Who doesn’t like a good Batman movie? Unless you’ve grown up under a rock in the middle of the forest then you’ve at least heard of Batman and know the backstory of his character. During the day, Bruce Wayne; at night, his alter ego Batman. Batman was Bruce Wayne’s shadow self. The side he could not let anyone know about, other than his butler. Batman is Bruce Wayne’s scary side, the ugly part of him that he could not ever let anyone see. He kept the shadow self hidden away in the deep dark under belly that was Wayne Manor. We all have a lot more in common with Bruce than we admit. We all have a dark side.
We as a society are not good at showing our shadow sides. In the Facebook/ Instagram world of fake, and filtered instant gratification we have devolved into a society of only showing ourselves in the best light. In the mental health and addiction arena, it is even worse. The common reply of, “I’m ok” or “I’m good,” has become as common as the 2 am lift assist calls that the patients are undoubtedly naked in the floor. Men are admittedly worse at this due to the masculinity lie the world has spoon fed them. Real men don’t cry. Real men aren’t bothered by these calls. Suck it up puss cake, quit your bitching. Yet, men are leading the pack with suicides. It’s not manly to talk about “feelings” and “emotions” right? WRONG! This sounds corny, but stay with me for a second. We feel or feelings and emotions no matter how much we suppress or try to ignore them. Women do the same thing in an effort to conform to society’s preset standards of behavior. Fun fact, women are twice as likely to suffer from post traumatic stress than men.
One of my favorite quotes reads “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” This sums up mental health pretty spot on. The majority of us are suffering in “Quiet Desperation”, in silence, in the dark, alone. Why do we chose to suffer in silence? Why do we chose to ride the pale horse to the very gates of hell without asking for help to get off the damn horse? Pride, Shame, Ego, Fear? Personally, I think it is all four. Just like Bruce Wayne, we don the dark masks and feed our alter ego, the dark side. We feed and nurture the dark side more than the light side. This is where fear, shame, pride, and ego reside. We ruminate over things in the dark side, anxiety, depression, post traumatic stress, addiction and suicide. All of these feelings and emotions are fed by the darkness. Like Batman, we get stuck in the default mental mode in the darkness. This is where the little voice in our heads whispers that we are weak, we can’t go any further, give up, put that gun in your mouth, don’t ask for help.
All of these feelings and emotions are not physical states, they’re mental. They are not a physical state that is physically holding you down and keeping you from seeking help. It’s in our mental state, aka the mental prison. Our pride and ego hold us back from uttering the simple words “I’m not ok.” Shame keeps us in the dark, and tells us that we cannot ask for help. Fear keeps us from taking off the mask, and saying please help me. Remaining in the mental prison causes a lot of dis-ease, anxiety and dread. This causes mental bad energy and angst to build up and eventually boil over. This is when we see suicides, addiction issues, loss of jobs, relationships, etc. All the while we hold the magic words to free us from our self imposed mental prisons, I Need Help, Please. Simple, clear, concise and effective.
One thing I have learned throughout my journey, is that shame cannot survive in the presence of vulnerability, and light drives our darkness. The mental mountains we construct in our heads are obliterated by vulnerability and removing of the masks we wear. “We suffer more often in imagination than in reality.” We impose this proverbial death sentences upon ourselves and dwell in this internal angst for years. Suffering and suffering with not relief in sight, yet the entire time we hold the cure, vulnerability. There is Power in vulnerability, there is Freedom in this Power. “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, but they're never weakness.” Brene Brown.
When you speak truth and shed light our the issues that you’re battling it gives you community. It makes you realize that the island you put yourself on isn’t as lonely as we thought. It opens the door to the internal jail cell, and lets the fresh air in. Take off the mask, drop the masculine facade and talk to someone. You are never alone, you never have been. It does not make you weak to suffer from mental health issues, it makes you human. Even if you’re Batman, you’re mental garbage can will eventually get full and spill over. Either you can empty it, or it will spill over often in majestic fashion. I do ask of any of you reading this, do not let fear, shame, pride, or ego keep you from seeking help. Your life literally depends on your ability to seek help when in need. If you were shot, you would do everything in your power to get help, why not do the same when it’s a mental injury?
Reach out and check on 2 brothers or sisters today.
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