Mental Health Awareness Month

I heard about Mental Health Awareness Month from another Youtuber “Ben Gravey” a surfer who was an alcoholic who changed his life through surfing. I had a life-changing experience myself and I thought it would be a good idea to share it.

In 2017 I had a brain hemorrhage. The doctor said it was brought on by out-of-control blood pressure. To be fair, my blood was high pressure back then so they may have been right.

I spent a couple of weeks in the hospital relearning how to use my brain to walk. It was like drawing a picture of the hospital in my mind so I could navigate. During this time, I realized how deeply sad I was about my life, and how I felt like I wasn’t really living. I attempt to write a book about that, well I wrote a badly edited book on my understanding of life and its purpose a year after that incident. The book is called “Most Improved” and you can find it on Amazon. Later on, a joined an organization called the Mankind Project. The mission of MKP is to help men become better men, one man at a time. If you do a search on google for the project, the first results you likely will get are about MKP being a cult.

I found that the organization, as far as organizations go, is far from what I understand that a cult is. MKP uses various disciplines to help men tap into their own potential. What’s important about MKP is that, even though there are agreements everyone in the organization agrees to, such as not trying to fix other men, and using I statements. My understanding is that MKP’s organizational structure has its roots in an autonomous, egalitarian perspective. There are men in the organization who project their issues of control onto the organization, but it doesn’t seem to go too far.

MKP helped me center the focus of my mental health work on my internal problems, rather than the outside world. In my judgment, most organizations try to focus on the external problems of the world to fix everything. I am a firm believer that all the world’s problems have a foundation within each individual, and only when, every human on the planet or at least enough humans on the planet make this shift, very little will change.

When I say within, I mean those feelings or reactions that well up inside an individual, that take over without warning. In the Mankind Project, we call them shadows because they operate behind the scenes. By shining light on these issues, deliberately, we get closer to the real issues that drive all the problems in the world.

Putting aside chemical/psychical problems with the brain, all mental health issues boil down to issues of avoidance or denial of life’s challenges. Maybe as a kid growing up, I wasn’t able to understand this, and maybe I didn’t have a choice back then, but now I do. I have a choice and responsibility to myself and others to work out these issues, with the help of others, because one of the things about being an authentic human, is knowing when I needed help and asking for help, and acting on the courage that I know was within me to ask for that help. Mental Health, for me, is about finding the courage to act on small aspects of my healing and widening the view of what’s possible, bit by bit.

A book that helped me with this was “Constructive Living” by David K. Reynolds. Constructive Living taught me that wasting away thinking about why my life isn’t the way I wanted it to be was a recipe for disaster. I had to bring my problems into some action. For me, it was about tending to all the things I often let go of, regardless of how I felt. Over time, that helped me to build empowering patterns of behavior which got me out of my depression. I still sink into states of sorrow, but I have men that I can rely on now to help me through my problems. Being alone with my thoughts was the worst problem to overcome for me because I am so used to being in my own world. Being determined to make real changes in my life, I had enough with doing things the way I always did them and tried something new.

That is how I continue to heal myself. I pray that you find your own way. It’s never too late for anything. Scott Larson.