Monday, October 6, 2014

Some thoughts about mental fitness and young people

My 17 year old daughter wrote this for her school mental fitness week which began today. She read this on her school intercom system: 

This week is Mental Fitness week, which for a lot of you probably means the long an arduous process of picking out an outfit to dazzle the entire school with, but for a few of you, it might just mean a lot. Because the fact is that 1 in four people will, at some point, experience a mental health difficulty. This week is about you, and it’s here to remind you that you are most certainly not alone. 

I don’t want to bombard you with facts, so instead I’m gonna do a little speech.

I like speeches.

Sure, by itself, the world is just trees and rocks and clouds, but if there is some magic, it’s in people, as much as I would love Hogwarts to be real. You can either accept that life is an individual experience or a collective ordeal. You’re not wrong, either way, but only together can we make human life worth something. We may not feel inherently valuable, but as countless love stories have told us, we have the potential to mean everything to another person. As J.K. Rowling said, “We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.”

Alone, we might not really feel all that important, but if you add just one person who cares, you become as great and incalculable as the universe itself. Sure, the universe is big, but that’s only because every planet is millions upon millions of miles apart. There are seven billion of us squashed together on one insignificant blue planet floating aimlessly around a tiny star, but just look at the things we have done. Things like Christmas and the Mona Lisa and Mario Kart.

There are times when all of us feel alone, or overwhelmed, or disgusted with ourselves, but that isn’t a reason to become disillusioned with the world. Don’t be sad because your life isn’t as exciting as the books you read or the films you watch, because once you get past the tininess of the community you’re living in, there are millions of things you don’t know about the world. Watch documentaries about planet Earth and see all these things you hadn’t even thought of. Revel in the hours of fun children manage to have with the ketchup packets in restaurants. What it that even about?

There are so many things to be amazed by, so many books you’ll leave unread if you give up this stupid huge, tiny world

No matter how bad things are right now, remember that everything is temporary, and that you have the strength to be more than what you’ve done so far. You can be the things that you will do, the promises you make to yourself.

Maybe you’ll paint a masterpiece, or write a classic. Maybe you’ll write a song they’ll sing in a thousand years, or maybe you’ll discover something that will save lives. Maybe you’ll do nothing but love and be loved. The point is, unless you keep beating on, you’ll never know.

This week is for you, a little reminder that there are people who can help, and a world that aside from all its flaws is pretty cool and worth paying attention to.

Emma Tobin 

Age 17 

Read out on school intercom system for mental fitness week 6 October 2014 

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