Mental Health Isn't a Trophy. Wellness Is Not a Prize

April 8, 2011 Kate White

Sometimes anxiety makes it seem perfectly acceptable to throw the baby out with the bathwater, in search of calm and peace. Even if that results in hating myself because it feels like I'm reaching for something I can never have. So what's the solution? Be someone else, of course!

If only you were a better you, you wouldn't be having anxiety issues. No seriously, I think this way sometimes; The promise of some life other than the one I'm actually living because the one I'm living is frustrating, real, and raw. And sometimes it's very hard to live with any of it

Anxiety: things aren't quite as they seem

Which is where I wind-up back at should (this is a word that practically signposts oncoming disaster for anyone with a mental health issue, btw). One of the things that spikes my anxiety is this little gem. A manky old, mildly-intoxicating shoe of a thought:

  • The assumption that I shouldn't have to work this hard, just to feel OK.

Because doesn't it ever stop? Well, no. Life will probably be hard regardless of whether I'm tired, moody, joyful, anxious, or insane.

Anxiety doesn't care if it's inconveniencing me


Mental health is not a goal I can achieve, put on the mantle and admire for the rest of my life. But I still feel like being human is a boxing ring I could get out of if I just won the next round:

"I know that sounds like no big deal. But I saw a gigantic holographic Buddha — correct in every way! Buddhas can be very intricate... I can't even draw, you know? I could barely spell cat, you know? And there it was. And I thought, Wow — the power of the mind, you know?"

-Iggy Pop

One day I walked into a psychiatrist's office, and she handed me a script and she said, "you know, you'll probably have to be on something like this for the rest of your life?" I nodded, as if I had any idea what that truth would be like. To live with.

More than a decade has past and I still haven't entirely accepted the fact that I can't neatly pack mental illness away when things would be better that way. Because I'd rather be somewhere else, doing something else, which obviously would totally fix everything -- Look Ma, no hands, and I can even spell cat!

I can't afford to forget, rest on my laurels thinking 'oh I did enough work on my panic and stuff yesterday'. Yeah, I did. And it was enough. Yesterday.

Mental illness shouldn't be this hard: Really??

'Shoulding' myself into a corner with a shark in my brain isn't the brightest plan for coping with anxiety any better than I have so far. The fact that I'm not perfectly perfect (yet, says my mind -naturally) doesn't make everything I've done so far to treat anxiety worthless. Doesn't make me worthless, either. Babies and bathwater, again.

The idea that I could be perfectly perfect, if I were trying hard enough, isn't exactly going to win friends and influence people, either. It's all Ego, and about the surest way to guarantee I'll stay stuck with anxiety: always be found wanting, always find my own worth everywhere else but here.

As the Buddha said, 'life is suffering', and as the Big Lebowski says, Dude!

APA Reference
White, K. (2011, April 8). Mental Health Isn't a Trophy. Wellness Is Not a Prize, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 26 from

Author: Kate White

Dr Musli Ferati
April, 19 2011 at 9:21 am

The most preferable definition of mental health is the integrity of psychological function that are able to perform satisfactorily life obligations as well as to accomplish successfully undertake plans. Hence, the main intention of current psychiatric treatment is to return riunous skillness as a result of any mental illness. In other words, it is imply that every mental health person should to function in oneself daily life. It is irrelevant if any subject have got any psychic difficulties, which in psychiatric lexicon are denominate as sign or symptom of mental status. In spite of presence to any psychological hardness the mental health person should be able to function in familiar, professional and social dimension. And this global capability couldn't realize without any mental impediment, such is anxiety an universal modern humane trouble. Besides this, depressive reactions grow up in many cases a torment of nowadays. In a word, these psychic sufferings, in mentally health person, wouldn't exclude the possibility to be a successful and useful member of society.

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