Humans are fascinating beings with the capacity to accomplish extraordinary tasks. Our complex brains can allow us to paint beautiful canvases and abstract pictures. It can allow us to create thousand word masterpieces in literature or create life-changing technology or medicine. It allows us to appreciate the universe we dwell in; from its unrestrained beauty of nature to the life-giving virtues and love that we have can show to one another.
Whether we’re created from intelligent design, or evolved from millions of years of life, it is without a doubt that we are vessels with astonishing capabilities. However, with the immense complexities of our human nature, comes a painful darkness that always shadows us wherever we go. The gift of reason, intelligence, and awareness that we’re bestowed with is paired with the responsibility to keep it properly nurtured and healthy. When this goes ignored, un-nurtured, abandoned, or abused, a darkness arises in us that suffocates our gifts. It suffocates the fire in us that burns to accomplish and experience the great things that our gift of life allows us. It doesn’t matter if the fire’s a modest spark or an ardent flame, the dark storms in our mind can quench even the strongest of flames.
This is a pretty dragged on introduction to the topic of mental health that I want to talk about in this post. I do this to emphasize the brilliance of human life in relation to our surroundings and the amount of potential for discovery, experiences, and love that we as humans really have. But it’s also to emphasize how our mental health can blind us from this potential and paralyze us from moving forward. So much can be gained from the way we think, but so much can be lost from it too.
Mental health and disorders have been deeply ingrained in my life for as long as I remember. As a kid, I grew up with a bi-polar mom and an “Asian dad” that constantly fought with each other. I’m not saying that an “Asian Dad” is a disorder or anything, but for those who know the stoic, unemotional, conflicting-cultured Asian dad, understands the emotional and mental toll that it can cause on a child. This lack of parental guidance caused struggles that I was ignorant of as a kid. It only confused and frustrated me. It contributed to my low grades and fears. However, I was protected by something that kept me from a consuming darkness that I see many of my peers fall into. We all know the awkward, stand-offish kid in grade school, the loner, the anti-social. We also know the temptation to cut, to drink, or do drugs For some reason, I was given a quiet persistence that allowed me to persevere passed it.
As I grew older, these struggles manifested itself into anxiety and depression that still persists in different degrees. These manifestations of past struggles are paralyzing and debilitating and have dulled my vision many times. But I continued to navigate through the dense forests of my life and I began to realize my strengths and weaknesses that sparked interests in several things. I also realized how blessed I am to have the support and love that I received from my friends and family. Without them (you), I don’t think I’d be here today. But, I also realized how many of my peers suffer from a wide range of mental and emotional struggles that are just as painful and debilitating as mine and don’t have the support.
This post is for these people. I confess my depression and mental issues here, in hopes that this is an investment in the most valuable thing on this earth; humans. Too many brilliant, unique, and lovely people have been chained too long by the fetters of doubt, insecurities, fear, depression, loneliness, anxiety, OCD, and countless more, without a means of help or hope of freedom. For those that can relate to this, I urge you to stay strong and persistent. Know that there are people struggling with you. Also, know that you’re valuable and loved. Don’t take life for granted, rather life live to the fullest. There are books to read, places to go, people to love, voices to be heard, and peace awaiting for you.
For those who have strength and clarity of mind to navigate this world, this is a call to invest in your peers who are struggling. To be salt and light in a very cold and dark world. To be quick to listen and slow to speak. To use your gifts and talents for each other. To love your neighbor as oneself, with love that is patient and kind. A love that does not dishonor others, is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and keeps no record of wrongs.