As we can’t watch any of our favourite programmes at the moment, I’ve been going to the library in Abergavenny to borrow from their collection of DVDs. One of the movies that I picked up last week was called ‘A Long Way Down‘. When I chose it, I didn’t read the blurb on the box so had no idea what the story was about and, to be honest, to start with, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to continue watching it, as it’s about a group of 4 people who happen to go to the top of the same building, on the same night (New Year’s Eve) intent on committing suicide. They obviously hadn’t planned on doing this in front of anyone else and so there’s a bit of awkwardness and they end up agreeing to form a pact, promising not to kill themselves before the next most popular suicide date, Valentine’s Day.
The film then follows them through all their misadventures together, but what struck me was that one of the characters, JJ, feels like an outsider in their little group because, from his perspective, each of the others has a reason for feeling the way they do – one has been publicly shamed, one has lost her sister and the other has a disabled son and spends all her life caring for him. JJ on the other hand confesses that he doesn’t know why he is unhappy. He feels hopeless, and also jealous of the others. They know what is ‘wrong’ in their lives and so they know what they need in order to ‘fix’ things, however as he doesn’t have an obvious ‘problem’, he has no idea how to improve things, or indeed, if that’s even possible…
This got me thinking… This seems to be a not uncommon situation in our society. So many people are unhappy, unfulfilled and dissatisfied, without knowing why. On the surface their life might appear to be ‘good’, or even ‘perfect’, but to them it is a miserable, and perhaps painful, existence. The issue is compounded because they don’t feel they can complain about this apparently happy life, particularly when so many others have ‘more obvious’ challenges to deal with.
Just look at examples such as Robin Williams. On the surface he had an amazing life and his public persona was very upbeat, but behind this he was very unhappy and deeply troubled.
I’m glad that there is now a greater awareness about mental health issues, and much work is being done to reduce any stigma. It’s great to see well-known personalities speaking out about their experience and letting the world see that outward appearances can be deceptive. Even the most amazing lifestyle, or having lots of money, doesn’t protect you from feeling unhappy.
I believe that these feelings need to be addressed holistically. It’s not something that will generally be resolved overnight, or with a simple fix. It takes time for someone to reach this point, and it will take time for them to find their way back to balance and wellbeing, but every step along the way will bring improvement and valuable learning – about themselves, their needs, values and desires – that will be of great benefit in creating the life that they long for.
So, what do I mean when I say that the issue should be tackled ‘holistically’? We are many layered beings and for us to function at our best, all of those layers need to be healthy and in balance. When we feel any form of dis-ease, it means that something is out of balance. In order to resolve this, we need to look at each area of our lives: physical, emotional and spiritual.
These aren’t discrete layers. They flow from one to the other and are interdependent. Any separation is artificial, but for simplicity, and ease of explanation, I’ll look at each in turn:
Did you know that gut health plays a huge part in our mood, as well as in many other aspects of how we feel and of our self image?
For this reason, it’s important to pay attention to what we eat. For example, did you know:
It’s not just what we eat, either – it’s also about the whole of our environment. This includes the products you use, both on yourself, and for cleaning. Did you know that you absorb things more quickly through your skin, than by digestion? For this reason I try not to use any harsh chemicals. I use natural, organic, vegan products where possible. I’m a consultant for Arbonne and I also buy from sites such as Green People, Norwex and Forest Hog.
Next week, I’ll look further at the emotional and spiritual aspects.
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