Although this column will primarily deal with Mental Health issues as a whole and what we as individuals can do to promote a healthy and positive attitude, I would like to speak briefly about the death of Reddit Co- founder Aaron Swartz, whom apparently died by suicide earlier last week.
Mr. Swartz was a strong advocator of free online content to the public. It is also alleged that Swartz wrote code for the now popular RSS feed which provides the most up to date news content from blogs, videos and news headlines.
Mr. Swartz was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment just two weeks before he was scheduled to appear in federal court charged with allegedly stealing millions of online scholarly articles.
At first a feeling of sadness over whelmed me. Here we have a ridiculously talented 26-year-old man taking his own life before it had even begun. I thought to myself, how did it get to that point? What is worse than facing death? The fact is, we may ever know. But Mr. Swartz’s death only further highlights the need for individuals to familiarize themselves with their inner demons and to also learn how to control them.
We all experience situations when we ponder life endlessly, whether in Starbucks or while on the way to work. We think, “Why?” Why is it always one thing after the next, why can’t I just have one week when everything goes according to plan. For some of us this kind of inner reflection and self directed complaining acts as a release value by which we blow off all that excess steam which has accumulated over the previous days or weeks.
For others, this simply isn’t the case. This pressure builds and builds until eventually an overload ensues, like a black cloud which lurks and looms over head waiting for the perfect moment to pounce, ready to wrap a relentless grip around your body when you are somewhat broken and at your most vulnerable. When it seems like clocks have stopped and you are caught in a constant loop in time, paralyzed by self doubt and worry.
Think of the mind as a chemical reactor. When the reactor is stable all the components are working in conjunction with each other, the situation is as it should be, safe, controlled and dependable. But when the components of the reactor do not work in synchronicity with each other, the outcome usually proves disastrous.
In my previous article particular attention was paid to the results of not adequately dealing with waves of stress and anxiety. Exploration of the various methods available to individuals for dealing with situations like the one I have written about above and also certain scenarios in last week’s article.
Each individual will find that certain coping mechanism which they have built and somewhat implemented within their daily lives work for them for whatever particular reason, but they may not work for another. That’s why in the beginning when experimenting with coping mechanisms, it is important to flag what does and doesn’t work and adapt what does.
An important piece of advice was so kindly imparted to me by an absolute gentleman and Mental Health scholar, Dr. Tony Bates of Headstrong Ireland, The National Center for Youth Mental Health in Ireland. Headstrong is a non profit organisation supporting young people’s Mental Health in Ireland.
Dr. Bates stressed the importance of writing down what you feel throughout the day on some paper and reviews them at the end of the day. Ask yourself, why? Why did I feel or think in such a way?
Try to find the source of the emotional pain or turmoil, identify it and familiarize yourself with it. This is the key to understanding why your emotional feelings are going within a certain direction or indeed reside in a particular dark corner, if this is the case.
Some Recommended Coping Mechanisms
Exercise- This does not mean that you have to join a gym or buy a treadmill for the house. Simply incorporate a time of approx 30 minutes into you daily schedule where you can take a run, fast walk or some weights. This is a fantastic way to burn off excess stress and tension.
Meditation – A very disciplined form of stress and anxiety release, but effective none the less. Meditation is a craft and like all crafts, you must be willing to learn. Focusing on your Breathing, Energy, Concepts and Body along with some relaxing music can work wonders.
Speaking to others – For many individuals their most prized assets are family and friends and when it comes to your Mental Health, speaking to family and friends makes all the difference. It might seem basic and pointless and first, but in actual fact when you take the time to speak to those around you about your problems, it will increase the productiveness and longevity of your working relationships and also serve as a release valve for you.
Continued Next Week.
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