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Mental Health Is Mostly Invisible

Through the works of Sebastian Junger, I was surprised to learn that in all societies, as affluence rises, so do rates of depression and suicide.  

Jim Carey once said that he hoped that everyone could become rich and famous so that they would have the chance to realize that material wealth and prestige do not bring lasting peace or happiness.  

Toward the end of his life, Robin Williams said that he used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up alone, only to realize that it is even worse to end up with people who make you feel alone.

A couple of weeks ago, I shared an impromptu tribute to my friend who at 40 years of age took his own life and left behind a loving family including three children under 10 years of age.   At the peak of our friendship, I marvelled at the life he had created - a beautiful young family, a successful medical practice, and more than 5 million in the bank.

Life has shown me many times over that fame and fortune do not guarantee happiness or fulfillment.  

Of course there is a time to feel sad, a time to feel lost, and a time to grieve - our struggles are what allow us to grow and deeply appreciate the experiences of being happy, grateful, and fulfilled.  Still, the vast majority of us know that it is far from ideal to walk through life feeling sad, lonely, and unfulfilled.

I've come to believe that feeling warmly connected with others is likely what we need most to be happy.  Yes, we also need to feel like we are serving some useful purpose and that we are growing in some way, but for the most part, these additional states seem to come hand in hand with being genuinely connected to even a few other people.

The holidays can be an especially isolating time for those who are feeling disconnected from others.  Let's remember that a phone call, video chat, or even an e-mail can be an enormous source of hope and love for those who feel alone.  

Sending love to all,

Ben

 
 

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