Mental Issues

If you keep banging your head against the wall, chances are – the head will crack open before the wall gets broken. That’s the only thing I’ve learned in life so far. And I’ve learned it the hard way. So I try to speak now instead of endlessly causing myself headaches.

Mental issues, just like sex back in the Soviet day, have never existed in Lithuania. I live in a country with the highest suicide rates worldwide, but whenever I open my mouth to speak about the emotional, let alone spiritual or mental struggle, the crowd either grows quiet (‘cuz it’s just awkward to speak about it) or I’m being silenced by the all-defeating argument: “Mental issues is just an excuse” or, even worse, “There are much greater problems in the world”.

Yes, there sure are. There will always be people who are starving, fighting a war, suffering, dying as we speak and this will always remain. Should I bear the guilt for all the wrongdoings in the world and continue leading my life in the denial of my own emotional state because there are people who have a more legitimate reason to suffer? Does my pain, in the light of the knowledge that there are people who have it real tough, become less of a pain? And is it not that the human head and heart is the main source of many of those world-wide problems in the first place? So why not try to fix them where they start?

So, I take it that, though the fact that it hurts to see someone suffer remains, if I ever want to make even a tiny little difference in the world, I am of no use to anyone as long as I have not learned to deal with my own issues. The issues that start in my own head and only grow bigger when I deny them. And that’s where the language of classifying something as a mental issue, not necessarily an illness, just an issue that should be acknowledged, provides me with tools to surface it.

On the contrary to the opinion of those who have silenced me, I don’t only focus on the dark side of life. It only just seems to me that somehow that dark side of ours has been somewhat dismissed as an unwanted part of life and that’s why it requires exposure. Regardless, there sure are wonderful things in life and I know how to appreciate them too. I see the beauty in the small little things that some others don’t always notice. I find joy in simply just observing the constantly evolving world around me – gasping in admiration at the falling of the leaves, submitting to the blissful sensation of the sun that warms my skin, exploding with joy reciting a recently found poem  – at those moments I feel nothing but an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for just being alive.

When it goes dark, though, when it actually goes dark, all of this ceases to exist. And I accept it too as a temporary state of anxiety, fear, sadness, grief, pain for I know it will never be ever-lasting. I don’t need a cure for it. But I really appreciate someone I could share the moment of darkness with too, for only truly acknowledging it, having someone to witness it, makes it much easier to persevere it.

In my country, in my culture, alcohol has become the main cure for everything. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against alcohol consumption as such and I actually admire people who can enjoy an occasional glass of wine, a sip of cider, and there’s nothing more appealing to me than the Italian culture of having a good healthy sip of Limoncello after a rich meal. As a cure, though, alcohol is useless. That I have learned the hard way too.

With a highly addictive personality myself, I can truly and full-heartedly say, that I know what it’s like to seek consolation in a drunken night out. Which can extend to a drunken weekend or an entire holiday. Alcohol does magic at helping to release emotions, to liven up a chat and just give us the right to act in the way we’re not supposed to. And it is indeed a temporary solution. But, in the process of cracking my head open, it just occurred to me that it might not be the only way out.

So I try to speak now, just speak, with a cup of tea which has replaced the can of beer, I restlessly try to express that which bothers me, moves me or simply just matters to me. Most of the time, it’s really hard to convey the thoughts, let alone the emotions that wash over me, much of the time – I’m ashamed of the things that I’m going through and for the rest of the time – it just feels like nobody cares. If that, however, has been the main reason to NOT speak about the things that matter to me before, now – it’s become my main motivation to do so. If nobody really cares – why would I refrain from talking?

As I caught myself trying to break that wall open by the sheer power of my cracking head this morning, I thought I should stop for a second to write. And so this came out. And you know what? The mere liberty of being able to acknowledge that I have some issues that I cannot solve, somehow made me feel better. So here, a totally pointless piece of writing which made me feel better. Who knows, maybe it will be of some use. To someone. Somewhere.

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