Is staying positive being ignorant, or something else?

Though positivity is all about seeing the good that can be made of bad situations, and focusing on moving forward through the rough until the good times are reached, a positive lifestyle isn’t as glamorous and fun as some make it out to be- but it is worth the trouble!

Living positively means to push forward and up through all trials, rather than allowing oneself to be drug down by the negative forces of trying times.  It means to always fight for the good to surface at least by the end of every bad situation and to try, no matter how difficult it gets, to remember that things will always get better.  This being said, I should highlight the word “fight”, for that is what living a positive lifestyle is really mostly about; positivity is about being a fighter in a world where so much seems to want to drag us down.  So, oftentimes, living a positive lifestyle seems to lead us into worse times than a negative lifestyle would lead us into, but this is just an illusion of the struggle- we can be brought down temporarily, but we can not be defeated if our usual demeanor is one of working to bring the light to ourselves and others, for that demeanor will always resurface to remind us of our fight, and, as long as we don’t degrade it, it will come more often than not.  With such a demeanor, we will more often than not feel helpful rather than selfish, which is a very important thing to feel in a world occupied by more than just the self, and, if we are in fact more helpful than selfish, we will receive help from others in return.

Positivity is about changing the world for ourselves and all those around us- it is about progression, and progression doesn’t come by sitting idly surrounded by hearts and peace signs.  We have to be the force sending those hearts and peace signs, and reminding ourselves of them whenever things get tough.  Not always easy to do, being positive is ever important to the well-being of our world.

The relation between Happiness and Mental/Societal Stability

A happy society is a healthy society because a happy person is a mentally healthy person.  Happiness is the utmost goal in all seeking, and so, when achieved, leads a healthy society full of healthy individuals, which is the only truly stable way to be.

When a population is happy, revolt is not an option.  They will still bend existence to their will, but not in a contentious way, because, if they are happy, it is because there is no opposition.  We create the opposition force whenever we try to fight for anything not in the best interest of every living being ever.  But it doesn’t have to seem so complicated: if we are striving to do our best to lift each other up rather than bringing each other down, we are doing our part to help create a happy society full of happy people.

So let us do it!  Let us build this world up to harbor a society complete in its happiness and so health and stability!  Let us spread peace and love in all that we do, and let all including ourselves reap the benefits.

Substantially Active, or Busy

A popular topic in psychiatric therapy and counseling sessions is the level of activity one maintains in their life, and the content of that activity.  Are you substantially active, or are you just busy?

It is well known that ‘an idle mind is the devil’s playground.’ It is also well known that one can be active and still become ill if they are not filling their time with meaningful activity.  No matter who you are, what you have accomplished, how perfect your past and how stable your relatives are, you can be driven psychotic by this world; you can experience mania; you can become depressed; you can get knocked off your rocker if you are maintaining an unhealthy lifestyle in regards to how you occupy your time.  This does not mean that everyone who lives unhealthily will become ill, but it does mean that they are more susceptible to such illnesses.  Also, no illness is incurable, but it is up to you and worth your time to find and heed your truly healthy desires, rather than simply filling your time with meaningless activity which will only cloud your mind.

Filling your time with nothing worthwhile is detrimental to your mental health, and bringing ones mental illness closer to the surface- even temporarily- is no fun, for the subject or those around them.

The most important things for someone to consider when deciding how to spend their time are of course survival necessities.  Oftentimes, in crisis states, we decide to forego our survival necessities in favor of more grandiose ventures, but this leaves us unavailable to care for anything until we heal our bodies from the wear and tear we experience while away from caring for our physical selves. We must attend to our whole selves before we can attend to others.  Next, whenever we have the time for excess, we should make sure such excess is beneficial rather than detrimental to the world around us. We have something to do here on Earth, and that is to make it livable for all, and possible for all to thrive in, so if we are not fulfilling such a purpose, we subconsciously feel bad and drive ourselves to disease and illness, including mental illnesses.

So stay active doing things that are good for you and those around you, working towards the shared life we all want to live, and, by living in such a way, stay out of the hospital!  The hospital will call you like a magnet if you are wasting your time here on Earth.

