Mental wellbeing, capitalism and fluminism. Notes.

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    Photo by me

    On social media, I read of a woman who recently experienced rejection from mental health services during a crisis of severe distress and suicidal thoughts. Seemingly, nurses judged she had been ill for so long and survived that she has developed coping mechanisms so did not need further support. How devastating must that have been for her. I know something of the absolute fear and isolation suffered during times of severe distress and suicidal thoughts. My heart goes out to her.

    What kind of society perpetuates this kind of distress? A society where so many are driven to desperation, then have no-one to turn to. Humans are biologically social beings, yet our social foundations have been shaken to the core. Communities, families and institutional service providers have been hammered by the pressures of a failing economic system ~ Neoliberal Capitalism.

    Competition or co-operation? Increasingly, evidence points towards the latter as dominant in human evolution, nay, many interconnected living species. The political Right would have you think otherwise. And a globalised machine based on competition rides roughshod over mental wellbeing. So many aspects to life are bleached-out by pressures to accumulate wealth and property (capital). Poverty, trauma, money stress, expectation to produce and buy…. tensions manifest directly upon loving and supporting relationships, right across the globe.

    Mental wellbeing is complex. Humans are biologically responding to internal and external stimuli. But the externals are largely ignored in our systems of care. Individuals who suffer from the fall-out of a broken system are, instead, expected to take full responsibility for their state. Meanwhile, the machine rolls on and GDP growth remains a deeply mistaken priority.

    The accumulators persist in power. Competition is perpetuated by our education system. Commodification seeps into so many aspects of modern life. Even the monetisation of nature is being forced at a pace, adopted by advocates of a growth-oriented market system dominated by corporate interests. Nothing seems safe. Nothing sacrosanct.

    People who advocate capitalisation and market force as salvation are either blind or callous to what this is doing to us all on a leviathan scale. Lives are worn down and snuffed out by competitive examinations, interviews, PIPS, job markets, mortgage payments, rents, bills, the weekly shop. It’s a machine.

    This is not what life could be. We don’t have to accept it.

    I will not accept all-out competition is the god-given ‘natural state’ of human existence.

    All is interconnected. All is flow. We can choose to be co-operative and compassionate. We can perpetuate and proliferate positive interconnections between all living beings. I call this fluminism. Love is life. Life is love.

    But the system is rigged and has been for a very long time. It is a form of entrapment. Baby-boomers, sitting pretty on their increased assets, have forgotten a deep sense of community responsibility. They are content with their pensions, when so many born since will have none. Their votes for low taxes keep centre right and rightwing politics in power, particularly in England, where the majority of elected MPs are seated in power.
    Trauma is now shown to ripple through generations via epigenetic changes in DNA. Positivity can help to reverse these affects, but life sometimes does not work out that way. Prejudice burns through a rich fabric of life. Some people never escape the proverty trap, a long, slow traumatic experience for many, and through no fault of their own. More are falling head-first into it. How hard it is to be single and afford such huge living costs.We can perceive and measure a wide array of symptoms of a broken society worsening ~ mental distress being just one, but critical. For the greater population, and down through generations, there will be a long process of recovery, even if all our socio-political systems changed overnight. It’s salutary.
    Positive relationships are so vital to wellbeing. Yet just how many are screwed by impacts of societal stress including lack of money, loss of money and debt.

    Mad? This makes me mad. It can be different. We are so on the wrong track in the way we live our lives together. I can’t tell you how much I want this to change. Vanessa Spedding  calls this a “yearning”. This is my truth. It is a deep, unequivocal yearning for society based instead on care and compassion.

    And yet, apparently, it is me who expects too much. My hopes for love and happiness fall flat. How terribly un-pragmatic am I, dreamily romantic, to want a better life for everyone, including myself, and not just a select few. To want true equality. How “blue sky’ to want a society cleared of such false constructs, to leave room for deep love and care, for one another and for all other life.

    Let me say this in reply. Pragmatic is now RADICAL change. Every day, I read the science on the state of this amazing planet upon which we depend. The Transilience Gap is huge. Cost? There is your cost.

    I cannot repeat it enough. Positive relationships are quintessentially foundational to our wellbeing. But how many continue to be screwed by the relentless instabilities, insecurities and unpredictabilities of an economic system based on material aspiration, accumulation of money and debt.

    @acathbrn Anna Biren says:

    “This is so true. Being forced to work for the majority of the day and coming home drained and exhausted also contributes to not being able to maintain relationships. So as we grow older, the more we work, the more alienated and lonely we become.”

         And alienation and loneliness is a killer. We can do better. We can be fluminists.