Today is R U OK Day here in Australia. It's a day where we focus on connectedness as a preventative to suicide; dissolving any emotional barriers and asking those in our lives how they are. To open a dialogue, and show those around us they are not alone.
Its great to see this getting so much attention over the last few years; we see more high profile people opening up every year, and being honest about their mental state. This is fantastic, and as with the theme of this page I'm all for it. However, there is an obvious and urgent need to depart from the current language and rhetoric used on this subject. What I hope to offer to this is a balance on what I believe is the best way to approach the wild terrain of mental wellness; so as more light is shone on this topic we can ensure an enlightened outcome.
Right now we have an ever growing epidemic of disability, mental illness at the top of this. In parallel to this we also have more treatment than ever before. At some point the question must be asked; why are we not seeing an inverse relationship here? Why is the treatment not producing a decline of illness? (1) Why are we seeing evidence that what may have been a single episode of illness is now turning into chronic, sometimes life long disease?
We can do better than this, if we discard the failed model and engage a holistic paradigm and model of treatment. Looking at the human organism as a multi-system, integrated fragile balance; discarding the myopic model based on the monoamine hypothesis (i.e. depression and anxiety as a 'chemical imbalance').
When responsibility is taken for our lifestyle choices, emotional state, diet, and we realise have agency - we are in control; the healing can then take place.
There is no panacea or magic pill that will rid us of chronic disease (inclusive of mental illness). To navigate our way out of this fog we all must take responsibility; seek out practitioners who embrace this and are willing to work, unbiased, with the current science; who are brave enough to move away from a pharmaceutical model and into a functional approach where the root cause is addressed.
If we do this, as individuals, and as a collective there will be a renaissance in the treatment of chronic illness. Life really can be a joyous expression of health and wellness, if we choose to embrace an approach that allows us to flourish. Part of this involves modifying our language to allow healing, ridding of the disease focused rhetoric, and replacing it with one that serves. We can then heal; en masse.
So, please embrace the meaning of this day in a way that is perhaps not yet occurring. Check in with each other, offer support and love where needed. From this space, work to redefine the treatment model by demanding more; be open to wellness from the core. Symptoms are there to offer guidance, use them as a catalyst for applying the change needed to bring you back to where you belong.
In health, love and all that good stuff.