Health Zeppelin Riffing: “Two Years Gone” & “Nobody’s Problem But Mine!”

Hard to believe just over two years ago, I felt like I was on the verge of being institutionalized. (And I don’t just mean ‘becoming part of the journalistic and academic establishment,’ insofar as there’s a difference).

I have come a long way; with help from friends, family, colleagues, medical folks.

Here are two things I am bringing with me, and offer now to you:

Firstly, there is no such thing as ‘having mental issues.’ You either have ‘mental PROBLEMS,’ or you don’t.

No problem? No problem! Great!

Problem? Fine! Take ownership of it, and don’t be a coward.

People who insist on having ‘mental issues,’ people who have-a-problem-but-don’t-really-have-a-problem-or-not-well-actually-erm-wop-dop-dop-WAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH will never make any progress.

This world is not a nice place, and it is not a safe space.

It’s hard to come to terms with mental health problems. But at least understanding the difference between ‘problems’ (a mediocre and cowardly capitulation to the outside reality) and ‘issues’ (something to be engaged with and tackled and, where appropriate, attacked in an utterly merciless full-frontal assault…

All this is crucial.

Secondly: boys, don’t make promises you can’t keep.

You know what I mean.

Don’t be a weak, sentimental, pathetic moron, like so many have before you.

Do what Confucius said.

Make your promises small and few.

And fulfil them to the letter.

This is the path of rightness and of justice.

Don’t turn aside, not once…

Either to the right hand of arrogance, or the left hand of betrayal.

This path was (as it were) prepared and anointed for you by Destiny, before you were even born.

Be dignified!

Be a rational being.

Be afraid by all means, but fear not!

You are not alone.

The path of virtue is hard, but it is also easy.

You do not have to lead a life of austerity and stifling purity.

You do not have to be a rake of one woman or a thousand.

It is possible that the journey may be of a thousand miles.

But it is certain that it begins from beneath your feet.