Recreational Drug Use and the Instability of Society

Drug use is ravaging our society; not just recreational use, but the widespread unmoderated use of pharmaceuticals, as well.  But the over-prescribed pharmaceuticals issue is for another blog post; here, I would like to discuss recreational usage only.

Throughout my teenage years, whenever I would hear anything about recreational drugs, I would glamorize the usage of them and their good effects, while disregarding and therefore negating my understanding of the severity of the bad effects that I knew of.

Aside from a skewed understanding of drugs, I, like most people, didn’t understand everything there is to understand about them (and I still don’t and never will) from the standpoint of their effectiveness by the time I started using them.  The good highs that we get when using drugs aren’t really the harmless land of epiphany that we like to revel in, and the comedowns aren’t as single-faceted as a soft landing upon clouds while coming down from a high… they are more than that.  An inevitable long-term crash waiting to happen from continued use is a better way to describe it than an ease down, as our brains and minds and bodies get used to living in highland, while our tolerances, wasted time, and use of money grow to a point where we can not appease our desires.  Then, some drugs are easier on the user than others when it comes time to fall down from the long-term high, but that’s only in some people.  Every drug has the potential to be a huge detriment in the life of at least one user, and you never know if that user will be you, and the detriment is huge and not worth the risk, or the high.  There are healthy, natural activities and alternatives that give the same effect of a high, but for more prolonged periods of time and without the risk associated with recreational drug use.

Even all the way until recently, I didn’t correlate the almost-exact similarity between recreational and pharmaceutical drugs.  I used to understand the idea of self-medicating, but I never understood how really, truly the same it is as prescribed medicating, but without the guidance of a professional in the field of medicine.  They are called drugs for a reason- or medicines- and they all have the same risk.  The high is something that the user gets from using too much, and a high can’t be extended forever.  Eventually, there is a comedown back to baseline, but that baseline is lower than the high was, and if the user was at the high for too long, the baseline seems like a low.  And oh how low can one go…

Now, imagine a society where much of the youth population glamorizes that land of high.  And, using the information I just gave about comedowns and baselines, please deduce what happens when young people grow up and out of the highs they volunteered to be a part of and achieved, unknowing of the lows they might be subject to.  That, combined with the difficulty of adult life as compared to the ease of childhood that constitutes almost all peoples lives, and we have an unstable society of adults at lower-than-baseline and capable of dropping even lower whenever something throws them off.  Hence psychotic breaks, etc.  They are much more prevalent than most would like to imagine.  And they are egged on by societal factors.

An unstable society leads to unstable individuals, and vice versa.

Currently, we are on a downward spiral that is unsolvable but by a great unified effort, and there are a few possible scenarios, but something needs to be done.  One idea is to completely abandon recreational drug use, a measure made easier by pharmaceutical medications not being considered the standard solution for all ailments, but one still possible to achieve even if doctors still prescribe pills as long as we can really all come together to impart the understandings of true danger associated with recreational drug use that I have highlighted in this blog post.  One compromise would be for doctors to prescribe recreational drugs to people who desire them and who would do them anyways, therefore moderating the usage- but the users would have to be willing to listen to their doctors in any case imaginable, including the case of complete abstinence in some individuals; this scenario requires trust, however, to a greater degree than most people are currently displaying in this society.  Which brings me back to phasing out drugs from our society completely- pharmaceutical and recreational use.

We need to, as a society, turn to healthy lifestyles of beneficial activity, beneficial diets, and beneficial relationships, and not only because it’s the righteous thing to do- but also because we are on a rocky road headed towards the edge of a cliff, and our car is almost too fast to stop in time for our salvation.

NAMI National Mental Health Awareness Week speech

Backstory: I was invited to speak for a group of people who are currently in an inpatient/outpatient group-therapy treatment program that I used to attend, in honor of the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) National Mental Health Awareness Week.  I decided to write a speech.  I haven’t written a speech since my school days, so pardon if it is a bit sloppy, but I believe it to be somewhat well composed, and I believe that most of the points I wanted to cover are expanded upon thoroughly.  Anyways, it was well received, by the clients of the program and the counselors alike, and so I decided to share it here in hopes that it will help more people to be inspired towards change for the better, for themselves and their loved ones.

