In Front of the 8 Ball (part 1)

05.15.2013

I'm Blogging for Mental Health.
I am certainly no pool shark, nor have spent significant time in billiard clubs. However, I am familiar with what it means to be caught behind the 8 ball.  It’s a precarious position, where the angles of your next shot are limited. You only have so many options. Think of it as trying to watch your favorite band/team/show from an “obstructed view” seat (bom, bom, BOMP).

 

In our own lives, we generally want to avoid these difficult positions, where our options for maneuvering are limited.  Sometimes, we’d just like to skip over the difficult parts. Other times there’s a strong magnetic pull that attracts all things gloomy and negative.

 

More commonly there are those who stay out of difficult situations by staying/looking ahead, take for instance households that have the spare toilet paper roll out visibly, to avoid those embarrassing moments for guests. Often times we’re so busy with what “feels right” or what seems to be the right thing, that we take little time to reflect upon how we’ve achieved this level of success, happiness, etc. In staying ahead, you have to take inventory of what has worked.

 

I am disapponited when I see mental health portrayed as simple black and white terms: crazy/insane vs. functional/normal. I have seen such portrayals in many different languages through many different communication vehicles, from social media to TV news. These limited portrayals of the vast landscape of mental health do us no good.  These reductions of mental health as being something that is either healthy or behind the eight ball do not do justice to scope of mental health. The shades of gray are there for us to navigate, the complexities of mental health can take a lifetime or more to discern.

 

We’ve all heard it before. One of the chief reasons why someone does not seek out the services of a counselor or therapist is because, “I’m not a crazy.” One doesn’t fill up the car with gas only when it has completely empty and won’t run, right? There is a common fear that a trip to a therapist’s office will result in one’s “head is going to get shrunk,” judgements are going to be made, and deep dark things will get uncovered that we didn’t know about ourselves. In actuality, people just feel a sense of relief, comfort,or hope after an appointment  knowing that someone is truly listening, someone is taking the time to understand, and there’s a sense of accountability, solidarity, and confidentiality in meeting with a professional.

 

Most people like to have some sense of control and choice over various matters of health.When we are caught behind the 8 ball,our choices become limited.

 

Being able to stay in front of the 8 ball is what increases your chance of winning the game, being proactive in all aspects of health, including mental health is what keeps one from succeeding in various aspects of life–families, relationships, work/school, career, etc. The relationship between mom and a baby in utero, is quite simple, a healthy mama = healthy baby. Similarly one that is mentally healthy can also positively affect the relationships and environments around them.

 

What are your nagging fears? What aspects of your personality are you not happy with? What prevents from succeeding? What feelings are  all consuming? Might this be something that needs attention to get you in front of the 8 ball?

photo credit: rackandbreak

2 Responses to “In Front of the 8 Ball (part 1)”

  1. […] JohnLeeMSW.com – In Front of the 8 Ball (part 1) […]

  2. […] In Part 1 of this two part post on In Front of the 8 ball, I talked about the misconceptions around mental health, and why people avoid seeking out help or consultation. If you’ve made it to Part 2 then congratulations, as I’ve piqued your interest, and perhaps you’re contemplating the possibility of change in your life. […]

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