Time has never been my friend. I believe in western society it would be fair to say this applies to almost everyone. As the world becomes progressively more complex and because things are changing at such a rapid pace, the ability to keep up is becoming increasingly more difficult. The multitude of obligations one is faced with becomes even more burdensome for anyone with a pre-disposition to anxiety. I have always struggled with the mindset of imaging the worst possible circumstance and letting life’s responsibilities fester inside my head. Instead of taking things one day at a time I will worry about what happens if I don’t do what I need to do. After all, in life there is a very wide range of things to be burdened by.
When will I do my taxes? What if I can’t find someone to rent my condo to? What if I can’t pay off my debt?
I even obsess about getting to work on time, and on numerous occasions have driven dangerously to avoid being late. I have always worked in an industry which requires strict conformance to a timely schedule and the concept of ‘time is money’ has been subconsciously imprinted in my brain. I have also gone to work sick simply to maintain the appearance of professionalism. This has included physical illness as well as days I was not in a positive frame of mind. The modern workforce is very fast paced and stressful, and we don’t take nearly enough time to consider our own mental health. I mean doesn’t it sound absolutely absurd to call-in depressed? How can this be properly communicated by a doctor anyway?
“I apologize for Marks absence but he has been experiencing negative thoughts about his future which may adversely affect his performance, and therefore will not be present today.”
As ridiculous as this may sound, it should be completely relevant to how mental health is assessed in the working world. If the pressures and demands of our jobs are not seriously re-evaluated, modern society will eventually experience major burn out.
My roommate came up with the concept of the Muck of Life, which basically states that life will continue to throw sh*t at us, and no matter how much we persevere there will always be a new obstacle to overcome and we’ll be constantly faced with adversity. So often I feel I live in a world where there will always be too much to do and not enough time to do it. Last year I dealt with a flooded condo, a job layoff and having to find new tenants all within a very short period of time and the mental stress was debilitating. What should have been easy tasks to manage were exaggerated by fears of failure and I felt I was constantly fighting an uphill battle. I did resolve each issue but there just never seemed to be enough ‘me’ time in between all the things which needed to be dealt with.
This concept of not having enough time to self-focus is becoming a major problem in society today. The list of priorities we all have seems to be growing longer, and it often feels like they have to be completed now; not tomorrow or next week, but right now. We all try to remain optimistic but positive thinking is only efficient if we have sufficient time to properly put everything into perspective and self-reflect. But how can anyone put enough time into positive thinking with the increasing demands that life throws at us?
Debt, work, school, relationships, children, bills and numerous other things plague our thoughts daily and we cannot resolve one problem fast enough before another one quickly replaces it. It is estimated by some that in the coming year’s mental illness and depression will overtake heart disease as the number one killer in the developed world, and I can only agree with this claim. Since our mental state plays such a vital role in determining everything else about our physical health, if we lose touch with it, how are we supposed to function as human beings?
The only solution to this growing problem is to slow down, and not let the pressures of everyday life affect us. But in order to do this we have to be open with each other and express that ‘its fine to not be okay today.’ If we pretend we are managing but are actually exhausted, our problems will only get worse. It is vitally important that we take time away from our professional and academic lives not only when we are physically ill but also when we are feeling depressed or anxious. We don’t examine our mental needs or talk to each other nearly enough about what is actually going on inside of us and this will only have consequences in the long run. Mental health and physical health are one and the same, and neglect of either can be just as unhealthy for our personal development.
About Mark Rob
Mark Fraser is a 30 year old man who has lived with depression, anxiety and obsessive thought for much of his adult life. Since coming out as gay in high school he's had difficulty relating to others in his community and has experienced self-doubt and a pensive outlook for his future. Mark moved to Toronto in 2012 and has become involved in Second City Improvisation classes as well as personal training in order to maintain his physical and mental health. He has expressed interest in blogging with Healthy Minds as a means of reaching out to others who feel isolated and as a way to express himself in a positive space. You can connect with Mark on Twitter or Facebook.