Mental illnesses are more prevalent than we would think.
My friend, a Swedish doctor who is also a trained clinical psychologist, mused that people would see a doctor or a dentist without a second thought, yet baulk at the idea of seeing a clinical psychologist. His appointment book is full of patients seeking his medical advice for chronic illnesses, hoping for a magic pill to restore their good health rather than addressing the underlying issues that are plaguing them. He would gently guide them into seeing that the root-cause of their problem is psychosomatic. No pill required.
But there is social stigma attached to it in many societies or simply dismissed.
Mental illness does not imply imaginary conditions or, at the other extreme, loony bins. It could be something as common as anxiety attacks. But if left unacknowledged, anxiety attacks can cause real physical symptoms, it can destabilise a household, affect careers and even break-up relationships.
How to deal with anxiety attack? Or anger management?
He gave a surprisingly short answer: “As with everything, it requires getting to know yourself first. You have to know what’s wrong with the interiors of your house before attempting to fix it.”
I realise, how true! Many people have attractive house exteriors (grand-sounding job title, nice car, nice clothes, charming dialogues) but what’s the interior like?
As my friend says, sometimes, there is nothing wrong with the interiors at all. It’s just empty. Because the owner chooses not to spend his/her time there, whatever the reason. And you know what’s scary? Who furnishes your house: your parents, your childhood years, your bullies, your first love, your past partners, your children, your struggles. If you don’t invest time into making your house’s interior lovely (which might require actively junking painful furniture), can you imagine enjoying living there? If you are unhappy in your inner world, you blame your outer world.
Time invested in meditation is an investment in furnishing the interiors of your house the way that makes you most happy, and perhaps doing some maintenance work 🙂 Spend more time building your inner world. Because it’s not comfortable living in an empty house, not for you, not for your partner and most definitely, not for your children.
And as we know, our inner world affects our outer world. So very much.