This editorial is brought to you by fluoxetine, flurazepam, promethazine and quetiapine. It’s sponsored by counselling, patronised by the waning weight of rain clouds and subsidised by years of pain, growth, love, inventory, strife, hope and wonder. Mental health issues and subsequent recovery are by no means a linear journey, trust me, I know, but there is always, always, hope. As I write this someone you know is going through a hard time and battling with the internal monologue of whether to tell you or someone else. You may even be the one struggling. Often the voice that tells us to keep it inside wins, and when it wins, the journey into night becomes darker. The torch however is always available to lead us out of the wilderness. The way out of the mind’s labyrinth of trauma is a complex one, but starts with a simple act: picking up that heavy phone, and asking for support one needs. Once this torch of connection is lit, the weight of strife begins to lighten, the clouds dissipate and a blue sky emerges triumphant, allowing one to exit the maze.
In my experience, the maze is ever present, and at different times I wander in there, get lost and need to find my way out again. Sometimes the journey takes longer than I expected. Sometimes the days feel so lost, disjointed and painful, and the weight of melancholy burns through my amygdala. Other days, I feel a connection to everything, and joy rears its beautiful luxury along my path. I write this because I want you to know you’re not alone, that people do care, and that no matter how bleak the nighttime is, the sun rises each morning.
Hope conquers fear, even when fear conquers us. Gratitude crushes sadness, even when sadness crushes us. Dreams vanquish nightmares, even when nightmares vanquish us. Pain shall always pass, but in its transient moments it can seem to cut us apart, mind, body and soul. This too shall pass.
Remember, all your emotions are valid. All those thoughts you have that you think are crazy, that you compartmentalise into a secret file of self-protection are going on in everyone else’s heads too. We are all unified by our experience of mental health, because we all have it, whether it’s bothersome, balanced or both. The particulars of the paths we take may diverge, but the common destination of our shared aspirations bind us together.
This has been a year like no other. We’ve missed connections, experiences, human contact, routine, partners, parents, friends, acquaintances – the people that add coal to the fire of our lives, the spiritual smoke of our passions, and offer purpose to life. For people with pre-existing psychiatric conditions, the COVID19 crisis has exacerbated those conditions, and has created functional mental health issues for those who had no pre-existing psychiatric issues before the pandemic. Many of us have lost loved ones. Many of us may feel we have lost ourselves. When we journey through the night we cannot see the strides we’re making, but they’re strides nonetheless.
Motley Magazine will continue to be an outlet for our student body’s collective experiences, and Issue #4: Mental Health offers a myriad of individual experiences, to create a rich tapestry of pain and experience, recovery and hope. We continue to be your tapestry, to paint your fears, your victories and your musings. Speak to us.
Know that I and all my staff are always here for you. Always. We all understand the complexities of mental health, and we want to show you that you’re not alone. The experiences in the pages here-in highlight the commonality of all our difficulties. Prescribe yourself pages, remedy yourself with reading, and beyond the bounds of this magazine, treat yourself – by talking.