I am penning this post as an outlook from someone who is self-employed, struggled with mental ill health and ultimately a UK citizen as a way of self-reflection. It is not in anyway intended to cause any offence or distribute any wacky theories… I have faith in the divine and that we will be OK. Just felt the need to let of some steam and express my thoughts as I am sure many of us need to.
I did not want to put out another “tips for working from home post” so will keep this section short and to the point. I am well accustomed to self isolating as I have been working from home for around 4 years now and being “socially isolated” for long spells of time has been common during this period of my life. If you are alone it can be difficult to stay focused and live with a basic routine as your days can be quite unstructured and tend to be dictated by tasks rather than time. You also do not have the mild relief of social contact like random conversations in the office or nipping for a drink after work so you can easily end up spending a lot of time in your own thoughts. It is important to be kind to yourself and not to practise negative self talk so you will need to do what you can to stay in the moment as much as possible.
Naturally, without formal structure, your mind can wonder off task quite easily. Self reflecting has its own hazards as you can inadvertently and quite easily revisit something depressing, traumatic or irrelevant in your thoughts thus shifting you into a negative state of mind and disrupting your productivity. I tend to tackle this by keeping background music on at a low volume to help create a different type of atmosphere when I am in work mode as to compensate the sound of people or to mute the negative thought trails by distracting the mind elsewhere. Music is therapeutic and can take us to happy places quicker than most things. I also try to go for regular walks/runs to connect with nature and get some fresh air and disconnect from social media.
I think in the coming months there will be a real increase in severe mental health cases as more and more people are self isolating without the necessary understanding or the coping mechanisms. Severe mental ill health requires treatment, supervision and the general consensus is that if you are or become a danger to yourself or others then you will have to be treated very seriously and more than often in a mental health ward. The catalyst for this increase which I predict is that masses of the population are overloaded with worries whilst being paralysed by fear of the unknown. Not only is there the assumed risk from the covid-19 virus that will be causing panic and anxiety but the financial, social and long term ramifications with which we are uniquely but also collectively faced.
The government have already just introduced draconian measures and specific law changes around the sectioning of mentally ill patients and one of the most alarming ones is that it will only require one medical professional to deem someone to be unfit mentally for them to be locked up. These measures have been put into place for a minimum of 2 years. Previously, the system required 2 doctors to make an agreed decision before someone could be sectioned and in effect locked up without liberties. I would expect that this has been done as to fast track cases as they expect there to be a significant increase in cases as well as to potentially release doctors for other duties. I am cautious though having been through that system when I was unwell to know that there is a very thin line between being OK or needing sectioning.
“Currently two doctors are required under the Act to carry out an assessment, one of which has to be a “section 12” approved doctor, but new legislation is likely to allow for just one doctor.” Health Service Journal
During my darkest hours, I was never suicidal but know the thought patterns that can lead you there very well. I have personally always managed to revert back to a default position when staring into the oblivion which was reverting to my faith no matter with what I was faced whether an internal illness or external problem. This is mostly down to my upbringing and belief system as a Sikh and faith in a superior power (infinite creator/ Waheguru). I think I could have been another statistic if I did not practise my faith and access spirituality when going through hard times. Suicidal thoughts do not necessarily surface from an impulse to want to harm yourself but are often formed from a a basis of wanting to escape yourself as you can no longer cope with the self destructing internal monologue of your inner self. This is what worries me about what society is facing as prolonged bouts of negative thinking or traumatic experiences are a breeding ground in the mind to develop psychosis, permanent mental ill health conditions and suicidal thought patterns. The ego (self) in the model which I have cited from a helpful blog post by Monroope, is quite different from the western interpretation. The ego in Sikh teachings is more a direct proposition of the Jungian Shadow in psychology.
Guru Nanak Dev. Ji outlined Haumai is the greatest disease of humanity and that most of the global conflicts and the mental health epidemic is due to Haumai and pride. Guru Nanak Dev. Ji stated if we control our pride and Haumai, we can directly improve the mental health of the both the individual and the community .”
Materialism and personal gratification (Selfish acts) without the consideration for others are two of the “epidemic” illnesses with which the world has been suffering with for centuries now. The covid-19 pandemic has highlighted through the mass panic buying that without a basic level of self awareness and humility their are many many people on this planet who are truly lost in the wilderness. They are ultimately clutching at material objects whether toilet paper, excessive food or liquor as a way to combat the despair with which they are faced. This panic mentality is a direct reflection of their current state of mind and this is the foundations of why I make predictions for a global mental health crisis. These behaviours will provide temporary gratification but ultimately they will return to their previous mental state and if anything feel worse as they do not have an alternative coping mechanism. In Sikh, teachings this would be best described as Manmukh behaviour.
Manmukh: A person who is self-centered and only thinks about themselves and the material world around them as is totally oblivious to God.
The current pandemic has allowed to us to see at first hand the very abundant existence within the world of ‘Manmukh’ people. It is truly tragic but ultimately underlines that we are living in dark times where there needs to be a greater spread of education in spiritual awareness. This can be delivered through mindfulness for those that don’t accept an infinite creator or through self realisation and meditation.
On a final point, after Rishi Sunak made his most recent announcement yesterday it appears that the self employed, freelancers and contractors would face the brunt of financial casualties during the pandemic. This has great cause of concern for me personally as I could potentially be faced with an average income of £96 per week with the likelihood of potential opportunities to dry up for the foreseeable future. I am hopeful that the government will make a provision for the self employed but assure you that this setback in the long range of setbacks I have faced in my life is nothing I will lose sleep over.
I have learned to live a minimalist life and have the self confidence and faith that I will always find my way through dark times. It is probably more important now more than ever before to know your value, define yourself and reach out to others. If you respect yourself and value what you have to offer the world then you will always find away and the universe will make space for you. I will finish with one of my favourite quotes from Martin Luther King which I believe is the way in which you keep moving forward regardless of the adversities you face in your life.
If you read this blog and anything resonates with you and you are feeling in anyway in need of a chat, please feel free to reach out to me via the contact option on my blog or via skype. My skype id is “thegillsofoxford”. I am always open for business 🙂