A week ago today on July 20, 2017 the lead singer of the metal band Linkin Park, Chester Bennington, committed suicide at his home in California. An odd coincidence is that his friend and lead singer of the bands Audio Slave and Soundgarden, Chris Cornell, would’ve been 53 on that day if he would not have committed suicide almost three months prior while on tour in Detroit, Michigan. Personally, I was struck that two powerhouses in the rock/metal genre were gone after having such stellar careers that spanned more than two decades and were a beacon of hope for so many like myself.
Like many others dealing with mental health issues suicide always seems an option as the light in our lives tends to wan and wax according to God only knows what. But when we are at our worst letting go, getting out of a life that is seemingly full of despair and pain is the only logical option.
I have found a few tricks that appear to help me with my health. So, if you or someone you know is suffering from a mental illness I am sharing what I think has made me find the light in life.
Find the Spirit World
It might sound odd, but my life changed after I found the spirit world. I had been in and out of the loony bin countless times, tried suicide 4 times, and was stuck in life with an illness that left me bereft of any hope and a longing to get out of life most of the time. Then in 2016 I sat down and did something that I couldn’t do in 6 previous attempts over the course of my life. That is, I was able to read the Holy Bible cover-to-cover. Don’t leave yet. I know there are a lot of people angry about Christians and Christianity, but the point is to find the spirit world. If you are a Muslim, read the Qur’an. If you are a pagan, worship the sun or the earth. If you are a Hindu, read the Vedas. Ect. But whatever you do, for good mental health, do something that gets you in touch with something outside of yourself and your suffering. Know that there is something greater going on in this world, in the universe than science can explain. Whatever that thing is, the Chi, the life force, the soul, can be brightened by someone recognizing it and realizing its power. No, being spiritual won’t completely change your life if you suffer from a malady. But it can help, to what degree varies with each person.
Get Some Sun
Get outside. Get away from this blog after you finish reading this post and get into the sunlight. Getting light into the eyes causes you to feel better.
Go for a Walk/Get Some Exercise
Along with getting some sun might be this idea: go for a walk. Walk for as long as you can or as long as you feel necessary. If you are like me you will walk for longer periods of time the more you do it and you will feel better. Lifting weights along with getting some cardio like walking is the best at fighting the blues and stress in life.
It is rather simple, but sitting in a quiet room by yourself and just breathing slowly or listening to a guided meditation on Youtube or the like will help slow down the racing thoughts and lower your stress. It might help to start your day with mediation and it might help to end your day with it as well. Doing it at noon when on a lunch break might help calm the mind and the body to push through to the end of the work day.
Take as Little Medicine as Possible
If you are taking any medication especially the psychotropic kind, be sure to try to lower the dose as far down as feasible. I have lowered my dose of medication to a level that is almost non-beneficial and I started feeling better after doing so, if you can believe it. Medication is often a crutch and at some point you need to walk on your own as much as possible. You will gain strength that way and learn how to make it in the world without chemical brain stimulation.
I know that those that are suffering with mental illness find it hard to be grateful especially when it seems life is such a struggle and that you think you would be better off dead. But along with spirituality comes gratitude. You will learn that when you focus on the good things that you have in life or simply the fact that you are alive you will notice a change in your thoughts and how you perceive the world. It is easy to be upset or angry with the state of the world or your life. And it is easy to focus on the things you don’t have in life or how you suffer, but there is a saying that goes like this. “If you want what you have in life you’ll always have what you want.” Be grateful that you are alive right now at this moment. Because if you are dead, there are no more options left for you in life. You don’t get to decide if go to see your family or friends or whether you get to eat a delicious meal or see the latest flick at the theaters or to do something bigger LIKE BEING AN ANGEL OR A DIFFERENCE MAKER FOR ANOTHER PERSON OR PEOPLE. If I wouldn’t have survived this long I wouldn’t have made a difference to the people I know and love to this point in time. Your death would be a tragedy to many. The universe will have lost a good soul. Stay in the fight. Keep battling. You have value. Use your gifts to help others.
For everyone including and especially people with mental illness, please eat a good diet. I have recently started a “clean diet.” That includes eating fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein sources, and staying away from dairy, caffeine, alcohol, processed foods and sugars. I have lost a few pounds and feel much better and have much more energy. Eating a healthy diet helps with getting good brain chemistry and will help you when you decide to lower your medication dosage. Shortly I plan on becoming pescatarian.
Taking drugs and drinking alcohol have a positive effect in the short term. By imbibing in mind altering substances one can lower stress for a limited time and knowing you have that release can get you through a tough day or week. Ultimately though doing drugs and drinking alcohol have adverse affects and can lead to where Chester and Chris ended up. Personally I think drinking alcohol and doing a little pot in college helped get me through a lot of the terrible things going on in my mind at the time. But in the end those things are the proverbial monkey on the back. You end up having to do more and more to get the same effect as before and doing too much can cause you to lose a grip with reality and become addicted to its lure. Just don’t do them. Stay away if you can. Or if you are doing them, get off of them as soon as possible. They will run you into a very dark place in the long run.
Smile. Life is great. Living during these times is wonderful. Know that this is the best time in history to be alive and the only other time you will want to be alive is in the future. Things will be even better then. Peace.