I am unwell. I have the flu.
I am unwell. I am depressed.
These are sentences most of us may have used.
Year 2020, although the world was shaken, my body health until the last week was “tickety-boo”, quite contrary to my mental health. Since, I was mostly emotionally or mentally unwell, when the body became unwell towards the last week of 2020, I almost had forgotten how to deal with it, other than to sleep.
But, during this time, I remembered, my psychologists advise to love myself. I removed myself from my body, in my imagination, and spoke to me kindly. I spoke to the potential virus that was battling to get in. I told my body, how much I love it. I touched myself, massaged myself, and hugged me like a child while sleeping in feverish state.
This is when it dawned on me, on how vastly different are our approaches to health when it comes to body vs mind.
What exactly is sickness?
There are many forms of body ailments, including physical injury. But for this blog article, I want to take a simple sickness to bring my message to light.
Let’s take a virul flu as an example. A virus cell is a minature living being. My knowledge of a virus indicates, that it is programmed to use what ever the strategy to “multiply it’s kind”, because it “believes” to be “the only kind that should exist”. When one of these cells enter our body, our body’s immune system, let’s call our soldier cells, try to fight it back. Quite naturally “saying”,
Who the hell do these alien cells think they are, to come into this body and claim it as it’s theirs. Bugger off!!
During this battle, we will get fever, body pain, etc. This is the time, we need to give our body a lot of rest and a lot of nutrition, so that the body can do the fight well. Some strong viruses like HIV, attacks our core, study our DNA, and disguise itself, and pretend to be one the cells of our body. This is where our body “soldiers” fail. Because, they “think” it’s one of them, when its not.
Ultimately, one party will win, and one party will loose. If it’s a viral flu, more often than not, after it’s lifetime, and after causing what ever the damange it can cause, the virus dies, and body heals. More complicated illnesses, of course, the story can go very different.
We all have a belief system. This belief system is created by our upbringing, and how we operate in society, and what we learn. We collect things and remove things from our belief systems.
Let’s take a simple “mental sickness” called anger. This I believe is like a viral flu. Someone else who is not us, says or does something outside of our values held by our beliefs. We automatically feel our blood rush, body temperature rise, and our once calm body and mind, now starts to boil and dance, even when we externally show none of this, if we observe we know this to be true.
Why is this. Similar to the virus cell attacking, and our body “soldiers” fighting back. Our belief system or core value system soldiers are trying to fight back. Very much like our body soldiers believing the virus cells should not exist, our mental soldiers, are convinced from years of practice, that they are the only sort who should exist. So they fight back. This fight back can be expressed as anger.
Of course, anger is not deemed as a mental illness, but prolonged anger, sadness, suppression of one’s own truth is what ends up being mental illness.
How should I deal with sickness?
Now, when it comes to a virus, we are absolutely certain, it is harmful for the body, so we promote the “fight” from the body. But, we don’t call our body unworthy, useless, stupid, etc during this fight. We mostly go to sleep.
In the last week of 2020, during my flu like illness (which was not COVID, by the way), I actually remembered to be kind to my body. Remind it how grateful I am for the service it provides, and how much I love it.
But, when it’s a belief or a value imposed by society or by someone else, we don’t know if it’s true or not. So when we are complitely identified with our beliefs and values, we more often than not fight back. The fight back could be hiding in one’s room, and crying saying how unfair the world is, or a verbal fight, or even worse, a physical attack.
Identified or not, let’s say we had an anger attack. My biggest “flaw” these days, is how I treat myself, once the anger attack has subsided. I call myself various ugly names. I am guilty and ashamed of the attack.
But, when it was a virus, and my body wins, I am happy. Yet, when my mind fights and causes me to be unwell, I am sad.
This to me, is not loving myself. It doesn’t mean, I promote my anger, or what ever else. But once it’s over, when my mind has calm down, I would rather speak to it in loving kindness.
I would rather remind, that the external belief / value attack means nothing about the external party, and also remind, my internal believe / value fight back, that it too means nothing about myself. Both of these are conditioning.
Just like we use vaccination, we can learn from these attacks. A vaccination in my understanding is a small doze of the “harmful” cell injected to the body, so that the body can produce sufficient “figher cells” or we call immunity.
So, can’t we have a mental vaccination after each mental health episode? Let’s take sexuality as an example. Let’s say someone insulted me for being Gay. If I get angry or sad about this, it is my own mental health that is at stake. The person who insulted me, probably will walk away feeling “higher than thou”, while I have put both my body and mind into a pickle. If I can understand this phenomenon, and give myself a little mental vaccination, so that next time, someone insults me, I don’t react the same way, but ensure my mental health is the most important aspect I must consider, I would probably be less irritated, angry, or sad.
Have I mastered the art? Definitely Not. And as I always says, now I am terrified that I will have some belief / value attack where I put my health at risk. Part of me loves this part of “building my mental / emtional immunity”, but part of me hates it.
Why? Unlike a vaccination, we don’t have a gentle society who delivers small dozes of well tested “differernt opinion or value” vaccines. We get large dozes out there in the society.
But, it is up to us, to create our own vaccine, once we face an attack and become unwell.
I hope what I have written about makes sense, and you’ve taken something out of this.
Thank you so much.
Until my next blog, good luck with your health, both body and mind.
Lots of love
– Nim –