January is Mental Health Month
This image reminds me of the Roman God Janus, for whom January is named.
In ancient Roman religion and myth, Janus is the god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways, passages, frames, and endings. He is usually depicted as having two faces. The month of January is named for Janus (Ianuarius).Wikipedia
So, the symbolism of a god who looks both ways is very fitting when we consider the issue of mental health. Dr. Phil had two programs this week that showed how one young lady was consumed by conflicting thoughts, based in part by therapy that uncovered impressions of alleged sexual abuse by her father when she was very young. This led to anorexia in the present, which completely occupies her mind, day and night, and doesn’t allow her to look forward to anything in her future. She says that only her eating disorder keeps her alive!
We can only imagine how this situation must feel for her. The expressions on her face tell the whole story, at least to me: she’s tormented by her thoughts.
There is no simple solution to bring about mental health (the NEWSPEAK phrase for mental illness). We are what we think we are. So, how can a person change their thoughts, especially if they think whatever is bothering them is real? And that’s the rub. Our ego’s job is to warn us about danger (real and imagined). It wants to be able to say to us, at the end of the day, “See, I told you so.”
I have family members (one sister and one daughter) who suffer this way. Neither of them is anorexic, but that doesn’t make it any better for the rest of us. We have to walk on eggshells in order not to set them off.
I haven’t heard from either Rachel or Anne yet — are they doing OK? How’s Elizabeth? I’m a bit sorry that I didn’t get to see her this time, but maybe it was to prevent me from taking the blame for contributing to the cause of her returning to hospital. This way I know I’m not directly involved, although I can’t be sure she wasn’t aware at some level that i was around.My Letter to Mom dated October 25, 1994
So, what to do, what to do?
Can it really be that simple?