You know, it's funny. You can go your entire adult life confident of your beliefs and events can still over take you and cause a fundamental reappraisal of things that you have believed for years.
As you might have guessed, the beliefs that I am addressing are the relative bullshit nature of two concepts, those being "mental health time" and "urban isolation." We will discuss them in turn.
Mental health time, as I understood it, was time taken away from one's primary activities to gain some sort of mental perspective. I knew that it was related to stress and how people deal with it (see these guys for more info on that score).
Now, being the (usually) driven and ambitious person that I have always been, I thought that mental health time was a lame cop-out, an excuse given by the weak-minded for their failures to cope with the whirling shit-storm that is modern life. These people should quit whingeing and get back to work.
Well, um, this turns out to be not so true (for me, at least). A lot of things in my life were coming to a head at once (professional, financial, emotional) and I thought that I could soldier on and shrug it off easily (like I usually have before).
Not so fast, Will. Something was different this time. That something was urban isolation.
The term urban isolation describes a phenomenon that has been a part of the human experience since at least the time of the Industrial Revolution. People move to cities, away from their friends and relations and although they live in the midst of a teeming multitude, they still feel isolated and alone.
The usual perscription for dealing with urban isolation is to form a network of friends and meaningful associations to get you through the tough times and remind you that you are not alone. I usually have this, but because of the vagaries of academic and personal life, it was not as prevalent is it has been in the past.
I thought that urban isolation was bullshit because, well, I like being alone. I like spending time by myself reading, thinking or whatever (if I was a smart-ass, I would say here that spending time with myself is the best way to be assured of intelligent company). Anyone who claims to be isolated while surrounded by people is, well, either delusional or not trying hard enough.
Again, these assumptions on my part turned out to be rather wide of the mark.
So, in other words, I guess that need for mental health time + urban isolation = mental ground zero for me.
Worry not, dear readers. I am fine now. I retreated to my family and friends to, well, get some mental health time and remind myself that I am not as isolated as I might think. It did wonders for my mental state and I am back and ready to go again. We, as ever, have much to discuss.
Thanks for your continued support. Goodness knows I need it.
"Check the Box Sunday"
4 weeks ago