Now those that know me know that there are pretty much two guaranteed things;
- I love food.
- I am pretty keen on trying to make things better in some way – be it making my son into a baby feminist or just cheering someone up with some inane story of mine. I blame my socially responsible parents and older sister, I kinda had no choice.
Most days I am finding that I am failing in my bid to make the world better. I had great hopes and plans that I would do something big, something that would make a tangible difference in the world. But most days, I sit watch the news and feel so very overwhelmed with sadness and feel a little hopeless. I worry about Fred and what world he will inherit, I worry about my family, the future generations, the planet and humankind in general – you know the small stuff. Recent things like old crazy Trump, Harvey Weinstein, the fact that we have to EXPLAIN still that sexual assault is not ok and that women are STILL not equal in so many ways horrifies me. But equally men are having a rough time too, the pressure on them in the work force, family life and societally is as relevant and as concerning (and I am a hypocrite because pre Fred I never really thought about that at all as much as I did women’s rights).
The past few years I have watched as anxiety is discussed more frequently, (Sunday did a TV segment on it the other night talking to teenagers about their struggles) and there is renewed focus on mental health and I am glad to see some awesome work popping in support of those suffering. But I still feel that we lack compassion and dedication to actually helping those who are unwell. I say that for physical and mental unwellness. We are not good with people that are sick, we don’t know what to do, how to help, it makes us feel like a failure and that makes us irritated. So in turn we get annoyed with those that need us most. We want them to buck up, sort it out or just stop talking. This is not helping anyone.
I get standing out, I am a tall, awkward and pretty much you can rely on me to do something or say something weird in any social occasion. I get not wanting to be singled out, I spent years trying to avoid exactly that – walking the longest way possible to get to school, not going to university, freaking out about new jobs, meeting people any sort of social thing. It is so much part of me now that I honestly can’t remember my life before. I worry about everything, I am constantly 100 steps ahead in the worst case scenario game. Every day I have to choose to try and be a bit more normal and fuck that takes work. I have a son now and he scares the shit out of me. I worry about him all the time, and I know that is not exclusive to me that is every parent. Everyone’s mental load is increasing and that is insane.
I went to an event in the weekend, money was raised for Post natal depression. A couple of mothers spoke and it actually made me cry. I sat there and thought what is wrong with us? We are supposed to be the most intelligent beings and seriously we are not doing the most basic things like supporting each other, creating communities and actually being good people ( I say this as a general as I know that someone of you are actually pretty fucking awesome and do some great great things) – and we need good mental health for everyone not just mothers.
When I was at the recent ancestral health symposium the consistent theme was for our own survival and health we need to focus on the obvious stuff like diet and movement BUT the BIG thing is chronic stress. Our ancestors had acute stress, run a tiger will eat you type thing, but us – our stress is every day, all day and consistent. Its traffic, pollution, work shit, the stuff that goes around in your head that is bullshit, the pressures we feel on us, social media, television, magazines, perceived ideals you feel you must achieve. THIS is what is making us sick, this is stopping us from making connections and being better people. And I engage in all of that every day. I am a sucker for a insta post, I lose hours of valuable time in social media or television and I am really not liking that. A recent podcast I was listening to was talking about TV consumption in the great US of A the AVERAGE person watches 5 hours and 11 minutes a day. Holy shit that is fucking crazy and then I thought that is probably what I do. Inane TV watching because real life can be hard.
I am watching a documentary called Embrace at the moment and it is just crazy. It is focused on women and body image. The hate and the disgust that people have for themselves is really upsetting. Now I am not one to pass up the last chocolate or turn down a burger so I don’t really understand the restricted dieting aspect but I do get the self image thing. I get not fitting in, not fitting the clothes fast fashion tells you is cool. But the focus on just image is distracting us from what we really like about people – their personalities, the fun you have with them, the laughs, the experiences. The images we see are bullshit anyway we all know it and yet they are still there. It is demoralising. And we still buy into it.
I read a book by Sarah Wilson ‘First we make the beast beautiful’ and it resonated with me. It was pretty intense and full on but I think it summed up anxiety for those that just don’t get it (I mean that in the nicest way possible). Embrace is a good watch it reminds us to just eat the fucking cookie and none of this body bullshit matters. Health is what is important. Having the mind space to even look at your health matters, people matter.
I have no idea why I have written all this – I prefer to be a very non emotional person, feelings are not my fun place. I just feel that we are getting more and more insular and less and less happy and really we have everything we ever needed and more. I hope that when you ask someone how are they are you wait for the answer and listen, I hope that you answer honestly and say you are not ideal if that is the case. I hope I will do both more in the future.
I am going to go back to food stuff now, but I just want you to know that there are things that can help anxiety, loneliness and it is not ok to feel terrified everyday or overwhelmed with life. Eat the cookie, wear what you want – be kind. Things can change and I am so very hopeful that it will.