The Speech: My name is Aaron Kaplan, and I have been sitting right where you all sit today.  But about a year ago, I graduated (program name anonymous to protect patients).  And I have been doing great.  I have healthy relationships and good business, I have good income and am paying all of my bills, and my time is chalked full of healthy activities that I enjoy, including volunteer work and school.  I live with my girlfriend and our house is clean.

I know it is difficult to believe that I could have been sitting in a similar seat and filling similar shoes as you, but not because I am doing well- after all, that is the goal of you all being here now.  No, it is difficult to believe because of the belief that our positions are so unique.  Most of you, I am sure, believe that nobody could have gone through anything even remotely similar as you now; that it is too sad or too grand or too out there.  But talk to your peers; talk to each other.  I encourage you all to drop the veils of embarrassment and become open books.  When you open up, you will see that many of you have been through very similar situations.  Not to say that we aren’t all special- because we are.  Each and every person is unique.  But being here in treatment does not define us.  This is simply a stumbling block in the road that we have to solve- with help, but for ourselves.  And it is difficult in this world as it is, for now, to not come across this block in the road, so don’t blame yourselves for ending up here.  But do accept responsibility.  Don’t feel like you are a lesser person that has been or can be defeated.  Because you can’t be.  Everyone has within them the capability of going astray, but also the capability to find the right path again.

Now, I would be willing to bet my life savings that many- if not most- of you do not feel like you need to be here.  Well, I would also bet my life savings that you do need to be here, for now.  The point is to form habits and coping skills so you can keep the same friends you had and raise them up with you instead of falling down again.  Or to learn to make new friends and build healthy relationships.  Either way, you ARE here; but this is NOT your final resting place.  You may as well make the most of this timeout from the outside world.  Don’t worry- they want you to graduate, to a better life, and if you do what’s right for yourself, you will graduate.

And, on another note (and remember that I have been there before), this is a lot better than it could be for you all.  This is definitely a step up.  Don’t forget to look back at why you are here.  This is for extended stability.  You’re here because of how you were when you got here- not because of how you are now and how well you plan to stay when you leave.  Something WAS wrong, and it was a deep-seeded problem.  Remember that the first step to recovery and stability is admitting you have a problem.  Every story for every stay here that I’ve ever heard of needed help, and we’re lucky that we live in this day and age, because back in the day?  Torture chambers to exorcise the demons out of us.  Big metal punches to the brain through the forehead.  Burnings at the stake.  The world gets better, not worse.  It started from nothing, right?  Even the bible tells all these gruesome stories of times much worse than today.  Be patient.  Things will get better for you.  Remember, I have been there before.

Anyways, staying busy keeps us sane, whether it be with work or business or hobbies, though I recommend all three.  An idle mind is the devil’s playground.  That’s how the saying goes, and it’s true.  A still mind has room to wander, but all it will find is trouble unless you guide it.  So grab your life by the horns.  Get busy!  It will keep you sane.

And keep in mind that drugs are just that: drugs.  Medicine.  If you want it, it’s probably because you’re sick.  But that is what the doctors are for.  They’ll give you the best drugs you could get.  And what are you gonna do?  Sit down and enjoy them?  Revel in their beauty and bow down to them?  No!  You use them to get better.  There’s no difference between those and street drugs, but that street drugs will get you in trouble.

Now, this is all just advice.  Take it or leave it.  I may be young, but I have some experience, and I’ve been through the hospital rounds, and now I can see it for what it is: healing.  Time to heal.  Time to calm yourself and prepare to take life on honestly.

I’ll leave you will a little closing.  Raise your hand or just note within yourself if you think you have somewhere else to be besides here.  Well, you don’t.  I promise, it’s not fun for you or others out there while you’re still healing.  You won’t miss anything important.  Life is eternal (you can’t eliminate a soul), and your life is more fun and beneficial once you straighten yourself out.  You are all beautiful people.

Thank you, and take care.