These last few weeks of class usually bring with them a lot of nerves. Assignments are due, final exams are right around the corner, and for some, graduation means liberation from the sameness of student life.
We all know the feeling of stress, but it often possesses people in different ways. Some people overeat, some people under eat. Some people panic, some people develop headaches. Some people try to party the feeling away, and others try to think it through; perhaps in a study session. No matter what though, the abstract of stress seems the same; something seems ultimately wrong.
What I really wish to bring up thoughis something different, something just as abstract and yet familiar. It’s hard to describe because it isn’t really tangible: there are no germs to test, no viruses to investigate. The thing that we all experience and yet try to ignore is absolute abstract thought, it is our mental health.
I compare the two different ideas because often times abstract thought is how we interpret the symptoms of mental health disorders. Become caught up in the notion of thought itself, that is you let your mind race long enough, you may over-think yourself into a stress induced trance. Push that a little further maybe you have a headache. Take one more step, maybe you have a panic attack.
This isn’t exactly what mental health is. The field consists of disorders, theories, behavioral sciences. I figured maybe this article could be about the perception of mental health, or maybe, the failure of the American Health system to keep up with the need for mental relief. I could go into the statistics of people who can’t get mental healthcare or talk about the dialectic of a population that doesn’t take this kind of problem seriously—the “just stop thinking” crowd or the “not in my backyard” shtick. However, I am not oneof those people who can go into that directly. What I can do is tell you what I know, the microcosm of my life; the hypothetical, indefinite feeling that reality isn’t exactly as tangible as I’d like it to be.
The objective nature of reality is ever prevalent in my mind but sometimes it seems far more surreal then I give it credit for. This is the slippery slope of mental health, the part where reality can seem overwhelming just by the simple, automatic act of just being; whatever that means.
Let me put it like this, when you eventually go in to take this test, you aren’t afraid of the tangible, concrete piece of paper in front of you. You fear the impact this exam will have on your recondite, abstract future. You may even create a map of it out in your head: I fail this test, fail the class, GPA falls, stay longer in school, fall behind, the rest follows.
The fear of the things that aren’t really there, do certainly have a stigma in society. A lot of life is not taking life very seriously. The underlying idea of success is become so successful that the things that stress you out can go away. People want to get so successful they don’t really have to think. I’d posit that these invisible things are the most important; confronting the horrific nature of life that we like to ignore, but also the smaller stuff. The concepts that people could eventually comprehend if only something pushed them to stand in front of these feelings and beat them instead of simply ignoring them.
What I am saying is: concepts play a bigger part in who we are then we would like to believe. At some point, those ideas cross into how our minds touch reality.