Whether you're someone who has experienced the suicide of someone close to you, a distant acquaintance or struggled with thoughts of death yourself you know the hard time people have talking about the subject. People often dismiss any discussion on the subject because it makes them feel uncomfortable. That discomfort is what kills the conversation. I mean it's all well and good having someone like the Royal Family and daytime TV hosts shouting about talking to someone, they think it's as simple as booking in with their high price psychologist and going about their normal life. What about you and me? What exactly do we do with a system that makes you wait 3 months for an appointment and every time you try to ask for help nobody seems to want to help, if you want to be sectioned you better have a goddamn knife sticking out of your stomach or they'll tell you you're absolutely fine. A tale which is all too common as I found out merely an hour ago that someone in the local community was found dead with a rope around their neck after the health'care' providers seemed fit to judge him as entirely healthy. Not something he wanted to hear, with his behaviour in turmoil and his life on a downward spiral how could someone be so callous?
They don't give a shit, they are all about cutting costs, you are not seen as a human in need of help, you're seen as a leech on the system that needs burning off. Well I am here to change all that. After being let down by the system for years and years I tried to commit suicide, a few failed attempts served as the self imposed metaphor of the death of my former self. I no longer wanted to be that individual, didn't want to rely on 'the system' to help me get better and strived to do all I could to understand the human condition, what strings of behaviour and thought lead to particular behaviours both within the individual and society. What I found out in my years of study was amazing, when I say study I mean books and books, anything a college professor could teach me could just as easily be learnt by self driven study.
The first book I picked up was 'The Mind in the Making' by James Harvey Robinson which opens with...
"If some magical transformation could be produced in men's ways of looking at themselves and their fellows, no inconsiderable part of the evils which now afflict society would vanish away or remedy themselves automatically. If the majority of influential person held the opinions and occupied the point of view that a few rather uninfluential people now do there would, for instance, be no likelihood of another great war; the whole problem of "labour and capital" would be transformed and attenuated; national arrogance, race animosity, political corruption and inefficiency would all be reduced below the danger point"
This book was written in 1926 by the way. You can imagine me stood in this antiques book shop far beyond the realms of where my haggard exterior would permit me, looking at this first paragraph like 'whoa, this is already important'. You see to me within that first paragraph I gleaned that the world has always seemed to be a bit mad, that there are more ways of thinking than the one I had been raised with. How now do I shift my perspective to gain a greater understanding on the problems that afflict us all.
The book continues...
"As an old stoic proverb has it, men are tormented by the opinions they have of things. rather than by the things themselves. This is eminently true of many of our worst problems today. We have available knowledge and ingenuity and material resources to make a far fairer world than that in which we find ourselves, but various obstacles prevent our intelligently availing ourselves of them. The object of this book is to substantiate this proposition , to exhibit with entire frankness the tremendous difficulties that stand in the way of of such a beneficent change of mind, and to point out as clearly as may be some of the measures to be taken in order to overcome them"
I live by that proverb, the idea that the opinion I hold can change by shifting perspective was already contained within the first paragraph, but here was the hammer to the nail, our perspective is made up entirely of our opinion of things. I held the opinion that I HATED myself, but that was whatever opinion I held about people on the whole, I thought people were hate filled, angry little alcoholics who would rather yell their way out of a problem than having to deal with it head on. Here I was reading the wisdom of someone long since passed who failed to match any of these criteria, this was a voice worth listening to.
That was something I learnt form this book, all my life I had been getting advice from people who had condemned themselves to an unfulfilling life that will have no effect on the world as a whole and here I was wanting to change the world without the know how to do it...AND a mental health problem. I read those two paragraphs and had to buy it then and there. I read that book in no short amount of time and from it I had a whole new list of things to read and study. I had a new passion for fixing the conditions I was given by unremarkable people and replacing them with the voices of those who HAVE, and there are plenty of us out there.
I want to change the world and I want you to help change it with me because I personally believe education will set us all free, we have the know-how, skills and ideas together, collectively that can ACTUALLY turn the system on its head without violence or war, it is just about standing against those who would tell us we'll never succeed and hopefully in the process lift them with us.
I highly recommend getting stuck into this book, you can spend an entire day chewing over a single sentence or page and come out the other side with newly found knowledge that can be put into immediate effect. Here's my amazon link for the book (which if you click through and buy will help me out too, by like 5p, but it all helps)