Our Collective Mental Health Needs Our Attention - Lynne Maureen Hurdle

The Conflict of Anxiety.

We are on my mind constantly. How are we managing our mental health? From what I’m seeing, we’re all anxious. From what I know, millions of us are living with or suffering from anxiety, and from what I can tell, most of us are not managing it well.

Let’s face it, there’s a lot to be anxious about and anxiety is a very common thing among us. It is enough of a job to look after your own mental health along with your loved ones. Add to that the idea that I am asking you to give time and attention to how we as a collective body of people are handling our mental health.

I’ll start with the focus on me. What’s coming up for me is the conflict of being anxious while not wanting to be anxious, all the while knowing the benefits of not being anxious, but still being anxious. Do you know what I’m talking about? I think you do.

In other words, I know the series of events that have happened in my life in the last 7 months and their lasting effects. Thinking about this causes anxiety and the more I think about it, the more anxious I get. This is not a comfortable feeling and honestly, I just want to run from it. Then I start thinking about how anxiety affects how I’m feeling physically, and I know that can mess up all my interactions and decision-making, so I work to manage it.

All around me I am seeing us, we, the collective, caught up in that same anxiety while still spinning in individual anxiousness. I know it’s easy to spot the conflicts among us, they are monumental, and we are pointing them out to each other hourly. Somehow, we are not seeing and considering each other’s mental health unless we include it in the barrage of assaults on each other’s opinions, ethics, values, and political stances.

Yes, it’s true. Even though we are talking about it more, mental health still gets tossed around as a defect or weakness. Dismissing someone as “crazy” or “mentally disturbed” is a lot easier than understanding that their mental health needs attention and generating genuine concern. Hey, I admit it, that is a tall order in these times. It is not instinct to consider that the anxiety that you are feeling is being felt by everyone else even those you dislike or disagree with.

Let’s consider that it is true that we are all dealing with some kind of anxiety. Then it is entirely possible that:

Everything feels like, looks like, and sounds like it is being heightened.

While tension is high, it can feel even higher than it actually is. I am not suggesting that it isn’t accelerated, but anxiety is helping to shape it into full-on escalation. There is less room for factoring in the effects of anxiety and that means we are not leading with that in mind.

When children are acting out,
When adults are exhibiting childlike behavior,
When people have little to no patience for each other,
When fear explodes into hatred,
When people avoid each other and assume the worst intentions,
When children are pushed against their developmental growth,
When overwork and exhaustion are incorporated as a need for survival,
When isolation is played out in needy behavior,
When everything that you are experiencing is playing out in others but is unrecognizable as that to you.

When you see these things playing out:

I am asking myself and you to remember and advocate for mental health first.

If we are not taking an interest in the mental health of all of us, we, the collective, then we will continue to believe that it is “us” against “them” when it is has always been We.

In love,

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