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  • When we are feeling well in our minds, we hardly notice that we might be harbouring

  • in ourselves anything as formal or as dramatic-sounding as 'reasons to live.' We simply assume

  • that we like life itself and that it must be natural and inevitable to do so. And yet

  • a broad appetite for life is, on close inspection, never simply that; our apparently general

  • buoyancy must covertly rest on a range of specific elements that, while we may not bother

  • to itemise them, have their own and distinct identities nevertheless.

  • It's only when a crisis hits and our mood starts to drop that we may for the first time

  • start to feel, with acute sorrow, what these 'reasons to live' might have been all

  • along; it's as we lose our reasons that we understand them with uncommon clarity.

  • We realise why we have for years bothered to rise out of bed with energy and relative

  • good humour, put up with inconveniences, struggled to get ourselves across to others and looked

  • forward to tomorrow - and wonder in dismay how we will from now on ever have the will

  • and courage to continue.

  • Our engagement with life might have been bound up with, the enjoyment of work or of reputation,

  • the companionship of a child or of a friend, the agility of our bodies or the creativity

  • of our minds. Denied such advantages, we don't merely miss out on an aspect of life, the

  • whole of it loses its purpose. Secondary satisfactions - whether from a holiday or a book, a dinner

  • with old acquaintances or a hobby - cannot compensate. The hedonic scaffolding of our

  • lives disintegrates. We may not actively try to kill ourselves, but we can't count as

  • quite alive either. We are going through the motions; living corpses following a script

  • drained of meaning.

  • When we say that someone has fallen mentally ill, what we are frequently pointing to is

  • the loss of long-established reasons to remain alive. And so the task ahead is to make a

  • series of interventions, as what counts.

  • We may need

  • to forgive ourselves for a fearsome degree of idiocy, give up on a need to feel exceptional,

  • surrender worldly ambitions and cease once and for all to imagine that our minds could

  • be as logical or as reliable as we had hoped. We may continue to live simply because every

  • human deserves understanding - and because we are trying our best in the only way we

  • know how.

  • If there is any advantage to going through a mental crisis of the worst kind, it is that

  • - on the other side of it - we will have ended up choosing life rather than merely assuming

  • it to be the unremarkable norm. We, the ones who have crawled back from the darkness, may

  • be disadvantaged in a hundred ways, but at least we will have had to find, rather than

  • assumed or inherited, some reasons why we are here. Every day we continue will be a

  • day earned back from death and our satisfactions will be all the more more intense and our

  • gratitude more profound for having been consciously arrived at.

  • The challenge from the present sickness can be mapped out in its essential form: one day

  • to reach a small but robust and persuasive list of reasons to continue

  • to be.

When we are feeling well in our minds, we hardly notice that we might be harbouring

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B1 continue life simply mental alive crisis

Mental Illness and Reasons to Live

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/02/04
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