strict conditions and supervision.
As a culture we have created a massive industry to diagnose and treat mental illness. But there is almost no effort to change the conditions that create and cause those mental illnesses, or to alleviate the negative societal, cultural, and relationship impacts on mental health.
I believe that having a safe, consistent, and trained space that exists solely to hear your story, your point of view, your experience, and your emotion, is a critical step to healing the gap between the goal of a healthy and capable mind, and the other direction, which can indeed lead to mental illness.
Rather than trying to fix broken and sick people when they have already fallen through the cracks, this is my way of trying to lead the conversation towards helping us all be mentally healthy.