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Feel-Good Corner

Love and Mental Health

Love. It can be explained by chemical reactions in the brain; an instinct to keep our species going. One might think that this removes the specialness from love. If we were to stop at the chemical level, love appears chemically orchestrated. But if we dive deeper, isn’t everything? We have scientifically explored what makes our minds do what they do. But we do not, and may never, understand its full function. The most beautiful and life changing elements of this world must be felt with the heart. Of course we know that we feel with our minds and not our hearts, but the idea of an emotion that is beyond the capacity of our minds is perhaps the greatest miracle or heaven that we shall ever know. To quote Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream; “Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.” I don’t believe we are shot by his arrows but I do believe that to love the most profoundly, we must walk into this adventure with a blindfold of our own design. After all, love can be likened to a warm breeze. We can’t see it, but we can definitely feel it. But does its intangible nature make it any less real? Like love, gravity is not visible. This does not disprove its existence, especially since its impact is visible. A kite blowing in the wind, supported by invisible forces, is much like burgeoning love. Love is the most formidable force, allowing transformation and joy that exceeds all that which can be bought or measured. Love is like a trail that endures our entire lives. It is the most beautiful trial, and it ends when we accept the death of the pronoun ‘I’ and move into the ‘we’. This does not only refer to your significant other, but to the people of the world. If we all lowered our internal reflex to prioritize ourselves and concentrated more on the ways we are the same rather than the ways in which we are different, the world could be a very different place. When it comes to love of any kind, we must be more like mother earth. I believe we must bear fruits for others to enjoy. Love is a peaceful conquerer, just as water over time will overcome a stone. Love belongs to those who surrender to it, to those who have faith in the face of fear, rejection and pain. When we love someone deeply, we give them the power to destroy us. I always remember that phrase even though I don’t remember the book. It may very well be one of the biggest and bravest decisions of our lives. I believe we are in love with the idea of love, but not everyone can obtain it. The way to retain and immortalize love is to entrust it to another persons’ heart. And if your love is well placed, you shall be entrusted with theirs and take part in the most wondrous cycle of give and take. As Lao Tzu so wisely postulates; “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” Love can be likened to a puzzle. We should not be focussed on finding the perfect person, but finding an imperfect person who completes us perfectly. True love allows us to remove our masks and stand naked and vulnerable before another person. Coming back to science, I don’t think it can ever provide the complete picture. Even if love is scientifically explainable, it’s too profound to be confined by the framework of science and words. Love is a combination of mind and heart, heart referring to the intangible and unexplainable portion of this immense emotion. In the words of Blaise Pascal; “The heart has its reasons which reason knows not.” Perhaps we are in over our heads with love, treading water in dangerous tides. However I firmly believe that love remains both a mystery and a beacon for us humans. A holy grail, if you will, that we are on a personal pilgrimage to find.

Even with mental illness, we must not isolate ourselves. We must remember our loved ones and remember that love is out there for us even if we can’t currently see it. Accepting love and help from others even if we don’t think we deserve it, is a light in the darkness. Hold on to those people. Remember that you don’t have to go through this alone. What helps me is to remember that even though we’re teeny tiny particles of something immeasurable, we can mean the world to certain people and they are our worlds in return. Don’t measure your worth by what you have or by how insignificant you may feel, because I don’t think life is about that. Life can be measured by love, not money nor fame. I will forever remember a World War 2 tombstone I saw in France. “To the world, he was just a man. But to me, he was my world.” Open yourself up to love, companionship, friendship…they are real life treasures and miracles. If I had succeeded at committing suicide, I would have left a hole in those I love and who love me. And even if you don’t currently have a lot of love going around…it will come, and it is worth waiting for.

Don’t forget that love isn’t just for others, it’s also for ourselves. Loving ourselves may be the biggest challenge, but before we can truly and deeply love another we have to come to terms with ourselves. This doesn’t mean being egotistical or self-centred; it means embracing who you are and being accepting and forgiving towards yourself. It means loving yourself and being secure enough to explore, grow, adapt and fulfil your potential. Please don’t give up on love; it comes in many forms and will brighten your life!

What's YOUR take?