Please Note: The ideas contained in this post are the opinions of the writer and are communicated without reference to supporting documentation in most cases. Other inspiration and influence for the writing came through consultation with other mental health professionals but the writer “Peter Quintano” is also fully qualified in DBT making him qualified to talk about the things discussed in this article.
Have you ever noticed that as you begin learning, thinking and talking about your mental health, the reasons for your suffering can (in part) be traced back to our ways of living and the systems of ideas that we cling to? For instance, as we devote much of our time and energy to earning money or building businesses so as to participate in a capitalistic system, a natural consequence of this pattern can be the neglect of mental health and relationships. Then as we neglect these essential parts of our being as humans through these living patterns, we tend to develop symptoms and become sick (both physically and mentally).
It may be hard to believe; especially for those who passionately believe that money (above all else) is the primary factor in all human health and well-being. However, mental health cannot be bought with money or be materially induced. On the contrary, it could be said that the more a person believes that money and material things are the true source of peace and joy and mental health; the further away that person will actually be from achieving his health goals. True mental and relational health only comes from proper attention and time devoted to the subject.
When the primary interest in life is acquiring money and things, the consistent result is less energy, less time, and less opportunity to engage in health and relationship practices. The temporary sense of well-being available through money and the acquisition of things can act very well as a good counterfeit to real well-being. In truth, however, sustainable mental health only becomes available after a dependence on (and attachment to) money and things are abandoned. Unfortunately, many will not believe this truth until they become sick themselves or begin to notice relationships falling apart. Even then, many will still not believe and find someone or something other to blame.
Of course, there may be many other enticements or interests that contribute to health neglect, but consider carefully how much time you invest in growing a bank account and meeting the financial demands of the day. Since most people likely don’t pay much attention to this, it may come as very surprising to discover how little time is left for essential mind and body maintenance activities. Obviously, we are not outright encouraged to neglect ourselves by society, but it becomes an easy trap to fall into given the rules of capitalist system participation (always being under threat of losing our comforts, conveniences, safety and security if money isn’t acquired and paid those we are obligated).
Those who may be particularly affected by falling into the trap of mental health and relational neglect would parents of children. This is likely true because of the many extra financial obligations that come as a result of raising a family. Sometimes parents are required to work excessive hours or multiple jobs, just to keep up with regular bills and provide for the many needs (and wants) of the family unit. Meeting these needs and wants easily gets prioritized over essential health and relational care activities. The children of these parents then experience varying degrees of neglect as their parents become unwell.
Quite often these types of neglect go unnoticed for an entire childhood development, and this is the beginning point for conditions like Borderline Personality Disorder. The essential point in the matter is whether or not a child has access to a healthy parent and experiences a healthy attachment. Where these things are absent, for whatever reason, there will almost inevitably be a mental health condition in the end.
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