Do you remember that public service announcement that ran in the late 80s and 90s for teenage drug use?  The tag line was ” A mind is a terrible thing to waste”.  As I’ve gotten older and experienced a more complicated life, I have used that phrase in a different way.  I changed it to ” A mind is a terrible thing”.

Now the brain itself is probably the most interesting and wonderful objects that God has created.  Capable of brilliant ideas and concepts.  To think most of us use only about 10% of our brain’s possible potential is just a mind-boggling, excuse the pun, concept to me.  So why do I describe it as a terrible thing?  Because when left to its own devices, whether your alone and thinking or just zoned out in front of the television, your mind can produce some pretty serious “conspiracies”  or alternate realities.

It can take the most innocent situation and turn it into some pretty bad scenarios.  The fact that the amount of people who have some sort mental illness increase every year is a testimony to that fact.  Now whether you were born with these problems, developed them as you have aged, or experienced some sort of trauma or illness, they can be seriously detrimental to not only to a healthy lifestyle, but can be a monumental hill to climb to overcome in any difficult situation.  They way our conscious mind can twist actual reality has always amazed me.  And don’t forget the people who are always right and claim to have no issues whatsoever.  They are ones that probably are the least mentally healthy people we have walking among us.   Hence my adaptation to an old PSA.  I’m really not sure if this a modern society problem or if this has been hardwired into humans from birth.   I imagine that it is more environmental than genetic.

The amount of ” downtime” people have today due to technology is staggering.  You may say, not me, I’m constantly on the go, no time to think or stop at all.  Really?  How many times do you check your iPhone for text messages, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, email?  That is your downtime.

Imagine now that you have a chronic illness or disease that leaves you almost immobile, alone or literally trapped in your own head.  Your own brain can actually kill you slowly day by day, minute, hour by hour, until you are just a glimmer of what you were created to be.

So what’s the solution?  Well if I knew that I wouldn’t be writing this.  Certainly surrounding yourself with family and friends is always a big help.  Faith and relationship with God.  Reading or listening to positive ideas and messages certainly can help.  Exercise, sport, hobbies and even work and career are great distractions to the terrible things your mind can do to you.

Mental illness and chronic illness go hand in hand most of the time if you do not have a strong network of people around you.  Chronic illness patients need to be embraced by their communities if they have any hope to overcome or just get through the next day.  Compassion is an amazing human capacity that we are all born with.  Whether you choose to use it is up to you.  Choose wisely, because you never know when life will put place you on the opposite side of the equation.

Have a wonderful weekend, a three-day in the US.  Try to soften your heart and pay it forward.  As always, God bless!!

Matt

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