It’s been awhile since I’ve done a post on mental health. I’ve got quite a few excuses prepared for this, but I’ve decided to instead come clean. I’m selfishly happy to report that I’ve been relatively stable for the past two months. Claps all around.
But it doesn’t mean everything’s all fine and dandy. The only reason why I’ve been able to hold on good for so long was because of a drastic change in living habit that I decided to go on. This way of life have, of course, been criticized by both my family and friends for not being ‘normal’. This ‘out-of-the-box’ way of living is what I want to talk about here.
I’ve been living the past few months as a semi shut-in. I go out for part-time work a couple of times a week, and have a few game nights with my friends. Most of the time though, I focus on my writing. I’m trying to set up a writing career, partly through JukePop, and have been editing 139: In Evening quite ferociously for its eBook release. I also have plans for a Patreon campaign to support my serializations and self publication.
But all these means that most of my time is spent on unpaid work, and I spend most of that at home. I wake up at noon everyday and immediately start work until 6 P.M. That’s because during this time, no one else is at home, and I can work in quiet concentration. I relax through the early evening, and start round 2 work past 12 midnight, when everyone is asleep and the house is quiet again. Then I go to bed at 3 in the morning and fall asleep at 4.
This schedule has brought about the ire of family and friends. My parents considers me lazy, even though I work and sleep the same hours as everyone. Since when they are home, I am relaxing, and when they are out, I am working. They never get to see me come and go from the house or at the table working. Precisely my plan, since I need the solitude to focus. They also want me to further my studies. Any degree will do, even if I have no want, need, or abilities for it.
My friends are pushing me to get a ‘real job’, saying I would end up as a failure in life if I continued down my current path. Mostly though, everyone has been telling me not to waste my time, given that I’ve lost 2 years to conscription.
Though I listen to all of their suggestions, I mostly pass them by. I’ve already given myself until the end of the year to try to make this writing career work. If not, I would go get a more stable job or further my education. This one year is meant to test my mantle, recover from my breakdown, and give me a chance at chasing my dream.
When asked how I could sit idly by for one whole year, I asked my friends if they had every tried killing themselves before. Suicide. After my mental meltdown last year, I had long decided to take a year break once I left the army. To me, the lost of a year was not so much a worry for me, since I had just fought and gotten back the rest of my life. A year was a small price to pay for a chance at happiness and mental stability.
People need to understand that normal is subjective to people. If a person suffers from insomnia, or a mental or physical health issue that gives them insomnia, it is not ‘abnormal’ for them to sleep later and wake up later. I have waned off my sleep medication over the past 12 months, and one of the things I did was to work later into the night. I don’t intend to start taking them again.
I’ve always tried to keep my mind open about things, and I realized most people who have been open about their health issues would do the same.
I’m going into the extreme here. A paedophile may not want to have sex with children. But the chemical set-up in their brain might still force them to consider children as sexually desirable. You could have lived your entire life next to one and never knew, simply because they never acted out their impulses and desires. But the same stigma that attaches to them makes seeking help for their condition next to impossible.
Mental illnesses have always been questioned with the same prejudice as homosexuality and transsexualism. The same group of people who think homosexuality and transsexualism are made up, are usually the same who thinks mental illnesses are a figment of our imaginations. Simply because we do not fit into the world view of normal.
A 9-5 job. A 10-7 circadian rhythm. An extrovert hobby. A straight sexual preference. The prejudice for people to conform to these social norms makes for treatment and the subsequent readjustment to society intensely difficult. And I’m not the only one who experiences such things.
Though we have made strides towards equality in the past decades, if we are to ever be able to settle on a world with equality of all, we must rid ourselves of the thinking that societal norm is the only way of life. We must acknowledge that, among other things, that mental health and the unique lifestyle that are part and parcel of it, is as natural as homosexuality, transsexualism, and breathing.
(Note: For more links on resources, blogs or articles about mental health and services, visit the Links and Resources page.)